In the September, 2011 issue of the journal Hepatology, researchers from United Arab Emirates University report a protective effect for saffron, a spice that imparts a yellow color to food, against cancer of the liver in rats.
For their experiment, Amr Amin and colleagues divided 48 rats into six groups. Liver tumors were induced in four of the groups by the administration of diethylnitrosamine (DEN), a potent carcinogen. While one group of animals given DEN received no additional treatment, the three other groups received varying doses of saffron beginning two weeks prior to injection with the carcinogen and continuing for an additional 20 weeks. Control rats that were not treated with DEN were given distilled water or 300 mg/kg saffron throughout the course of the study.
Among rats that received the carcinogen, fewer of the saffron-treated animals had liver masses at the end of the treatment period in comparison with rats that were not pretreated, and the number of nodules detected was lower. No nodules were found in any of the rats that received the highest dose of saffron. Saffron also reduced liver enlargement and elevation of liver enzymes in the animals that received it. In separate experiments in cultured liver cancer cells, the administration of saffron was shown to arrest growth and increase programmed cell death.
While administration of DEN increased markers of oxidative stress, treatment with saffron lowered these markers while increasing antioxidant enzymes. Additionally, saffron was associated with down-regulation of inflammatory markers.
"In the fight against cancer, there has been much interest in chemopreventive properties of natural herbs and plants," Professor Amin stated. "With limited treatment options, approaches that prevent cancer development are among the best strategies to protect against the disease."
"Our findings suggest that saffron provides an anticancer protective effect by promoting cell death (apoptosis), inhibiting proliferation of cancerous cells, and blocking inflammation," he concluded. "Further investigation of saffron extract and its mechanism of action in hepatic cell cancer is currently underway."
Up to 4 million Americans are chronically infected with the hepatitis C virus. About 20 percent of these people will develop cirrhosis of the liver, possibly followed by liver cancer. Hepatitis C is the most common cause of liver transplant in the United States.
Hepatitis C is an insidious viral disease because most people are unaware of their initial infection. Instead, the acute phase usually passes with minimal symptoms before turning into chronic hepatitis C infection. Many people have the disease for decades before it is diagnosed. Often people are diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C as a result of blood work performed for other medical conditions.
Chronic hepatitis C is dangerous because the virus causes high levels of free radicals to form in the liver. These free radicals put serious oxidative stress on the liver, which depletes protective antioxidants in the liver and eventually kills the liver cells. The disease is characterized by periods of fluctuating liver damage, with flare-ups of acute hepatitis over the course of the infection. Over time, this steady attack on the liver causes scar tissue (fibrosis), which can lead to cirrhosis if left untreated.
The following supplements have been shown to reduce liver oxidative damage, lower iron, and boost the effectiveness of conventional drugs:
Calcium citrate—1000 to 2000 milligrams (mg) daily with iron-containing foods to block iron absorption
Lactoferrin—900 mg daily, to block iron, in divided doses
Lipoic acid—750 mg in three divided doses daily
NAC—600 mg daily
Whey protein isolate—20 to 40 grams (g) daily
Glutathione—500 mg daily, on an empty stomach
Silibinin extract—900 mg daily, in two divided doses
SAMe—1200 mg daily, in three divided doses
PPC—1800 to 3600 mg daily
Green tea extract (93 percent polyphenols)—750 mg daily
Garlic (high allicin)—900 mg daily
Aged garlic extract (Kyolic®)—1200 mg daily
Selenium—200 to 600 micrograms (mcg) daily
Vitamin E—400 international units (IU) daily with at least 200 mg gamma tocopherol
Vitamin C—2000 mg daily (on an empty stomach to minimize the increased iron absorption caused by vitamin C)
This e-issue of Life Extension Magazine® is extraordinarily easy to use, easy-to-navigate … with the same flip-the-page feeling you get from your printed copy, plus a few extra advantages. You can choose to search out a topic or keyword. Skim quickly. Skip ahead. Even order products.
Why don't more wealthy people fund aging research? By Aubrey de Grey , PhD Aubrey de Grey describes how regenerative medicine may rejuvenate the human body and postpone aging indefinitely. Aubrey summarizes where this science stands and explains why more wealthy people are not funding research aimed at reversing aging processes.
In a startling revelation, medical costs for a family of four will run $19,393 in the year 2011. That's an increase of $1,319 from 2010 and double what it cost in 2002. The obvious problem is that typical families cannot afford $19,393 yearly. Neither can their employers, their insurance companies, and certainly not our debt-laden state and federal governments.
There is a free market solution to today's artificially inflated health care costs. Congress can amend the law to allow free market forces to drive down sick care costs, better enable the prevention of diseases, and facilitate rapid development of improved medical therapies. A just-released book titled Pharmocracy provides factual documentation to reform the broken health care system that plagues the United States. It is more than 300 pages long because there are at least that many underlying reasons why medicine costs far more than it should.
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