Not just the disease itself, but the treatment procedures can also lead to terrible health issues; we are indeed talking about cancer, the disease that worries humankind like anything. Multiple kinds of research and studies are in progress in numerous laboratories around the globe, all to derive a solution to the deadlock that cancer creates.
Amidst all the chaos, a team headed by Dr Thomas Varghese, a renowned surgical oncologist from Kerala, has come up with great and promising news. His studies have shown that Jackfruit consumption could help relieve leukopenia, a condition induced by chemotherapy treatment.
Ever heard about leukopenia? It is a condition of low immunity. A person suffering from leukopenia will have a reduced number of WBCs (White blood cells). With WBCs being low, the person is vulnerable to infections and multiple health issues, which could even go lethal. Leukopenia in majority cases is a byproduct of another disease or health condition like leukaemia, hypersplenism, etc. Chemotherapy is one major contributor to leukopenia. WBCs are generated in the bone marrow. The chemotherapy and drugs consumed as part of cancer treatment cause bone marrow suppression, drastically affecting the WBC production. This is one prime reason why cancer patients after chemotherapy appear weaker and are susceptible to multiple infections and diseases.
The medicinal value of jackfruit is not a new piece of knowledge, the value of the fruit is known to man from early times. Ayurveda allocates special slot to jackfruit considering its healthy and curing benefits. Dr Thomas Varghese and his team at Renai Medicity Hospital in Kochi supplemented 30 grams of jackfruit powder in the regular diet for a selected number of patients undergoing chemotherapy. The results showed positive results as anticipated--- the patients had reduced after-effects of chemotherapy. The WBC count for the patients under observation was found to be normal, wiping out the chances for leukopenia.
But what helps jackfruit do the wonders? Pectin and other essential amino acids in jackfruit are to be given the credit. Pectin is a polysaccharide found in fruits. Jackfruit, as the looks suggest, is a giant storehouse of pectin. This water-soluble fibre counters the after-effects of chemotherapy. Pectin in association with the essential amino acids present in jackfruit helps resist WBC reduction and painful after-effects of chemotherapy.
The ability of jackfruit in controlling diabetes is very well known. It is quite a fortunate coincidence that Dr Thomas Varghese chose to experiment with jackfruit after noticing reduced after-effects of chemotherapy in a couple of patients who included jackfruit in their daily diet to control diabetes. It was the turning point!
Jackfruit consumption has multiple health benefits. Some powdered forms of jackfruit are now readily available in the market (like JACKFRUIT365TM), which is good news for people residing at places where jackfruit is scarce. The powdered form makes it more versatile; meaning it can be added to any food item (approximately 30 grams a day) without actually compromising with the dietary habits of people.
It is important to keep in mind that the consumption of jackfruit in high amounts can decrease the blood sugar levels.
Dr Thomas and his team are awaiting further approvals and acceptance for their study from the authoritative organisations of the country. The study was published in the journal Biomolecules with title “Efficacy of Jackfruit365™ Green Jackfruit Flour Fortified Diet on Pegfilgrastim to Prevent Chemotherapy-Induced Leukopenia, Irrespective of Tumor Type or Drugs Used—A Retrospective Study”