Vanilla Fights Cancer  -- It Causes
Cancer Cells to  Commit Suicide

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Last updated April 26, 2017, originally published January 3, 2010

By Susan M. Callahan, Associate Editor
and Featured Columnist



If you are at all concerned about your risk for developing
cancer, there's a powerful ally right in your kitchen cabinet --
vanilla.

Scientists working independently from around the world
have uncovered a startling property of vanilla, the common
food flavoring found in every humble kitchen pantry and
used in foods ranging from ice cream to cakes and breads. It
can cause cancer cells to undergo spontaneous death.

Apoptosis, the technical name for the process of cell death,
occurs naturally in healthy human cells.  However, cancerous
cells resist this natural programmed process of death and
continue to grow unchecked. Vanilla appears to send a signal
to cancer cells to begin the process of cell suicide.

Vanilla’s flavor and smell is caused by the active ingredient
“vanillin”. Fortunately, even common commercially available
vanilla is almost pure vanillin.

[Update:

When it comes to talking about vanilla versus vanillin, the
terms can get confusing. Once upon a time, all vanilla and
vanilla flavoring actually came from vanilla bean. But
extracting vanilla from real beans is both time-consuming
and costly.

That started the search worldwide for a way to produce the
coveted vanilla flavor more cheaply.

Then, in the 1874, German chemists Ferdinand Tiemann and
Wilhelm Haarmann discovered a way to cheaply replicate
vanilla using coal compounds. Soon, the whole industry was
flooded with imitation vanilla. Coal tar, and even cow dung
are used to reproduce the flavor of vanilla.

The problem is that coal tar and coal tar derivatives can be
carcinogenic. For this reason, in the United States,
regulations require that vanilla extract be made from a
combination of 13.35% actual vanilla beans plus 35%
alcohol.  

However, in the rest of the world, almost anything goes.
Pine bark, paper waste, cinnamon, coal tar and even cow
dung are used. In Mexico, for example, many  Coal tar, cow
dung were used.

So, when scientists talk about the health benefits of vanillin,
they are taking about the active ingredient from natural
vanilla beans, not the artificially created vanilla flavor
sourced from coal tar and other products.]

Vanilla Stops the Spread of Breast and Colon Cancer Cells

In a 2005 study from Toyoma Medical and Pharmaceutical
University in Japan, researchers discovered that vanillin fed
orally to mice with breast cancer inhibited the growth of the
cancer cells and thwarted the ability of breast cancer cells to
invade and migrate to surrounding tissue.

As the scientists concluded , “Our findings suggest that
vanillin has anti-metastatic potential by decreasing
invasiveness of cancer cells.”

[Update:

Until fairly recently, little was known about the exact
mechanism through which vanillin attacks cancer growth.

Then, a study in 2009 by scientists at Mahidol University in
Thailand discovered that vanillin inhibits the cancer cells
ability to migrate. It does this by inhiting the activity of a
certain enzyme, phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K). Scientists
believe that vanillin's inhibition of this enzyme also stops the
development of new cancer cells (angiogenesis). ]































More recent studies have confirmed the effectiveness of
vanilla in preventing the growth of cancer cells.

In 2009, a research team from  in   examined the effect of
vanilla on colon cancer cells. The study was conducted on
the cells “in vitro”, meaning the cells were isolated in a petri
dish in a laboratory and vanilla added to the dish.  This study
found that low concentrations of vanilla (200 micrograms
per milliliter)  stopped colo rectal cancer cell growth.  Higher
concentrations (1000 microg/ml) stopped the growth at
even earlier points in their normal life cycle.

Vanilla Improves Ability of Cells to Repair Genetic Damage

Cancer cells differ from normal healthy cells in many
respects. One important difference is that cancer cells exhibit
genetic mutations and these mutations --mistakes --occur
rapidly. When you are healthy, cells which carry mistakes
either die on their own or are repaired. A study conducted
jointly by researchers from New York University, the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institutes of
Health  and Wakayama Medical University in Japan  examined
the role of vanilla  and cinnamaldelhyde (the active
ingredient in cinnamon) in stopping the rapid mutations of
special colon cancer cells, which lacked the ability to repair
themselves.

The results were astonishing. After treatment with vanilla
and cinnamaldehyde, a total of 64 genes, all related to DNA
damage stress and cell growth, were altered. These cells
exhibited enhanced ability to repair themselves and to resist
spontaneous destructive mutations.

How can you add vanilla to your game plan against cancer?
Here is a recipe for a delicious anti-cancer vanilla shake to
start your day or to sip before your exercise:

Vanilla Shake That Fights Cancer

1.        One-half glass of cold soy or cow’s milk.
2.        One cup of low fat vanilla yogurt.
3.        Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of vanilla. Taste the mix to
make sure it has a strong vanilla flavor. If not, add another
tablespoon.
4.        Add a heaping spoon of cinnamon.
5.        Add two cubes of ice
6.        Blend at medium speed for 45 seconds until frothy.
















































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