US study found a higher risk of malignant melanoma
in people who consumed more than
a glass of orange juice a day or who had fresh grapefruit more than three times
a week. Malignant melanoma is a deadly skin cancer that arises from the
melanocytes or pigment cells of the skin. Excessive exposure to ultraviolet
the sun or tanning beds are well-known risk factors for cancer.
researchers are not in favor of a cut back on citrus in the daily diet but
suggest people who follow a citrus-rich diet to stay safe in the sun.
of now, we don't want to advise people to cut back on citrus - but those who
consume a lot of grapefruits or orange juice should be particularly careful to
avoid prolonged sun exposure," said Shaowei Wu, lead author from the
Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.
research team used data on 41,622 men enrolled in the Health Professionals
Follow-Up Study and 63,810 women from the Nurses' Health Study, both of which
ran from the mid-1980s to 2010.
two to four years, data on the participants' diet (including about grapefruits
and orange juice consumption), lifestyle information, and levels of sun
exposure and melanoma diagnosis were collected.
the study, as many as 1,840 new cases of melanoma were identified. Results
showed that participants who consumed citrus more than 1.6 times a day were at
36% higher risk of developing melanoma compared to those who had citrus less than
twice a week. Participants who ate fresh grapefruit more than three times a
week were at 41% higher risk compared to those who never ate grapefruit.
Participants who had orange juice more than once a day had a 25% higher risk of
melanoma compared with people who had the juice less than once a week.
researchers concluded, "Citrus consumption was associated with an
increased risk of malignant melanoma
investigation is necessary to confirm our findings and explore health-related
results of the study should not immediately influence the general public to
stop taking orange juice or grapefruit. These fruits do contain substances that
could cause skin
on exposure to the sun.
However, the study also found that orange fruit and grapefruit juice were not
linked with a higher risk for melanoma. Therefore, their association with skin
cancer appears doubtful.
it is currently more important to take precautions against excessive sun
exposure rather than cut down on fruits and fruit juices. This can be achieved
by wearing sunscreen and appropriate clothing when you are out in the sun, and
staying indoors during excessively hot days. Also, the results of the study may
not be relevant to
all populations. Melanoma is more common in people with fair skin, and
therefore this study may not apply to other populations. Until and unless it is
definitely proven that orange juice
and grapefruit are linked to skin cancer
there is no reason to advise
people to avoid their intake.