No more asparagus for me!!!

I read another fascinating article written by Jacob Schor, President of the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians (thank you!), titled “Will asparagus cure cancer?”: I’m still in shock. It turns out that eating a lot of asparagus can actually be harmful in certain types of cancer. ALL (=acute lymphoblastic leukemia), specifically.

But please note this paragraph in particular: As the names hints, asparagus contain l-asparagine. Eating asparagus would seem ill advised for people who have cancers that respond to l-asparaginase. This enzyme may be useful in treating lymphoma and multiple myeloma. Eating asparagus may make all of these cancers grow faster, most especially ALL.


Asparagus might possibly make my myeloma cells grow FASTER???!!! Well then, I’m definitely striking it off my list of foods. Drat. I really LIKE asparagus! But my health is much more important to me, of course!

I don’t have much time today (familiar story, eh, especially these days…), but I did find out that there is at least one clinical trial testing a drug called PEG L-asparaginase on patients with refractory lymphoid malignancies, including multiple myeloma  (see This drug is a modified version of an enzyme, L-asparaginase, which…Oh wait a second…I think it’d be a good idea right now to stop, take a step back and try to understand what this stuff means…

So, what is asparagine? Basically, it’s a chemical that cells, all cells!, need to survive. Healthy cells can produce their own asparagine, but cancer cells cannot. But cancer cells desperately need this chemical, of course, so they grab and use up every available scrap of asparagine circulating inside the body. And in fact the idea behind the above-mentioned drug, PEG L-asparaginase, is that it gets rid of the circulating asparagine, which has the rather obvious effect of KILLING the leukemic cells. Simple, no? Well…a big problem with this drug, from what I read (quickly!) are its side effects, which can be quite serious…

Oh, before I go on, I also found this Cleveland Clinic bit of info on PEG etc.: Hmmm.

At any rate, I ask you, what would happen if we cut down on asparagine-containing foods? I don’t think we should eliminate them entirely, since that might hurt our healthy cells, too (mental note: more research needed). Oh, since this post is a work in progress, as you can tell!, let me mention that I just read that asparagine can be found in quite a number of foods–dairy, eggs, potatoes, nuts and so on…So we probably couldn’t eliminate them entirely, anyway. But I don’t see how it would hurt to cut down

That’s what I’ve decided to do. Soooo…farewell, lovely asparagus… 🙁


  1. Oh,no…not them! My husbands’ been bringing them home straight from the Jersey farm fields these past few weeks…and they were actually on my dinner menu 4 x’s last week! Cutting back (but not eliminating) it will be. BTW, I just got my new numbers this week; my M Spike held steady over the past year! I truly believe that is due, in no small part, to your relentless curcumin research and reporting. Many thanks!

  2. Hello Margaret, something else to share: Alice Bucket list.

    I’m 15 and I have terminal cancer. I’ve created a bucket list because there are so many things I still want to do in my life … some are possible, some will remain a dream. My blog is to document this precious time with my family and friends, doing the things I want to do. You only have one life … live it!

  3. Hello Margaret, it’s many years later, since your „ don’t eat or reduce your asparagus intake“. I have only just recently found your blog and reading everything. Are you still off the asparagus?

  4. From the LA times:

    By Holly Van Hare
    Feb. 8, 2018 10:12 AM PT
    The Daily Meal

    Could eating asparagus give you cancer? If you’ve seen any of the headlines lately, you might think so.

    A new study published in the journal Nature suggests that a protein called asparagine could promote the spread of certain types of breast cancer. Researchers found that certain cases of breast cancer rely on this specific protein to spread and worsen the disease.

    Hours later, the media exploded with articles warning against eating too much asparagus.

    “Laying off asparagus may help beat cancer,” one headline read. Another claimed, “Asparagus link to breast cancer is discovered by scientists.”

    Well, that escalated quickly.

    Now, in the eyes of impressionable readers, asparagus has become a carcinogen on par with trans fats and cigarettes.

    But scientists are biting back, insisting (and pay close attention here) eating asparagus will not give you cancer. The link was an unfortunate misunderstanding – a classic example of journalism gone astray.

    “Our bodies make asparagine, as well as many of the other amino acids that form proteins, and [asparagine synthetase] is one of the enzymes that helps make it,” explained Dr. Alex Berezow, senior fellow of biomedical science for the American Council on Science and Health. “Apparently, the more active this enzyme, the better breast cancer (in this mouse model) is able to spread. That’s interesting.”

    He explained that the scientists attempted to stop the production of asparagine in the mice and stop feeding them foods that contained the protein. In these cases, breast cancer was less likely to spread.

    Asparagine is found in asparagus, but also in nearly every other healthy food: Animal products, potatoes, legumes, nuts, and whole grains are all culprits of spreading this “cancerous” protein.

    “Putting patients on a diet low in asparagine is probably not realistic because asparagine is everywhere (and, as mentioned above, our bodies make it, anyway.)” Berezow explained. “Instead, lowering blood levels of asparagine or blocking the enzyme asparagine synthetase in breast tumor cells might be the best path forward.”

    In other words, there is no reason to eliminate asparagus – or those other nutrient-rich foods – from your diet to stave off cancer.

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