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Eating pizza really could be good for you...Oregano seasoning could be a powerful weapon against prostate cancer


It is the sort of news you don’t hear every day: eating pizza could be good for you.
Research suggests that the pizza seasoning oregano could be turned into a powerful weapon against prostate cancer.

A medicine inspired by the herb may also have fewer side-effects than existing treatments, which can cause problems from incontinence to impotence.

It may not be low in calories, but pizza does contain an element that could help fight prostate cancer
It may not be low in calories, but pizza does contain an element that could help fight prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in British men, affecting 37,000 a year and killing more than 10,000.

The researchers, from Long Island University, New York, studied carvacrol, the chemical behind most of oregano’s properties.

Added to prostate cancer cells in the lab, it rapidly wiped them out. Left for four days, almost all the cells were killed, the Experimental Biology conference in San Diego heard.

    Tests showed the oregano chemical triggered the cells into committing suicide. Further research is needed to work out exactly how it does this.

    Researcher Supriya Bavadekar, a pharmacologist, said: ‘Some researchers have previously shown that eating pizza may cut down cancer risk.

    ‘This effect has been mostly attributed to lycopene, a substance found in tomato sauce, but we now feel that even the oregano seasoning may play role.’ Lycopene, the pigment that gives tomatoes their read colour is credited with a host of health benefits, including warding off cancer and cutting the risk of heart disease.

    Tests have shown Oregano, which is common in pizzas, causes cancer cells to die, they are now researching why this is
    Tests have shown Oregano, which is common in pizzas, causes cancer cells to die, and research is now focusing on why this is

    Dr Bavadekar said: ‘If the study continues to yield positive results, this super-spice may present a very promising therapy for patients with prostate cancer.

    ‘A significant advantage is that oregano is commonly used in food. We expect this to translate into a decreased risk of severe toxic effects.

    ‘But this study is at a very preliminary stage and further experiments need to be conducted to get a better idea of uses in the clinic.’ 

    Possibilities include using carvacrol itself or using it as the blueprint for an even more powerful treatment.
    Others stressed that it is too early for men to start stocking up on pizza.


    Margaret Rayman, a Surrey University professor of nutritional medicine who has compiled a cookbook of recipes designed to keep prostate cancer at bay said that much more work needs to be done.

    For instance, any oregano-inspired treatment would have to be much less harmful to healthy cells than cancerous ones.

    Also, the experiments show the oregano chemical carvacrol to be the cancer killer.
    But it may be that when oregano is eaten, carvacrol is processed long before it can do any good. -DM


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