Raspberries Reverse Precancerous Lesions

Black Raspberries May Help Prevent Cancer
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More berried treasure! A story similar to the strawberries and esophageal cancer revelation I documented in Strawberries versus Esophageal Cancer has emerged with black raspberries and oral cancer.

Oral cancer is one of the 10 most common cancers in the US with a flip-of-the-coin death rate. We can reduce our risk of oral cancer by avoiding all forms of tobacco, restricting alcohol consumption, avoiding obesity, and eating at least five servings of vegetables and fruits each day. Other risk factors include having more than 5 lifetime oral sex partners and prolonged (more than 20 years) marijuana use. But what if we already have precancerous changes in your mouth?

Black raspberries appear to selectively inhibit the growth of both malignant and premalignant cells in a petri dish while leaving normal cells alone, but what about in an actual person? Researchers at Ohio State University took some folks with precancerous growths in their mouths (so called oral “intraepithelial neoplasia”) and had them apply a black raspberry gel for 6 weeks.

Like the esophageal study with strawberries, most of the patients’ lesions improved, including cases of complete clinical regression. If you click to watch my 4-min video Black Raspberries versus Oral Cancer you can see the disease disappear–thanks to just berries! They were able to follow a reversal of genetic changes that had led to the silencing of tumor suppressor genes.

If you aren’t near a pick-your-own farm, black raspberries can be ordered online frozen but they’re about 20 bucks a pound with shipping. Black raspberry freeze-dried powder is comparatively cheaper, but I’ve always wondered about how much nutrition is lost. Well, there’s finally been a study.

The antioxidant concentration was measured in fresh, frozen, and freeze-dried strawberries and strawberry jam, with the intent of measuring antioxidant content of foods typically available to consumers in grocery stores. On a consumed weight basis, the freeze-dried do shine, but just because an ounce of dried is equivalent to about a cup and a half of fresh. Jam, though, presumably because of the heat processing, really takes a hit (chart in my video Black Raspberries versus Oral Cancer).

For more on what berries can do, see my videos Cranberries versus Cancer and Which Fruit Fights Cancer Better?

I’ve previously covered the clinical trials of black raspberries (though in a different orifice) in Best Fruits For Cancer Prevention. I also touched on the adverse effects of breathing smoke from any source in Cannabis Receptors & Food.

Berries in general are the healthiest fruits and I encourage everyone to try to fit them into their daily diet. Here are a few of my 37 other videos on berries:

-Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here and watch my full 2012 – 2014 presentations Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death, More than an Apple a Day, and From Table to Able.

Image credit: Maggie Hoffman / Flickr

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  • pupko

    Thank you for bringing these articles to my attention. I think it important to differentiate dysplastic lesions from cancer. The articles you cite remind me of the use of myo-inositol to treat precancerous lung lesions http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19336734 . I was wondering if inositol might be a common factor involved in the effectiveness of the berries.