April 22, 2009
Walnuts Cut Breast Cancer In Mice

Mice get all the important answers before humans do.

DENVER Walnut consumption may provide the body with essential omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and phytosterols that reduce the risk of breast cancer, according to a study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research 100th Annual Meeting 2009.

Elaine Hardman, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine at Marshall University School of Medicine, said that while her study was done with laboratory animals rather than humans, people should heed the recommendation to eat more walnuts.

"Walnuts are better than cookies, french fries or potato chips when you need a snack," said Hardman. "We know that a healthy diet overall prevents all manner of chronic diseases."

Hardman and colleagues studied mice that were fed a diet that they estimated was the human equivalent of two ounces of walnuts per day. A separate group of mice were fed a control diet.

Standard testing showed that walnut consumption significantly decreased breast tumor incidence, the number of glands with a tumor and tumor size.

"These laboratory mice typically have 100 percent tumor incidence at five months; walnut consumption delayed those tumors by at least three weeks," said Hardman.

Aside from the fats what are the other compounds in nuts that are good for you? Magnesium comes to mind. In fact, magnesium is on my short list of nutrients I get from pills.

I'd like to see this experiment repeated with other types of nuts and with mixes of fats that mirror the fat composition of walnuts and other nuts. Such experiments would hep to tease out the relative health value of the omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in walnuts (they are way higher in ALA than other nuts) versus other compounds in the nuts. If it turns out ALA plays a big beneficial role in cutting breast cancer risk then I'd like to see the series of experiments extended to fish omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2009 April 22 11:27 PM  Aging Diet Cancer Studies

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