The next cancer drug might come straight from the grocery store, according to new research published in the November 2007 issue of The FASEB Journal.
In the study, French scientists describe how high and low doses of polyphenols have different effects. Most notably, they found that very high doses of antioxidant polyphenols shut down and prevent cancerous tumors by cutting off the formation of new blood vessels needed for tumor growth. Polyphenols are commonly found in red wine, fruits, vegetables, and green tea.
At relatively low doses, the French researchers found that the same polyphenols play a beneficial role for those with diseased hearts and circulatory systems by facilitating blood vessel growth. The amount of polyphenols necessary for this effect was found to be the equivalent of only one glass of red wine per day or simply sticking to a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables containing polyphenols. This diet is known as the “Mediterranean Diet.” This study also adds to a growing body of research showing dose-dependent relationships for many types of commonly used compounds. For instance, research published in the October 2006 issue of The FASEB Journal shows that aspirin, through different mechanisms, also has a dose-dependent relationship for heart disease and cancer.