Pectin v galectin 3
How fibre from fruits fights tumorous cells in human body
FRUITS and vegetables are known to promote normal cell growth and reduce cancer risks. Scientists have attributed these qualities to a major constituent of cell walls called pectin, a fibre composed of complex carbohydrates, that provides crunchiness to fruits and vegetables. But the mechanism by which pectin reduces the risk was not known. A study now demonstrates this.
A team from the Institute of Food Research in Britain studied interaction between pectin and cancer cells using various techniques.
They found that galactans, a complex carbohydrate compound present in pectin fragments, bind with and inhibit a cell protein called galectin 3, or Gal3. This protein is present on the surface of tumour cells and helps cells detach from tumours and spread the caner to other parts of the body.
Although pectin is sold as a food supplement in the market, the researchers recommend eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables because they are more likely to supply bioactive pectin.