Diet/Supplements >> Drinking Coffee May Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer
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Drinking Coffee May Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer

A variety of cancers, including breast cancer, are directly affected by estrogen production in women. Researchers are finding that the caffeine in coffee may alter the effects of estrogen and make breast cancer less likely to develop. According to cancer researcher Helena Jernstrom and her associates who studied the coffee-drinking habits of 460 breast cancer patients undergoing treatment at Lund University in Sweden, if you have a certain type of breast cancer gene, drinking 2-3 cups of coffee each day may reduce your risk of developing breast cancer or at least delay its onset.


The study shows that coffee-drinkers who had a specific variant of the gene known as CYP1A2 were able to metabolize certain components in coffee differently than those who did not have the gene. The result was that the carcinogenic effects of the hormone estrogen were reduced. In fact, the coffee drinkers with this specific gene variant had a cancer rate that was two-thirds less than their non-coffee-drinking counterparts in the study. Another possible benefit is that caffeine also appeared to reduce the growth rate of cancer cells.



Jernstrom and her colleagues are still working to prove their theories on coffee and breast cancer development. Their hope is to prove that the rate of breast cancer is lower in countries where coffee drinking is more prevalent, such as Sweden, and higher in places like the United States in which fewer people drink caffeinated coffee. Jernstrom is careful to say that it is too early to make any dietary recommendations regarding coffee consumption and that the team is continuing to research the potential benefit of caffeine and cancer prevention.



References and Other Resources:

Jernstrom, Helena, et al.: "Coffee May Protect Against Breast Cancer, Study Shows," Science Daily, April 25, 2008

 
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