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TOPIC: How Olive Oil Helps Fight Breast Cancer

How Olive Oil Helps Fight Breast Cancer 04 Oct 2005 16:03 #4113

  • Debra
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From the June 2005 Issue of [i:29f7f08a6a]Discovery magazine[/i:29f7f08a6a]:

Olive oil is one of the recommended oils for the Cycle Diet, other benefits you may not know about.

[b:29f7f08a6a][color=green:29f7f08a6a]How Olive Oil Helps Fight Breast Cancer[/color:29f7f08a6a][/b:29f7f08a6a]

For decades, epidemiologists have collected evidence showing that a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil offers protection against breast cancer. But they never understood why. Javier Menendez of the Northwestern University School of Medicine recently figured out how it works.

Olive oil is a rich mixture of fatty acids, chiefly oleic acid. When Menendez bathed human breast cancer cells with purified oleic acid, the cells cut production of a cancer-causing gene, HER2, by nearly 50 percent. The fatty acid also increased the effectiveness of Herceptin, a drug made from antibodies that latch onto HER2 proteins and trigger the death of cancer cells.

The HER2 gene is overactive in more than one-fifth of all breast cancers and operates in a host of other tumors that may prove vulnerable to oleic acid. So far, Menendez and his colleagues have discovered the fatty acid cuts the expression of the gene in ovarian, stomach, and colon cancer cell lines. ?It will probably turn out to be a universal effect,? he says.

The researchers also found that other dietary fatty acids, like the omega-3 fatty acids in fish, can block HER2. It may mean there is an ?ultimate molecular mechanism? by which fatty acids in food prevent cancer. Menendez suspects the compounds help the malevolent cells survive and grow, ?but when you are getting fatty acids from the diet, the cancer cells? fatty-acid factory gets blocked.?

Prevention comes in relatively small doses: Olive-oil researchers and health experts recommended 40 to 50 grams of olive oil a day (four to six tablespoons) to help stave off cancers and reduce the risk of heart disease. ?You can get that very easily in a salad,? Menendez says. More of the oil might be necessary to help beat existing breast tumors and other cancers, he says, although just how much is not yet known.

?Kathy A. Svitil
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