Grape seed extract kills leukemia cells

A new study from the University of Kentucky (where I graduated from medical school in 1975!) was published Jan 1st 2009 in Clinical Cancer Research.

An extract from grape seeds forces laboratory leukemia cells to commit cell suicide, according to researchers from the University of Kentucky. They found that within 24 hours, 76 percent of leukemia cells had died after being exposed to the extract.

This one is particularly dear to my heart, as I have seen (and experienced) first hand the amazing results of supplementation with high quality grape seed (and pine bark) proanthocyanodins (OPCs). One of the frequent comments/questions I receive is “I heard that OPCs were bad to take if you have leukemia or a high white blood cell count”. My answer has always been that I know of no reason for this. Now we have strong evidence,  even including the molecular mechanism (see full article) for the first time, to the contrary

vitamin D supposedly doesn’t protect against breast cancer

A study of 36,000 women, half of whom took a gram of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D for a period of 7 years was recently published in the Journal of the National Cancer Instutute

The main findings do not support a causal relationship between calcium and vitamin D supplement use and reduced breast cancer incidence, despite the association observed in some epidemiological studies

Commentary:  When I see studies like this, its hard to know whether the authors are just uninformed, or actually malicious. OF COURSE there was no difference in breast cancer incidence from taking a gram of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D (the calcium is mostly irrelevant, its the vitamin D that is important in cancer prevention). There is a very rich scientific literature about vitamin D that has appeared over the past decade, which these authors apparently have not been reading.  Given that somewhere between 50 and 80% of adults in the US are vitamin D deficient or insufficient (levels below 30 ng/ml), and that during the wintertime, taking even 1000 IU of vitamin D a day will not raise the blood level of 25-hydroxy vitamin D above 30 ng/ml (recently published by Dr. Michael Holick), drawing conclusions from a study in which 18,000 women took 400 IU of vitamin D is ludicrous! Now if they had given these women 4,000 IU of vitamin D instead of 400, its very likely that they would have seen very different results. In fact, a study by Lappe et al reported that postmenopausal women who took 1100 IU of vitamin D3 a day for 4 years (along with calcium) showed a 60% reduced risk of developing all cancers compared to a group with similar cancer risk factors that took placebo. So just because a study is in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, don’t assume that its authors know what they’re talking about!

Walnuts Slow Growth of Tumors in Mice

Here an interesting study I’ve come across:

Researcher W. Elaine Hardman, Ph.D., of Marshall’s Joan C. Edwards
School of Medicine said the study was designed to determine whether mice
that got part of their calories by eating walnuts had slower breast cancer
growth than a group eating a diet more typical of the American diet.

“When we fed the mice the walnuts, the growth rate of the tumors they
had was dramatically suppressed,” Hardman said.

To read the full news report, go to PRNewswire.com