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Vitamins for Prevention

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Vitamins for Prevention  

Are there any vitamins and minerals that I can take to lower my risk of getting breast cancer?

Yes. Several nutritional supplements potentially are beneficial in helping reduce the risk of developing breast cancer.

The following nutritional supplements are key in helping decrease the risk of breast cancer:

• Antioxidants: Vitamins C, E and A are a vital part of bolstering immunity and staying well.

Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants. Women should include at least 1,000 mg. of Vitamin C each day.

Vitamin E is another powerful antioxidant that is found naturally in vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds. Vitamin E reduces carcinogen production and strengthens immune cells and cell membranes against the penetration of viruses and toxic chemicals. Vitamin E functions best with adequate levels of selenium as selenomethionine, and vice versa, as both of these compounds are antioxidants and cell membrane protectors. A dose of 400 units of Vitamin E once a day is customary.

Some preliminary studies indicate that Vitamin A and some of its derivatives, retinoids, have the potential to prevent normal cells from becoming cancerous. A dose of 25,000 units of Vitamin A per day is the standard recommendation.

• B-Complex vitamins: The main components of the B vitamins are: B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (nicotinic acid and nicotinamide), B5(pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B12 (cyanocobalamin), folic acid, biotin, choline and inositol.

Several studies suggest that the B vitamins may work together to help lower the risk of breast cancer. Folate, a member of the “B” vitamin family, has been shown to help reduce the possibility of genetic mutations caused by toxins and free radicals that may lead to breast cancer.

A good B-complex vitamin supplement is the best way to incorporate all the benefits of the B-vitamin family.

• Vitamin D. Studies show that sufficient levels of vitamin D in the body lower the risk of breast and ovarian cancers. Consult your integrative medical physician and nutritionist for guidance on vitamin D supplementation.

• Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), also known as ubiquinone or ubiquinol, is a naturally occurring nutrient normally present in our bodies and available through foods (especially fish or meats) and supplements. In addition to being an antioxidant, CoQ10 plays a significant role in the energy system of each of our cells.

A dosage of 100mg of coenzyme Q10 per day is the standard recommendation.

• Calcium D-glucarate is the calcium salt of D-glucaric acid, a natural substance found in many fruits and vegetables. Calcium D-glucarate has been shown to inhibit the action of beta-glucuronidase, a bacterial enzyme that otherwise prevents the elimination of certain toxins from the body. One of the main ways the body gets rid of toxic chemicals, as well as hormones such as estrogen, is by attaching glucuronic acid to the toxic chemicals in the liver and then excreting this complex in the bile. Beta-glucuronidase prevents this from happening and, consequently, the toxic substance is available for re-absorption by the body. Elevated levels of beta-glucuronidase have been linked with hormone-dependent cancer, such as breast cancer.

• Selenium: For nearly 20 years, animal studies have shown that small amounts of selenium, a trace mineral found in liver and certain kinds of nuts, may help prevent risk of various types of cancer. More recent research found that selenium may be of particular benefit for those women who are genetically predisposed to developing breast cancer.

A dose of 100mcg of selenium per day is the standard recommendation.

• Bromelain, a natural substance found in pineapples, helps relieve joint inflammation. Bromelain reduces blood levels of kinins, which are proteins involved in angiogenesis, the process that supplies new blood vessels to tumors. Research also indicates that this pineapple enzyme breaks down fibrin, a component of the gel-like substance that encases solid tumors. By breaking down fibrin, bromelain helps cancer cells become more vulnerable to the body’s immune responses. Other research suggests that bromelain increases the quantity of cytokines, immune system growth factors that are produced by white blood cells.

In addition to eating pineapples, you can obtain bromelain in capsule and ointment form.

• Melatonin: The hormone, melatonin, helps protect breast cells against free radical damage, chemical carcinogens, and cortisol-induced damage. Melatonin also blocks estrogen receptors on breast cells, stopping them from proliferating in response to estrogen and other factors that promote tumor growth.

Our bodies produce melatonin during the darkest hours of the night. Exposure to light at night interferes with melatonin production and is believed to increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer.

It is best to start with a very small dose (0.1 mg) of melatonin and take it at night.

• Zinc is an important mineral. Zinc deficiency may be a contributory factor to cancer development. Not only does zinc bolster immunity, but also zinc aids the formation and function of many enzymes that help detoxify the body.

Although zinc can promote tumors under certain circumstances, several studies indicate that zinc may play an important role in prevention of cancer.

A dosage of 15-30 mg elemental zinc is considered safe. Zinc should be taken at a separate time from that of other supplements and at a separate time from eating food.

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