- Was Pizza Rat on to something?
- Scientists reveal a naturally occurring preservative could change the fight against cancer. Find out more…
- Add this cancer-crushing and bug-busting food to your grocery list today!
Dear Living Well Daily Reader,
Remember Pizza Rat?
You know… the adorable rat that dragged a slice of pizza through the subway.
Well, if that pizza had extra cheese on it, Pizza Rat may have been getting more than a free lunch.
You see, according to research from the University of Michigan, nisin — a naturally occurring preservative in cheese and other milk products — is clobbering cancer and drug-resistant bacteria.
We’ll talk about its antibacterial properties in just a bit.
First, let’s talk about cancer…
More Cheese, Please
The study found that nisin can slow down or stop the growth of head and neck cancer cells. The researchers fed “nisin milkshakes” to rats afflicted with neck and head tumors.
And after just nine weeks, the scientists found that 70–80 percent of the tumors died!
Since oral cancers take the lives of millions every year, this research has the potential to save many. Moreover, oral cancer survival rates haven’t improved in decades, which makes this treatment possibly even more significant.
Dr. Yvonne Kapila, DDS, Ph.D., professor of dentistry at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, had this to say about the findings:
The poor five-year survival rates for oral cancer underscore the need to find new therapies for oral cancer. The use of small antibacterial agents, like nisin, to treat cancer is a new approach that holds great promise. Nisin is a perfect example of this potential because it has been used safely in humans for many years, and now the laboratory studies support its anti-tumor potential.
Per the research, nisin is a nontoxic, tasteless, and colorless powder found in small doses in dairy foods. However, the dose given to the rats in the study was about 22 times the amount found in food sources.
But don’t worry, there is still a lot of power in just a slice of cheese.
Squash Superbugs With a Slice of Swiss
You see, nisin is also a powerful antibacterial agent. It can kill off drug-resistant bacteria or superbugs in smaller doses, according to a 1999 study in Science. In addition, Kapila and her team are also testing nisin’s antibacterial powers in her lab.
She reports, “To date, nobody has found bacteria from humans or living animals that is resistant to nisin.” There are two reasons for this…
Nisin binds to the bacteria and keeps them from mutating into superbugs. And nisin kills biofilms. These colonies of bacteria can join forces against antibiotics and make them useless.
While more research needs to be done on both cancer and superbug treatment, it looks like nisin is off to a promising start. In the meantime, you might want to pick up some cheese this weekend.
Managing editor, Living Well Daily