from your diet starve cancer cells? New study finds surprising answers
Cutting back on sugar may help decrease your likelihood of getting certain
cancers, a recent study noted. The finding, which was part of an
investigation made by researchers from Duke-NUS Medical School and
the National University of Singapore,
together with the Duke University
School of Medicine and the Medical
University of Vienna, is part of a unique approach explaining
how reducing sugar can cause cancer cells to die.
paper, which was published in the online journal Science Signaling, presented
a novel cell death pathway through
introducing how depriving cancer cells of sugar can trigger a
reaction that causes them to die. This research builds on earlier
scientific literature that indicates that cancer cells that quickly multiply
need higher levels of sugar than healthy cells. (Related: More Evidence that Sugar Fuels Cancer Growth.)
the study, researchers found that in specific cancer cells, the presence
of low levels of sugar that are insufficient for providing energy may be used
as a method to enhance the survivability of the cells. They then posited
that this might be another effect that sugar has on cancer cells.
also found that when cancer cells are deprived of sugar, this causes a reaction across the cancer cell membrane and
leads to an increased intake of calcium ions into the cells, which causes them
to die ultimately. For the study, they used two cancer cells: one that
contained extra glucose and the other, which didn’t. Both samples were
then exposed to a “two-pronged attack.” The first one was with STF-31, a
compound that inhibits glucose transport into cells, and the second one was
with thapsigargin, which increases the level of calcium in cells. The team
found out the cancer cells that had that extra glucose in them were unaffected;
however, those with limited reserves were killed off.
team believes that this approach can be used in unique approaches to treating
cancer. Initial tests in the study showed that depriving cancer cells of sugar
and increasing the body’s calcium levels managed to destroy cancer cells while
leaving the healthy ones unharmed. Also, only certain types of cancer cells
were noted to have lost the capacity to maintain intercellular sugar levels
after the treatment. Researchers believe that this only applies to cells which
are sensitive to sugar deprivation.
these phenomena are not seen in normal/healthy cells, this inability of some
tumors to maintain intracellular glucose levels could be an unappreciated
Achilles’ heel that might be therapeutically targeted,” the researchers
wrote of the results, as it appeared in Cosmos. “A molecular
signature of cancers with reduced ability to maintain intracellular glucose
would help develop that strategy for clinical application.”
the results, the team plans to conduct further research to create possible
treatment procedures from this approach in the future.
on the body
of the leading causes of the increase of sugar in the body is the
consumption of added sugars. Unlike naturally-occurring sugars, which can
already be found in fresh fruit and vegetables, added sugars that are found in
processed food and beverages overload the body, carrying a significant risk of
disease. Here are some of the other dangers that added sugars have on
- It contains no essential
nutrients. Added sugars such as high
fructose corn syrup found in sweetened drinks do not provide any nutrients
aside from calories. Regular consumption of these “empty” calories can
lead to significant nutrient deficiencies.
- It can overload your liver. Sugar is metabolized into glucose and fructose
when it enters the body. Added sugars, when consumed, turn into large
amounts of fructose, which are turned into fat in the liver. This can lead
to fatty liver and other conditions.
- It can contribute to obesity in
both children and adults. Due
to the effects of added sugars, the brain feels less satisfied after
eating it, which triggers an increased consumption.