Listening to your mother and eating an apple a day to keep the doctor away seems to be a really good idea, for a new study has found that apple pectin and apple juice extracts have anticarcinogenic effects on the colon.
German researchers led by Dr. Dieter Schrenk found that apples and apple juice enhance biological mechanisms that produce anticarcinogenic compounds during the fermentation process.
The researchers believe that the presence of apple pectin and apple juice extracts increase the presence of the compound butyrate which is believed to be a chemopreventative metabolite that might prevent the occurrence of colorectal cancer.
Butyrate is a short chain fatty acid that, the research states, "not only serves as a major nutrient for the colon epithelia but is also thought to play an important role in the protective effect of natural fiber against colorectal cancer."
Dr Schrenk and his colleagues conducted laboratory tests in which they found that by the increased production of butyrate via the addition of apple components, histone deacetlyases (HDAC) were inhibited.
With slowed production of HDAC, there would be significantly less growth of precancerous and tumour cells.
The researchers therefore noted: "Apples are a major source of natural fiber and of low molecular weight plan polyphenols in the Western diet. Pectin-rich apple products can thus be expected to exert anticarginogenic effects in the colon."
The research is published in the April 2008 issue of Nutrition.