Vegetables vs. Breast Cancer

Vegetables vs. Breast Cancer
4.63 (92.5%) 8 votes

Mushrooms may help prevent breast cancer by acting as an aromatase inhibitor to block breast tumor estrogen production.

Discuss
Republish

What new developments are there 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 Premarin, made from pregnant mares’ 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 to get this dreaded diagnosis every year. So, what’s 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.

Now, 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 to 65% drop inhibition. Which one was it? Was it the bell pepper, broccoli, carrots, celery, green onions, mushrooms, or spinach? Well, it wasn’t green onion, not celery, not carrots, not peppers, nor broccoli—that would have been my guess—not spinach, but, X marks the spot: 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.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

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 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 Premarin, made from pregnant mares’ 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 to get this dreaded diagnosis every year. So, what’s 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.

Now, 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 to 65% drop inhibition. Which one was it? Was it the bell pepper, broccoli, carrots, celery, green onions, mushrooms, or spinach? Well, it wasn’t green onion, not celery, not carrots, not peppers, nor broccoli—that would have been my guess—not spinach, but, X marks the spot: 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.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

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

15 responses to “Vegetables vs. Breast Cancer

Comment Etiquette

On NutritionFacts.org, you'll find a vibrant community of nutrition enthusiasts, health professionals, and many knowledgeable users seeking to discover the healthiest diet to eat for themselves and their families. As always, our goal is to foster conversations that are insightful, engaging, and most of all, helpful – from the nutrition beginners to the experts in our community.

To do this we need your help, so here are some basic guidelines to get you started.

The Short List

To help maintain and foster a welcoming atmosphere in our comments, please refrain from rude comments, name-calling, and responding to posts that break the rules (see our full Community Guidelines for more details). We will remove any posts in violation of our rules when we see it, which will, unfortunately, include any nicer comments that may have been made in response.

Be respectful and help out our staff and volunteer health supporters by actively not replying to comments that are breaking the rules. Instead, please flag or report them by submitting a ticket to our help desk. NutritionFacts.org is made up of an incredible staff and many dedicated volunteers that work hard to ensure that the comments section runs smoothly and we spend a great deal of time reading comments from our community members.

Have a correction or suggestion for video or blog? Please contact us to let us know. Submitting a correction this way will result in a quicker fix than commenting on a thread with a suggestion or correction.

View the Full Community Guidelines

  1. 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!

  2. I really thought this was going to be cabbage before I saw the video. I have read that new research says cabbage can be good against certain cancers but I don’t remember if breast cancer is one. Both of my grandmothers had breast cancer so I am VERY interested in breast health. Thank you for this information. I love mushrooms and my daughter and I will up our consumption. Is there a recommended weekly amount and any particular kind better than others?

    1. I would have guessed broccoli, but you’re absolutely right about the cancer-fighting effects of the cruciferous (cabbage-family) vegetables. See my video The Healthiest Vegetables and if you’re interested in cabbage in particular, Superfood Bargains. Given your strong family history (sorry to hear about your grandmothers) please feel free to check out my 30 other videos on breast health.

      And in terms of which mushrooms are best, check out the answer here!

  3. Great info. I could read all night. I just go from post to post, but must sleep sometime. I am so grateful for all your hard work. Thank you. Lynn

  4. Dr. Greger, while we’re talking about mushrooms, I seen an article in one of my wife’s health magazines that said that mushrooms should only be eaten cooked. Is this true?

  5. I inmates I have anemia I feel dizziness some time had a headache and very dry skin. I always eat right to take care of myself. It’s seems like never going way what can I do? So I can completely cure.

  6. There is a more recent 2013 study which seems to contradict other studies cited here. It found no association between fruits and veggies for Estrogen Receptor positive ER+ breast cancer (the most common type) BUT a decrease in the Estrogen Receptor negative ER-. Interestingly it found virtually no association with alcohol or cigarette consumption! It appears that strawberries had, by far the most impact on contracting ER- cancer but not ER+.

    If its important to you – don’t just take Dr, Greger’s word for it – try to read the articles themselves and make up your own mind.

    http://www.oxfordjournals.org/our_journals/jnci/press_releases/jungdjs635.pdf

  7. Is is possible for metabolic men whose blood panels conclude aromatase enzyme is causing low testosterone and several other health issues to benefit from Mushroom consumption, and if so, what kind of mushroom?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This