Eating green leafy vegetables could reverse the effects of aflatoxin poisoning

September 25, 2015

Exposure to environmental carcinogens has been estimated to contribute to a majority of human cancers, especially through life-style factors related to tobacco use and diet. Notable examples are the tobacco-related carcinogens; heterocyclic amines produced from sustained, high-temperature cooking of meats; and the fungal food contaminants aflatoxins.

The team initially gave each of three volunteers a small dose of carbon 14 labeled aflatoxin (less than the amount that would be found in a peanut butter sandwich). In subsequent experiments the patients were given a small amount of Chla or CHL concomitantly with the same dose of carbon 14 labeled aflatoxin. By using LLNL's Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, the team was able to measure the amount of aflatoxin in each volunteer after each dosing regimen and determine whether the Chla or CHL reduced the amount of aflatoxin absorbed into the volunteers.

"The Chla and CHL treatment each significantly reduced aflatoxin absorption and bioavailability," Bench said.

"What makes this study unique among prevention trials is, that we were able to administer a microdose of radio-labeled aflatoxin to assess the actions of the carcinogen directly in people. There was no extrapolation from animal models which often are wrong," Turteltaub said.

Source: DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory