The previous issue of our Health Science News Page focused on polyphenols, which are the nutrient compounds present in various plants that help protect plants from insects, diseases, pollutants, and damage from ultraviolet rays. In Part 1 we discussed a few of the important and most researched polyphenols — specifically quercetin, curcumin, green tea extract, and resveratrol — and their actions and functions in the human body.
Polyphenols help improve the immune system and have antioxidant and anticancer properties. Currently, most of the research about their anticancer mechanisms is conducted using individual polyphenols. However, due to their poor bioavailability, polyphenols are much more effective when they are combined synergistically than when they are taken separately. Our work at the Dr. Rath Research Institute focuses on the synergistic action of nutrients and the fact that a specific combination of nutrients has a more pronounced effect than any of the nutrients used alone. According to our research, specifically designed combinations of polyphenols and other micronutrients help in increasing overall efficacy even when smaller doses of the individual components are used.
Our scientists recently published a comprehensive review chapter in the book Nutrients. Our chapter included the results of our in vivo and in vitro studies on the anticancer properties of a specific combination of polyphenols.* The combination of polyphenols used in our study included quercetin, green tea extract, turmeric root extract (curcumin), carrot, and extracts from different cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. The study results show that a combination of polyphenols was more effective in affecting multiple metabolic pathways involved in carcinogenesis, thereby inhibiting cancer growth, than any of the compounds used alone.
We studied the efficacy of this combination on head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cells both in vitro and in vivo. The results showed that this combination was effective in inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, and also stopped cancer cell migration and inhibited matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) enzymes. Additionally, the in vivo studies showed that the polyphenol combination could reduce the growth of tumors by 68% as well as their weight by 63%. Similar effects were observed in fibrosarcoma and melanoma cells, both of which are highly aggressive cancers. Fibrosarcoma is a cancer of the fibrous part of the connective tissue and develops mainly in the bones and surrounding muscles. The synergistic combination of polyphenols inhibited the growth of fibrosarcoma and melanoma cells by up to 60-80%. In melanoma, the MMP enzymes were blocked 100%, significantly reducing its potential to spread.
We have also used a polyphenol combination of green tea extract along with a combination of vitamins, amino acids, and other micronutrients in more than 50 different cancers. Such a multi-targeted approach is very rarely used in cancer research. Our studies have proven that this multi nutrient combination can effectively slow down tumor growth without damaging healthy cells, stop the spread of cancer by blocking MMP enzymes, stop the degradation of collagen tissue and strengthen it, and decrease blood supply to a tumor (angiogenesis). Our synergistic combination of micronutrients and polyphenols is shown to be effective in all steps of cancer progression. Although potentially useful as antioxidants, the bioavailability of polyphenols can become a concern. Some of our studies have shown that combining green tea extract with quercetin can significantly increase the efficacy of green tea extract.
Current cancer therapies have not been satisfactory, and are associated with dangerous side effects. Our research results show that using a combination of polyphenols and micronutrients not only stops cancer growth and spread, but also strengthens connective tissue, thereby increasing their efficacy.
* A Niedzwiecki et al., Nutrients, 2016, 8, 552; DOI: 10.3390/nu8090552