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Old 07-16-2005, 09:35 PM   #1
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Sun January 9, 2005 (European Society for Medical Oncology)

US researchers uncover the science behind the breast cancer protective effect of olive oil

US researchers have uncovered reasons why the Mediterranean diet, with its high intake of oleic acid-rich olive oil, seems to protect against breast cancer. They have also found evidence that oleic acid may have a future role in treatment. The findings are reported (Monday 10 January) in Annals of Oncology.

The researchers have demonstrated in a series of laboratory experiments on breast cancer cell lines that oleic acid dramatically cuts the levels of an oncogene called Her-2/neu (also known as erb B-2). High levels of Her-2/neu occur in over a fifth of breast cancer patients and are associated with highly aggressive tumours that have a poor prognosis.

Not only did oleic acid suppress over-expression of the gene, other tests on the cell lines showed that it also boosted the effectiveness of trastuzumab (Herceptin), the monoclonal antibody treatment that targets the Her-2/neu gene and has helped to prolong the lives of many breast cancer patients.

Lead researcher, Dr Javier Menendez, assistant professor at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago and a research scientist with the Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Research Institute, said: "Our findings underpin epidemiological studies that show that the Mediterranean diet has significant protective effects against cancer, heart disease and ageing."

The strongest evidence that monounsaturated fatty acids such as oleic acid may influence breast cancer risk comes from studies of southern European populations, but animal research to date has thrown up inconsistent results, possibly because olive oil has been administered as a mixture of several fatty acids and other natural protections and not on its own.

"To our knowledge this is the first report that a dietary monounsaturated fatty acid previously suggested to be protective against breast cancer significantly down-regulates the expression of Her-2/neu, cutting it by up to 46%. Her-2/neu is one of the most important oncogenes in breast cancer," said Dr Menendez. "Moreover, in our tests, oleic acid's inhibition of Her-2/neu synergistically interacted with Herceptin-based immunotherapy by promoting the death of breast cancer cells exhibiting high levels of the oncogene.

"Additionally, alongside the sensitising effect of oleic acid on the efficacy of Herceptin we found it increased the expression of a protein (p27Kip1), a tumour suppresser protein, which is implicated in the development of resistance to Herceptin treatment."

Dr Menendez said that his team's findings should not only help in understanding the molecular mechanisms by which individual dietary fatty acids regulate the malignant behaviour of breast cancer cells, but also suggested that dietary interventions based on oleic acid may delay or prevent Herceptin resistance in Her-2/neu-postive breast cancer patients.

Dr Menendez and co-researchers Dr Ruth Lupu, director of the Evanston Northwestern Health Research Institute's Breast Cancer Translational Program and Dr Ramon Colomer, head of the Medical Oncology Division at Institut Catala d' Oncologia in Girona, Spain, are now looking to identify the ultimate molecular mechanism through which oleic acid supplementation inhibits the expression of Her-2/neu, as its blocking action appears to work in a different way from that of Herceptin.

They are also seeking funds for a study to see whether a high virgin olive oil diet will modulate the expression of the Her-2/neu oncogene in human breast tumours in animals and make the tumours less aggressive. In addition, they want to investigate whether oleic acid-rich diets have any effect on the anti-tumour activity of Herceptin.

Dr Menendez emphasised that while it was important to be cautious about the implications of the study, as laboratory results did not always translate into clinical practice, their findings did present the concept that a higher level of oleic acid in breast tissue could provide an effective means of influencing the outcome of breast cancer in patients carrying high levels of the rogue gene.

"They may also help in designing future epidemiological studies and, eventually, dietary counselling to delay or prevent drug resistance developing in patients taking Herceptin," he said.
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Old 07-16-2005, 09:49 PM   #2
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I think any of us who have any anecdotal evidence of oleic acid in our diets or supplements should try to help Dr. Menendez with his research. While I was taking Herceptin by itself (without any other chemo) since 1999, I discovered by chance that I was accidentally ingesting high levels of oleic acid in my diet and supplements without realizing it until I started researching all the food and other substances that contain it in high amounts. Besides olive oil, canola oil, safflower oil and evening primrose oil contain it, as do many shark and fish oil supplements. It is found in many nuts, especially walnuts. It is found in Black seed oil and castor oil contains a substance very similar to it. My case had puzzled doctors for years as for some reason, I seemed to need less Herceptin dosing than the golden standard. At certain points, even the 3 -week dosing seemed too much. My case is just one anecdotal event (I have been Stage IV breast cancer mets ER-PR- Her2 3+ for eight years with high QOL and the only drug I have used since 1998 is HERCEPTIN alone--no pre- meds even. I think it would be interesting to poll and see how many of us include olive oil and other forms of oleic acid in our dietary supplemental regimens and see if we can find any meaningful connections. Best wishes to all. Keep on keeping on.
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Old 07-19-2005, 02:00 AM   #3
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Dear Gina
What wopuld be the best dietry supplement to take to get this. I take 2000 flaxseed oil a day.
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Old 08-09-2005, 05:02 AM   #4
sue maunders
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But what sort of dose of olive oil are you referring to ?

Many thanks for posting this

Sue M
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Old 08-09-2005, 08:21 PM   #5
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I emailed Gina personally and this is her response to me on her regimen. I am sure she won't mind me cutting and pasting what she said below. She told me to share if I find it helpful.

Hi, so nice to hear from someone from the site. You are first person to e-mail me. I feel like you should win a Laptop or something...smile..:-). I finally figured out how to register and become a member last night, but I am still having trouble learning to post things correctly. Anyway, glad you saw the posting. First of all, if you want to dabble in the oleic acid stuff...just remember that it is NOT officially proven on humans ... yet...but me and a few others accidentally were intaking high amounts of oleic acid without realizing it in our dietary and supplemental regimens while taking herceptin with better-than-average results. It doesn't really seem to matter how you ingest it as long as you do. There is a myriad of possibilities that I think I posted on the site somewhere as in addition to the oleic acid in olive oil, it is found in canola, safflower, black seed oil and evening primrose oil; it is in lots of nuts, especially walnuts; a very similar acid is found in the old cancer rememdy of castor oil and works whether ingested (as in treating constipation) or applied to the skin at the sight of the tumor/lesion--and when Castor Oil is applied with a cloth and heating pad it is very soothing and often at least temporarily seems to make cancer bone mets pain fade away...; Oleic acid is in almost all shark oil (every species of shark liver produces significant quantities of oleic acid naturally in the shark liver) and many fish oil supplements; most ironically, it is EVEN found in bacon grease...go figure. Anyway it is an abundant fatty acid. I am, of course, no doc or onc, so I can not legally prescribe anything but as it is not very toxic at all, I would suggest you try to incorporate some of the following measures (many of them are already embedded in some of the dietary regimens I read on the her-2 support site). First, replace all dairy butter/margerine with canola margerine....it costs about $1.99 a tub. Then, replace all cooking/salad oils with olive/canola/safflower. It would not hurt you to take about a spoonful of olive oil daily as is suggested on the very popular weight watchers' program. I often have two to three spoons during the course of a day -- not every day. If you can not bear to just pour it on a spoon and take in down like cough syrup, just be sure to put at least that much on a salad or dip some french bread in it, daily. I also tend to eat a LOT of baby spinach salads that I make as follows: Baby spinach leaves, carrots rapee, red onion, and a dressing made of a few teaspoons olive oil with raspberry/red wine vinegar and half a pack of stevia (natural zero calorie sweetner). I tend to avoid REAL white sugar whenever at all possible, substituting stevia, or honey (honey was just named a cancer fighter in last month's issue of Bottom Line), or sometimes brown or worst case organic white sugar.

OK, other than those lifestyle changes, here is my basic supplement regimen that turned out to accidentally be very high in oleic acid. AGAIN, I emphasize that you can intake the oleic acid in any way that works for you best. The following is just what I did, but I know of other people who did other things and it worked out just as well. What is important is increasing the TOTAL sum of Oleic acid you intake on a DAILY basis....oleic acid apparently can even work by itself to continually reduce the her-2 burden whether you are taking the herceptin or not. For several years, I was able to just survive on my supplements and did not use Herceptin but a few weeks out of each year. Obviously, as you know, this is not PROTOCOL and you can not attempt ANY thing like this at home without consulting your onc...smile..:-) Also: one more caviat. In this day of empirical data, graphs, and blood tests, there is NO reason to "guess" if you are going in the right direction where her-2 is concerned. PLEASE, PLEASE demand that your serum her-2 marker be taken on a regular basis...any doctor can order it from any lab (Labcorp and Quest have two slightly different Assays that give you exact numbers and are best; Specialty labs in California give you more generic results... fyi go with Labcorp or Quest if you can). The her-2 in mets patients circulates in the blood and fluctuates constantly. Being very low a few days after Herceptin...and rising sometimes very HIGH, just prior to your next dosing. [HELEN} I suggest you also get a fresh base line CA 27/29 and a serum Her-2 at that same time...somewhere prior to taking herceptin. Then, have Both markers drawn just before they give you your next herceptin every time after that. DO NOT let them draw the blood AFTER you have just taken HERCEPTIN or the number will be of NO value as the test sometimes reads the Herceptin protein as her-2 and you will faint when your bloodwork comes back with a Her-2 over 6,000 gazillion ! ...smile....I have to maintain some sense of humor about all this. Anyway, once you have a couple of month's worth of numbers, you will see how they go up and down according to the Herceptin and hopefully more down with the gradual addition of the oleic acid. Of course, no need to wait. Start adding oleic acid to your diet/supplements from today forward. You will notice it makes a huge difference in staying well and NED longer. Oh yes, if you are dosing with HERCEPTIN every week, your numbers may go too low--if this happens BEWARE as it has been my experience that this is when the real damage to the good her-2 in your heart muscle occurs. That is why the problem clears and the Muga returns to normal when folks go off Herceptin for a while...fyi.

Here is the Accidental tourist regimen :-)..uh..smile..I mean Accidental oleic - rich supplemental regimen.
One spoonful of Olive oil (take in morning with)
500 mg of Evening Primrose
Vitamin 25,000 A and 1,000 D gel cap in fish oil and safflower oil (This used to be made by Solgar; they unfortunately don't make it any more and when I tried to find a replacement, I discovered immediately that there had been something in that particular brand that was not in other brands...it turned out to be a genetically modified version of Safflower oil in the filler that had over 950 mg of oleic acid in it. I am trying to get the company to revive this particular brand as it was so easy to take all that nutrition in just one tab, but so far, no luck....anyway, you can still do almost the same thing by taking A and D in fish or shark oil and adding a spoonful of regular safflower daily...)
1 quarter of a kelp tab (I tried various dosing with kelp and seaweed but a full tab seemed to make me hungry all the time and I was gaining weight so I just adjusted the level to where I get some micronutrients without making my thyroid go wacky. I also tend to eat sushi wrapped in seaweed a couple of times a month which provides an extra boost of D and all the good minerals in seaweed ...fyi)

Then I eat my breakfast starting usually with some purple juice while I cook (POM; welches grape; cran or cran-rasp--just BE SURE not to buy any juice with CITRIC acid in it...Welches has ascorbic acid (AKA, vit. C and that is ok..but citric will make oleic acid not work so well...long story ...tell you next time.)

I know it sounds awful, but I usually fry up some bacon and have a fried egg with whole grain toast (with lots of fibre in it) smothered in canola margerine--since I learned about the oleic acid in the bacon grease and since my cholesterol is good, I don't worry any more about this little indulgence--I have done it all my life. I have all that with a side of fresh baby spinach leaves/ or fresh squash or some veggie with a spoon or two of PLAIN NON FAT yougurt with live bacteria. Sometimes I will have mushrooms instead of bacon. Two to three days a week, I have a simple breakfast of just cream of wheat, rye, and barley with oatmeal and buckwheat, to sort of balance the bigger breakfasts out..this helps manage my fibre intake and weight and makes for GREAT bowel movements..smile. I then wash the following supplements down with 1% milk (as is recommended by one of the diets on the site for the same rational--the milk fat is actually good for her-2 people.)

1 good multi-vitamin (good depends on what your body needs, so just try a few until you land on one that makes you feel energized, but be sure that it has MORE magnesium than calcium in it and be sure it has some zinc and some C with plenty of A and D...see below)
400 to 800 mg pure MAGNESIUM by itself...no other nutrients (if you have her-2 NEVER, NEVER purposely ingest FREE Calcium...it can block the oleic acid..another long story.)
and MOST importantly: 2 to 4 tabs of NATURE's WAY OLIVE LEAF, purple top that contains 50% olive LEAF crushed up and 50% OLIVE LEAF extract. --I tested many brands and apparently, this one has high levels of oleic acid...because one time I stopped taking it for a month and my serum her-2 markers went from normal to 125...the next month I immediately got right back on it and within 5 weeks, the her-2 had returned to normal. Just annecdotal, but then when I read of Dr. Menendez's work in Oleic acid, I remembered the incident and thought to myself he might really be on to something, so I started researching oleic acid very seriously and that is when I discovered that so much of my "regimen" was full of oleic acid, by chance...smile..certainly not by design. I came to this basic regimen after trying MANY MANY things and just stuck with it because it was easy to do and made me feel great.
The last thing you must include with all this is some form of extra ZINC to keep your lymphs up over 30 (see YOUR CBC). You can ingest an extra zinc tab (in addition to whatever amount is in your multi-vit.) or you can rub it on your feet at night by buying baby 40% Zinc Oxide (baby Desitin ORIGINAL NOT CREAMY) and putting about a teaspoonful on each foot just before sleep--incredible energizer. Also, dab it on any cuts, bites, or scrapes you get. For burns, though, I prefer aloe vera gel and for bee stings I squish up a Vitamin E tab. DO NOT INGEST extra vitamin E...latest research says that high levels of Vitamin E INCREASE mortality from all types of of illnesses. The amount you will probably get in the multi is PLENTY...but it won't hurt you to dab it on a bee sting...it is also good to rub on scars...although the zinc in the desitin works best. I am not joking...you can hardly see my mastectomy scar thanks to the baby desitin...but of course, it is still my badge of honor as in the eight SWEET intervening years though the scar has faded, my breast HAS NOT GROWN BACK hee hee hee hee.

I may also ingest an extra PLAIN magnesium tab and a couple of extra Olive Leaf tablets somewhere in my day, but even if I am busy and only do the morning thing, I can maintain the numbers easily. If my numbers are worse, I am more strict, if my numbers are good, I relax and just maintain. I was also just naturally a nut-aholic all my life...love all kinds of nuts and eat them a lot--including peanut butter --but peanuts are actually legumes. And all my life I mostly drink only water (now only purified or Dasani) and herbal tea (especially eichnechea with honey) except for the 1 glass of 1 % milk I have in the mornings. I don't drink alcohol to speak of except on very special occasions--was raised religious and a tea-totaler..smile...don't drink coffee because of fibroids...DO EAT LOTS OF DARK CHOCOLATE..smile..The only other thing I do is WALK, WALK, WALK, outside in the morning sunlight when at all possible, oh and yes...one more hilarious thing...I do a small drugstore regular enema at least monthy...BELIEVE it or not, the oleic acid is absorbed in the intestines and by keeping the walls of the colon biofilm-free, more oleic acid can be absorbed....yes, those brave coffee enema pioneers were NOT crazy..smile... I am full of alternative-med useless trivia like that...smile...!!!!

Good luck to you! If you find any of this useful, please feel free to share. "
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