Large Doses of Bioflavonoids Linked to Leukemia in Children
WebMD News Archive
"This strongly supports the notion that bioflavonoids could be a
causative agent for infant and possibly childhood leukemias," Rowley says.
Mothers' intake of bioflavonoids during pregnancy may cause MLL damage in the
fetuses, leading to leukemia in infants and young children, she says.
Using blood and bone-marrow cells from healthy newborns and adults, as well
as leukemia cells, researchers uncovered the mechanism of DNA damage. Once the
MLL gene is broken, it can reconnect with more than 40 other genes. In extreme
cases, this can cause cell death. These so-called "translocations" of
genetic material also can cause uncontrolled cell growth, such as in
Manuel Diaz, MD, a molecular geneticist at the Cardinal Bernadin Cancer
Center at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill., calls for caution
in interpreting the study's results.
"It is a big jump from an in vitro study for possible effects in a
complete organism," he says. "I wouldn't change my diet because of this
study. This paper will help in the design of other studies."
Still, he agrees with Rowley that pregnant women should not take supplements
containing bioflavonoids. Linda Van Horn, PhD, RD, professor of preventive
medicine and a nutritionist at Northwestern University Medical School, says
several recent studies have called supplement use into question.
"Foods, not supplements, are the best source of nutrients for a human
body," she says. "When you supplement the body with megadoses of
nutrients, you are taking those nutrients out of the context of the food and
may be left with a potential toxic effect."
- Researchers have found that chemicals known as bioflavonoids can cause
genetic damage, which may explain the suspected link between bioflavonoids and
leukemia among infants and children.
- Pregnant women should not take megadoses of bioflavonoids in supplements,
- When they are consumed in foods in which they naturally occur, such as
soybeans, citrus fruits, and root vegetables, bioflavonoids have many health