Natural Health Tips

Cancer-Fighting Properties of Apples

Numerous recent studies have proven that apples help fight cancer. At least three studies published in the last year by a professor of food science add to growing evidence that apples, as well as other fruits and vegetables, are powerful ways to help prevent breast cancer.

One of the most recent of these studies found that fresh apple extracts significantly inhibited the size of mammary tumors in rats. In fact, the more extracts given to the animals, the more breast tumors were inhibited. This research backs up earlier findings of other studies conducted by Dr. Liu, published in 2007 and 2008.

Liu Jia-Ren; Dong Hong-Wei; Chen Bing-Qing; Zhao Peng; Liu Rui Hai Fresh apples suppress mammary carcinogenesis and proliferative activity and induce apoptosis in mammary tumors of the Sprague-Dawley rat. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2009;57(1):297-304.

"Whole apple extracts possess potent antioxidant activity and antiproliferative activity against cancer cells in vitro. The objectives of this study were to determine the anticancer activity of apple extracts in a rat mammary cancer model induced by 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA) in vivo and to determine if apple extracts inhibited cell proliferation and affected apoptosis in mammary cancer tissues in vivo. Rats were given the whole apple extracts (0, 3.3, 10.0, or 20.0 g/kg of body weight) by gavage starting 2 weeks prior to DMBA administration and continuing for 24 weeks. Rats treated with DMBA (positive control) developed mammary tumors with 71.4% tumor incidence during the 24-week study. No tumors were detected in the negative control group untreated with DMBA. A dose-dependent inhibition of mammary carcinogenesis by apple extracts was observed (P < 0.01). Tumor multiplicity decreased with increasing apple extracts. Histopathological evaluations of tumors were performed. The proportions of adenocarcinoma masses decreased with increasing apple extracts. The expression of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), cyclin D1, and Bcl-2 decreased, and Bax expression and apoptosis increased with increasing apple extracts. These results demonstrate the potent capacity of fresh apples to suppress DMBA-initiated mammary cancers in rats."

Details of other studies:

He Xiangjiu; Liu Rui Hai Phytochemicals of apple peels: isolation, structure elucidation, and their antiproliferative and antioxidant activities. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2008;56(21):9905-10.

He Xiangjiu; Liu Rui Hai Triterpenoids isolated from apple peels have potent antiproliferative activity and may be partially responsible for apple's anticancer activity. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2007;55(11):4366-70.

Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in U.S. women. The anti-cancer property of apples is particularly important because adenocarcinoma, a highly malignant tumor and the main cause of death in breast-cancer patients, as well as of animals with mammary cancer, has been found in over 80% of tumors.

The author of the studies, Dr. Liu said in a statement "We not only observed that the treated animals had fewer tumors, but the tumors were smaller, less malignant and grew more slowly compared with the tumors in the untreated rats."

These studies emphasize the valuable, health-protecting role of phytochemicals found in apples as well as other fruits and vegetables.

Apples have a huge range of health benefits. They contain a form of fiber called pectin, which has a cleansing effect on the body. It binds to toxic waste such as heavy metals and environmental pollutants in the body, and removes it through the digestive system. This fiber helps to soften the body's waste and leave the body naturally, which is why apples are useful for alleviating diarrhea or constipation.