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Dietary Cholesterol Raises Breast Cancer Risk

Diseased Womens Breasts

Breast cancer is a major public health challenge worldwide; it is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among Caucasian American women, but the leading cause of cancer deaths for Latinas. Some of the well-established risk factors of breast cancer include family history, alcohol consumption, use of hormone replacement therapy, lack of exercise, and unhealthy food choices. Data from several studies have shown that a surge in breast cancer risk is associated with frequent consumption of red meat, dairy products, and fatty foods. Now a 2017 study published in the Journal of Nutrition Research has pointed to a specific dietary factor that may increase the risk of developing breast cancer: dietary cholesterol intake.

In this study, researchers from the University of Shanghai, China, systematically reviewed data and evidence obtained from 6 cohort and 3 case-control studies that examined the effect of high dietary ingestion of cholesterol-rich foods on breast cancer risk. The team of investigators found a significant elevation in breast cancer risk among women who consumed more than 370 milligrams of cholesterol per day. The results of this study corroborated the findings of another study that evaluated the role of cholesterol in the formation and progression of tumor in the mammary gland of mice. In this animal study, researchers observed that plasma levels of cholesterol were lower during the period of tumor development than during the period prior to the formation of tumor in mice. The findings of this study provide evidence that cholesterol could be one of the nutrients that fuel the growth and development of tumors.

The human body makes cholesterol endogenously in the liver and obtains cholesterol exogenously from dietary sources. Cholesterol is metabolized in the body into 27-hydrocholesterol, which has an estrogen-like effect on body cells. The cancer-promoting effect of estrogen has been well-documented in several studies. The compound 27-hydrocholesterol mimics estrogen action, hence high circulating levels of 27-hydrocholesterol can accelerate the development and growth of cancerous cells in the breast.

Cholesterol is only found in animal products, such as egg yolks, dairy, and the flesh of animals which is referred to as meat and includes seafood, chicken, turkey, and fish.The breast cancer-promoting effect of cholesterol is not good news for women who regularly consume foods high in cholesterol, such as butter, milk, cheese, red meat, fish, bacon, and pastries. But this is the question that lovers of high-cholesterol foods should ask themselves: is doing away with cholesterol-rich foods too much of a sacrifice to make, in order to avoid breast cancer? The answer is definitely no, because giving up cancer-promoting foods is worth the short period of withdrawal symptoms.. Avoiding cholesterol-rich foods is a small price to pay in order to protect ourselves from many cancers, and especially breast cancer. So get these unhealthy animal-based foods out of your diet and significantly cut down your chances of contracting this dreaded cancer that kills more than 40,000 women every year.

Additional Information:

(1) Fighting Breast Cancer in the Kitchen

(2) Using Diet to Prevent & Treat Breast Cancer

(3) Why Some World Regions Have Low Incidence of Breast Cancer?

(4) Top 10 Foods Highest in Cholesterol

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