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Breast Cancer News: Folate, vitamin b12, methionine linked to lower breast cancer risk

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By Jimmy Downs

Monday April 29, 2013 (foodconsumer.org) -- A new study has found higher intake of folate or vitamin b9 may help reduce risk of estrogen receptor negative (ER-) breast cancer and higher intake of vitamin B12 and methionine, an amino acid may reduce the risk for ER+ breast cancer.

The study led by Dongyan Yang and colleagues shows that women in the highest quartile of folate intake was associated with 50 percent reduced risk for ER- breast cancer, compared with those in the lowest quartile.

Also, those in the highest quartile of vitamin B12 intake were 27 percent less likely to develop breast cancer, compared with those in the lowest quartile.  The reduction in the risk for ER+ breast cancer was particularly significant, that is, those in the highest quartile of vitamin B12 were 33 percent less likely to be diagnosed with ER+ breast cancer among non-Hispanic white women.

And among non-Hispanic white women, the highest intake of vitamin B12 was associated with 51 percent reduced risk for breast cancer.

The highest intake of vitamin B12 was associated with 58 percent reduced risk for invasive breast cancer, compared with the lowest intake.A

The highest intake of an amino acid called methionine intake was also associated with 17 percent reduced ER+ breast cancer and among Hispanic women, the risk was reduced by 29  percent.

Data used for this study came from 2325 women with breast cancer in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah and 2525 matched controls. Dietary information, physical activity and other lifestyle parameters were collected through in-person interviews.

The three dietary elements, folate, vitamin B12 and methionine were inversely associated with breast cancer risk, indicating that those who ate vegetables were less likely to develop the disease.

Vitamin B12 is found in animal-based foods.  Could it be that women who did not eat too much meat took vitamin B12 supplements so that they tended to have the highest intake of vitamin B than others?

Methionine is a common amino acid found in eggs, fish, nuts and vegetables.  Methionine in vegetables when cooked gives off a vegetable flavor note.  Folate is high in lentils, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, spinach, black beans, navy beans, kidney beans, collard greens, turnip greens, and Lima beans.  Beans are also high in soluble fiber, which has already been associated with reduced risk for ER- breast cancer in another study.

Reference 

Yang D, Baumgartner RN, Slattery ML, Wang C, Giuliano AR, et al. (2013) Dietary Intake of Folate, B-Vitamins and Methionine and Breast Cancer Risk among Hispanic and Non-Hispanic White Women. PLoS ONE 8(2): e54495. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0054495 
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