Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Mushroom Helps Out

The Mushroom Helps Out

It seems that more and more women today are being affected by Breast Cancer. I am sure that almost every one of us personally knows someone who has either had breast cancer or has been affected by it. The amount of research that goes into finding a cure for this life altering disease is amazing, that is why it is so great that a simple mushroom can be used to help prevent it.

Researchers at the City of Hope now report that their studies have found anti-aromatase properties in mushrooms. The extract, conjugated linoleic acid, is a substance that inhibits the activity of aromatase; an enzyme that is used in the production of estrogen, which is believed to have cancer promoting effects in pre-menopausal and post-menopausal women. It has been known that conjugated linoleic acid worked as an anti-aromatase agent, but until now it was only known to be in animal-based foods.

The initial study began with seven vegetable extracts including green onion, carrot, celery, bell pepper, broccoli, spinach and mushrooms. They were all tested for the anti-aromatase activity. The most effect of the seven was the white mushroom. The second phase of this study then tested only mushrooms. This was to learn whether other varieties contained the same anti-aromatase activity. Portabella, shiitake, crimini, oyster, enoki, chanterelles, and small and large white mushrooms were all tested. The large white mushrooms emerged as the most effective and potent inhibitor of aromatase activity, even when cooked.

Laboratory mouse studies then confirmed that the compounds in mushrooms stopped the growth of breast cancer cells. They found that the mice that were fed the extract had a 58% reduction in breast cancer tumor growth.

Although more studies are needed to substantiate this evidence, the future of breast cancer reduction using mushrooms does look promising.

Most people never would have thought that something that was considered to have no nutritional value at all, could come forward to lead the way in the prevention of breast cancer.

I for one am just thrilled with these finding, and I give great support to Dr. Chen, his team and all the work that they are doing at the Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope in Duarte, CA. Dr. Chen’s research on the protective effects of mushrooms on breast cancer has recently been accepted for publication in Cancer Research, the publication came out this past November.

We all look forward to seeing the future work and wonderful findings of Dr. Chen and his team.

To make a donation to the Canadian Breast Cancer Society Click Here.

To make a donation to the American Breast Cancer Foundation Click Here.

- Chen et al, Breast cancer prevention with phytochemicals in mushrooms. Proc. Am Assoc. of Cancer Research, 46, Abs. 5186
- Grube, B.J., et al. White button mushroom phytochemicals inhibit aromatase activity and breast cancer cell proliferation. J Nutr. 131:3288-3293, 2001.
Mushrooms Canada
Mushroom Council

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