Researching this topic is interesting but frustrating at the same time! There seems to be an almost viral attempt to push the concept that asparagus cures cancer on all of the search engines. The opening line of most articles starts out:
According to the National Cancer Institute, Asparagus is the highest tested food containing glutathione, one of the body’s most potent cancer fighters…
I never found this quoted article by the National Cancer Institute using Google. There were several articles about the asparagus cancer link as “urban legend” or as a “fact or fiction” topic. The rumor or link seems to start sometime in 2006. Conclusions ranged from asparagus as “wonder food” and cancer cure to cautionary articles warning cancer patients not to eat too much asparagus because it is high in glutathione which, in some cases, can inhibit the effectiveness of certain chemotherapies. I can find preliminary studies of asparagus and glutathione as far back as 2002. Most articles are positive, often referring to asparagus as nature’s highest source of anti-cancer glutathiones.
My conclusion? Who knows! As with most foods and supplements it remains difficult to quantify benefits or results. Worse yet, optimum doses are rarely clinically tested or available.
My advice? Feel good, eat asparagus in moderation (most viral sites promote eating or drinking cooked asparagus, either hot or cold) and keep smiling! Pat