Special gummy candy takes on cancer
Someday fighting cancer could be a sweet pursuit. Or at least that’s what researchers in Ohio are studying in a clinical trial using black raspberry-based gummy candies with prostate cancer patients who are having surgery.
“We set out to create a product that had the same level of quality and stability you would find in a pharmaceutical medicine, but that was 100% fruit, simple to take and retained high levels of chemopreventive bioactives,” said Yael Vodovotz, a food scientist at Ohio State University.
Black raspberries—which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that seem to suppress tumors—were freeze-dried to preserve nutrients and ground into a powder before being reformulated into the gummy candies as well as a nectar. Each dose equals a cup of berries.
“There are places in the U.S. today—like the Appalachian region which has some of the highest cancer rates in America—that don’t have regular access to fresh fruits and vegetables,” Vodovotz said. “This type of product could make a big difference supporting preventive health efforts where high-quality, fresh produce deliveries are rare or unpredictable.”
Using fresh berries in the trial would have been impractical since “variations in storage, seasonal availability, absorption—these things can all change disease-fighting substances in fresh produce,” Vodovotz said.
Patients liked the candies so much they wanted more. “Most of the participants inquired about ordering the gummies after they had completed their prescribed dose,” said Kristen Roberts, a nutrition Ph.D. candidate who’s working on the study.