For FIBROCYSTIC BREASTS, a carotene and selenium-rich multivitamin helps to prevent the development of painful fibrous changes and cysts, and to reduce the severity of fibrocystic changes. Multivitamins with the full range of purely natural mixed carotenoids along with other antioxidants such as vitamin C and selenium encourage healthy antioxidant status of breast tissues: This plays a significant role in reducing fibrocystic breast changes.
Boosting natural antioxidant levels in breast tissue appears to soothe and prevent fibrocystic breast symptoms. Studies have confirmed that a deficiency of nutritional antioxidants increases the occurrence of fibrocystic breasts: Women with poor nutritional status tend to suffer more frequent and more severe breast pain and cyst formation. Other research found that antioxidants can slow the proliferation of fibrocystic breast tissue. As benign breast disorders are very common, researchers are working on more studies to detect biomarkers of oxidative stress. These biological markers will help predict cell proliferation activity, which can lead to a progression of cystic and fibrous problems.
The protective effect of micronutrients, minerals including selenium, and natural antioxidants helps to prevent excess cyst and fibrous tissue proliferation and to slow the progression of fibrocystic breast changes. A landmark 2016 study was aimed at evaluating the levels of oxidative stress markers in breast diseases. It is one of few studies that have reported on the antioxidant profile of patients with benign breast conditions. Recognizing that benign breast lesions such as fibroadenoma, fibrocystic changes, breast abscess, duct ectasia, and mastitis are common abnormalities of the breasts, researchers wanted to better understand their relationship to the risk of future more severe breast disorders. The study of 60 women with benign breast disease discovered the important role of oxidative damage in the progression of these disorders, indicating that antioxidant treatment protects breast tissues. This conclusion reinforces the importance of antioxidants as a critical part of holistic breast care management.1
Fibrocystic breast changes are also exacerbated by hormone fluctuations that are more extreme than normal during monthly periods. Ample tissue levels of the B vitamin group, along with carotenes and selenium, are necessary for stable hormone levels. Maintaining more even hormone output helps to reduce breast pain and cyst formation. Several studies have shown that there is improved mineral and B vitamin status in the body after taking a high-concentration multivitamin. Another randomized, controlled trial clarified the ability of a multivitamin including selenium and natural mixed carotenes to decrease the pro-inflammatory cytokines which can aggravate fibrocystic breast symptoms.
Natural carotenes are a group of red, orange, and yellow pigments found in the chloroplasts and chromoplasts of plants including fruits, vegetables, algae, and whole grains. They shield plants from sun-induced free radical damage, providing powerful protection for a lifetime in the sun. Plant carotenoids are water-soluble and do not accumulate in our bodies, so toxicity is almost unheard of. More than five hundred carotenoids are known, some of which convert into active vitamin A in our tissues.
In our clinic we always prefer a multivitamin with the full range of purely natural mixed carotenoids, including cis and trans beta-carotene isomers which are all potent antioxidants, alpha-carotene, zeaxanthin, cryptoxanthin and lutein. We will not use any product with synthetic beta-carotene which has been shown to be relatively ineffective and potentially unsafe. Along with other antioxidants such as vitamin C and selenium, carotenes including lutein help protect all cells and tissues from scavenging free radicals, reduce oxidative stress and cell damage, and decrease harmful lipid peroxides They boost the cells’ own protective glutathione levels, and superoxide dismutase and catalase enzyme action.
In 2017, a five-year study analysis looked at plasma carotenoid levels and the frequency of potentially premalignant breast disease in younger women. Better status of natural carotenes correlated with lower risk for breast cancer. The report concluded that carotenoids play a key role in protecting breast tissue from more serious disorders.2
Selenium is a trace mineral in the soil; the natural selenomethionine form is found in plants. Selenium is a cofactor for the enzymes glutathione, peroxidase, and catalase in the antioxidant defense system. The mineral selenium protects the thyroid from damage and over-stimulation by iodine. Apart from the thyroid, the ovaries and breasts have the highest concentrations of iodine in the body: This element is needed as both an antioxidant and for proper estrogen function. Without enough iodine, breast tissue is more susceptible to oxidation and cellular oxidation is suspected as the cause of fibrocystic breasts. Research studies conducted more than 40 years ago confirmed that blood levels of selenium are lower in women with fibrocystic breasts than in those without the condition. The higher blood selenium concentrations of Japanese healthy subjects as compared to healthy Americans was attributed to differences in dietary intakes. Low blood selenium concentration may increase the risks for benign fibrocystic changes and possibly even breast cancer.4
Vitamin C provides additional antioxidant benefits. It shields the body and breast tissues against lipid peroxidation, from damaging free radicals and reactive oxygen species that form during normal metabolism, as well as through exposure to environmental toxins and pollutants, and from oxidative protein damage. Bioflavonoids are building blocks for collagen, the body’s basic connective tissue protein. It is known that bioflavonoids help stabilize connective tissue by enhancing collagen formation and its cross-linking, and inhibiting its breakdown, which can help breast tissue. In addition, Vitamin C helps the regeneration of other antioxidants such as Vitamin E. All these nutrients acting in harmony have breast protective benefits and reduce the risk of developing fibrocystic changes that result from oxidative damage.
Recommendation: A multivitamin formula rich in natural carotenes and selenium, including: natural mixed carotenes 5000IU; selenium in the form of L-selenomethionine 70-80mcg; vitamin C 400-600mg buffered with calcium or magnesium and rosehips; citrus bioflavonoids 150-200mg, including rutin and hesperidin; iodine ideally from sea vegetables such as kelp 70-80mcg. Take these totals daily, with meals, or as directed by your health care provider.
- Karki K et al. An assessment oxidative damage and non-enzymatic antioxidants status alteration in relation to disease progression in breast diseases. Med Sci (Basel). 2016 Oct 27;4(4).
- Cohen, K., Liu, Y., Luo, J., Appleton, C. M., & Colditz, G. A. (2017). Plasma carotenoids and the risk of premalignant breast disease in women aged 50 and younger: a nested case–control study. Breast cancer research and treatment, 162(3), 571-580.
- Tiznobeyk, Z., Mobarakeh, Z. S., Qorbani, M., Koohdani, F., Sotoudeh, G., Khajehnasiri, F., … & Doostan, F. (2016). Dietary patterns and benign breast diseases: a case–control study. British Journal of Nutrition, 116(2), 353-359.
- Schrauzer, Gerhard N., et al. “Selenium in the blood of Japanese and American women with and without breast cancer and fibrocystic disease.” Japanese Journal of Cancer Research GANN 76.5 (1985): 374-377.3.
- Su x, et al. Intakes of fat and micronutrients between ages 13 and 18 years and the incidence of proliferative benign breast disease. Cancer Causes Control. 2015 Jan;26(1):79-90.
- White DJ et al. Effects of four-week supplementation with a multi-vitamin/mineral preparation on mood and blood biomarkers in young adults: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Nutrients. 2015 Oct 30;7(11).