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This Nutrient CAUSES Breast Cancer?

By on June 23, 2014
Carbs are bad for you, some experts say. Other experts claim that it’s only the bad carbs–such as refined grains and processed products–that you need to worry about. So what’s the best choice for you?

If you face a higher risk of breast cancer due to genetic reasons, then the answer is all carbs are bad–even whole grains.

A new study conducted by researchers from The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth have identified a receptor found in breast tissue–called IGF-1–that puts women at a higher risk of breast cancer recurrence if they eat more carbohydrates. It’s an important finding–and one that shows your body’s reaction to insulin can also play a role in your cancer risk.

The research was led by Jennifer A. Emond, an instructor in the Department of Community and Family Medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.

“There is a growing body of research demonstrating associations between obesity, diabetes, and cancer risk,” says Emond. “There are similarities between the biological pathways that underlie all of these conditions, and there is some evidence to suggest that over-activation of the insulin/insulin-like growth factor axis, which increases the availability of IGF1 in the blood, may relate to a poor prognosis among breast cancer survivors.”

IGF-1, otherwise known as insulin-like growth factor 1, is commonly found in breast tumor tissue, where the expression of it makes it harder for doctors to treat breast cancer. Its molecular structure is similar to insulin, which made doctors hypothesize that a person’s diet–especially one that fluctuates insulin levels–could impact how much it expresses itself in breast tumor tissue.

Oftentimes, carbohydrates affects insulin.

“We found an association between increased breast cancer recurrence in women with a primary breast cancer tumor that was positive for the IGF1 receptor, which is consistent with other studies,” says Emond. “We further found that a decreased carbohydrate intake was associated with decreased breast cancer recurrence for these women.”

In making her findings, Emond looked at data from the Women’s Healthy Eating and Living study, which tracked the eating habits of women between 2001 and 2007. There, her hypothesis was confirmed–lowering carbohydrate intake resulted in a lower recurrence of breast cancer for women with positive IGF-1 receptors in their breast tumor tissue.

However, Emond wasn’t able to figure out which type of carbohydrates triggered these receptors the most.

“There are still many unanswered questions regarding this study, including what type of carbohydrate-containing foods may be the most important foods that breast cancer survivors should limit,” says Emond. “Breast cancer survivors should continue to follow a plant-based dietary pattern as suggested by the American Association for Cancer Research and the American Cancer Association, which means eating lots of fiber rich vegetables, legumes, and fruits; consuming whole grains and also limiting refined grains, starchy vegetables, and added sugar.”

In the meanwhile, health experts recommend watching your carbohydrate intake–although you shouldn’t eliminate it. Instead, they recommend cutting out bad carbs, such as refined grains–carbs consistently shown to cause adverse health effects in both men and women.

Readers: How often do you eat “bad carbs?”

Source:
Study: Lowering Carbs Prevent Recurrence of Breast Cancer in Some WomenScienceDaily.com

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