Preventing hepatocellular carcinoma-related deaths with Ajwa dates

Researchers at King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia have found that Phoenix dactylifera L., locally referred to as ajwa dates, can prevent hepatocellular carcinoma by improving liver function. The study, published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, assessed the anti-cancer effects and other beneficial properties of ajwa dates.

  • Researchers examined the beneficial effects of the aqueous extract of ajwa dates in a rat model of diethylnitrosamine (DEN) induced liver cancer.
  • In total, there were 32 male rats in the study, which were then divided into four groups: the untreated control group; DEN control group; DEN with 0.5 grams per kilogram of body weight (g/kg); and DEN with 1 g/kg.
  • The researchers measured the rats’ liver cancer progression or inhibition by looking at the histological, biochemical, antioxidant enzyme status, cytokines, and gene expression profiles.
  • Based on the results, researchers saw partial to complete reversal of normal liver structure in ajwa date treatment groups.
  • They also discovered that the antioxidant enzymes, such as superoxide dismutase, glutathione reductase, glutathione peroxidase, and catalase, increased in the groups treated with ajwa date extracts.
  • The liver enzymes, such as alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, and alkaline phosphatase levels, and lipid peroxidation dramatically decreased in ajwa date treatment groups.
  • Moreover, proinflammatory cytokines increased in the serum of the rats in the DEN control group, while the anti-tumor cytokines increased in both groups treated with ajwa dates.
  • Furthermore, tumor markers alpha-fetoprotein and IL-6 gene expression levels increased in the DEN control group, while these dramatically decreased in ajwa date treatment groups.

The researchers concluded that ajwa date treatment reversed DEN-damaged liver, improved liver function, and inhibited hepatocellular carcinoma.

For the full text of the study, go to this link.

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Journal Reference:

Khan F, Khan TJ, Kalamegam G, Pushparaj PN, Chaudhary A, Abuzenadah A, Kumosani T, Barbour E, Al-Qahtani M. ANTI-CANCER EFFECTS OF AJWA DATES (PHOENIX DACTYLIFERA L.) IN DIETHYLNITROSAMINE INDUCED HEPATOCELLULAR CARCINOMA IN WISTAR RATS. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2017; 17 (418). DOI:

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