New Harvard Research Finds Walnuts May Help Slow Colon Cancer Growth

New Harvard research finds walnuts may help slow colon cancer growth

On May 11, 2015 in Folsom, California, Dr. Christos Mantzoros headed a new animal study in Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School. The study pointed out that an intake of walnuts will possibly delay colorectal tumor development. It was discovered that walnuts have the ability to modify cancer cells.

The study that was conducted is actually the first research done to evaluate whether consumption of walnut may bring changes to micro-ribonucleic acids, the nucleotides that play a part in modifying gene expression. The ribonucleic acids are taken as the center of this study in the developing the subject of Epigenetics, or what is called as the study on how genes change due to ecological elements.

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Dr. Mantzoros said that their research shows that a walnut diet brings substantial changes in the expression profile of miRNAs in colorectal cancer tissue.

Researchers led the randomized experiment with two mice groups. One of the groups was nourished with 2 ounces of walnuts, which is equivalent to 2 servings per day for people. The other group was fed with a similar control diet but without walnuts. The researchers waited for 25 days for results. At the 25th day, the group of mice that was fed with walnuts, the researchers found out that crucial miRNA which brings cancer cell infection, vascularization and propagation were definitely involved.

It was found out that the tumors of mice nourished with the walnut diet were ten times the amount of total omega-3 fatty acids, that includes plant-based alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), in soft tissue paralleled to the mice fed the control diet. The research learned that a smaller tumor size was connected with bigger ratio of omega-3s in tumor tissues, signifying that ALA can offer a protective value. The growth of tumor was slower in walnut-fed mice as compared to the other group of mice.  This study was experimented with animals but the result is not yet inferred with humans

ALA is a vital fatty acid precarious to several body developments and is identified to lessen swelling. Walnuts are considered to be the only nut that have substantial element of alpha-linolenic acid. Walnuts are also packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals needed for the body.

Derived conclusions from the research:

  1. Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer worldwide and is second to only lung cancer as the leading cause of death in Western Countries.
  2. An article detailing these findings, “Dietary Walnut Suppression of Colorectal Cancer in mice: mediation by miRNA patterns and fatty acid incorporation” has been published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.
  3. Diet is a variable risk aspect in preventing several cancer types like colorectal cancer. Around 30-50 percent of colorectal cancer in men and about 20 percent in women can be avoided by changing one’s diet and lifestyle.


Source: Eureka Alert