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Title: Methysticin  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Kavalactone
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


CAS number 495-85-2 YesY
PubChem 5281567
Jmol-3D images Image 1
Molecular formula C15H14O5
Molar mass 274.27 g mol−1
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Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
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Methysticin is one of the six major kavalactones found in the kava plant.[1] Research suggests that the CYP1A1 inducing effects of methysticin and the related compound 7,8-dihydromethysticin may indicate that kava has potentially carcinogenic effects.[2]


Methysticin induces the function of the hepatic enzyme CYP1A1, an enzyme involved in the toxification of benzo(a)pyrene (an already very toxic substance) into benzopyrene-7,8-dihydrodiol-9,10-epoxide, one of the most highly carcinogenic substances yet discovered (often called the ultimate carcinogen). This property is shared by the related compound 7,8-dihdromethysticin, both of which occur in significant quantities in Piper methysticum, indicating that kava and its extracts may be carcinogenic.[2][4] As benzo(a)pyrene occurs in tobacco smoke, the carcinogenic effects of tobacco may also be increased by kava consumption.[5]


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