Apple Extract Kills Cancer Cells, Outperforms Common Chemo Drugs




April 28th, 2013

Are you a believer in using foods to prevent and treat illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure, and even cancer? There are countless foods and substances available for preventing and treating cancer, and in case you still aren’t convinced, maybe this new and exciting research will seal the deal. In recent research, compounds in apples known as oligosaccharides were found to kill up to 46% of human colon cancer cells. Further, the compound outperformed common chemotherapy drugs while leaving the toxic side effects behind.

Apples: Another Cancer Solution

Apples Outperform Common Chemo DrugsFor the study, researchers isolated polysaccarides like pectin and other fibers from the waste product of apples after they have been juiced. This waste product, known as pomace, is made up of skins, pulp, seeds, and stems. After isolating the polysaccarides, the researchers treated them with natural pectinase to break down their molecules into oligosaccharides. Finally, the oligosaccharides were added at various concentrations to cultured human HT29 colon cancer cells, while a common chemo drug was added to others.

In every test using different concentrations, oligosaccharides induced programmed cell death (apoptosis) at greater levels than the chemo drug.

  • At about 0.9 PPM), oligosaccharides killed 17.6% of the colon cancer cells within 36 hours. The chemo drug, at a higher concentration of 1.3 micrograms per mL, killed only 10.9%.
  • At 9.0 PPM, 46% of colon cancer cells were killed by oligosaccharides. The chemo drug wasn’t tested at this level.
  • Apple oligosaccharides don’t negatively effect healthy cells, unlike chemo.

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Study Abstract

Co Citations For this Study

That Sustainable Seafood Label May Be Fishy

By Julia Whitty

Destroying the food supply?

The Marine Stewardship Council‘s principles for sustainable fishing are

“too lenient and discretionary,” according to a Seafood Sustainability Labels May Be Fishynew analysis published in Biological Conservation. The MSC’s principles “allow for overly generous interpretation by third-party certifiers and adjudicators, which means that the MSC label may be misleading both consumers and conservation funders.” This is another black eye for the MSC, which was already failing its own strict standards for awarding the coveted “sustainable” label.

[For the 20,000 swordfish ‘sustainably’ hooked in Canadian waters yearly, longliners also catch 100,000 sharks, 1,200 endangered loggerhead turtles, and 170 leatherback turtles.]

The World Wildlife Fund, one of the world’s biggest environmental groups, and Unilever, one of the world’s biggest seafood processors, founded the MSC in 1997 to provide “the best environmental choice in seafood.” But as I’ve reported here, here, here, and here—and as MoJo’s Tom Philpott reported recently here—the prestige of the MSC sustainable blue label has been eroded, challenged, and at times undermined by scientific assessment of the fisheries and genetic analysis of the fish going to market.

The authors of this latest study write:

Despite high costs and difficult procedures, conservation organizations and other groups have filed and paid for 19 formal objections to MSC fisheries certifications. Only one objection has been upheld such that the fishery was not certified. Here, we collate and summarize these objections and the major concerns as they relate to the MSC’s three main principles: sustainability of the target fish stock, low impacts on the ecosystem, and effective, responsive management.

Here are some of the lowlights of the MSC report card:

■Over the past decade, there have been 19 formal objections to Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) fisheries certifications
■Adjudicators have upheld only one objection: the Faroese Northeast Atlantic mackerel
■12 percent of MSC fisheries have received formal objections
■By weight, these fisheries represent 35 percent of MSC-certified seafood
■Loopholes and loose wording in MSC standards allow for controversial fisheries to be certified
…. continued

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National Toxicology Program Tox Study on Ginkgo Misleads

Ginko Biloba Leaves(AUSTIN, Texas, April 30, 2013) The New York Times (NYT) today ran an article [1] in its weekly “Science Times” section on the subject of the National Toxicology Program’s (NTP) recent toxicology report on a Chinese ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) leaf extract. [2]

The NYT article was written by Roni Caryn Rabin, a freelance writer who frequently contributes to the Times. The article is under “The Consumer” header, and was titled, “New Doubts About Ginkgo Biloba.”

The initial four paragraphs of the article read as follows:

“Millions of Americans take ginkgo biloba supplements to boost memory and prevent dementia. Studies have never found any solid evidence that ginkgo does any such thing, but it did not seem to be doing much harm.“But last month, scientists released the first government toxicology study of ginkgo biloba, which found that the extract — one of the top-sellingherbal supplements in the country — caused cancer in lab animals, including an excessive number of liver and thyroid cancers, as well as nasal tumors.“The findings were somewhat surprising because ginkgo biloba has had a long and apparently benign history of human use. Although it has been associated with bleeding and cerebral hemorrhages in the elderly, there have generally been few reports of serious side effects.

“The results of the study do not confirm that ginkgo biloba is dangerous to humans, but it is disturbing that the laboratory animals all tended to suffer the same sorts of injuries, said Cynthia Rider of the

National Toxicology Program and the lead scientist of the ginkgo biloba study.”

Among several experts Ms. Rabin interviewed for this article was Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of the American Botanical Council (ABC), and Steven Dentali, PhD, chief science officer of the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA). Both organizations are named in the article as having “sharply criticized the study, saying that the ginkgo extract used had a different chemical composition than the extract typically sold in the United States.” Dr. Dentali was also quoted as having stated that, “This says nothing about toxicity in people, or what would be a safe dose in people. It’s just a crude tool toxicologists have to determine if something is harmful. If it hurts the animals, maybe it hurts people.”

On April 18, both ABC and AHPA issued statements referring to various limitations, concerns, and criticisms of the NTP report. [3,4] Both organizations had filed public comments in early 2012 with the NTP elaborating concerns in the draft NTP report that had been issued for public comment. (Access to the 2012 ABC and AHPA comments are provided.)

Of particular interest is the fact that even by the NTP’s own language in the report, the results of the report are not to be interpreted as being related to human health. According to the authors, “The actual determination of risk to humans from chemicals found to be carcinogenic in laboratory animals requires a wider analysis that extends beyond the purview of these studies.” [2]

ABC emphasized that the Shanghai Chinese ginkgo extract used in the two-year NTP study was not consistent with clinically tested ginkgo extracts or those standards for ginkgo extract that have been published in official compendial standards, such as national pharmacopeias. AHPA also noted that the Chinese extract was not consistent with those sold in the US market.

According to ABC’s Blumenthal, “Coverage of this subject in the New York Times will presumably result in more media outlets’ picking up this story and spreading to consumers and health professionals, creating what are probably unwarranted concerns about the long-term safety of appropriately manufactured ginkgo extracts.”

In addition, added Blumenthal, the Times’ statement that “Studies have never found any solid evidence that ginkgo [provides any benefit to ‘boost memory’ and ‘prevent dementia’]” is misleading. Blumenthal noted, as he had discussed with the reporter, that there is an impressive body of clinical evidence that the use of the leading German ginkgo extract does provide cognitive benefits to persons with mild dementia, among other noted benefits for patients with age-related cognitive impairment, including increases in quality of life.

John Shaw CEO of  The Natural Products Association (NPA),  the leading representative of the dietary supplement industry with more than 2,000 members, including suppliers and retailers of vitamins and other dietary supplements had this to say:

“On a daily basis, millions of consumers across the country turn to dietary supplements to improve their health and quality of life. Ginkgo biloba is one supplement that Americans have safely used for many years to support cognitive function. I’m disappointed that The New York Times chose to highlight a study that challenges the safety of ginkgo biloba.

NPA believes there are three major issues with the study from the National Toxicology Program. First, the study tested the effects of gingko biloba in animals, and these results cannot be directly translated to humans.

Second, the lab animals in this study were given quantities of ginkgo biloba that were much higher than humans would consume. The New York Times story even points this out, noting that “doses used in toxicology studies tend to be very high.” Mice received up to 2,000 milligrams per kilogram of body weight five times a week in this study; consumers take up to about 120 milligrams a day.

Finally, it has been found that the ginkgo extract used in the NTP study was not the same high-quality type that has been used in clinical trials establishing the benefits and safety of ginkgo biloba. NPA echoes the American Botanical Council stating “it is highly unfortunate that NTP chose to use this ginkgo extract as it means that the results of the NTP’s studies are not applicable to the standard-setting ginkgo extracts.”

The NTP study and the accompanying story from The New York Times should not deter consumers from taking ginkgo biloba. We encourage those interested in taking a new dietary supplement to consult their health care professional.

For more on the benefits of dietary supplements and other natural products, visit

Natural Products Association

The Natural Products Association (NPA), founded in 1936, is the largest and oldest nonprofit organization dedicated to the natural products industry. NPA represents over 2,000 members accounting for more than 10,000 locations of retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors of natural products, including foods, dietary supplements, and health/beauty aids. As the leading voice of the natural products industry, the NPA’s mission is to advocate for the rights of consumers to have access to products that will maintain and improve their health, and for the rights of retailers and suppliers to sell these products. Visit


1. Rabin RC. New doubts about ginkgo biloba. New York Times. April 29, 2013. Available at: Accessed April 30, 2013.

2. National Toxicology Program. NTP technical report on the toxicology and carcinogenesis studies of gingko biloba extract. Research Triangle Park, NC: National Toxicology Program. March 2013. Accessed April 30, 2013.

3. Many ginkgo extracts safe, says herbal science group [press release]. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; April 18, 2013. Accessed April 30, 2013.

4. AHPA disputes the relevance of NTP report finding ginkgo causes cancer in mice [press release]. Silver Spring, MD: American Herbal Products Association; April 18, 2013. Accessed April 30, 2013.

5. Wang B-S, Wang H, Song Y-Y, et al. Effectiveness of standardized Ginkgo biloba extract on cognitive symptoms of dementia with a six-month treatment: a bivariate random effect meta-analysis. Pharmacopsychiatry. May 2010;43(3):86-91.

Hard Core Rap For Hard Core Lessons

WOW! Was I blown away when I saw this post called “Gangsta Veganism” on Gangsta Veganism sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Well, guess what?! says it real. This is exactly what it takes to get through to so many people who just don’t get it about “Whole, Fresh & Lively” food. Incidentally, the tag line for this site is: “Eat Like You Give A Fuck!” That seems like words to live by to me.

Punk Ass nutrition.

Burning Question: Is it OK to Heat Food in Plastic?

Lunch at your desk can be a downer, especially when it involves leftovers reheated in the office microwave. But are you putting more into your body than just lukewarm pad thai? Rolf Halden, the director for the Center for Environmental Security at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, stirs the pot.

“We don’t know if and how many people die from plastic exposure,” says Dr. Halden, “but we do know that in the developed world we suffer from a lot of diseases—breast cancer, obesity and early onset puberty—that are less prevalent in developing countries. These are a result of our lifestyle.” He adds:

“From a public health perspective, we should consider heated plastic an unnecessary source of exposure to harmful elements and eliminate it.”

Two to Watch



There are two chemicals in it to watch out for in plastics: phthalates and bisphenol A (also known as BPA).

Since plastic was first synthesized in the early 1900s, it has evolved into everything from lifesaving medical devices to a softening agent in hair conditioner. Plastic is ubiquitous but there are two chemicals in it to watch out for when it comes to what your body ingests.

Phthalates, the chemicals that make a PVC container flexible, “can migrate out of the plastic when it’s heated,” says Dr. Halden, who has done comprehensive studies on emerging contaminants and plastics for more than a decade.

Phthalates can leach into food, resulting in:

  • hormone imbalances and
  • birth defects—although no one knows at what level those effects are triggered, he says.
  • Phthalates are present in measurable levels in the blood of nearly every person in the developed world, he adds.

Bisphenol A, or BPA, is a potentially worse offender. Once tested for possible use as an estrogen replacement, BPA was found to be of better use in the mass production of polycarbonate plastic. It’s used in everything from the lining of metal soup cans to receipt paper. The FDA banned the use of BPA in baby bottles in July 2012, because of growing consumer concerns over its link to developmental delays.

While the recycling numbers at the bottom of plastic items “are not meant to provide health information or risks,” Dr. Halden says, they can sometimes provide clues to the chemicals in them. For example, No. 7, says Dr. Halden, means “there is a high likelihood” that Bisphenol A is in it.

That reusable water bottle sitting on your desk? “Think of it as one big BPA vessel,” he says.


Lunch at your desk can be a downer, especially when it involves leftovers reheated in the office microwave.

When to Toss It

The amount of chemicals leaching into food depends on the type of plastic that is put in the microwave, the time it is heated and the physical condition of the container, says Dr. Halden. Old, cracked containers and those that have been washed hundreds of times often give off more toxins when heated. Any deformities or discoloration are a sign it’s time for the recycling bin.

And reheating foods heavy in cream and butter in plastic is always a bad idea. “Fatty foods absorb more of these harmful chemicals when heated,” he says.

Another Way to Reheat

Rather than torturing yourself over what plastic is safe, use an inert container such as glass or ceramic, he suggests. Along with cold spots in food that could harbor bacteria, Dr. Halden points to another reason to avoid reheating in the microwave: taste. “Food tastes much better if it is prepared in a hot oven or on the stove, and not cold on the inside and too hot on the outside,” he says.

A version of this article appeared April 22, 2013, on page D4 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: BURNING QUESTION: Is it OK to heat food in plastic?.

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