Natural Compounds From Spices, May Protect Breast Health, According To New Study.

Compounds found in spices may reduce the risk of breast cancer formation by stopping the growth of the stem cells that spawn the tumours, says a new study.

Researchers from the University of Michigan report that curcumin found in turmeric, and piperine found in black peppers, decreased the number of stem cells while having no effect on normal differentiated cells. The researchers used doses equivalent to 20 times to potency of what could be consumed through the diet. These higher potencies are possible from dietary supplements, noted the researchers. "If we can limit the number of stem cells, we can limit the number of cells with potential to form tumors," they explained. The results of the study, said to be the first to suggest these dietary compounds could reduce the risk of cancer by targeting stem cells, are published in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. According to the American Cancer Society, almost 195,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in the US this year, and over 40,000 will die from the disease. Furthermore, the researchers found that normal, non-cancerous stem cells were unaffected by the compounds, which appeared to selectively target the cancer stem cells. "This shows that these compounds are not toxic to normal breast tissue; Women at high risk of breast cancer can now choose to take the drugs tamoxifen or raloxifene for prevention, but most women don't take these drugs because there is too much toxicity. The concept that dietary compounds can help is attractive, and curcumin and piperine are known have very low toxicity." Spice-Derived Natual Compounds Curcumin is a natural pigment that gives the spice turmeric its yellow colour. Recent studies have investigated its potential to lower cholesterol levels, improve cardiovascular health, reduce the risk of Alzheimer's and diabetes as well as cancer-fighting properties. The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health. Source: Breast Cancer Research and Treatment Published online "Targeting breast stem cells with the cancer preventive compounds curcumin and piperine"