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Another Feather In The Garlic Cap: Helpful In Avoiding Breast Cancer

Garlic is no doubt the wonder food. With a plethora of medicinal properties it is a great food.

Legend suggests that garlic may ward off evil spirits, such as vampires. Now scientists are finding that garlic, //or a flavour component of pungent herb, may help ward off carcinogens produced by meat cooked at high temperatures.

Cooking protein-rich foods like meats and eggs at high temperatures releases a chemical called PhIP, a suspected carcinogen. Epidemiological studies have shown that the incidence of breast cancer is higher among women who eat large quantities of meat, although fat and caloric intake and hormone exposure may contribute to this increased risk.

Diallyl sulfide (DAS), a flavour component of garlic, has been shown to inhibit the effects of PhIP that, when biologically active, can cause DNA damage or transform substances in the body into carcinogens.

Ronald D. Thomas, Ph.D., and a team of researchers at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee hypothesized that PhIP enhances the metabolism of the enzymes linked to carcinogenesis. They further suggested that the diallyl sulfide derived from garlic might counter this activity.

"We treated human breast epithelial cells with equal amounts of PhIP and DAS separately, and the two together, for periods ranging from three to 24 hours," said Thomas. "PhIP induced expression of the cancer-causing enzyme at every stage, up to 40-fold, while DAS completely inhibited the PhIP enzyme from becoming carcinogenic."

The finding demonstrates for the first time that DAS triggers a gene alteration in PhIP that may play a significant role in preventing cancer, notably breast cancer, induced by PhIP in well-done meats.

Thomas noted that no studies have shown a link between cooking vegetables and fruits and PhIP, regardless of the method used.

Source: Florida A&M University

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