Monday, March 17, 2014

Onion extract slows colon cancer growth just as effectively as chemo drug


Researchers have just discovered that flavonoids extracted from common onions slow the rate of colon cancer growth in mice just as effectively as a chemotherapy drug. And while the mice on chemo saw their LDL cholesterol go up (a possible side effect of the drug), the mice on onion extract actually saw their LDL levels drop.

Onion flavonoids slow colon tumor growth by 67% in vivo

In this study, researchers fed three different doses of flavonoids extracted from onion, an oral chemo drug, or saline (as control) to mice, along with a high-fat diet. The fatty diet was used to induce high blood fats and cholesterol (hyperlipidemia), since that is a major risk factor for colon cancer, and many human colon cancer patients have this condition. The highest dose of onion extract slowed the growth of colon tumors by 67% compared to the controls after three weeks. The mice on chemo had their cancer growth slowed slightly more, but there was no statistically significant difference compared to high-dose onion extract. However, there was a major difference in the side effects experienced by the mice.

Onion flavonoids: major benefits without the side effects

Chemo drugs are known to carry some serious side effects, and the drug used in this study was no exception -- over 100 possible side effects are known, including coma, temporary blindness, loss of ability to speak, convulsions, paralysis and collapse. It is also known that the chemo drug may induce hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol and/or triglycerides) in humans and that is exactly what happened with the mice -- their average LDL cholesterol levels went up significantly. Not surprisingly, onion extract had the opposite effect and significantly lowered the mice's LDL levels.

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