Nutrigenomics is the idea that studying diet-gene interactions can help identify the positive or detrimental effects of dietary compounds. For example, nutrigenomics can explain why eating rancid or oxidized omega-fats and refined sugar encourages inflammation and cancer growth.
It is important to understand that a diet rich in omega-3 fats can reduce inflammation in cancer. So can healthy omega-6 fats like gamma linoleic acid (GLA), found in evening primrose, black currant seed, and borage oil. GLA inhibits the action of the cancer gene HER-2/neu, which is overexpressed in 30 percent of all breast cancers, making them particularly lethal.
According to Donnie Yance, clinical master herbalist and certified nutritionist, chronic conditions such as cancer and cardiovascular disease have a strong link with chronic inflammation, which promotes the production of free radicals.
The transcription protein Nuclear Factor-kappa Beta (NfKB) is a major inducer of inflammation. In cancer, a mutation in the tumor suppressor gene PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homologue) is the likely driver that activates NfKB.
Some plant-based phytocompounds can enhance PTEN expression or inhibit PTEN mutation, including quercetin, resveratrol, and various isoflavones often referred to as phytoestrogens. An ever-growing body of evidence suggests that the use of these compounds can and should play an important role in cancer prevention and treatment.
NfKB modulation is an important target for cancer prevention and treatment. NfKB can be modulated by:
- The curcumin in tumeric
- Stilbenes such as the resveratrol found in grape skins
- The proathocyanidins in grape seeds
- Catechins such as EGCG, which is present in green tea.
- The ursolic acid in holy basil, also called Tulsi, and rosemary
NfKB can also be modulated by a number of other plant-based compounds. For more information, please read Donald Yance's full paper linked below.
Donald “Donnie” Yance is a clinical master herbalist, certified nutritionist and the author of Herbal Medicine Healing and Cancer. He conducts his practice at the Centre for Natural Healing in Ashland, OR utilizing his unique integrative model known as the Eclectic Triphasic Medical System. Donnie is also the founder and president of the Mederi Foundation for professional education and research and Nautra Health Products where he formulates advanced botanical and nutritional products.