Capsicum beats roses

“Luteolin” sounds like it might be a stringed instrument favoured by medieval types disposed to warbling lyrics like, “My love is gone, yea far away. Fal de rol, de ray do day.” Alas, for the romantics among you luteolin is not in fact a hybrid lute and violin, but is rather a flavonoid commonly found in fruit and vegetables, and as such was given scant attention by bards of merry England. This lack of historic attention however, is more than being made up for now by modern scientists who are finding luteolin to be of intense interest.

Luteolin is a flavonoid found in celery, capsicum, thyme, and chamomile tea. It has been shown previously to be strongly anti-inflammatory as well as being antioxidant. Now a new study has shown that it has anti-cancer properties as well.

Colon cancer is the second most common cause of cancer related death in the world. What has been shown previously is that cancerous colon cells have elevated levels of a hormone known as insulin-like growth factor – 2 (IGF-2) when compared to normal colon cells. These raised IGF-2 levels are thought to drive the uncontrolled cell division and cancer growth.

What these researchers have found is that when exposed to luteolin the cancerous colon cells stopped secreting IGF-2 and within two hours there was also a drop in the number of receptors (IGF-1) to which IGF-2 attaches to exert its effects.

The net result is that luteolin shut down all signalling pathways within colon cells that are activated by IGF-1 in cancer. The researchers said that a fuller understanding of how luteolin works in the body may lead to the development of a chemopreventive agent.

It also means of course, that you now you have a more meaningful gift to offer your beloved this Valentine’s Day than the over-priced rose which after a few days withers and offers no more than a little prick. Instead give the gift of luteolin this Valentine’s Day, offer your loved one a lush stick of celery or a ruby red capsicum and whisper softly in his or her ear, “A gift my love, for the heart of your bottom.”

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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