Barley Grass Inhibits 73% of Leukemia Cells in Vitro: An extract of green barley grass (Hordeum vlgare L.) powder was shown to inhibit the proliferation of human leukemia cells (Nalm-6) by up to 73% in vitro, and killed 62% of the cancer cells outright via apoptosis and necrosis.
The barley grass extract also potently inhibited three other types of leukemia cells, while leaving healthy non-cancerous cells alone. What’s really interesting with this study is that the extract was prepared from a common green barley powder supplement which was purchased at an online supplement retailer in the USA. This was the first-ever study to show the anti-leukemia activity of green barley.
Barley contains several unique compounds with potent anti-cancer effects such as the peptide lunacin, immune-stimulating glucans, and ribosome inactivating protein conjugates. Past studies have shown mature barley to be active against melanoma and cancers of the breast, skin, colon, liver, and lung. While mature barley contains gluten (albeit less than wheat), barley grass should be gluten-free if harvested before any seeds are produced.
And since younger plants often contain much higher concentrations of healthy phytochemicals and enzymes than the mature versions, barley grass might be a highly beneficial superfood for reducing cancer risk and supporting overall health.
Abstract 10693: Identification of Lunasin as the Active Component in Soy Protein Responsible for Reducing LDL Cholesterol and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease by Alfredo F Galvez, Missouri Plant Science Center, Mexico, MO
In the above referenced report, published by the American Heart Association, Dr Galvez notes that the FDA had originally approved the health claim that soy reduced LDL cholesterol and CVD risk, and then recinded part of that claim. The confusion, he notes, came from the lack of understanding at the time about what in the soy created the benefits the original research had shown. In the intervening years, he and his team had tested the hypothesis that the lunasin peptide was the active component in soy protein responsible for lowering LDL cholesterol.
What he found was that lunasin lowers LDL cholesterol levels by stopping the gene responsible from being active – it covers it over, and opens the genes that cover cholesterol management in the liver that had gotten covered by environmental and lifestyle-induced damage.
The lunasin soy peptide binds specifically to histone H3 and inhibits H3-Lysine 14 acetylation by PCAF histone acetylase enzyme. Transcriptional activation of HMG Co-A reductase, the rate-limiting enzyme for cholesterol biosynthesis requires the specific acetylation of histone H3 by PCAF. By inhibiting PCAF acetylation of H3-Lysine 14, lunasin was show to significantly reduce HMG Co-A reductase expression in HepG2 liver cells grown in cholesterol-free media. Westerns and RT-PCR experiments also revealed that the presence of lunasin increases LDL receptor expression, which can be attributed to the coordinate increase in expression of SP1 co-transcriptional activator.
Based on these results, his team found a way to extract the active lunasin from the rest of the soy. This lunasin-enriched soy extract (LSE) contained 100-200 fold more bioactive lunasin than soy protein isolates. Then they tested the LSE pigs bred to have high LDL cholesterol due to mutations in their LDL receptor genes. The pigs were fed casein-based diets and after two weeks their casein diet was supplemented with 250 mg LSE everyday for eight weeks. Results showed that casein diet increased LDL cholesterol levels in the LDL-R mutant pigs by an average of 6.7%. The addition of 250 mg of LES in casein diet reduced LDL cholesterol by 8.6% and and 6.4% after 4 and 8 weeks of treatment, respectively.
These results prove that lunasin is the active nutrient in soy protein responsible for LDL cholesterol lowering and its mechanism of action is by reducing cholesterol biosynthesis in the liver.