Natural Lycopene and Beta-Carotene decrease the risk of pancreatic cancer

Mar 08, 2005

Fruits and vegetables help decrease the risk of pancreatic cancer. This study was performed to see if it is the carotenoid content of the fruits and vegetables that protects the pancreas. A case-controlled study of 462 patients with pancreatic cancer was compared to 4721 cancer free adults in 8 Canadian Provinces. After adjusting for age, body mass index (a measure of body fat), smoking, the amount of energy in the diet (usually refers to total starch and fat intake), education and folic acid intake, it was found that carotenoids offer a great deal of protection from developing this very dangerous and painful cancer. Lycopene obtained mainly from tomatoes decreased the risk of pancreatic cancer by 31% in men when comparing the highest to the lowest intake. Beta-Carotene decreased the risk by 43% in both sexes, and total carotenoid intake decreased the risk by 42% in both sexes if the person never smoked. The study is published in the March 2005 issue of the Journal of Nutrition, the journal of The American Society for Nutritional Sciences.

Heavier people need more Lutein to protect their eyes

Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is a major cause of visual impairment in the USA. Currently there is no effective cure for this disease. Risk factors for developing AMD include not getting enough Lutein or Zeaxanthin, and obesity. Obesity causes particular-troubling physiological changes including a great increase in the production of free radicals in the body, an increase in bad cholesterol, and increased levels of inflammation in the body. These changes also result in an increased destruction and decreased circulatory delivery of Lutein and Zeaxanthin to the macula of the eye(s). The article was written by researchers at the Jean Mayer US Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University and is published in the January 2005 issue of Nutrition Review.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.

The available Lutein and Zeaxanthin along with other antioxidants would be used up by the body in an attempt to protect blood vessel walls from the effects of elevated LDL-cholesterol, quench the free radicals, and put down the inflammation. As a result, little of the ingested Lutein and Zeaxanthin will make it to the macular tissue. There is an obvious need for elevated intake of key carotenoids in obese individuals including Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and also Lycopene (maybe this is why obesity increases the risk of cancers that Lycopene can protect you from to some extent).