A new review by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine highlights a large body of published research demonstrating how modified citrus pectin (MCP), works against cancer.
The study, which was published on April 18 in the American Journal of Pharmacology and Toxicology, also examines MCP’s synergistic relationship with chemotherapy, as well as its ability to modulate immunity, safely remove heavy metals and block the pro-inflammatory protein galectin-3.
“This review does an excellent job consolidating our knowledge about modified citrus pectin’s remarkable therapeutic impact,” says integrative medicine researcher and MCP co-developer, Isaac Eliaz, M.D. “In particular, it identifies MCP’s different mechanisms of action against metastatic cancer, heavy metal toxicity and chronic, life threatening illnesses related to excess galectin-3.”
The Development of Modified Citrus PectinWhile plant pectins have long been known to support digestive and immune health through their actions in the GI tract, the main obstacle preventing them from exerting systemic benefits throughout the body has been their bio-availability.
The long complex soluble fibers in regular pectin are simply too large to be absorbed into the circulation. This problem was solved with the development of MCP, which is prepared from regular citrus pectin using a modification process to reduce the size and cross branching of the pectin molecules. The modification allows MCP to easily absorb into the circulation and exert numerous therapeutic effects throughout the body, now demonstrated in multiple peer reviewed studies.
For example, the review discusses MCP’s ability to control metastatic melanoma, as well as prostate, breast and colon cancers. These outcomes have been confirmed in multiple published studies, which have also shown MCP’s ability to suppress angiogenesis (new blood vessel growth to tumors). Blocking angiogenesis is a key factor in preventing cancer metastasis.
MCP has also been shown to induce apoptosis in cancer cells. Apoptosis, known as programmed cell death, is suppressed in tumors, allowing them to grow uncontrollably. Numerous studies show MCP supports apoptosis in cancer, including a 2010 study from Columbia University which found that MCP induced apoptosis in both androgen dependent and androgen independent prostate cancer cells. This is particularly significant because androgen independent prostate cancer is a highly aggressive, difficult-to-treat cancer.
Other important findings demonstrate MCP’s abilities to make chemotherapy more effective. Co-administering MCP with cisplatin, etoposide or doxorubicin makes cancer cells more sensitive to these frontline treatments. MCP is also useful during radiation therapy, helping to protect organs from the damaging inflammatory effects of radiation.
Natural Galectin-3 BlockerOne of the active, “culprit” biomarkers in cancer progression is the cell signaling protein, galectin-3. Elevated levels of this protein are directly linked with the development, progression and metastasis of many cancers, as well as chronic diseases related to inflammation and fibrosis. Large scale clinical studies demonstrate the direct involvement of galectin-3 in cardiovascular disease and heart failure, while other studies highlight its role in kidney fibrosis, liver failure, arthritis and other pro-inflammatory diseases.
Galectin-3 is a sticky, cell surface molecule that allows cancer cells to aggregate and metastasize. It also drives the processes of chronic inflammation and the progression of inflammation to fibrosis within organs and tissues, leading to organ failure. By binding to galectin-3, MCP inactivates the protein, limiting cancer cell adhesion and reducing progression of numerous chronic diseases.
The Health Benefits of Modified Citrus Pectin
Modified citrus pectin (MCP) is a dietary supplement that might help prevent the spread of cancer, lower the risk of heart disease, and treat people with certain types of heavy metal poisoning. Unlike normal pectin, which is not digestible, MCP is chemically altered so that is more readily absorbed in the gut. Once in the bloodstream, MCP is believed to have biological properties beneficial to human health.
While MPC’s use in medicine is still highly experimental and its benefits are not yet proven, scientists have begun exploring its use in post-treatment adjuvant therapies to reduce the risk of metastasis (the spread of cancer beyond the original tumor).
Pectin is a gelatinous substance obtained from pears, apples, guavas, quince, plums, gooseberries, oranges, and other citrus fruits that are commonly used to make jellies and jams. It is a type of carbohydrate, called a polysaccharide, that is composed of between 300 and 1,000 smaller monosaccharides.
By exposing pectin to sodium hydroxide and hydrochloric acid—as is done to create MCP—the polysaccharide molecules can be broken down into smaller units that can pass more readily through the walls of the intestines.1 Once in circulation, MCP can bind to other substances, including heavy metals and a type of protein associated with atherosclerosis and cancer metastasis.
Whether these effects are robust enough to treat heavy metal poisoning, prevent metastasis, or lower the risk of heart disease has yet to be proven. Although some of the early evidence is promising, scientists have a long way to go before MCP can be considered a viable complementary treatment for any medical condition.
The groundbreaking momentum of modified citrus pectin research
Based on independent data, treatment indications for a specific form of modified citrus pectin (MCP) continue to expand, propelling this natural ingredient to the apex of today’s nutraceutical pharmacopeia.
With more than 50 published studies and new findings constantly emerging in the literature, this form of MCP continues to surpass expectations by demonstrating efficacy against every proinflammatory condition it has been tested against.
From organ fibrosis and metastatic cancer to neurological damage, its singular ability to halt and reverse fundamental pathogenic processes have earned this MCP considerable recognition in areas of medical research wherein safe, effective interventions — holistic or conventional — are often few and far between.
Moving beyond cancer and cardiovascular disease
During the last several decades, 16 published clinical and preclinical studies have established this MCP as a leading anticancer adjunct, active via multiple antitumorigenic mechanisms. ‘
The most recent published clinical study (Effect of Pectasol-C Modified Citrus Pectin (P-MCP) Treatment (tx) on PSA Dynamics in Non-Metastatic Biochemically Relapsed Prostate Cancer (BRPC) Patients (pts): Results of a Prospective Phase II Study) on this MCP is now completing its final arm, with additional results further substantiating its proven ability at 14.5 g/day to slow PSA doubling time and halt prostate cancer progression.1
With the capacity to promote apoptosis, block angiogenesis, slow metastasis, enhance oncology treatments and expose cancer to the immune system — among other benefits — this MCP remains a cornerstone of integrative cancer protocols.
In addition to cancer, this form of MCP is also being studied intensively in cardiovascular disease, with results demonstrating its unique protective benefits. The most recent paper published in Scientific Reports in July 2019, demonstrates that this MCP reduces myocardial injury after ischaemic reperfusion.4 To date, this is now the fifteenth independent publication highlighting the critical role of this MCP in managing cardiovascular health.
In recent years, however, research groups worldwide have steadily expanded the disease indications for this ingredient beyond cancer and cardiovascular disease. Renowned institutes including Harvard University, Meir Medical Center and others are increasingly interested in studying this specific form of MCP against organ fibrosis, neurodegeneration, GI infection and numerous other conditions.
Concurrently, health professionals using this MCP across complex patient populations continue to observe first-hand the broad-spectrum benefits of this natural ingredient — magnifying the clinical relevance of what’s consistently reported in the published literature.
The most researched galectin-3 blocker
The wide-ranging success of this MCP against both acute and chronic inflammatory conditions, is largely derived from its unique relationship with the causative biomarker molecule, galectin-3 (Gal-3). Thousands of published studies, including large-scale cohort data, identify Gal-3 as an upstream driver of inflammatory, fibrotic and oncogenic diseases.5