Tag Archives: asparagus

Relation between histones, asparagus and cancer (research)

In the last period I spend some time writing about histones, asparagus and cancer (research). Mostly the articles I wrote discussed each subject seperately; sometimes it was written in relation to eachtother expressing more or less assumptions. For example I wrote different times about the hight amount of histones in asparagus and their extended nutritional value. Now I discovered a new article published on ScienceDaily, called: Proteins in Histone Group Might Influence Cancer Development, Study Shows. Here is the article I would like to share with you all:

Sep. 3, 2013 — Spool-like proteins called histones play a crucial role in packaging the nearly seven feet of DNA found in most human cells. A new study shows that a group of histones that are thought to behave the same actually are functionally distinct proteins.

The findings by researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center — Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC — James) indicate that replication-dependent histone isoforms can have distinct cellular functions, and that changes in expression of the various isoforms might play a role in cancer development.

The study is published in the journal Nucleic Acids Research as a Breakthrough Article, placing it among the top 2-3 percent of papers presented by the journal in terms of significance and excellence.

“Replication-dependent histone isoforms have always been thought to be functionally identical, but we show that they have distinct functions, and that altering the levels of these isoforms can influence cell proliferation and tumor development,” says principal investigator Mark Parthun, PhD, professor of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry and a member of the OSUCCC — James Experimental Therapeutics Program.

“These highly novel results provide a new mechanism for the regulation of chromatin structure, Parthun says.”

Replication-dependent histones are highly expressed just before the onset of DNA replication during the cell cycle, and they are repressed when DNA replication is completed.

The genes that encode these histones are located in large clusters that can contain dozens of histone genes. “This localization in gene clusters led to the belief that these histones are regulated as a group, and that the multiple genes encoding each histone are functionally equivalent,” Parthun says.

However, the proteins encoded by replication-dependent histone genes are not identical. For example, 16 genes encode the replication-dependent histone called H2A. Strikingly, these genes encode 11 distinct protein variations.

Parthun and his colleagues conducted the study using three bladder-cancer cell lines. Key findings include:

  • The abundance of replication-dependent histone H2A isoforms showed dramatic differences in bladder cancer cells vs. normal bladder cells;
  • Replication-dependent H2A isoforms were expressed at different levels in cancer cells; expression of one isoform was 10-fold higher than the others;
  • Knocking down the messenger RNA of a specific replication-dependent H2A isoform increased cell proliferation and tumorigenicity.
  • Replication-dependent H2A isoforms show evidence of individualized regulation.

Funding from the NIH/National Cancer Institute (grant CA101956, CA107106) and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society supported this research.

Other researchers involved in this study were Rajbir Singh, Amir Mortazavi, Kelly H. Telu, Prabakaran Nagarajan, David M. Lucas, Jennifer M. Thomas-Ahner, Steven K. Clinton, John C. Byrd and Michael A. Freitas, The Ohio State University.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF ASPARAGUS

Dear all,

In the last period I spend quite some time in writing about the health benefits of asparagus. Specially in relation to cancer and cancer research. Now I came across a very interesting article which can be found at www.whfoods.org. I can recommend this site to any one who wants to know more about (healthy) foods of the world. The site is mastered by The George Mateljan Foundation for the World’s Healthiest Foods. This foundation was established by George Mateljan to discover, develop and share scientifically proven information about the benefits of healthy eating, and to provide the personalized support individuals need to make eating The World’s Healthiest Foods enjoyable, easy, quick and affordable.

Asparagus

The fleshy green spears of asparagus are both succulent and tender and have been considered a delicacy since ancient times. This highly prized vegetable arrives with the coming of spring, when its shoots break through the soil and reach their 6-8 inch harvest length. In California the first crops are picked as early as February, however, their season generally is considered to run from April through May. The growing season in the Midwest and East extends through July.

What’s New and Beneficial about Asparagus

  • Recent research has underscored the value of careful storage and speedy consumption of fresh asparagus. The key scientific finding here involves respiration rate. Like all vegetables, asparagus doesn’t instantly “die” when it is picked, but instead, continues to engage in metabolic activity. This metabolic activity includes intake of oxygen, the breaking down of starches and sugars, and the releasing of carbon dioxide. The speed at which these processes occur is typically referred to as “respiration rate.” Compared to most other vegetables, asparagus has a very high respiration rate. At 60 milligrams of carbon dioxide release per hour per 100 grams of food (at a refrigerator temperature of 41°F), this rate is five times greater than the rate for onions and potatoes; three times greater than the rate for lettuce and tomato; and twice as great as the rate for cauliflower and avocado. Asparagus’ very high respiration rate makes it more perishable than its fellow vegetables, and also much more likely to lose water, wrinkle, and harden. By wrapping the ends of the asparagus in a damp paper or cloth towel, you can help offset asparagus’ very high respiration rate during refrigerator storage. Along with this helpful step, you will want to consume asparagus within approximately 48 hours of purchase.
  • Wild asparagus (Asparagus racemosus) is a species of asparagus with a long history of use in India and other parts of Asia as a botanical medicine. Many medicinal qualities of wild asparagus have been associated with phytonutrients present in its roots, and especially one type of phytonutrients called saponins. Recent research has shown that the species of asparagus most commonly consumed in the U.S. (Asparagus officinalis) also contains saponins, not only in its root portion put also in its shoots. Saponins found in common, everyday asparagus include asparanin A, sarsasapogenin, and protodioscin. Asparagus even contains small amounts of the diosgenin – one of the best-studied saponins that is especially concentrated in yam. Saponins in food have repeatedly been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, and their intake has also been associated with improved blood pressure, improved blood sugar regulation, and better control of blood fat levels.
  • You may have heard about two foods — chicory root and Jerusalem artichoke — that are widely recognized as providing health benefits for our digestive tract. These health benefits involve a special area of digestive support called “prebiotics” offered by a compound known as inulin. Both chicory root and Jerusalem artichoke contain rich concentrations of inulin, a unique type of carbohydrate called a polyfructan. Unlike most other carbs, inulin doesn’t get broken down in the first segments of our digestive tract. It passes undigested all the way to our large intestine. Once it arrives at our large intestine, it becomes an ideal food source for certain types of bacteria (like Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli) that are associated with better nutrient absorption, lower risk of allergy, and lower risk of colon cancer. Researchers now know that asparagus belongs among the list of foods that contain inulin. While approximately 5% lower in inulin than chicory root and Jerusalem artichoke, asparagus is a food that contains a valuable amount of unique carb and may provide our digestive tract with some equally unique health benefits.
Nutrients in Asparagus 1.00 cup raw (134.00 grams)
Nutrient%Daily Value
vitamin K69.6%
vitamin A20.2%
folate17.4%
iron15.9%
vitamin B112.6%
vitamin C12.5%
copper12.5%
tryptophan12.5%
vitamin B211.1%
fiber10.9%
manganese10.5%
molybdenum8.9%
potassium7.7%
vitamin E7.5%
phosphorus6.9%
vitamin B36.5%
vitamin B66%
protein5.9%
choline5%
zinc4.8%
magnesium4.6%
selenium4.4%
vitamin B53.7%
calcium3.2%
Calories (26)1%

Health Benefits

Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Oxidant Benefits

It’s not surprising to see asparagus being heralded as an anti-inflammatory food because it provides a truly unique combination of anti-inflammatory nutrients. Among these anti-inflammatory nutrients are asparagus saponins, including asparanin A, sarsasapogenin, protodioscin, and diosgenin. One of these saponins (sarsasapogenin) has been of special interest in relationship to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.” Even though ALS is classified as a chronic, neurodegenerative disease and is not currently accepted as an autoimmune disorder, excessive, unwanted inflammation may play an important role in the death of certain nerve cells (motor neurons) in ALS. Other anti-inflammatory nutrients in asparagus include the flavonoids quercetin, rutin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin.

Alongside of these anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, asparagus provides a wide variety of antioxidant nutrients, including vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin E, and the minerals zinc, manganese, and selenium. In addition to the antioxidant nutrients above, this much-loved vegetable may also contain a valuable amount of the antioxidant glutathione (GSH). GSH is one of the body’s best-studied antioxidants; it consists of three amino acids — glutamic acid, glycine, and cysteine — combined into one molecule. At least one published study has estimated the amount of GSH in fresh asparagus to average 28 milligrams per 3.5 ounces. Several studies have compared the overall antioxidant capacity of asparagus to the antioxidant capacity of other vegetables, and the results for asparagus have been impressive. Asparagus compares favorably with many of the cruciferous vegetables like cabbage and cauliflower, and while it ranks lower than some of the green leafy vegetables like spinach, it is still very high on the list of antioxidant foods.

Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients are some of the best risk reducers we know for common chronic health problems including type 2 diabetes and heart disease. These nutrients are also special risk reducers in the case of certain cancer — a special area of asparagus health benefits that is covered in the following section.

Digestive Support

As described earlier in our “What’s New and Beneficial about Asparagus” section, asparagus is unusual as a digestive support food. One key factor in this regard is its inulin content. Like chicory root and Jerusalem artichoke, asparagus contains significant amounts of the nutrient inulin. Inulin is a unique type of carbohydrate called a polyfructan, and in practical terms, healthcare practitioners often refer to it as a “prebiotic.” Unlike most other carbs, inulin doesn’t get broken down in the first segments of our digestive tract. It passes undigested all the way to our large intestine. Once it arrives at our large intestine, it becomes an ideal food source for certain types of bacteria (like Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli) that are associated with better nutrient absorption, lower risk of allergy, and lower risk of colon cancer. While approximately 5% lower in inulin than chicory root and Jerusalem artichoke, asparagus is a food that contains a valuable amount of this unique carb and can help support our digestive health in this unique way.

Alongside of its unusual inulin content, asparagus is rich in fiber (about 3 grams per cup, including about 2 grams of insoluble fiber and 1 gram of soluble fiber) and also contains a noteworthy amount of protein (about 4-5 grams per cup). Both fiber and protein help stabilize our digestion and keep food moving through us at the desirable rate. (By contrast, too much fat can slow down our digestion rate more than desired, and too much sugar or simple starch can speed it up more than desired. We’re not surprised to see species of asparagus like Asparagus racemosus (commonly known as Shatavari) having a long history of use in treatment of digestive problems in certain healthcare traditions (like ayurvedic medicine), and it makes sense to us that asparagus be considered as a great food for improving digestive support in most diets.

Heart Health and Blood Sugar Regulation

While we have yet to see large-scale dietary studies that examine chronic diseases in humans and asparagus intake, we would expect asparagus intake to show reduced chronic disease risk in two particular areas, namely, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. While there is some preliminary research in both areas, both areas need more attention from asparagus researchers. Our desire to see more research in these areas is based on several factors.

First is the amazing B-vitamin content of asparagus. In our food rating system, asparagus emerges as an excellent source of folic acid and vitamin B1 and a very good source of vitamins B2, B3 and B6. Asparagus also contains the B vitamins choline, biotin, and pantothenic acid. Because B vitamins play a key role in the metabolism of sugars and starches, they are critical for healthy blood sugar management. And because they play a key role in regulation of homocysteine, they are critical in heart health has well. (Homocysteine is an amino acid, and when it reaches excessive levels in our blood, it is a strong risk factor for heart disease.)

Second, along with its impressive list of B vitamins, asparagus provides us with about 3 grams of dietary fiber per cup, including more than 1 gram of soluble fiber. Intake of soluble fiber has repeatedly been shown to lower our risk of heart disease, and our risk of type 2 diabetes can be significantly lowered as our intake of dietary fiber increases.

Finally, there is the anti-inflammatory/antioxidant factor. Heart disease and type 2 diabetes are both considered chronic diseases that evolve in relationship to chronic, excessive inflammation and oxidative stress. The outstanding antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrient composition of asparagus would seem to make it a no-brainer for inclusion as a risk reducer in both of these chronic disease areas. We expect future studies to establish asparagus as a standout for lowering our risk of cardiovascular and blood sugar problems.

Anti-Cancer Benefits

As a result of its very strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrient composition, we would definitely expect to see a food like asparagus showing up as a risk reducer for certain cancers. Chronic, excessive inflammation and chronic oxidative stress are risk factors for a variety of cancer types, and both unwanted phenomena are related to deficient dietary intake of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients—exactly the kind of nutrients that are especially plentiful in asparagus. Most of the studies we’ve seen on the anti-cancer benefits of asparagus have been studies on rats and mice, or studies on specific types of cancer cells. For this reason, we would describe asparagus cancer research as preliminary, and not yet validated by large-scale studies involving humans and dietary intake. But the trends in animal studies and cell studies are clear – asparagus and asparagus extracts can change the metabolic activity of cancer cell types, and these changes are protective in nature and related to better regulation of inflammation and oxidative stress. Cancer cells from the liver are best-studied in this regard.

One confusing area of research on asparagus and cancer involves leukemia. And while this arena has focused upon enzymes related to an amino acid in asparagus, rather than asparagus itself, we thought to include information on it here to clarify this arena for you in case you had come across information on this topic.

Leukemia is a type of cancer involving the bone marrow and its production of white blood cells. In leukemia, white blood cells are not produced in a normal way and do not behave in a normal way, and for these reasons are called leukemia cells. One unusual aspect of leukemia cells is their need to obtain a specific amino acid called asparagine from other cells or from the fluid portion of the blood. If leukemia cells can be prevented from obtaining asparagine, they can sometimes have difficulty surviving. In the mid-1950’s and 1960’s, researchers discovered that the injection of an enzyme called asparaginase into persons diagnosed with leukemia could sometimes result in decreased levels of blood asparagine in the blood and selective destruction of leukemia cells through asparagine deprivation. Prescription injection of asparaginase enzymes is still used in treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Asparagus has become entangled in this fascinating set of events involving leukemia because the name of the amino acid “asparagine” and the name of the enzyme “asparaginase” clearly imply a connection with asparagus. Both the amino acid and the enzyme are present in asparagus, just as their names imply. However, we are not aware of any research showing a treatment connection between leukemia and dietary intake of asparagus. The only research we’ve seen involves injection of the purified, prescription enzyme medication. In addition, we know that pharmaceutical companies do not use asparagus as a source of the asparaginase enzyme, but rather, rely on bacteria as their enzyme production source.

Description

Asparagus is a perennial garden plant belonging to the Lily family  (Liliaceae). While approximately 300 varieties of asparagus have been noted, only 20 are edible.

Asparagus, its fleshy spears topped with bud-like compact heads, is often thought of as a luxury vegetable, prized for its succulent taste and tender texture.  It is harvested in the spring when it is 6 to 8 inches tall.  While the most common variety of asparagus is green in color, two other edible varieties are available.  White asparagus, with its more delicate flavor and tender texture, is grown underground to inhibit its development of chlorophyll content, therefore creating its distinctive white coloring.  It is generally found canned, although you may find it fresh in some select gourmet shops, and it is generally more expensive than the green variety since its production is more labor intensive.  The other edible variety of asparagus is purple in color.  It is much smaller than the green or white variety (usually just 2 to 3 inches tall) and features a fruitier flavor. It also provides benefits from phytonutrients called anthocyanins that give it its purple color. With prolonged cooking, the purple color may disappear.

History

Asparagus has been prized as an epicurean delight and for its medicinal properties for almost 2000 years. Its presence across most continents is partly due to its many different species. Some of these species — like Asparagus officinalis — are widely cultivated and consumed as staple foods. Other species – like Asparagus racemosus, widely found in India and the Himilayas – have been used in a more medicinal context. In the case of Asparagus racemosus, also known as Shatavari, there is a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine, especially in relationship to digestive problems. Various species of asparagus were cultivated by Egyptian cultures beginning as early as 3000 B.C., and by European cultures including early Greek and Roman cultures. Asparagus also became particularly popular in France during the 18th century during the rule of Louis XIV. In terms of commercial production, China (587,500 tons) and Peru (186,000 tons) are currently the world’s largest producers and exporters of asparagus. Next in line as commercial producers are the United States (102,780 tons) and Mexico (67,247 tons).

How to Select and Store

Since asparagus varieties most commonly available in the U.S. are green in color, you are most likely to find these green-colored varieties in your grocery store. However, asparagus growers are able to take these same varieties of asparagus, pile dirt on top of the shoots when they start to poke through the ground, and then allow the shoots to continue growing beneath the dirt. This process prevents sunlight from falling on the shoots and results in asparagus shoots that are white in color. While you are most likely to find white asparagus in canned form, you  can also find it fresh in some select gourmet shops, and it is generally more expensive than the green variety. Other varieties of asparagus can be  purple in color. These varieties typically have a higher sugar content than green and white varieties and for this reason have a sweeter taste. (Of course, even with this higher sugar content, asparagus is anything but a high-sugar food. We’re talking about 3 grams of total sugar per cup of fresh asparagus — less than half of the amount in an extra small apple.)

Asparagus stalks should be rounded, and neither fat nor twisted. Look for firm, thin stems with deep green or purplish closed tips. The cut ends should not be too woody, although a little woodiness at the base prevents the stalk from drying out. Once trimmed and cooked, asparagus loses about half its total weight. Use asparagus within a day or two after purchasing for best flavor and texture. Store in the refrigerator with the ends wrapped in a damp paper towel.

Safety

Contrary to popular belief, persons who experience a strong odor coming from their urine after eating asparagus are not in any danger from eating this vegetable. Their urine odor following consumption of asparagus is a far more complicated issue than you might expect. Several dozen studies in this area have failed to come up with any simple explanation of this asparagus and urine odor phenomenon.

Two major factors are clearly involved in asparagus and urine odor: one factor is a person’s ability to produce odor-emitting substances from asparagus. There is little agreement among studies in this regard, primarily because researchers are not in agreement about which asparagus-derived substances actually produce the odor. At least 21 different substances have been proposed as the odor-producing substances from asparagus!  Some studies indicate that very few people metabolize asparagus in such a way as to generate odor-producing substances. Other studies indicate that two out of every three people produce such substances. A second factor involved with asparagus and urine odor is a person’s ability to perceive odors. In some studies, 50% of all study participants appear unable to perceive odors in urine from asparagus. To make matters even more complicated, there does not appear to be any patterned relationship between a person’s ability to generate odor-producing substances from asparagus and a person’s ability to perceive asparagus-related odors. There are very likely to be genetic tendencies involved with both production of odor-related substances from asparagus and perception of those substances, but detection of genetic tendencies (called genetic polymorphisms) remains incomplete. (In the case of odor perception, however, some research is beginning to point to a single nucleotide polymorphism, rs4481887, as being associated with the inability to smell odor-related substances from asparagus.)

Despite the many remaining mysteries about urine odor and asparagus, no research studies have suggested a link between asparagus consumption, urine odor, and health risk. There are no studies to indicate that a strong urine odor from asparagus is a reason for us to exclude asparagus from our diet or that health benefits from asparagus vary along with the presence or absence of urine odor. If you detect a strong urine odor following consumption of asparagus, and you’re concerned about this odor, you can obviously avoid consumption asparagus in your diet. But from a research standpoint, you will also be missing out on the health benefits of this unique food.

Substances Associated with the Urine Odor from Asparagus

  • methanethiol
  • 1-propene-3-isothiocyanate
  • 3-methylthiophene
  • bis-(methythio)methane
  • carbon disulfide
  • carbon oxide sulfide
  • dimethyl disulfide
  • dimethyl sulfide
  • dimethyl sulfone
  • dimethyl sulfoxide
  • dimethyl trisulfide
  • E-methylthio-1-propene
  • hydrogen sulfide
  • Methylpropylsulfide
  • S-methyl-2-propenthioate
  • S-methyl-thioacrylate
  • Tetrahydrothiophene
  • methanesulfonic anhydride
  • butyrolactone
  • 1,4-bis(methythio)-butane
  • S-methyl-3-(methythio)thiopropionate
Asparagus and Purines

Asparagus contains naturally-occurring substances called purines. Purines are commonly found in plants, animals, and humans. In some individuals who are susceptible to purine-related problems, excessive intake of these substances can cause health problems. Since purines can be broken down to form uric acid, excess accumulation of purines in the body can lead to excess accumulation of uric acid. The health condition called “gout” and the formation of kidney stones from uric acid are two examples of uric acid-related problems that can be related to excessive intake of purine-containing foods. For this reason, individuals with kidney problems or gout may want to limit or avoid intake of purine-containing foods such as asparagus.

Nutritional Profile

Introduction to Food Rating System Chart

The following chart shows the nutrients for which this food is either an excellent, very good or good source.  Next to the nutrient name you will find the following information: the amount of the nutrient that is included in the noted serving of this food; the %Daily Value (DV) that that amount represents (similar to other information presented in the website, this DV is calculated for 25-50 year old healthy woman); the nutrient density rating; and, the food’s World’s Healthiest Foods Rating.

Asparagus 1.00 cup raw 134.00 grams 26.80 calories
Nutrient Amount DV (%) Nutrient Density World’s Healthiest Foods Rating
vitamin K 55.74 mcg 69.7 46.8 excellent
vitamin A 1013.04 IU 20.3 13.6 excellent
folate 69.68 mcg 17.4 11.7 excellent
iron 2.87 mg 15.9 10.7 excellent
vitamin B1 0.19 mg 12.7 8.5 excellent
vitamin C 7.50 mg 12.5 8.4 excellent
copper 0.25 mg 12.5 8.4 excellent
tryptophan 0.04 g 12.5 8.4 excellent
vitamin B2 0.19 mg 11.2 7.5 very good
fiber 2.74 g 11.0 7.4 very good
manganese 0.21 mg 10.5 7.1 very good
molybdenum 6.70 mcg 8.9 6.0 very good
potassium 270.68 mg 7.7 5.2 very good
vitamin E 1.51 mg (ATE) 7.5 5.1 very good
phosphorus 69.68 mg 7.0 4.7 very good
vitamin B3 1.31 mg 6.5 4.4 very good
vitamin B6 0.12 mg 6.0 4.0 very good
protein 2.95 g 5.9 4.0 very good
choline 21.44 mg 5.0 3.4 very good
zinc 0.72 mg 4.8 3.2 good
magnesium 18.76 mg 4.7 3.2 good
selenium 3.08 mcg 4.4 3.0 good
vitamin B5 0.37 mg 3.7 2.5 good
calcium 32.16 mg 3.2 2.2 good
World’s Healthiest Foods Rating Rule
excellent DV>=75% OR Density>=7.6 AND DV>=10%
very good DV>=50% OR Density>=3.4 AND DV>=5%
good DV>=25% OR Density>=1.5 AND DV>=2.5%

References

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  • Aberoumand A. Comparison of Proximate and Mineral composition between Asparagus Oficinalis and Momordica dioica: Iranian and Indian Vegetables. Iranica Journal of Energy and Environment (IJEE) Year: 2010 Vol: 1 Issue: 3 Pages/record No.: 196-199. 2010.
  • Albanese D, Russo L, Cinquanta L et al. Physical and chemical changes in minimally processed green asparagus during cold-storage. Food Chemistry Volume 101, Issue 1, 2007, Pages 274-280. 2007.
  • Chrubasik C, Maier T, Dawid C et al. An observational study and quantification of the actives in a supplement with Sambucus nigra and Asparagus officinalis used for weight reduction. Phytother Res. 2008 Jul;22(7):913-8. 2008.
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  • Mathews JN, Flatt PR, and Abdel-Wahab YH. Asparagus adscendens (Shweta musali) stimulates insulin secretion, insulin action and inhibits starch digestion. The British Journal of Nutrition. Cambridge: Mar 2006. Vol. 95, Iss. 3; p. 576-581. 2006.
  • Pelchat ML, Bykowski C, Duke FF et al. Excretion and perception of a characteristic odor in urine after asparagus ingestion: a psychophysical and genetic study. Chem Senses. 2011 Jan;36(1):9-17. Epub 2010 Sep 27. 2011.
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  • Sidiq T, Khajuria A, Suden P et al. A novel sarsasapogenin glycoside from Asparagus racemosus elicits protective immune responses against HBsAg. Immunol Lett. 2011 Mar 30;135(1-2):129-35. Epub 2010 Oct 28. 2011.
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ASPARAGUS: a strong cancer fighting vegetable

Asparagus is the perfect and most healthy vegetable.

Asparagus has been found to be the perfect antioxidant vegetable, a perfect vitamin, and a strong cancer fighting vegetable. Asparagus is rich in glutathione and histones, which stimulate the immune system is stimulated and heal many medical conditions as ulcers and cancers.

CANCER FIGHTING VEGETABLE
Asparagus has been found to be a perfect antioxidant vegetable, a perfect vitamin, and a strong cancer fighting vegetable. Asparagus is rich in glutathione and histones, which stimulate the immune system and heal many medical conditions as ulcers and cancers.

ALLYL-ISOTHIOCYANATE (AITC)
Asparagus also contains Isglucosinolate, a substance that metabolizes to a cancer preventive substance known as othiocyanate. When food is chopped, or cooked, it may have a bitter flavor because of the release of this chemical, which stops the uncontrolled division of cancer cells. AITC seems to prevent cancer cells from becoming immortal. This is the property that makes them different from healthy cells to commit suicide instead of constantly dividing.

CANCER FIGHTING HISTONES
Asparagus has a high content of a protein called histone. Histones are very strong alkaline proteins found in every human cell nucleus. There are about 300 million histone molecules in the body. Histones package and make the DNA structurally into nucleosomes. They enclose the entire DNA content of a cell into the chromosomes of the nucleus. Acting as spools around which DNA winds, they play a role in regulating genes. Active genes have less bound histone than inactive genes. Histones regulate whether the genes in DNA are turned on or off. The DNA in chromosomes is wound around the histone proteins. Without histones, the unknown DNA in each human cell would be 1.8 m long. But since DNA wraps around his stones there is only 90 mm of chromatin. Wound DNA is 15,000 times shorter than unwound ones.

The histones bind the entry and exit sites of the DNA and locked the DNA into place. When histones are assembled with DNA in the cell nuclei, they are called chromatin. The nucleus of cells contains chromosomes, which are made up of protein and DNA. Each protein in the nucleus has multiple varieties of histones. Essentially, histones in chromosomes, are basic amino acids with various sequences, depending on the organism.

Histones help the DNA repair, allow chromosomes to undergo mitosis, and regulate genes. They play an important role in forming telomeres, the natural end of a chromosome. If you lack histones, you will have cellular death.

EFFECTS OF COOKING

Cooking destroys the antioxidant effects of asparagus. Chemicals in cruciferous vegetables, as asparagus, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts decreased the risk of many types of cancer. They work in a similar way as some cancer drugs. Steaming the asparagus keeps about 89% of its original antioxidant content. Boiling and microwaving kills nearly all the antioxidants present.

THE PERFECT VITAMIN
Asparagus contains all the ingredients of the most potent vitamin. A 10-ounce box of frozen asparagus spears as only 68 calories and 9 g of protein. It contains the minerals selenium, zinc, calcium, copper, and manganese. Asparagus has highly alkaline salts and trace elements of silicon and molybdenum, all essential for the health of major organs. It is also an excellent source of potassium, vitamin C, pectin, vitamin K, aspartic acid, and folate. Asparagine, which is essential for prostate gland health, also lowers the risk of colon and cervical cancer. Having vitamin B6, asparagus is one of the top five diuretics ,along with watermelon, cantaloupe, leek, and artichokes.

Asparagus: a cancer killing recipe?

Over the last weeks I wrote about the health benefits of of adding asparagus to your daily diet. This related to cancer and the possible positive effects of it.

The “documented” recipe is the following: For the treatment, asparagus should be cooked before using, and therefore canned asparagus is just as good as fresh. Just make sure they do not contain pesticides or preservatives. Place the cooked asparagus in a blender and liquefy to make a puree, and store in the refrigerator. Give the patient 4 full tablespoons twice daily, morning and evening. Patients usually show some improvement in from 2-4 weeks. It can be diluted with water and used as a cold or hot drink. This suggested dosage is based on present experience, but certainly larger amounts can do no harm and may be needed in some cases.

It really is worthwhile giving it a try: it is cheap, easy and and completely natural. The biggest risk you take is you do not like asparagus anymore 🙂

Regards, Michiel Floris

12 Health Benefits of Asparagus

Asparagus is a long-lived perennial vegetable that belongs to the Lily family (Liliaceae) – the same family as onions, leeks and garlic. Asparagus is believed to be originated in the west coasts of Europe, where its name was derived from the Greek word ‘aspharagos’ meaning “sprout” or “shoot”, a reference to all tender shoots.

The edible asparagus shoots are commonly called “spears”. The spear rises from an underground stem called a crown, which are 20cm underground. It takes up to 3 years for crowns to develop, but once they develop, they can produce shoots for up to 20 years.

There are three main varieties of asparagus: White asparagus, green asparagus and purple asparagus. Green asparagus is the most common type of asparagus. White asparagus is exactly the same variety as green asparagus but it has a milder taste and is more tender than the green variety. Purple asparagus is a different variety to white and green asparagus. Its purple color comes from the high levels of anthocyanins (potent antioxidants) in the spears. Purple asparagus is much sweeter and more tender than green or white asparagus.

Asparagus is a popular vegetable that can be served in various ways, such as steamed, grilled, raw and fried, but the best way is to steam or eat it raw as salad, because this can preserve the nutrients in it.

Asparagus is a nutrient-dense food that is rich in many nutrients like vitamin A, C, E and K, folate, fiber, Iron, Manganese, Magnesium, Niacin, Phosphorus, Potassium, as well as chromium. It also contain no fat, no cholesterol and is low in sodium, which makes it a wonderful vegetable to consume regularly. The health benefits of Asparagus are as follows:

  1. Reduce diabetes risk Asparagus contains high levels of anti-inflammatory compounds, which can help to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. The B vitamins in asparagus are also able to control blood sugar levels by promoting proper insulin function.
  2. Prevent heart disease Being high in B vitamins including folate, asparagus is very essential for cardiovascular health. It can help lower the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.
  3. Strengthen bones Asparagus is a good source of vitamin K that is necessary for strengthening the bones. Studies have showed that low levels of vitamin K have been linked to a decrease in bone density.
  4. Relieve arthiris and rheumatism Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, asparagus helps to relieve arthritis and rheumatism.
  5. Fight cancer Asparagus contains glutathione and research has shown this antioxidant plays an important role in the prevention of certain cancers, including breast cancer, colon cancer and lung cancer.
  6. Prevent Cataract High in antioxidants and glutathione, asparagus has been found to be effective in preventing eye problems, like cataracts.
  7. Slow aging process The glutathione in asparagus can also protect the skin from sun damage and the effects of aging.
  8. Boost immune system Asparagus is also a rich source of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that is known to boost the immune system and reduce inflammation.
  9. Reduce birth defects risk Asparagus is high in folic acid which is known to be helpful in reducing the risk of birth defects and low birth weight.
  10. Prevent kidney stones Asparagus is also known to have diuretic properties. Drinking asparagus juice regularly may help to prevent or eliminate kidney stones. It helps dissolve oxalic acid crystals that form in the kidney.
  11. Relieve PMS symptoms The diuretic effect of asparagus juice may also help relieve premenstrual swelling and bloating. Asparagus also contains a good amount of magnesium, which may help with other PMS symptoms, such as mood swings and tension.
  12. Aid digestion Asparagus contain a compound called inulin. Inulin is considered a prebiotic, a substance that passes undigested to the large intestine, feeding the good bacteria which is necessary for a better nutrient absorption.

When buying asparagus, look for ones that are firm to the touch and bright in color with tight tips. If selecting green asparagus, choose ones with deep green or purplish tips. For best flavor, eat asparagus the same day you buy it because they lose flavor and tenderness very quickly.

source: http://www.healthonlinezine.info/12-health-benefits-of-asparagus.html

the benefits of asparagus against cancer

Some while ago we came accross the article below. To people around us, suffering from cancer, we said: it’s a natural alternative. Try it, if it doesn’t help, stop it. It is NOT a panacea, but the results are promising.

Enjoy the article,

Michiel Floris

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Emailed article attributed to a biochemist offers medical case histories collected with the help of alleged cancer expert ‘Richard R. Vensal, D.D.S.’ purporting to prove that eating asparagus may prevent and/or cure cancer.

Description: Forwarded email Circulating since: 2008 Status: Unsubstantiated (see details below)

Example: Email text contributed by Elizabeth, Feb. 24, 2009:

Asparagus
Several years ago, I had a man seeking asparagus for a friend who had cancer.  He gave me a photocopied copy of an article, entitled, `Asparagus for cancer’ printed in Cancer News Journal, December 1979. I will share it here, just as it was shared with me:
“I am a biochemist, and have specialized in the relation of diet to health for over 50 years. Several years ago, I learned of the discovery of Richard R. Vensal, D.D.S. that asparagus might cure cancer. Since then, I have worked with him on his project, and we have accumulated a number of favorable case histories. Here are a few examples.
Case No. 1, man with an almost hopeless case of Hodgkin’s disease (cancer of the lymph glands) who was completely incapacitated. Within 1 year of starting the asparagus therapy, his doctors were unable to detect any signs of cancer, and he was back on a schedule of strenuous exercise.
Case No. 2, a successful businessman 68 years old who suffered from cancer of the bladder for 16 years. After years of medical treatments, including radiation without improvement, he went on asparagus. Within 3 months, examinations revealed that his bladder tumor had disappeared and that his kidneys were normal.
Case No. 3, a man who had lung cancer. On March 5th 1971 he was put on the operating table where they found lung cancer so widely spread that it was inoperable. The surgeon sewed him up and declared his case hopeless. On April 5th he heard about the asparagus therapy and immediately started taking it. By August, x-ray pictures revealed that all signs of the cancer had disappeared. He is back at his regular business routine.
Case No. 4, a woman who was troubled for a number of years with skin cancer. She finally developed different skin cancers which were diagnosed by a skin specialist as advanced. Within 3 months after starting on asparagus, her skin specialist said that her skin looked fine and no more skin lesions. This woman reported that the asparagus therapy also cured her kidney disease  which started in 1949. She had over 10 operations for kidney stones, and was receiving government disability payments for an inoperable, terminal, kidney condition. She attributes the cure of this kidney trouble entirely to the asparagus.
I was not surprised at this result, as `The elements of materia medica’, edited in 1854 by a Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, stated that asparagus was used as a popular remedy for kidney stones. He even referred to experiments, in 1739, on the power of asparagus in dissolving stones. We would have other case histories but the medical establishment has interfered with our obtaining some of the records. I am therefore appealing to readers to spread this good news and help us to gather a large number of case histories that will overwhelm the medical skeptics about this unbelievably simple and natural remedy.
For the treatment, asparagus should be cooked before using, and therefore canned asparagus is just as good as fresh. I have corresponded with the two leading canners of asparagus, Giant Giant and Stokely, and I am satisfied that these brands contain no pesticides or preservatives. Place the cooked asparagus in a blender and liquefy to make a puree, and store in the refrigerator. Give the patient 4 full tablespoons twice daily, morning and evening. Patients usually show some improvement in from 2-4 weeks. It can be diluted with water and used as a cold or hot drink. This suggested dosage is based on present experience, but certainly larger amounts can do no harm and may be needed in some cases.
As a biochemist I am convinced of the old saying that `what cures can prevent’. Based on this theory, my wife and I have been using asparagus puree as a beverage with our meals. We take 2 tablespoons diluted in water to suit our taste with breakfast and with dinner. I take mine hot and my wife prefers hers cold. For years we have made it a practice to have blood surveys taken as part of our regular checkups.
The last blood survey, taken by a medical doctor who specializes in the nutritional approach to health, showed substantial improvements in all categories over the last one, and we can attribute these improvements to nothing but the asparagus drink. As a biochemist, I have made an extensive study of all aspects of cancer, and all of the proposed cures. As a result, I am convinced that asparagus fits in better with the latest theories about cancer.
Asparagus contains a good supply of protein called histones, which are believed to be active in controlling cell growth. For that reason, I believe asparagus can be said to contain a substance that I call cell growth normalizer. That accounts for its action on cancer and in acting as a general body tonic. In any event, regardless of theory, asparagus used as we suggest, is a harmless substance. The FDA cannot prevent you from using it and it may do you much good.” It has been reported by the US National Cancer Institute, that asparagus is the highest tested food containing glutathione, which is considered one of the body’s most potent anticarcinogens and antioxidants.

Source: http://urbanlegends.about.com/od/medical/a/asparagus_cancer.htm