Posts Tagged ‘Estrogen and Cancer’

Could the Natural Alternative to Tamoxifen and Aromatase Inhibitors be in Your Refrigerator? Part I

In Alternative Cancer Therapies, Alternatives Cancer Treatment, Alternatives to Anti-Hormone Therapy For Breast Cancer, Alternatives to Hormone Therapy for Breast Cancer, Alternatives to Tamoxifen, Anticancer foods, foods for colon cancer, foods for breast cancer, aromatase inhibitors, Breast Cancer, Cancer, Cancer Coach, Emotional Healing, Estrogen, Estrogen and Breast Cancer, Uncategorized on November 14, 2019 at 9:59 am

Estrogen play an important role in overall health in humans—it protects your heart, lungs, eyes, brain, bones, skin, and hair, averts cognitive decline, and does so much more. Estrogen is also protective against adverse symptoms during the peri-and postmenopausal periods. But estrogens are known to stimulate cellular proliferation associated with certain cancers. Hence, if you have been diagnosed with a hormone-related cancer, your doctor may advise a synthetic selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) such as tamoxifen or a pharmaceutical aromatase inhibitor such as Femara (letrozole), Arimidex (anastrozole), or Aromasin (exemestane).

Of course, these pharmaceutical drugs come with a host of detrimental side effects. What’s a person to do?

Side Effects and Resulting Effects of Pharmaceutical Anti-Hormone Drugs

pills tamoxifenSome side effects of tamoxifen include severe muscle pain, weight gain, thickening of endometrial lining of the uterus, daytime sleepiness, nausea, edema, hot flashes, vaginal hemorrhage, increased risk of cataracts, acute glaucoma, and other eye issues. It is not recommended to take tamoxifen if you have impaired CYP2D6 enzyme, nor should you take medications that block the activity of CYP2D6, such as Benadryl, Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft (these lists are not inclusive) during treatment. Tamoxifen has been declared a human carcinogen by the WHO, NIH and other authorities.

Side effects of aromatase inhibitors include damage to the heart, never-ending flu-like symptoms, hair thinning and loss, joint pain, stiffness and swelling, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and headaches, a feeling of tiredness and lethargy, difficulty breathing, nails breaking down and peeling, memory fog, depression and mood swings, balance problems, sleep disorders, tightness of the chest, bone thinning, and more.

In the summer edition of Cure magazine, they spoke of a doctor who when asked why he didn’t tell his patient about the side effects of the prescribed hormonal therapy, replied “some women would not take the pill if they knew bout the side effects”. Incidentally, these were not listed on the medical paper that came with her bill.

Clinical trials have indicated that resistance develops with both tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors. This is another major pharmaceutical problem and cause of serious concern to clinicians and patients.

So, again what exactly is a person to do?

The easiest and most logical answer is to eat copious amounts of phytoestrogens throughout the day.

Phytoestrogens are plant-derived naturally occurring compounds that have chemical structures similar to estrogens. Phytoestrogens have been found to decrease cancer risk by inhibiting aromatase activity and CYP19 gene expression (The aromatase enzyme is a product of the CYP19A1 gene).

Aromatase plays an important role in breast cancer as it converts androgens to estrogens in many human tissues, the result of which has been known to stimulate cellular proliferation in certain cancers. In the vast majority of breast cancers, estrogen levels play a role tumor growth and depend on the activity of CYP19.

Research performed in 2015 by the Department of Physiology and Developmental Biology and The Neuroscience Center at Brigham Young University, indicates that phytoestrogens act as aromatase inhibitors by decreasing aromatase gene expression and inhibiting the aromatase enzyme. Their findings emphasize that estrogens have a significant impact on health and that phytoestrogens (being of similar structure to 17β-estradiol) have strong potential as anticancer agents.[i]

The researchers concluded that phytoestrogens not only act as SERMs (as has been previously reported and I will get into in Part II of this post), but also have the ability to alter the activity of the aromatase enzyme. They go on to remind us that the inhibition of aromatase activity and gene expression represents a key mechanism of how phytoestrogens may contribute to decreased cancer risk and recurrence.

The important difference is that phytoestrogens do not initiate the cascade of negative effects of pharmaceutical drugs and as estrogen modulators, may stave off the negative effects of declining estrogen, making them effective in more ways than one. Further, unlike drugs, they offer significant cancer-fighting abilities. For example, the apigenin in parsley is known not only for its aromatase-inhibiting abilities, but also for promoting cancer cell death, including cancer stem cells. parsley

In Part II of this post I will discuss many different phytoestrogens—all of which play a significant roll in the management of hormone-related cancers. In the meantime, a few of my favorites are flax and sesame seeds, broccoli sprouts, including the seeds (sulforaphane), parsley (apigenin), and organic whole soy.

However, as a strong reminder, estrogen is not the biggest driver of cancer, at least not your own estrogen. Emotional and environmental toxins (including xenoestrogens such as BPA and BPS) are often at the root of it all, as well as the viral factor—it is imperative that you resolve these issues as well as anything that may have contributed to your cancerous environment.

Importantly, it is not always wise or even necessary to reduce estrogen (many post-menopausal women already suffer from low estrogen). This is especially true for very thin women as post-menopause, estrogen is no longer made in the ovaries, but rather from adipose tissue (fat, especially in the breasts and belly), of which they may have very little. (This is also why many doctors advise their patients to lose weight, if necessary). Thin women might benefit more by raising progesterone. Reminder that you have to be very careful with compounded bio-identicals; read more HERE.

Many of my followers have been asking about a safe  bio-identical progesterone cream (It is paraben-free, soy-free, and Non GMO). 

Read Part II HERE

Below are just some of the articles I have written on natural alternatives to tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors:

Why You May Want to Reconsider Estrogen-Blocking Aromatase Inhibitors and Tamoxifen

Natural Alternatives to Hormone Therapy for Breast Cancer

What to Do if You Have Low Estrogen Levels and Your Doctor Prescribes an Aromatase Inhibitor

Potential Therapeutic Effects of Phytochemicals and Medicinal Herbs for Cancer Prevention and Treatment

Managing Estrogen Naturally

Flaxseed, Better than Tamoxifen for Breast Cancer

Flaxseed, the Anticancer Power Seed

Alternatives to Aromatase Inhibitors


Reminder: To get an additional $30 off on Marnie Clarks’ online course for breast cancer,  Toxic Free Me, enroll now and use this LINK. This course will also delve into alternatives for anti-hormonal therapies.

An online course not right for you? Know that I am always there for individual consultations.  To inquire about a consult, please visit me HERE.

Life is a journey, just be sure that journey is on-course for a healthy life.

In your everlasting good health,


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

ej portrait 150res for PrueElyn 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. 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 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.

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Some product links on some posts are affiliate links. This website is monetized in part through the use of 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] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4699002/

Estrogen Management for Breast Cancer, Naturally

In Uncategorized on March 29, 2013 at 12:59 pm

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.

button musroomsHowever, many nutraceuticals (food and supplements such as those above) are known to effectively block or manage estrogen, and there are natural compounds that can help protect against the side effects and boost the efficacy of aromatase inhibitors and Tamoxifen and therefore allow for the option of taking a lesser and therefore less toxic therapy.

We also know that there are many estrogen promoters and supporters that need to be avoided, such as xenoestrogens, which act like estrogens produced by the female body and can boost unbalanced estrogen levels. Phytoestrogens, on the other hand, are a whole other story and will be addressed further in a separate post as while complicated, can be beneficial.

Why not the “big guns”?

It is no secret that hormone sensitive cancers are dependent on unbalanced estrogen in the body to fuel their growth.  Aromatase inhibitors are effective in reducing levels of unbalanced estrogen in the body and SERMs such as Tamoxifen interfere with hormone activity.  I won’t get into the side effects or resulting effects of these drugs, but suffice it to say that the list is lengthy. Given the toxicity and known side effects of estrogen blocking drugs, we must explore natural compounds that not only manage estrogen, but that help prevent recurrence and metastasis on many fronts.

Sadly, whether out of ignorance or fear of prosecution, most doctors do not promote or support natural means for estrogen management.  However, remember, cancer is not just estrogen fueled.  Cancer is dependent on a cancer-friendly environment; if we do not change the environment in which it was able to grow, we increase its chance of returning. These drugs that are offered offer no solution to changing the cancer environment.  Nutraceuticals, on the other hand, are non-toxic and are quite beneficial to overall health, including fighting cancer and creating an unfriendly cancer environment. Exercise, sleep, and stress management also play a major role in the balance of estrogen and in risk reduction.

So, until there is funding for clinical trials for natural solutions, we must rely on our own intuition, research, knowledge and common sense in our approach to a natural solution to estrogen management and risk reduction for breast cancer.  For now, the answer lies outside of definitive, quantitative studies. Many, many people have healed their cancers and prevented recurrence via natural means, but these successes are not quantified in published trials and are often dismissed or ignored by their doctors.

To read more on natural solutions for estrogen:

Natural Alternatives to Tamoxifen

Managing Estrogen Naturally

Natural Alternatives to Aromatase Inhibitors

Tamoxifen: There is More to the Story

Magical Mushrooms

Natural Compounds in Pomegranates May Prevent Growth of Hormone-Dependent Breast Cancer

While these articles are a bit dated, they do provide some good information. New research comes out continuously, and it is my quest to stay abreast of it and share with you this knowledge:

Indole 3 Carbinol – the safer, natural Tamoxifen?

Chrysin is Natural Alterative to Toxic Breast Cancer Drug

With my deepest respect and gratitude,



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

Elyn Jacobs is a breast cancer survivor, professional cancer coach, radio talk show host, speaker, and the Executive Director for the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation. She is also on the peer review board of the Natural Standard Database. Elyn empowers women to choose the path for treatment that best fits their own individual needs. She mentors women who are coping with issues of well-being associated with breast cancer and its aftermath; she is passionate about helping others move forward into a life of health and wellbeing. Elyn has been featured on CNN Money, Talk About Health and more and has contributed to Breast Cancer Answers as well as written for the Pink Paper, Breast Cancer Wellness, Natural Healing-Natural Wellness, Integrative Oncology Essentials, and other publications and newsletters. Elyn lives in New York with her husband and two young boys.

Disclaimer: 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 alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs for the management of estrogen and for the management of their cancer.  Nothing in the above post is to be considered to be a cure for cancer, despite what the research or experts claim. I do not believe or intend to imply that any one single compound is a cure for cancer.  I do believe that natural compounds can significantly reduce cancer risk and increase survival if used alongside a comprehensive anticancer strategy.

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Managing Estrogen Naturally

In Uncategorized on October 30, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Estrogen…it’s a matter of balance.

There are many factors that influence the body’s production and metabolism of estrogen. Environmental estrogens (such as BPA, pesticides, cleaning products and cosmetics) as well as the natural estrogen compounds we encounter on a daily basis need to be addressed. We can’t avoid all the triggers, but it’s important to consider lifestyle changes that reduce exposure and can help balance our estrogen.

Obesity increases estrogen (and limits the effectiveness of aromatase inhibitors).  If you are overweight, lose it as fat cells increase estrogen production. Over-consumption of calories also leads to increased metabolic activity in the body.  This in turn leads to excessive free radical formation.  Free radicals damage cells and cause genetic mutations, which ultimately can lead to cancer.  Studies have also shown that calorie restriction inhibits tumor growth.

Exercise can help balance hormones through the pre-menopausal years and beyond, and can help maintain a healthy weight.  Those who exercise regularly are usually happier, less depressed, and have a more optimistic outlook on life.  This results in increased life expectancy; statistically, life expectancy increases by two hours for every hour spent exercising. Exercise with a friend; double the pleasure!

Alcohol consumption increases estrogen levels, especially if taken along with estrogen replacement therapy.  Also, alcohol and drugs can damage the liver which will lead to an increase in estrogen due to the lack of estrogen breakdown; alcohol cconverts into DNA-destroying acetaldehyde, a carcinogen.  Dr Keith Block likes to say he is a vegan with a heart…I guess I am an educator with compassion; for suggestions to mitigate the risks of alcohol, please read: https://elynjacobs.wordpress.com/2012/10/27/wine-cheese-and-chocolate-anti-cancer-party/

Caffeine intake from all sources is linked with higher estrogen levels regardless of age, body mass index, smoking, and caloric and alcohol intake.  Green tea has some caffeine (decaf is not recommended as the process compromises the activity and can be carcinogenic), but its redeeming qualities make it well worth consuming a few cups a day. If you drink coffee…know that it too has some redeeming qualities (not nearly that of green tea), so enjoy a cup, but don’t overdo it. Those who consumed a t least 500mg of caffeine daily, the equivalent of four or five cups of coffee had nearly 70% more estrogen than women who consumed less than 100mg of caffeine daily.

What about that magic pill….

And no, I am not talking about Tamoxifen.

About twenty years ago, scientists discovered that when broccoli was added to the diets of animals, it could prevent certain forms of cancer.  Since then, numerous studies have shown the efficacy of crucifers as a cancer-crusher. Cruciferous vegetables (and their ability to produce sulforaphane) slow the development of cancer by detoxifying carcinogenic substances, preventing pre-cancerous cells from developing into malignant tumors, promoting the suicide of cancer cells (apoptosis), and starving tumors of their blood supply (angiogenesis.) And, you guessed it, they also help balance our estrogens, the good and the bad.

Yes, there’s “bad” and “good” estrogen! And, they’ve got to be balanced, just like good and bad cholesterol because estrogen can be metabolized in two different pathways in the liver, which results in two different kinds of estrogen, “good” and “bad”.  “Good” estrogen metabolites are released into the bloodstream where they provide benefits, such as prevention of heart disease, and the creation of strong, healthy bones. “Bad” estrogen, in large quantities, can result in many health problems including breast, ovarian, prostate, and uterine cancer.  It’s a big reason why some women are more prone to cancer than others. It’s the type of estrogen in your body that makes the difference.

13C—no, it’s not my apartment number.  13C is a natural compound the body produces when you eat cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts.  It is the 13C that blocks the pathways of cancer and stops cancer cells from proliferating—and it helps metabolize and breakdown estrogen in the body balancing hormone levels.  Yes, we can get this nutrient in crucifers, but we would need to eat a lot–and I mean a lot, to influence the ratio of good to bad estrogen; you would have to eat about two pounds of raw or lightly cooked crucifers almost daily.  Here is when a good supplement becomes ideal.  13C is the natural precursor to DIM (diindolylmethane); if considering a supplement, DIM would be preferable over 13C as it is more readily available to the body, and 13C is more irritating to the stomach; I3C has also been shown to be a tumor promoter in chronic use studies of thyroid, colon, and liver health, something not found with DIM.  However, since crucifers contain a whole family of protective phytochemicals in addition to DIM, the best approach is to eat plenty of crucifers and take a supplement.  And, as always, brands matter when it comes to supplements; please do your research or consult with a trusted pharmacist, doctor or advocate.

The supplemental use of phytonutrients from cruciferous vegetables has great potential for the prevention of cancer; specifically the discovery that cruciferous indole — diindolylmethane and indole-3-carbinol (I3C) – may just be the magic pill to promote the healthy metabolism of estrogen.

Is DIM the only story in town; is it really the magic pill?  No, while it is big, there are a few other notable mentions.  Key players are Vitamins E and C,  B vitamins, such as B6, B12 and folate (B9), NAC, selenium, curcumin, green tea, D-Limonene, magnesium, flaxseed, pomegranate, probiotics, sufficient protein intake, complex carbs instead of simple sugars, and consuming only healthy fats.

Food matters; the concept of how what we eat strongly effects how our genes behave is firmly established; but, although it was discovered more than ten years ago, the connection between dietary ingredients and metabolism of estrogen is only recently recognized as important.  The consumption of specific phytochemicals can improve the adaptive responses that regulate hormonal metabolism.

I talk about DIM and foods supportive of estrogen balance in following posts:





Give some DIM to your man too…. Estrogen metabolism slows as men age, especially when coupled with obesity and regular alcohol use. Too much estrogen plays havoc with a man’s sex life.  Avoiding overactive testosterone metabolism and reducing the conversion of testosterone into estrogen are goals of nutritional support in middle-aged and older men.




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Elyn Jacobs is a breast cancer survivor, professional cancer coach, radio talk show host, speaker, and the Executive Director for the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation. Elyn is on the peer review board of the Natural Standard Database. 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 wellbeing. Elyn lives in New York with her husband and two young boys.