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Flavonoids may help fight cancer, study finds

March 30, 2000
Web posted at: 2:57 PM EST (1957 GMT)

(CNN) -- A recent study shows that flavonoids, biological compounds found in more than 4,000 fruits and vegetables, seem to inhibit the growth of human cancer cells in laboratory tests.

The preliminary findings were presented by KGK Synergize Inc. Thursday at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco.

The study was conducted in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and focused on the 22 flavonoids found naturally in orange and tangerine juice.

Dr. Najla Guthrie, president of the research company, said the results are "very encouraging" that these compounds could be effective against lung cancer, prostate cancer and melanoma cells. The study also found that synthetically produced flavonoids effectively inhibited the growth of colon cancer cells.

Previous research conducted by Guthrie indicated that components found in citrus juices were shown to reduce the growth of human breast cancer cells in laboratory tests.

Dr.David Ringer of the American Cancer Society said the findings "further reinforce that flavonoids are an important class of chemo-protective compounds which are beneficial in lowering the risk for certain cancers and cardiovascular disease."

Both Ringer and Guthrie said more research is needed, especially to determine how these compounds metabolize in the body.

The American Cancer Society recommends a diet of five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Dr. Ringer says there's enough epidemiological proof to show that a healthy diet can lower the risks for cancer.



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