Citrus SUPERPOWER: Nutrient activates cancer-killing cells
(NaturalHealth365) Emerging research shows that a natural citrus fruit extract can block the action of galectin-3, a protein that, at excessive levels, can support the growth of cancer and the onset of heart and kidney disease.
While scientists have been unable to develop pharmaceutical medications effective against galectin-3, it turns out that modified citrus pectin (MCP) may hold the key to blocking and inactivating it – and even reverse its damage.
Why does galectin-3 turn destructive inside the human body?
Galectin-3, produced naturally in the human body, can function as both a hero and a culprit. Although galectin-3 is needed for tissue growth and repair, researchers have long known that excess levels are a biomarker for degenerative disease – and strongly associated with heart failure, kidney disease, and cancer.
The fact is that galectin-3 is more than a mere indicator of potential disease. Researchers now believe that it actively encourages the growth and spread of cancer and the development of harmful inflammation and scarring in tissues and organs.
Galectin-3 induces inflammation and immune response that help destroy invading pathogens after tissue damage. In cases of injury or infection, galectin-3 helps seal off the affected area by creating chronic inflammation. However, this technique backfires when excessive scarring or inflammation interferes with the function of tissues and organs, thereby setting the stage for disease.
Problems can begin when galectin-3 levels become excessive. Unfortunately, galectin-3 levels rise with age – a compelling argument for supplementation in older individuals, especially those at risk for chronic disease.
Galectin-3 goes “rogue,” facilitating cancer and heart disease
By making it easier for cancer cells to adhere to the linings of blood vessels, galectin-3 assists the condition in spreading. Cancer cells produce even more galectin-3, which further helps their colonization. Galectin-3 also helps malignant cells avoid apoptosis – the programmed cell death that would otherwise destroy them.
Excessive levels of galectin-3 levels can wreak havoc on the heart by stimulating the creation of fibroblasts, creating scar tissue that replaces normal heart muscle. Galectin-3 also creates heart muscle dysfunction by spurring the overproduction of type 1 collagen, which decreases heart muscle elasticity, inhibits pumping action, and thickens the heart wall. Failing heart tissue produces larger amounts of galectin-3 than healthy tissue, even before heart failure occurs, creating a vicious cycle.
Research reveals the lifesaving multiple actions of citrus fruit
Modified citrus pectin (MCP), a complex carbohydrate similar to the natural pectin found in fruits, contains sugar molecules or galactosides. These galactosides allow it to bind with galectin-3, blocking its destructive actions and disrupting its signaling abilities, thereby effectively “shutting it down.”
In one study, MCP not only inhibited galectin-3 levels but also reversed inflammation, fibrosis, and thickening of blood vessel walls – demonstrating its potential to prevent and possibly reverse the dangerous changes that lead to heart failure, even when extensive scarring is present.
MCP also reduced kidney enlargement caused by kidney disease, decreasing fibrosis and inflammatory cells while reducing levels of galectin-3.
MCP activates the body’s own defense system to target cancer
Probably the most heartening finding of all is the discovery that modified citrus pectin can activate natural killer cells – specialized cells produced by the immune system that locate, identify, and eliminate cancers as soon as they form. In a laboratory study published in 2011 in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, researchers reported that natural killer cells activated by MCP worked to induce cell death in leukemic cancer cells.
Further research suggests that MCP decreases the chances of skin cancer spreading to the lungs – by not letting cancer cells stick to normal, healthy tissue and blood vessels. By the same method of action, it prevents colon cancer from spreading to the liver.
And the good news keeps coming. Additional studies have found that MCP makes cancer cells more susceptible to chemotherapy – as well as causing apoptosis.
The research is in, and the results are clear. Modified citrus pectin offers a safe, natural, and effective way to combat cancer and heart disease.
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