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Archive for the ‘Tamoxifen’ Category

Adrenal Fatigue and Breast Cancer

In Alternative Cancer Therapies, Alternatives Cancer Treatment, Breast Cancer, Cancer, Cell Phones, EMF's, Tamoxifen on June 7, 2017 at 9:52 am

The adrenal glands are widely known for the production of the stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline. But what many people do not realize is that the adrenals also produce cancer-protective progesterone.

Unfortunately, when the body is under stress, progesterone production is reduced as the body orders cortisol in order to reduce that stress. This (and other related consequences) puts a person at significantly higher risk of breast cancer as well as the progression of the dis-ease.

Fight or Flight

When your body is under stress, the adrenal glands release the hormones adrenalin and cortisol. These hormones provide the “fight or flight” response that protects you when you are in danger.  While this could be helpful if you are being chased by a ferocious animal, in this modern world that doesn’t happen often.  However, we do face many modern-day stressors, often 24/7.  Over time, being in the fight or flight mode from morning until night can wreak havoc on your health.  While that boost of cortisol might save you from a tiger, the constant flow of cortisol day in and day out will wear out your adrenal glands.

Adrenals and Hormones

Hormonal imbalances associated with progesterone deficiency are directly tied into the health of the adrenal glands. The more stress in your life, the more you tax your adrenals.

When your body is under stress and orders more cortisol, the body uses its resources (pregnenolone and progesterone) to make cortisol instead of progesterone.  And actually, the adrenal glands literally steal progesterone to make cortisol, which leads to lower levels of progesterone. This then leads to estrogen dominance, which increases our risk for breast cancer.  This is especially a problem for most-menopausal women, whose hormone production relies on the adrenals instead of the ovaries.

Most significantly, it is shown that high amounts of estrogen (especially chemical estrogens) can increase one’s risk of breast cancer.  However, while estrogen has been associated with breast (and endometrial) cancer, progesterone has strong cancer-preventive effects.

However, the body’s way of counterbalancing estrogen is progesterone. When this balancing mechanism is dysfunctional due to a lack of progesterone, a myriad of health-related problems can arise, including breast cancer.

You may have read that progesterone also fuels breast cancer, and you would be correct in believing that. However, this only applies to synthetic progestins, not your own progesterone (and for most this includes protective bioidentical progesterone). To learn more, please read my article The Truth About Progesterone and Breast Cancer.

Notably, progesterone is not only protective of the breast, uterus, and ovaries, but it has a calming effect (reduces stress) and contributes to the formation of new bone tissue.

To learn more about estrogen and progesterone and their role in breast cancer, please request my Estrogen and Detoxification Handouts.

How to Tell If You Have Adrenal Fatigue

If you have been under constant stress for a prolonged period of time, you may be at the point where adrenals are fatigued and your hormones are significantly out of balance.

Adrenal Fatigue is simply your body’s way of preventing you from expending energy it does not have.  It is your body alerting you to slow down and give it the nurturing support it needs.

Adrenal fatigue symptoms are the body’s cry for you to take corrective action at the root level. Not recognizing these symptoms can have grave consequences, including breast cancer and the progression of the dis-ease.

Are YOU Suffering from Adrenal Exhaustion?

Answer yes or no to the following…the more ‘yes’ answers you have, the more exhausted your adrenals (there are other symptoms as well, but these are some of the most common ones):

  • Do you suffer from morning fatigue or low energy?
  • Do you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep?
  • Do you crave salty, fatty, or sweet foods?
  • Do you have blood sugars issues (hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia)?
  • Do you have an afternoon slump between the hours of 2 and 5pm?
  • Do you often have muscle aches or pains for no apparent reason?
  • Do you have an increased sense of irritability?
  • Have you noticed an increase in belly fat and an inability to get rid of it?
  • Do you have a decreased sex drive?
  • Do you have low blood pressure?
  • Do you have low body temperature or feel cold all of the time?
  • Do you have an increase in mood swings and or depression? Lack of enthusiasm?
  • Do you experience dizziness when getting up quickly from a lying or sitting position?
  • Do you suffer from increased allergies even if you have never had allergies before? Do you have food allergies?
  • Do you have increased PMS or menopausal symptoms?
  • Do you use a cell phone or computer in the evening?

 EMFs and Adrenal Fatigue

Cell phone EMFs stimulate the body’s stress system, decreasing your ability to wind down and fall asleep.  Then once you finally do fall asleep, the EMFs interfere with the deep sleep your body needs to recover and repair. This is especially a problem if you sleep with your phone nearby and you don’t resist the urge to check messages when you wake up during the night.  Plus, poor sleep causes the adrenals to pump more cortisol…which keeps you awake longer and causes you to wake up after you fall asleep…one big vicious cycle.

This also applies to the use of computers in the evening, or gasp, during the night—you know the type, they wake up and feel the need to go online before going back to sleep—don’t let that be you.

What You Can Do NOW

First off, it is important to consume a clean diet loaded with organic fruits and vegetables.  Drink and cook with pure water. Avoid processed foods, conventional meats and dairy products as well as fake foods, such as soy cheeses and ‘meat substitutes’.  Despite what the vegan cookbooks would lead you to believe, these ‘foods’ are highly processed dangerous foods. if you choose to eat vegan, use nuts, seeds, beans, and other whole foods as your protein source. And don’t forget that skipping meals or eating junk food can throw your blood sugar off.

Relax the mind. Engage in moderate but not intense or excessive exercise as that taxes the adrenals and the immune system.

Do:

  • stabilize blood sugar
  • heal your gut and optimize liver function
  • get more reset and quality sleep
  • keep a gratitude journal
  • engage in moderate exercise and mild strength training
  • realization, meditation and relax the mind
  • consume a healthy diet with supplement support
  • change your perception-we experience more stress when we allow thoughts to create negative feelings

Avoid:

  • rigid thinking; unresolved emotions
  • sleep deprivation
  • energy draining activities; toxic relationships
  • excessive exercise
  • nutrient deficiencies, including protein and healthy fats
  • sugar, alcohol, and caffeine
  • infections, parasites, Candida, heavy metals
  • multitasking, over-working
  • intolerant, inflammatory, addictive foods (gluten, soy, dairy, corn, trans fats, GMOs

However, even the cleanest, most amazing diet and lifestyle can use some help.  The following are some supplemental boosts for adrenal health.

  • Aswaganda—an adaptogen (this means that it reacts to your body’s stress signals and exerts a normalizing effect) that helps normalize your body’s reaction to stress and anxiety. It also helps alleviate brain frog and memory problems associated with chronic stress. Excitingly, it also helps repair damaged brain cells and synapses, which means the repaired cells will then be able to receive messages better, so the body runs more smoothly. Aswaganda also supports the liver, immune system, and adrenals, regulates blood sugar, and lowers cortisol and CRP (C-Reactive Protein)
  • B6—also known as pantothenic acid, helps provide the extra energy your adrenal glands need to respond to stress, and helps repair previous damage to these glands
  • Magnolia extract– mostly known for its anti-stress and cortisol-balancing effects. Contains honkiol, a compound from magnolia bark with multiple anti-cancer functions, including tumor cell death. Magnolia Extract
  • Cordyceps—an adaptogen that fights fatigue and boosts energy. When you are under stress, it helps balance the levels of cortisol so you can cope more easily
  • Rhodiola— balances the body’s stress-response system. Rhodiola is not advised for those with Bipolar or mania.
  • Siberian ginseng—an adaptogen that helps balance stress hormones and rejuvenates adrenal function. Helps decrease anxiety, improve sleep, and reduce irritability
  • Licorice root — helps regulate cortisol, which is needed for the stress-response. Cortisol is not all bad. In fact, the same cortisol your adrenals produce when you are under stress is also responsible for regulating your immune system. When your adrenals are fatigued and don’t produce enough cortisol, you can end up with an enhanced response we know as the allergic response.  That’s right, stressed adrenals can result in more allergy issues. Licorice root also helps prevent the liver from breaking down cortisol so it can be used more efficiently.
  • Schisandra — aids in enhancing mental performance, handling stress better, and generally being more resistant to stress; helps to decrease fatigue. (Do not take with Tamoxifen)
  • Passion Flower — useful as a soothing sleep-aid and in supporting relaxation in times of stress.

Our Hard-Working Adrenals

As you can see from the chart below, the adrenals not only produce our reproductive hormones– estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone– but also the anti-aging hormone DHEA. When your body is under stress and needs more cortisol, the body has to direct more of its resources (pregnenolone and progesterone) to make that cortisol, leaving less to fill these other needs. (The adrenals also produce aldosterone which regulates blood pressure, sodium, and potassium.)

adrenals1

Importantly, the adrenals need cholesterol to make these hormones. So, please do not be so quick to reduce ‘high’ cholesterol levels, but do work towards reducing stress so your body can keep these hormones in balance.

The constant production of cortisol and adrenaline at the expense of other important hormones keeps us in that catabolic state which affects our overall health. Under chronic stress we age faster and our bodies wear down and deteriorate faster.  When we manage our stress, and aren’t over-producing cortisol and adrenaline, we allow our body to make DHEA, testosterone and the other growth hormones that keep us healthy and allow the body to repair and rebuild.

To order my handouts on Colon or Prostate Cancer or on Multiple Myeloma, please follow the instructions on my Contact Page.

Elyn

~~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 better, healthier, non-toxic choices. She emphasizes the critical nature of addressing the root cause of cancer and not just its presenting symptoms (such as the tumor). 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 was creator and host of the Survive and Live Well Radio Show on the Cancer Support Network. Elyn is on the Medical Advisory Board for BeatCancer.Org and is on the Advisory Board to the Radical Remission Project. Elyn was the Executive Director of the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation. Contact Elyn via her website, www.elynjacobs.com. Elyn offers consults via Skype, phone or in person.

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Natural Alternatives to Hormone Therapy for Breast Cancer

In Alternative Cancer Therapies, Alternatives to Hormone Therapy for Breast Cancer, Alternatives to Tamoxifen, Anticancer foods, foods for colon cancer, foods for breast cancer, Breast Cancer, foods that target cancer stem cells, Healing Cancer Naturally, Hormone Balance, Natural Alternatives to Aromatase Inhibitors, Tamoxifen on April 14, 2017 at 9:29 am

Many women choose to skip hormone therapy for breast cancer in favor of natural alternatives. This is because many don’t believe that tamoxifen, for example, is actually the wonder drug it is claimed to be. Others are terrified about the harm that this drug  (and others) can do, and do not feel the purported benefits justify the risks. Importantly, many women have come to realize that the statistics provided just don’t add up.

Tamoxifen vs. Flaxseed

Tamoxifen vs. Nature, the Choice is Yours

The reality of the small absolute percentages is something to keep in mind when your oncologist is spewing statistics.  It’s frightening enough to be told you have breast cancer without having statistics thrown at us that are taken out of context. A statistic that is often quote to women advised to take tamoxifen is that it will cut their recurrence risk in half. In reality, that half may only represent a single digit decrease.  For some excellent articles on this please see the resource section below. It is also important to know that many women who take tamoxifen have recurrences anyway, and also that there are indeed significant risks to taking this drug.

 Progesterone and the Hormonal Dance

When estrogen is too high and progesterone is too low, we have a condition known as estrogen dominance.  When estrogen dominates, we have an increased risk of breast cancer. However, we need estrogen, so the goal should not be to block it (with aromatase inhibitors), but rather to reduce it (if necessary) while increasing progesterone. Importantly, very few doctors actually test hormone levels before ordering tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors.

Unfortunately, most women are deficient in progesterone. Stress is the number one reason for reduced progesterone. When we are stressed, adrenaline and cortisol rise and progesterone levels fall. This is because under stress, the body will always utilize the available pregnenolone to produce cortisol instead of progesterone.  One of the other main reasons for progesterone deficiency is the blocking of ovulation, which is done with oral contraceptives. Oral birth control pills suppress a woman’s own production of progesterone, which could result in a lifetime of progesterone deficiency. This topic will be explained further in my next post.

Making Progesterone…

The body uses cholesterol to make progesterone. In short, cholesterol makes the hormone pregnenolone, which is then converted into progesterone. (Pregnenolone is also the precursor for other hormones such as estrogen, cortisol, and testosterone). However, the body only makes so much pregnenolone, and the other hormones compete for this.

Many natural substances will help reduce estrogen dominance by managing estrogen and boosting progesterone levels. While no foods contain progesterone, certain micro-nutrients in them can help boost levels. For a more complete list, see below, but consider foods rich in zinc, magnesium, vitamin C, B6, and sulfur.

Sulfur-rich cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, cauliflower, etc.) are rich in glucosinolates, which activate phase 2 detoxifications in the liver. This helps to remove estrogen from the body and prevents it from circulating too long, keeping estrogen levels high. The sulfur helps boost progesterone levels.  For more information on the anti-cancer power of crucifers, please Click Here.

For information on reducing estrogen levels, please refer to your Estrogen and Detoxification Handouts.  If you are not currently a client of mine, you can request these tools via my Contact Page.

Many women are under the impression that progesterone supports the growth of breast cancer.  However, while synthetic progesterone does, in its natural form it is highly protective. For an in-depth discussion on this, please Click Here.

Recap of Natural Alternatives:

There are many things involved with ‘natural alternatives’. But again, one of the most important things with regards to estrogen is to raise progesterone (after all, we need estrogen for bone and heart health and over a hundred other necessary functions).  Below are some suggestions. Many of these things have already been recommended to you.  For more detail, please refer to your Estrogen and Detoxification Handouts as well as your overall protocol.

Try to include some of these items daily as well as throughout the day: (For supplement brand recommendations, please go to my Shop Page.  You should be able to find most items locally, but if not, there are links to Amazon.

  • Cruciferous vegetables and DIM—be sure you have adequate iodine in your diet as DIM and crucifers inhibit the uptake of iodine by the thyroid gland. For more detail on the importance of iodine, please refer to your Estrogen Handout.
  • Consume apples, onions, garlic, green tea, and other quercetin rich foods
  • Eat berries and pomegranate
  • Resveratrol –this is best gotten from red grapes and other foods, but fine to supplement if you prefer (do not take supplemental resveratrol with Salvestrols)
  • Herbs (fresh, dried, or essential oils) such as sage, rosemary, ginger, curcumin, thyme, basil, and ashwaganda
  • EFA’s from omega 3 fatty acids (please use caution with fish oil supplements as they can be toxic)
  • Licorice root –licorice root can lower estrogen while at the same time raising progesterone
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols or eat vitamin E-rich foods, such as nuts)
  • Selenium
  • Magnesium –reduces stress reactions and breaks down estrogen metabolites, reducing estrogen dominance
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B6 (combats stress and helps the liver break down estrogen, reducing estrogen dominance)
  • Zeolites (for a discussion on this, please see my Shop Page)
  • Zinc
  • L-Arginine
  • Chinese Herbal Medicine
  • Healthy cholesterol (needed to make pregnenolone) from coconut oil, olive oil, eggs, avocado, and olives
  • Fiber-rich foods such as flax seed, quinoa, oats, and millet (see below for more on flax–just be sure to grind this fresh daily)

You will also want to make sure that your liver and gut are functionally efficiently as estrogen is metabolized in the liver and excreted out of the bowel. By enhancing liver function, more estrogen is broken down in the body, reducing the overall estrogen load. Nutrients derived from cruciferous vegetables help with the detoxification of estrogen trough the liver (see more below).

When the liver and colon have become sluggish due to low thyroid function, stress, and an overburden of toxins, the body cannot break down and remove excess estrogen adequately from the system. The excess unbalanced estrogen gets stored in the fat cells of breast tissues when it is not properly eliminated. Supporting the liver with detoxifying foods such as cruciferous vegetables (broccoli sprouts, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts), onions, whey powder, and supplements such as N-acetylcysteine (NAC), Milk Thistle, and SAMe can be very helpful.

Lifestyle Choices for Balancing Hormones and Inhibiting Cancer

Hormones become out of balance when we subject our bodies to a lifestyle that includes refined and processed foods, inadequate exercise, poor quality sleep, and exposure to xenoestrogens.  It is important to remember that contrary to what you may have been told, breast cancer (and other hormonal cancers) are not just about estrogen. Below are some suggestions to support hormone homeostasis as well as inhibit the development or progression of cancer.

  • Consume phytoestrogens -phytoestrogens act more like estrogen blockers than like estrogen; they modulate the production, availability, and action of hormones and slow down cell division. In fact, phytoestrogens are not really estrogens; they are anti-estrogens that reduce estrogen activity in the body. Plant estrogens protect us from the stronger estrogens our bodies produce as well as the xenoestrogens (chemical estrogen)  found in environmental chemicals, such as BPA and chemicals in personal care products. Phytoestrogens actually contain compounds that have been shown to reduce the growth and spread of cancer cells. Soy and flax are excellent sources of phytoestrogens.
  • Soy blocks cancer-promoting estrogens from attaching to the estrogen receptors on breast cells. It has also been shown to stop tumor growth, prevent metastasis, and shut off new blood vessels in growing tumors. Fermented soy, such as tempeh and miso are preferred over unfermented versions such as tofu as the fermentation process increases free radical scavenging activity and removes the nutrient blocking effect that soy can have—the phytic acid in unfermented soy can block absorption of key minerals such as magnesium and zinc. Soy in a highly-processed form (like soy protein isolate, soy protein concentrate, soy cheese) should be avoided. Due to the fact that most soy is genetically altered, it is highly recommended to consume only organic. (I do take issue with tempeh as it is commonly ‘shrink-wrapped’ in plastic.)
  •  Flaxseed modulates the production, availability, and action of hormones—and does so much more. The lignans in flax lower the production of estrogen by blocking the aromatase enzyme (similar to aromatase inhibitors) and block the estrogen receptors (similar to Tamoxifen). When lignans are consumed, intestinal bacteria convert them into enterolactone and enterodiol, weak estrogens. They attach to estrogen receptors, stimulate them weakly and block estrogen binding. This prevents estradiol or estrone from attaching to the estrogen receptors and strongly stimulating them, and includes not just the estrogen we produce, but also environmental toxins, thus making breast tissue more resistant to these environmental toxins. One long-term study reported that relatively high circulating enterolactone levels are associated with lower risk of death after an early-stage breast cancer diagnosis. A 2003 study conducted by Lilian Thompson PhD showed that daily consumption of ground flax seed significantly reduced breast cancer tumor size. Please read my articles — Flaxseed: Better Than Tamoxifen and Demystifying Flaxseed and Estrogen.
  • Eat good food—a diet rich in whole, primarily plant-based foods will support the adrenals and pretty much every function of the body.
  • Exercise—it reduces stress and positively effects gene expression; helps to balance hormones.
  • Clean out the closets—replace health, home and beauty products with non-toxic alternatives. A quick visit to the Environmental Working Group website will enable you to evaluate the products you use.
  • REDUCE STRESS—stress challenges adrenal function and makes direct physiological changes to DNA, not to mention that it significantly raises estrogen levels and depletes progesterone. Engage in yoga, meditation, and other mind-body therapies such as Psychotherapy, EFT, EMDR, the Emotion Code, and others that release negative emotions and past traumas.
  • Drink clean liquids. Choose filtered water (remove chlorine, fluoride, and other toxins in tap water).
  • Avoid alcohol, but if you do drink wine, make it organic–you wouldn’t eat conventional grapes, so don’t drink conventional wine. And, while red wine is somewhat protective against breast cancer as its resveratrol and other anti-cancer compounds help to metabolize estrogen and activate the P53 gene, don’t go overboard.  Your liver has to process that alcohol and if you drink too much, it won’t be able to metabolize estrogen efficiently. For more on the pros and cons of alcohol, please Click Here.
  • Get more sleep—lack of sleep disturbs hormone balance. Try to get to sleep by 10 pm as melatonin production peaks between 10 pm and 2 am. Melatonin stimulates tumor-suppressor genes and counteracts the effects of aggressive estrogens, including xenoestrogens. Cell phone EMF exposure can suppress the production of melatonin—limit use before bed (unplug 1-2 hours before going to bed) and do not keep them near your bed, and preferably out of your room.
  • Go with your gut, take a probiotic. Probiotics support gut bacteria and improve digestion, helping to prevent constipation. This is important because when stool remains in the bowel for extended periods of time, excess estrogen is re-absorbed and re-circulated into the bloodstream. Plus, immune function depends on healthy gut micro flora—and gut flora effects cancer genes too!
  • Consume GLA (gamma-linoleic acid), which is found in evening primrose oil and in hemp seeds. Research shows that this type of omega-6 may support healthy progesterone levels.
  • Eat turmeric or take supplements as turmeric effects estrogen receptor positive cancer cells.
  • Eat zinc-rich foods such as pastured eggs and meats and sprouted seeds. Shellfish such as oysters are abundant in zinc but should be eaten only in moderation.
  • Eat onions, garlic, chives, and scallions which are rich in sulfur-containing amino acids and the powerful anti-oxidant quercetin that help the liver detoxify at a higher level and reduce the production of estrogen.
  • avocado kale salad

    Avocado Kale Salad with Tomatoes and Spro

    Eat more vegetables. Aim for 10-15 servings a day (at least one pound daily). This will help excrete estrogen so it doesn’t keep circulating in the body. Also, aim for 35-45 grams of fiber per day, achieving this goal slowly to avoid gas or bloating. This will also help to keep weight in check—overweight or obese people tend to have higher circulating estrogen. Combining various vegetables in one meal can be especially helpful. For information on food synergy, please Click Here.

  • Eat raw carrots– When carrots are well chewed or grated, they help to stimulate the intestines and reduce the re-absorption of estrogen and the absorption of bacterial carrottoxins. The fiber in raw carrots binds to excess estrogen, helping to safely remove it from the body.
  • Essential oils can also be quite helpful in the management of estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer. Essential oils prevent angiogenesis, stop metastatic growth, increase apoptosis, and do so much more. Once you get started with essential oils, you will find that most, if not all, contain powerful anti-cancer properties, including the balancing of hormones.
    • Clove oil –Research has revealed that the eugenol in clove not only inhibits cancer growth and promotes apoptosis (cancer cell death), but it also acts as an antagonist to estrogen.
    • Lemon and other citrus oils can help reduce circulating estrogen. [On a side note, the D-Limonene in lemon oil has many other impressive anti-cancer abilities: it inhibits cellular proliferation and tumor growth, promotes apoptosis, supports immune function, and stimulates the liver’s detoxifying systems– and so much more].
    • Thyme oil supports progesterone levels. Evening primrose oil and thyme together are very beneficial to help balance levels of progesterone.
    • Clary Sage oil helps balance estrogen levels whether you have too much or too little estrogen. You can use it with a carrier oil on your skin or hair. It also initiates apoptosis (programmed cell death). Clary sage also contains phytoestrogens which, like flaxseed, can block estrogen receptors. I suggest you rub a few drops into the soles of your feet before bed. This will help to balance your hormones as well as promote healthy sleep.
    • Myrrh and fennel are strong phytoestrogens. Myrrh clears excess estrogen and detoxifies the liver.
    • Sandalwood stops DNA from repairing itself (cancer DNA). Note: Cedarwood can be just as effective and is cheaper.
    • Mint is effective against numerous types of cancer, such as acute T-cell leukemia, brain tumors, prostate, breast, cervical, bladder, colorectal and pancreatic cancers.

ej pink two

Lastly, and I cannot stress this enough — breast cancer is NOT just about estrogen.  Cancer is a symptom of a complex problem. It is a multi-factorial situation that presents to reveal dis-ease within the mind, body, and soul.  Therefore, in order to heal, one must correct the issues that caused the symptom we know as cancer.

Please also read:

https://elynjacobs.com/2016/10/26/natural-alternatives-to-aromatase-inhibitors-2/

https://elynjacobs.com/2012/01/15/natural-alternatives-to-tamoxifen/

Resources: Understanding Statistics

http://cancercompassalternateroute.com/breast-health/tamoxifen-and-the-manipulation-of-statistics/

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/tamoxifen-praised-life-saving-still-causing-cancer

https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/truth-about-tamoxifen-part-1/

Tamoxifen: What Difference Does It Really Make? 

Elyn

~~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 better, healthier, non-toxic choices. She emphasizes the critical nature of addressing the root cause of cancer and not just its presenting symptoms (such as the tumor). 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 was creator and host of the Survive and Live Well Radio Show on the Cancer Support Network. Elyn is on the Medical Advisory Board for BeatCancer.Org and is on the Advisory Board to the Radical Remission Project. Elyn was the Executive Director of the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation. Contact Elyn via her website, www.elynjacobs.com. Elyn offers consults via Skype, phone or in person.

Follow Elyn on Facebook
Follow Elyn on LinkedIn

Natural Alternatives to Aromatase Inhibitors

In Alternative Cancer Therapies, Alternatives to Hormone Therapy for Breast Cancer, Alternatives to Tamoxifen, Natural Alternatives to Aromatase Inhibitors, Tamoxifen, Uncategorized on October 26, 2016 at 12:30 pm

Unfortunately, many oncologists are under the misbelief that estrogen is the enemy, and often misrepresent estrogen as the root cause of one’s cancer. Perhaps your doctor recommended an aromatase inhibitor to get rid of this ‘dangerous’ estrogen. And most likely if you are reading this post it is because you are concerned about the side effects or the resulting effects of these drugs. Or maybe you started on one, feel terrible and are seeking alternatives. Here is what you need to know before you get led down that ‘primrose path’.

The Role of Aromatase Inhibitors

Aromatase inhibitors drugs (AIs) such as Fermara, Aromasin and Arimidex, stop the production of estrogen in postmenopausal women. More specifically, they block the enzyme aromatase, the enzyme responsible for the biosynthesis and balance of estrogens.

However, while AIs have been found to prevent some breast cancer recurrences, they have not been found to actually prolong life (meaning you don’t die of the breast cancer, but rather from aromatase inhibitor use). This is due to the resulting effects—as I like to call them—particularly heart damage. They also reduce quality of life due to side effects such as the never ending flu symptoms, hair thinning and loss, vaginal bleeding, skin rashes, joint pain, stiffness and swelling (severe enough to require pain medication), hot flashes and night sweats, vaginal dryness, nausea, and headaches. Women may also feel tired and lethargic while on the drug, experience breathing difficulties, depression, and mood swings, tightness in the chest, and because of the loss of the estrogen, bone thinning (think broken bones). Not to mention that breast cancers eventually develop resistance to drug therapies.

Just because your doctor prescribed an AI, doesn’t mean that it is right for you. Making the right decision for you, for your body, is bigger than just accepting doctor’s orders. Masking a problem with an aromatase inhibitor is not the same thing as correcting the problem. And even if reducing aromatase might be helpful for you, yes, there is a better way.

Your doctor just might need to better understand the role of hormones in breast cancer. While oncologists know how estrogen receptors fuel the growth of cancer cells, they seem to know a lot less about what progesterone receptors do in those same cells.

The Scoop on Estrogen  

It is time to set things straight. We need estrogen for aiding in the prevention of heart disease and for strong, healthy bones–estrogen is essential to the health of all parts of your body, from your eyes to your heart to your brain to everywhere else. We can we live with our estrogen, we need it; in fact, we can’t live without it. However, estrogen must be balanced by progesterone, which will be discussed below.

Hormonal imbalances have reached epidemic proportions in most developed countries over the last several decades. Due to poor diets, lack of exercise, a rise in obesity levels, the widespread use of hormone-altering chemicals, and other factors, many women suffer from chronically higher than normal estrogen levels and much lower than normal progesterone levels. Age plays a role as well, as after the age of 45 or so, estrogen levels decline, but progesterone plummet even more so. In other words, many women are in chronic states of estrogen dominance. This is one of the key reasons why breast cancer rates are as high as they are.

You see, while certain estrogens can stimulate cancer cell proliferation, progesterone inhibits this from happening. Progesterone acts as an antagonist to estrogen. When there is unopposed estrogen because of a deficiency in progesterone, there is an increased risk of developing cancer. When progesterone is raised to healthy levels relative to estrogen, it turns on genes that can prevent breast cancer from occurring and reduces the size of existing tumors.

So here is what your doctor needs to know. When adequate progesterone is present, the progesterone receptors attach themselves to the estrogen receptors. Once this happens, the estrogen receptors stop turning on genes that promote the growth of the cancer cells. Instead, they turn on genes that promote the death of cancer cells (known as apoptosis) and the growth of healthy, normal cells. In other words, the progesterone receptors activate genes such as p53 that promote apoptosis. Apoptosis enables the body to “kill off” many cancer cells before they develop into tumors. On the other hand, the estrogen receptors directly bind and inactivate p53, which otherwise would restrain the replication of damaged cells. The P53 gene is the primary gene that protects men from prostate cancer and women from breast cancer. So naturally we want to support the p53 gene (which is really the P53 protein).  You can read more about how to support the P53 gene in my Estrogen Handout

It is important to note that progesterone also helps to offset xenoestrogens (chemical estrogens which are foreign to the body) which are difficult for the body to detoxify.

However, it is very important to understand that estrogen, in general DOES NOT CAUSE BREAST CANCER. Cancer is a multifactorial disease– genetics, lifestyle factors, infection, and especially environmental and emotional toxins all play a role. But since we cannot efficiently metabolize xenoestrogens and because of the overall estrogen dominance, inhibiting aromatase is often a good idea. It may not be that you have too much estrogen or that you need to block the estrogen receptors, it could just that you don’t have enough progesterone.

For a more in-depth discussion on how estrogen and progesterone affect the expression of tumor suppressor genes and what you can do to make the expression favorable, please request my Estrogen and Detoxification Handouts.

Is There a Natural Alternative to Aromatase Inhibitors?

Progesterone’s opposition to the effects of estrogen is so basic, that I fail to see how oncologists do not see progesterone as being the ultimate antiestrogen. Given that progesterone stops cell division by opposing the effects of estrogen, and given that it is not in our best interest to completely block estrogen, the real goal of the oncologist should be to reduce estrogen while increasing progesterone.

 While there is no one magic pill for this, a comprehensive strategy will help to support the tumor suppressor genes by supporting the production of progesterone and inhibiting the estrogen-fueled proliferation of cancer cells.  What you eat, do, and think all play a significant role.

  • Eat good food—a diet rich in whole, primarily plant-based foods will support the adrenals and pretty much every function of the body.
  • Consume button mushrooms, rosemary, celery, parsley, pumpkin seeds, raw whole carrots, citrus and other essential oils, oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage, turmeric, onions, garlic, chives, and scallions which inhibit estrogen and boost progesterone levels.
  • Consume phytoestrogens -phytoestrogens act more like estrogen blockers than like estrogen; they modulate the production, availability, and action of hormones and slow down cell division. Flaxseed is especially important. Flaxseed: Better Than Tamoxifen and Demystifying Flaxseed and Estrogen.
  • Consume cruciferous vegetables as nutrients derived from them help with the detoxification of estrogen trough the liver. Note that DIM and raw crucifers can inhibit iodine and the thyroid. Estrogen also inhibits the absorption of iodine and impacts thyroid levels. Have your iodine and thyroid levels checked and supplement with iodine if necessary.
  • Eat more vegetables. Aim for 15 servings a day (at least one pound daily). This will help excrete estrogen so it doesn’t keep circulating in the body.
  • Anti-inflammatory foods that are rich in saturated and omega-3 fatty acids such as 100% organic, grass-fed beef & dairy, organic poultry, wild-caught Salmon and wild game are anti-estrogenic. Plant based fats such as avocados, coconut oil and olive oil are all powerful anti-estrogenic superfoods.
  •  Take supplements such as DIM, zinc, Vitex Fruit (Chaste Tree), grape seed extract, magnesium, zinc, ginko biloba,vitamin E, and iodine.
  • Support liver function with milk thistle and other natural detoxifiers. Estrogen is metabolized in the liver. Fortifying the liver will help speed up estrogen clearance from the body. Estrogen that is not metabolized by the liver will continue to circulate, contributing to estrogen dominance.
  • If you are overweight, lose weight. Fat cells increase estrogen production. Increased weight often means insulin resistance and this is a common cause of high estrogen levels.
  • Exercise—it helps reduce stress and positively effects gene expression, and helps to balance hormones.
  • Clean out the closets—replace health, home and beauty products with non-toxic alternatives. A quick visit to the Environmental Working Group website will enable you to evaluate the products you use.
  • REDUCE STRESS—stress challenges adrenal function and makes direct physiological changes to DNA, not to mention that it significantly raises estrogen levels and depletes progesterone.
  • Avoid alcohol, but if you do drink wine, make it organic–you wouldn’t eat conventional grapes, so don’t drink conventional wine.
  • Get more sleep—lack of sleep disturbs hormone balance.
  • Go with your gut, take a probiotic. Probiotics support gut bacteria and improve digestion, helping to prevent constipation. This is important because when the stool remains in the bowel for extended periods of time, excess estrogen is re-absorbed and re-circulated into the bloodstream.

Estrogen is metabolized in the liver. Fortifying the liver will help speed up estrogen clearance from the body. Estrogen that is not metabolized by the liver will continue to circulate, contributing to estrogen dominance and raising the risk of hormonal cancers. Studies show that women with genetically impaired estrogen metabolism function may have a higher risk of breast cancer and may benefit from increased detoxification.

For more detailed information on aromatase inhibitors, natural alternatives to Tamoxifen, and detoxification strategies please request my Estrogen and Detoxification Handouts.

Read also Natural Alternatives to Tamoxifen 

Read 12 Things a Cancer Doctor Should Never Say, my most recent article on The Truth About Cancer website. Look for my upcoming article Emotional Trauma and Cancer: The Missing Link, in their October newsletter.

Read Mushrooms as well as the link in that post.

Note: This article is an updated version of my 2012 article.

This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, cure, prevent or diagnose any diseases or conditions. The information in this post does not represent medical advice, and I encourage you to discuss this information with your integrative oncologist or naturopathic doctor. Always consult with a medical doctor before you consider any prescription or over the counter drug or herb.

Found this article helpful?  Please let me know.

 

Elyn
~~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 better, healthier, non-toxic choices. She emphasizes the critical nature of addressing the root cause of cancer and not just its presenting symptoms (such as the tumor). Elyn specializes in understanding the role of estrogen in breast cancer and debunks the myths associated. She brings a plethora of knowledge to her practice and will help you think outside the box so you can incorporate every lifeline you may need for long term survival. Elyn is a Contributing Editor for The Truth About Cancer and was creator and host of the Survive and Live Well Radio Show on the Cancer Support Network. She is on the Medical Advisory Board for BeatCancer.Org and is on the Advisory Board to the Radical Remission Project. Elyn was the former Executive Director of the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation. Contact Elyn via her website. Elyn offers consults via Skype, phone or in person.

 

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Radical Remission Online Healing Course

In Alternative Cancer Therapies, Alternatives to Tamoxifen, Cancer, Healing Cancer Naturally, Tamoxifen, Uncategorized on March 19, 2016 at 8:57 am

My colleague Kelly Turner PhD is offering a new online course, “Radical Remission: Applying the 9 Healing Factors Into Your Own Life”.  This is an opportunity you will not want to miss.

CourseAd_SaleEndsFriV2

Book now! It’s 20% off only until April 1st, and my followers will get an extra 10% off if they sign up with this link:  I encourage you to check it out! The regular course price is $245, but if you book by April 1st, the price is only $175.

This discount offer has expired, but the course is still available. 

You may also want to read Dr Turner’s book, Turner_RadicalRemRadical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds.  This is a much overdue book, one that brings awareness and validity to the true extent of radical remissions—remission achieved without the use of conventional medicine or even after conventional medicine has failed. Turner shows that there really is hope, even in situations that seem hopeless.  You will learn that there are options well beyond the ‘white coat’, and that the possibilities for healing are more abundant than we have been told.   I love that Turner explains that there are a vast variety of paths to wellness. She also lists the 9 commonalities that people have used to heal from their cancer–factors such as diet, stress, emotions, spirituality, and others that profoundly affect our health and well-being.  Listen to Dr Turner on my radio show.

 

View my video with Dr Turner : Natural Alternatives to Tamoxifen 

Elyn

~~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 better, healthier, non-toxic choices. She emphasizes the critical nature of addressing the root cause of cancer and not just its presenting symptoms (such as the tumor). Elyn specializes in understanding the role of estrogen in breast cancer and debunks the myths associated. She brings a plethora of knowledge to her practice and will help you think outside the box so you can incorporate every lifeline you may need for long term survival. Elyn is a Contributing Editor for The Truth About Cancer and was creator and host of the Survive and Live Well Radio Show on the Cancer Support Network. She is on the Medical Advisory Board for BeatCancer.Org and is on the Advisory Board to the Radical Remission Project. Contact Elyn via her website, www.elynjacobs.com. Elyn offers consults via Skype, phone or in person.

Flaxseed: Better Than Tamoxifen for Breast Cancer

In Alternative Cancer Therapies, Alternatives to Tamoxifen, Breast Cancer, Cancer, Hormone Balance, Tamoxifen, Uncategorized on February 28, 2016 at 5:00 pm

Phytoestrogens such as flax seed are cancer-preventive, not causative. Regular consumption of flax seed prevents breast cancer, reduces tumor growth, inhibits the progression of the disease, and dramatically increases survival time.

Your Doctor is Wrong

Many doctors tell their patients to avoid flaxseed as they believe that phytoestrogens are bad for women with breast cancer. The ‘logic’ behind the notion that flax is a weak estrogen and therefore could potentially stimulate hormone dependent cancers is simply, well, not logical. On the contrary, studies have found that the more flaxseed a woman eats, the less likely she will get breast cancer. If she has already been diagnosed, flaxseed has the potential to reduce the growth and invasiveness of her cancer.

While it is true that a high concentration of plasma estrogen is associated with breast cancer, the lignans in flaxseed actually help reduce estrogen’s effects. Phytoestrogens compete with natural estrogen for binding to the receptors on breast cells, yet they exert much milder action than the body’s own estrogen. While the chemotherapy drug tamoxifen also blocks estrogen receptors, it comes with a host of dangerous side effects.

flax vs tamoxifenOne of the other ways the tamoxifen works is by starving the tumor of its blood supply. However, once again, researchers have found that flaxseed provides the same response.

A landmark study led by lignin expert Dr Lilian Thompson, a professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto, showed that just two tablespoons (25 grams) of flaxseed daily can significantly reduce tumor growth. The researchers further concluded that the effect of flaxseed on cancerous cells was comparable to that of tamoxifen, sans the side effects.

In this infamous study, women with newly diagnosed breast cancer were given either a muffin laden with 25 grams of flaxseed  or a placebo muffin that did not contain flax. The researchers found that in those participants who had eaten the flax muffin there was a 34% reduction of the Ki-67 index expression (a cellular marker for proliferation) a 71% decrease in Her2/Neu expression (Her2/neu is a genetic marker that predicts the aggressiveness of the cancer) and a 30.7% increase in apoptosis (cell death).  Mighty impressive results.

When the tumors were removed, the researchers found that the women who had eaten the flax seed muffins had slower-growing tumors than the others. And what is really cool is that the researchers found that the effect of  flax on the cancerous cells was comparable with that seen using chemotherapy (tamoxifen).

Flaxseed inhibits breast cancer whether the tumor is estrogen receptor positive or negative, and the response is dose-dependent. The more flax you consume, the more effective it will be. In fact, one study determined that women who eat the most flax reduce their risk of developing breast cancer by a whopping 62 percent!

 Key Benefits of Flaxseed

  • Decreases cell proliferation rates
  • Significantly reduces tumor growth
  • Decreases angiogenesis and increases apoptosis (which seem to account for the decreased tumor growth)
  • Influences ER-negative and ER-positive tumors by decreasing insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), HER2 and the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) which supports angiogenesis
  • Reduces metastasis of ER-negative breast tumors
  • ALA from flaxseed reduces growth of breast cancer, including ER-negative and triple-negative breast cancer
  • Rich in Omega 3’s with have been found to positively influence the tumor suppressor genes—BRCA. When properly functioning, these genes prevent tumor growth by repairing DNA
  • Radio-protective (consuming flax can help prevent the body from damaging mammograms, radio-therapy, CT and PET scans

I encourage you to read my post Demystifying Flaxseed and Estrogen for more on flaxseed and breast cancer.

For an excellent discussion on the distortion of the efficacy of tamoxifen, please read Tamoxifen; the Manipulation of Statistics and Natural Solutions to Balance the Hormones.

Some of the studies suggest two tablespoons daily is enough, but others recommend slightly more than three.  Interestingly, the summer before my re-diagnosis, I  cut back on consumption.  This past summer, however, I not only consumed flax — I consumed a great deal of it.  Most days I had 5-8 tablespoons.  I hadn’t originally thought about this when I was considering what, of all the things that I did, turned my cancer around.  Now that I look back, it could very well be that flax was a key player.

So how exactly did I end up eating so much flaxseed?  If you remember my post on Food Fatigue, I suddenly had a hankering for pizza, made with a garbanzo bean crust as I had given up wheat. It wasn’t long before I used that crust to make ‘toast’ to go with my eggs, and before long, I modified that crust to be mostly flax (and some chia seeds too!). Since then I have come up with some amazing recipes, so look for Part II for those.

Clearly oncologists should be advising their patients to eat copious amounts of dietary flax.  I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice, but you might want to consider including flax in your daily diet. Flaxseed is only one of the components of an anti-cancer, estrogen management protocol, but it is an important one.flax grinder

Remember that flaxseed oxidizes quickly, turning it rancid.  To ensure the stability and nutritional value of flax, please grind the seeds just prior to use. This can be easily done in a simple coffee grinder.

If you are interested in learning about natural alternatives to tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors, please contact me for more information.

Click here for Recipes

More Studies and Posts on Flaxseed:

http://nutritionfacts.org/video/flaxseeds-breast-cancer-survival-epidemiological-evidence/

http://nutritionfacts.org/video/flaxseeds-breast-cancer-survival-clinical-evidence/

http://www.denvernaturopathic.com/news/flaxseeds.html#_edn12

http://carcin.oxfordjournals.org/content/17/6/1373.short

Resources

http://clincancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/11/10/3828.full.html

http://www.denvernaturopathic.com/news/flaxseeds.html

http://preventcancer.aicr.org/new/docs/pdf/AICR-InDepth-Issue-01-Flaxseed-and-Breast-Cancer.pdf

http://cancercompassalternateroute.com/breast-health/tamoxifen-and-the-manipulation-of-statistics/

http://clincancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/11/10/3828

Nothing in this post is intended to be medical advice, nor is it a replacement for medical advice. This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, cure, prevent or diagnose any diseases or conditions. Always consult with your medical team before making treatment choices.

Elyn

~~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 better, healthier, non-toxic choices. She emphasizes the critical nature of addressing the root cause of cancer and not just its presenting symptoms (such as the tumor). Elyn specializes in understanding the role of estrogen in breast cancer and debunks the myths associated. She brings a plethora of knowledge to her practice and will help you think outside the box so you can incorporate every lifeline you may need for long term survival. Contact Elyn via her website, www.elynjacobs.com. By doing so you can ascertain exactly how she is able to assist you as you optimize your health. Elyn offers consults via Skype, phone or in person.

Recommended Reading List for People with Breast Cancer

In Alternative Cancer Therapies, Alternatives Cancer Treatment, Alternatives to Tamoxifen, Breast Cancer, Healing Cancer Naturally, Hormone Balance, Tamoxifen, Uncategorized on September 26, 2014 at 9:15 am

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and because I strive to spread the word that there are many options, but no one magic bullet for cancer, I would like to share some books that will empower you to be an active participant in your healing.  No one treatment is right for all, and there are options well beyond what we are hearing from our doctors. There is no ‘best’ diet; it is not a question of trying to follow some ideal way of living based on other people’s experiences or insistence.  Each of us is our own unique person, with our very own DNA, mutations, illnesses and restrictions, therefore each of us must find our own solution—a lifestyle and protocol that works for us. We each had our own path to cancer and therefore need our own path to wellness. While you will find that there are many common factors empowered patients have used to recover from cancer, you will find that the ‘answers’ to cancer vary tremendously. The goal is to find a protocol that gives you confidence that you will beat your cancer, survive and live well.

Breast cancer booksThe following books are loaded with useful information and will aid you in your healing:

Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds, by Dr Kelly Turner, PhD.  This is a much overdue book, one that brings awareness and validity to the true extent of radical remissions—remission achieved without the use of conventional medicine or even after conventional medicine has failed. Turner shows that there really is hope, even in situations that seem hopeless.  You will learn that there are options well beyond the ‘white coat’, and that the possibilities for healing are more abundant than we have been told.    I love that Turner explains that there are a vast variety of paths to wellness. She also lists the 9 commonalities that people have used to heal from their cancer–factors such as diet, stress, emotions, spirituality, and others that profoundly affect our health and well-being.  Listen to Dr Turner on my radio show.

Not surprising, my all-time most popular post is the one I wrote a few years ago on Natural Alternatives to Tamoxifen—and there is a reason for this—people want safer options. Never overlook the power of nature’s medicine chest.  You may also want to view my discussion on natural alternatives with Dr Kelly Turner: 

In Waking the Warrior Goddess, Third Edition: Dr. Christine Horner’s Program to Protect Against & Fight Breast Cancer, Dr Horner explores the various foods, supplements and health promoting strategies that can help women to successfully treat and prevent breast cancer. This is an excellent resource book that includes the best explanations of phytoestrogens I have ever read.  Dr Horner explains how many natural substances have been proven to be as effective as or even more effective than pharmaceuticals such as aromatase inhibitors.  Listen to Dr Horner on my radio show–Neglected Breast Cancer Discoveries that Could Save Your Life.

The Whole-Food Guide for Breast Cancer Survivors: A Nutritional Approach to Preventing Recurrence , by Helayne Waldman and Edward Bauman, is an excellent guide for anyone seeking to understand the effect of nutritional and environmental factors on our risk for cancer and its recurrence.  In this book you will learn how to incorporate cancer-fighting foods into your diet, clean up your self-care products, nourish your immune system, detoxify your body, and more. After I first heard Helayne speak at a conference, I immediately purchased this book–and it is fantastic. Listen to Helayne on my show: Modulating Hormones with Diet and Supplements.

More Favorites:

Anticancer-a New Way of Life

Life Over Cancer: The Block Center Program for Integrative Cancer Treatment

The Iodine Crisis: What You Don’t Know About Iodine Can Wreck Your Life

The Etiology of Breast Cancer: Endogenous and Exogenous Causes

The Gene Therapy Plan: Taking Control of Your Genetic Destiny with Diet and Lifestyle

Miracle Survivors: Beating the Odds of Incurable Cancer

For more amazing books, please visit my Shop page

Click here for more Survive and Live Well Radio Show replays.

Breast Cancer Tip: Have you tried rebounding? Rebounding benefits lymphatic circulation by stimulating the millions of one-way valves in the lymphatic system. This benefits the body’s immune capacity for fighting current disease, destroying cancer cells, eliminating antigens and preventing future illness. Rebounding also circulates more oxygen to the tissues (cancer hates oxygen), boosts the production of red blood cells, improves digestion and elimination, aids mental clarity, curtails fatigue and provides a host of other benefits.  Plus, it’s good exercise, fun, and doesn’t have to be expensive–I have this one and it’s only about $60: Sunny Health & Fitness 40″ Foldable Trampoline with Bar.

I honestly do not believe that there is anyone out there who is not aware of breast cancer.  We’ve all been affected in some way—mother, brother, sister, aunt, self—sadly the statistics are now that one in every three women will face breast cancer. Dedicating a month won’t change this much, but I do feel it helps people to bond, and I am sure that helps some to heal.  And while the hype for all these ‘months’ is likely generated to bring in more donations—little of which will go towards bringing us the elusive cure, my hope is that the money gets to the right organizations where it can be effective.
Elyn

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

Elyn Jacobs is a breast cancer survivor, professional cancer strategist, speaker, and the Executive Director for the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation. Elyn empowers women to choose the path for treatment that best fits their own individual needs. She is passionate about helping others move forward into a life of health and well-being. Elyn has been featured on CNN Money, Talk About Health, and Breast Cancer Answers and has written for the Pink Paper, Breast Cancer Wellness, Integrative Oncology Essentials, Surviving Beautifully, Body Local and more, and writes the Options for Life column for the Natural Healing-Natural Wellness Magazine. Elyn hosts the Survive and Live Well Radio Show on the Cancer Support Network. She is on the Medical Advisory Board for BeatCancer.Org and is on the Advisory Board to the Radical Remission Project.  Elyn lives in New York with her husband and two young boys. https://elynjacobs.com/about/

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Natural Alternatives to Tamoxifen

In Alternative Cancer Therapies, Alternatives Cancer Treatment, Alternatives to Tamoxifen, Breast Cancer, Healing Cancer Naturally, Hormone Balance, Tamoxifen, Uncategorized on January 15, 2012 at 7:39 pm

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.

View my video on Natural Alternatives to Tamoxifen—Dr Kelly Turner, PhD interviews Elyn Jacobs for The Radical Remission Project. Update added 1/19/14

You may also want to read my updated version of Natural Alternatives to Aromatase Inhibitors 

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:

https://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: https://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 or lightly cooked 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.

You may also be interested in Natural Alternatives to Aromatase Inhibitors: https://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:  https://elynjacobs.wordpress.com.