Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP) is a complex polysaccharide derived from the soluble fiber of citrus peels, resulting in lower-molecular weight, un-branched chains rich in galactosyl residues. Research documents the ability of these fragments to provide an alternative target to galectins (carbohydrate-binding proteins specific to the sugar galactose) involved in the mobility and adherence to distal sites of abnormal cells. Supports normal cell-surface molecule interaction. Modified citrus pectin is easily absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and is useful for energy metabolism as well as a laxative.
• Supports normal cell-surface molecule interaction
• Interferes with metastasis
Modified Citrus Pectin Powder: We all fear abnormal growths in our bodies, knowing the horrors of cancer and its standard treatment. But such growths need not become true cancers. So long as the growth remains a localized problem, confined to a relatively safe location like the skin, it can be a manageable health challenge rather than an all- consuming assault on the body’s tissues and resources. So- called “benign” tumors are the kind that will simply stay put, lacking the ability to invade or colonize other tissues.
But in other cases, a tumor is able to extend its dark empire. The main way that this can happen is when cancer cells break off from the main tumor, get taken up into the bloodstream, travel to distant organs, and – like bad seed in good soil – germinate a new, hostile tendril, putting down roots and beginning a fresh cycle of parasitical growth. Thus a deadly new phase in the disease is initiated, in which new tumors are formed, buried deep in critical organs like the brain.
This cancerous colonization process is known as metastasis, and metastasis – rather than the original tumor – is what kills most people who suffer with cancer. In fact, only tumors that are able to invade, or metastasize to, other tissues, are properly called cancers, and it’s the metastatic property of such tumors that doctors appropriately label “malignant.”
MCP: “Chaff” Against Metastasis: Mounting evidence suggests that there is a natural way to prevent cancer cells from taking advantage of galectin-3: pH-modified citrus pectin, or MCP. Pectin from citrus fruits contains a significant number of residues of the sugar galactose – the same kind of sugar residues to which, galectin-3 binds when they are found on its glycoconjugate. Potentially, these residues could interact with galectin-3 and prevent it from interacting with its glycoconjugates, thereby protecting healthy tissues from being targeted by metastasizing cancer cells. The idea would be to use these molecules like the “chaff” which fighter pilots release to foil the guidance systems of missiles, which have “locked on” to their planes.
Unfortunately, most of the pectin in citrus fruits is present in the form of long, complex chains whose galactose residues are hidden deep within their intricate molecular branchings. As a result, galectin-3 can’t interact with these galactose residues, and the “chaffing” potential of the pectin is lost. To solve this problem, the carbohydrate chains can be split into shorter fragments under pH-controlled conditions, exposing more galactose residues and simplifying the complicated branchings of the molecule. This process maximizes the opportunities for the fiber’s galactose residues to interact with galectin-3. Working with the fibers of lemons, grapefruits, or tangerines in this way creates pH-modified citrus pectin (MCP).
Numerous studies in both isolated cells and living organisms have shown that MCP can block the metastatic potential of many different kinds of cancer. In the most remarkable of these studies, Dr. Kenneth Pienta and his colleagues at the Wayne State University School of Medicine tested the power of MCP supplements to block metastasis of prostate cancer cells in experimental animals. After injecting one million prostate cancer cells into each of the animals and giving the cancer time to take hold in their bodies, the scientists divided the animals into four groups. One group drank plain water, but the other five groups drank water supplemented with increasing amounts of MCP.
MCP had no effect on the original tumor. This is what you’d expect: the supplement is in no way toxic to healthy or cancerous cells, but instead intervenes directly in key steps in the metastatic process. And intervene it did. Over the course of one month, 15 of the 16 animals, which did not receive MCP supplements developed metastases in their lungs. By contrast, as published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the researchers found that MCP dramatically reduces the metastatic spread of prostate cancer in these animals.
Even at the lowest dose, the number of metastases per animal was cut by 40%. At higher doses, the effect was even more impressive. Fully forty to fifty percent of the animals receiving high-dose MCP were completely free of metastasis. And even in cases where MCP was unable to completely prevent the spread of the disease, metastasis was literally decimated: the number of lung metastases per animal was slashed by as much as 89%. On top of this, MCP also reduced the number of animals with lymph node disease: while 55% of the animals who got no MCP suffered with the disease, all but 13% of the MCP- treated animals were free from lymph node complications.
This study confirmed the results of a previous experiment, using melanoma (skin cancer) cells. The results of the earlier experiment had been astounding. Even the lowest dose of MCP completely prevented metastasis: the metastasis rate was 76.7% in the animals receiving no MCP, while none of those that received MCP supplements suffered new colonization. But the significance of the earlier experiment had been limited, because the researchers had used injections of MCP, not MCP as a supplement to the drinking water. Dr. Pienta’s experiments proved that, in this cancer model, drinking MCP dissolved in water is also a strong shield against the metastatic process in malignant disease.
MCP: The Future: More recently, researchers have discovered new anti-metastasis mechanisms of MCP, including blocking stops angiogenesis (the process whereby cancer cells stimulate the body to grow new blood vessels to feed the tumor), which are stimulated by in galectin-3. And new studies showing that galectin-3 can block anoikis (an anti-cancer defensive mechanism in which abnormal cells are forced to detach from the healthy tissue’s extracellular matrix, leading them to commit cellular “suicide” (apoptosis)) likewise suggest a possible protective effect of MCP.
Most excitingly of all, human phase I and Phase II studies of MCP have been completed in patients with colorectal and pancreatic cancers. While mostly designed to test the safety, rather than the effectiveness, of the supplement, the preliminary results were very suggestive of a true anti- metastatic power of MCP in humans.
Final certainty about MCP as a defense for healthy tissues against cancerous colonization in humans will have to await the results of randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase III trials. But with the powerful results experienced in other organisms – and the proven safety of this natural supplement – many people facing difficult decisions about their health and future are choosing to embrace hope by taking a chance on MCP today.