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Alpha-Lipoic Acid Inhibits Breast Cancer Metastasis In Culture

Posted Jul 26 2010 7:17am
Alpha-lipoic acid is a naturally occurring compound with important roles in the function of enzymes found in cellular mitochondria.  Research studies have shown that alpha-lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant that might have a number of health benefits, particularly in relation to heart health and blood sugar utilization.  New, on-going research also suggests that alpha-lipoic acid might have cancer fighting properties, though the way alpha-lipoic acid works to fight breast cancer remains uncertain.

A new breast cancer study explored the ability of alpha-lipoic acid to reduce the invasion and spread of breast cancer cells in culture.  For this study, breast cancer researchers treated MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells with various amounts of alpha-lipoic acid and examined its impact on breast cancer cell growth, invasion, migration, and production of enzymes involved in these functions.  The results of this cell culture study showed that alpha-lipoic acid was able to
  • Substantially reduce cell movement and migration,
  • Reduce the invasion of breast cancer cells through a gelatin matrix, and 
  • Decrease the production of two enzymes (matrix metalloproteinases 2 and 9) involved in cell migration and invasion.
This new research adds to a small, but growing, amount of evidence that alpha-lipoic acid might have some breast cancer fighting properties.  This new research shows us that alpha-lipoic acid has the ability to inhibit the production of enzymes involved in breast cancer cell metastasis in a cell culture system.  The researchers report that these benefits were greater at higher doses.  While these and earlier studies on the breast cancer fighting properties of alpha-lipoic acid show promise, much more research is needed, particularly animal and human studies, before we will know the true benefit of this naturally occurring antioxidant.

Research continues to enlighten us about the types of things we can do to reduce our breast cancer risk.  To learn more about other diet and lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your breast cancer risk, read my book Fight Now: Eat & Live Proactively Against Breast Cancer .
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