A vegetable dye appears to have the potential to protect passive smokers from tobacco-related lung cancer, according to a November 2016 study. The substance is found in oranges, red peppers, squash and many other fruits and vegetables. It’s called beta-cryptoxanthin and it can reduce the number of receptors that nicotine docks to in order to accelerate tumor growth. This tip is particularly valuable for passive smokers, because they do not want to – in contrast to smokers – expose this additional cancer risk factor.
Substance in fruits and vegetables protects the lungs from cancer
Nicotine is the addictive substance in tobacco and some e-cigarette liquids. It protects cancer cells, ensuring that they really blossom. To do this, he docks on to their receptors and in this way encourages them to grow more.
Dr. Xiang-Dong Wang is a cancer researcher at Tufts University in Boston. Since 2004 he has been researching carotenoids, the dyes that give color to many yellow and red fruits. Wang tries to find out why these substances can prevent so many chronic diseases. In particular, the carotenoid beta-cryptoxanthin is the focus of his investigations. The substance is in z. In the following foods:
- Red peppers
- in many other orange, yellow and red fruits and vegetables
- and also in green leafy vegetables, where the dye is covered by green chlorophyll
The current study by Dr. med. Wang and team were published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research and described how beta-cryptoxanthin (BCX) reduces the number of nicotine receptors, thus reducing the motivating influence of nicotine on lung cancer cells.
Lung cancer-the most dangerous type of cancer
Dr. Wang says the new research shows how well eating fruits and vegetables can reduce the lung cancer risk of (passive) smokers.
Lung cancer is the type of cancer that causes the highest mortality each year. In Germany, nearly 50,000 people get lung cancer each year. There are over 220,000 new lung cancer diagnoses annually in the US, and over 150,000 people die of it.
Smoking is considered one of the major risk factors for lung cancer. According to the American Lung Association, a man can increase his lung cancer risk 23fold if he smokes. In contrast, a smoker has a “only” 13 times higher lung cancer risk than non-smokers.
However, it is particularly bad that passive smoking alone in the US alone causes over 7,000 deaths each year. Here people have to suffer and die because other people smoke ruthlessly in their presence.
Nicotine accelerates tumor growth
Tobacco smoke contains 7,000 components, many of which are carcinogens that can cause severe damage to the cells of the lungs and bronchial mucosa. So far, nicotine has not been considered a direct cause of lung cancer. However, studies have since shown that the addictive substance can accelerate the growth of lung tumors. Nicotine is therefore even very heavily involved in the development of lung cancer.
For example, in 2013, Warren and Singh wrote in the Journal of Carcinogenesis that it has long been known how badly lung cancer therapies work if the patient continues to smoke. The reason for this is that nicotine and its metabolites accelerate tumor growth in many different ways. For example, angiogenesis is promoted (formation of blood vessels to the tumor, so that it is better supplied with nutrients), the resistance of the tumor to therapies and also directly to the metastasis.
Nicotine causes a strengthening of the cancer
Wang and colleagues have now discovered that nicotine binds to the receptors on the lung surface, leading directly to a signal cascade, which in turn results in rapid cell division of cancer cells and the formation of new blood vessels for tumor delivery (angiogenesis).
Not only that, nicotine can also increase the number of these receptors – and the more nicotine receptors there are, the better the cancerous effect of nicotine. However, as Wang and his team believe, BCX appears to be effective in reducing the number of these receptors, which could now also lead to shrinkage of the tumor.
The more carotenoids (passive) smokers eat, the better they are protected
In earlier studies, Wang’s team had discovered a link between the frequent consumption of BCX-rich foods and a lower lung cancer risk in humans. In animal studies, the suspicion confirmed: who received BCX, experienced a shrinkage of his lung tumors by 52 to 63 percent. BCX levels that are similar in humans to one red pepper or two tangerines per day have been effective.
Cell experiments were also performed. It also showed that the cells scatter less frequently in the presence of BCX than without BCX. Who is damned – for whatever reason – to passive smokers, should absolutely eat as healthy as possible, taking care to eat as many carotenoid-rich foods daily as possible.