(Health Secrets) A simple component found in many of our favorite foods can be a powerful healer and preventive of cancer according to recent research studies. It’s known as inositol hexaphosphate, or IP6 for short, and it works its magic through the ability to
- Kill cancer cells
- Restore cancerous cells to normal
- Snuff out inflammation
- Regulate the immune system
Previous data has provided strong evidence that IP6 can lead cancer cells to commit suicide in a process known as apoptosis. Researchers confirmed this late last year by showing that IP6 induces the death of colorectal cancer cells by regulating various pro and anti-apoptotic markers. This is the action hoped for by anyone agreeing to chemotherapy, but IP6 is able to induce apoptosis in cancer cells without the side effects seen with chemotherapy use.
Another research team targeted transforming growth factor beta (TGF-b), a protein that controls proliferation, cellular differentiation, and the regulation of inflammation in most cells. They studied the effect of IP6 on the genetic expression of TGF-b, and concluded that IP6’s presence in the intestinal tract exerts a regulatory effect on the immune system and cancer preventive activity in colon epithelial cells existing under conditions of inflammation and infection. It does this by modulating the expression of genes encoding TGF-b and their receptors at the transcriptional level.
Other research was designed to evaluate the effect of IP6 on induced colorectal cancer cells in rats. Scientists found that the administration of IP6 markedly suppressed the incidence of tumors when compared to controls. They also noted that markers of inflammation were suppressed by IP6 and concluded that these downregulations could play an inhibiting role in colorectal cancer development, and IP6 could act as a potent anticancer agent.
What is IP6?
IP6 is a naturally occurring carbohydrate first identified in 1855. It can exist on its own or can be bound to various other minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron or sodium. IP6 is found in substantial amounts in whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, rice, wheat germ, and corn. IP6 is also contained within the cells in mammals, with the job of regulating vital cellular functions.
There’s more to IP6 than colon cancer
A study published last fall in the journal Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology showed IP6 altered pathways leading to altered gene expression in mice with induced lung tumors.
In 2013, scientists found that IP6 significantly decreased cellular growth by shutting off blood supply to bladder cancer cells. These findings were published in Current Urology.
In 2012, a data review determined that IP6 has a broad spectrum of biological activities that include inhibition of tumor growth and the ability to return cancerous cells to a state of normality. It has shown to be effective in cancer cell lines including breast, nipple, prostate, cervix, liver, pancreas, melanoma, and glioblastoma. The molecular mechanisms through which IP6 works are not yet fully known, but the assumed actions include antioxidant properties, participation in signal transduction, ability to enhance Natural Killer-cells, inhibition of cancer cell cycle, differentiation of cancerous cells, and activation of pathways leading to cancer cell death.
Older research has shown that IP6 inhibits Barrett’s adenocarcinoma, a form of cancer of the esophagus. In addition, IP6 has significantly decreased cellular growth and increased late stage apoptosis in melanoma.
In 2005 researchers reported that IP6 had been found to have significant inhibitory effects against a variety of primary tumors including breast. They investigated IP6 for inhibition of cell growth and increase in the apoptotic rate of pancreatic cancer in vitro. They concluded that treatment of pancreatic cancer with IP6 significantly decreased cellular growth and increased apoptosis.
Dr. A.M. Shamsuddin has done extensive investigation into IP6. He has found that when IP6 is administered, it is rapidly taken into the cells and de-phosphorylated to lower inositol phosphates, which further affects signal transduction pathways. In addition to the arresting of cell proliferation, this process also induces the differentiation of malignant cells. As previously known, the more differentiated the malignant cells, the less aggressive and dangerous is the cancer.
Dr. Shamsuddin has pointed out that in addition to its role in cancer prevention and control of tumor growth, progression and metastasis, IP6 possesses other significant benefits, that include preventing calcification and kidney stone formation, lowering elevated serum cholesterol, and reducing pathological platelet activity.
In their book Too Good to be True?, Drs. Kim Vanderlinden and Ivana Vucenik describe how IP6 works to help normalize the rate of cell division, normalize cell physiology, enhance Natural Killer (NK) cells, increase tumor suppressor P53 gene activity, inhibit inflammation, and inhibit angiogenesis. The book also elaborates on other conditions shown to greatly benefit from IP6 including diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Should you take IP6?
IP6 is considered quite safe by all its investigators. It is a naturally occurring substance already found in human cells, so there are no side effects. In food, IP6 is mostly bound to protein. Before it can be absorbed it must first be freed from this protein. The phytase enzyme that is present in both food and the intestinal tract performs this function. The problem is that the power of phytase damages the IP6 itself, rendering much of it inactive and therefore less effective.
Pure IP6 from a supplement is absorbed intact and can provide its complete medicinal properties. When All Bran was added to the diet of rats with mammary cancer, it was much less effective than the equivalent amount of IP6 added to their drinking water.
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