Rice bran: How it might help prevent cancer

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Researchers are testing bioactive compounds in rice bran in hopes that it may prevent cancer as well as cancer recurrence.

Scientists say rice bran contains polyphenols that could thwart cancer include ferulic acid, tricin, β-sitosterol, γ-oryzanol, tocotrienols/tocopherols, and phytic acid.

Elizabeth P. Ryan, PhD, Colorado University Cancer Center investigator, assistant professor in the Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences at the CSU Animal Cancer Center, and the review’s senior author explained in a press release,  “There’s a delicate balance of bioactive components in rice bran that together show anti-cancer activity including the ability to inhibit cell proliferation, alter cell cycle progression and initiate the programmed cell death known as apoptosis in malignant cells.”

What that means is that rice bran could stop the spread of cancer and destroy what’s already there – much like chemotherapy goals, but without the toxicity.

The goal of from the researchers is to find out exactly what compounds in rice bran inhibit cancer cell growth.

Ryan explains studies in animal models show rice brand works within cells as well as around them to keep them healthy.

One of the challenges is to isolate the best anti-cancer compounds from over 100,000 varieties of rice bran that exist.

Ryan says because rice bran is inexpensive it offers a dietary approach for fighting colon cancer that is easily accessible worldwide.

The study authors write, “…dietary rice bran as a practical food-derived chemopreventive agent has the potential to have a significant impact on cancer prevention for the global population” because “…bioactive components protect against tissue damage through the scavenging of free radicals and the blocking of chronic inflammatory responses.”

The next step is to test rice bran taken as a prescription in colon cancer survivors in ongoing clinical trials. Rice bran could be good protection from cancer because it keeps cells healthy and blocks inflammation that is linked to a variety of diseases. 

University of Colorado Cancer Center