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Olive Oil May be Key in Combating an Aggressive Form of Breast Cancer

A study published in the December 2008 issue of the journal BMC Cancer found that extra virgin olive oil may lower the risk of breast cancer among women with a gene called HER2. This gene is involved in about 20 to 30 percent of breast cancers.

Breast cancer in women with the HER2 gene is extremely aggressive because the gene causes cancer cells to grow and divide more rapidly.

For the study, researchers from the University of Granada in Spain sought to determine why certain studies have identified a reduction in breast cancer for people following a Mediterranean diet (rich in olive oil) but others did not.

To identify the reason behind these contradicting results, researchers tested the breast cancer fighting potential of several polyphenols found in olive oil.

Although these findings provide some new insights regarding the mechanism behind the breast cancer fighting properties of olive oil, researchers note that the lab results still need to be confirmed in human trials.

While further research is necessary, previous studies have confirmed a number of other health benefits associated with virgin olive oil. The oil, used for thousands of years as a core ingredient in Mediterranean diets, has been found to reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome, lower blood pressure, protect against neuro-degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and promote weight loss.
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