If it runs in your family, wondering how you can prevent breast cancer is probably something you've done. And since you can't change your genetics, it's good to know that there are steps that you can take to lower your risk for the disease. Some great news? Taking the right supplement can power up your breast cancer protection and provide other great health benefits as well.
As always, talk to your doctor before starting any supplement. Here are some to mention during that conversation.
Melatonin if there’s a family history of type 2 diabetes. A 3-mg. Dose of this sleep supplement at bedtime could cut your breast cancer risk 31 percent, research in the journal Aging Clinical and Experimental Research suggests. Melatonin controls cell growth, helping stop abnormal breast cells from forming, says study coauthor Simone Perna, Ph.D. Bonus Benefit: That same nightly 3-mg. Dose also ups blood-sugar control, cutting your type 2 diabetes risk as much as 50 percent.
Important: Always check with your doctor before starting a new supplement.
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Turmeric if you’re concerned about dementia. Once this curry spice enters your bloodstream, it quickly forces precancerous cells to self-destruct. No wonder Asian researchers report that a daily 500-mg. dose cuts breast cancer risk by as much as half. One option: Puritan's Pride Turmeric Curcumin ($12 for 180 capsules, Amazon.com)
Bonus Benefit: Turmeric also cuts damaging brain inflammation, lowering dementia risk as much as 50 percent.
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Vitamin D-3 if you get the blues. Taking 3,000 IU of D-3 daily could reduce your risk of breast cancer as much as 44 percent, research in the journal Nutrients reveals. Vitamin D-3 helps repair damaged breast tissues before cancers can form, says study coauthor William Grant, Ph.D. Bonus Benefit: Vitamin D-3 increases your brain’s production of the antidepressant hormone serotonin, brightening your mood 26 percent in four weeks, Cornell University research suggests.
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Mixed carotenoids if you’re prone to summer colds. Carotenoids are the compounds that give plants their vibrant hues — and Harvard researchers have found that supplementing with them could cut your breast cancer risk 35 percent. The reason? Carotenoids help your liver break down breast-irritating estrogens. Dosages vary, so pick a “mixed carotenoids” supplement and follow the package directions for dosage. Bonus Benefit: Mixed carotenoids strengthen immunity, cutting your risks of colds significantly.
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