November 11 2009 post. This morning a blog reader (super duper thanks!!!) sent me the link to a paper that will be presented at the upcoming ASH (=American Society of Hematology) annual meeting. See: http://tinyurl.com/ykye8pf

Well, this was a bit of a shocker (in a very good sense!) that made me drop everything I was doing and write this post…

In a nutshell, a Japanese MGUS patient (IgA-kappa) began taking something called hesperetin-7-glucoside, a more bioavailable form of hesperetin, which is a flavanone found in grapefruit and oranges (citrus fruit in general). And the patient’s M-protein decreased from 2,080 to 878 mg/dL over a three-year period. Her/his hematologists took notice, good for them!, and decided to test this compound on MM cells.

They found that Hesperetin showed inhibitory effects in a dose-dependent manner on the growth of 4 myeloma cell lines and freshly isolated myeloma cells. And hesperetin also turns out to be a proteasome inhibitor, just like curcumin and bortezomib (=Velcade). In the experiments, hesperetin annihilated the myeloma cells. Based on these results, an open-label, pilot clinical trial to test the efficacy of hespertin recently began for asymptomatic myeloma patients. Well, please go have a look at the abstract, which isn’t too difficult to read.

Now, this topic definitely deserves more attention, but today I have a bunch of errands to run, so I must put it on hold…like everything else, for that matter!

Oh heck, just quickly…let’s see (I can’t help it, the errands will simply have to wait a sec)…here is an interesting Finnish 2001 study showing the high plasma concentrations of hesperetin (and naringenin): http://tinyurl.com/ybhajrv Brilliant! Well, I will have to make and drink more citrus-based juices from now on, that is for sure.

Speaking of grapefruit, a few words of warning for those doing chemotherapy: avoid drinking grapefruit juice or eating grapefruit without asking your doctor first. Grapefruit contains compounds that block an important enzyme found in the gut and liver. Simply put, this inhibition causes an increase in blood levels of chemo drugs (or of any other substance, for that matter). That is, when chemo patients drink grapefruit juice, drugs that are usually eliminated quickly via that particular enzyme are able to remain in the bloodstream for longer than warranted. Obviously not a good thing. The reverse is true in the case of poorly bioavailable substances, such as curcumin. Drinking grapefruit juice with curcumin probably helps us absorb it better. 

At any rate, those of us who aren’t on chemo AND aren’t allergic to citrus fruit have absolutely nothing to fear. So, go ahead and drink up! Yum yum.

P.S. For more information on flavanones: http://tinyurl.com/ybsge86 (Here you will also find a helpful chart that distinguishes between flavone, flavonol, flavanone and flavanonol.)

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