The Chemopreventive Case For Fermented Rice Bran
June 13, 2018
Most people know cancer begins when normal cells change and grow uncontrollably to form a mass called a tumor. However, the understanding of the general public regarding chemoprevention is limited. Cancer chemoprevention is simply arresting the process of healthy cells changing into cancerous ones by utilizing various substances to inhibit, delay, or reverse carcinogenesis. Many factors influence this process and the substances that are chemoprotective may be natural or synthetic (manufactured in a laboratory). Naturopathic doctors generally use whole food based products, where as traditional doctors use synthetic versions to lower a person’s risk of developing cancer.
While there are many different chemicals that are linked to various types of cancer, there are also numerous different substances which are chemopreventive. The focus of my blog will be on the known cancer causing estrogenic effects of the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) and the chemopreventive impact of brown rice bran and its fermented counter part.
A 2018 peer reviewed study states: "Bisphenol A (BPA), one of the most common endocrine disrupting chemicals is a carbon-based synthetic compound used in the production of water bottles, cans, and teeth suture materials. It is known to be a xenoestrogen as it interacts with estrogen receptors and acts as agonist or antagonist via estrogen receptor-dependent signaling pathways. BPA has been associated with serious health effects in humans and wildlife. It elicits several endocrine disorders and plays a role in the pathogenesis of several hormone-dependent tumors such as breast, ovarian, prostate cancer and others."
BPA is a known xenoestrogen (foreign chemical that acts like estrogen) that is manufactured by combining acetone (nail polish remover) and a synthetic antioxidant called phenol (carbolic acid). BPA is scientifically proven to negatively affect male and female fertility, and is linked to prostate cancer, breast cancer, polycystic ovary syndrome. It's also a male reproductive toxicant that's connected to various hormone related illnesses. And yes, you should learn how to avoid BPA, but that's a discussion for another day!
Good gut flora is crucial for a strong immune system but it's equally important for balanced hormones and the detoxification of xenoestrogens like BPA. A healthy gut microbiome is critical for maintaining normal levels of estrogen and testosterone as well as strong reproductive function. Recent studies have discovered various lactobacillus bacteria (beneficial bacteria) effectively degrade and remove BPA under both anaerobic (no oxygen) and aerobic (oxygen rich) conditions. Researchers have proven bacteria found in other fermented foods can effectively detoxify the xenoestrogen BPA. Brown rice contains bran that acts as a prebiotic to feed the good bacteria in your digestive tract. Rice bran also has bioactive components with disease-fighting properties. Additionally, it's worth noting that environmental biodegradation of BPA and its various analogs (sister chemicals) has been achieved through the use of natural enzymes produced by bacteria feeding on rice and wheat bran compost.
The chemoprotective effects of fermented brown rice bran on prostate cancer is achieved by activating pathways responsible for controlling tumor growth. Findings from other studies are promising in their discoveries that fermented rice bran provides chemoprotection for pancreatic cancer, lung cancer, leukemia, and colorectal cancer through various different avenues. Interestingly, fermented rice bran has potential as a preventative agent for ulcerative colitis and as a treatment for atopic dermatitis (eczema). When brown rice bran is fermented it increases the natural phenolic compounds found in the bran by two fold and boosts its free radical protection. The health promoting affects of rice bran phytochemicals are enhanced by fermentation which support its use on a daily basis.
It is my belief that if you consume fermented rice bran regularly, you will not only be healthier but you'll be protected against the nasty chemical hormone disruptors ubiquitously found in our modern world. Why not try your hand at fermenting some today.
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by Bonnie Penner