Lunasin Health Benefits
Lunasin health benefits include anti-inflammatory properties, which may make it helpful in managing BPH, prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS), and some anticancer abilities. Dr. Alfredo Galvez first discovered lunasin in 1996, and since then this key component in soy protein has been studied as a possible agent to prevent the reproduction and spread of cancer cells.
Lunasin health benefits also may include an ability to lower cholesterol. Research has shown that lunasin, which also can be found in barley, wheat, and other seeds, is naturally attracted to positively charged amino acid in histones. During a process called acetylation, the positive charge on histones is neutralized, which in turn switches on genes that are involved in cell proliferation, resulting in tumors or cancer. Lunasin has the ability to bind to positively charged histones, which prevents their acetylation. This blocking action helps keep cancer-related genes turned off.
A recent analysis in Cancer Metastasis Reviews noted that lunasin has been shown to be active against human breast cancer, colon cancer, and leukemia cells in the laboratory. In a mouse study, injection of lunasin into mice implanted with human breast cancer cells reduced tumor incidence by 33 to 49 percent. Tumors analyzed from lunasin-treated mice showed a reduction in cell proliferation and an increase in apoptosis rates. (de Mejia 2010)
In another study, researchers identified anti-inflammatory properties among lunasin health benefits. Lunasin can reduce the activity of factors involved in inflammation, namely NF-kappa-B, interleukin-1, and interleukin-6. (de Mejia 2009) This characteristic makes it a possible candidate for treating BPH and prostatitis, although studies have not yet been conducted.
How To Use Lunasin
Currently lunasin is available only in soy protein and foods containing soy protein and not as a dietary supplement.
De Mejia EG, Dia VP. The role of nutraceutical proteins and peptides in apoptosis, angiogenesis, and metastasis of cancer cells. Cancer Metastasis Rev 2010 Sep; 29(3): 511-28
De Mejia EG, Dia VP. Lunasin and lunasin-like peptides inhibit inflammation through suppression of NF-kappaB pathway in the macrophage. Peptides 2009 Dec; 30(12): 2388-98