(Naturalhealth365) Natural health experts have long known that certain foods, like broccoli sprouts can help protect against breast cancer – and that the natural compounds found in many superfoods can help combat chronic disease conditions. Now, a groundbreaking study adds an encouraging new twist to the healing power of healthy nutrition.
Researchers have found that the nutrients found inside broccoli sprouts and green tea can actually cause the most lethal forms of breast cancer to change into a highly treatable form. Let’s take a closer look at the astonishing potential of broccoli sprouts and green tea to work against breast cancer.
Estrogen receptor-negative breast cancers are the most deadly
Breast cancer is divided into two categories – estrogen receptor-negative and estrogen receptor-positive. While ER-positive cancers often respond well to treatment, estrogen receptor-negative breast cancers – which feature very aggressive tumors – tend to carry a poorer prognosis. (as perceived by conventionally-trained physicians)
In fact, conventionally-trained cancer researchers often say there are few options for women with ER-negative breast cancer – making these encouraging study results particularly meaningful.
Biology professor Trygve Tollefsbol, Ph.D., D.O. – a senior scientist with the Comprehensive Cancer Center at University of Alabama at Birmingham – teamed with Yuanyuan Li, M.D., Ph.D., a research assistant professor of biology, to conduct the study.
Tollefsbol and his team wanted to explore ways in which scientists can neutralize the mechanisms that cause – and worsen – ER-negative cancers. Specifically, they wanted to use epigenetics (the study of biological mechanisms that can switch genes “on” and “off”) to explore ways in which gene expression can be changed in fatal diseases.
The researchers hoped that broccoli sprouts and green tea – both of which protect against cancer – could possibly be used to “turn on” the estrogen receptor gene in ER-negative breast cancer. The hope was that the cancer could then be treated with the estrogen receptor inhibitor tamoxifen, the ‘gold standard’ of FDA-approved pharmaceutical breast cancer treatments.
BREAKING NEWS about broccoli sprouts and green tea
The team’s strategy worked.
The researchers found that combining these two beneficial foods successfully prevented and treated ER-negative breast cancer – in mice genetically programmed to develop this very type of cancer.
Researchers noted that the nutrients actually made epigenetic changes in the ER gene regulatory region, converting the tumors in the mice from ER-negative to ER-positive cancers. The ER-positive cancers were then able to be treated with tamoxifen.
The team called for clinical trials to explore the potential of the broccoli sprouts/green tea combination – in the hope that it can provide more effective treatment options for women either predisposed to, or afflicted with, this lethal form of cancer.
Further studies confirm the chemopreventive powers of broccoli sprouts and green tea
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli sprouts, cabbage and Brussels sprouts are rich in glucosinolates, which are converted by the body into sulphoraphane, a cancer-fighting compound. Sulphoraphane is currently the subject of intensive research into its mechanisms against cancer.
In a just-published article in Cancer Letters, the authors noted that high levels of dietary sulphoraphane have been linked to a lower risk of breast cancer.
That fact, however, wasn’t the biggest news.
The authors cited a study showing that sulphoraphane potentiates the cancer-killing effects of taxane drugs (such as Taxol and Taxotere) by reducing the breast cancer stem cell populations. Mice treated with both Taxotere and sulphoraphane experienced more significant reductions in tumor volume than mice treated only with Taxotere.
The researchers reported that sulphoraphane achieves its effect by reducing inflammation, inhibiting the growth of both ER-negative and ER-positive breast cancer cells, and causing cancer cell apoptosis, or programmed cell death.
As for green tea, numerous studies support the beverage’s ability to protect against cancer. The secret weapon in green tea is its high number of antioxidant compounds called catechins. The most powerful – as well as the most abundant – catechin is known as EGCG, or epigallocatechin-3- gallate.
In a 2016 review published in Nutrients, researchers noted that green tea can help protect cell DNA from oxidative damage that could lead to cancer. Green tea has also been found to interfere with angiogenesis – the growth of new blood vessels to feed tumors.
Broccoli sprouts are a treasure trove of cancer-fighting sulphoraphane
Unlike some cancer-fighting plant compounds, sulphoraphane can be obtained in significant amounts from dietary intake. All cruciferous vegetables (such as cabbage, kale and Brussels sprouts) are good sources of sulphoraphane, but broccoli sprouts are the best – by far.
For maximum benefit, these vegetables should be organic and fresh – and eaten uncooked or lightly steamed. Prolonged cooking can deplete a helpful compound called myrosinase, which enables glucosinolates to convert to sulphoraphane.
As many cruciferous vegetable benefits are caused by the interaction of multiple plant compounds, natural health experts recommend against enhanced extracts.
Many studies have shown that diet plays a vital role in warding off cancer. This encouraging research goes a step farther, demonstrating the ability of healthy dietary choices to “flip the script” – positively affecting gene expression and improving the prognosis of a deadly disease.
Editor’s note: The NaturalHealth365 Store offers the highest quality, organically grown broccoli sprouts powder and the finest sulforaphane glucosinolate nutritional supplement on the market.*
*And, yes, your purchase helps to support our operations at NaturalHealth365. Thank you.
Sources for this article include:
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