Diets rich in green leaf vegetables, folic acid and vitamins serve as a protective factor against gene mutation which results in lung cancer, for ex-smokers and those who are still smoking. These research results were published in a study in the Cancer Research Journal.
The researchers led by Stephen Belinsky, D. Sc. from the Research Institute, Albuquerque, studied cells extracted from the sputum of smokers and ex-smokers. After studying and comparing the cells it was found that the intake of green vegetables, folic acid and polyvitamins can influence the advancement of gene cell methylation. Gene methylation is a chemical modification that the cells use to control gene expression. Gene methylation, triggered off by tobacco smoke carcinogens, is the basic process in lung cancer development and progression.
The research involved more than 1100 smokers and ex-smokers, most of them women. Nowadays hot debates are going on among clinicians if diet can be regarded as a cancer preventive measure. Previous studies in cancer preventive measures showed that the smokers who took beta carotene additives had a higher lung cancer risk. On the contrary, the present research shows that there is a decrease of gene methylation following the intake of multivitamin supplements rich in phytochemicals such as A, C, and K vitamins, folic acid, carotenoids and lutein which abound in green leaf vegetables. An intake of folic acid in large quantities is also linked with a decrease of gene methylation in oncomas of the great gut.