The benefits of breast milk just increased a notch. And this is perhaps the most revolutionary benefit of the wonder liquid that is breast milk. Breast milk can break tumours into tiny fragments that cancer patients can pass in their urine, a recent study suggests.
Benefits Of Breast Milk: Dissolves Cancer
Breast milk contains milk sugar alpha1H. The milk sugar alpha1H, which is essential to a baby’s development, destroys tumours without harming healthy tissue. This came to light in a recent study.
The study found 20 bladder cancer sufferers who excreted tumour fragments in their urine. This was after just six infusions of alpha1H. Further research suggests that patients start to pass malignant tissue within two hours of treatment.
How Does Breast Milk Actually Dissolve Cancer?
When alpha1H binds to the fat oleic acid, they form a ‘tumoricidal’ complex that triggers cancerous cells into ‘suicide’. Researchers from the Czech Republic hope this could be a ‘gentler’ form of chemotherapy. It is certainly better than conventional treatments that poison cells and cause nasty side effects.
The drug manufacturer Hamlet Pharma Ltd plans to test if the chemical shrinks bladder tumours and improves patient survival. Professor Catharina Svanborg is the founder of Hamlet Pharma Ltd. Prof. Svanborg presided over the team who ran the experiment at Motol University Hospital in Prague.
Svanborg accidentally discovered alpha1H kills tumour cells while at Lund University, Sweden, in 1995. She looked at how breast milk fights germs, marvelling at how the cancer cells had begun disappearing.
Bladder cancer is the 10th most common form of the disease in the UK. With more than 10,300 people being diagnosed every year, according to Action Bladder Cancer UK. And in the US, around 80,470 people are expected to develop bladder cancer in 2019, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Another study saw 40 bladder-cancer patients with hard-to-treat tumours being given alpha1H or placebo during six infusions over 22 days. All 20 patients who received the breast milk chemical passed tumour fragments in their urine.
Another Trial On The Magical Breast Milk
Another trial saw nine bladder cancer patients receive five daily doses of alpha1H in the week before surgery to remove their tumours. Eight of the nine patients passed tumour cells in just two hours, with the malignant masses also becoming smaller or less aggressive.
The chemical’s apparent gentleness means it could be used as a preventative drug in at-risk patients, she said. The research team also plans to investigate the drug in brain and colon cancer.
Professor Svanborg claims alpha1H caused ‘tumour disappearance’ in mice. Bladder cancer can be tricky to treat. A transurethral resection is typically the go-to for early stages of the disease. Patients’ treatment includes the live bacteria Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG).
Doctors inject the BCG directly into the bladder where it ‘turns on’ the immune system. The organ then attracts the immune cells. They, in turn, attack the tumour.
Up to a third of patients do not respond to BCG at all. Many must now decide to have their entire bladder removed, and another third suffer side effects. These side effects are serious and include bladder infection, anemia and kidney problems. There is also a worldwide shortage of BCG, which further adds to the need for new treatments.
Breast milk composition: What’s in your breast milk?
It’s full of nutrients that feed and protect your baby, but did you know breast milk composition varies over time? Find out what’s in breast milk and how it changes to meet your baby’s needs.
As your baby’s first food, you might expect your breast milk ingredients to include basic essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats, as well as water to keep her hydrated, which it does. But breast milk is no ordinary food – it has more value than nutrition alone.
What’s human milk made of?
Here are some of the other constituents of human milk present at every feed, many of which can’t be replicated:
- Millions of live cells. These include immune-boosting white blood cells, as well as stem cells, which may help organs develop and heal.
- More than 1,000 proteins that help your baby grow and develop, activate her immune system, and develop and protect neurons in her brain.
- All that breast milk protein is made up of amino acids. There are more than 20 of these compounds in your milk. Some of them, called nucleotides, increase at night and scientists think they may induce sleep.
- Over 200 complex sugars called oligosaccharides that act as prebiotics, feeding ‘good bacteria’ in your baby’s gut. They also prevent infections from entering her bloodstream and lower her risk of brain inflammation.
- More than 40 enzymes. Enzymes are catalysts that speed up chemical reactions in the body. The ones in your milk have jobs such as aiding your baby’s digestion and immune system, as well as helping her absorb iron.
- Growth factors that support healthy development. These affect many parts of your baby’s body, including her intestines, blood vessels, nervous system, and her glands, which secrete hormones.
- On the subject of hormones, your breast milk contains lots of them! These clever chemicals send messages between tissues and organs to ensure they work properly. Some help regulate your baby’s appetite and sleep patterns, and even aid the bond between you.
- Vitamins and minerals – nutrients that support healthy growth and organ function, as well as help build your baby’s teeth and bones.
- Antibodies, also known as immunoglobulins. There are five basic forms of antibodies and all of them are in your milk. They protect your baby against illnesses and infections by neutralising bacteria and viruses.
- You may have heard of long-chain fatty acids because they play a pivotal part in building your baby’s nervous system, as well as aid healthy brain and eye development. And, you’ve guessed it, there are several of these in your milk too!
- 1,400 microRNAs, which are thought to regulate gene expression, as well as help prevent or halt disease development, support your baby’s immune system, and play a role in remodelling the breast.
While this is a long list, it’s only some of the ingredients in your breast milk – and scientists are still discovering more. Remarkably, the levels of these ingredients can fluctuate over time, depending on your baby’s age and needs.