Posts Tagged ‘Estrogen Management’

Food: The Natural Solution for Cancer-Protective Estrogen Management

In Uncategorized on September 9, 2013 at 2:47 pm

In my column Options for Life in the Natural Healing Natural Wellness Newsletter, I look to inspire cancer patients and provide hope to cancer survivors and their loved ones.  In the summer issue I shared my thoughts on a favorite topic of mine: Estrogen.  Many doctors seem to believe that estrogen is the enemy. While xenoestrogens must be avoided, the natural estrogen we produce is not to be feared, just managed. Further, 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; it is just so terribly misunderstood.

farmstand Estrogen is thought to be the driving force behind many breast cancers; however, estrogen is only one part of the cancer story. To protect ourselves against cancer, we must control the estrogen, cut off the pathways for cancer, detoxify the body, reduce inflammation, and protect our DNA and so much more. What magic bullet can do all that?  Food.

To read the full article– Food: The Natural Solution for Cancer-Protective Estrogen Management in the Natural Healing Natural Wellness Newsletter  Click Here and go to page 22.

My mission is to share with people the information and strategies they need to survive cancer and to live a long healthy life.  I strive to fill the gaps between what we hear in our doctor’s office and what we really need to survive our cancer and live well.  Join me on my radio show, Survive and Live Well for expert advice on treating and beating cancer. Contact me for one-on-one cancer coaching. Follow me on my social networks and my blog; gather all the information you can to empower yourself to move past your cancer and move on to a life of wellness. Be an active participant in survival.

For more information:

Natural Alternatives to Tamoxifen You Tube

Natural Alternatives to Tamoxifen

Estrogen Management for Breast Cancer, Naturally


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

Elyn Jacobs is a breast cancer survivor, professional cancer strategist, radio talk show host, 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 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, Integrative Oncology Essentials, and she writes the Options for Life column for the Natural Healing-Natural Wellness Newsletter. Elyn lives in New York with her husband and two young boys.

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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.





Natural Alternatives to Aromatase Inhibitors

In Alternative Cancer Therapies, Alternatives Cancer Treatment, Alternatives to Hormone Therapy for Breast Cancer, Uncategorized on September 20, 2012 at 5:49 pm

This Post was updated on October 26th, 2016. To read the new version please Click Here.

So, the doctor told you that you need an aromatase inhibitor. Are you concerned about the side effects or the resulting effects? Or have you started on one and feel terrible? It might be time to look at alternatives. 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.

Aromatase inhibitors, drugs 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. As we age, our hormones become out of balance, and often make us more vulnerable to cancer. 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, causes trouble. By blocking estrogen, less “bad” estrogen is available to stimulate the growth of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer cells. However, this also means that you have less of the protective “good”. So, the question is, do they increase survival and prevent the cell mutations that contribute to cancer? Or do they come with too many resulting effects?

I remember when I first read about Tamoxifen; I learned that Tamoxifen does not increase survival; it’s just that you don’t die of your cancer, but rather the toxicity of the drug. Hum….what a trade off. It may well be the case with AI’s as well….or worse. Although AIs were found to prevent breast cancer recurrence, they were not found to prolong life, due to the resulting effects—as I like to call them—particularly the heart problems (think less “good” estrogen), and reduce quality of life due to the 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 again, because of the loss of the “good” estrogen, bone thinning (think broken bones). Osteoporosis is a major concern, and women should have the health of their bones checked before they begin aromatase therapy. If the bones are already showing signs of deterioration, an osteoporosis drug will probably be prescribed (more drugs, and drug interactions; wonderful).

Geez, where can I get some of this stuff? Okay, so is there a natural alternative to aromatase inhibitors?

Again, as I said in my post about Tamoxifen, there is not an easy answer. However, there are many powerful natural aromatase inhibitors in your local grocery store. Look for button mushrooms, celery, parsley, mushrooms,  basil, artichokes, oranges, red grapes, onions, garlic, olives, olive leaves and extract and members of the cruciferous family. The key is to eat these foods every day, and several times a day—here’s where supplementation may be helpful if you can’t make this work with your schedule. Supplements can be in powered form or capsule, but as always, look for quality and choose organic when possible. Dindolylmethane (DIM) is a phytonutrient and plant indole found in cruciferous vegetables that has the ability to increase anti-cancer estrogen metabolites while decreasing cancer promoting estrogen metabolites; DIM can be taken in supplement form, and this is something I highly recommend. Juicing is also a great way to get these nutrients, as consuming more than one variety at a time, especially in the case of the crucifers, can increase the effectiveness of any one type. Keep in mind that the thousands of chemical compounds in plants, some known and some yet identified, work synergistically to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and overall anti-cancer benefits, so eat a wide variety of fruits and veges each and every day, several times a day.

Feeling a bit dull? Spice up your food, herbs and spices contain powerful anticancer agents, and “hot” spices, such as cayenne pepper and mustard have been found to boost the cancer-fighting properties in foods like broccoli, so spice up your life!

Natural AI’s may well be the best choice for an AI for preventing breast cancer. Not only do they work as effectively as drugs, but have no side effects and carry a host of other benefits. Remember, estrogen is not the only factor with breast cancer…so an overall anti-cancer strategy along with the boost of natural aromatase inhibitors is your best bet. Think of fruits and vegetables as soldiers doing double duty, as nutrients and plant-based chemicals are capable of halting or slowing the spread of cancer. While no one is suggesting that the compounds in food will single-handedly eradicate cancer, each provides a powerful punch in addressing  the various mechanisms that drive cancer, and can synergistically interact to create an inhospitable microenvironment for cancer. For more on the ability of nutrients to fight cancer and block its pathways, please visit: https://elynjacobs.com/2012/06/02/why-we-are-not-winning-the-war-on-cancer/.  For more information on specific foods to manage estrogen, please visit: https://elynjacobs.com/2012/01/15/natural-alternatives-to-tamoxifen/. For more information about food as an anti-estrogen, anti-cancer protocol, please visit:http://elynjacobs.blogspot.com/2012/09/food-natural-alternative-for-tamoxifen.html

Seem like too much? Consider the alternative. That said, have two stalks and call me in the morning…doctor’s orders.

A few more tips:

Remember to limit alcohol–as while recent studies have found red wine to be mildly protective against breast cancer, this may not be so for post menopausal women, and other types of alcohol don’t share this benefit. If you drink, enjoy red wine conservatively.

Limit sugar; avoid junk food and hormone laced animal products such as meat and dairy.

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 aromatase inhibitors and cannot endorse either protocol.


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 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. To learn about Elyn’s coaching services, please visit: http://elynjacobs.com. To tune into the Survive and Live Well radio show, please visit http://www.W4CS.com, Tuesdays at 1pm (EST). To view info on upcoming topics and guests, please visit: https://elynjacobs.com/elyns-blog/.

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