Soy, cruciferous vegetables could help lower breast cancer treatment side effects

Reprinted with the kind permission of Life Extension.

December 13 2017. An article appearing on December 11, 2017 in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment reported an association between greater consumption of soy foods and cruciferous vegetables and a lower risk of experiencing side effects from breast cancer therapy. Soy foods take many forms, such as tofu, soy milk or cheese, and edamame, and cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, and more.

The study included 173 non-Hispanic Caucasian and 192 Chinese-American breast cancer survivors. Dietary intake data was obtained from responses to mailed questionnaires. Telephone interviews obtained information concerning treatment-related symptoms, including joint problems, fatigue, hair loss or thinning, memory problems and menopausal symptoms. (Endocrine therapies that inhibit estrogen use or production can result in the symptoms women experience when undergoing menopause.)

Consuming 24 grams or more soy was associated with a 49% lower risk of experiencing menopausal symptoms and a 57% lower risk of fatigue compared to no soy. In comparison with subjects whose intake of cruciferous vegetables was less than 33 grams per day, consuming 70.8 grams or more was associated with half the risk of menopausal symptoms. The associations were significant for Caucasian breast cancer survivors. Higher intake of the foods was also associated with less reporting of other symptoms, but the associations failed to attain statistical significance. It was suggested that isoflavones occurring in soy and glucosinolates in cruciferous vegetables are responsible for the reduction in symptoms observed in the current study.

“These symptoms can adversely impact survivors’ quality of life and can lead them to stopping ongoing treatments,” commented lead author Sarah Oppeneer Nomura, PhD, of Georgetown University. “Understanding the role of life style factors is important because diet can serve as a modifiable target for possibly reducing symptoms among breast cancer survivors.”

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