I spent most of this past weekend baking butter-ridden, U.S.-style Xmas cookies and (of course!) tasting them since every year I try new recipes that have to pass my own personal and very strict “quality control” tests. Most of these cookies are full of stuff that’s no good at all for us (oh yes even white sugar and flour), with the possible exception of my oatmeal spice ones, which contain turmeric as well as other spices. So of course today I am posting about a study that makes a possible connection between what we eat and the risk of developing myeloma. Cookies don’t seem to be on the list of foods that prevent myeloma (although I may work on changing that). Hmmm, I wonder why…
The full study, published in the December 2007 issue of "Cancer Causes Control," is available online, see: http://tinyurl.com/ypswov). It was conducted in Connecticut on 179 women between the ages of 21 and 84, diagnosed with myeloma between 1996 and 2000. Since you can read it on your own, I won’t go into too much detail. I would like, however, to highlight a few of the most significant points:
- “Only a handful of studies have evaluated the association between diet and multiple myeloma, and results have been inconclusive.” Previous studies, of course.
- “Intakes of protein, fat, and dietary fiber were not associated with multiple myeloma risk.”
- “Intake of vitamin A was associated with a statistically significantly decreased risk of multiple myeloma.”
- “There were no clear associations between consumption of various fruits and multiple myeloma risk.”
- “There was a suggestion of an elevated risk among individuals within the highest quartile of hard candy, jam, jelly, honey, and syrup […] consumption.” HONEY? Oh, bother!
- “alcohol intake was inversely associated with multiple myeloma.” Coffee and tea made no difference.
- The study gives us another reason to take omega-3, since these “essential fatty acids found in fish, have been shown to limit mouse myeloma cell growth in an experimental study.” Interestingly, omega-3 was a crucial supplement in the Washington Post story that I referred to in yesterday’s post. The cancer world appears to be a small world after all…
The study found that some dairy foods were associated with risk of developing myeloma: ice cream (drat!), custards and cream soups. Vice versa, higher intakes of fish, tomatoes, fruit, vegetables and alcohol were associated with a lower risk.
And read this: “In laboratory studies, vitamin D has been shown to inhibit growth of myeloma cells by inducing cell cycle arrest, down-regulating the anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 protein, and increasing the activity to caspase 3 protease, a regulator of apoptosis…” Okay, I admit, I have been collecting heaps of material on vitamin D, and I also have begun taking vitamin D3 once a week (thanks to my vitamin-D-obsessed-with-good-reason friend Sherlock), but I haven’t gotten around to dealing with this topic mainly because it’s so incredibly HUGE. I will figure out something over the holidays.
The study’s finding about tomatoes is interesting. One usually associates lycopene with prostate cancer prevention, but here it is suggested as being important in the prevention of myeloma, too. Oh, and the business about alcohol intake doesn’t mean we should all become heavy drinkers. It simply means, according to the study, that the flavonoids in beer and the resveratrol in wine may have a preventive effect. These researchers have the humility (I like that!) to point out that their sample size was very small and specific, that they had a low response rate and so on. More and better research is needed, clearly. Nonetheless, it was an interesting read.
Final point: I wonder if I have enough time before Xmas to come up with a luscious turmeric tomato broccoli codfish cookie? Hmmm.