Popular Fruit Fights Cancer… But We’re Throwing Out the Most Important Part

Popular Fruit Fights Cancer… But We’re Throwing Out the Most Important Part about undefined

At breakfast tables across the nation millions enjoy a glass of orange juice with their eggs and toast each morning.

Everyone knows oranges are chock full of vitamin C. So are grapefruits—another breakfast staple—and tangerines, lemons and limes.

But you may be unaware that the therapeutic benefit of citrus fruits for treating cancer goes beyond vitamin C.

Flavonoids are powerful cancer-fighting nutrients present in vegetables, fruits, teas, and wines. They influence both the health benefits and the color of these foods.

Citrus fruits contain more than 60 different flavonoids, making them one of the best sources. But most people simply aren’t getting them. Here’s why…

The peel and pulp are the secret

People have used citrus peels for medicinal purposes for centuries. Today, science has confirmed that the peel we most often throw away may be the healthiest part of the entire fruit!

Three and a half ounces of orange peel provides 136 mg of vitamin C, whereas the same amount of flesh contains about half as much (71 mg).

Also, the peel or pith (the underlying white pulp) of the citrus fruit has the highest concentration of flavonoids. They’re abundant in citrus pectin and flavonoids such as hesperidin, naringin, and rutin.

Recently, scientists confirmed that these flavonoids exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties.

There’s also a class of citrus flavonoids called polymethoxyflavones, or PMFs. These offer potent benefits as well. Recent studies have shown they have anticancer properties.

Two kinds of studies and why they matter 

Scientists use two types of studies to test nutrients’ effectiveness against cancer.

In one type, they add nutrients to a test tube containing cancer cells and then observe the effects. This is an in vitro, or “in the glass,” study.

It can give us an idea of whether the nutrient tested has desirable effects. But getting a result in a test tube doesn’t mean you’ll get the same result in a human. That’s partly because test tube studies are “in isolation,” not part of a complete human body. For example, the nutrients don’t go through a digestive system before reaching the cancer cells in a test tube.

The second type of study is in vivo, which means “in the living body.” The body in question can be a human or an animal. In vivo studies tell us a whole lot more about the anticancer effects of a substance.

That’s why, when you hear about a study, it’s important to know which method researchers used.

Hesperidin beats cancer  

Hesperidin, a flavonoid found in citrus peel and pith, has anticancer effects proven by both in vitro and in vivo studies.

In vitro studies showed that hesperidin can inhibit growth of breast cancer cells.1,2 This powerful flavonoid can also trigger apoptosis (natural death) in the cancer cells.3

Studies show it does the same for leukemia4 and lung5 cancer cells. Plus, it triggers apoptosis in colon6 and liver7 cancer cells, as well as prevents the spread of skin cancer cells.8

Animal studies confirmed that hesperidin inhibits cancer cell growth for many cancers including colon,9 stomach,10 lung,11 bladder,12 oral,13 and throat.14 Hesperidin also induced apoptosis in stomach15 and colon16 tumors.

Citrus flavonoids also appear to have the ability to inhibit the RLIP76 protein, which is linked to both cancer and obesity.

If hesperidin and other citrus flavonoids could help fight cancer, it would be a godsend.

But as is so often the case, something that treats one condition may be helpful for many others as well. After all, your body operates as a whole unit.

This discovery alone could have huge implications for the treatment of chronic diseases. And hesperidin does offer a host of other benefits, some with stronger evidence than others. Let’s start with brain health.

Keeps your brain strong  

Hesperidin and other citrus flavonoids are antioxidants. They also have the property – not found in all nutrients – of being able to cross the blood-brain barrier, the cellular barrier that protects your brain against infiltrating toxins.

In preclinical trials, hesperidin showed neuroprotective effects in several different ways. Among other things, it prevented membrane damage. It also scavenged for free radicals.

There’s more. Hesperidin prevents brain damage caused by pesticides,17 heavy metals,18 and other toxins. It prevents cognitive impairment in mice with Alzheimer’s19 and prevents brain damage triggered by ionizing radiation from X-rays.20

In one study, those who consumed pure, unprocessed orange juice—that means fresh squeezed, not concentrated or pasteurized — for eight weeks showed improved cognitive function, compared to those consuming a low-bioflavonoid orange-flavored drink.21 And mind you, the researchers likely didn’t include the peel in that OJ – which could make the results even better.

Want better overall health? Eat citrus—peel and all…  

Here are some of the other benefits hesperidin and other citrus flavonoids may offer, with varying amounts of evidence to support them. Citrus flavonoids:

  • Reduce chemotherapy-induced damage to liver,22 eyes,23 testicles24
  • Enhance immune function
  • Protect against whole body gamma ray irradiation25
  • Lower cholesterol (when combined with other citrus flavonoids)
  • Improve insulin signaling
  • Decrease triglycerides
  • Improve metabolic health
  • Improve control of diastolic blood pressure
  • Boost blood vessel function
  • Suppress inflammation26
  • Prevent diabetic complications by reducing oxidative damage27
  • Stop allergic reactions in those with asthma
  • Help prevent kidney stones
  • Cleanse your lungs, helping you expel phlegm
  • Improve oral health – chew orange peels as a natural breath freshener, or rub the inside of the peel on your teeth to help whiten them
  • Beautify skin – when combined with milk, it helps lighten dark spots on your skin
  • Help prevent or reduce hemorrhoids
  • Prevent bone loss and accelerates bone formation (with a calcium supplement)

How to consume hesperidin  

Mind you, this doesn’t mean citrus bioflavonoids are a complete, miracle cure for all these conditions. It means there’s evidence people who consumed them experienced some improvement in comparison to people who didn’t.

Having said that, what’s the best way to get hesperidin? Eating citrus fruit. That way, this one nutrient is already combined with a host of other synergistic flavonoids and vitamins. And it fits well into an anticancer diet.

If you’re going to eat the peel or pith, we recommend organic fruits, due to the chemical sprays often used on peels.

The easiest, healthiest way is to juice whole, organic citrus fruits at home.

Taking hesperidin as a supplement is generally considered safe. But on occasion, it can cause mild digestive upset or diarrhea.

Like many nutrients, hesperidin can slow blood clotting and benefit blood flow. It’s a blood thinner. This means if you’re on a blood thinning medication or you’re about to have surgery, you need to tell your doctor if you’re consuming large amounts of the supplement.

If you have low blood pressure, be aware that hesperidin could cause it to drop to unsafe levels.

Best regards,

Lee Euler,


  1. (Accessed November 12, 2020)
  2. (Accessed November 12, 2020)
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  14. (Accessed November 12, 2020)
  15. (Accessed November 12, 2020)
  16. (Accessed November 12, 2020)
  17. (Accessed November 12, 2020)
  18. (Accessed November 12, 2020)
  19. Wang D, Liu L, Zhu X, Wu W, Wang Y. Hesperidin alleviates cognitive impairment, mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2014;34(8):1209-21.
  20. Said UZ, Saada HN, Abdalla MS, Elsayed ME, Amin AM. Hesperidin attenuates brain biochemical changes of irradiated rats. Int J Radiat Biol. 2012;88(8):613-8.
  21. Kean RJ, Lamport DJ, Dodd GF. Chronic consumption of flavanone-rich orange juice is associated with cognitive benefits: an 8-wk, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in healthy older adults. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2015;101(3):506-514. Doi:10.3945/ajcn.114.088518
  22. Omar HA, Mohamed WR, Arafa El-sa, et al. Hesperidin alleviates cisplatin-induced hepatotoxicity in rats without inhibiting its antitumor activity. Pharmacol Rep. 2016;68(2):349-56.
  24. (Accessed November 12, 2020)
  25. Pradeep K, Ko KC, Choi MG, Kang JA, Chung YJ, Park SH. Protective effect of hesperidin, a citrus flavanoglycone, against t-radiation-induced tissue damage in Sprague-dawley rats. J Med Food. 2012;15(5):419-27.
  26. (Accessed November 12, 2020)
  27. (Accessed November 12, 2020)

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