30 October 2016

Walnut Can Help Fight Colon Cancer

Consumption of a walnut-enriched diet appeared to increase life span, as a new study has shown that it slows down the growth of colon cancer.

A new animal study from the Harvard Medical School, led by Dr. Christos Mantzoros, has indicated that a diet containing walnuts may slow colorectal tumor growth by causing beneficial changes in cancer genes.

This is the first study that evaluates whether walnut consumption can cause changes to micro-ribonucleic acids (miRNA), the nucleotides that are involved in altering gene expression.

Dr. Mantzoros said that their research showed that a walnut diet causes significant changes in the expression profile of miRNAs in localized colorectal cancer tissue and that a walnut diet incorporates protective fatty acids in the colonic tumor either through its direct effects or through additive or synergistic effects of multiple other compounds present in walnuts.

He added that future studies were required and they were optimistic of the role of miRNAs as biomarkers of disease and prognosis and may demonstrate a potential therapeutic target for colorectal cancer treatment.

The study results found that a smaller tumor size was associated with greater percentage of omega-3s in tumor tissues, suggesting that ALA may provide a protective benefit.

ALA is an essential fatty acid critical to various body processes and is known to reduce inflammation. Walnuts are the only nut that contain a significant source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) (2.5 grams per ounce). Walnuts also contain a variety of antioxidants, (3.7 mmol/ounce), and numerous vitamins and minerals.

Colorectal cancer is the 3rd most common type of cancer worldwide and is second to only lung cancer as the leading cause of death in Western Countries.

The findings are published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.