In a recent study, researchers examined the inhibitory effects of two different grades of maple syrup on cell proliferation of esophageal cancer, gastric cancer, colon cancer and pancreatic cancer.

Research Observations Found,

Administration of maple syrup B led to a significant decrease in the cell growth rate of all examined gastrointestinal cancer cells compared to non-treated control cells. Additionally, administration of maple syrup A led to significant inhibition of cell growth among colon and pancreatic cancer cells compared to non-treated control cells.

Interestingly, the dark-color maple syrup had an anti-proliferative effect on all investigated gastrointestinal cancer cells, even though it contained a higher amount of glucose than the golden-color maple syrup. In contrast, the golden-color maple syrup did not significantly inhibit cell proliferation for all investigated gastrointestinal cancer cells, but it did present a tendency to suppress cell proliferation (Yamamoto et al).

This data suggests that maple syrup contains an active ingredient that suppresses cancer cell proliferation, and that the amount of this active ingredient increases with the darkening of the syrup color. These findings also conclude that dark-color maple syrup may be useful as a phytomedicine, which presented inhibitory effects on colorectal cancer cell growth and invasion. Additionally, The dark-color maple syrup significantly inhibited gastrointestinal cancer cell growth. These findings may present alternative treatment options to traditional medicines.

What is Maple Syrup?

Maple syrup is consumed worldwide and is commonly used as a natural sweetener. Maple syrup is produced when the collected sap is boiled down from the sugar maple (Acer saccharum). Its color and composition can vary according to its sap collection season. The syrup is comprised of sucrose; however, it also contains phytochemicals which present various biological effects.

The darker syrup color is proportional to its antioxidant activity. Dark-color maple syrup is also found to contain various other components, such as oligosaccharides, polysaccharides, organic acids, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Additionally, other studies have found dark-color maple syrup to contain several phytochemicals, including phenolic compounds that present hypoglycemic, antioxidant, antimutagenic, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and anti-neurodegenerative effects (Yamamoto et al).

Reference: Yamamoto, T., Sato, K., Kubota, Y., Mitamura, K., & Taga, A. (2017). Effect of dark-colored maple syrup on cell proliferation of human gastrointestinal cancer cell. Biomedical Reports, 7(1), 6–10.