Natural Alternatives to Anti-Hormone Therapies for Breast Cancer: What your Doctor May Know but Cannot Recommend

In Alternative Cancer Therapies, Alternatives to Anti-Hormone Therapy For Breast Cancer, Alternatives to Hormone Therapy for Breast Cancer, Alternatives to Tamoxifen, Anticancer diet, Anticancer foods, foods for colon cancer, foods for breast cancer, aromatase inhibitors, Bio-Identical Hormones, BPA and breast cancer, Breast Cancer, Cancer, Cancer Coach, colon cancer, Estrogen, Estrogen and Breast Cancer, Healing Cancer Naturally, Hormone Balance, Natural Alternatives to Aromatase Inhibitors, SERMS, Tamoxifen, Uncategorized on April 27, 2021 at 2:12 pm

Natural alternatives to anti-hormone therapies have been well-known for a long time. Oncologists are often hesitant to recommend them as they are required to stick to the ‘standard of care’ (SOC), which limits them to drugs such as tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors. That does not mean they are not aware that there are alternatives that can be as good or even better than pharmaceutical drugs. However, alternatives are typically not taught in medical school and your doctor may not feel comfortable in recommending them even if s/he could.

So, what can you do?

There are many things you can do to balance your hormones naturally and minimize the cancerous effects of your own estrogen and more importantly, the chemical estrogens in your world. Chemical estrogens (xeno-estrogens) may include but are not limited to chemicals such as BPA (bisphenol A) as would be found in beauty and home products, weed killers, insecticides, and pesticides (especially glyphosate). Oral contraceptives, cash register receipts, plastics, and paper products such as toilet paper and paper towels are also problematic. When too many of these aggressive estrogen molecules occupy estrogen receptor sites, this is when cancer can grow. The first and foremost thing to do is to get these things out of your life as much as possible. Buy organic foods, free of pesticides and GMOs whenever possible. Aim for a variety of 8-10 servings of vegetables and 2-4 servings of fruit daily. Limit processed and packaged foods and use only clean home and personal care products.

Certain nutrients, botanicals, and nutrient compounds impact the body’s ability to process toxins. Top choices are cruciferous vegetables, garlic, onions (red, white, chives, leeks, scallions, and shallots), parsley, leafy greens, turmeric, berries, lemon water, green tea, beets, flax seeds, and artichokes. Consume these regularly to support your body’s natural detoxification systems. Drinking pure water and sweating are very helpful too!

For information about helpful supplements for estrogen management and detoxification, visit the Supplement Page on my website or request my handouts.

The Role of Phytoestrogens

A number of nutrients, botanicals, and nutrient compounds have varying effects on the cancerous process. You may have been told by your doctor to avoid phytoestrogens (plant estrogens), but these substances can inhibit breast cancer! Phytoestrogens are plant compounds with a similar molecular shape and structure to endogenous estrogen molecules. Phytoestrogens such as flax and sesame seeds work like SERMS (selective estrogen receptor modulators) such as tamoxifen. They modulate the effects of estrogen in the body by connecting to their receptors (just as tamoxifen does) thus inhibiting cancer cell replication.

Seeds such as flax and sesame contain lignans, molecules that bind to estrogen receptors just like tamoxifen. Binding turns on, or activates, a hormone receptor. Activation sets in motion cell signaling systems that trigger gene expression. In other words, phytoestrogens are similar enough to estrogen that they can bind to estrogen receptors, but cancer cells cannot use them in the same way as your own natural estrogen or chemical estrogens (they are far less potent). Lignans activate far weaker than your own estrogen or chemical estrogens. What this means is that they cannot stimulate breast cells to divide. They ‘park’ on the estrogen receptors, essentially blocking harmful estrogens from being able to bind to that receptor and do the dirty deed.

Further, flax and sesame seeds reduce tumor growth by increasing cell death and decreasing angiogenesis (the growth of new blood vessels that allow cancer to advance). Flaxseed has also been found to knock down (inhibit) CYP1B1, an enzyme that plays a role in estrogen metabolism. CYP1B1 converts estrogen to the less favorable metabolites. CYP1B1 also tends to make environmental toxins more carcinogenic. It is expressed in ovarian, uterine, and breast tissues and is implicated in colon cancer as well.

Read more about the lignans in flax and sesame seed in my articles Demystifying Flaxseed and Estrogen and Gluten-Free Anticancer, Anti-inflammatory Seeded Flatbread.

Soy is another powerful phytoestrogen that only weakly interacts with receptors. Plus, for many people, the genistein in soy works hard to inhibit cancer growth factors. Soy is a bit more controversial as in some people it can interfere with thyroid function, so speak with your doctor before consuming it.

There are many other phytoestrogens that inhibit the estrogen-related cancerous process. I focused on the seeds and soy as the information on these can be confusing. Fennel, clove, citrus peels, clary sage, and myrrh are a few other good ones.

Natural Aromatase Inhibitors

For women who have an over-abundance of natural estrogen (again, often a result of toxin overload, imparied estrogen metabolism, and chronic stress), reducing aromatase might be helpful. However, it is not necessary to rely on pharmaceutical aromatase inhibitors (loaded with terrible side effects) to lower the production of aromatase (which produces estrogen). Eat foods such as button mushrooms, celery and parsley (rich in apigenin), rosemary, citrus peel, pumpkin seeds, and flaxseed. Supplements such as D3, DIM, vitamin K2, calcium D-glucarate, zinc, grapeseed extract, gingko biloba, myomin, chrysin, red wine, and sea cucumber are natural aromatase inhibitors as well.

Importantly, many women do not need to and should not reduce estrogen, particularly if they have extremely low levels. I caution you not to severely inhibit estrogen, either by holistic or pharmaceutical means. Low estrogen contributes to osteoporosis, heart disease, ocular damage[i], and so much more. Sadly, doctors often order aromatase inhibitors for people without even testing hormone levels.

That said, even if estrogen levels are low, it is still essential to metabolize and excrete estrogen, the way nature intended to be.

Of note, DIM helps with phase 1 liver detoxification, so the toxins and hormones will be broken down and eliminated. However, without an active phase ll pathway, these toxins could get recirculated in the body, rather than being eliminated. When you combine DIM (or Indole-3-carbinol) with sulforaphane and calcium D- glucarate, the nutrients help the liver complete the detox process and eliminate the excess estrogen from the body.

Estrogen is NOT always the Problem

All of that said, estrogen is NOT always the problem. Most people who suffer from hormone imbalance are deficient in progesterone. Progesterone sort of puts the brakes on estrogens’ cancerous activity. While you can use a progesterone cream or perhaps use bioidentical, I would encourage you to try to balance your hormones with diet and supplements.  

Things that help raise progesterone are stress reduction, zinc, thyme, vitamin C, magnesium, cruciferous vegetables, vitamin E, Chaste Tree (Vitex), and activated B6 (also available in food sources such as leafy greens, peppers, carrots, asparagus, broccoli, walnuts, eggs, sweet potatoes, and sunflower seeds. For the carnivores, you can find it in grass-fed beef and beef liver). Activated B6 is necessary for the synthesis of progesterone. It is also necessary for the liver to metabolize and break down estrogen, which can help reduce estrogen dominance. You can find activated B6 here at Amazon or at your local drugstore.

Good info on progesterone in this article, Eternity: Quite Possibly the Best Bio-Identical Progesterone Cream

Estrogen Metabolism and Methylation

Estrogen metabolism and methylation play a role in hormone-sensitive cancers. To control the level of estrogen in the body, we need a way to break it down and eliminate it. This is mostly done by the liver, where enzymes create metabolites, known as catechol estrogens, that can either be favorable or less favorable for estrogen metabolism. Supplements such as DIM, Indole-3-Carbinol and Calcium-d-glucarate (not calcium) support healthy metabolism and elimination of estrogen. That said, not everything is right for everyone, so you may want to do some testing to see what works best for you.

A simple blood test is one option if you just want an idea of your hormone levels. However, because hormone levels vary day to day as well as throughout the day, a blood test may not accurately reflect hormone levels. It will also not provide information regarding methylation and pathways. But it is a start.

Saliva tests are another option, which are believed to test hormones at the cellular level, as opposed to the blood test with measures the level of hormones circulating in the blood stream. You can purchase home kits. See my supplement page if you need recommendations.

The Dutch Test can give you a baseline measurement of hormonal imbalances. It will show you what your estrogen profile looks like and what pathway the estrogens are headed down. Among a lot of other things, it will show methylation and even if things such as DIM, for example, are working for you or against you. For more information see their website.

The Nutrition Genome Test looks at the genetic gene mutations (inherited DNA alterations) you may have been born with that could be affecting estrogen metabolism and driving the growth of cancer.

For example, COMT is a gene that plays a role in methylation and estrogen metabolism. If you have variants of this gene, you might have sluggish methylation. However, it does not affect everyone the same way and can be driven by diet and lifestyle choices, stress, and exposure to environmental toxins such as cigarette smoke. ‘Healthy’ things such as quercetin, resveratrol, cilantro, green tea, and others can further slow COMT in some people and may need to be avoided. The supplement SAMe can help those with COMT, depending on your genetic makeup.

Genomic testing, like many other ‘tests’ is not right for everyone. If you believe you will be super-stressed by finding out what SNPs you have (DNA variants) then you might want to skip the tests. Most variants are quite common, so don’t freak out if you have one or even all of the variants linked to cancer. Lots of things are linked to cancer.

Our gut, brain, and bodies in general are often the most powerful test. Listen to your gut –it is trying to tell you something. Connect with yourself and do not go with what others are doing just for the sake of following the crowd.

Importantly, our genes are NOT our destiny. It is how we ‘talk’ to them that matters. We ‘talk’ to your genes with thoughts and food choices. A great read on this is Dr Mitch Gaynor’s’ The Gene Therapy Plan: Taking Control of Your Genetic Destiny with Diet and Lifestyle.

Keep that Estrogen Moving!

Estrogen that has been metabolized and is ready to be eliminated through feces can be recycled back into circulation either due to chronic constipation or an interaction with certain bacteria in the gut, such as beta-glucuronidase. Calcium d-glucarate suppresses beta-glucuronidase helping you excrete the estrogen metabolites. Adding more fruits and vegetables may help ease constipation.  

So, you can see that estrogen is far more complicated with respect to its role in cancer than you may have been led to believe. Hormones can be very confusing!! Importantly, estrogen and progesterone levels are not to be confused with receptor status!!! For more clarification on that, visit me in my private Facebook group Cancer Coach Elyn as I post on this often, or schedule a consult with me.

There are many more substances that improve hormonal balance, stimulate the livers’ detoxification systems, and inhibit cellular proliferation, but if I listed them all this post would get too long. But, blocking estrogen is not the most important factor for many breast cancer patients. Addressing the cancerous terrain that may have allowed cancer to present is crucial. Chronic inflammation, GMOs, emotional and environmental toxins, viruses, obesity, and other factors are all involved.

Read Also: Natural Ways to Balance and Manage Hormones for Breast Cancer as well as my articles on natural alternatives to anti-hormone therapies.

The above information is not to be considered to be a cancer treatment, but rather to provide information that may improve health. The information provided is for general information only. No online site should be used as a substitute for personal medical attention. If you’d like more guidance, I’d love to work with you! Check out my “Contact Us” page or email elyn@elynjacobs.com for more details.

I have started a new private group on Facebook, Cancer Coach Elyn. If interested, you can visit it HERE. Please do not forget to answer the group questions if you would like to join.


~~If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any~~

Elyn Jacobs is a breast cancer survivor and holistic cancer strategist who helps people make healthier, less-toxic choices for their healing. She emphasizes the importance of not just surviving cancer but surviving well and reducing the risk of recurrence. Elyn specializes in understanding the role of estrogen in breast cancer and debunks the myths associated. She is a Contributing Editor for The Truth About Cancer and is on the Medical Advisory Board for BeatCancer.Org and the Advisory Board to the Radical Remission Project. Elyn has written for numerous journals and publications. She was the former Executive Director of the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation and the creator and host of the Survive and Live Well Radio Show. To contact Elyn, visit http://www.elynjacobs.com. Elyn offers consults via Skype, phone, or in-person. Elyn does not provide online advice.

Elyn Jacobs does not provide medical advice. The information provided is for general information only. No online site should be used as a substitute for personal medical attention.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not a recommendation to forgo medical advice and treatment. This post is not intended to treat, cure, prevent, or diagnose any disease or condition. This post does not represent medical advice, nor should it be considered to be medical advice or a replacement for medical advice. I encourage you to discuss this information with your integrative oncologist, naturopathic doctor, or conventional oncologist. The information provided is from my research and not to be taken as scientific evidence.

Some product links on some posts are affiliate links. This website is monetized in part using affiliate links. This means that if you were to click on a link that is an affiliate link and purchase an item after clicking on that link, I may receive a small percentage of the sales price. I only recommend products that I love and use often. Thank you for your support!

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[i] file:///C:/Users/elyn/Downloads/[14796805%20-%20Journal%20of%20Endocrinology]%20Oestrogen,%20ocular%20function%20and%20low-level%20vision_%20a%20review.pdf

  1. Hi, Elyn – these all sound very interesting, especially the direct natural alternatives to tamoxifen.

    One thing to be very careful about with progesterone supplementation is that some breast cancer has progesterone receptors. If your breast cancer or DCIS has progesterone receptors then progesterone cream will cause it to GROW, not to shrink. It’s dangerous in that case.

    This is something I never see in any literature but is very important to get out into women’s awareness.

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