Lycopene Regulates Enzymes Involved in Breast Cancer Protection
Posted Apr 23 2010 7:23am
Lycopene is an antioxidant compound that is responsible for the red color of a number of fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruit. Lycopene has been reported in numerous research studies to have a variety of health benefits, including cardiovascular disease and prostate cancer. While research into the breast cancer fighting benefits of lycopene are still in the fairly early stages, some of this research suggests potential benefits of lycopene for breast cancer protection.
One recent breast cancer study examined the impact of lycopene on enzymes involved in breast cancer initiation and protection. Many common environmental contaminants implicated in breast cancer initiation are metabolized by two Phase I enzymes. This metabolism results in the formation of chemicals in the body which can damage our DNA and increase breast cancer risk. Fortunately, our bodies also produce enzymes, called Phase II enzymes, that help our bodies get rid of these chemicals. In this new study, the breast cancer researchers tested the ability of lycopene to alter the function of these enzymes. The results of their study showed that
Lycopene inhibited the activity of the Phase I enzymes responsible for the production of cancer-causing chemicals.
In a cell culture system with breast cancer cells, lycopene suppressed the production of cancer-causing chemicals
Lycopene increased by 4-fold the activity of the Phase II enzyme responsible for eliminating the cancer-causing chemicals.
This is interesting research that demonstrates some of the ways by which lycopene might have breast cancer fighting benefits. Our bodies are frequently exposed to a variety of chemicals that can be harmful to our health. Fortunately, our bodies are generally capable of eliminating many of these chemicals. This new study suggests that certain foods and phytochemicals in those foods, lycopene in this case, might be able to enhance our body's ability to protect us from such cancer-causing chemicals.
There are many foods that can help us reduce our breast cancer risk. To learn about my 10 favorite cancer fighting foods, read my book Fight Now: Eat & Live Proactively Against Breast Cancer ( www.fightBCnow.com ).