Red Grapes for Cancer!

Did You Know… 

… that a substance in grape skins might be effective against cancer?

We’ve made great strides in the battle against cancer, but somehow cancer always manages to stay one step ahead.  Tumors are constantly mutating, developing resistance against powerful chemotherapy drugs.  Scientists are always on the watch for potent substances to increase the power of chemotherapy and radiation.  Looks like they may have struck gold with a certain compound found in red grape skins that is showing promise as an anti-carcinogenic.  Numerous studies have confirmed resveratrol’s potency against the following cancers:

Pancreatic Cancer
Prostate Cancer
Lung Carcinoma
Acute Myeloid and promyelocytic leukemia
Multiple myeloma
Oral epidermoid carcinoma

Kick Cancer to the Curb 

Resveratrol is a type of polyphenol—an antioxidant that protects against and reverses the free radical damage that accelerates aging and disease.  Resveratrol is able to infiltrate the deepest regions of the cell, straight into the nucleus, where it sets to work mending the free radical destruction that promotes cancer growth.

As an anti-inflammatory, resveratrol suppresses the production of enzymes that spark tumor development and inhibit cell division—a process that encourages cancer cell growth.  Because it regulates inflammatory pathways, resveratrol mitigates many of the incapacitating side effects of conventional cancer treatments, such as fatigue, depression, cognitive impairment, wasting, sleep disorders, and neuropathic pain.

Studies have shown that resveratrol also acts as a chemo-sensitizer, meaning the compound improves the effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiation treatments while reducing side effects.  One study conducted at the University of Missouri found that when used alone, resveratrol increased apoptosis (cell death) by 44% and when combined with radiation therapy, resveratrol increased cell death by 65%!

Unfortunately, scientists have yet to determine the best way to benefit from resveratrol.  Dr. Michael Nicholl, M.D., the study’s co-author, explains:

“Because of difficulties involved in delivery of adequate amounts of resveratrol to melanoma tumors, the compound is probably not an effective treatment for advanced melanoma at this time.”

Adding Resveratrol to Your Diet

     Red wine contains a plentiful amount of resveratrol… and because this antioxidant is soluble in alcohol the body can absorb more of it than it can when consumed in other forms.  Unfortunately, red wine, if not consumed in moderation, is also a neurotoxin.  It’s much better to feed your body resveratrol from whole foods, such as muscadine grapes, which contain the most abundant concentration of resveratrol found in nature.  The grapes’ thick skins and high concentration of seeds ensure a heady dose of cancer-fighting resveratrol.

Resveratrol can also be found in pomegranates, peanuts, raw cacao, raspberries, and mulberries, but in a far less impactful amount.  You’d have to consume an inordinate amount of peanuts to match the resveratrol content of a handful of muscadine grapes.  Not to mention, the sweet satisfaction of red grapes can’t be beat!