Mushrooms may help prevent breast cancer by acting as an aromatase inhibitor to block breast tumor estrogen production.
Images thanks to Renee Comet at the National Cancer Institute, Miansari66 via Wikimedia Commons, BogHog and By User:Slashme and User:Mikael Häggström (Self-made using bkchem and inkscape) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0] via Wikimedia Commons
What new developments are there are in the battle against breast cancer? Well, most breast tumors are estrogen receptor positive, meaning they respond to estrogen; estrogen makes them grow. The problem for tumors in postmenopasal women is that there isn’t much estrogen around, unless of course you take it in a drug like pre-mar-in, made from pregnant mare urine, found not to affect the quality of women's lives, just the quantity, increasing the risk of strokes heart attacks blood clots and, breast cancer.
Thankfully millions of women stopped taking it in 2002, and we saw a nice dip in breast cancer rates, but unfortunately, those rates have since stagnated. Hundreds of thousands of American women continue every year to get that dreaded diagnosis. So what next?
Well, with no estrogen around, many breast tumors devise a nefarious plan, they’ll just make their own. 70% of breast cancer cells synthesize estrogen themselves using an enzyme called aromatase, which converts testosterone to estrogen, blue to pink. And so drug companies have produced a number of aromatase inhibitor drugs which are used as chemotherapy agents. Of course by the time you’re on chemo it can be too late, so researchers started screening hundreds of natural dietary components in hopes of finding something that targets this enzyme.
To do this, you need a lot of human tissue—where you going to get it from? To study skin, for example, researchers use discarded human foreskins. They’re just being thrown away might as well use them. Where are you going to get discarded female tissue, though? Placentas. Human placentas. So they got a bunch of women to donate their placentas after giving birth to further this critical line of research.
After years of searching, they found seven vegetables with significant anti-aromatase activity. And here they are,. Seven different vegetables, dropping aromatase activity about 20%, except for this one. That’s like a 60, 65% drop inhibition. ]Which one was it? bell pepper, broccoli, carrots, celery , green onions, mushrooms, or spinach. Not scallions, not celery, not carrots, not peppers, nor broccoli—that would have been my guess, not spinach, but: Mushrooms.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Dianne Moore.
To help out on the site please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. Be sure to check out the other videos on breast cancer. Also, there are 1,449 subjects covered in my other videos–please feel free to explore them!
For more context, check out my associated blog posts: Stool Size and Breast Cancer Risk, The Most Anti-Inflammatory Mushroom, Breast Cancer and Diet, Ergothioneine: A New Vitamin?, Mushrooms for Breast Cancer Prevention, and Breast Cancer & Alcohol: How Much Is Safe?