Soy products

A new study has revealed that eating a compound called spermidine may help to reduce the risk of liver cancer. It is found in foodstuffs such as soy, whole grains, aged cheese, corn, legumes, and mushrooms. Studies done on mice fed on an oral supplement of spermidine revealed that they were less likely to develop liver cancer compared to rodents who were not fed on it. Their lifespans were also likely to increase by as much as 25% if they had the supplement throughout their lives. Mice given the supplement later in life experienced a 10% increase in longevity. The study was conducted by a research team from Texas A&M University in College Station and their findings published in the Cancer Research journal.

Spermidine is a polyamine, meaning that it is a compound with at least two amino groups and originates from sperm. Earlier studies with mice suggested that dietary spermidine also led to better heart health and reduced blood pressure. The researchers speculated that the cancer-fighting properties of the compound might be due to its ability to enhance MAP1S-related autophagy, a process by which cells eat their own debris which inhibits cancer and stops damaged cells from replicating. Further studies are needed to determine whether spermidine supplementation will be as effective in humans but the initial results are encouraging.

Cutting down on calorie intake and eating less meat have been clinically  proven to help humans live longer according to Leyuan Liu, assistant professor at the Texas A&M Institute of Biosciences and Technology’s Center for Translational Cancer Research  Meat contains an amino acid called methionine which has a detrimental effect on health if ingested in large quantities. Liu also made reference to a drug called rapamycin which has been shown to prolong the lifespans of vertebrates but it also suppresses the immune system. He added that spermidine might be the better approach to improving health.

Liver cancer rates in the UK are projected to rise by 38% between 2014 and 2035. The main causes of liver cancer are thought to be linked to drinking excessive alcohol, hepatitis B or C, biliary cirrhosis, and haemochromatosis. Unhealthy diet is also a primary factor as it leads to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease which can lead to cancer as well.