What do apples and strawberries have in common with cucumbers and onions? At first glance, one would have to answer absolutely nothing, however, all these foods contain a precious antioxidant, called fisetin. Fisetin can easily enter cells acting with neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory but, above all, anticancer properties. It is precisely to investigate the action of fisetin against diseased cells that the review we are talking about today was published. The article is available online in the Nutrients magazine thanks to the work of a Polish team (Kubina et al, Nutrients, 2022).
The importance of diet and lifestyle against cancer
Diet and lifestyle can protect us from various forms of cancer. For example, it is estimated that a healthy, balanced diet and moderate physical activity to maintain a healthy weight can reduce the risk of colon cancer by 75%, the risk of esophageal cancer by 69%, the risk of cancers of the mouth, pharynx and larynx by 63%, the risk of uterine cancer by 59%, the risk of stomach cancer by 47% and the risk of breast cancer by 38%. In short, it's worth it to make small changes to your daily diet and lifestyle.
As for the diet, which should be healthy and balanced, this can become even more protective if we do not miss some foods that are particularly rich in antioxidants. Worthy of note is the action of fisetin, an antioxidant from the flavonoid family contained in various fruits, such as mangoes, apples, strawberries, kiwis and grapes, and vegetables, such as cucumber, tomatoes and onions.
The antioxidant fisetin, properties
Fisetin has an action against senescent cells, which are aged cells that have stopped replicating and are gradually losing their function. These cells are resistant to apoptosis, which is programmed cell death, and pave the way for aging processes. Not only that, fisetin can easily penetrate the cell membrane to accumulate in the cells and perform its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective function. But fisetin is also a powerful anticancer.
Fisetin against tumors
Fisetin helps to counteract cell degeneration through various processes, including programmed cell death and the modulation of enzymes and receptors involved in angiogenesis, namely the formation of new blood vessels, nourishment of diseased cells, in inflammation and tumor proliferation. For example, fisetin has been shown to reduce the vitality of bladder cancer cells but also to induce apoptosis of diseased cells of the breast tissue, being instead non-toxic for healthy cells. Not only that, again with regard to breast cancer, fisetin helps reduce the migration of diseased cells. Fisetin has antiproliferative properties in case of brain tumors and counteracts the growth of colon, liver, kidney, prostate and some types of pancreatic tumors, in this case even in small doses. Not only that, it has also been shown to act in the case of skin cancer such as melanoma, helping to stop the cell cycle.
Fisetin, as we have seen, is contained in strawberries, which are characterized by the highest concentration in fisetin, immediately followed by apples, persimmons, mangoes, kiwis, grapes, peaches, nuts, onions, tomatoes and cucumbers. Certainly these foods can find their place in a healthy and balanced diet.
Alternatively, there are several supplements based on fisetin, which has been shown to always be well tolerated, even for long periods and up to 200 mg of daily dose. In this case, however, always ask your doctor for advice to evaluate any interactions with drugs already in use.