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Cucurbita pepo

Cucurbita pepo is a plant which has variants called pumpkin, squash, zucchini, and gourds; it is sometimes called pumpkin extract (either a water extract or seed oil) and appears to be a phytopharmaceutical for prostate disorders.

Our evidence-based analysis on cucurbita pepo features 4 unique references to scientific papers.

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Research Breakdown on Cucurbita pepo


1Sources and Composition

1.1Sources

The plant Cucurbita pepo (of the family Cucurbitaceae) is a species of plant with a large amount of variants that are collectively known as pumpkins, squash, zucchini, and gourds.

1.2Composition

The flesh, which has a moisture content of 92.93+/-1.01%,[1] contains:

  • A fatty acid (0.18%), carbohydrate (48.40%), protein (15.50%), and ash (6.64%) content by dry weight[1]

  • β-carotene (3934.02µg/100g dry weight[1])

  • Triterpenoids calotropoleanyl ester and 13(18)-Oleanen-3-ol[1]

  • Cholesterol[1]

The rind, which has a moisture content of 84.18+/-1.42%,[1] contains:

  • A fatty acid (6.57%), carbohydrate (19.45%), protein (23.95%), and ash (10.65%) content by dry weight[1]

  • β-carotene (751.99µg/100g dry weight[1])

  • The triterpenoids calotropoleanyl ester and 13(18)-Oleanen-3-ol[1]

  • Cholesterol[1]

The seeds, which have a moisture content of 43.29+/-4.38%,[1] contain:

  • A fatty acid (47.03%), carbohydrate (6.37%), protein (35.95%), and ash (3.55%) content by dry weight[1]

  • The fatty acid component, called the seed oil, is comprised mainly of oleic acid (43.8%), linoleic acid (33.1%), palmitic acid (13.4%) and stearic acid (7.8%)

  • β-carotene (78.89µg/100g dry weight[1])

  • Caffeic acid trihexoside and two caffeic acid derivatives[2]

  • Phenolic acids including p-hydroxybenzoic acid, sinapic acid, and vanillic acid[2]

  • Vitamin E tocopherols including α (0.97-3.46mg/100g seed oil), β (not detectable up to 1.29mg/100g seed oil), γ (15.5-28.7mg/100g seed oil), and δ (1.44-6.73mg/100g seed oil)[2]

The seed oil contains phenolic acids in the free form only, at 34.3-113mg of gallic acid equivalents per 100g of seed oil.[2]

In general, all parts of cucurbita pepo fruits are considered food products but extracts from the seeds (water extracts of the seed oil) can be used as dietary supplements. The unique bioactives in these extracts seem to be triterpenoid structures, and there are some carotenoids and phenolic acids as well

1.3Forms of Supplementation

ProstateEZE Max is a brand name product that contains cucurbita pepo alongside other supplements including epilobium parviflorum, lycopene, pygeum and saw palmetto[3] for the purpose of treating benign prostatic hypertrophy.

2Interactions with Glucose Metabolism

It is thought that pumpkin exerts hypoglycemic activities[4]

3Interactions with Cancer Metabolism

3.1Breast Cancer

In isolated MCF-7 cells, extracts from pumpkin fruits appear to hold cytotoxic potential with IC50 values in the range of 0.4-1.01µg (with the rind being most potent).[1]

3.2Liver Cancer

In isolated HepG2 cells, extracts from pumpkin have cytotoxic potential with IC50 values in the range of 0.60-5.03µg.[1]