to a recent conference call with Dr. Larry McDade on Ellagic
Here To Listen
acid is a naturally occurring phenolic constituent
in certain fruits and nuts. Research in the past decade
confirms that Ellagic acid markedly inhibits the ability
of other chemicals to cause mutations in bacteria. Ellagic
acid from red raspberries has proven as an effective antimutagen
and anticarcinogen as well as a inhibitor of cancer.
acid has been found to occur naturally in 46 different
foods, with the red raspberry having been identified as
having the highest natural content.
acid is a phenolic compound found in plants in the
form of hydrolyzable tannins called ellagitannins. Ellagitannins
are esters of glucose with hexahydroxydiphenic acid; when
hydrolyzed, they yield Ellagic acid, the dilactone of
hexahydroxydiphenic acid. Ellagic acid is a very stable
compound and is readily absorbed through the gastrointestinal
system in mammals, including humans.
studies on Ellagic acid have been extensive, especially
in vitro studies and studies in laboratory animals. Although
yet to prove conclusively in humans that red raspberries
will reduce risk of cancer or even cause remission of
active disease, this research does represent a substantial
body of evidence to support the protective effects of
ellagitannins in humans in combination with other chemopreventive
are the most common food sources of Ellagic acid. The
relative amount of Ellagic acid in average number of micrograms
per gram of dry weight fruit extract is highest in red
raspberries at 1500 mcg, followed by strawberries at 630
mcg, walnuts at 590 mcg, pecans at 330 mcg, and cranberries
at 120 mcg. Torre, et al., performed a quantitative evaluation
of red raspberries that was published in the Journal of
Food Sciences in 1977:
acid promotes carcinogen detoxification by stimulating
the activity of various isoforms of the enzyme glutathione-S-
transferase in hepatoma (liver cancer).
acid slows the growth of abnormal colon cells in humans,
prevents the development of cells infected with the human
papilloma virus (HPV) linked to cervical cancer, and triggers
apoptosis (natural death) of prostate cancer cells. This
apoptotic process may also have beneficial effects on
breast, lung, esophageal, and skin cancer (melanoma).
acid from raspberries causes apoptosis (normal cell
death) of human cervical cancer cells (human papilloma
virus), induces G1 inhibition of cancer cell division,
and prevents destruction of the P53 gene by cancer cells.
P53 is regarded as a safeguard against mutagenic activity
(cancer causing changes) in cervical cells (Nixon, Narayanan).
research at the Hollings Cancer Center shows that
one cup of raspberries per week will stop prostate cancer
growth for a period of up to one week. Their studies reveal
that Ellagic acid from red raspberries is readily absorbed
through the gastrointestinal tract. Ellagic acid retains
its potency after heating, freezing and concentration
processing. So whether consumed fresh, in juices, fruit
spreads, preserves or sorbets, red raspberry has been
recommended as a beneficial part of any healthy diet.
of carcinogenesis by Ellagic acid has been demonstrated
in animals with esophagus, tongue, lung, colon, liver,
and skin tumors. Ellagic acid inhibits the initiation
of tumors through a number of mechanisms, including inhibition
of metabolic activation of carcinogenic compounds (such
as polycyclic hydrocarbons, nitroso-containing chemicals
or food preservatives, and aflatoxins) into forms that
induce cell DNA damage.
acid acts as a scavenger to "bind" cancer-causing
chemicals, making them inactive. It inhibits the ability
of other chemicals to cause mutations in bacteria. In
addition, Ellagic acid from red raspberries prevents binding
of carcinogens to DNA, and reduces the incidence of cancer
in cultured human cells exposed to carcinogens. Ellagic
acid has been shown to inhibit chemically induced cancer
in the lung, liver, skin and esophagus of rodents, and
TPA-induced tumor promotion in mouse skin (Stoner).
acid elicits a dose-dependent bactericidal effect
in H. pylori cultures, the bacteria thought primarily
responsible for the development of gastric ulcers (Chung).
acid is an effective inhibitor of lung and esophageal
tumors in mice (Stoner).
acid inhibits lipid peroxide and liver hydroxy proline
and rectifies liver pathology in laboratory animal hepatotoxcity
induced by carbon tetrachloride (Thresiamma).
can affect DNA by covalent bonding of the carcinogen to
the DNA molecule. Ellagic acid inhibits mutagenesis and
carcinogenesis by forming adducts with DNA, thus masking
binding sites to be occupied by the mutagen or carcinogen
acid treatment of preweanling mice before an injection
of B(a)P diol-epoxide caused a 44-75% inhibition in the
number of diol-epoxide-induced lung tumors (Chang).
acid inhibits N-nitrosomethylbenzylamine (NMBA) tumorigenesis
in the esophagus of F-344 rats. Ellagic acid inhibited
the development of both preneoplastic and neoplastic lesions
by 25-50% (Daniel and Stoner).
acid reduced the number of altered foci and the incidence
of hepatocellular neoplasms in rats with liver cancer
induced by N-2-fluorenylacetamide (Tanaka).
is clinical evidence that Ellagic acid may inhibit tumors
of the prostate and cervix. Preliminary studies in volunteers
indicate Ellagic acid shows up in cervical tissue after
oral ingestion of red raspberries. One study will evaluate
women with atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance
(ASCUS) in which there is neither treatment nor clinical
evaluation available. ASCUS represents as much as 10%
of all Papanicolaou smears in the US and represents approximately
5 million females. In this population, women infected
with human papillomaviruses (HPV) types 16 and/or 18 are
at the greatest risk of developing cervical cancer at
some stage in their lives. This population represents
approximately one million women in the United States alone,
and in India is one of the two major cancers affecting
acids do more than prevent cancer. Berries may also
help prevent heart attacks because they contain a natural
form of aspirin called salicylates. British researchers
analyzed the blood of subjects who were not taking any
form of aspirin or drugs containing salicylates. They
found salicylic acid and two related compounds present
in blood, presumably from dietary sources, including raspberries
at the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) in
Hyattsville, Maryland established a connection between
reduced risk of heart attack and increased intake of salicylates.
They found that during a 10 year period beginning in 1960,
when heart attack rates began to decline, non-aspirin
salicylate consumption went up due to salicylate in processed
foods which used a synthetic version to add flavor and
acid is pharmacologically active and has been found
to control hemorrhage in animals and in humans, presumably
as a result of its ability to activate Hageman factor.
Animal tests suggest that red raspberry may reduce levels
of glucose (blood sugar) in animals, and therefore may
help in the management of diabetes.
acid inhibits lipid peroxidation necrosis of skin
flaps, enhancing preservation of grafting procedures (Ashoori).
acid has a marked inhibitory effect on acid secretion
and the occurrence of stress-induced gastric lesions (Murakami).
are also believed by herbalists to be effective in treating
diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and morning sickness in pregnancy.
Herbalists do not, however, recommend you use red raspberry
for this purpose at home even though red raspberry leaves
are included in several herbal pregnancy formulas sold
in the United States for women with a history of miscarriage
or difficult pregnancy for the purpose of regulating uterine
contractions, morning sickness, hot flashes, diarrhea
(use weak tea for infants), and for reducing excessive
menstrual flow. The herb is also used as a gargle for