University of Illinois scientists have found compounds in Camelina that boost liver detoxification enzymes nearly fivefold – suggesting further studies should be undertaken to explore Camelina’s anti-cancer properties.

“The bioactive compounds in Camelina sativa seed … are a mixture of phytochemicals that work together synergistically far better than they do alone. This seed meal is a promising nutritional supplement because its bioactive ingredients increase the liver’s ability to clear foreign chemicals and oxidative products. And that gives it potential anti-cancer benefit,” said U of Illinois professor of nutritional toxicology, Elizabeth Jeffery.

In the first study of Camelina’s bioactive properties, scientists isolated four major components—three glucosinolates and the flavonoid quercetin—from defatted Camelina seed meal.They tested the components on mouse liver cells and found that all four major Camelina bioactives induced the detoxifying liver enzyme NQO1. And when a particular glucosinolate, GSL9, was paired with the flavonoid quercetin, there was a synergistic effect.

“When these two bioactives were combined, induction of the detoxifying liver enzyme increased nearly fivefold,” said Nilanjan Das, a postdoctoral student in Jeffery’s lab.

“These findings suggest that defatted Camelina seed meal should be evaluated for anticancer activity, similar to broccoli and other Brassicaceae family members,” the research paper concluded.

Nilanjan Das, Mark A. Berhow, Donato Angelina, and Elizabeth H. Jeffery co-authored “Camelina sativa Defatted Seed Meal Contains Both Alkyl Sulfinyl Glucosinolates and Quertecin that Synergize Bioactivity.”

Their work is published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry:

University of Illinois:

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Photo: Camelina sativa (L.) Crantz [as Myagrum sativum L.] by G.C. Oeder et al, (1761-1883) the Royal Library Copenhagen