Title: Dietary sources of anticancer agents

Key words: Turmeric, cancer, melanoma, prostate cancer, phytosterols, plant oils, vegetables, nuts, fruit, spices, cereals, legumes, tea,

Date: Jan 2002

Category: Special diets

Type: Article

Author: Dr M Janson


This short article first describes the benefits of curcumin against cancer and then describes how specific dietary components (phtyosterols) appeared to protect against cancer in a study with mice



Curcumin has specific benefits in the prevention and treatment of cancer. It causes cell death in eight different melanoma cell types, even cells that are resistant to chemotherapy. It inhibits the growth and causes cell death in prostate cancers implanted in mice.

Try to include curry dishes in your meal planning. You will find many books and online sources for recipes, but understand that in India, they eat curry virtually every day, so this would be quite a change from typical diets. However, curcumin is so valuable in both prevention and treatment of so many health problems that it is a good idea to take supplements. Standardized extracts of turmeric, are available, containing 90 percent curcumin. Typical doses of such supplements are 600 to 1200 mg per day.



Phytosterols that occur naturally in plant sources, such as peanuts, beans, olive oil and peanut oil, appear to reduce prostate tumor growth in mice by over 40 percent, according to researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo. The researchers report in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention that phytosterols also appear to cut the spread of prostate cancer to other parts of the body by almost 50 percent.

Phytosterols are natural chemicals found in plants.

Three common forms of phytosterols are found in high concentrations in some plant oils, seeds and legumes:

In a study of mice that can accept tissue from other species, the mice were fed one of two experimental diets. One diet, designed to simulate the Asian diet, was supplemented with phytosterols from plant sources. The other diet, designed to simulate the Western diet, was supplemented with cholesterol from animal sources. "These studies demonstrated for the first time that phytosterols that exist naturally in our diet, in foods like peanuts and beans, can protect against prostate cancer," said Atif Awad, PhD, professor of nutrition at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

(note: below are natural food sources of these sterols found by searching at: www.fameanalytics.com/index.htm:)


Sources of the different phytosterols:

Sitosterol (beta-Sitosterol) (saw palmetto)


Campesterol (stinging nettle roots)


Stigmasterol - stinging nettle roots


Reproduced from Dr. Michael Janson's Healthy Living(tm) newsletter, Vol. 3 Number 12 - December, 2001