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.