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Fight Breast Cancer With Non-Digestible Carbohydrates

Posted Feb 09 2011 10:39am
Non-digestible carbohydrates are carbohydrates that are typically unable to be digested until they reach the colon where they are then fermented. Many non-digestible carbohydrates are used as prebiotics since they effect the intestinal bacteria in a way that is beneficial for overall digestive health.  Other non-digestible carbohydrates are used as low-calorie sweeteners, which allow for the development of a variety of lower calorie foods.  A new breast cancer study reports that in addition to digestive tract health, non-digestible carbohydrates might prove to be an effective strategy in our fight against breast cancer.

In this new breast cancer research study , breast cancer investigators implanted estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer cells into mice and treated them with estradiol to stimulate breast cancer tumor growth.  The mice were then divided into groups and fed either a control diet or a diet containing 5% of one of the following non-digestible carbohydrates: fructo-oligosaccharides, Fibersol 2 (digestion resistant maltodexrin), Hi-Maize (high amylose cornstarch), or Frutafit (a range of powdered inulins).  The breast cancer investigators reported that
  • Dietary consumption of fructo-oligosaccharides, Fibersol 2, and Hi-Maize each reduced ER+ tumor growth by inhibiting cell growth and increasing breast cancer cell death.
  • Blood levels of estradiol were also reduced in mice fed fructo-oligosaccharides, Fibersol 2, and Hi-Maize.
  • Genetic markers of estrogen-induced breast cancer tumor growth were also suppressed by these non-digestible carbohydrates.
Overall, this is a fascinating and positive study on the effects of non-digestible carbohydrates on breast cancer growth.  Prebiotics are growing in popularity, mainly because of their benefit on digestive tract health.  However, this new study suggests that some non-digestible carbohydrate prebiotics might reduce ER+ breast cancer growth.  The breast cancer fighting benefits of these non-digestible carbohydrates appear to be mediated by their effect of blood estrogen levels as well as directly altering breast cancer cell growth and death.  I look forward to seeing more studies, particularly human clinical trials, to see if these positive results translate to human breast cancer patients.

To learn about other diet and lifestyle choices to reduce your breast cancer risk, read my FREE book FIGHT NOW: EAT & LIVE PROACTIVELY AGAINST BREAST CANCER . Please recommend to anyone interested in breast cancer, breast cancer treatment, and breast cancer symptoms.
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