Strawberries may be the most effective of the five most commonly consumed berries at eliminating cancer cells, according to a recent study conducted at the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition. The center recently tested extracts of six berries -- strawberries, raspberries, black raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and cranberries -- to determine their ability to induce apoptosis, a process that ends cancer cells.
In one phase of the study, all of the berry extracts exhibited anti-proliferative effects and did so in a dose-dependent manner. The strongest strawberry effects were seen against two types of oral and one type of colon cells. A second phase of the experiment measured their ability to induce apoptosis against a cyclooxygenase (COX)-II expressing enzyme cell. The results showed that the berries were potent inducers of apoptosis.
Strawberries account for 75% of the fresh berry volume sold at retail, followed by blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and cranberries, in descending order.
Strawberries and other berries contain high levels of the phytochemicals that are believed to be responsible for the protective effects of diets high in fruits and vegetables against chronic illnesses.
The investigators concluded that more in vivo studies are warranted to investigate the impact of berry phytochemicals on human health.
Dr. Navindra Seeram is the Assistant Director of UCLA Center for Human Nutrition and Adjunct Assistant Professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. His experience in phytochemical research is directed towards the in vitro and in vivo evaluation of foods and dietary supplements for the prevention and treatment of chronic illnesses.
These research results were provided by the California Strawberry Commission.