A series of studies performed at the Eppley institute for Research in Cancer and Allied Diseases in 2008 shed new light on the possible causes of breast cancer and what can be done to lower the risk of developing this disease.
It is known that estrogen, whether produced in the body or taken as a supplement, is carried through the bloodstream to the liver where it is gradually broken down and eventually eliminated. In this process, the liver releases a variety of estrogen breakdown products, some of which are harmless or even protective of good health, and others that are highly toxic and can cause cancer.
Although genetics also play a part in this, exposure to a variety of chemicals triggers the liver to overproduce toxic forms of estrogen. One of the studies showed that these toxic estrogen breakdown products are found in significantly higher concentrations in women who have breast cancer or who are at high risk of developing it (Int J Cancer, 2008 May 1;122(9):1949-57).
Two other studies show that the antioxidants N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) and Resveratrol (RES) have a balancing effect on liver function, and that this results in an improved ratio of healthy forms of estrogen to cancer-causing ones (J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol, 2008 Mar;109(1-2):22-30, Free Radic Biol Med, 2008 Apr 8).
Both NAC and RES have been shown to increase the liver’s production of glutathione, a protein the liver needs to eliminate toxins from the body. In today’s environment liver stores of glutathione can become depleted leaving us at greater risk for a variety of adverse health events, not just breast cancer. Therefore I feel that NAC or RES (or both) should be a part of everybody’s “survival kit” in this day and age.