Background: Cellfood™ (CF) is a nutritional supplement containing deuterium sulphate, minerals, amino acids, and enzymes, with well documented antioxidant properties. Its organic and inorganic components are extracted from the red algae Lithothamnion calcareum, whose mineral extract has shown growth-inhibitory effect both on in vitro and in vivo models. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the antiproliferative effects of CF on leukemic cells. In fact, according to its capacity to modulate O2 availability and to improve mitochondrial respiratory metabolism, we wondered if CF could affect cancer cell metabolism making cells susceptible to apoptosis.
Methods: Three leukemic cell lines, Jurkat, U937, and K562, were treated with CF 5 μl/ml up to 72 hours. Cell viability, apoptosis (i.e. caspase-3 activity and DNA fragmentation), hypoxia inducible factor 1 alpha (HIF-1α) concentration, glucose transporter 1 (GLUT-1) expression, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity and lactate release in the culture medium were detected and compared with untreated cells.
Results: CF significantly inhibited leukemic cell viability by promoting cell apoptosis, as revealed by caspase-3 activation and DNA laddering. In particular, CF treated cells showed lower HIF-1α levels and lower GLUT-1 expression as compared to untreated cells. At the same time, CF was able to reduce LDH activity and, consequently, the amount of lactate released in the extracellular environment.
Conclusions: We supplied evidence for an antiproliferative effect of CF on leukemia cell lines by inducing cell death through an apoptotic mechanism and by altering cancer cell metabolism through HIF-1α and GLUT-1 regulation. Thanks to its antioxidative and proapoptotic properties, CF might be a good candidate for cancer prevention.