Thursday, June 7, 2012

Eating Mushrooms Slashes Risk of Breast Cancer by Two-Thirds

Regular mushroom consumption can decrease a woman's risk of breast cancer by two thirds, researchers have found. Scientists from the University of Western Australia in Perth conducted a study on 2,018 Chinese women, half of whom had been diagnosed with breast cancer. After adjusting for known cancer risk factors such as obesity, smoking, lack of exercise and lower education level, the researchers found that women who ate at least 10 grams of button mushrooms per day were 64 percent less likely to develop the disease. Women who ate dried mushrooms regularly also significantly reduced their cancer risk, although not by as much. The study was published in the International Journal of Cancer. This is not the first time scientists have found evidence of mushrooms' cancer-fighting properties. Laboratory studies have found that mushrooms may suppress the body's production of the sex hormone estrogen, much like the breast cancer drugs known as aromatose inhibitors. High estrogen levels are a well-known risk factor for breast cancer. Mushrooms have also been found to strengthen the body's immune function and block tumor development. Mushroom extract has been shown to stop the growth of breast cancer cells, sparking an ongoing study into whether taking mushroom extract twice per month can prevent a recurrence of the disease. While the Chinese study focused on the culinary mushrooms Agaricus bisporus (button mushrooms), the study on extracts is focusing on the traditional medicinal mushroom Phellinus linteus. In Eastern medicine, this mushroom is used to help refresh the body and lengthen lifespan. Researchers believe that P. linteus acts by blocking the action of an enzyme known as AKT, which plays a role in controlling cell growth. Prior studies have suggested that the mushroom hampers the activity of skin, lung and prostate cancer cells. It reduces uncontrollable cell growth and blocks the development of blood vessels that keep tumors alive. Source -

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