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Posts Tagged ‘Managing Estrogen Naturally’

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,

Elyn

www.elynjacobs.wordpress.com

~~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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Magical Mushrooms: How they Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

In Uncategorized on March 7, 2013 at 7:10 pm

The very idea of mushrooms as medicine may surprise many of you, but they bring a perfect blend of tradition and science to our medicine cabinets.  Mushrooms are some of humankind’s oldest and most highly prized remedies with recorded use dating back thousands of years.  And while many of us may think of  mushrooms as powerful immune system activators, their benefits go way beyond, including possible applications with Alzheimer’s, diabetes, stress, cardiovascular disease, aging and cancer.

“Did you know that cancer patients who regularly consume shitake mushrooms often have a higher survival rate, higher quality of life and lower incidence of recurrence?”

Mushrooms have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunity enhancing, anti-viral and anti-tumor effects.  Researchers have found that consuming just 3-5 servings of mushrooms per week reduced risk of breast cancer by 64% and when combined with regular consumption of green tea, affords up to a 90% reduction in risk.  (A serving is about 1/8 of a cup/ 10 grams.)  Some mushrooms can be enjoyed as food, while others are best used in supplemental form.  A note on supplements: In most cases, it is best to take them in between meals to increase absorption rather than dilute with food.

So let’s take a look at a few favorites:

Meshima mushrooms are cancer-preventive, support DNA, WBC’s and the immune system, encourage apoptosis (cell death) inhibit angiogenesis (spread), and effect metastasis on many levels.  Meshima mushrooms also enhance the efficacy of chemotherapy and help lessen the side effects.   Meshima has great synergy with broccoli and green tea, so enjoy them together!

 maitake mushroomsMaitake contains a substance called beta-glucan which may stimulate the immune system and activate certain cells (T cells, natural killer cells, etc.) and proteins that attack cancer and therefore may limit or reverse tumor growth (induces apoptosis).

Reishi offers great immune support as well as protection against radiation.  Reishi also improves liver health—critical for all, but certainly for cancer patients.  With Reishi, the longer you take it, the greater the benefit.

Chaga has many cancer benefits (look for birch tree grown and must be hot water extracted.)  Chaga offers protection from radiation, reduces inflammation,  protects DNA and gives strength to the body– it enables the body to more efficiently deal with the toxins we are exposed to on a daily basis (environmental and from treatments such as chemotherapy).  It is important to note that with some mushrooms, more is better, but this is not the case with Chaga….take only as directed on the package.

Shitake mushrooms stimulate the immune system, activate killer cells, and slow or even halt tumor growth.

But what about the lonely button mushrooms?  Don’t keep them lonely, eat them.  Button mushrooms are thought to contain natural aromatase inhibitors, substances that can block the production of estrogen in the body. Controlling aromatase activity can help decrease estrogen levels, which controls and kills hormone-dependent breast cancers.

A word of caution on mushrooms: Eaten raw, mushrooms contain compounds, called hydrazines, which may be carcinogenic.  Hydrazines are destroyed by cooking, drying or canning. Also, the mycochitin composition of mushroom cell walls, as opposed to cellulose walls of plant cells, is difficult for humans to digest. Our stomachs resent indigestible items, and often forcibly reject them without absorbing nutrients. The cooking process helps break down fungal cell walls, rendering mushroom flesh not only more readily digestible, but also releasing significant nutritional value contained within the cells. 

musroomsMy advice?  Consume a variety of fresh mushrooms and supplements as part of an anti-cancer diet and lifestyle to employ maximum anti-cancer benefits. Eaten daily or at least several times a week in conjunction with green tea, mushrooms may help put you in that impressive risk reduction category.

Want to read more mushroom wisdom?

Click Here for Magical Mushrooms; the Sequel

Elyn

www.elynjacobs.wordpress.com

~~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.

Follow Elyn on Linkedin

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Follow Survive and Live Well on Twitter

Donate to the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation

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:

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

https://elynjacobs.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/natural-alternatives-to-aromatase-inhibitors/

http://elynjacobs.blogspot.com/2012/09/food-natural-alternative-for-tamoxifen.html

http://elynjacobs.blogspot.com/2010/12/eating-to-cheat-cancer.html

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.

Elyn

www.elynjacobs.wordpress.com

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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.