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Healthy Women - Nutrients reduce chances for breast cancer, boost bone density

Carotenoids reduce chances for breast cancer

One of the controllable factors that can reduce chances for cancer is carotenoid levels. In this study, Harvard doctors measured carotenoids in 1,919 women from the Nurses’ Health Study who later developed breast cancer, and 1,695 women who did not. Doctors also measured breast tissue density, a separate factor that doubles chances.

Overall, when carotenoid levels reached 142 micrograms per deciliter of blood (mcg/dL), chances were 20 percent lower in women with estrogen receptor (ER) positive, but not ER negative, breast cancer. ER positive cells bind to estrogen, and cancer in these cells tends to grow more slowly than in ER negative cells.

In women with the most dense breast tissue, chances were 37 percent lower for those with the highest carotenoid levels.

Reference: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; 2021, Vol. 113, No. 3, 525–33

Antioxidant capacity boosts bone density

In this study, doctors measured total antioxidants in the diet, and bone mineral density, in 8,230 pre- and postmenopausal women. Those with osteoporosis (OP) had significantly lower waist circumference, bone mineral content, and bone mineral density, than women without OP.

Postmenopausal women were older, exercised less, and consumed less alcohol, protein, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium than premenopausal women. Premenopausal women with higher total antioxidant (TA) levels had greater bone mineral content than those with lower TA levels. Postmenopausal women who got at least 456.89 mg of antioxidants per day had greater bone mineral content at the lumbar spine, total femur, and femoral neck, and had greater bone mineral density in the lumbar spine.

Reference: Nutrients; 2021, Vol. 13, No. 4, 1149


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