Monday, December 3, 2012

Acetogenin: Healthy Food Chemical in Paw Paw Fruit found in an Anti-Cancer Diet

The Paw-Paw fruit (Asimina triloba), also known as Papaw or Papaya is an edible fruit associated with the custard-apple family. It is also a cousin of Graviola, Guanabana, Sweetsop and Soursop fruit. The Paw-Paw fruit is yet another food that has been added to our anti-cancer diet. As one of the healthy things to eat, the Paw-Paw fruit is known to have beneficial medicinal effect on the human body. This fruit is one of the few anti-cancer foods used for alternative cancer treatment because it contains food chemicals that can pass through the blood-brain barrier. In fact, this food chemical form the Paw-Paw fruit, and the tree as well have shown anti-cancer activity against a wide range of cancers especially adeno-carcinoma, colon and prostate cancer.

The principal food chemical that gives the Paw-Paw fruit it anti-cancer properties is known as Acetogenin. Acetogenins are found in almost all species of the Paw-Paw fruit but the highest concentration and the more powerful Acetogenins is present in the Asimina triloba species of the Paw-Paw fruit. This food chemical seems to abound in every part of the Paw-Paw plant but researchers have found that the highest concentration of Acetogenins lies in the twigs of the Paw-Paw leaves.  Acetogenins have successfully being extracted by a certain Dr. Jerry McLaughlin and has since been used in the treatment of cancer.

The anti-cancer activity of the Acetogenins in the Paw-Paw fruit in fighting cancer is very unique. In order to fully understand the role of this fruit chemical in our anti-cancer diet, one has to be conversant with how energy, in form of ATP is produced in the body cell (Biology 101). The body cells need glucose to produce energy. Glucose is taken up through the blood stream to the cells where it converted to Adenosine Tri-Phosphate (ATP) in the mitochondria of cells. Having explained this basic biology, it will be OK to explain the anti-cancer activity of this food chemical.

main anti-cancer activity of Acetogenins is to reduce or modulate the production of ATP in cancer-infected cells by robbing them off glucose without having any negative effect on normal body cells. This anti-cancer activity of this food chemical in fighting cancer by robbing cancer cells off glucose and reducing the production of ATP can be seen in 4 distinct ways.

Acetogenins show anti-cancer activity by robbing cancer-infected cells off the energy they need to grow. When ingested, these food chemicals attach themselves to glucose and are transported along to the body cells. Now, it is believed, through research that cancer cells, because of their high energy demand tend to pick up a lot of glucose molecules and in this process, they pick up a lot of these food chemicals, Acetogenins. Once inside the cancer-infected cells, Acetogenins deplete these cells off energy. Without energy, these cells cannot grow and they soon die off. Normal cells are not affected because they require less energy than cancer cells.

Another anti-cancer activity of the food chemical, Acetogenin, found in the Paw-Paw fruit that makes it both a healthy thing to eat and an anti-cancer diet is to reduce the growth of blood vessel closer to cancer-infected cells. Because of the high energy demand of cancer cells, it is necessary for them that they get glucose for ATP production on time so this prompts the body to allow new blood vessels to be formed near these cancer cells. However, the anti-cancer activity of this food chemical here reduces the amount of glucose for the production of the energy needed by these cancer cells to new blood vessels.

From our BIO 101, we find out that ATP is also useful for cell reproduction and division. Since the anti-cancer activity of our food chemical here is to remove energy channelled to these cancer-infected cells, this will make it difficult for these cancer cells to grow and reproduce.

Chemotherapy can cause cancer cells to develop resistance such as those experienced in Multiple Drug Resistance (MDR). Cancer-infected cells become too familiar with these chemicals used in chemotherapy and will develop the resistance to them, and pump them out of the cells before they can be effective. This ‘pumping out’ action of the cancer cells requires energy in form of ATP. This is where our food chemical, Acetogenin, comes in. when used along with chemotherapy, Acetogenins’ anti-cancer activity reduces the ability of cancer cells to utilize glucose to produce ATP which leaves them without the energy to pump out these chemicals, leaving them susceptible to chemotherapy.

The anti-cancer property of the food chemical, Acetogenin, in starving cancer-infected cells off glucose has been criticized for being slow. However, it has been praised for its non-toxicity on normal body cells unlike the traditional chemotherapy. Although it has not being certain that it can replace traditional chemotherapy, it can be used along with it.


1 comment:

  1. This is a really useful information that you have shared about the anti-cancer fruit and its qualities. There is a need for sharing such kind of information with the people.


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