FoodFacts.com is always looking for relevant information regarding how diet and lifestyle affects our health. Today, we found information that may prove to be important for all females, regardless of age.

Research released by a team at UC Davis has presented evidence that suggests that diet may increase a woman’s risk for breast cancer later on. And that evidence is separate from the links previously found between breast cancer and the hormone estrogen.

The study illustrates the processes regulating breast development in females. “It’s long been assumed that circulating estrogens from the ovaries, which underlie normal female reproductive development, were crucial for the onset of breast growth and development,” said Professor Russ Hovey, senior author of the study.”Our findings, however, suggest that diet and shifts in body metabolism that parallel changes seen during obesity and Type 2 diabetes can also stimulate breast growth entirely independent of estrogen’s effects.”  The study involved mice receiving a diet with the addition of fatty acids known as 10,12 CLA (or conjugated linoleic acid). 10, 12 CLA mimics certain aspects of a larger metabolic syndrome.

The 10, 12 CLA was added to the diet of the test group of mice because it is known to disrupt normal metabolic processes. Importantly, the mice involved in the study were both male and female mice whose estrogen function was blocked. The findings showed that the supplement induced the growth of mammary ducts in both groups. This diet-induced breast development also increased the incidence of mammary tumors in some of the mice. They also noted that different strains of mice responded differently to the supplement, suggesting a genetic predisposition to how their bodies processed the fatty acid.

The study holds the possibility of increasing the understanding of human breast development both before puberty and after menopause when estrogens are not as prevalent in the female system. It is also important to note that the increasing rate at which girls are experiencing puberty at earlier ages has coincided with the growing problem of childhood obesity. Dietary sources of 10, 12 CLA are beef and dairy products. Again, perhaps pointing to the effects of a diet higher in fats among the young female population, the study underscores the importance of healthy diet in the fight against this all-too-often deadly disease.

FoodFacts.com will continue to look into these findings and keep our community apprised of any new developments. For now, read more at: http://www.dailydemocrat.com/news/ci_21563891/uc-davis-study-links-breast-cancer-risk-early