More sleep reduces breast cancer risk

November 02, 2005

An association between greater sleep length and a reduced risk of breast cancer is reported in the October 15 2005 issue of the journal Cancer Research.

Researchers in Finland examined data obtained in the Finnish Twin Cohort, which includes over 32,000 twins born before 1958. The current study involved 12,222 female participants.

The authors hypothesized that sleep patterns may influence breast cancer risk via changes in melatonin and other hormonal rhythms. They acknowledged that the greater prevalence of artificial lighting at night could be a contributor to the current increase in breast cancer incidence because of its ability to reduce melatonin levels. They support this hypothesis by citing other studies that have found an association between night shift work and breast cancer risk, or those that have determined a reduction in risk among blind women. The authors conclude, "The suggestion of lower breast cancer risk in long sleepers in the Finnish Twin Cohort adds to the body of evidence for a possible anticarcinogenic effect of melatonin."

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.

Hopefully none of us will encounter an agent as destructive as mustard gas, but it is good for us to note that these particular antioxidants are very lung friendly and that available oral supplement levels have shown protective activity in research.

Xanthone in Mangosteen protects the colon from cancer causing chemical

Xanthones are what may turn out to be super protective polyphenols found apparently in very few fruit. According to one source about 200 Xanthones have been isolated and about 40 of these are present in the Mangosteen fruit. A major category of Xanthenes in the Mangosteen fruit is the Mangostin class.

Rats were given an injection of a chemical that causes colon cancer 3 times a week for 2 weeks. One week before the injections started a group of rats were fed a diet containing alpha-mangostin for 5 weeks. Supplementing with alpha-mangostin greatly inhibited the production of precancerous colon cells and other abnormal cells and the higher the concentration of the Xanthone the greater the protection. The study is published in the October-December 2004 issue of the Asian pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention.