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A soy sauce surprise.

Compared with Americans, the Japanese face an eight-fold higher risk of stomach cancer. Some Japanese scientists have suspected that the difference traces tp a diet doused with soy sauce, which contains precursors of chemicals that cause mutations in bacteria. But a U.S. research team, expecting to confirm that hypothesis in mice, has observed just the opposite. Japanese-style fermented soy sauce "exhibited a pronounced anticarcinogenic effect," they report.

Michael W. Pariza and his co-workers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison conducted two tests, each with 300 mice fed a diet laced with a stomach carcinogen. In one six-month trial, halt the mice received soy sauce supplements; the controls received extra water instead. Halt of each group also received water spiked with varying levels of nitrites -- compounds suspected of interacting with soy sauce to form gastric carcinogens. In a second test, Pariza's team held the nitrite/plain-water supplements constant varying only the amount of soy sauce fed to halt of each group.

Among the controls, 98 percent of those surviving the first experiment developed stomach cancer, averaging nine tumors per mouse. Only 72 percent of the soy-supplemented mice developed stomach malignancies, average 2.5 tumors per mouse.

The second experiment revealed that the maximum cancer inhibition occurred in animals receiving the most soy sauce--about 20 percent of their diet. The nitrates did not temper soy sauce's anticancer effect, the researchers report in the June 1 CANCER RESEARCH.

Pariza's group discovered that soy sauce contains compounds with substantial antioxidant activity. Noting that many antioxidants inhibit the development of cancer, they conclude that these soy compounds may be "mechanistically linked at least in part to the anticarcinogenic effects."
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Title Annotation:soy sauce found to have anti-stomach cancer effect
Author:Raloff, Janet
Publication:Science News
Date:Jun 8, 1991
Words:274
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