What is asparagine, is a low asparagine diet healthy and what foods contain it?

THERE has been research surrounding asparagine and its effect on cancer, with some potentially dangerous consequences.

But what exactly is it, and what does it mean for you if you’re an asparagus lover?

 It may seem like bad news if you're a fan of asparagus, but it's still important to keep a varied diet

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It may seem like bad news if you’re a fan of asparagus, but it’s still important to keep a varied diet

What is asparagine?

Asparagine is an amino acid, which is a building block in protein, but non-essential for humans.

Its name comes, unsurprisingly, from asparagus, where it was identified in high quantities.

In February 2018, it was found that the compound could potentially spread breast cancer tumours.

Is a low asparagine diet healthy?

In a study by Cambridge University for Cancer Research UK, mice with an aggressive form of breast cancer were examined.

Usually, it would be expected that they would die within a couple of weeks, as the tumour spread.

However, if the mice had been given a low-asparagine diet, or drugs which could block asparagine, the tumour spread less.

Although it hasn’t been tested with humans, it does indicate that a low-asparagine diet could prevent the spread of breast cancer.

However, Baroness Delyth Morgan, the chief executive of Breast Cancer Now warns extreme diets following the study, saying: “We don’t recommend patients totally exclude any specific food group from their diet without speaking to their doctors.”

So it’s still important to follow a varied yet healthy diet, and not totally cut out food groups.

 Fish and other seafood also contain asparagine

Getty – Contributor

Fish and other seafood also contain asparagine

What foods contain asparagine?

Obviously, asparagus contains a high amount of aparagine, as it was where it was first identified.

However, it can also be found in:

  • Dairy and eggs
  • Whey
  • Beef
  • Poultry
  • Seafood
  • Potatoes
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Soy products
  • Whole grains

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