Sarunashi (Hardy Kiwi) Juice: Anti-Carcinogenic Properties Of This Japanese Fruit Thrill Scientists

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Considered one of the deadliest forms of cancer, lung cancer kills more people than breast, colorectal and prostate cancer combined each year. Lung cancer accounted for the maximum number of cancer deaths in 2020, claiming 1.80 million lives, according to the World health Organization (WHO). It is a well-known fact that eating fruits can offer many health benefits, with some studies even suggesting that fruits can minimize the risk of cancer. Adding to this growing evidence, Japanese researchers have shown that Sarunashi juice help prevent and reduce lung cancer in mice. Sarunashi (scientifically known as Actinidia arguta) is cultivated in Japan’s Okayama Prefecture.

Hardy kiwi: Loaded with nutrients

Actinidia arguta, also known as hardy kiwi, kiwi berry or Sarunashi (as it is commonly called in Japan), is an edible fruit with similar taste and appearance like kiwifruit. It is native to Japan, Korea, Northern China, and the Russian Far East. Actinidia arguta is sweeter than the kiwifruit and doesn’t have hair-like fiber outer covering. It can be eaten whole with peeling, and can be used to make jams, jellies, salads, smoothies, tenderizers etc. Loaded with various nutrients like Vitamin C, fiber, calcium and Vitamin A, Sarunashi is used for good health as well as to treat diseases. It is known to possess antioxidant, anticancer, antiallergenic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Power to prevent lung cancer growth

The research team from Okayama University have suggested that Sarunashi may help fight lung cancer. Earlier the researchers had proposed that isoquercetin (isoQ), the polyphenolic compound in A. arguta, may be responsible for its anticarcinogenic potential. In the latest study using animal models, they have identified the possible mechanisms underlying the anti-tumorigenic effects of sarunashi juice and its constituting component isoQ.

Dr. Sakae Arimoto Kobayashi, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Okayama University, and his team studied the effects of Sarunashi juice and its constituting component isoQ on lung tumorigenesis in mice. They used NNK, a cancer-causing compound found in tobacco products, to induce tumor growth in mice. Oral administration of both Sarunashi juice and isoQ led to significant reduction in the number of nodules in the mouse lungs, they said.

Explaining the likely mechanism of action of Sarunashi juice on lung cancer reduction, the researchers suggested that Sarunashi juice appears to mediate its antimutagenic effect by accelerating DNA repair. Additionally, they found that Sarunashi juice can suppress the action of “Akt,” a key protein involved in cancer signaling. Their findings were recently reported in Genes and Environment.

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