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Diet, Supplements and Benign Breast Disease

Jul 23, 2004

from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, and other institutions evaluated the relationship between fat, fiber, antioxidant and caffeine intake in benign breast disease in the Nurses' Health Study II. Benign breast disease, especially with atypical hyperplasia is a marker for increased risk of developing breast cancer. There was no association between increasing fat intake and increased benign breast disease; rather increased intake of vegetable fat was associated with decreased risk of benign breast disease without atypical hyperplasia. High caffeine intake increased the risk of developing atypical hyperplasia in benign breast disease. Using a multiple vitamin supplement cut the risk of developing benign breast disease with atypical hyperplasia almost in half. The study appears in the July 2004 issue of Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph

Atypical hyperplasia in benign breast disease means that cells have proliferated and are unusual. The atypical hyperplasia is found in 3% of benign breast disease biopsies and having atypical hyperplasia increases the risk of developing breast cancer by about 13%. Besides a multiple-vitamin and mineral supplement, other nutrients that are beneficial for breast tissue include Green Tea EGCG, natural Lycopene, a complete version of vitamin E used over time in conjunction with vitamin C, Soy Isoflavones, Indole-3-Carbinol, and Resveratrol.

Selenium Lowers Homocysteine

Researchers found that selenium levels in the blood were associated with Homocysteine levels and that individuals with the highest level of selenium in the blood had a 63% decreased risk of having high Homocysteine levels. The study appears in the July 2004 issue of the Journal of Nutrition, a journal of The American Society for Nutritional Sciences.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.

Elevated Homocysteine levels have been linked to the following; increased risk of stroke, increased risk of heart failure, hardening of the arteries even at a younger age, poor memory, increased risk of developing Parkinson's disease or Alzheimer's disease, and an increased risk of bone fracture in the elderly. Homocysteine levels are only controlled by nutrition especially the following four B-complex vitamins - folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin B6 and vitamin B2. Other supplements also help control Homocysteine levels including NAC, TMG, Aged Garlic and now Selenium.

Low Calcium Intake increases the risk of Being Heavy

In the Heritage Family Study, a low intake of calcium was associated with a higher body mass index, a higher percentage of body fat versus being lean, having abdominal fat in most adults. The study appears in the July 2004 Journal of Nutrition.

Vitamin K and Liver Cancer

In a Japanese population of women with virus caused cirrhosis of the liver, giving vitamin K supplementation on a daily basis greatly reduced the risk of developing liver cancer. Only 2 women out of 21 supplemented with a 45 mg daily dose of vitamin K2 developed liver cancer, where 9 out of 19 non-supplemented women developed liver cancer. The study appears in the July 21st issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Fish Oil Fatty Acids Decrease Levels of many Inflammatory Factors

In a study of 727 women aged 43 to 69 in the Nurses' Health Study I, intake of fish oil fatty acids decreased levels of a cross section of inflammatory-destructive immune system chemicals. The following were lower with higher levels of fish oil fatty acid intake

  • C-reactive protein - elevations cause blood vessel damage (29% lower)
  • Interleukin-6 - elevations seen in many conditions including MS (where it damages brain-nerve tissue), blood vessel damage, inflammatory intestinal diseases, and a number of cancers (23% lower)
  • E-selectin levels - elevations seen in inflammatory skin conditions and cardiovascular tissue damage (10% lower)
  • Soluble Intracellular Adhesion Molecule - elevations seen in heart and cardiovascular damage (7% lower)
  • Soluble Vascular Adhesion Molecule - elevations seen in heart and cardiovascular damage (8% lower).
The study is published in the July 2004 issue of the Journal of Nutrition.

Vitamin C Deficiency Common in the United States

The Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) states that many Americans do not get enough vitamin C and are truly deficient. Many more suffer from vitamin C depletion, or marginally low levels. Researchers investigated vitamin C levels in almost 16,000 Americans aged 12 to 74. The intake and serum levels of vitamin C were assessed. 14% of men and 10% of women were truly deficient. Smokers had the highest risk of being deficient, while people who do not take vitamin C supplements also had a great increase in vitamin C deficiency. 23% of all men were depleted as were 20% of all women. The study is published in the May 2004 issue of the American Journal of Public Health.