Posted on Apr 16, 2019, 6 p.m.
Cutting back on sugar, especially added sugars and sweeteners may help to decrease likelihood of developing certain cancers, as published in the journal Science signaling.
The international study has shown a novel cell death pathway through depriving cancer cells of sugar which can trigger a reaction that causes them to die, this works builds on literature indicating cancer cells that quickly multiply need higher levels of sugar than healthy cells.
Presence of low levels of sugar were found to be insufficient for providing energy in specific cancer cells to use as a method to enhance the survivability of the cells, the team posited this may be another effect sugar has on cancer cells. When cancer cells were deprived of sugar it was observed to cause a reaction across the cancer cell membrane and increased intake of calcium ions into the cells that ultimately caused them to die.
Two cancer cells were used: one containing extra glucose and the other which did not, which were both exposed to a two pronged attack, first with SF-31 to inhibit glucose transport, then the second with thapsigargin to increase calcium levels. Cancer cells with extra glucose were not affected, while those with limited reserves were killed off.
The team believes this unique approach could be used to treat cancer, initial testing shows depriving cancer cells of sugar and increasing calcium levels managed to destroy cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed. Certain types of cancer cells were noted to lose capacity to maintain intercellular sugar levels after treatment, it is believed this only applies to cells sensitive to sugar deprivation.
According to the researchers, “Because these phenomena are not seen in normal/healthy cells, this inability of some tumors to maintain intracellular glucose levels could be an unappreciated Achilles’ heel that might be therapeutically targeted. A molecular signature of cancers with reduced ability to maintain intracellular glucose would help develop that strategy for clinical application.” The team will continue their work to create possible treatment procedures using this approach.
Unlike naturally occuring sugars in food added sugars and sweeteners overload the body and carry a significant risk of disease. Added sugars and sweeteners carry no essential nutrients and can lead to significant nutrient deficiencies. When consumed these turn into large amounts of fructose that are turned into fat in the liver which can lead to fatty liver and other conditions overloading the liver. Effects of these added sugars and sweeteners contributes to obesity by making the brain feels less satisfied after eating them triggering increased consumption.
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This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.