How Does Paw Paw
In order to
understand how paw paw works, it is helpful to be familiar with a
little biology on human cells. It is also recommended that you
watch the video animation on paw paw if you
have not already done so. It may take a couple of times
watching it to catch everything, but it should help your
comprehension of the process.
Cell Biology and ATP Production
Simply put, cells need energy to live, survive, and multiply--no
real surprise. After all, we know that we must give our bodies
energy in the form of food in order to live. During the
digestion process, the food begins to be broken down and put into a form
that eventually can be utilized by the cells in our body. One
result of this process is the formation of blood sugar, or glucose. As blood
travels throughout the body, the cells absorb the life-sustaining
glucose. All cells need it, but some need more than
others and are thus "high-users."
The cell has some
special molecules on its exterior that transport glucose from the
blood into the cell--appropriately called "glucose
transporters." However, at this point, the process is not
done. The cell must then convert the glucose into usable
electrons--in other words, usable energy. There are a couple
of different processes that the cells use to accomplish this, but
the vast majority of the metabolism (energy conversion) that takes
place is through the mitochondria of the cell.
The mitochondria resides
on the interior of each cell. Actually, each cell has hundreds
or thousands of them. (On the picture, the mitochondria are
the "sausage-shaped" structures on the interior of the
cell walls.) As noted earlier, their primary purpose
is to take glucose and oxygen and use it to produce the energy that
the cell needs. The energy that is produced is called adenosine
tryphosphate, or ATP for short.
In general, cancer cells
fit the profile of "high users" of ATP. In fact,
some studies indicate that they need anywhere from 10-17 times as
much ATP as a normal cell in order to survive and multiply.
Thus, if the ATP that is produced by the mitochondria of the cancer
cells can be somehow controlled or reduced significantly, those cells
can be negatively impacted, hopefully making them die off.
Substances that Reduce ATP
Research by Dr. Jerry McLaughlin of Purdue University found that the
paw paw tree is a source of substances known as acetogenins.
(Since the family Latin/scientific name of paw paw is Annonacea,
these natural substances are often referred to in the literature as Annonaceous
Acetogenins.) It is these acetogenins that he found
to drastically reduce the ATP production of the cells' mitochondria.
There are several
different acetogenins. They vary from species to species of
trees within the "paw paw family", and within other
related trees. However, Dr. McLaughlin found that the highest
concentrations and most powerful acetogenins were in the Asimina
triloba species of the paw paw. Furthermore, he found that
there were even differences in the actual geographical location of
the trees--noting during his research that some groves of trees were
more potent than others.
surprisingly, some companies have produced products using Graviola
(a biological cousin of the paw paw) and market them as similar to,
or equal to paw paw itself. However, Dr. McLaughlin has
written on several occasions in technical papers that there is a big
difference chemically between the acetogenins found in graviola and
those found in paw paw. Dr. McLaughlin developed a procedure
to standardize extracts from paw paw to contain a certain known
amount of acetogenins, and licensed it to a company in Utah. Thus,
it is important for anyone contemplating using the paw paw treatment
to be sure that a standardized extract of from the Asimina triloba
tree is obtained--not graviola, since graviola is far less potent due to its
chemical structure. Read
about differences between paw paw and graviola.
Further research by Dr.
McLaughlin found that although the acetogenins are found throughout
the paw paw tree, fruit and seeds, the greatest concentration of
them is in the twigs of the tree. Also, he found that the
acetogenin levels peak during the month of May. Thus, even
the time that the paw paw is harvested is drastically important.
Thus, someone using the paw paw treatment needs to verify that the
manufacturer harvests the twigs at the right time of the year.
the Acetogenins Work
When a person intakes a source of acetogenins, such as a capsule of
standardized paw paw extract, the blood supply picks them up and
delivers them throughout the body along with glucose. Although
a slight amount of acetogenins may wind up in non-cancer cells, the
resulting lowering of ATP production is not enough in most of these
cells to cause any problems. The huge energy requirement of
the cancerous cells tends to "hog" most of the acetogenins
to those cells. Furthermore, when the acetogenins start
working on the "high-usage" cancer cells, the resulting
drop in ATP energy production is much greater than it would be in
most normal cells. Thus, if cancer cells are present in the
body, the paw paw tends to affect them, while leaving the normal
Unlike chemotherapy, the
paw paw works to "starve" the cancer cells instead of
poisoning them. Thus, the action is usually slower than
chemotherapy. However, the
side effects are minimal, as discussed below.
energy-inhibiting properties work in basically four ways:
the production of cellular energy (ATP), thus robbing the cancer
cells of the energy it needs to survive. This
is the basic process described above, and certainly one of the
help modulate/reduce the growth of blood vessels near the
cancerous cells. Since the cancer cells need
more ATP, they need more glucose to convert into it. Thus,
the body tends to grow new blood vessels to deliver the
glucose. Actually, the new blood vessel growth needs ATP
itself, so the ATP reduction helps reduce that growth that is
necessary for cancer cell survival.
enhance the effectiveness of chemical medical treatments.
It is very common to hear that cancer patients undergoing
chemotherapy develop a resistance to the chemo itself, thus
rendering the treatment to no effect. This is usually
called Multiple-Drug Resistance (MDR). This resistance
takes place because cancer cells will develop the ability to
recognize and reject chemicals that it becomes familiar
with. The cells will actually develop a "pumping
action" to pump the chemicals back out of the cells before
the chemicals have their desired effect. However, this
pumping action used to reject the chemicals uses--guess
what--ATP. Lowering ATP to these cells reduces their
ability to pump out the chemotherapy drugs, thus making the
cells susceptible to the chemotherapy treatments again.
Several technical articles have been
written on the effect of paw paw on MDR cells, some of which can
be read on this website.
help reduce duplication of cancer cells. The
DNA and RNA are "blueprints" that affect the structure
and behavior of cells. However, ATP is an essential part
of DNA and RNA division and reproduction. The lowered
levels of ATP tend to reduce rapid cell growth.
(If you decide that using paw paw is a course of treatment that
you want to do, it is always recommended that you talk about this
with your physician. As noted in our disclaimer,
the owners and contributors simply document academic articles and
other sources on this website. They are not physicians and do not
give medical advice. Under no conditions should you stop
taking conventional treatment without the input/approval of your
If a person is serious
about this type of treatment, only a standardized paw paw extract
should be used. It is definitely best to purchase the
product from a manufacturer that Dr. McLaughlin has personally
worked with. Normally, a capsule is taken four times a
day with some food. While not necessary for the action of paw
paw to work, many people often use it in conjunction with a beta-glucans,
immune stimulating type of product. The beta-glucans are
usually taken in between the times when paw paw is taken.
Another positive thing about paw paw is the lack of side
effects. At least one paper noted that paw paw was 300 times
as toxic as one leading chemotherapy drug--without the side
effects of hair loss and weight loss normally experienced.
If the paw paw is taken on an empty stomach, the recipient might
experience nausea and/or vomiting. The same is true if a
person were to try to overdose on paw paw. (This natural
anti-overdose mechanism is yet another positive.) On very rare
occasions, a recipient might feel a temporary lowering of energy due
to ATP reduction in cells throughout the body. Other than
these, there are no side effects known.
of Use. In general, paw paw should not be used for
any sustained, prolonged time unless abnormal cells are present.
In the absence of cancer cells, the paw paw will be attracted to
other cells in the body that are "high energy usage"
cells. They could be anywhere, but the likely candidates are
in the digestive and intestinal systems. Because of that, paw
paw should not be used as a preventative. It is sometimes
used for short durations (less than one month) internally for
parasites. Thus, if a person is determined to be cancer-free,
they should generally stop taking it no more than a month later. Often,
the person may come back and take it for short durations (about a
week) each month. However, sustained, prolonged usage is
If a preventative is
being considered, it is probably wiser to consider things that build
and support the immune system, such as a beta-glucans product and a
high antioxidant product. There are several good liquid
antioxidants available, one of which is mangosteen juice. If
you choose to go that route, consider a mangosteen juice that is
high in xanthones and without any harmful preservatives.
It is these same basic
mechanisms that made paw paw effective against lice, parasites, and
plant pests. For more information and technical writing, we
recommend that you visit our articles section.
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