Cancer patients should avoid eating large amounts of peanuts, as peanuts are thought to promote the spread of metastases in the body.
According to cancer.gov in 2020, 1,806,590 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in the US. According to a recent study published in the journal Carcinogenesis, regular consumption of peanuts may increase the risk of cancer metastasizing.
Moderate consumption of peanuts may be ok
This is due to peanut agglutinin – also known as PNA or Arachis hypogaea lectin – a plant protein that rapidly enters the bloodstream after eating peanuts. It interacts with cells in the blood vessel wall to produce molecules called cytokines. Cytokines generally mediate communication between cells of the immune system. But some, in this case, IL-6 and MCP-1, promote the development of metastases in the body. Cancer cells form metastases from a primary tumor. Metastatic cancer occurs when cancer that started in one organ spreads to another part of the body. For example, if colon cancer spreads to the liver, it is called metastatic colon cancer, not liver cancer.
Although more research is still needed, these studies suggest that frequent consumption of peanuts by cancer patients may increase the risk of metastasis, said Professor Lu-Gang Yu, one of the study’s authors. Reassuringly, a large US study found that peanut consumption has no significant effect on cancer mortality. In another study, peanut consumption had no significant effect on the prognosis of men diagnosed with prostate cancer. The ANP levels we analyzed were only temporarily examined, about an hour after ingestion of a large dose – 250 grams – of peanuts, so it is possible that normal consumption of peanuts would result in lower ANP levels and be harmless.
cancer patients should eat peanuts in moderation or better yet avoid them completely
However, we do not exclude the possibility that ANP in the bloodstream – at least at the relatively high levels observed shortly after high peanut consumption – may have a significant biological effect on tumor cells, increasing the risk of developing metastases,” says Lu-Gang Yu. Cancer patients should therefore continue to avoid high or very frequent consumption of peanuts. In the future, the researchers hope to continue their research to see if this food can contribute to premature mortality in cancer patients.
Peanuts are a rich source of plant-based proteins and unsaturated fats which have many health benefits especially for the cardiovascular system; however, for patients who have cancer, it would be wise to not take any chances by eating them. Although the study is not definitive on the correlation between the consumption of peanuts and metastases it would be wise to avoid eating them as Cancers that have already metastasized are difficult to treat.
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