Scientists discover how wasabi kills cancer cells

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wasabi(NaturalHealth365) If you love sushi, you’ll love hearing this: wasabi can help to prevent and inhibit cancer cell growth – specifically, cancer of the bladder.  This is because of its high isothiocyanates (ITCs) content. Of course, if you don’t want to eat raw fish – that’s o.k. – just see what wasabi can do for you.

Science speaks out: Researcher Arup Bhattacharya has been focusing on how isothiocyanates can help with cancer treatment. He draws from multiple degrees in biophysics, psychology, microbiology and a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biophysics. He is also versed in homeopathy, and has had many studies published in peer-reviewed journals.

Wasabi – rich in ITCs – causes cell death in cancer cells

His latest study linking wasabi and its isothiocyanates content to a cure for cancer was published in the Oxford Journal. ITCs are an organic compound that are known to “strongly inhibit” the development and progression of cancer.

Apparently, once ITCs are inside of cancer cells, they bind to proteins and induce apoptosis, or programmed cell death. In short, cancer cells commit suicide when exposed to isothiocyanates – which is found in wasabi and other vegetables.

The organic compound isothiocyanate is an ester present in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Horseradish and mustard are also loaded with it. The study’s original aim was to test the compound more generally to determine its efficacy and to see if cruciferous vegetables actually do inhibit the development of bladder cancer cells.

Eating wasabi shown to stop the spread of bladder cancer tumors

However, the research ended up going beyond cruciferous vegetables, which are already known as cancer-inhibiting. The research group initially focused on an ITC-rich form of mustard seed powder.

In persons with untreated bladder cancer, tumors tend to invade surrounding muscle tissue in over 70 percent of cases. However, when they received ITC, the spread of the tumor was cut by nearly 35 percent.  Plus, the spread of cancer to nearby muscles was cut by an amazing 100 percent.

Another study on isothiocyanates conducted in a collaborative effort between Dr. Fung-Lung Chung of Georgetown University and bioinorganic chemist Dr. Anthony Di Pasqua of the University of North Carolina found similar results.

Bladder cancer often results in surgical removal of the bladder

Bladder tumors are known for growing and spreading rapidly. They are most often treated aggressively with chemotherapy, radiation and surgical interventions – all of which have major risks and side effects. In some cases, the entire bladder must be removed.

Eating foods with ITC causes these helpful compounds to enter the urine. During the time the urine is still in the bladder, any cancer cells there are exposed to it. The cancer cells in turn destroy themselves.

Wasabi has 40 times the isothiocyanates as broccoli

Natural health communities (and sushi lovers) are particularly excited about this finding, for wasabi has around 40 times the ITC of broccoli.

Wasabi begins as a root vegetable that is grated into a paste or sauce for use in Japanese cuisine. Wasabi has been revered in Japanese culture as protective against illness and beneficial to overall health. Now science is showing us why they are right.



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  • Sandy Holbart

    I love wasabi and add it to my condiment list. It is hard to find real wasabi. The type used at oriental all you can eat restaurants isn’t the real deal.

  • Imar Vick

    Nori rolls are a favorite and one of the reasons is I dip it into wasabi. It is yummy, but it is strong. A little goes a long way. Sometimes, I forget and use a large amount on the rice mixture and then understand the meaning of less is more. In this case less is more enjoyable.

  • Kelly W

    Pickled radish and wasabi are a great combination. Just thinking about it after reading this article means I will be going to an oriental market to pick both of these up for dinner.

  • Niomi Bloom

    According to this article it would be common sense to add wasabi to your diet. I would think this is appropriate as there is so much we don”t know about the healing power of plants. What we do know-there is enough information for us to take this seriously.

  • Maureen Jarrow

    When it comes to maintaining health there is no question plants are medical food. What is so-called medical foods intended for the dietary management of a disease given with physical supervision is in violation of the laws of nature.

    So we never require any fake medical foods we need to take it to heart and follow a diet which includes wasabi and other powerful organic herbs, vegetables and protein.

  • Jane Carr

    This is good news my husband likes wasabi and won’t eat broccoli. I am always trying to get him to eat more vegetables. I make plenty of stews full of vegetables, now I will make more rice dishes for dinner. This means more wasabi.

  • TeaTown Cowboy

    Hate to tell you this but most wasabi at sushi restaurants have 0 (donut, bagel) wasabi in it. It’s horseradish flavored to imitate real wasabi. Real wasabi is expensive and very hard to grow. Needs a lot of cool, running water and is usually grow naturally around areas where waterfalls are prevalent and/or fast moving streams or rivers. E.g. the Izu Peninsula in Japan.

    Do more research if you don’t believe the above!