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      Estrogenic botanical supplements, health-related quality of life, fatigue, and hormone-related symptoms in breast cancer survivors: a HEAL study report

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          It remains unclear whether estrogenic botanical supplement (EBS) use influences breast cancer survivors' health-related outcomes.


          We examined the associations of EBS use with health-related quality of life (HRQOL), with fatigue, and with 15 hormone-related symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats among 767 breast cancer survivors participating in the Health, Eating, Activity, and Lifestyle (HEAL) Study. HRQOL was measured by the Medical Outcomes Study short form-36 physical and mental component scale summary score. Fatigue was measured by the Revised-Piper Fatigue Scale score.


          Neither overall EBS use nor the number of EBS types used was associated with HRQOL, fatigue, or hormone-related symptoms. However, comparisons of those using each specific type of EBS with non-EBS users revealed the following associations. Soy supplements users were more likely to have a better physical health summary score (odds ratio [OR] = 1.66, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.02-2.70). Flaxseed oil users were more likely to have a better mental health summary score (OR = 1.76, 95% CI = 1.05-2.94). Ginseng users were more likely to report severe fatigue and several hormone-related symptoms (all ORs ≥ 1.7 and all 95% CIs exclude 1). Red clover users were less likely to report weight gain, night sweats, and difficulty concentrating (all OR approximately 0.4 and all 95% CIs exclude 1). Alfalfa users were less likely to experience sleep interruption (OR = 0.28, 95% CI = 0.12-0.68). Dehydroepiandrosterone users were less likely to have hot flashes (OR = 0.33, 95% CI = 0.14-0.82).


          Our findings indicate that several specific types of EBS might have important influences on a woman's various aspects of quality of life, but further verification is necessary.

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          Most cited references 60

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          Compendium of physical activities: an update of activity codes and MET intensities.

          We provide an updated version of the Compendium of Physical Activities, a coding scheme that classifies specific physical activity (PA) by rate of energy expenditure. It was developed to enhance the comparability of results across studies using self-reports of PA. The Compendium coding scheme links a five-digit code that describes physical activities by major headings (e.g., occupation, transportation, etc.) and specific activities within each major heading with its intensity, defined as the ratio of work metabolic rate to a standard resting metabolic rate (MET). Energy expenditure in MET-minutes, MET-hours, kcal, or kcal per kilogram body weight can be estimated for specific activities by type or MET intensity. Additions to the Compendium were obtained from studies describing daily PA patterns of adults and studies measuring the energy cost of specific physical activities in field settings. The updated version includes two new major headings of volunteer and religious activities, extends the number of specific activities from 477 to 605, and provides updated MET intensity levels for selected activities.
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            Body mass index, serum sex hormones, and breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women.

            Obesity is associated with increased breast cancer risk among postmenopausal women. We examined whether this association could be explained by the relationship of body mass index (BMI) with serum sex hormone concentrations. We analyzed individual data from eight prospective studies of postmenopausal women. Data on BMI and prediagnostic estradiol levels were available for 624 case subjects and 1669 control subjects; data on the other sex hormones were available for fewer subjects. The relative risks (RRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of breast cancer associated with increasing BMI were estimated by conditional logistic regression on case-control sets, matched within each study for age and recruitment date, and adjusted for parity. All statistical tests were two-sided. Breast cancer risk increased with increasing BMI (P(trend) =.002), and this increase in RR was substantially reduced by adjustment for serum estrogen concentrations. Adjusting for free estradiol reduced the RR for breast cancer associated with a 5 kg/m2 increase in BMI from 1.19 (95% CI = 1.05 to 1.34) to 1.02 (95% CI = 0.89 to 1.17). The increased risk was also substantially reduced after adjusting for other estrogens (total estradiol, non-sex hormone-binding globulin-bound estradiol, estrone, and estrone sulfate), and moderately reduced after adjusting for sex hormone-binding globulin, whereas adjustment for the androgens (androstenedione, dehydroepiandrosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, and testosterone) had little effect on the excess risk. The results are compatible with the hypothesis that the increase in breast cancer risk with increasing BMI among postmenopausal women is largely the result of the associated increase in estrogens, particularly bioavailable estradiol.
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              Measurement characteristics of the Women's Health Initiative food frequency questionnaire.

              The Women's Health Initiative (WHI) is the largest research program ever initiated in the United States with a focus on diet and health. Therefore, it is important to understand and document the measurement characteristics of the key dietary assessment instrument: the WHI food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). Data are from 113 women screened for participation in the WHI in 1995. We assessed bias and precision of the FFQ by comparing the intake of 30 nutrients estimated from the FFQ with means from four 24-hour dietary recalls and a 4-day food record. For most nutrients, means estimated by the FFQ were within 10% of the records or recalls. Precision, defined as the correlation between the FFQ and the records and recalls, was similar to other FFQs. Energy adjusted correlation coefficients ranged from 0.2 (vitamin B12) to 0.7 (magnesium) with a mean of 0.5. The correlation for percentage energy from fat (a key measure in WHI) was 0.6. Vitamin supplement use was common. For example, almost half of total vitamin E intake was obtained from supplements. Including supplemental vitamins and minerals increased micronutrient correlation coefficients, which ranged from 0.2 (thiamin) to 0.8 (vitamin E) with a mean of 0.6. The WHI FFQ produced nutrient estimate, that were similar to those obtained from short-term dietary recall and recording methods. Comparison of WHI FFQ nutrient intake measures to independent and unbiased measures, such as doubly labeled water estimates of energy expenditure, are needed to help address the validity of the FFQ in this population.

                Author and article information

                BMC Complement Altern Med
                BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine
                BioMed Central
                8 November 2011
                : 11
                : 109
                [1 ]Division of Cancer Etiology, Department of Population Sciences, Beckman Research Institute, City of Hope, Duarte, CA 91010, USA
                [2 ]Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
                [3 ]Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA 98109, USA
                [4 ]Childrens Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA
                [5 ]Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
                [6 ]Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA
                [7 ]Epidemiology and Clinical Investigation Sciences, School of Public Health & Information Sciences, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40202, USA
                Copyright ©2011 Ma et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Research Article

                Complementary & Alternative medicine


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