Clinical Application and Mechanism of Action
Modified Citrus Pectin Quick Guide
1. Preventing the Spread of Cancer (Anti-metastatic)
One of the dominant carbohydrates contained within Modified Citrus Pectin is galactose. Galactose has a strong affinity for binding to the surface of metastatic cancer cells, which express a particular cell surface receptor known as galectin-3 (a galactoside-binding lectin). In turn, the binding of Modified Citrus Pectin to the galectin-3 receptor on metastatic cancer cells creates a type of galectin-3 blockade. With the galectin-3 receptor blocked in this fashion, cancer cells are less able to adhere to other healthy tissues and cells, essentially inhibiting cancer cells from invading and spreading to new areas and tissues in the body (anti-metastatic effect). As well, the blockade of the galectin-3 receptor prevents cancer cells from adhering to each other, discouraging their ability to form colonies (tumor mass). If cancer cells are deprived of their own adhesive ability, they fail to thrive and can be more easily destroyed by the body’s immune system. Thus, Modified Citrus Pectin has been shown to attach to galectin-3 receptors on metastatic cancer cells, preventing their clustering and colonization into a larger tumor mass and blocking their ability to spread to other tissues. Interestingly, non-metastatic cancer cells do not have high levels of galectins on their cell surface. Thus, it appears that these galectins are essential for the spread of cancer (metastasis) to a very significant degree.
Research into this area, in fact, confirms that galectin-3 receptors play a very pivotal role in the metastasis of cancer in the body. Galectins on the surface of cancer cells are known for their carbohydrate-binding abilities,playing an important role in cellular interactions during the metastatic process. In short, galectin-3 receptors bind to the galactose molecules on neighboring cancer cells, as well as to the other sugars and monosaccharides on the surface of healthy cells. Upon binding to other cancer cells they encourage the development of a larger tumor mass (colonization) and upon binding to healthy cells they are able to invade these tissues and propagate further spread of the cancer. In essence, Modified Citrus Pectin denies metastatic cancer cells of the opportunity of attaching to other cancer cells and healthy cells, by binding to and fully saturating all of their galectin-3 cell surface receptors. The importance of this mechanism of action is highlighted by the fact that many human cancer cells express galectins on their cell surface, including carcinoma of the prostate, breast, colon, and larynx, as well as lymphoma, melanoma and glioblastoma. Human studies of the colon, stomach and thyroid cancers have also shown that the amount of galectin produced increases proportionally as the cancer progresses from its early to advanced stages. Higher galectin levels encourage greater adhesion of cancer cells to each other, and also facilitates the process of binding to non-cancerous cells at distant sites within the body.1,2,3,4,5,6
There is also evidence to show that Modified Citrus Pectin may augment the immune response in cancer by enhancing cytotoxicity of CD3+ T-cells and natural killer cells, while also mediating increased monocyte cytotoxicity. These effects have been shown to be due to the presence of rhamnogalacturonan, another constituent of Modified Citrus Pectin.1
A significant number of animal trials have revealed that Modified Citrus Pectin inhibits metastasis of melanoma cancer in mice, prostate cancer in rats 1,2,3 with other in vitro studies showing similar effects for cancer of the breast and larynx
Human Cancer Studies - A pilot study involving prostate cancer patients who failed first-line androgen-deprivation therapy, were in relapse after radical prostatectomy, external beam radiation therapy or cryosurgery, and were either untreated or off intermittent hormone blockade, demonstrated that supplementation with 15 gms per day of Modified Citrus Pectin (5 gms, three times per day) increased the length of the PSA doubling time by 30% in 4 of 7 patients, one patient had a partial response, one patient had stable disease and one patient did not respond. The researchers conclude that Modified Citrus Pectin appears to slow the PSA doubling time in prostate cancer patients with low levels of PSA, and that all patients were still alive three years after the official end of the study. This research abstract of this study was presented at the International Conference on Diet and Prevention of Cancer; May 28-June 2, 1999, Tampere, Finland.1 As reported by PM Kidd, Ph.D., Modified Citrus Pectin’s apparent safety and proven anti-metastatic action, and the lack of proven therapies against metastasis would justify its inclusion into comprehensive orthomolecular anticancer regimes.
2. Reversal of Atherosclerosis and Heavy Metal Chelation
In its native form citrus pectin is a water-soluble fiber that is known to bind to cholesterol and bile acids in the intestinal tract and block their absorption into the bloodstream. Bile acids are a building block of cholesterol in the body, thus pectin fiber is known to help reduce high blood cholesterol by inhibiting the absorption of both dietary cholesterol and bile acids. Pectin fiber also binds to certain heavy metals (lead, aluminum, cadmium) in the intestinal tract and helps to block their absorption into the bloodstream. As Modified Citrus Pectin still retains much of the properties of pectin fiber (with the exception that it can be absorbed into the bloodstream and pectin fiber cannot), Modified Citrus Pectin appears to be able to pull cholesterol out of the artery wall in places where it was previously deposited. This effect helps to open up the artery, allowing improved blood flow and reducing risk of heart disease and stroke. Modified Citrus Pectin has also been shown to act as chelating agent in the bloodstream by pulling out heavy metals that were previously deposited due to environmental exposures and heavy metals entering the body from contaminated food and water. Modified Citrus Pectin is currently under investigation to see how effectively it can perform these functions