Nutritionist and Chartered Psychologist Dr. Naomi Newman-Beinart (PhD) discusses 8 nutrients shown to be beneficial for breast health in research trials
Breast cancer news is all over the press at the moment with celebrities, such as TV presenter Julia Bradbury, sharing their stories of finding out they have breast cancer.
Sadly, these stories don’t always end well, and we were all devastated to hear about singer Sarah Harding’s untimely death from breast cancer at only 39 years of age. Breast cancer is less common in younger women, but it can happen.
Despite increased health awareness, cancer rates are rapidly increasing with breast cancer the most common cancer in the UK according to charity Breast Cancer UK.
In fact, the UK has a higher death rate from breast cancer compared to most European countries, with breast cancer being the main cause of death for women aged 35-49.
Now we are becoming more aware that breast cancer is a real risk and there are many resources for women to go to if they are at risk or are diagnosed with breast cancer.
However, not much is said about prevention. Breast Cancer UK estimates that at least 13,000 breast cancer cases in the UK could be prevented each year just by making lifestyle changes.
These lifestyle changes include healthy eating, physical activity, achieving a healthy weight, stopping smoking, using some hormone therapies, and considering chemical and environmental risks.
Millions of lives could be saved if everyone had easy access to this information and used it to their advantage. It is time to focus on YOUR breast health.
But we have to be realistic. Is it likely that every woman in the UK will eat the perfect diet, exercise 5 times a week and not breathe in pollution or wear make-up containing chemicals? No, it’s not.
Best approach? We need to focus on what can we do to improve our breast health from the inside out.
8 nutrients for breast health protection
Nutritionist and Chartered Psychologist Dr. Naomi Newman-Beinart (PhD) discusses 8 nutrients that have been shown to be beneficial for breast health in research trials.
These nutrients are indole 3 carbinol (I3C), quercetin, green tea, amla berry, Reishi, garlic, selenium and iodine.
Indole 3 carbinol (I3C)
Indole 3 carbinol (I3C) is a substance which naturally occurs in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and kale.
Some research has suggested that a diet rich in these cruciferous vegetables may be protective against certain cancers, and I3C has been studied as the likely reason for this protective effect.
The hormone, oestrogen, plays an important role in the development of some breast cancers and related tumours. One study found that I3C showed a protective effect.
Another study found that I3C plays a role in the removal of certain toxins from the body, including steroid hormones, drugs and carcinogens, thus reducing the risk of developing cancer.
Quercetin is a flavonoid found in certain fruits and vegetables including grapes, onions, apples and berries.
It is an antioxidant, which helps your body fight free radicals. By now we have all heard about free radicals, which are molecules that can damage cells in your body.
Free radicals can occur as a result of normal bodily processes, but also as a result of lifestyle choices including smoking, alcohol intake, pollution, chemicals in body care and make-up products and poor diet.
As we get older, our ability to fight free radicals reduces somewhat and this results in more free radicals and more cell damage.
Quercetin is an antioxidant that has been found to have anti-inflammatory effects, to protect cardiovascular health and to disrupt several metabolic pathways leading the cancer.
Green tea (Camellia sinensis) has been a popular alternative to a regular cup of black tea for a number of years.
Green tea was widely publicised after numerous studies found that it contains a group of polyphenols called catechins, which are strong antioxidants.
One particular catechin, called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), is considered the most powerful polyphenol found in green tea.
Research has found that EGCG is a strong antioxidant that protects the cells from DNA damage caused by free radicals and ultraviolet (UV) B radiation.
A recent research review discussing the anti-cancer effect of green tea catechins also found that women drinking three cups of green tea a day had less cancer that the women who did not.
So clearly green tea is worth considering when thinking about breast health.
Amla berry (Embilica officinalis), also known as the Indian Gooseberry, really is a super food.
This incredible berry holds the award for the highest level of antioxidants amongst all fruits and vegetables. This is due yet again to polyphenols, especially tannins and flavonoids.
Studies have found that amla is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body fight inflammation and carcinogenesis, which is the process by which normal cells become cancerous cells.
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)is perhaps one of the most well-known medicinal mushrooms. It is often written about with regards to its ability to lower blood sugar and stimulate the immune system.
However, Reishi has also been found to have a protective effect when compared with 58 other types of mushrooms.
Reishi contains complex sugars, called beta-glucans, which are known to help your immune system defend you against viruses, bacteria, fungal and parasitic infections.
Garlic (Allium sativum)is an item that most of us have in the kitchen and it probably isn’t an ingredient that you think too much about. Well, think again!
Certain compounds found in garlic, including sulfur, have been found to have numerous benefits to our health, including lowering blood pressure and reducing cholesterol.
Notably, garlic also has been shown to have potential anti-cancer properties.
Due to evidence of this protective effect, sulfur containing foods, such as garlic and onions, are now reported to actually decrease cancer risk.
Selenium is a micronutrient with promising breast cancer prevention potential.
Small, preclinical studies are done before large research studies are carried out as they can provide important information about dosages and safety of a nutrient.
They can also give us an idea of how a nutrient might work in a larger study.
There are many preclinical studies that show selenium is able to prevent the formation of cancer cells in the breasts, also known as mammary carcinogenesis inhibition.
Research has found that selenium is an antioxidant that is able to start the process by which cancer cells are killed.
Selenium has also been shown to slow down DNA damage to the cells, slow down multiplication of cancer cells and reduce formation of blood vessels that help to feed cancer cells.
Iodine is a mineral essential for life. It is required for good energy metabolism and it helps to maintain healthy skin and the production of thyroid hormones.
But only recently researchers have discovered that iodine has an essential role in breast health as an antioxidant.
Iodine has also been shown to be beneficial for women with fibrocystic breast changes and has a protective antioxidant and inhibitory role in breast cancer.
Iodine deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of fibrocystic breast disease, where women grow non-cancerous lumps in their breasts.
The World Health Organisation state that: “Between 30-50% of all cancer cases are preventable. Prevention offers the most cost-effective long-term strategy for the control of cancer.”
Together, the 8 nutrients described in this article should contribute to hormonal balance, contribute to the normal function of the immune system, help defend breast cells from damage and protect breast health at cellular level.
BREAST360® is an innovative supplement formulated with these 8 bioactive ingredients to help protect breast tissue at the cellular level.
BREAST360® provides much needed breast health support for every woman,” says Dr Naomi Newman-Beinart PhD.
“It includes powerful phytochemicals and minerals proven to have protective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
“Taken daily, it helps protect the breast cells from damage caused by our modern lifestyle: pollution, chemicals, pesticides, and chronic inflammation.”