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Herbal Supplement May Help Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

An herbal supplement containing lignans and indole-3-carbinol may reduce the risk of breast cancer according to a recent study by scientists from Nutrasource Diagnostics and Hackensack University Medical Center.

Lignans are natural plant compounds and one of the major classes of phytoestrogens which are estrogen-like chemicals that act as antioxidants inside the body.

Indole-3 carbinol is a naturally occurring phytochemical found in cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli and kale. Recent studies indicate that indole-3 carbinol may prevent the development of estrogen-enhanced cancers.

The study was published in the December 2010 issue of the journal Breast Cancer.

For the study the researchers recruited 47 pre-menopausal with an average age of 37 and 49 post-menopausal women with an average age of 56. They randomly assigned these participants to receive either the herbal supplement containing lignans and indole-3 carbinol or a placebo for 28 days.

They found that women given the herbal supplement had increased hydroxylation of the female hormone estrogen. This increase is linked to reductions in hormone sensitive breast cancer, the most common type of breast cancer tumors in the United States.

These findings follow a large meta-analysis published in the May 2010 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition which found that postmenopausal women with the highest lignan intakes had a 14% reduction in breast cancer risk.

If you are looking to increase your lignan intake, flaxseed has by far the highest lignan content of any food. You can also get more lignans in your diet through sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, broccoli and kale.

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