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That being said, there are certain vitamins and biologically active substances that require replacement when deficient as they enhance our bodies’ ability seek and destroy free radicals, stopping the breakdown of vital links in our DNA.
Oxidative stress is defined as an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the antioxidant network, in favor of the former. Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene expression or cellular phenotype caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence. So, while we are not changing our genes, we can affect how they are expressed.
There are several naturally occurring substances that show promise in the prevention and recurrence of breast cancer. Some of these studies are epidemiologic and others are basic science research. Ongoing studies are needed to further understand the preventive mechanisms.
For ease of reference, we have grouped our discussion topics into the following categories:
- Diindolymethane DIM
- Pomegranate and Tamoxifen
- Co Q 10
- Green Tea
- Reishi Mushrooms – (Ganoderma lucidum)
- Green tea and Reishi Mushrooms in combination
Ask your physician before adding any supplements to your regimen
FDA recommendations for daily vitamin amounts and the foods in which you can find them.
- Vitamin A 5,000 IU (liver, beef, carrots, spinach, kale cantaloupes, apricots, papaya and mango)
- Vitamin B (liver, beef, and many breakfast cereals)
- Folate (Romaine lettuce, spinach, asparagus, turnip, greens, mustard greens, calf’s liver, parsley, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, and lentils)
- Vitamin E 800 IU (Nuts, sunflower seeds, and many vegetable oils)
- Vitamin C 500 mg (Citrus fruits)
- Selenium 140 mcg (brazil nuts, tuna, cod, turkey and beef )
- Zinc 15 mg (meat, seafood, and liver, eggs, milk, whole-grain products)
- Vitamin D3 1000 IU (the sun)
Vitamin D3 has been a hot topic in breast cancer for the past several years as women who are deficient in Vitamin D have an increased risk of developing breast cancer. Testing is simple and requires only a simple blood test. The FDA increased it’s recommendation from 400IU to 1000IU per day
DIM has been found to be efficacious in treating breast pain! It decreases certain undesirable estrogen metabolites and increases certain desirable estrogen forms. It is found in broccoli and dark green leafy vegetables. The more you cut or chew the vegetables, the more DIM is released. Studies show promise in the use of DIM for the prevention of breast cancer, leukemia and pancreatic cancer.
Because PPE (purified pomegranate extract)has been seen to reduce cell proliferation and induce apoptosis on MCF-7 cancer cells, we believe that PPE has important antioxidant and apoptotic effects. Apoptosis is a form of cell death in which a programmed sequence of events leads to the elimination of cells. Excessive apoptosis causes atrophy (such as in Lou Gehrig’s Disease) while insufficient apoptosis results in uncontrolled cell division (such as in cancer).
Recent research has shown that pomegranate extracts selectively inhibit the growth of breast, prostate, colon, and lung cancer cells in culture. In preclinical animal studies, oral consumption of pomegranate extract inhibited growth of lung, skin, colon, and prostate tumors.
The Antioxidant Potency of Punica granatum L. Fruit Peel Reduces Cell Proliferation and Induces Apoptosis on Breast Cancer. Dikmen M, Ozturk N, Ozturk Y. Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Anadolu University , Eskisehir, Turkey
Pomegranate and Tamoxifen
Pomegranate combined with Tamoxifen may represent a novel and powerful approach to enhance and sensitize Tamoxifen (TAM) action.
The present studies demonstrate that pomegranate enhances Tamoxifen’s action in both normal and resistant cancer cells through the inhibition of cell viability by inducing cell-death machinery.
AVOID Pomegranate and Herceptin
There is a concern that pomegranate can inhibit the Process by which Herceptin works and therefore should be avoided during Herceptin Therapy in Her 2+ breast cancers.
J Cell Commun Signal. 2011 Dec;5(4):317-24. Epub 2011 Jun 27.
Pomegranate sensitizes Tamoxifen action in ER-α positive breast cancer cells.
Banerjee S, Kambhampati S, Haque I, Banerjee SK Cancer Research Unit, Research Division 151, VA Medical Center, 4801 Linwood Blvd, Kansas City, MO, 64128, USA.
Ginseng-Lyophilized extract of American Ginseng (LEAG) has potential as a pharmaceutical to be added to the regimen for both breast cancer prevention and treatment. Studies have shown that a daily dose of 100 microgram/mL was consistent with a decline in the activity of cancer cell components. These results provide an anti-inflammatory mechanism for a possible anti-cancer effect of American Ginseng.
2009 Dec; 157(2):261-7. Epub 2009 Jun 6.
American Ginseng inhibits induced COX-2 and NFKB activation in breast cancer cells.
Peralta EA, Murphy LL, MinniJ, Louis S, Dunnington GL.
Department of Surgery, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield, Illinois 62794-9638, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
In a similar study, treatment with Rp1 (Ginsenoside Rp1, a Ginseng derivative) inhibited breast cancer cell proliferation and inhibited both types of breast cancer cell colony formation. Therefore, we suggest Rp1 has potential as an anticancer drug and as an important target for the treatment and prevention of breast cancer.
Plant Foods Hum Nutrition, 2011 Sep;66(3):298-305.
Ginsenoside Rp1 from Panax ginseng exhibits anti-cancer activity by down-regulation of the IGF-1R/Akt pathway in breast cancer cells.
Kang J, et al.
Co Q 10
Co Q 10 is an important cellular antioxidant, as it is a component of the mitochondrial electron transport chain. It has been shown to be effective in decreasing cardiac risk and may potentiate the effects of other antioxidants. Study results suggest the necessity of administering therapeutic antioxidants along with conventional breast cancer drugs (such as tamoxifen). Co Q 10 has a recommended daily dose of 100-200 mg.
Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2008 May;61(6):933-41. Epub 2007 Aug 1.
Augmented antioxidant status in Tamoxifen treated postmenopausal women with breast cancer on co-administration with Coenzyme Q10, Niacin and Riboflavin.
Yuvaraj S, Et al
Department of Medical Biochemistry, Dr. ALMP-GIBMS, University of Madras, Taramani Campus, Chennai 600 113, Tamil Nadu, India.
Studies indicate that green tea catechins (GTCs) may intervene with breast cancer development. While long-term exposure to low doses of environmental carcinogens contribute to sporadic breast cancers, GTCs, at non-cytotoxic levels, were able to suppress this development by blocking many cellular processes.
Green tea may have many beneficial effects against mammary carcinogenesis in premenopausal women and against the recurrence of breast cancer. Available evidence supports the hypothesis that increased green tea consumption may be inversely associated with your risk of breast cancer recurrence. The suggested daily dosage of GTCs is 2-3 cups per day or a 250 mg supplement.
Carcinogenesis., 2012 Jan;33(1):174-83. Epub 2011 Oct 31.
Green tea catechin intervention of reactive oxygen species-mediated ERK pathway activation and chronically induced breast cell carcinogenesis.
Rathore K et al.,Department of Biomedical and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The University of Tennessee
Tea and cancer prevention: epidemiological studies.
Yuan JM, he Masonic Cancer Center, and Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota
Reishi Mushrooms – (Ganoderma lucidum)
Reishi mushrooms selectively inhibit cancer cell viability while leaving the viability of non-cancerous mammary epithelial cells unchanged. Reishi mushrooms also decrease the expression of genes involved in cancer cell survival and proliferation. So far, research into prevention and treatment of inflammatory breast cancer is promising with Reishi mushrooms.
Nutr Cancer., 2011 Oct;63(7):1085-94. Epub 2011 Sep 2.
Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) inhibits cancer cell growth and expression of key molecules in inflammatory breast cancer.
Martínez et al.
Department of Biochemistry, Universidad Central del Caribe, School of Medicine,
Green tea and Reishi Mushrooms in combination
Their combination demonstrated a synergistic effect based on the suppression of the secretion of urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) from breast cancer cells. The study suggests the potential use of combined green tea and Reishi mushrooms for the suppression of growth and invasiveness of metastatic breast cancers.
Int J Oncol. 2007 Apr;30(4):963-9.
Combined effect of green tea and Ganoderma lucidum on invasive behavior of breast cancer cells.
Cancer Research Laboratory, Methodist Research Institute