Asparagus amino acid may impact cancer cells

12 Feb 2018 by under Research/Treatment
Green bio asparagus buds healthy low calories sodium 1920x1080 99 hd 100x100 Asparagus amino acid may impact cancer cells

Credit: Kylie Solong / Wikipedia

No need to swear off asparagus quite yet. Despite recent research suggesting asparagine, found in asparagus and other foods, may contribute to breast cancer, the potential link is still unclear.

According to Surviving Mesothelioma, the study suggests asparagine may promote the metastasizing of certain forms of breast cancer. Mice with high levels of the amino acid were found to have faster-growing triple-negative breast cancer tumors.  “Limiting asparagine by knockdown of asparagine synthetase, treatment with L-asparaginase, or dietary asparagine restriction reduces metastasis without affecting growth of the primary tumour, whereas increased dietary asparagine or enforced asparagine synthetase expression promotes metastatic progression,” the study found.

What does this mean for mesothelioma patients and those with other types of cancer?

No evidence suggests eating asparagus or other asparagine-containing foods, such as certain types of seafood, fruits, vegetables and poultry, causes cancer, and more research is needed to discover the relation between the amino acid and how it affects cancerous tumors.

Mesothelioma is a rare, deadly cancer contracted through asbestos exposure. It often takes decades to develop, but once diagnosed, patients often deteriorate rapidly, and most die within the first 18 months of diagnosis. The gold-standard treatment for mesothelioma is chemotherapy, but can also include a multimodal approach, which includes some combination of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.

Many asparagine-containing foods are those that mesothelioma patients need to stay healthy, reduce inflammation and repair damage done by chemotherapy and other treatment methods. It’s no secret that diet can go a long way in improving patient outcomes, so while research is still determining how asparagine affects cancer cells, don’t throw out the asparagus just yet.

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