Most big scientific breakthroughs in human nutrition begin with small lab studies. Human clinical trials follow to confirm results. Here are some of the most promising recent findings.
Bitter melon: When scientists exposed cultured breast cancer cells to bitter melon fruit extract, the cancer cells stopped dividing and started dying. Researchers do not know which ingredients in bitter melon create the effect. (Cancer Research; 2010)
Curcumin and Piperine: Curcumin comes from the spice turmeric, and piperine from black pepper. Researchers examined the effects of concentrates of curcumin and piperine on the type of breast cells doctors believe can turn malignant. Curcumin and piperine inhibited cell growth separately and had greater effect together, while not disturbing normal breast cell development or viability. (Breast Cancer Research and Treatment; 2009)
Pomegranate: Pomegranates are rich in ellagitannins, compounds that may have anticancer properties. Researchers tested 10 different ellagitannin compounds on breast cancer cells and found six had some effect, and one, urolithin B, was the most promising in blocking estrogen activity and slowing cancer cell growth. (Cancer Prevention Research; 2010)
Resveratrol: In a breast cancer cell culture, resveratrol slowed cancer-cell signaling and replication and sped cancer cell death. Researchers said resveratrol shows a high level of anticancer and antitumor activity. (Journal of Nutrition & Biochemistry; 2009)