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Detoxifying Carcinogens in Smokers through Watercress Extract
Watercress extract can be a potent detoxifier for smokers, according to a recent study. If taken
multiple times a day, it has the ability to detoxify carcinogens produced in the body due to
prolonged cigarette use. Watercress is an aquatic or semi-aquatic perennial plant that is one of
the oldest leafy vegetables consumed by humans.
In a phase-II clinical trial presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual
meeting in New Orleans in April 2016, researchers of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute
(UPCI) and UPMC Cancer Center stated that watercress hinders the activation of a tobacco-derived
carcinogen in smokers.
The trial also showed
and carcinogens found in
cigarette smoke can be
detoxified by using the
watercress extract. The
effect of the extract is
particularly stronger in
people who lack the
Cigarette smokers are
more prone to develop
lung cancer. According
to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cigarette smoking is linked with about 90 percent of lung
cancer cases in the United States. Moreover, people who smoke 15 to 30 cigarettes are more
susceptible to developing lung cancer in comparison to non-smokers. Even smoking a few
cigarettes occasionally increases the risk of developing lung cancer. However, new detoxification
techniques available at detox treatment centers in Arizona can help a smoker quit smoking habits.
Watercress extracts reduce activation of carcinogen in smokers
The researchers conducted a randomized clinical trial among 82 cigarette smokers who were
divided into two groups. One group was administered 10 milligrams of watercress extract mixed
in 1 milliliter of olive oil four times a day for a week and the other group received a placebo. After
this, each of the two groups had a one-week “wash-out” period where they did not take anything.
After a week, the groups replaced their intakes so that those getting placebo took the watercress
extract and vice versa. However, all the participants continued with their smoking habits
throughout the trial.
The researchers noticed that within a week of the administration of watercress extract, there was
a 7.7 percent decrease in the activation of a carcinogen called nicotine-derived nitrosamine
ketone. Moreover, it also increased detoxification of benzene by 24.6 percent and acrolein by 15.1
percent. The researchers, however, noted that there was no effect on crotonaldehyde. All these
elements are actively found in cigarette smoke.
Smokers who lacked the two genes involved in processing carcinogens saw an even bigger benefit
of taking the watercress extract for detoxification. Benzene was detoxified by 95.4 percent,
acrolein by 32.7 percent and crotonaldehyde by 29.8 percent.
Watercress extract can help prevent lung cancer among smokers
Jian-Min Yuan, M.D., Ph.D., associate director of the UPCI’s Division of Cancer Control and
Population Science and an epidemiologist with the Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health, said,
“Nicotine is very addictive, and quitting can take time and multiple relapses. Having a tolerable,
nontoxic treatment, like watercress extract, that can protect smokers against cancer would be an
incredibly valuable tool in our cancer-fighting arsenal.”
However, he and his team recommended a phase-III trial among a larger group of people so that
it can be recommended for smokers. He also said that consuming cruciferous vegetables, such as
watercress and broccoli, were good for health but they were unlikely to have the same impact as
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