Saturday, November 10, 2007

Polyphenols Pack Power in Cancer Fight

tidbits that tantalize2002 Napa Valley Polyphenol Red...

Should you drink a full bottle of wine each day? Hmm...

No, it's not a trick question. The right answer is indeed the obvious one - no. Too much wine, just as too much of many good things, quickly crosses the line and becomes a health hazard. But, what if we could derive the health benefit of high doses of wine's polyphenols without having to shop for rehab facilities?

New research from French scientists indicates the benefits of polyphenols are dose dependent. Polyphenols are healthy chemical substances found in many foods, including red wines, fruits, vegetables, and green tea. Prior research has shown polyphenol's antioxidant effects help protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer.

The new report indicates that very high levels of polyphenols prevent the formation of cancerous tumors. It appears to do so by blocking the formation of the new blood vessels required to feed the tumors. This is exciting news. Polyphenols are naturally occurring compounds that are readily available from a number of sources.

"The use of plant polyphenols as therapeutic tools presents important advantages," said Daniel Henrion, senior author of the study, "because they have a good safety profile, a low cost and they can be obtained everywhere on the planet."

At lower levels, the polyphenols encourage blood vessel growth, an important consideration for those with heart disease or cardiovascular complications.

"When it comes to finding treatments for complex diseases, the answers are sometimes right there waiting to be discovered in unexpected places like the produce aisles and wine racks of the nearest store," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology) Journal. "But it takes modern science to isolate the pure compound, test it in the lab, and to go on from there to find new agents to fight disease."

The challenge is now to find a way to convert the polyphenols into a concentrated extract. This would allow the health benefits to be utilized without the offsetting complications of excess alcohol intake. Still...

In the meantime, a daily glass of red wine seems like a wise choice. Ah, yes - don't forget the dark chocolate...

To read more about the study, see this from ScienceDaily. To read more about polyphenols, see this from Wikipedia.


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