Compounds in Turmeric, Red Grapes, Apple Peels, and Berries May Help Treat Prostate Cancer


Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in the United States after skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, there will be 161,360 new cases of prostate cancer, and 26,730 men will succumb to the disease this year. Fortunately, there is a ray of hope here.

A recent study says compounds found in turmeric, red grapes, berries, and apple peels can kill prostate cancer cells. The compounds in them have the potential to shrink prostate tumors.

In fact, researchers have been testing resveratrol found in berries for its anti-cancer properties since the 1960s. There is evidence of resveratrol being useful in the treatment of other cancers such as skin, breast, lungs, pancreas, and colorectal in addition to prostate cancer. This compound is also used in combination with other drugs for cancer treatment. However, more research is required in this area.

Natural Compounds Can Kill Prostate Cancer Cells

Stefano Tiziani and colleagues from the Department of Nutritional Sciences and the Dell Pediatric Research Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, have found that certain compounds can starve prostate cancer cells.

The researchers used a high-throughput screening (HTS) technique to test 142 natural compounds for their ability to halt the growth of prostate cancer cells. They found that the compounds present in red grapes, turmeric, and apple peel can starve prostate cancer tumors and shrink them. However, these compounds were more effective when used in combination. The results of the study were published in npj Precision Oncology.

For the study, the researchers tested red grapes, turmeric, and apple peel in prostate cancer cells taken from mice. They administered these foods individually, as well as in combination via the mice’s diet to test their effectiveness.

They identified three compounds that were more effective in stopping the growth of prostate cancer cells—curcumin found in turmeric, resveratrol found in berries and red grapes, and ursolic acid found in apple peel.

The in vivo effects of the combined or single administration of the natural compounds on the growth of tumors were evaluated. These tumors were derived from HMVP2 spheroids in a mouse allograft model.

The HMVP2 cells were grown into spheroids, injected into the flank of male FVB/N mice. After the injection, it was allowed to grow for 13 days. The tumor volume was monitored daily for 32 days of the test.

Results of the Study

The study found that the compounds didn’t change the animal’s weight. Also, the single-administered compounds didn’t show a significant difference in the tumor weight and volume.

However, when the researchers administered the compounds together, it resulted in synergistic effects on tumor weight and volume. The combination of ursolic acid and curcumin were found to be most effective in inhibiting the tumor growth.

The researchers found that ursolic acid when combined with either curcumin or resveratrol, prevented the use of glutamine by prostate cancer cells. Glutamine is an amino acid that fosters the growth of prostate cancer cells. So, the lack of glutamine prevented the growth of tumor cells in mice by starving them to death. Also, these natural compounds didn’t cause any toxic effects in mice.

The concentration of the three compounds used for the research was higher than what one would normally consume through a regular diet. But, the positive point is that there may be some natural remedies to treat and prevent prostate cancer cells. There is also some research being carried out on the use of ginger to prevent prostate cancer.

Include Apples, Berries, and Turmeric in Your Diet

In conclusion, you should increase your intake of turmeric, red grapes, apples, and berries for overall health and to help reduce your risk of prostate cancer. After all, prevention is better than a cancer diagnosis. Either way, berries, apples, and turmeric are healthy foods that offer many health benefits. And, it’s quite easy to include them in your diet every day.

Having an overall healthy lifestyle is essential. This includes a balanced diet, exercise, and proper stress management. All these factors go a long way in building a good immune system and staying healthy.



Whiteman, H., “Turmeric, red grape, and apple compounds ‘starve’ prostate cancer cells,” Medical News Today, June 20, 2017;

 “Starving Prostate Cancer With What You Eat for Dinner,” UT News, June 6, 2017;, last accessed June 21, 2017.

Karna, P., et al., “Benefits of whole ginger extract in prostate cancer,” The British Journal of Nutrition, February 2012; 107(4): 473-484. doi: 10.1017/S0007114511003308, last accessed June 21, 2017.

Singh, C.K., et al., “Resveratrol-based combinatorial strategies for cancer management,” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, July 2013; 1290(1): 113-121. doi:  10.1111/nyas.12160, last accessed June 21, 2017.

Tiziani, S., et al., “Combinatorial treatment with natural compounds in prostate cancer inhibits prostate tumor growth and leads to key modulations of cancer cell metabolism,” npj Precision Oncology, June 5, 2017. doi: 10.1038/s41698-017-0024-z.