In a case-control study involving 57 Malaysian women between the ages of 30 and 66 years, with newly diagnosed breast cancer, and 131 age- and ethnicity- matched controls, poor antioxidant status and high levels of oxidative stress were found to be associated with risk of breast cancer.
Compared to controls without breast cancer, subjects with breast cancer were found to have lower mean intakes of vitamin A (606.8 g/d vs. 724 g/d), vitamin E (6.1 g/d vs. 6.9 g/d), and selenium (56.9 g/d vs. 60.8 g/d). Furthermore, poor antioxidant status, indicated by low plasma vitamin A, increased the risk of breast cancer 2-fold, while low plasma vitamin E increased the risk of breast cancer 2-to-3-fold.
Higher levels of oxidative stress, indicated by greater malondialdehyde (MDA) levels were found among women with breast cancer (4.4 mmol/g protein), as compared to controls (3.2 mmol/g protein). Having a high level of MDA (>/= 4.8 mmol/g protein) was strongly associated with breast cancer (adjusted OR=6.82).
The authors conclude, "�it is essential for Malaysian women to obtain good antioxidant status by consuming a diet rich in vitamins A and E as well as selenium and adopt healthy behavior to reduce oxidative stress in order to prevent breast cancer."
What You Need to Know: New Scientific Options for Preventing Breast Cancer
Vitamin D, green tea, pomegranate, curcumin, and soy may help promote breast health and reduce breast cancer risk.
These foods contain an abundant variety of polyphenols, healthful compounds that regulate cell growth and metabolism.
These compounds may act synergistically to promote breast health, so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects. For example, Asian women following a traditional diet rich in soy and green tea have reduced rates of breast cancer.
Research suggests that some of these compounds may even enhance the effects of chemotherapy and other drugs and treatments used for breast cancer.
Although the mechanisms of action are not fully understood, most of these compounds are potent antioxidants and appear to promote apoptosis, or programmed cell death. Some of them also block inflammation, new blood vessel growth to the tumor, and even metastasis or tumor spread.
Because of their long history of use as foods and supplements, these compounds appear to be safe, although more studies are needed to determine optimal combinations, dosages, and mechanisms of action.
Several experts consulted by Life Extension encourage increased intake of these foods to promote breast health as well as overall health.