View Full Version : Diet and Nutrition: Research for Breast Cancer Prevention and Risk of Recurrence

09-08-2009, 06:17 AM
I received this in an e-mail from "Living Beyond Breast Cancer". It is a transcript from one of their teleconferences on diet and nutrition.


This is a summary . . .
. . . with Denise Snyder, MS, RD, LDN. Nutrition and breast cancer are frequently discussed in the popular media. This publication provides the latest research to help you sort out the facts from the fiction. Whether you are at high risk, newly diagnosed, have recently completed treatment, are years beyond or are living with advanced (metastatic) disease, you will find information here about the research studies and learn how to integrate the findings into your life to improve your well-being.

09-08-2009, 06:38 AM
If you've never "attended" one of these teleconferences they are certainly worthwhile. Thanks for posting this info.

09-09-2009, 02:47 PM

I almost posted the same thing - lost it because I did not sign up first. Thanks. I get the LBBC newletter (both on-line and the print form) also.

09-11-2009, 06:41 PM
I want to thank Tanya for taking time to be here! That's awesome.

I have a question about supplements. Is this the right thread to ask such a question?

My question is - I have heard/read that curcumin is excellent for the immune system. I would like to begin taking this supplement and wondered what comments Tanya might have about it, and would love to hear also from anyone else who is taking this.

What is a safe dose? Side effects? Does it really help the immune system?

Thanks so much,


09-12-2009, 08:46 AM
Thanks for your question Diannes. Curcumin (dietary Tumeric) has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory (COX-2) properties which may have some benefit in the diet or in supplement form. The studies have been mixed and most of which are animal studies or done on specific cell lines thus may be difficult to apply to humans. Many of these studies suggest a promotion of cancer cell death (apoptosis) with the addition of curcumin (tumeric). Some recent animal studies have shown though that curcumin may inhibit the anticancer action of chemoagents used to treat breast cancer such as cyclophosphemide and doxorubicin. As with most strong antioxidants I would advise against supplementing with curcumin during active treatment. However, if you are done with treatment and you discuss it with your physician there may be some benefit to including this in your diet or overall regimen. As far as risks or side effects go we know that curcumin is a mild blood thinner and can increase the risk of bleeding. Therefore it is important to understand any drug interactions that may occur when starting this supplement.

09-12-2009, 11:42 AM
I would like to add that if taking it as a supplement, take it with food (particularly food that has alittle fat - perhaps the evening meal which tends to have meat or some cheese in it). Curcumin is better absorbed this way and I get a slightly upset stomach if I take it on an empty stomach.

09-12-2009, 03:22 PM
Thanks so much for your reply. Seems it has some benefit. I am still doing herceptin until Oct. 8. Should I wait? I do take antioxidants 4 x a day since I finished the taxoter/carboplatin in March; hope that was a good decision. I also do juicing,


09-12-2009, 03:24 PM
Hi Becky,

How much mg's of curcumin do you take?


09-12-2009, 05:25 PM
From the manufacturer I buy from, I take one capsule a day and it contain 545mg of standardized curcumin. A normal portion of "chicken curry" contains about 300 mg of curcumin.

I don't want to overdo as I take an aspirin, cranberry (get UTIs from no estrogen), and fish oil which all thin the blood.

09-13-2009, 10:45 PM
Hi Becky,

Do you mind telling me who your manufacturer is?

Do you get any stomach problems from it? Would it be a good idea to take with food, do you think?

Thank you,


09-14-2009, 09:53 AM
I always take my supplements with meals as it enhances absorption of almost anything I can think of.

I buy most of my herbal supplements online from Viable Herbal Solutions

www.viable-herbal.com (http://www.viable-herbal.com)

I have had problems taking supplements on an empty stomach but not right after I have had a meal.

09-14-2009, 11:28 AM
I tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to treatment just because there is so much we have yet to learn about the interactions between nutrients and drugs. I would recommend waiting to start curcumin until Herceptin is done.

09-16-2009, 04:19 AM
Hey, Becky, thanks for your input on Curcumin and Curry dosage comparison. I love curry spice and we use it a lot in cooking.

09-16-2009, 11:42 AM
Thanks for the links to nutrition and breast cancer. As for curcumin I have taken it for years. I have supplements. I also use curcumin in my cooking. It can be added to soups, stews, rice and of course curries. I add it to hummus. It can be found in the spice department of many grocery stores (curcumin or tumeric). If you are lucky you might also find it in the produce department. It looks like fresh ginger, except that the inside is orange colored. I slice it up or grade it into some foods during cooking.

09-16-2009, 09:24 PM

I agree and have not started curcumin yet. After my last herceptin Oct. 8, how long would you recommend waiting until starting with the curcumin?

How does taking curcumin by pill form differ from getting loads of curcumin in a curry dish? Should I avoid putting it in rice dishes, soups, as Elaine suggests or is it ok that way?

I do take 4 antioxidants a day on the advice of a doctor of naturopath in my area. She said I should not take the curcumin along with the antiox's but take the curcumin one day, then the antiox's on another day...how do you recommend taking it? Along with antioxidants? Is curcumin considered an antioxidant?

Thank you Becky - I added that link to my favorites.

Thanks for your help,

09-17-2009, 09:52 AM
I don't often discourage use of high antioxidant foods during chemo/radiation because the amount you receive from food is generally much smaller than that in a concentrated supplement form. The same is true for curcumin/tumeric. I believe you could safely consume a curry dish once in a while. If you are eating foods laden with tumeric on a daily basis then that may be reason for caution. I would recommend waiting 2-4 weeks after your last Herceptin to begin the supplement. I don't know of any reason not to take the curcumin with the other supplements unless there is a theory that absorption will be limited. I am not aware of any studies that demonstrate this. If your naturopath has a background in Chinese Herbal Medicine it may be related to the way they blend various herbs (i.e. hot/cold herbs-a little out of my element here :-)

Lastly, curcumin is a strong antioxidant which is one of the reasons it is a good idea to avoid during treatment.

Hope that helps some.

09-17-2009, 10:26 AM
However, there are many studies that also show that curcumin has synergistic effects with taxanes. However, I agree that during chemo, it is best to be cautious. During taxol treatments, I ate a curry dish the day of treatment in order to hopefully benefit from these synergies. Also, during Herceptin I did my supplements, especially maitake and shitake as these mushrooms have an abundance of beta glucan (which can stimulate a sluggish P-TEN, a gene that needs to be turned on for Herceptin to work).

I have never heard supplements interfer with Herceptin. Oh well, its 5 yrs and I'm here.

09-17-2009, 10:40 AM
Thanks for your input. I don't know of absolute interaction with supplements and Herceptin either but that is the problem is that we just don't know. Each person has to make the best decision for their situation. As a health care professional I must abide by the old adage of "first do no harm". I cannot comfortably recommend that one of my patients takes something that has a very real potential to decrease the effectiveness of their cancer treatment. Nutrition and medicine on the whole is an evolving science and changing all the time as we learn more and more. It can be a very frustrating area for both patient and practitioner. I believe it is always best to discuss your decision regarding supplements with your oncology team so you can be adequately monitored.

09-17-2009, 03:03 PM
I absolutely agree with that, even when you are NED and far out, you should put all supplements on your medication scroll such as you do for prescription medicines. Everyone should know what you are taking just in case you are in an accident (and you are taking supplements that thin the blood such as fish oil, cranberry - some folks even forget to put their baby aspirin on the list). This is very important.

09-21-2009, 12:38 PM
If I were newly diagnosed, this is the clinical trial I would want to pursue, as I think is mostly likely to provide some exceptionally key information for us all -- not only in terms of avoiding recurrence, but also in terms of weight management in people who are treated for breast cancer. Do we have anyone near Maryland on our forums who is newly diagnosed?



09-26-2009, 08:49 PM
Dear Tanya,

I am concerned now that I started antioxidants after my chemo. I took them with herceptin only, along with matcha tea. The antioxidants were from a company called AOR and I took 4 a day. Are there any contraindications for herceptin and vitamin E...these antioxidants were Rx'd me by a naturopath doctor along with AHCC, which is used to keep white blood cells up.
I only took the AHCC for a couple of months along with herceptin but not with the chemo.

Sorry for the multiple questions! I still don't know how long to wait after the last herceptin to begin the curcumin? Thanks!


09-28-2009, 10:53 AM
Hi Diane,
Please don't feel badly about taking the supplements during the times you also received herceptin. Nutrition can be a frustrating area because there is so much we don't know and it is always changing. Just when we think we've figured something out an new drug or new version of the drug comes out and we start over :-) Herceptin works differently than systemic chemo and therefore we probably don't need to be as cautious about antioxidants during those infusions. I still err on the side of caution but I would encourage you not to allow this to be a source of concern. I am not aware of any interaction between Vitamin E and herceptin. I looked at the AOR and AHCC supplements and AOR appears to be moderate in its antioxidant content. I wasn't able to find an ingredient list for AHCC but gather it is a mushroom blend. While it is not an area of specialty for me I find the research on mushroom properties to be interesting and have monitored patients who chose to take them during treatment without problems noted. As for matcha green tea I am encouraged by green tea research in generally and specifically with regards to the EGCG and blood supply to tumors. Very high antioxidant blends should be used with caution during systemic chemo though. As for taking curcumin after herceptin I generally recommend waiting 2-4 weeks.

09-28-2009, 03:54 PM

Thanks so much for your advice. As you say there isn't much known about these interactions. I just hope & pray that I did the right thing.

AHCC was supplied by my naturopath. It helped keep my white blood count in the normal range and it seemed to help with energy levels. You are right - it is mushroom derived. I believe the mushrooms are grown on rice bran or something like that. There are some studies published about AHCC helping the immune system.

Is there a certain number of cups of green tea one should drink per day?

Also thank you for looking into AOR antioxidants. I have stopped these and am just taking a multivitamin/mineral supplement plus 1000 mg of vit D.

I talked to a pharmacist who said we probably don't need copper, boron or iron in a supplement. A lot of calcium supplements have this as an ingredient. Also I thought this person said NOT to take vit D along with calcium? Is that correct? I cannot find a calcium supplement that does not contain either vit D and/or copper, boron, and iron and also cannot find one that does not have soy or soybean oil in it. I was appalled to see that the calcium/magnesium product I was using, Inno-Cal-Vite, had evening primose oil and soy oil in it! Now I'm not taking anything and am concerned about my bones as I am osteopenic and lactose intolerant. Suggestions?

10-02-2009, 09:39 AM
Hi Dianne,
Vitamin D is a critical component needed for calcium absorption so you definitely want your calcium supplement to contain vitamin D. There is a great deal of vitamin D research coming forth that I think is going to change the current vitamin recommendations for everyone. You do need to use caution in knowing what is in your supplement aside from calcium and vitamin D. Soy Lecithin and soy oil used in small amounts in foods and supplements contain little if any of the soy isoflavones we want ER+ breast cancer survivors to consume so I wouldn't worry too much about that. I noted that the Viactiv I have in my office has soy lecithin. I saw that Citrical has a new bone density calcium formula and noted that is contains significant amounts of the soy isoflavone, genistein, which is of concern and I would not recommend this product.

Being a breast cancer survivor, osteopenic and lactose intolerant you certainly need to take a calcium supplement (at least 1000mg/day). Citrical Maximum is a good choice and does not have any soy. Viactiv is easy if you have trouble with pills. Dietary-wise, make sure you are getting some dark, leafy greens, beans (starchy type), and you can also try some of the calcium fortified orange juice but be careful with the amount of juice you drink if weight is a concern. It is high in non-filling calories.

Research for green tea and cancer suggests 3-5 cups of green tea per day.

10-02-2009, 06:25 PM
Hello Tanya,

I appreciate you taking your time to respond to my questions.

There are so many things in our lives that have to change after this diagnosis, right down to the vitamins taken. I've never read so many labels before. I did look at a bottle of Citrical but decided not to buy it after I looked closer at the ingredients. I am taking a product by Jamieson with calcium/vit D: each tablet is 600 mg elemental calcium from calcium carbonate and 400 IU of Vit D (cholecalciferol) in a base of maltodextrin, mineral oil, glycerin, hypomellose, titanium dioxide, triethyl citrate, polysorbate 80, water soluable cellulose, brazilian palm tree wax.....interesting binders but I noticed all of the calcium had a combo of these. I take two a day. Is this enough? Also anything harmful in the binding ingredients?

For multis, the ingreds are: Vitamin A from beta carotene, 1660 IU, Vit D3 -34 IU, Vit C - 142 mg, Vit B1 - 16.5 mg, Vit B2 - 1.5 mg, Vit B3 -5 mg, niacinamide 22 mg, pantothenic acid 75 mg, Vit B6 - 2.5 mg, Vit B12 -66.5 mcg, Vit E - 66.5mcg, biotin 66.5mcg, folic acid 0.13 mg, choline cirtate, 16.5 mg, magnesium citrate, 47.5 mg, potassium 15mg, magnanese 2.5 mg, zinc 2.5 mg, iodine 0.037mg, chromium 0.333 mg, selenium 0.333mg, molybdenum 0.016 mg, vanadium 0.016 mg. I take 6 of these powder capsules a day so the figures here are mg's/mcg in EACH tablet.

I also take a 5 mg tablet of folic acid rx'd by my doctor after my aneurysm. Not sure what it is supposed to help.

I take a Vit B complex time released tablet, one daily. (I think it has 100 mg of most of the B vits).

In addition to above calcium/vit D, I take 1000 mg of vit D per day, as well as trying to get sunshine.

Do you see any changes I should make?

Thank you so much,

10-06-2009, 12:24 PM
Your multi looks very complete. The combination of those 6 capsules per day plus a folic acid and a B-100 complex does give you a lot of B-vitamins but they are not fat soluble so should be ok. Your calcium with D provides you with 1200mg calcium per day which is adequate. I think the additional Vitamin D is a good idea too, especially for those of us in a northern climate :-)

10-06-2009, 04:43 PM

I appreciate so much your response. The advice given at health food stores isn't always professional, and I sometimes think they are only interested in selling vitamins.

If you can think of anything I should add please let me know. I do take 4 fish oil capsules per day - 2 after each meal. They have the DHA and whatever else in them.

Thank you again,

karen z
04-03-2010, 07:38 PM
Thanks much for posting.

10-13-2010, 03:39 AM
I read another interesting article at the online version of the Integrative Cancer Therapies site, about which I want to inform you http://ict.sagepub.com Breast Defend. Ralf Moss writes about it in his last online newsletter. I don't know yet how to get the information blue, but I think it's anough clear.

10-13-2010, 04:38 AM
It didn't come over. Better try themossreports\9oct,2010

10-13-2010, 01:54 PM
The Moss Reports charges for information that is freely available from the goverment website such as PubMed http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez or Medline http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/

. Here's the statement on the bottom of each article listed on The Moss Reports:

Donations applicable to Download Versions of the report only:
(*PLEASE NOTE: Minimum required donation is $1, but a donation of any amount is welcome. Printed versions are still regularly priced at $29.95 plus shipping. You can also make an additional donation or a different amount of donation on the checkout page, just prior to payment. )

Normally $19.95

Starting at: $1.00

10-15-2010, 11:12 PM
Mass reports- Test to avoid chemotherapy treatment. Some people say a dietary supplement for breast cancer.

10-16-2010, 09:56 AM
Dr. Slamon is mentioned in this article. Obviously the writer had no idea how Dr. Slamon's work changed our life. However, the questions raised about toxic chemo drugs are legitimate. Hopefully the breakthroughs in genetics will help eradicate cancer soon.