Lime and Lemon against Cancer

Lime and lemon are two powerful cancer fighters which can prevent cancerous cells from developing or reproducing in your body.  There are few studies on lime against cancer, but the proofs are irrefutable that lemon lime and cancer cells don’t get along.
The two fruits are harvested before maturity, having a size usually 2.5 to 8 cm in diameter depending on the species. Their rink is thin and smooth; dark green, it contains an aromatic essence. The flesh is juicy with hints of green and acid. Lime and lemon are used in cooking. Although less rich in vitamin C than lemon, lime was used on British ships as a remedy against scurvy.

Lime and Lemon Slows Cancer and Metastases
Research has indicated that consumption of citrus fruits, including lemon and lime, has a favorable effect against many cancers. It does not mean lime juice and cancer treatment provide the same benefits, but together they can do wonder.

Lemon and Cancer Prevention. Several studies have shown that consumption of citrus fruit would be linked to the prevention of certain cancers such as esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, colon cancer, as well as cancers of mouth and pharynx. According to one of these studies, moderate citrus consumption, 1 to 4 servings per week, would reduce the risk of cancer affecting the digestive tract and upper respiratory system. As regards the pancreatic cancer or prostate cancer, the studies remain controversial.

A population-based study suggests that daily consumption of citrus combined with high consumption of green tea (1 cup or more per day) is associated with a greater reduction in the incidence of cancers. When the citrus is combined with regular intake of cruciferous vegetables (watercress, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, kohlrabi, Chinese cabbage and turnips) the beneficial effects are even greater. Though lemon and cancer studies are developing, scientists have been amazed to discover how the tiny fruit combat malignant cells.

Slow Progression of Cancer Cells. Flavonoids, natural antioxidants contained in citrus fruits, have been shown to slow the proliferation of several cancer cell lines and reduce the growth of metastases. These properties could be used to develop antitumor therapies, conventional or alternative.

Limonoids are other phytochemical compounds present in lime and lemon which are also demonstrated to have powerful anti-cancer effects in vitro and in animal models. Studies on Limonoids and their anti-proliferative and anti-aromatase properties are very promising in the fight against human breast cancer cells. Another good thing is the fact they could reduce the proliferation of cancerous cells in many organs: breast, stomach, lung, mouth, and colon.

A team of researchers has discovered that lime juice extract could improve the immune response in animals. This effect is attributable to a set of proteins present in the lime juice extract. These same protein components could participate in curbing the proliferation of cancer cells observed in vitro. Another great observation is the fact lime juice against cancer works without damaging the healthy cells.

The lemon and lime contain different types of flavonoids. These antioxidant compounds allow, inter alia, to neutralize free radicals in the body and thereby prevent the onset of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers and other chronic medical conditions. The main flavonoids in lemon and lime are eriocitrin and hesperetin. Experiments on animals have shown that eriocitrin and hesperetin, extracted of the rink of the lemon or its juice, could reduce or prevent the increase in damages related to oxidative stress. Furthermore, eriocitrin could induce apoptosis of leukemic cells. The white part of the lemon peel is that which contains most of these flavonoids.

Nobiletin is another type of flavonoid content in citrus fruits. It is a powerful phytochemical with many potential health benefits, including anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and cholesterol lowering activities. It would help slow the growth of tumors and metastases. Finally, according to a study conducted on cells of the pancreas, the ability of lime to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells would be proportional to its content in flavonoids and limonoids.

These two citrus fruits contain two main limonoids: limonin, a bitter, white, crystalline substance found in citrus and other plants; nomilin, a form of limonoid. They are found mainly in the seeds, but also in the juice. Limonoids have some antioxidant capacity. They could also result in the death (apoptosis) of neuroblastoma cells. Studies suggest they may prevent the development of certain types of cancers in animals. For example, obacunone, a type of limonoid, proved effective in reducing the incidence of colon tumors and decrease the number of tumors of the mouth. Another study by the Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center, Department of Horticultural Sciences, shows obacunone and obacunone glucoside inhibit human colon cancer cells by the induction of apoptosis.

Soluble Fiber
Citrus fruits are rich in soluble fiber, principally in pectin, which is found in the rind and in the white membrane of the fruits. By their ability to lower blood cholesterol, soluble fiber help reduce the incidence of cardiovascular diseases. Researchers have shown that lemon peel was effective in lowering blood and liver cholesterol levels in animals. However, in addition to pectin, other compounds present in the lemon peel could be involved in this process.

Furthermore, the lemon pectin, compared with that of 3 other citrus fruits (grapefruit, tangerine and orange), has the best ability to inhibit the growth of certain cancerous tumors in vitro. By cons, these data require further analysis before concluding that the beneficial effects of pectin in lemon or lime on human cancer.


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  1. Chidambara Murthy KN,Jayaprakasha GKPatil BS: Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center, Department of Horticultural Sciences, Obacunone and obacunone glucoside inhibit human colon cancer (SW480) cells by the induction of apoptosis.

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