More studies are coming out showing how supplements may assist in breast cancer prevention. In some cases, supplements can decrease your risk by a significant amount. While a cure for cancer has not been discovered, the next best step is to live healthy and help your body prevent cancer from forming.
If you think about it, you have probably been told to do regular breast exams or get a mammogram to prevent breast cancer. However, this does not prevent breast cancer, but rather detects it. However, studies suggest certain supplements can actually reduce your risk.
If you ever have questions regarding the use of these supplements, I always encourage you to have a discussion with your physician. Feel free to print off the studies I reference and ask your physician to comment on them. In no particular order, these are the Top 5 Supplements For Breast Cancer Prevention:
Fish Oil/Omega-3. On July 8th, 2010, ABCNews reported on the findings of a study which looked at the effectiveness of fish oil for breast cancer prevention. The "Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle followed 35,016 post-menopausal women who had no history of breast cancer.". These women were followed for an average of 6 years. It was found those who used fish oil supplements had a 32% reduced risk of developing breast cancer. The study was published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention and was also referenced in WebMD.
Olive Oil. The people of Greece have some of the world's lowest rates of heart disease and cancer. And now studies are showing a direct link to their use of olive oil with regards to these decreased risks. This article from National Geographic outlines a study from 2005 which showed oleic acid (the main fatty acid in olive oil) "can cripple a cancer gene responsible for 25 to 30 percent of all breast cancers.". Another article in WebMD reported on a study which showed olive oil reduced the risk of breast cancers having the HER2 molecules. Another major study was begun this year and will last approximately 5 years.
Grape Seed Extract. Studies show grape seed extract actually promotes apoptosis, or self-destruction, of cancer cells. An Oxford study actually promotes this finding. Currently, studies are being undertaken to specifically look at the effects of prevention in humans. However, test tube studies have been promising.
Vitamin D. Looking just at cancer risks, the results are quite stunning. The National Cancer Institute states, "an inverse relationship was found between sunlight exposure levels in a given geographic area and the rates of incidence and death for certain cancers in that area. Individuals living in southern latitudes were found to have lower rates of incidence and death for these cancers than those living at northern latitudes. Because sunlight/UV exposure is necessary for the production of vitamin D3, researchers hypothesized that variation in vitamin D levels accounted for the observed relationships.". Furthermore, Vitamin D has shown to create apopotosis in cancer cells. They also highlighted a study which followed 1300 post-menopausal women who took calcium supplements and 1100IU of Vitamin D every day. The women taking the supplements showed a 60% reduction in cancer rates. Dr. Christine Northrup also recommends Vitamin D supplementation as a aid in preventing cancers of all types, including breast cancer.
Vitamin E. The general consensus here is that Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant. And some cancers have been shown to be the result of free radical damage. Antioxidants help protect against these free radicals. When it comes to specific studies regarding Vitamin E, the jury is still out. However, the Nurses Health Study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine 1993;328: 1444-9, studied 83,234 women for 14 years. And they found women with a family history of breast cancer who took the highest quantity of Vitamin E showed a 43% reduction in breast cancer as opposed to women with no family breast cancer history (16% risk).