D For Defense?
By Anthony Almada

One phytochemical that deserves some fanfare as a cancer defense is D-glucaric acid, found in broccoli and apples. Not only does it improve blood cholesterol levels, D-glucarate also seems to prevent the development of cancer in lab animals. It works by inhibiting an enzyme that can "undo" the detoxification processes of the body.

Two supplement forms of this health-promoting substance exist: calcium D-glucarate and potassium hydrogen D-glucarate. Studies using animals with chemical-induced cancer have shown a protective effect primarily with calcium D-glucarate, but there is some evidence that the potassium form can do the trick as well. Both forms also have been shown to reduce both total and LDL cholesterol without influencing beneficial HDL cholesterol.

Whereas animal studies are promising, to date there are no published human studies showing a cholesterol-altering or cancer-modifying effect of D-glucarate. One potential concern is that D-glucarate alters the metabolism and action of prescription drugs because of its ability to modify detoxification processes. Researchers hope that human studies will prove that this phytochemical is in fact a cancer buster.

Nutrition and exercise biochemist Anthony Almada, MS, has collaborated on more than 45 university-based studies. He is cofounder of Experimental and Applied Sciences (EAS) and founder and chief scientific officer of IMAGINutrition.