Cancer prevention

The Optimal Anti-Cancer Diet (2-2)

Some molecules present in these foods even act on several aspects of cancer progression and maximize the protection offered by the diet. Resveratrol from grapes, for example, acts on the three processes underlying tumour development. Soy genistein, in addition to being a phytoestrogen, is a powerful inhibitor of several proteins involved in the uncontrolled growth of cancer cells. This variety of anti-cancer molecules in the anti-cancer diet is important because multiple processes are involved in cancer cell growth and it most certainly would be wishful thinking to believe that the capacity of cancer cells to overcome obstacles as they grow could be controlled through the use of anti-cancer molecules that interfere with only one of these processes. A combination of several foods, each possessing distinct anti-cancer compounds, makes it possible to target the various processes involved in tumour growth and to increase the effectiveness of each of the foods. Thanks to the synergy created by combining different foods, the anti-cancer action of one molecule may be considerably increased by the presence of another molecule, an extremely important property for the anti-cancer compounds of dietary origin that are generally present in the blood in very small quantities. One of the best examples of this kind of synergy is the ability of a molecule in pepper, piperine, to increase the absorption of curcumin in the spice turmeric by more than 2,000 times, resulting in plasma concentrations of curcumin that are likely to interfere with the aggressive behaviour of cancer cells.
Adopting a diet rich in foods that are exceptional sources of anti-cancer molecules is therefore one of the best weapons currently at our disposal in the fight against cancer.


Richard Béliveau

News Flash!

A major scientific advance is currently overturning our approach to genetic diseases. The method CRISPR-Cas9 permits modifying any sequence of DNA, a property which was recently used to correct a genetic default responsible for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. But the possibility of selectively editing the human genetic blueprint with this revolutionary tool also raises significant ethical questions. Download this column