DALLASConsumption of seaweed and soy may contribute to the
lower rates of postmenopausal breast cancer seen in Japan, and
seaweed/soy supplementation could be a potential cancer preventive in
this country, Jane Teas, PhD, of the University of South Carolina,
said at the Susan G. Komen Foundation National Grant Conference.
In a preliminary study of healthy postmenopausal women, Dr. Teas
found that use of seaweed and soy supplements affected the
womens hormone levels.
In this study, 12 healthy postmenopausal women, half of whom had been
treated for early breast cancer, received 5 g/d of a low-iodine brown
seaweed supplement (Alaria esculenta) for 6 weeks and seaweed
plus a powdered soy supplement for 21 weeks. The results suggest a
synergistic interaction between seaweed and soy, she said.
Of particular interest in our study was the change in urinary
estrogen metabolites associated with cancer, Dr. Teas said. She
noted that women with breast cancer have been shown to have a lower
ratio of 2-hydroxyestrone to 16-alpha-hydroxyestrone than do healthy
women. We found that seaweed and soy favorably increased this
ratio, and the increase in 2-hydroxyestrone was significant.
The study also showed that for several variables, women who had been
treated for breast cancer had different patterns of hormonal response
than women who had never had breast cancer. Said Dr. Teas, This
suggests that diet after breast cancer treatment could be an
important area for study.