The University of Leicester has published a new study, in the journal Science Translational Medicine, which revealed that resveratrol, a substance found in red grapes and peanuts is more effective at smaller doses in preventing cancer.
The study used mouse models to examine the impact of lower doses of resveratrol compared to higher doses. The research results specified that cancer prone mice who consumed smaller doses of resveratrol had a 50% reduction in bowel cancer tumor growth.
Resveratrol is an anti-oxidant which has been associated with anti-inflammatory properties and occurs in fruit and vegetables. Samples of tumours from bowel cancer patients given different doses of resveratrol showed that even lower doses can get into cancer cells and potentially affect processes involved in tumour growth.
Previous research looked at high doses of purified resveratrol to study its potential to prevent cancer. This is the first study to look at the effects of a lower daily dose — equivalent to the amount of resveratrol found in one large (approx. 250ml) glass of red wine — comparing it with a dose 200 times higher.
Results from bowel cancer-prone mice given the smaller dose showed a 50 per cent reduction in tumour size while the high dose showed a 25 per cent reduction. Lower doses of resveratrol were twice as effective as the higher dose in stopping tumours growing, although this effect was only seen in animals fed a high-fat diet.
“For the first time, we’re seeing that less resveratrol is more. This study shows that low amounts may be better at preventing tumours than taking a high dose”, said Karen Brown, professor of translational cancer research at the University of Leicester. “The same might be true for other plant-derived chemicals and vitamins that are also being studied for cancer prevention. There should be more research looking at the effects of low doses. But this is early laboratory research and the next stage is for clinical trials to confirm whether resveratrol has the same effects in people at high risk of bowel cancer.”
“It’s a fascinating study but we need much more research to understand all the pros and cons of someone taking resveratrol to prevent bowel cancer”, said Dr Julie Sharp, Cancer Research UK’s head of health information. “However, we do know that keeping a healthy weight along with a balanced diet low in red and processed meat with lots of fibre including fruit and vegetables can stack the odds in your favour to lower your risk of developing the disease.”
H. Cai, E. Scott, A. Kholghi, C. Andreadi, A. Rufini, A. Karmokar, R. G. Britton, E. Horner-Glister, P. Greaves, D. Jawad, M. James, L. Howells, T. Ognibene, M. Malfatti, C. Goldring, N. Kitteringham, J. Walsh, M. Viskaduraki, K. West, A. Miller, D. Hemingway, W. P. Steward, A. J. Gescher, K. Brown. Cancer chemoprevention: Evidence of a nonlinear dose response for the protective effects of resveratrol in humans and mice. Science Translational Medicine, 2015; 7 (298): 298ra117 DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.