Table of Contents


Dietary pectin influences fibrin network structure in hypercholesterolaemic subjects

Thrombosis Research (United Kingdom), 1997, 86/3 (183-196)

Fibrinogen is an important risk factor for atherosclerosis, stroke and cardiovascular heart disease (CHD). This risk is increased when associated with a high serum cholesterol. Furthermore, it is also believed that not only fibrinogen concentration, but also the quality of fibrin networks may be an important risk factor for the development of CHD. CHD and stroke as a result of atherosclerosis, plus the related problems of hyperinsulinaemia, hyperlipidaemia and hypertension are strongly related to diet. The 'western' diet, defined by low fibre and high fat, sucrose and animal protein intakes, appears to be a major factor leading to death. It has been established that the water-soluble dietary fibre, pectin, significantly decrease the concentration of serum cholesterol levels. Evidence is also accumulating that a diet rich in fibre may protect against diseases associated with raised clotting factors. This investigation studied the possible effects of pectin on fibrinogen levels and fibrin network architecture. Two groups of 10 male hyperlipidaemic volunteers each, received a pectin supplement (15g/day) or placebo (15g/day) for 3 weeks. Lipid and fibrin network structure variables were measured at baseline and the end of supplementation. Pectin supplementation caused significant decreases in total cholesterol, low-density lind lipoprotein (a). Significant changes in the characteristics of fibrin networks developed in the plasma of the pectin supplemented group indicated that networks were more permeable and had lower tensile strength. These network structures are believed to be less atherogenic. It is suspected that pectin modified network characteristics by a combination of its effects on metabolism and altered fibrin conversion. This confirms the therapeutic possibilities of dietary intervention. Furthermore, this study also showed that changes in plasma fibrinogen need not be present to induce alterations in fibrin network architecture.

Intestinal immunocompetency and/or cancer control

Biotherapy (Japan), 1997, 11/4 (524-525)

The conditions and diseases that have become more prevalent are almost wholly of environmental origin. The most plausible contributory factor is diet. In diet, calorie intake has increased, total intake of protein has risen, and more animal but less vegetable protein is consumed. Dietary fiber is described as the proportion of plant foods not digested in the human small intestine. For the purpose of practical classification, dietary fiber is divided into 'water soluble' and 'water insoluble' types. The soluble fibers (pectins and gums) slow glucose absorption, and reduce serum cholesterol. Insoluble fibers (cellulose, hemicelluloses, and lignin) decrease intestinal transit time and increase fecal bulk, thus preventing colon cancer. Among the various kinds of pectin, apple pectin exerts a bacteriostatic action and therefore may change the composition of the intestinal flora. The diet supplemented with 20% apple pectin significantly decreased the number and the incidence of AOM-induced colon tumors in rats. Fecal beta-glucuronidase activity was significantly lower in the group fed pectin. The prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) level in the distal colonic mucosa and blood of portal vein was lower in rats fed 20% pectin than those fed the basal diet. The ability of apple pectin to decrease PGE2 was dose-dependent, and those results suggest an anti-inflammatory effect in the bowel. Rats fed apple pectin showed a significantly lower incidence of hepatic metastasis than those fed the basal diet. To determine whether the anti-inflammatory effect of Lactobacillus on the hepatic metastasis model was the same as apple pectin, Lactobacillus casei was selected. Metastatic nodules were significantly reduced, especially in the group receiving pretreatment. The suppression of colonic carcinogenesis in AOM induced colon tumors in rats was evident with three kinds of living bacterial mixture (S. faecalis, B. mesentericus, C. butyricum). In conclusion, apple pectin has a scavenger effect in the intestinal digestion and portal circulation system as an anti-inflammatory food. Dietary fibers like pectin, and Lactobacillus have a very important function in the intestinal tract as anti-inflammatory foods.

Modified citrus pectin-monograph.

Altern Med Rev 2000 Dec;5(6):573-5

Modified citrus pectin (MCP), also known as fractionated pectin, is a complex polysaccharide obtained from the peel and pulp of citrus fruits. Modified citrus pectin is rich in galactoside residues, giving it an affinity for certain types of cancer cells. Metastasis is one of the most life-threatening aspects of cancer and the lack of effective anti-metastatic therapies has prompted research on MCP's effectiveness in blocking metastasis of certain types of cancers, including melanomas, prostate, and breast cancers.

Effects of daily oral administration of quercetin chalcone and modified citrus pectin.

Altern Med Rev 2000 Dec;5(6):546-52
Hayashi A, Gillen AC, Lott JR Central Florida Community College, P.O. Box 1388, Ocala, FL 34478, USA.

The health benefits of fruits and vegetables have been the subject of numerous investigations over many years. Two natural substances, quercetin (a flavonoid) and citrus pectin (a polysaccharide found in the cell wall of plants) are of particular interest to cancer researchers. Two modified versions of these substances - quercetin chalcone (QC) and a pH-modified citrus pectin (MCP) - are the focus of this study. Previous research has confirmed that quercetin exhibits antitumor properties, likely due to immune stimulation, free radical scavenging, alteration of the mitotic cycle in tumor cells, gene expression modification, anti-angiogenesis activity, or apoptosis induction, or a combination of these effects. MCP has inhibited metastases in animal studies of prostate cancer and melanoma. To date, no study has demonstrated a reduction in solid tumor growth with MCP, and there is no research into the antitumor effect of QC. This study examines the effects of MCP and QC on the size and weight of colon-25 tumors implanted in balb-c mice. Fifty mice were orally administered either 1 ml distilled water (controls), low-dose QC (0.8 mg/ml), high-dose QC (1.6 mg/ml), low-dose MCP (0. 8 mg/ml) or high-dose MCP (1.6 mg/ml) on a daily basis, beginning the first day of tumor palpation (usually eight days post-implantation). A significant reduction in tumor size was noted at day 20 in all groups compared to controls. The groups given low-dose QC and MCP had a 29-percent (NS) and 38-percent (p<0.02) decrease in size, respectively. The high-dose groups had an even more impressive reduction in size; 65 percent in the QC group and 70 percent in the mice given MCP (both p<0.001). This is the first evidence that MCP can reduce the growth of solid primary tumors, and the first research showing QC has antitumor activity. Additional research on these substances and their effect on human cancers is warranted.