Beware – high cholesterol can cause breast cancer!
As Reported On health.india.com
Researchers have suggested that breast cancer growth can be fuelled by high cholesterol, as a by-product of cholesterol functions like the hormone oestrogen to enhance the growth and spread of the disease. The researchers at the Duke Cancer Institute also found that anti-cholesterol drugs such as statins appear to diminish the effect of this oestrogen-like molecule. By using mouse models and tumour cells, the researchers have for the first time explained the link between high cholesterol and breast cancer, especially in post-menopausal women, and the study suggested that dietary changes or therapies to reduce cholesterol may also offer a simple, accessible way to reduce breast cancer risk.
Senior author Donald McDonnell, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology at Duke, said they have found a molecule- not cholesterol itself, but an abundant metabolite of cholesterol- called 27HC that mimics the hormone oestrogen and can independently drive the growth of breast cancer. Using mouse models that are highly predictive of what occurs in humans, McDonnell and colleagues demonstrated the direct involvement of 27HC in breast tumour growth, as well as the aggressiveness of the cancer to spread to other organs.
They also noted that the activity of this cholesterol metabolite was inhibited when the animals were treated with anti-oestrogens or when supplementation of 27HC was stopped. McDonnell said the findings suggested there may be a simple way to reduce the risk of breast cancer by keeping cholesterol in check, either with statins or a healthy diet. Additionally, for women who have breast cancer and high cholesterol, taking statins may delay or prevent resistance to endocrine therapies such as tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors.
The study is published in the journal Science.
Herbal remedies for cholesterol
Cholesterol is a component that is normally synthesized in the body and is also present in many of the foods we eat. Cholesterol is important to maintain the integrity and permeability of the cell membranes, process important hormones including oestrogen, androgens and cortisol and helps metabolize fat soluble vitamins.However, when the total cholesterol levels increase beyond 200 milligrams per deciliter, you can be at risk for several other associated problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease.
Cholesterol buster #1: Oats
Oats are a rich source of fibre that contains beta glucan; this fibre is of the soluble variety and has the capacity to bind cholesterol circulating in the blood. This binding facilitates the excretion of cholesterol from the body and therefore, if you are looking at reducing your cholesterol levels, it makes sense to consume oats on a regular basis. An intake of about 5 grams of soluble fiber in a day can help cut LDL “bad” cholesterol by almost 5 percent. The best thing about oats is that it can be worked into Indian dishes if you don’t like taking it in the form of porridge. When preparingkhichadi, pongal or dosa batter, substitute oats for a small part of the rice and you have food that is filling as well as good for reducing cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol buster #2: Garlic
With its rich store of sulphur-containing antioxidants, garlic plays an important role in regulating the cholesterol levels. Not only can it reduce the LDL cholesterol, studies have shown that a regular consumption of fresh garlic can also help boost levels of the “good” HDL cholesterol. Sprinkle a little freshly peeled and chopped raw garlic onto your salad dressings, work it into your sandwich or use it to garnish soups, dal or rasam and you have a tasty dish that is healthy, too.
Cholesterol buster #3: Soybean oil and corn oil
Plant oils such as soybean oil and corn oil contain plant sterols or phytosterols; these have the ability to prevent your body from absorbing the cholesterol that is naturally present in the foods you eat. These sterols and stanols are also found in several vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, legumes and seeds and adding these to your diet can help reduce levels of LDL and total cholesterol. Besides, it has also been found that these compounds enhance the cholesterol-lowering effects of statin drugs that are generally prescribed to combat high cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol buster #4: Brown Rice
Brown rice refers to rice that has not been completely processed but has only the outermost husk removed during the milling process. Therefore, this rice has the lower layer of bran intact and therefore, it is a rich source of not just vital vitamins and minerals but also fiber. If you are looking at reducing cholesterol through a healthy diet, simply substitute brown rice for all the white rice that you eat. The bran of the brown rice contains oil that is highly unsaturated and this plays an important role in ensuring your cholesterol levels stay low.
Cholesterol buster #5: Turmeric
We know of turmeric’s excellent wound healing properties as well as expectorant action. But some studies have also found that it also has a protective action on the heart.Turmeric has been shown to lower the levels of LDL cholesterol and therefore, it can help cut down on the build-up of plaque on the walls of the arteries. Adding a pinch of turmeric powder to the curries and vegetable preparations is one of the best ways to ensure you get your daily dose of this powerful herb.