By Ben Wasserman
Mar 27, 2008
Flavonoid consumption may help reduce risk of developing pancreatic cancer among male smokers, according to Finnish researchers.
The researchers published a study in the March Edition of Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers showing that high intake of flavonoids, particularly flavonol kaempferol and flavan-3-ol catechin, was linked to a 64 percent reduced risk of pancreatic cancer in male smokers.
The finding essentially confirmed an early finding from another Finnish cohort study of more than 10,000 people that flavonoids reduce rates of pancreatic cancer in both genders.
But the researchers cautioned that the protection may be offset in smokers who may have been consuming supplemental tocopherol and or beta-carotene.
Flavonoids are found in fruits and vegetables such as broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, apples, beans and onions. These types of plant foods are often linked to reduced risk of cancer in addition to other health benefits.
For the study, the researchers surveyed 27,000 healthy male smokers age 50 to 69 for their dietary habits and found the inverse relationship between pancreatic cancer and three individual flavonoids namely myricetin, quercetin, and epicatechin.
They suggested that the protective effect of flavonoids against pancreatic cancer was backed by a laboratory study which showed that flavonols and flavan-3-ols inhibit pancreatic carcinogenesis via various actions including inhibition of proliferation, cell cycle arrest and induction of apoptosis.
They also said that flavonoids can inhibit the activity of phase I enzymes and increase the activity of phase II enzymes.
A health observer affiliated with foodconsumer.org said that studies showed people eating plant foods are at lower risk of cancer compared to those meat eaters. Regardless of how flavonoids affect cancer risk, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables daily.