Expert Advises Patients With Breast Cancer They Can Forgo Certain Supplements

August 10, 2022
Brielle Benyon
Brielle Benyon

Brielle Benyon, Senior Editor for CURE®, has been with MJH Life Sciences since 2016. She has served as an editor on both CURE and its sister publication, Oncology Nursing News. Brielle is a graduate from The College of New Jersey, where she is pursuing a Master’s in Public Health (part-time). Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, CrossFit and wishing she had the grace and confidence of her toddler-aged daughter.

Many patients with breast cancer ask about the benefits of the supplement sulforaphane, but a naturopathic doctor advises patients that it is best to get the compound from food rather than supplements.

Patients with breast cancer should avoid certain supplements such as sulforaphane, according to an expert.

Sulforaphane is a chemical compound that could be beneficial to patients with breast cancer, according to Dr. Anna Bausum, a naturopathic doctor in the role of integrative oncology specialist at Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University in Atlanta. A common question she said she hears from her patients is whether or not they should be using a sulforaphane supplement.

Bausum explained that sulforaphane helps the liver to eliminate estrogen metabolites (the product of breaking down estrogen) and can have a protective effect against breast cancer.

However, when it comes to the question of purchasing a sulforaphane supplement, Bausum tells her patients this: save your money.

“The safest and easiest way (to increase sulforaphane intake) is to incorporate two tablespoons of broccoli sprouts daily, or really pack a variety of other cruciferous vegetables into your diet,” Bausum said in an interview with CURE®.

Transcript

So one question I get from many breast cancer patients, especially in the metastatic setting, particularly for triple-negative breast cancer is, “Doc can I take sulforaphane?”

Sulforaphane is a constituent of cruciferous vegetables that helps favorably balance this inflammatory estrogen metabolite versus anti-proliferative DNA protective estrogen metabolites, so it helps shift it into this positive range as well as eliminate estrogen metabolites from the body via the way the liver helps conjugate eliminate, tag and get it out.

And for me, (regarding) that supplement … save your money. The safest and easiest way is incorporate two tablespoons of broccoli sprouts daily, or really pack other a variety of other cruciferous vegetables into your diet, rotate it through those broccoli sprouts if you need, you can put them into a smoothie. Get creative with it.

(I hope to) empower people to utilize a food-first approach where: A, they're saving money and B, we're moving forward a little bit more safely because those are more physiological doses of these nutrients if you will, and their body is going to take up what it needs and eliminate the rest, instead of this influx through a supplement that's designed to be absorbed at max capacity.

To good benefit, sulforaphane inhibits stem cells for triple-negative breast cancer. So (patients are) asking good questions. I try to see myself as kind of a guide to help make this process and those questions end like the best place in terms of the effort they're putting in the dollars they're spending.

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