Olive oil under the lens for breast cancer prevention

A major component of olive oil—hydroxytyrosol—is the subject of a new clinical trial testing its ability to prevent breast cancer in high-risk women. This powerful antioxidant has been linked to decreased breast density, which in turn is correlated with breast cancer.

According to lead investigator Tejal Patel MD, “A decrease in density of one percent can potentially translate into a nearly two percent reduced risk of developing breast cancer.” Researchers at Houston Methodist Cancer Center plan to enroll 100 women, 50 premenopausal and 50 postmenopausal, each of whom will take a supplement of 25 mg hydroxytyrosol every day for one year and have a checkup every three months. Because this is an early trial, no placebo group is included, but the investigators hope to determine whether the compound can lower breast density as well as check for any possible side effects, although hydroxytyrosol has a good safety profile so far. Olive oil has already been linked to many heath benefits including reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke and lowering blood pressure.

(Source: Houston Methodist Cancer Center.)

Photo: Flickr/ Bryan Allison

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