Transcript: Black Raspberries vs. Oral Cancer
Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.
More berried treasure: A story similar to the strawberries and esophageal cancer revelation has emerged with black raspberries and oral cancer. Again, it started with in vitro studies. Oral cancer; “one of the 10 most common cancers” in the U.S., 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—as well as shooting for fewer than six lifetime oral sex partners, and avoiding prolonged marijuana use—meaning more than about twenty years. But, what if you already have precancerous changes in your mouth?
Well, black raspberries appear to selectively inhibit the growth of both malignant and premalignant cells, but not normal cells. Just what we want, but this was in a petri dish. So, they took some folks with precancerous growths in their mouths (so-called oral intraepithelial neoplasia), and had them rub a black raspberry gel on it for six weeks. Like the esophageal study with strawberries, most of the patients’ lesions improved, including cases of complete clinical regression. Now you see it; now you don’t, thanks to just berries. They were able to follow a reversal of genetic changes that led to the silencing of tumor-suppressor genes.
They used a gel just to get the berries to stick to the lesions, so they didn’t have to have people eat berries all day. Now, they’re getting even more high tech, developing “injectable millicylindrical berry implants.” “Unlike standard local delivery formulations, which require multiple, repeated dosing throughout the day,…implantable vehicles alleviate concerns with multiple dosing schedules and poor patient compliance.” They fill up these microscopic little barrels with black raspberry powder, inject them into the lesion, and then they kind of slowly dissolve, releasing their phytonutrients over a whole month.
For those who’d rather eat their berries the old-fashioned way, unfortunately, you have to pretty much be in Oregon the three weeks in July when these particular berries are harvested to get your hands on them. I’ve never seen them frozen in stores. You can order them online, frozen, but it’s like 20 bucks a pound, with shipping.
The freeze-dried powder is comparatively cheaper, but, you know, I’ve always wondered about how much nutrition may be 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 gram-for-gram dry weight basis, the freeze-drying holds up remarkably well—even better than freezing. Jam, though, presumably because of the heat processing, really does takes a hit. On a consumed-weight basis, though, the freeze-dried do shine—but just because an ounce of dried is equivalent to about a cup and a half of fresh berries.
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