RESEARCH NEWS:
ENZYME IN GARLIC MAY PROTECT
AGAINST LIVER CANCER


From The Cancer Chronicles #14
© Feb. 1993 by Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D.

Praise the garlic! With each passing year, scientists discover new reasons to consume large amounts of "Russian penicillin." High tech meets folk wisdom in recent studies of garlic's chemical composition. Now we find that garlic stimulates the production of an enzyme called glutathione S-transferase (GST), which, naturally occurring in the body, protects against cancer by detoxifying potent carcinogens.

S. C. Nair showed in 1991 that production of this enzyme could be stimulated by the chemical diallyl sulfide found in garlic. Garlic may also protect against aging. A cover story on aging in Scientific American (12/92) showed that GST "help[s] to repair oxidized fatty acids."

The oxidation of fatty acids is involved in many disease processes, including cancer. Science can be beautiful as well as fascinating. A computer image of this same enzyme in the journal Biochemistry (10/27) reveals an avant-garde sculpture of 434 amino acids arranged in matching twin sections. Cast in metal, it would not be out of place in an outdoor sculpture garden.

On each section there is a kind of docking station, where a peptide stands ready to deactivate toxins that wanders into the cell's neighborhood. An amino acid trigger (tyrosine) is carried on the bigger molecule, just waiting for a chance to activate glutathione whenever the toxin is sighted. Garlic could even suggest story lines for Deep Space Nine.

Scientists have found that stimulating GST may guard against liver cancer, which kills a quarter of a million people around the world every year. Dr. John D. Groopman of Johns Hopkins reported that when rats fed a powerful liver carcinogen were given a drug that stimulates this enzyme, none of them developed liver cancer (Cancer Research, 1/15/92). But this drug approach brings with it serious side effects, including DNA damage, whereas garlic is, well, just garlic.



Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D. is director of the The Moss Reports for cancer patients. Dr. Moss is the author of eleven books and three documentaries on cancer-related topics. He is or has been an advisor on alternative cancer treatments to the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, the American Urological Association, Columbia University, the University of Texas, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the German Society of Oncology. He wrote the first article on alternative medicine for the Encyclopedia Britannica yearbook. He is listed in Marquis Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in the East, and Who's Who in Entertainment (as a film documentarian). This Web site does not advocate any particular treatment for cancer. We urge you to always seek competent medical advice for all health problems, especially cancer. Before consulting our site please read our full Disclaimer statement.



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