Transcript: Phytates for Rehabilitating Cancer Cells
The recent observations on phytate as an anticarcinogen have support from population-based studies which show lower incidence of cancer in populations consuming vegetarian type diets. Because phytate is found in beans, grains, nuts, and seeds, the average daily intake of phytate in vegetarian diets is about twice that of those eating mixed diets of plant and animal foods.
Dietary phytate has been reported to prevent kidney stone formation, protect against diabetes, dental cavities, heart disease as well as against a variety of cancers.
Do all these potentially beneficial effects sound too good to be true? I mean are there other examples of compounds made by plants that can have benefits across multiple diseases? Yes, aspirin, for example, which is actually found throughout the plant kingdom and may also account for some plant-based benefits.
But of all the things phytates can do, the anticancer activity of phytic acid, also known as phytate, also known as IP6 or inositol hexaphosphate, is considered one of its most important beneficial activities.
Dietary phytates are quickly absorbed from the digestive tract and rapidly taken up by cancer cells throughout the body, and has been shown to inhibit the growth of all tested cancerous cell lines. Phytates have been shown to inhibit the growth of human leukemia cells, colon cancer cells, both estrogen receptor-positive and negative breast cancer cells, voicebox cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer, liver tumors, pancreatic, melanoma, and muscle cancers. At the same time not affecting normal cells. That’s the most important expectation of a good anticancer agent is for it to only affect cancerous cells and to leave normal cells alone. And that’s what phytates appear to do.
Leukemia cells taken from cancer patients are killed by phytates, normal bone marrow cells, however, are spared which may explain why bean extracts kill off colon cancer cells, but leave normal colon cells alone.
Both the in vivo and in vitro experiments have shown striking anticancer effects demonstrated that phytate is a broad-spectrum antineoplastic agent, meaning antitumor agent across different cells and tissue systems
What are the mechanisms of action by which phytates battle cancer? How do phytates fight? How don’t they fight? Look at this. Phytate targets cancer through multiple pathways, a combination of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune-enhancing activities: detox, differentiation, anti-angiogenesis. In other words, phytate affects the principal pathways of malignancy. And not just some of them apparently, phytate targets and acts on all of them.
The antioxidative property is one of the most impressive characteristics of phytate. In fact that’s why the meat industry adds phytates to meat to prevent the oxidation of fat that begins the moment of slaughter.
Besides affecting tumor cells directly, phytates can act on our immune functions by augmenting natural killer cell activity, the cells in our body that hunt down and dispose of cancer cells, as well as neutrophils, which help form our first line of defense. And then starving tumors is more of a last line of defense. Not only can phytates block the formation of new blood vessels that may be feeding tumors, they can disrupt pre-formed capillary tubes, indicating that phytates may not just help blockade tumors, but actively cut off existing supply lines.
What’s really remarkable about phytate, is that unlike other anti-cancer agents, it not only causes a reduction in cancer cell growth but also enhances differentiation. Reversion of the appearance of cancer cells back to that of normal, meaning it causes cancer cells to stop acting like cancer cells and go back to acting like normal cells. You can see this with colon cancer cells. In the presence of phytates, human colon cancer cells mature to structurally and behaviorally resemble normal cells. And this has been demonstrated in leukemia cells, prostate cancer, breast cancer, and muscle cancer cells as well.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Ariel Levitsky.
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