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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2008 Jul;17(7):1808-12. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-07-2660.

Serum beta-glucuronidase activity in response to fruit and vegetable supplementation: a controlled feeding study.

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Public Health Sciences Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA 98109-1024, USA.



Fruit and vegetable (F&V) intake may lower the risk of some cancers. One hypothesized, but understudied, chemopreventive mechanism is that plant food constituents inhibit beta-glucuronidase, an acid hydrolase that deconjugates glucuronides.


We conducted a crossover feeding trial in 63 healthy women and men ages 20 to 40 years to examine the effect of diet on serum beta-glucuronidase activity. Participants were randomized to two 2-week experimental diets with an intervening washout period: a diet high in selected citrus fruit, crucifers, and soy (F&V) and a diet devoid of fruits, vegetables, and soy (basal). Serum beta-glucuronidase activity was measured during the preintervention, F&V, and basal periods. Linear mixed models were used to obtain effect estimates and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI).


We observed statistically significantly higher beta-glucuronidase activity during the F&V than the basal diet (ratio, F&V versus basal diet, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.05-1.13; P < 0.01). These results were probably due to decreased beta-glucuronidase activity during the basal diet (ratio, basal period versus preintervention, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.87-0.98; P = 0.01) rather than increased enzyme activity during the F&V diet (ratio, F&V period versus preintervention, 1.01; 95% CI, 0.96-1.06; P = 0.64). Response to the experimental diet did not differ by sex (P(interaction) = 0.30), but there was a suggestion of a short-term diet effect at 8 versus 15 days (P(interaction) = 0.06).


This intervention of selected F&V did not lower beta-glucuronidase activity. Further investigation is needed regarding what other foods and phytochemicals may influence beta-glucuronidase activity and effect modifiers of this relation.

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