Can Walnuts Halt Growth of Breast And Prostate Cancers?

Two recent studies have found the positive impact walnuts have on stopping breast and prostate cancer cell growth.

The first study, conducted by Dr. Paul Davis, of the University of California, also determined in addition to inhibiting prostate cancer development, the mice had lower levels of a protein, IGF (insulin-like growth factor) that is strongly linked to prostate cancer.

Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acid rich walnuts, antioxidants, and other plant chemicals have the ability to suppress gene activity within the prostate cancer cells.

Walnuts are already known to be good for the heart and brain.

The genetically programmed to get prostate cancer mice were fed for 4.5 months (18 weeks) either a diet equivalent to a human consuming 2.4 ounces of walnuts per day, or one with an equal amount of fat from other sources.

“This study shows that when mice with prostate tumors consume an amount of walnuts that could easily be eaten by a man, tumor growth is controlled,” Davis said in a statement. “This leaves me very hopeful that it could be beneficial in patients.”

Another study reported in 2009 similarly found that walnut consumption may also provide the essential omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and plant sterols.

According to Elaine Hardman, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine at Marshall University School of Medicine, who conducted a study with laboratory animals rather than humans. She believes people should heed the recommendation to eat more walnuts. Dr. Hardman’s research found walnut consumption may provide the body with essential omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and phytosterols that reduce the risk of breast cancer. Her findings were presented at the American Association for Cancer Research 100th Annual Meeting 2009.

“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 fellow researchers evaluated mice fed a diet equal to daily consumption of 2 ounces of walnut . Another group of mice were fed a different diet.

The mice that consumed walnuts had 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.

Molecular analysis showed that increased consumption of omega-3 fatty acids contributed to the decline in tumor incidence, but other parts of the walnut contributed as well.

“With dietary interventions you see multiple mechanisms when working with the whole food,” said Hardman. “It is clear that walnuts contribute to a healthy diet that can reduce breast cancer.

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