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Vegetables, supplements lower ovarian cancer risk
Researchers from Ottawa, Ontario administered health history and dietary questionnaires to 442 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer and 2,135 age-matched women who were cancer free. Intake levels of foods and nutritional supplements for the two years preceding the study was analyzed by the researchers, and the groups were compared.
In this study, women with ovarian cancer were more likely to be postmenopausal, to be obese, to have consumed more calories, to have had fewer births and to have lower physical activity levels than those without the disease. When diet was examined, no associations were found between ovarian cancer and intake of fat, protein, carbohydrates, and many other dietary components. Cholesterol and egg intake was associated with an insignificant increase in ovarian cancer risk. Women whose total vegetable intake and cruciferous vegetable intake was in the top 25 percent of participants experienced a risk of ovarian cancer that was almost one-fourth lower than those whose consumption was in the lowest quarter.
When supplements were examined, women who took beta-carotene for over ten years had a risk of ovarian cancer that was 69 percent lower than those who did not report using the supplement. Vitamin E supplementation for the same period of time halved ovarian cancer risk. B-complex vitamins were associated with a smaller decreased risk. The authors attribute the vitamins’ cancer preventive ability to their antioxidant capacity which helps prevent DNA damage, and note that vitamin E and beta-carotene also improve immune function. They recommend further study of B-complex’s apparently less significant protective effect to confirm the current study’s findings.
Cancer adjuvant therapy
Beta-carotene is the most potent precursor to vitamin A, but its conversion to vitamin A in the body is limited by a feedback system. It is an important antioxidant in its own right and one that can only build up to toxic levels in rare circumstances. Beta-carotene helps support immune health by enhancing the function of the thymus gland.
One or more members of the vitamin E family may:
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