Professor’s research links mothers’ pregnancy diet to daughters’ breast cancer risk
Research by NDSU animal sciences professor Chung S. Park suggests that a pregnant woman’s diet that contains certain nutrients can potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer in her female offspring.
In August, Park presented his research at the Era of Hope scientific conference in Orlando, Fla. It is one of the premier breast cancer research conferences that joins scientists, clinicians and breast cancer advocates committed to advancing research on the prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.
In his study titled “In Utero Exposure to Dietary Methyl Nutrients and Breast Cancer Risk in Offspring,” Park studied 45 rats that were randomized into two groups. One group served as a control while the other was fed a diet supplemented with methionine, choline, folate and vitamin B-12.
The pups that were born were separated into groups based on the mother’s feeding regime. Females then received a chemical to induce breast cancer and were monitored for tumor development. Study results showed offspring whose mothers were fed the supplemented diet had decreased tumor incidence and growth than the control group. They also had fewer tumors and fewer tumors that multiplied
“The conclusions of this study suggest we may be able to prevent the development of breast cancer in daughters of women at risk for breast cancer by supplementing the mother's diet during pregnancy,” Park said. “We look forward to exploring this study further to strengthen the implications of these initial findings.”
Good food sources of methionine are eggs, fish, sesame seeds and leafy greens. Choline is found is milk, eggs, liver and peanuts, while folate is found in fortified cereal, spinach, citrus fruit and dried beans and peas. Fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk and milk products are good food sources of vitamin B-12.