Women who lack the ability to detoxify properly may be protected from breast cancer by cruciferous vegetables (the GSTP1 Ile105Val genetic polymorphism, and breast cancer risk)

March 24, 2008

Cabbage family vegetables (Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts) provide ingredients that stimulate detoxification in our body improving the ability of our liver to neutralize and remove dangerous chemicals, drugs, and substrates. A cooperative effort by scientists from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, and researchers in Shanghai compared the intake of cabbage family vegetables and their ability to reduce the number of women who develop breast cancer specifically in women who have a gene impairment. This impairment leaves them with faulty glutathione detoxification related to a specific major and protective detoxification enzyme known as GSTP1. Glutathione is an antioxidant enzyme in our body and many major detoxification mechanisms rely on glutathione.
The researchers analyzed data on 3035 women with breast cancer and compared them to 3037 women without cancer. The women were participants in the Shanghai Breast Cancer Study. Diet and genetic data were completed for 87% of cancer cases and 85% of healthy control subjects.
With analysis it was found that a defect in genes that promote Glutathione related detoxification (the GSTP1 Val/Val gene) was significantly associated with a 150% increased risk of developing breast cancer; the women fail to detoxify specific toxins that damage the breast. The association was significantly greater in premenopausal women with a 169% increased risk whereas in postmenopausal women there was a 120% increased risk. Subjects with the gene defect who reported eating greater amounts of white turnip and Chinese cabbage had a significantly lower postmenopausal breast cancer risk; both of these vegetables are cruciferous. Women with the genetic challenge to detoxification who didn’t eat cabbage related vegetables had a 174% increased risk of breast cancer development and if they were premenopausal with the gene defect and did not consume these vegetables their risk of breast cancer jumped by 208%. The study is published in the March 2008 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Zinc is much lower in diseased elderly patients than in the healthy elderly

Canadian researchers compared the blood mineral levels for Copper and Zinc in 668 hospital patients over the age of 70 and compared these levels to 104 healthy individuals of the same age and living in the same area. The level of Zinc and Copper was checked by a medical doctor upon admission to the hospital. The ill patients had markedly lower Zinc than the healthy elderly. Besides being lower in Zinc in general 20% of the hospitalized elderly were very low for Zinc compared to 0% of the healthy elderly. 36% of the respiratory patients and 20% to 27% of the cancer, infectious disease, trauma, blood disease, and genitourinary disease patients were low. 0% of the healthy patients and only 1.4% of hospitalized patients were low in Copper. However, the ratio of Copper to Zinc was much greater in diseased patients than in the healthy. The lack of Zinc is related to disease and not to aging in the diseased elderly. The study is published in the March 2008 issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.