Watercress Extract May Protect Smokers from Lung Cancer

Since 2011, almost 70% of adult cigarette smokers in the US stated they desired to stop smoking, and appropriately so; cigarette smoking is the major preventable trigger of death in the nation. Now, a new clinical study has shown the capability of watercress extract to detoxify specific carcinogens in smokers, possibly safeguarding them from cancer.

Dr. Jian-Min Yuan, associate director of UPCI said,

“Cigarette smokers are at significantly higher risk than the general public for developing lung cancer, and assisting smokers stop should be our top cancer prevention concern in these individuals.”

He notices, however, that “nicotine is very addicting, and giving up can take time and several relapses.”

Dr. Yuan and colleagues provided their phase II clinical trial results recently at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA.

With respect to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking cigarettes is accountable for over 480,000 deaths every year in the US. It does harm to nearly each and every organ in the body and leads to many problems.

As of 2014, 16.8% of all people in the US – which is 40 million individuals – were current cigarette smokers.

“Having a bearable, nontoxic therapy, like watercress extract, that can safeguard smokers against cancer would be an extremely useful tool in our cancer-fighting arsenal,” says Dr. Yuan.

Effect more powerful in smokers who lack toxin processing genes

To further examine this, Dr. Yuan and colleagues registered 82 smokers in a randomized clinical study. Throughout the trial, the individuals took either 10 mg of watercress extract that was blended in 1 ml of olive oil 4 times per day for a week, or they took a placebo. All individuals carried on their regular smoking habits throughout the trial period.

After a wash-out period, throughout which they did not take anything for a week, the individual groups switched; those who obtained the placebo now obtained the extract and vice versa.

Outcomes revealed that in just 1 week, the smokers who had taken the watercress extract had a 7.7% decrease in activation of nicotine-derived nitrosamine ketone, which is a compound identified in cigarette smoke.

In addition, the watercress extract enhanced benzene detoxification by 24.6% and acrolein by 15.1%. These toxins are also identified in cigarette smoke.

Researchers noticed that

Remarkably, there are two particular genes that are engaged in a genetic process that allows the antioxidant glutathione eliminate carcinogens from the body. Individuals who lacked these two genes had a higher advantage in taking watercress extract.

In depth, their detoxification of benzene enhanced by 95.4 percentage, their acrolein by 32.7 percentage and their crotonaldehyde by 29.8 percentage when they took the watercress extract.

Even though these outcomes are very promising, the investigators say they should first carryout a phase III clinical study in 100’s of individuals prior to this therapy being suggested for smokers.

In addition, Dr. Yuan warns that, even though consuming watercress is beneficial for health, it is not probably to have the similar benefits as the extract form.

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