Breast Cancer and Iodine

Fucoidan refers to a type of polysaccharide which contains substantial percentages of L-fucose and sulfate ester groups, mainly derived from brown seaweed. Brown seaweeds were found to prevent the binding of breast cancer cells to blood platelets, which helps to prevent metastatic spread of cancer. Brown seaweeds include Laminaria (kelp), Fucus (bladderwrack), Wakame and Mekabu. Mekabu causes cell death (apoptosis) in breast cancer cells. In one study, powdered mekabu was placed in distilled water, and left to stand for 24 h at 4 degrees C. The filtered liquid was used as mekabu solution. It showed an extremely strong ability to suppress breast cancer in rats when used in daily drinking water, without toxicity. In vitro, mekabu solution strongly induced apoptosis in 3 kinds of human breast cancer cells. These effects were stronger than those of a chemotherapeutic agent widely used to treat human breast cancer. Iodine is an antioxidant and antiproliferative agent contributing to breast health. Seaweed is an important dietary component in Asian communities where its consumption is 25 times higher than in the west. Iodine consumption may be linked to the low incidence of benign and cancerous breast disease in Japanese women.

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