elynjacobs

Natural Alternatives to Tamoxifen

In Uncategorized on January 15, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Natural Alternatives to Tamoxifen—Dr Kelly Turner, PhD interviews Elyn Jacobs for The Radical Remission Project.Update Added 1/19/2014

Over the past few months I have been asked many times if I know of a natural substitute for Tamoxifen.  I apologize that it has taken me so long to write this post, but it has required extensive research and obtaining the knowledge of many experts.  Many are not convinced that Tamoxifen is the wonder drug it is made out to be.  I am one of those people.  However, it is not my opinion that matters.  My job is to give you information and options, not opinions.  There are many others who believe that Tamoxifen is a beneficial drug. You and you alone can decide what is best for you, for your needs and concerns.

Tamoxifen is a synthetic drug that competes with estrogens for binding to the estrogen receptors in the body.  When estrogens bind the estrogen receptors in the cells of the breast or uterus, for example, this activates cell growth and division.  When Tamoxifen occupies the estrogen receptor in place of an estrogen, it paralyzes the receptor, preventing it from triggering the events that result in cell division.  It does not kill cancer cells, but in some respect, puts them to sleep or disables them.  Scientists call this a cytostatic drug; the word cytotoxic means toxic to cells, or cell-killing. However, Tam does not kill the cancer cells, but rather only stops them from growing; therefore there is no offer for a cure, only a band-aid.  When you remove the band-aid, the cells can then begin to divide again.  Tamoxifen also comes with a host of potential side effects so many doctors suggest a time limit of five years, after which the negatives may outweigh the positives.

http://www.drugs.com/sfx/tamoxifen-side-effects.html

http://www.rxlist.com/nolvadex-drug.htm

http://www.holisticmed.com/toxic/tamoxifen.shtml

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-information/DR601293/DSECTION=side-effects

http://lifeovercancerblog.typepad.com/life-over-cancer-blog/2011/10/getting-the-most-out-of-tamoxifen.html

Ok…so is there a natural substitute for Tamoxifen?  The short answer is no. Many women seek out a natural replacement for this drug, but the replacement is really an overall lifestyle approach – including diet, exercise, stress management, avoidance of toxins and adding the support of herbs and supplements. In other words, the best thing really is to follow an anti-cancer strategy.  In doing so, you will naturally incorporate an anti-estrogen strategy.  Your endocrine and immune systems will be in balance and you will be optimizing the other systems in your body to join you in your defense of cancer. However there are some things you can concentrate on.

The first thing you can do to reduce estrogen is to avoid unnecessary exposure to hormone- influencing toxins.  Be aware that most commercial home, garden and beauty products contain hormone-like compounds in them.  Purchase safer, chemical-free products, and please, do not use plastic containers or plastic wrap in the microwave (better yet, toss the micro, but that is a story for another day) and avoid BPA exposure as much as possible.

Please view the following links for the how-to of reducing the toxins in your world:

http://cincovidas.com/toxic-truth/ingredients-to-avoid-in-personal-care-products/

http://eartheasy.com/live_nontoxic_solutions.htm

http://www.ecomall.com/biz/cleaning.htm

http://www.ewg.org/schoolcleaningsupplies/safecleaningtips

Exercise and maintaining a healthy weight play a crucial role in cancer prevention.  Exercise helps to reduce excess estrogen from the body and being overweight boosts the body’s estrogen levels.  Obesity increases the body’s insulin levels and insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) that have a growth promoting effect on cells, especially on cancerous cells. Further, recent studies have proven that overweight and obese women have higher levels of inflammation, which provides a cancer promoting environment in the body. Try to exercise for at least 30-45 minutes a day. Any exercise is better than none, but a brisk walk or run will give you more protection.

“Let Food be thy Medicine, and Medicine be thy Food”    Hippocrates

Hippocrates was right, and in this case, specific food choices and supplements offer natural ways to inhibit cancer growth and balance hormones.

Flaxseed–The lignans in flax are phytoestrogens, but they actually bind to estrogen receptors in the body and work a bit like Tamoxifen, as they hop on the estrogen and bind up these hormones and carcinogens and remove them from the body.  Although lignans are found in most unrefined grains (barley, buckwheat, millet and oats), soybeans, and some vegetables (broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and spinach), flaxseed is the richest source.  I recommend eating 2 tablespoons freshly ground golden flaxseed daily. If you are unable to eat 2-3 Tbs daily, I recommend a supplement: Brevail Proactive Breast Health Capsules, 30-Count Box

More on the benefits of flaxseed:

http://elynjacobs.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/demystifying-flaxseed-and-estrogen/

http://www.thehindu.com/health/medicine-and-research/article2455486.ece

http://jn.nutrition.org/content/139/11/2061.full

Love your liver—No, not liver, your liver. Your body depends on a fully-functioning liver to break down and eliminate hormones and toxins in the body. Calcium d-glucurate, a natural ingredient found in certain vegetables and fruits that helps detoxify the liver and promote estrogen metabolism.  Vegetables rich in glucaric acid include those in the cruciferous family (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, etc. –please eat several servings of these every day), as well as in the gourd (think squash, watermelon and pumpkins).  For fruits, look for oranges and apples, and consider legumes such as peas, lentils and bean sprouts. Calcium d-glucurate can also be found in supplement form. Silymarin or milk thistle also prevents damage to the liver by acting as an antioxidant and enhancing the detoxification process.  NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) is also a liver fortifier and detoxification tool.  (NAC is also useful in the removal of the lead and mercury from dental fillings as well as the toxins in paint). Limit alcohol and avoid drugs that can damage the liver.

Adding bitter greens, such as arugula and chicory, to salads will also help the liver excrete excess hormones.  (Arugula is also a member of the cruciferous family)

Pomegranateare a potent source phytonutrients, and antioxidants like polyphenols, ellagitannins (ellagic acid), tannins and anthocyanins.  These compounds are strong free-radical fighters, providing added protection against cellular damage, and research has suggested that these phytochemicals may suppress estrogen.  Researchers now believe that it is specifically the ellagic acid in pomegranates that inhibits aromatase, the key enzyme used by the body to make estrogen.  Thus, as breast and ovarian cancers require estrogen to grow, AIs are offered to either block the production of estrogen or block the action of estrogen on receptors; pomegranates and their bioactive metabolites may act as a natural aromatase inhibitor. Other sources of Ellagic acid are raspberries and Marion berries.

Please note: I do not suggest that you take ellagic acid supplements, but rather whole food sources of Ellagitannin.  When you eat foods that contain ellagitannins, your body converts these ellagitannins into ellagic acid much in the same way your body converts Beta-carotene into vitamin A.  When you eat beta-carotene rich foods, you get the full benefit of Vitamin A without the potential health risks of the synthetic form of vitamin A.  The same is true for Ellagic Acid which is not as available to the body and comes with potential side effects, such as high blood pressure.

Limit Caffeine– Those who consumed at least 500 mg of caffeine daily, the equivalent of four or five cups of coffee had nearly 70% more estrogen than women who consumed less than 100 mg of caffeine daily.

Choose only organic animal products from grass-fed livestock that has not been fed estrogen, progesterone or testosterone.  Fats from milk and meat are loaded with estrogen, but at least try to avoid products with added hormones.

Eat apples, every day.  Quercetin, found in apples, red wine, onions, and green tea, has anti-estrogenic effects and may reduce the metastatic potential of cancer cells.  Red wine you say?  Yes, red wine may lower estrogen levels. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/240065.php?utm_medium=twitter&utm_s

Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a phytonutrient and plant indole found in cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and kale, with many powerful anticancer properties. Dim also promotes estrogen metabolism.  Estrogen can be metabolized in two different pathways in the liver, which results in two different kinds of estrogen, “good” and “bad” estrogen. “Good” estrogen metabolites are released into the bloodstream there they cause many of the benefits estrogen provides, such as prevention of heart disease, and strong, healthy bones. “Bad” estrogen, in large quantities, can result in many health problems including autoimmune disorders, breast cancer, cervical dysplasia, fibroid tumors, magnesium deficiency, osteoporosis, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, and zinc deficiency. ***Please read the following articles for updates on DIM, posted April 8th 2013 –DIM-New Thoughts on an Old Story. and  posted October 31, 2013 DIM: A Bright New View on Cancer Management .  Nature’s Way – Dim-Plus, 120 capsules

Manage Stress—the adrenal gland is where stress is expressed.  Chronic stress leading to adrenal fatigue is a leading cause of progesterone depletion and thus estrogen dominance.  Stress, per se, is not the true enemy, but rather how we respond to it.  For more on stress and cancer, please visit: http://elynjacobs.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/changing-the-cancer-environment/

My post on Chinese Herbal Medicine highlighted the point that CHM looks to individually assess each person’s condition, identifying excesses, deficiencies, and imbalances – as understood within the TCM diagnostic framework – and to prescribe a combination of herbs to bring the system as a whole back into balance. With that said, a lot of research has been done on the physiological effects of various herbs, particularly on estrogen and other hormones, so a visit with an herbalist might be a good part of an anti-estrogen strategy.

Simply put, estrogen can be reduced or managed using exercise, diet and relaxation modalities, but there is not one magic bullet.  That said, I know I have mentioned embracing  the cruciferous family, but I cannot stress this enough….raw is best, juicing fantastic, and freeze-dried fine if that is the only way to get them.  I strongly recommend the use of super-food powders such as Completely GreenDesigns for Health PaleoredsPaleogreens  and similar formulas….these supplements are a great way to bridge the gap between great intentions and actually getting the nutrients and enzymes we need (just remember, supplements are intended to accompany a good diet, not replace one.)  Take time for yourself everyday for exercise, laughter, relaxation and love, and benefit from a monthly massage.  Embrace every day and remind yourself everyday that you matter, that you deserve to be loved and cared for.

Please understand that nothing in this post represents medical advice, and I encourage you to discuss this information with your integrative oncologist or naturopathic doctor. I have compiled this information solely for those seeking an alternative to Tamoxifen and cannot endorse either protocol.

You may find the following article helpful, but please discuss any and all of the suggestions here with your doctor before utilizing them. http://www.drlam.com/articles/estrogen_dominance.asp?page=1

Herbal Medicine, and Healing Cancer , by Dr Donald Yance, is an excellent resource for balancing hormones and healing cancer naturally, as well as for support during conventional cancer treatments.  For a list of specific herbs that help to balance hormones, please see page 334.

You may also be interested in Natural Alternatives to Aromatase Inhibitors: http://elynjacobs.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/natural-alternatives-to-aromatase-inhibitors/

Elyn Jacobs

Elyn Jacobs is a certified cancer coach, a breast cancer survivor and the Executive Director for the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation.  She empowers women to choose the path for treatment that best fits their own individual needs.  Elyn helps women to uncover the nutritional deficiencies and emotional stress patterns that may have contributed to their cancer and to support their body as it activates it own natural ability to fight the disease. She is passionate about helping others move forward into a life of health and wellbeing. To learn more about Elyn’s coaching services or to learn more about eating for life, please visit:  http://elynjacobs.wordpress.com.

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  1. Thank you elyn.
    I was just diagnosed with DCIS last month. My life, from childhood, has been stress filled, beginning with physical abuse, isolation, a Bi-polar mother and enabling but absent father. What you wrote about the adrenal gland, along with evrything tying together the body as a whole is so incredibly useful for me! I have a host of other health problems I have sought herbal/natural remedies for with some relief. I look forward to investigating your information and definately following the nutritional advice.
    Again, thank you ever so much for your work!!!
    God bless :)

    • Thank you Amy. If you can, please tune into http://www.W4CS.com, Tuesdays at 1pm (est) for my radio show, Survive and Live Well; Helayne Waldman, my guest on Tuesday, May 29th, will be talking about this same issue. You can find more info about the show on my site, just click on Survive and Live Well, or W4CS…be well and hope to see you there!

  2. [...] as I said in my post about Tamoxifen, there is not an easy answer. However, there are many powerful natural aromatase inhibitors in your [...]

  3. An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a colleague who was doing a little homework on this. And he actually ordered me breakfast due to the fact that I discovered it for him… lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending some time to discuss this issue here on your site.

  4. Very informative article, thank you for both carrying out all the research and for sharing it. Yvonne

  5. Ovarian cancer is a silent killer and is one of the deadliest threats to women’s health. The American Cancer Society says that about 20,180 American women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year alone. Every woman faces a risk of 1:57 risk of getting ovarian cancer in her lifetime. The symptoms of ovarian cancer are not perceptible until the cancer becomes widespread and critical, which explains why thousands of women die of this dreaded disease every year. Although ovarian cancer is treatable, in most instances, it is detected late causing complications and death to ovarian cancer patients.”

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  6. [...] Is there a natural solution to estrogen management for breast cancer? The answer is yes and no.  I believe that there is. However, to date, there are no natural supplements that have been compared with aromatase inhibitors side by side to verify that they are equal substitutes or even superior to pharmaceutical drugs. Clinical trials are not likely to be done, simply because there is not enough financial reward to big Pharma; in other words they have nothing to gain and tons to lose by funding research for natural solutions such as consumption of foods such as button mushrooms, broccoli and pomegranate. [...]

  7. Thank you very much for your article. I refused Tamoxifen because of the side effects, but face criticism from friends and doctors – so, now I can be more specific in my replies to them. I had breast cancer, now lung cancer!!!!! On we go. (They are not related to one another).

  8. Hello Elyn and everybody

    Let me recommend a highly efficient pomegranate concentrated drug made by Dr jacob (a german doctor), which I am taking right now as part of my breast cancer adjuvant treatment. The brand name I am taking is GranaProsan. You can buy it here in Europe from:
    http://Www.pomegranate-juice.eu

    Thank you for your very informative website

    Gerard de angeli

  9. I would want to read the post about aromatase inhibitors. What I do know is that a tamoxifen altenative exists and it’s called calcium D glucatate. It was so effective when I took it that my gums went downhill from the drop in estrogen. You also feel some symptoms similar to tamoxifen ones. At least symptoms I have heard tamoxifen causes,,,,I refused it and I am 5 years out because it xauses a deadly bilateral breast cancer and some other cancers.

    • Thank you FCCS, Calcium D Glucatate is a good supplement, but I don’t think that any one supplement stands alone; I believe it takes a full protocol and effort. Thank you for sharing and glad you had great success with it! My best, Elyn

      • The actual magic bullet in my case was natural progesterone cream I was self-medicating with for a year before diagnosis. I am convinced that a lot of lives would be similarly saved. After the menopause I am still on it, so far with only good side effects….I don;t think the self medication caused the cancer. I am also on mistletoe when I can afford the injections, It makes you feel awesome.

  10. […] 1 Natural Alternatives to Tamoxifen […]

  11. From what I understand, they are starting to keep women on Tam for 10 years now. Two years was two years too much for me!

  12. Two was too much for me and not only do they want patients to be on for ten, but they want to create new patients by giving it to healthy people. Very scary.

  13. […] therapies. For more information on an alternative approach to hormone therapy, please read Natural Alternatives to Tamoxifen and view my video with Dr Kelly Turner, PhD, author and founder of The Radical Remission […]

  14. Thank you so much for this informative post. I have recently diagnosed with an early stage breast cancer and am terrified at the idea of tamoxifen. Many of the alternatives you have mentioned are already part of my life. I am encouraged by your research and will present these alternatives to my doctor next week.

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