Coloring Compound in Fruits, Veggies May Cut Colon Cancer Risk

Lab tests show altering anthocyanin molecules could lead to new treatments, study says

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SUNDAY, Aug. 19, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Compounds called anthocyanins, which give color to most red, purple and blue fruits and vegetables, may help protect against colon cancer, an Ohio State University study says.

In laboratory tests on rats and on human colon cancer cells, the researchers found that anthocyanins can significantly slow the growth of colon cancer cells. The team also found that, in some cases, slightly altering the structure of anthocyanin molecules boosted their anti-cancer properties.

The findings, presented Sunday at the American Chemical Society's annual meeting in Boston, may help advance knowledge about what gives fruits and vegetables their cancer-fighting properties which, in turn, could eventually lead to the development of new cancer treatments.

"These foods contain many compounds, and we're just starting to figure out what they are and which ones provide the best health benefits," lead author Monica Giusti, an assistant professor of food science at the university, said in a prepared statement.

She did not recommend certain kinds fruits or vegetables over others, and noted that much more research needs to be conducted on anthocyanins. Currently, she and her colleagues are examining how anthocyanins interact with other compounds in foods to determine if these interactions affect the health benefits of the foods or of anthocyanin itself.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about healthy eating, exercise and cancer prevention.

SOURCE: Ohio State University, news release, Aug. 19, 2007

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