Citrus oil may help relieve dry mouth symptoms caused by radiation therapy in head and neck cancer

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According to a new study by Stanford University School of Medicine, a compound found in citrus oil may help relieve dry mouth symptoms caused by radiation therapy in head and neck cancer patients. The oil cells of citrus peel are rich in essential oils, about 0.5% to 2% of the fresh weight of the peel. The main ingredient of citrus essential oil is d-limonene (d-Limonene), and the main role for radioactive dry mouth is d-limonene.

This compound, called d-limonene, protects saliva cells of mice exposed to radiation therapy without weakening the effects of radiation on tumors. Researchers led by Julie Saiki have also shown that oral d-limonene can be transported to the salivary glands of the body. A series of experiments with mouse cells exposed to radiation showed that d-limonene reduced the concentration of aldehydes in adult and salivary stem and progenitor cells. Even when cells are treated for several weeks after radiation exposure, d-limonene can still improve its recovery ability, repair glandular structure and produce saliva. Mice receiving d-limonene and exposed to radiation also produced more saliva than mice not receiving d-limonene and exposed to radiation.

About 40% of head and neck cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy suffer from xerostomia, which is not only uncomfortable, but also makes it difficult for patients to speak and swallow, and it is more likely to suffer from mouth pain or tooth decay, and in some cases Can cause tooth loss. Moreover, although there may be some recovery in the first few years after treatment, once saliva becomes impaired, it will usually be affected for life. Subsequent research is ongoing, and if it works, the drug will be used safely to prevent dry mouth in the long-term and make it easier for patients to tolerate radiation therapy after treatment and improve the quality of life.

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