This study was published recently in Cancer Prevention Research and highlights the work of Salman Hyder, Professor of biomedical sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center. This was not a human trial, but exposed rats with a certain type of breast cancer to apigenin, a common compound found in parsley and other plant products. The rats that were exposed to the apigenin developed fewer tumours and experienced significant delays in tumour formation compared to those rats that were not exposed to apigenin.
This is particularly relevant for women on HRT as it is known that certain synthetic hormones used in HRT accelerate breast tumour development. In his study, he exposed the rats to one of the chemicals used in the most common HRTs received in the United States – a progestin called medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) – which also happens to be the same synthetic hormone that accelerates breast tumour development.
When tumour cells develop in the breast in response to MPA, they encourage new blood vessels to form within tumours. The blood vessels then supply needed nutrients for the tumours to grow and multiply. Hyder found that apigenin blocked new blood vessel formation, thereby delaying, and sometimes stopping, the development of the tumours. He also found that the compound reduced the overall number of tumours. However, while apigenin did delay tumour growth, it did not stop the initial formation of cancer cells within the breast.
So What Should You Eat?
Apigenin is most prevalent in parsley and celery, but can also be found in apples, oranges, nuts and other plant products. However, apigenin is not absorbed efficiently into the bloodstream, so scientists are unsure of how much can or should be taken as there are no specific dosage for humans yet. However, it appears that keeping a minimal level of apigenin in the bloodstream is important to delay the onset of breast cancer that progresses in response to progestins such as MPA. It’s probably a good idea to eat a little parsley and some fruit every day to ensure the minimal amount. So stop using parsely as a decoration and chew on it instead, it also makes an excellent breath freshener.