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Carotenoids supplements may help cut breast cancer risk

By David Liu. PHD

July &, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- Eating fruit and vegetables, which are high in carotenoids, has been associated with reduced risk of breast cancer in many epidemiological studies.  A new meta-analysis indicates that the association of breast cancer risk with blood carotenoids are more significant.

The study based on data on blood carotenoids from studies found in Pubmed and several other databases reported up to Aug. 2011 showed that of 6 dietary carotenoids assessed through a food questionnaire, only intake of each additional 5000 ug per day of beta-carotene was significantly correlated with a 5 percent reduced risk of breast cancer.

By contrast, it was found that each additional 100 ug of total carotenoids per dL of blood was correlated with 22 percent reduced risk for breast cancer risk.  Each 50 ug of beta-carotene per dL reduced the risk by 26 percent, each 10 ug of alpha-carotene per dL of blood reduced the risk by 18 percent while each 25 ug of lutein per dL of blood was correlated with 32 percent reduced risk.

The current study let by Dagfinn Aune of Imperial College, London, United Kingdom and colleagues suggests that eating foods high with carotenoids including alpha- beta carotene, and lutein may significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer. 

Carotenoids are pigments of fruit and vegetables.  Carotenoids can't generated by animals and humans.  Beta- and alpha carotene in humans have vitamin A activity while lutein can protect eyes from being damaged by blue rays, which can be absorbed by lutein.

Breast cancer is expected to strike one in eight women in the United States.  Each year, 210,000 women in the U.S. are expected to be diagnosed with the disease and the disease is expected to kill about 50,000 each year in the country, according to the National Cancer Institute.

The current study was published on July 3, 2012 on the website of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.