Phenolics (Salem Health: Cancer)
Cancers treated or prevented: Primarily breast cancer
Delivery routes: Oral in diet, pills, or capsules
How these compounds work: Phenolic acids have become the topic of much study for their protective role against many cancers. Examples of phenolics include gallic acids, curcumin, and ferulic acids. Found in abundance in many plants, phenolics in even low concentrations decrease cell proliferation, which makes them critically important in the shrinkage of cancer cells and concurrent reduction in size of tumors. Though the exact mechanisms by which phenolics work as antiproliferative substances in the treatment of cancer is unclear, a diet consisting of many fruits and vegetables seems to play an important role in cancer prevention and aids in cancer treatment by reducing tumor size and spread.
Proposed mechanisms by which these phenolic acids function include antioxidant effects, steroid receptor binding, direct interaction with intracellular elements and signaling systems, and aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) binding and modification of subsequent pathways. Polyphenols and phenolic acids are rich in antioxidants, which reduce the concentration of harmful free radicals in the human body. Binding to receptor sites and inhibiting particular enzymes inhibits cell growth and prevents the inflammatory response of surrounding healthy tissues. As a result of their oxidation-reduction...
(The entire section is 446 words.)