Active ingredients in red onions protect against cancer
Cancer is a widespread disease around the world, which often leads to the death of those affected. Humans have been looking for ways to prevent or fight cancer for a long time. Researchers have now found that red onions are able to effectively kill cancer cells.
The University of Guelph scientists found that red onions are very effective in fighting cancer cells. The doctors released a press release on the results of their study.
Researchers are studying five types of onions
For the first time, the current study examines how effective onions grown in Ontario are in killing cancer cells. The experts were able to determine that not all types of onions offer the same positive effects against cancer cells. A total of five different types of onions from Ontario were examined, explains the author Professor Suresh Neethirajan.
Red onions contain a lot of quercetin and anthocyanin
In recent years there have been reports of so-called superfood. So far, onions have not been regarded as such a superfood. This could change now. Because onions contain one of the highest concentrations of quercetin, the researchers say. Onions from Ontario boast that they contain particularly high concentrations of this compound compared to onions from the rest of the world, the scientists report. The doctors also found that the red onions also contain high levels of anthocyanin, explains author Abdulmonem Murayyan.
The darkest red onions contain the most anthocyanin
Anthocyanin is instrumental in providing color to fruits and vegetables. The onions with the darkest color can therefore fight cancer cells most effectively, the doctors explain. The current study examined the placement of colon cancer cells in direct contact with extracted quercetin from the five types of onions tested.
Why are onions so effective against cancer?
Our research found that onions can kill cancer cells excellently, says Murayyan. Onions would activate pathways that cause cancer cells to undergo cell death. They provide an unfavorable environment for cancer cells and they interfere with cancer cell communication, which inhibits growth, the expert adds.
More research is needed
Other researchers had previously found that onions are effective in killing breast cancer cells. Herbal powers to fight cancer now need to be tested in further human studies, author Murayyan explains.
Scientists are developing new techniques for extracting quercetin
In the current study, the researchers used a new extraction technique for quercetin, which does not use chemicals. As a result, the quercetin made from onions is more suitable for consumption. Other methods of extraction use solvents that can leave a toxic residue, adds author Professor Neethirajan.
Active ingredient from red onions can be used clinically?
This new method of extraction uses only superheated water in a pressure vessel, the expert explains. The development of a chemistry-free method of extraction is important because the cancer-fighting properties of onions can be used in so-called nutraceuticals (functional foods) and in the form of pills, the doctor explains further.
Onion extract in juices and baked goods in the future?
Consumers can add this superfood to their salads and other foods to help prevent cancer. In the future, the experts speculate that the onion extract could also be added to food products such as juice or baked goods. The authors added that the drug will probably also be available at some point in the form of pills for natural cancer treatment. (as)