Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Common autism supplement affects endocrine system

Date:
July 15, 2013
Source:
University of Colorado Denver
Summary:
Plant-based diets are healthy. Plants are high in flavonoids. So flavonoids are healthy. At least that's the reasoning of many manufacturers of flavonoid-based nutritional supplements. But a new study shows that may not be the case. Flavonoids tested in the study affected the endocrine system in ways that in one case promoted cancer and in another repressed it.

Plant-based diets are healthy. Plants are high in flavonoids. So flavonoids are healthy. At least that's the reasoning of many manufacturers of flavonoid-based nutritional supplements. But a University of Colorado Cancer Center study published this week in the journal Hormones & Cancer shows that may not be the case. Flavonoids tested in the study affected the endocrine system in ways that in one case promoted cancer and in another repressed it.

Related Articles


"Even outside these specific findings with cancer, what we're saying is that flavonoids are active and not always in good or even predictable ways," says Steven K. Nordeen, PhD, investigator at the CU Cancer Center and professor emeritus in the Department of Pathology at the CU School of Medicine.

His study explored the effects of the flavonoids luteolin and quercetin on cell models of breast and endometrial cancer. In over-the-counter supplement form, the first compound, luteolin, is commonly recommended for the treatment of pediatric autism spectrum disorders.

Nordeen and colleagues show that luteolin blocks some of the endocrine effects of the hormone progesterone. Work from another CU Cancer Center investigator, Carol Sartorius, PhD, had previously shown that progesterone expands a population of therapy-resistant, stem cell-like cells in some breast cancers. In the present work, Nordeen showed that luteolin blocked this increase -- a beneficial effect. But then in an endometrial cancer cell model, luteolin had two deleterious effects. First, it acted like estrogen to directly stimulate cancer cell growth and second, by again blocking progesterone's action, luteolin disabled the brake that progesterone puts on estrogen-dependent endometrial cancer growth.

What helps in breast cancer hurts in endometrial cancer. But Nordeen says the most important issue is the simple fact that these flavonoids are active and we don't yet know how the body responds to the blood levels of flavonoids reached when taking supplements.

In the case of luteolin supplements for autism/spectrum, "You're giving prepubescent kids a supplement that affects the endocrine system and that's dangerous," Nordeen says.

He points out that "nutraceuticals" -- which include flavonoid and other active-ingredient supplements -- aren't FDA regulated to the degree that are medicines. This allows manufacturers to market supplements without fully testing nutraceutical products for efficacy or potential side effects.

"I'm not saying that flavonoids in a normal, plant-rich diet are bad," Nordeen says, "but caution is warranted when consuming additional flavonoids via supplements.

Detrimental effects of flavonoids are not without precedent. A diet of red clover can affect development and reproduction in livestock. And the New England Journal of Medicine documented breast development in prepubescent boys that was linked to the use of shampoos and balms containing lavender or tea tree oils containing flavonoids.

"Because flavonoid supplements are widely used, we need to do the research necessary to understand their effects, both desirable and undesirable, in consumers using these products. We shouldn't be taking this stuff blindly because, just like prescription medicines, there can be unanticipated consequences," Nordeen says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Colorado Denver. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Steven K. Nordeen, Betty J. Bona, David N. Jones, James R. Lambert, Twila A. Jackson. Endocrine Disrupting Activities of the Flavonoid Nutraceuticals Luteolin and Quercetin. Hormones and Cancer, 2013; DOI: 10.1007/s12672-013-0150-1

Cite This Page:

University of Colorado Denver. "Common autism supplement affects endocrine system." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130715151158.htm>.
University of Colorado Denver. (2013, July 15). Common autism supplement affects endocrine system. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130715151158.htm
University of Colorado Denver. "Common autism supplement affects endocrine system." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130715151158.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) Need another reason to eat yogurt every day? Researchers now say it could reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

AFP (Nov. 24, 2014) Madagascar said Monday it is trying to contain an outbreak of plague -- similar to the Black Death that swept Medieval Europe -- that has killed 40 people and is spreading to the capital Antananarivo. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins