Zoey Sky–If you’re not a big fan of walnuts, now might be the time to start snacking on them because they can help decelerate colon tumor growth, according to a study led by Dr. Christos S. Mantzoros, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
The researchers ran tests on mice and their findings revealed that the daily consumption of walnuts effectively slowed colon tumor growth. It also influenced genetic molecules in the tumor that are crucial to gene expression.
The study looked into how diet and a walnut’s omega-3 fatty acids are linked to cancer risk by targeting micro-RNAs (miRNAs), the small non-coding chunks of RNAs that seem to have a role in cell development and apoptosis (cell death).
Earlier research produced findings which imply that both nutrients and phytochemicals can affect how miRNA is expressed in cancer cells. The current study referenced research by the same group that posits walnuts have “a protective role in colon cancer.”
“This research adds to the overwhelming mountain of scientific evidence demonstrating that many everyday foods contain powerful anti-cancer nutrients which can help prevent, treat or in some cases reverse cancer,” noted Food Forensics science author Mike Adams, the Health Ranger. “Yet to this day, the FDA absurdly insists there is no food-based phytochemical that has any efficacy whatsoever in preventing cancer, even in the face of irrefutable evidence that a vast array of molecular constituents in common foods exhibit powerful, scientifically documented anti-cancer effects,” Adams said. (Adams is also the publisher of Cancer.news, which documents much of that scientific evidence.)
Walnuts have alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid. They also contain other phytochemicals and vitamins that are the focus of research due to their role in health and cancer protection.
For the study, mice were randomized into two diet groups. The first group was fed ground walnuts, which was worth at least two daily servings for humans. The control group was fed a similar diet, but the walnut fats were replaced with corn oil. (Related: Are walnuts the key to fighting prostate cancer? Researchers think so.)
Once 25 days have passed, the mice were examined. The colorectal tumors decreased in the mice that consumed walnuts compared to the control group.
Tumors in the mice that were fed walnuts contained at least 10 times the amount of total omega-3 fatty acids, such as ALA, compared to the control group. A smaller tumor size was linked to a greater percentage of omega-3s in tumor tissues.
Upon closer analysis, it was determined that the tumors from the mice that ate walnuts had different miRNA expression levels for several of the molecules than tumors from the control mice. This implies a notable dietary influence.
Dr. Mantzoros said that miRNA can regulate cancer development in several ways, like by affecting “apoptosis, cell invasion, migration, and proliferation.”
Several human studies have proven that diet can help lower the risk of various cancers. While this animal study is not directly applicable to people, the findings it produced can help experts further understand the mechanisms concerning colon cancer development and growth.
Dr. Mantzoros also noted that the results offer “novel prevention, diagnostic, and therapeutic opportunities” that can be tested in humans in future studies.
Aside from skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third leading cancer diagnosed in the U.S. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), at least 50 percent of colorectal cancer cases in the country can be prevented with proper diet, regular exercise, and weight management.
Fast facts on colon cancer
- Colon cancer, also called colorectal cancer, occurs in the colon or rectum.
- If diagnosed early, colon cancer can be treated. Even if cancer spreads to nearby lymph nodes, surgical treatment and chemotherapy are effective treatments.
- For severe cases, such as when colon cancer has spread to the liver, lungs, or other sites, treatment can allow some patients to undergo surgery. Treatment can also prolong an individual’s quality of life.
- Most cases of colon cancers first develop as polyps, or “abnormal growths inside the colon or rectum.” Polyps can turn cancerous if they are not removed immediately.
- Men and women of all racial and ethnic groups can develop colon cancer, especially if you are older than 50.
- Take note that cases of colon among patients younger than 50 are steadily increasing.
- Colon cancer kills at least 50,000 people every year.
You can learn more about colon cancer and the natural remedies that can prevent it at Cancer.news.