Apoptosis cell death with natural supplements, pills, and herbs
July 12 2018 by Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Definition : Apoptosis is a highly regulated process of cell death and plays a fundamental role in the maintenance of tissue homeostasis. Numerous studies in recent years have revealed that apoptosis is a suicide program expressed in most, if not all cells, and can be triggered by a variety of extrinsic and intrinsic signals. Many human diseases can be attributed directly or indirectly to a derangement of apoptosis, resulting in either cell accumulation, in which cell eradication or cell turnover is impaired, or cell loss, in which the apoptotic program is inadvertently triggered. In addition, defective macrophage engulfment and degradation of cell corpses may also contribute to a dysregulation of tissue homeostasis. An increased understanding of the signaling pathways that govern the execution of apoptosis and the subsequent clearance of dying cells may yield novel targets for therapeutic intervention in a wide range of human maladies.

Apoptosis, cancer, herbs and herbal extracts
A number of natural herbs and herbal extracts can induce apoptosis in cancer cells in the laboratory. Whether these same effects would occur in a clinical setting in humans who are afflicted with cancer is still being determined. Some of the herbs that induce apoptosis include:

Andrographis paniculata
   Andrographolide isolated from Andrographis paniculata induces cell cycle arrest and mitochondrial-mediated apoptosis in human leukemic HL-60 cells.
Planta Med. 2005. Department of Biology and Chemistry, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China.
It is concluded that Andrographis extractand andrographolide induce cell cycle arrest and affect an intrinsic mitochondria-dependent pathway of apoptosis by regulating the expression of some pro-apoptotic markers in HL-60 cells.

Arjuna terminalia
   Effects of Terminalia arjuna bark extract on apoptosis of human hepatoma cell line HepG2.
World J Gastroenterol. 2006.
We investigated the effects of Terminalia arjuna extract on human hepatoma cell line (HepG2) and its possible role in induction of apoptosis. T. arjuna induced cytotoxicity in HepG2 cells in vitro. Apoptosis of HepG2 cells may be due to the DNA damage and expression of apoptotic proteins. Depletion of GSH may be involved in the induction of apoptosis of HepG2 cells.

Bilberry used for vision enhancement
Capsaicin in hot pepper can cause apoptosis in prostate cancer cells and pancreatic cancer cells in mice.
Clove extract inhibits tumor growth and promotes cell cycle arrest and apoptosis.
Curcumin which is an extract from turmeric can cause apoptosis.
   Curcumin induces apoptosis through the mitochondria-mediated apoptotic pathway in HT-29 cells.
J Zhejiang Univ Sci B. 2009.
We investigated the effects of curcumin on release of cytochrome c and expressions of Bcl-2, Bax, Bad, Bcl-xL, caspase-3, poly ADP-ribose polymerase, and survivin of HT-29 cells. HT-29 cells were treated with curcumin for 24 h. The release of cytochrome c from the mitochondria and the apoptosis-related proteins Bax, Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, Bad, caspase-3, PARP, and survivin were determined. Our data suggest that curcumin induced the HT-29 cell apoptosis possibly via the mitochondria-mediated pathway.

Garlic can induce apoptosis and has anti-cancer potential when eaten as garlic cloves and likely when taken as a Garlic supplement.
Mangosteen has xanthones
Quercetin is a flavonoid
Resveratrol found in grapes and wine. You can purchase a resveratrol supplement.
Parthenolide is found in feverfew plant
Evodiamine is an alkaloid extract
Sage herb has apoptotic activity
Saw palmetto also called serenoa repens herb
Sulforaphane versus melanoma cells.
Tongkat ali is an aphrodisiac herb
Tribulus terrestris which has saponins, important chemicals
Xanthohumol found in hops, which is also a sedative herb
AHCC has an influence on the immune system

Natural supplements and nutrients that induce apoptosis
Alpha lipoic acid is one such supplement

Mechanism of alpha-lipoic acid-induced apoptosis of lung cancer cells.
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009.
In the present study, we aim to investigate whether ALA induces apoptosis in lung cancer cells and whether Ca(2+) is involved in LA-induced apoptosis. We found that ALA decreased cell viability and increased DNA fragmentation of the cells. LA activated the caspase-independent pathway, determined by upregulation of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) and increased the nuclear level of apoptosis-inducing factor and caspase-dependent apoptotic pathway, determined by increased levels of cytochrome c and PARP-1 cleavage product. LA-induced apoptotic alterations were inhibited in the cells treated with Ca(2+) chelator BAPTA-AM. In conclusion, alpha lipoic acid induces apoptosis through caspase-independent and caspase-dependent pathways, which is mediated by intracellular Ca(2+).

Diet, apoptosis, and cancer
Apoptosis is an important defense against the occurrence of cancer. Apoptosis involves elimination of potentially harmful cells. Many diseases have been associated with inefficiently regulated apoptotic cell death, ultimately leading to inhibition of apoptosis and propagation of diseases such as cancer. Elucidation of the critical events associated with carcinogenesis provides the opportunity for dietary intervention to prevent cancer development through induction of apoptosis, particularly by bioactive agents or functional foods. Diet is a significant environmental factor in the overall cancer process and can exacerbate or interfere with cancer formation. In addition to diet's effects on protein expression and function, evidence is also accumulating that a large number of dietary food components can exert effects on the human genome, either directly or indirectly, to modulate gene expression. In fact, many diet-related genes are involved in carcinogenesis as well as apoptosis, and thus are ultimately molecular targets for dietary chemoprevention.

Hot water-extracted Lycium barbarum and Rehmannia glutinosa inhibit proliferation and induce apoptosis of hepatocellular carcinoma cells.
World J Gastroenterol. 2006. School of Nutrition and Health Sciences, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan, China.
To investigate the effect of hot water-extracted Lycium barbarum and Rehmannia glutinosa on cell proliferation and apoptosis in rat and/or human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells. Hot water-extracted crude lycium barbarum and rehmannia glutinosa inhibit proliferation and stimulate p53-mediated apoptosis in HCC cells.

Flavokawain A, a novel chalcone from kava extract, induces apoptosis in bladder cancer cells by involvement of Bax protein-dependent and mitochondria-dependent apoptotic pathway and suppresses tumor growth in mice.
Cancer Res. 2005. Department of Urology and Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, Irvine, Orange, CA
We have identified flavokawain A, B, and C but not the major kavalactone, kawain, in kava extracts as causing strong antiproliferative and apoptotic effect in human bladder cancer cells.

Induction of apoptosis by xanthones from mangosteen in human leukemia cell lines.
J Nat Prod. 20037.
We examined the effects of six xanthones from the pericarps of mangosteen, Garcinia mangostana, on the cell growth inhibition of human leukemia cell line HL60. All xanthones displayed growth inhibitory effects. Among them, alpha-mangostin showed complete inhibition at 10 microM through the induction of apoptosis.

Induction of apoptosis in HL-60 cells treated with medicinal herbs.
Am J Chin Med. 2003. Kinki University School of Pharmaceutical Sciences 3-4-1 Kowakae, Higashiosaka, Osaka, Japan.
In order to develop a new apoptosis inducer, we screened 22 crude drugs for their apoptosis-inducing activity. It was found that Glycyrrhiza uralensis, Cynomorium songaricum, Eucommia ulmoides, Phellodendron amurense, Cinnamomum cassia and Paeonia lactiflora induced the death of HL-60 cells.

Apoptosis by natural herbs and supplements questions
Q. Do vinpocetine brain supplement and lipoic acid antioxidant cause apoptosis?
   A. I have not seen any research regarding these two supplements and apoptosis.

Q. Thank you for your wholistic approach and service. Can you integrate apoptotic herbs with cancer medicine/chemo therapy? Will these herbs enhance your immune system while taking cancer medicine?
   A. This is an extremely complex issue since there are many forms of cancers in different stages and there are numerous chemo drugs that are prescribed (and in different dosages), and numerous herbs that have anti-cancer potential, and little research has been published on this topic regarding their interactions. Therefore it is nearly impossible to make any definitive statements. To make it even more difficult to predict is the timing of the herbal use with chemo drugs, and each person's individual response.

Your page is missing milk thistle (silymarin). This is a flavenoid that has been proven to help phagocytosis by downregulating NF-kB. I'm a chiropractic physician and using it with a modified version of the Marshall Protocol to treat chronic fatigue.