Study leader Dr. Keith Singletary said the natural compounds in Concord grapes, anthocyanins, increased the activity of enzymes that metabolize and detoxify carcinogens and curb potentially cancer-causing oxidative stress.
For the study, the researchers exposed healthy human breast cells, placed in a test tube, to an environmental carcinogen, benzo(a)pyrene, that is able to set off a chain of events leading to breast cancer. However, the introduction of Concord grape juice compounds blocked the connection of the carcinogen to the DNA of the healthy cells.
"The purple grape compounds demonstrated the capacity to inhibit DNA adduct formation as well as to increase the activity of enzymes that metabolize and detoxify carcinogens, and suppress potentially cancer-causing oxidative stress. These new data suggest that anthocyanins present in Concord grape juice, as well as some other fruits and juices, warrant further study for their breast cancer chemopreventive potential," said Dr. Singletary, nutrition professor and lead researcher at the University of Illinois.
This research is the latest to suggest that Concord grape juice may be of value in maintaining breast health by suppressing oxidative stress and inhibiting DNA damage to cells that can lead to the initiation of cancer, or in helping to slow the progression of breast cancer by slowing the multiplication of cancer cells.
Diets high in natural antioxidants have been associated with a reduced risk of some types of cancers, and Welch's 100 percent Grape Juice made from Concord grapes is particularly high in anthocyanins, potent natural antioxidants that give the juice its characteristic deep purple color.
The study is published in the current issue of the Journal of Medicinal Foods.