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Unique Compound in Mangosteen Found to Kill Breast Cancer Cells


mangosteen 2 Research shows healthful compounds found in mangosteen, a tropical fruit native to Southeast Asia, hold promise in the fight against breast cancer. A recent study discovers the fruit can cause the death of human breast cancer cells, and earlier investigations reveal it can stop the proliferation of malignant cells in a lab dish and even shrink the cancerous breast tumors of mice. Since the results are so positive, it makes you wonder why the allopathic medical community isn’t embracing this and other potential natural cancer cures.

With the rising incidence of cancer, interest in using dietary intervention to attack the disease or slow its development is growing. One food with the most potential is mangosteen, as it is believed to be the only dietary source of a class of polyphenols called xanthones, compounds that are believed to have powerful anticancer properties. It is these effects, as well as the apparent safety involved, that make the fruit a good candidate for scientific exploration.

Current Study

The focus of research published in Molecular Cancer is the process of fatty acid synthesis (FAS), which is over expressed in human breast cancer cells and therefore, has become a target for the treatment of the disease. Scientists found one of the xanthones contained in mangosteen effectively curtailed this over-expression, a benefit that led to the death of malignant breast cells.

Earlier Research

  • This current finding builds upon a review of mangosteen studies conducted a year ago that also showed the fruit could be valuable in fighting the disease. It notes a study in 2004 that found mangosteen pericarp extract hindered the proliferation of human breast cancer. Based on these observations, researchers began to test the anticancer properties of individual xanthones.
  • A 2006 study evaluated the effects of 19 different xanthones of mangosteen on breast cancer cells. They noted 13 out of the 19 xanthones decreased the viability of the cells, an effect that suppresses their ability to live and multiply.
  • In 2011, instead of examining the actions of mangosteen on cancer cells in a lab dish, scientists assessed its effect on mice with breast cancer. The animals treated with the fruit had a significantly higher survival rate and smaller tumor size along with a lower incidence of lymph node metastasis.

The review also cites other research that indicates mangosteen can fight against cancer through different biological pathways. “These studies, for the most part, are very encouraging regarding the potential of mangosteen for the treatment and prevention of breast cancer,” says Dr. Michael Wald, Director of Nutrition at Integrated Medicine of Mount Kisco in Westchester, New York.

Why Has the Allopathic Medical Community Seemingly Not Embraced the Promise of Mangosteen and other Natural Agents in Fighting Cancer?

Those of us who strongly believe in the natural approach to fighting disease can sometimes be perplexed by what we consider to be reluctance in the response of allopathic doctors toward this approach. Live in the Now asked Wald to provide enlightenment on the issue.

Live in the Now: The American Cancer Society (ACS) says “no reliable evidence” exists showing mangosteen can be effective against cancer. It does admit, however, that small studies indicate further research should be conducted to see if the fruit can help prevent the disease. Is it my imagination or are they downplaying what the small studies show?

Dr. Wald: This statement is typical of hundreds of natural approaches that are underemphasized by the ACS. Their stance in this area has been and always will be, “more studies are needed,” “there is weak evidence” or “there is no evidence.” This is their outlook even when studies show a strong evidence-base, suggesting the natural approach has as good or even better anticancer potential as conventional treatment.

They still say this for vitamin C, even though many dozens of intravenous and oral vitamin C studies provide compelling proof of its value in cancer preventative and treatment. In addition to studies on vitamin C and mangosteen, research on many other natural agents also shows promise for cancer. Some examples include boswellia, limonene, turmeric, essential fatty acids and vitamin D3.

Live in the Now: Why do groups such as the ACS seem tepid about the results of studies showing mangosteen’s benefits? You would expect a representative of a pharmaceutical company to discount the findings but not a presumably neutral entity like the ACS.

Dr. Wald: The truth the way I see it is simply this: the ACS will never promote nutritional products that are a part of the natural health care field. This organization is in bed with the pharmaceutical industry. They would be criticized severely and lose their positioning as a medical institution if they endorsed or strongly supported non-pharmaceutical chemotherapeutic agents.

Furthermore, most medical physicians have no real training in nutrition and blindly accept the anti-nutrition stance of the American Medical Association (AMA). The ACS is a sounding board for the AMA and other medical authorities, so their messages will always be consistent with one another.

The structure of medicine is severely crippled from compartmentalized medical education and is almost entirely pharmaceutically oriented; after all, pharmaceuticals are the only tools of the medical profession. The AMA and ACS would go bankrupt if they changed to a natural philosophy overnight, as they would lose pharmaceutical financial support.

Live in the Now: If a study found a pharmaceutical drug showed the same positive effects against cancer as these small studies show of mangosteen — which has the tremendous added benefit of having no side effects — do you think they would be viewed as providing “no reliable evidence.” In other words, is there a different standard in the medical profession, where a greater amount of proof is required for natural agents than for pharmaceuticals?

Dr. Wald: At this point, I do not believe a different standard exists. But it must be understood that the medical profession is suffering from delusional thinking. This means they constantly insist on “appropriate study,” but according to the AMA itself, upwards of 80% of procedures and practices in medicine are not supported by double-blind placebo controlled studies. In the end, one must choose what seems the most reasonable to them. If the reasons sound appropriate for a given approach, the practitioner and patient must make a choice. I choose natural because it is far safer for the most part. If, however, there is an appropriate medical intervention, I consider it also, often in combination with natural agents.


Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.

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