Does asparagus help fight cancer?

Asparagus for cancer?

Asparagus for cancer?

Does asparagus help fight cancer?  A patient of mine asked me this question.   Her niece is undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer and had come across an asparagus recipe that is touted for helping people fight cancer.  Asparagus is known to contain a high amounts of glutathione which is a strong detoxifying agent.  By detoxifying, I mean making a toxin less toxic and increasing its excretion from the body.   It is believed that toxins can cause cancer.  Therefore, if you have high amounts of detoxifying agents in your body, then you can minimize your chances of developing cancer.  Glutathione is high in the liver where much detoxifying takes place.  But can eating asparagus increase your glutathione levels?  The answer is no! This is because glutathione is a type of protein which like all proteins is digested in stomach and the small intestine.  Because of this digestion, very little glutathione would enter the blood stream.  The only way glutathione by mouth would be available for absorption (aka bioavailability) would be to take an enteric coated capsule containing glutathione.  Enteric coated means it is protected from the stomach acid digestive juices.   The other way to get a high amount of glutathione in the body would be take glutathione by IV – in the veins.  This would ensure direct absorption into the bloodstream.   But regardless of how you get glutathione into your body, if you are undergoing chemotherapy, you want to be careful of when you are taking glutathione.  Since chemotherapy is a poison and glutathione detoxifies poisons, then this could make chemotherapy less effective.   Bottom line: eat asparagus to get your greens for the day and to meet your vitamin and mineral needs,  but don’t count on it as a means to increase glutathione to battle cancer if you are undergoing chemotherapy.

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About Aroop Banerji N.D., L.Ac

Aroop Banerji N.D.., L.Ac is a naturopathic doctor and licensed acupuncturist. He obtained his bachelor science in Environmental Toxicology from the University of California – Davis. He pursued doctoral education in Naturopathic Medicine and graduate level training in Chinese Medicine at Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington. He specializes in using dietary supplements, diet therapies, herbal medicines, and acupuncture for chronic health complaints.
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