Researchers at the Long Island University have found that a naturally occurring compound found in oregano can kill prostate cancer cells.
Prostate Cancer is one of the most common types of cancer found in men and is fatal more times than not.
Prostate cancer is usually found in older men and causes overgrowth of the prostate gland which is extremely uncomfortable and very painful. It is currently estimated that 1 in 36 men will die of prostate cancer. There are a variety of causes of prostate cancer, the primary factors being age and genetic predisposition. Dietary factors can also play a role, however the evidence is sparse and tentative; low vitamin D levels have been implicated to increase the risk of prostate cancer. It has also been suggested that increased alcohol intake can increase the risk of prostate cancer due to it’s interference with folate metabolism in the body. Folate, or folic acid, is important for the normal running of metabolic reactions.
The research team, led by Dr. Supriya Bavadekar, PhD, RPh, investigated the effects of a specific compound found in oregano on prostate cancer cells.
“We know that oregano possesses anti-bacterial as well as anti-inflammatory properties, but its effects on cancer cells really elevate the spice to the level of a super-spice like turmeric,” said Dr. Bavadekar.
The compound is known as Carvacrol and has been shown to induce apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in cancer cells. However, the signalling pathway by which this is brought about is still unknown and further testing is being carried out to determine how it operates.
The suggestion that the researchers have made is that eating pizza would reduce the risk of prostate cancer developing and possibly be beneficial for prostate cancer patients. The reason for this is because not only does the oregano contain carvacrol, but the tomato sauce also contains lycopene which has properties that reduce the risk of cancer development.
Further testing is being carried out to determine just how carvacrol induces apoptosis in prostate cancer cells.