Mediterranean diet increases bacteria in the breast, according to a new study. Diet can affect microbes in the gut as well as in other body parts, for example as the female breast in mammals. The effect can even cause conditions that are pro- or anticancer.
The researchers from the Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, NC, conducted a study to compare the influence of Western and Mediterranean diets on the microbe colonies and active compounds in the mammary glands of a female mammal.
Their work will soon appear in the journal Cell Reports. In their paper, they have mentioned that these findings could generate a path for breast cancer prevention and treatment.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, in the United States, accounting for 125 new cases of breast cancer per 100,000 women in 2015.
Looking at these figures, the scientists decided to set out a new study in macaque monkeys as it is easy to control their diet for long duration. Senior study author Dr. Katherine L. Cook, an assistant professor in the Wake Forest School of Medicine, and his team decided to test the theory that diet can affect mammary gland microbiota populations.
The investigators fed either a Mediterranean or Western diet to 40 female adult monkeys, for 31 months. The scientists found that the level of Lactobacillus was 10 times more in monkeys that ate the Mediterranean diet in their breast tissue compared to those who ate the Western diet.
“Our future studies are designed to validate the use of probiotics, fish oil, or antibiotics during neoadjuvant therapy to improve therapeutic outcomes,” Dr. Katherine L. Cook said.