Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

An Unfortunate and Lengthy Adventure in Misdiagnosis

Natural polyamines and cancer

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13/03/2002 – Scientists have known for some time that certain components of some foods, called amines, possess biological activity. Amines are formed during normal metabolic processes in living organisms and are present in everyday food products.

The characteristics and biological functions of amines are very diverse; they may have beneficial or harmful effects. In general, amines can be described as ‘biogenic amines’ (such as serotonin, cadaverine and histamine) or ‘natural polyamines’ (such as spermidine and spermine).

Both polyamines and biogenic amines are present in food, but, while polyamines appear to be essential (through their involvement in growth and cell proliferation), biogenic amines are mainly detrimental (having the potential to lead to nausea, hot flushes, sweating, headaches and hyper- or hypotension). The biogenic amine content of food should therefore be kept at a very low level.

An interdisciplinary, joint European effort – a COST action – has been put together to clarify the physiological functions of biogenically active amines. In addition, the COST action includes an investigation into medical applications, such as the formation of a low-polyamine, anti-cancer diet to provide a better quality of life for patients with cancer, and the development of provision of nutritional advice to people on certain types of medications. Some of these medications, such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors, MAOI, which is used in some depressive illnesses, can make patients sensitive to biogenic amines (specifically tyramine) found in foods such as some mature cheeses, fermented foods, e.g. sauerkraut and fermented soya products, yeast extracts, pickled fish and red wine.

The project has 5 working groups concentrating on: physiology and metabolism of biologically active amines; polyamines and tumour growth; transgenic plants (with modified amine content); biologically active amines in food processing; production of biologically active amines by bacteria.

I was unaware that a low-polyamine diet was being investigated as an anti-cancer diet. I wonder how they’re getting on?

This review of polyamines and cancer [pdf] suggests it’s difficult to avoid polyamine formation once the cancer is established, but what about the avoidance of polyamines for cancer prevention? This seems more promising.

Along with this is the fantastic research being carried out by Dr. Seyfried on the ketogenic diet as an anticancer diet [pdf], particularly brain cancer, I think cancer diets are at last making a huge leap beyond the juice fasting/chemotherapy paradigms we saw in the last century – and in my opinion, the faster we can ditch all forms of chemotherapy and juice fasting for genuinely targetted treatments the better.


Written by alienrobotgirl

28 September, 2006 at 12:39 pm

Posted in The Science of FCI

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