Category Archives: Breast Cancer and Nutrition

Epigenetic Factors to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk – Part 2

Image Source: rgbstock.com / Tomislav Alajbeg

Epigenetic Factors to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk – Part 2

One of the most fascinating areas of breast cancer research has to be the field of epigenetics and how genes can be expressed differently by using external factors, all without altering the DNA structure of those genes. At first ridiculed by the scientific community, epigenetics is now one of the fastest growing fields of science.

Continuing on from Part 1 in my series of epigenetic factors to reduce breast cancer risk, this article will cover the nutrients that help to prevent damage to DNA.

PART 2 – NUTRIENTS THAT CAN PREVENT DAMAGE TO DNA

As with many other types of cancer, breast cancer generally begins with something happening to alter the DNA function or structure of just one cell. This can trigger that cell to become malignant and a tumor to form, and that process can take months or years, depending upon hundreds of different factors. Other things that are happening when the tumor is forming (to put it in simplest terms) is that a tumor suppressor gene has become silenced or a tumor promoter gene has been activated and allows unchecked cell replication.

The good news is that many nutrients have the ability to prevent and protect against DNA damage. Here is the list of the best 20.

The Top 20 Nutrients that Prevent DNA Damage

1. Curcumin, derived from turmeric [1], [2], [3], [48]

2. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), derived from green tea [4], [5], [6], [47], [48]

3. Coenzyme Q10 [7], [8], [9]

4. Di-indolyl-methane (DIM) [10], [11], [48]

5. Coffee [12], [13]

6. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) [14], [15], [23]

7. Melatonin, a natural hormone [16], [17]

8. Lycopene, derived from tomato, watermelon, guava, papaya [18], [19]

9. Pomegranate [20], [21], [22]

10. Resveratrol, derived from grapes, blueberries [23], [24], [25], [48]

11. Selenium [26], [27], [48]

12. Silibinin and silymarin, derived from milk thistle [28], [29], [30], [31], [53]

13. Sulforaphane, derived from cruciferous vegetables [32], [33], [34], [48]

14. Tocotrienols, derived from vitamin E [35], [36], [37], [38]

15. Genistein and diadzein, derived from soybeans [39], [40], [41], [48]

16. Garlic and onions [42], [43], [44], [45], [48]

17. Quercetin [46], [47], [48]

18. Luteolin, derived from celery, oregano, thyme, chili peppers [47], [49], [50], [52]

19. Apigenin, derived from celery, parsley, onions, grapefruit, oranges, chamomile tea [47], [51], [52]

20. Chrysin, derived from passionflower [47], [52], [53]

Mind-Body Interventions Also Play A Role in DNA Repair

A recent study [54] carried out by scientists from Coventry University In the UK and Radboud University in the Netherlands demonstrated that mind-body interventions can have an enormous impact on DNA repair. The study analyzed more than 10 years worth of research studies on how mind-body interventions impact DNA and they found that things like yoga, meditation and Tai Chi can actually reverse the deleterious effects that things like stress and other factors might otherwise have on DNA.

The researchers found that people who regularly practice mind-body interventions enjoy a reduction in the production of inflammatory markers. This in turn leads to a reduction and reversal of pro-inflammatory gene expression, thus lowering  the risk of inflammation-related conditions. And as we know, breast cancer is definitely an inflammatory condition. Have a look at the study, it’s reference #54 below.

While this is not an exhaustive list, it will certainly give you a great idea how many natural substances help to protect DNA and reduce breast cancer risk. For more information on the subject of epigenetic factors that reduce breast cancer risk, please see Part 1 of this series of articles which discussed nutrients that can control regulator genes and stay tuned for upcoming articles in this 12-part series.

References:

[1] Curcumin downregulates the inflammatory cytokines CXCL1 and -2 in breast cancer cells via NfkappaB – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17999991

[2] Expression profiles of apoptotic genes induced by curcumin in human breast cancer and mammary epithelial cell lines – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16101141

[3] Curcumin inhibits breast cancer stem cell migration by amplifying the E-cadherin/ß-catenin negative feedback loop – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4445824/

[4] Green tea polyphenol and epigallocatechin gallate induce apoptosis and inhibit invasion in human breast cancer cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18059161

[5] Anticancer effects and molecular mechanisms of epigallocatechin-3-gallate – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5481703/

[6] Mechanism of EGCG promoting apoptosis of MCF-7 cell line in human breast cancer – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5588052/

[7] Augmented efficacy of tamoxifen in rat breast tumorigenesis when gavaged along with riboflavin, niacin, and CoQ10: effects on lipid peroxidation and antioxidants in mitochondria – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15766922

[8] Coenzyme Q10 concentrations and antioxidant status in tissues of breast cancer patients – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10936586

[9] Exogenous coenzyme Q10 modulates MMP-2 activity in MCF-7 cell line as a breast cancer cellular model – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3004807/

[10] Inhibitory effects of 3,3′-diindolylmethane on epithelial-mesenchymal transition induced by endocrine disrupting chemicals in cellular and xenograft mouse models of breast cancer – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28844962

[11] Chemopreventive properties of 3,3′-diindolylmethane in breast cancer: evidence from experimental and human studies – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5059820/

[12] Coffee consumption rapidly reduces background DNA strand breaks in healthy humans: Results of a short-term repeated uptake intervention study – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26632023

[13] Inhibition of DNA methylation by caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid, two common catechol-containing coffee polyphenols – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16081510

[14] N-acetyl-cysteine promotes angiostatin production and vascular collapse in an orthotopic model of breast cancer – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1615662/

[15] N-Acetyl-L-cysteine protects thyroid cells against DNA damage induced by external and internal irradiation – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28871381

[16] Melatonin modulates aromatase activity and expression in endothelial cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23450505

[17] Melatonin modulates aromatase activity in MCF-7 human breast cancer cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15683469

[18] In vitro effects and mechanisms of lycopene in MCF-7 human breast cancer cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28407181

[19] Lycopene acts through inhibition of IkB kinase to suppress NF-kB signaling in human prostate and breast cancer cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26779636

[20] The antioxidant potency of Punica granatum L. Fruit peel reduces cell proliferation and induces apoptosis on breast cancer – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21861726

[21] Pomegranate Fruit as a Rich Source of Biologically Active Compounds – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4000966/

[22] Antiproliferative effects of pomegranate extract in MCF-7 breast cancer cells are associated with reduced DNA repair gene expression and induction of double strand breaks – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23359482

[23] Resveratrol and N-acetylcysteine block the cancer-initiating step in MCF-10F cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4425208/

[24] Resveratrol promotes MICA/B expression and natural killer cell lysis of breast cancer cells by suppressing c-Myc/miR-17 pathway – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29029468

[25] Antioxidant activities of novel resveratrol analogs in breast cancer – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28960787

[26] Dietary Supplementation with Methylseleninic Acid Inhibits Mammary Tumorigenesis and Metastasis in Male MMTV-PyMT Mice – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29032404

[27] Selenium modifies the osteoblast inflammatory stress response to bone metastatic breast cancer – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2791325/

[28] Silibinin suppresses EGFR ligand-induced CD44 expression through inhibition of EGFR activity in breast cancer cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22110198

[29] Silibinin prevents TPA-induced MMP-9 expression by down-regulation of COX-2 in human breast cancer cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19715751

[30] Silibinin inhibits translation initiation: implications for anticancer therapy – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19509268

[31] Silibinin induces protective superoxide generation in human breast cancer MCF-7 cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19968587

[31] Anticarcinogenic effect of a flavonoid antioxidant, silymarin, in human breast cancer cells MDA-MB 468: induction of G1 arrest through an increase in Cip1/p21 concomitant with a decrease in kinase activity of cyclin-dependent kinases and associated cyclins – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9563902

[32] Efficacy of sulforaphane is mediated by p38 MAP kinase and caspase-7 activations in ER-positive and COX-2-expressed human breast cancer cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18090122

[33] Sulforaphane-Induced Cell Cycle Arrest and Senescence are accompanied by DNA Hypomethylation and Changes in microRNA Profile in Breast Cancer Cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5596436/

[34] A Novel Combination of Withaferin A and Sulforaphane Inhibits Epigenetic Machinery, Cellular Viability and Induces Apoptosis of Breast Cancer Cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5455001/

[35] Gamma-tocotrienol controls proliferation, modulates expression of cell cycle regulatory proteins and up-regulates quinone reductase NQO2 in MCF-7 breast cancer cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20683025

[36] Role of Rac1/WAVE2 Signaling in Mediating the Inhibitory Effects of Gamma-Tocotrienol on Mammary Cancer Cell Migration and Invasion – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27904039

[37] Tocotrienols and breast cancer: the evidence to date – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3250526/

[38] Gamma-tocotrienol induced apoptosis is associated with unfolded protein response in human breast cancer cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3123668/

[39] DNA Methylation Targets Influenced by Bisphenol A and/or Genistein Are Associated with Survival Outcomes in Breast Cancer Patients – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5448018/

[40] The Role of Soy Phytoestrogens on Genetic and Epigenetic Mechanisms of Prostate Cancer – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26298461

[41] Multi-targeted Therapy of Cancer by Genistein – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2575691/

[42] 2-Methylpyridine-1-ium-1-sulfonate from Allium hirtifolium: An anti-angiogenic compound which inhibits growth of MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells through cell cycle arrest and apoptosis induction – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28624423

[43] In vitro Antiproliferative and Apoptosis Inducing Effect of Allium atroviolaceum Bulb Extract on Breast, Cervical, and Liver Cancer Cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5281556/

[44] Diallyl trisulfide, a chemopreventive agent from Allium vegetables, inhibits alpha-secretases in breast cancer cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28161636

[45] The Effects of Allicin, a Reactive Sulfur Species from Garlic, on a Selection of Mammalian Cell Lines – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5384165/

[46] Quercetin exerts synergetic anti-cancer activity with 10-hydroxy camptothecin – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28822757

[47] Plant flavonoids in cancer chemoprevention: role in genome stability – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27951449

[48] Cancer Chemoprotection Through Nutrient-mediated Histone Modifications – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5012963/

[49] Luteolin inhibits lung metastasis, cell migration, and viability of triple-negative breast cancer cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5207335/

[50] Luteolin suppresses the metastasis of triple-negative breast cancer by reversing epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition via downregulation of ß-catenin expression – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27959422

[51] Inhibition of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell proliferation and tumor growth by apigenin through induction of G2/M arrest and histone H3 acetylation-mediated p21WAF1/CIP1 expression – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26872304

[52] Dietary Flavones as Dual Inhibitors of DNA Methyltransferases and Histone Methyltransferases – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5033486/

[53] Synergistic Anticancer Effects of Silibinin and Chrysin in T47D Breast Cancer Cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5555536/

[54] What Is the Molecular Signature of Mind–Body Interventions? A Systematic Review of Gene Expression Changes Induced by Meditation and Related Practices – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5472657/

DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this article is to provide information. It should not be interpreted as medical advice, and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any medical condition, or to be a substitute for advice from your health care professional. If you have breast cancer, it is important that you work closely with a health care professional to properly treat your condition and monitor your progress.

GET MY BEST TIPS on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right. You can also “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark, Breast Health Coach) to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates. I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

Epigenetic Factors to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk – Part 1

Epigenetic Factors to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk – Part 1

Epigenetic factors to reduce breast cancer risk has been a particular interest of mine ever since I found out that I had breast cancer in 2004. I have studied everything I could lay my hands on with reference to epigenetic factors. The word means “above genetics” and is the science of how genes can be expressed differently using external factors without changing the DNA structure of those genes.

The reason epigenetics interests me so greatly is because I lost both my mother and my grandmother to breast cancer. When I was subsequently diagnosed with breast cancer myself, I was quite concerned about the so-called genetic aspect of this disease. I spoke about this with a friend of mine and I can remember saying to her “What if everything I’m doing to get well and stay well turns out not to be enough if I’m genetically predisposed to breast cancer?” Her response was to introduce me to a scientist named Bruce Lipton and a whole new way of thinking. Dr Lipton’s book “The Biology of Belief” helped me to understand that we do not have to be slaves to our genes. The book introduced me to the  concept of epigenetic factors which can influence the expression of genes.

I learned that nutrition, thoughts, exercise and quite a few other factors can influence our genes in a very powerful way. What an immensely liberating thought – that we mere humans can play a huge role in turning off the very genes that might otherwise predispose us to breast cancer.

In a series of articles, I will be sharing some of the epigenetic nutrients that provide us with the ability to alter genetic expression, thus possibly preventing or reversing breast cancer. From my best count, here are the best 11 ways they do this (and one article will be devoted to each subject):

Epigenetic nutrients can:

1. Control regulatory genes
2. Prevent damage to DNA
3. Prevent rapid cell proliferation
4. Ease or prevent cancer-promoting inflammation
5. Change malignant cells into healthy cells
6. Restore receptors on cells
7. Inhibit excess estrogen production
8. Trigger cancer cell death (apoptosis)
9. Block growth factors
10. Block angiogenesis
11. Prevent metastasis

PART 1 – NUTRIENTS THAT CAN CONTROL REGULATORY GENES

Through genetic testing, we know that there are a number of gene defects that can predispose a person to certain diseases, including breast cancer. There are quite literally hundreds of ways genes can be influenced to control, slow or stop breast cancer growth. Any of these genes, when faulty, damaged or disrupted, can put us at a higher risk for breast cancer. Fortunately, there are a number of nutrients that have epigenetic targets in cancer cells and they block these processes, and can help to prevent carcinogenesis (formation of cancer cells).

Here are but a few of the most-studied genes involved with breast cancer:

MTHFR

The MTHFR gene plays a critical role in DNA methylation. This is a much-studied and ever-expanding subject, especially for breast cancer patients. According to 2012 research done at the University of Mississippi, a number of genes become abnormally methylated in breast cancer patients. [1] Methylation involves the addition or removal of a methyl group (CH3) to a substance so that it can metabolized. Methylation takes place daily inside cells, millions of times,  and requires the presence of enzymes known as DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) to catalyze (cause or accelerate) the process.

For example, methylation is required to convert the neurotransmitter serotonin into melatonin. Methylation is involved in converting stronger estrogens into less aggressive estrogens and that is one of the reasons it is included in this discussion. MTHFR working properly means you can break down circulating estrogen and excrete it, otherwise it can build up to dangerously high levels and this increases breast cancer risk. Hypermethylation is known to be associated with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. [2]

The problem isn’t just with estrogen, however. MTHFR also provides the directions to produce an enzyme called methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase, which converts inactive folate (vitamin B9) to its active form, levomefolic acid, to enable cells to utilize it. An inability to convert folate into levomefolic acid affects many metabolic processes in the body. Active folate is essential for healthy cell division, DNA synthesis and repair, heart health, good vision, brain development, memory and mood, and so much more.

Helpful Nutrients:

Epigallocatechin-3-gallate – EGCG – found in green tea [3]
Curcumin  – from turmeric [4]
Genistein – from soy [5]
Lycopene – from tomatoes and apricots [5]
Resveratrol [6]
Caffeic acid – found in apples, apicots, buckwheat bran, coffee, chia seeds [7]
Chlorogenic acid – found in apples, tomatoes, black beans, almonds, coffee beans, chia seeds [7]

BRCA1, BRCA2

Much-studied genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2 stand for breast cancer type 1 and type 2 susceptibility proteins. They provide instructions for the creation of proteins that repair damaged DNA and act as tumor suppressors. Having a mutated BRCA1/2 gene has been shown to put a person at a higher risk for breast cancer, ovarian and some other cancers. It is estimated that around 10% of breast cancer cases are caused by mutations in these genes. DNA methylation can be involved here too – a 2014 Chinese study investigating the regulation of DNMT1 (discussed above) in BRCA1-mutated breast cancer found that a transcription factor known as E2F1 was hypermethylated. Another key factor is a process known as histone deacetylation. Without getting into huge detail requiring a chemistry degree to understand it, acetylation of histones involves DNA binding proteins, activation of gene transcription and other cellular functions.  [8] Fortunately, there are a good many nutrients that can play a protective role for those with BRCA1/2 mutations:

Helpful Nutrients:

Genestein – from soy [9]
Epigallocatechin-3-gallate – EGCG, from green tea [9]
Soy foods [10]
Sulforaphane – from broccoli sprouts, cruciferous vegetables [11]
Garlic [11]
Caffeic acid – found in apples, apicots, buckwheat bran, coffee, chia seeds [7]
Chlorogenic acid – found in apples, tomatoes, black beans, almonds, coffee beans, chia seeds [7]
Resveratrol [12]
Vitamin D3 [13]

Special note for BRCA1/2 mutation carriers – when taking B-vitamins, carriers of the BRCA1/2 mutation would be well advised to consult a functional medicine doctor or integrative oncologist specifically trained to deal with this genetic mutation, because there are conflicting studies on the helpfulness of B vitamins for carriers of this mutation. One study reported that high folate levels were associated with an increased risk of breast cancer for BRCA1/2 mutation carriers [14] while another study indicated high folate levels were protective. [15]

Remember too that physical activity has also been found to be associated with a reduction in risk of breast cancer for those with BRCA1/2 mutations. [16]

P53

P53 is a tumor suppressor gene, regulating cell division by keeping cells from proliferating (growing and dividing too fast) or in an uncontrolled way. So you want this one to be working because when P53 is faulty, there is seen to be an associated increase in cancer risk. P53 is considered to be one of the most frequently mutated genes leading to cancer development.

Helpful Nutrients:

Quercetin [17]
Zinc [18]
Apigenin – found in celery, parsley, onions, grapefruit, oranges, chamomile tea [19]
Vitamin D3 [20]
Arenobufagin – isolated from Chan Su, a Traditional Chinese Medicine herb, aka Venenum Bufonis [21] (please do work with a TCM doctor when using this)
Berberine – found in goldenseal, barberry [22]

EZH2

EZH2 is a gene that has been shown in research to be a marker for more aggressive breast cancer. One study indicated “Aberrant expression of EZH2 has been associated with metastasis and poor prognosis in cancer patients.” [23]

Helpful Nutrients:

Omega 3 fatty acids (docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid) [23]
Ginsenoside RH2 – from Korean red ginseng [24]
Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) – from green tea [25]
Curcumin [26]
Sulforaphane [27]
Berberine [28]
Tanshindiol – from the Traditional Chinese Medicine herb, Danshen, or Salvia miltiorrhiza [29]
Melatonin [30]

This is by no means an exhaustive list of regulatory genes, nor the nutrients that help to influence them. The purpose of this article is merely to inform you of the ones I am aware of that do exist and as I find more, I will add them to this lists. As you look through these lists of epigenetic nutrients, you begin to notice the repetition of a few, right? I think it’s pretty clear that those are the ones to focus upon and add to your daily protocols.

References:

[1] Epigenetic events associated with breast cancer and their prevention by dietary components targeting the epigenome – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21992498

[2] DNA methylation and hormone receptor status in breast cancer – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4754852/

[3] Suppressive Effects of Tea Catechins on Breast Cancer – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4997373/

[4] Epigenetic diet: impact on the epigenome and cancer – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3197720/

[5] Modulation of gene methylation by genistein or lycopene in breast cancer cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18181168

[6] Trans-resveratrol alters mammary promoter hypermethylation in women at increased risk for breast cancer – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3392022/

[7] Inhibition of DNA methylation by caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid, two common catechol-containing coffee polyphenols – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16081510

[8] Regulation of DNA methyltransferase 1 transcription in BRCA1-mutated breast cancer: a novel crosstalk between E2F1 motif hypermethylation and loss of histone H3 lysine 9 acetylation – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3936805/

[9] Reversal Effects of Genistein and (-)-Epigallocatechin-3-Gallate on Repression of BRCA-1 Expression in Human Breast Cancer Cells with Activated AhR – http://www.fasebj.org/content/30/1_Supplement/42.6.short

[10] Dietary intake and breast cancer among carriers and noncarriers of BRCA mutations in the Korean Hereditary Breast Cancer Study – http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2013/10/23/ajcn.112.057760.abstract

[11] Modulation of Histone Deacetylase Activity by Dietary Isothiocyanates and Allyl Sulfides: Studies with Sulforaphane and Garlic Organosulfur Compounds – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2701665/

[12] Acetylated STAT3 is crucial for methylation of tumor-suppressor gene promoters and inhibition by resveratrol results in demethylation – http://www.pnas.org/content/109/20/7765

[13] Cooperation between BRCA1 and vitamin D is critical for histone acetylation of the p21waf1 promoter and for growth inhibition of breast cancer cells and cancer stem-like cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4322975/

[14] Plasma folate, vitamin B-6, and vitamin B-12 and breast cancer risk in BRCA1- and BRCA2-mutation carriers: a prospective study – http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2016/07/26/ajcn.116.133470

[15] The effects of plasma folate and other B vitamins on breast cancer risk in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers – http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/75/15_Supplement/LB-185

[16] Effects of lifestyle and diet as modifiers of risk of breast cancer (BC) in BRCA1 and BRCA2 carriers – http://ascopubs.org/doi/abs/10.1200/JCO.2017.35.15_suppl.1505

[17] Anticarcinogenic action of quercetin by downregulation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and protein kinase C (PKC) via induction of p53 in hepatocellular carcinoma (HepG2) cell line – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26311153

[18] Metalloregulation of the tumor suppressor protein p53: zinc mediates the renaturation of p53 after exposure to metal chelators in vitro and in intact cells – http://www.nature.com/onc/journal/v19/n46/full/1203907a.html

[19] Evidence for activation of mutated p53 by apigenin in human pancreatic cancer – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3277744/

[20] 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 regulates T lymphocyte proliferation through activation of P53 and inhibition of ERK1/2 signaling pathway in children with Kawasaki disease – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28925469

[21] Arenobufagin Induces Apoptotic Cell Death in Human Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer Cells via the Noxa-Related Pathway – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28892004

[22] Berberine Enhances Chemosensitivity and Induces Apoptosis Through Dose-orchestrated AMPK Signaling in Breast Cancer – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28775788

[23] Dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids suppress expression of EZH2 in breast cancer cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2832544/

[24] 20(S)-Ginsenoside Rh2 suppresses proliferation and migration of hepatocellular carcinoma cells by targeting EZH2 to regulate CDKN2A-2B gene cluster transcription – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28928088

[25] (-)-Epigallocatechin-3-gallate and EZH2 inhibitor GSK343 have similar inhibitory effects and mechanisms of action on colorectal cancer cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28925507

[26] Effect and mechanism of curcumin on EZH2 – miR-101 regulatory feedback loop in multiple myeloma – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28322158

[27] The Ezh2 Polycomb Group Protein Drives an Aggressive Phenotype in Melanoma Cancer Stem Cells and is a Target of Diet Derived Sulforaphane – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4919248/

[28] Naturally occurring anti-cancer agents targeting EZH2 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28323035

[29] Biological evaluation of tanshindiols as EZH2 histone methyltransferase inhibitors – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24767850

[30] Melatonin inhibits tumorigenicity of glioblastoma stem-like cells via the AKT-EZH2-STAT3 signaling axis – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27121240

DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this article is to provide information. It should not be interpreted as medical advice, and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any medical condition, or to be a substitute for advice from your health care professional.  If you have breast cancer, it is important that you work closely with a health care professional to properly treat your condition and monitor your progress.

GET MY BEST TIPS on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right. You can also “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark, Breast Health Coach) to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates. I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

The Role of Resveratrol in Breast Cancer Prevention

The Role of Resveratrol in Breast Cancer Prevention

Over the past week I have been listening to a variety of vastly interesting online talks aired in a summit entitled “Interpreting Your Genetics”. Genetics and epigenetics have been a particular interest of mine since I learned I had breast cancer back in 2004.

One of the things I worried about, especially since I had lost both my mother and her mother to breast cancer, was the possible genetic aspect of this disease. I worried about it a lot until I learned about epigenetics and how the things we eat, the thoughts we think and many other environmental factors influence our particular genetic heritage. We do not need to be slaves to our genes!

Resveratrol is a compound found primarily in the skin of red grapes, but  is also found in pomegranates, peanuts, peanut butter and a few other food sources. It is resveratrol’s role as an influencer of genetic expression that I find particularly interesting. For one thing, if you are someone who has a problem with methylation (and I will be writing about this subject very soon), meaning you have a genetic abnormality that shows you don’t methylate properly, resveratrol helps to modulate or balance that gene. One of the things I learned in the summit was that resveratrol doesn’t push the gene to excess or down-regulate it, but works to balance it. There are a variety of other natural substances that also do this, and I will be writing about them soon too!

Resveratrol Minimizes Circulating Estrogen

If the body’s ability to process circulating estrogen (and xenoestrogens) goes out of balance, this can be one of the causative factors for breast cancer. High levels of estrogen metabolites do not get excreted and are allowed to circulate and these compounds can react with DNA in breast cells. Excess estrogen (regardless of derivation) in the body is actually genotoxic (toxic to genes). Two American studies [1], [2] on resveratrol and N-acetylcysteine (NAC) found that the pair minimized the action of estrogen on MCF-10F cells (healthy human breast cells, estrogen receptor-alpha negative and aryl hydrocarbon receptor positive). Researchers stated “Through these effects, the combination of NAcCys [NAC] and Resv [resveratrol] is expected to inhibit the initiation of cancer by estrogens.” [1] For those with estrogen receptor positive breast cancer, this is VERY interesting research.

Resveratrol Mitigates Chemotherapy Damage to Heart

One 2017 animal study [3] investigated the ability of resveratrol for helping to mitigate the cardiotoxicity and damage of a commonly-used chemotherapy drug, doxorubicin. Researchers found that resveratrol prevented some of the heart damage and cardiotoxicity associated with this drug. They stated “resveratrol may be used prophylactically as a possible adjuvant therapy to minimize cardio-toxic side effects of Doxorubicin in cancer patients.”

Resveratrol Blocks Dioxin

One of the things I learned in the Interpreting Your Genetics summit is that resveratrol blocks dioxin, a highly toxic chemical compound. One article said dioxin was one of the most toxic chemicals known to science. A major source of dioxin exposure is through diet, primarily from eating beef, fish, pork, poultry and eggs (another reason to choose organically grown). So to discover that resveratrol has the ability to block dioxin is huge. I found a Canadian study released in 1999 [4] that did indicate resveratrol had antagonist activity on the cellular binding sites to which dioxin normally attaches.

It does not appear that clinical trials have yet commenced with regard to resveratrol and breast cancer, however, many other facets of health have been studied. We have clinical trials for resveratrol in the treatment of diabetes, atherosclerosis, hypertension, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, metabolic syndrome and so many more. It is clear that resveratrol has some very healing properties.

One important thing to realize is that resveratrol comes from grapes and grape skins. Grapes are very highly sprayed with chemicals, one source estimated 56 different pesticide residues were found by the USDA on conventionally grown grapes. [5] So choosing organic resveratrol thus becomes a necessity. I have sourced a very good one for you, this company ships to most countries – just change the country in the upper left-hand corner to suit your location.

References:

[1] Resveratrol and N-acetylcysteine block the cancer-initiating step in MCF-10F cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4425208/

[2] The Etiology and Prevention of Breast Cancer – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4522944/

[3] Prophylactic Supplementation of Resveratrol Is More Effective than its Therapeutic Use Against Doxorubicin Induced Cardiotoxicity – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5519168/

[4] Resveratrol Has Antagonist Activity on the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor: Implications for Prevention of Dioxin Toxicity – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10496962

[5] http://www.whatsonmyfood.org/food.jsp?food=GR

GET MY BEST TIPS on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right. You can also “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark, Breast Health Coach) to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates. I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

Soy Proven To Be Good For Breast Cancer Survivors


Image source: freedigitalphotos.net

Soy Proven To Be Good For Breast Cancer Survivors

Just in case we had any lingering questions in our minds as to whether it is safe to eat soy after breast cancer, a brand new study confirms that it is not only safe but protective. We have a BUNCH of these studies now, yet this is one of the things I am asked with great frequency. I have written several articles about it for my website (links below) but there still seems to be so much misinformation given to women with breast cancer about soy.

If you don’t want to read this entire article, here’s the bottom line – minimally processed organic soy foods are considered safe and healthy to eat. The important takeaway – if you are going to eat soy for preventive purposes, it needs to be the type of soy that is not highly processed – whole soy such as tempeh, miso, edamame, tofu, soy milk, soy sauce. And always choose organic, non-GMO soy.

Do I eat soy? Yes! I do choose frequently to eat and enjoy whole organic soy foods. Things like miso, tofu and edamame are things I include in my diet fairly often. There are so many great recipes and dishes that include these healthy soy options.

Now for the rest of you that want all the nitty gritty research…

I love reading new research, especially when it helps us understand new things that relate to breast cancer. I love it when new research debunks old ways of thinking because it helps you to decide for yourself whether or not to give something a try. PLEASE don’t base your decision to not have soy products on something your doctor told you – mainly because many doctors are not up to speed on the latest nutrition research. I believe it’s up to us to teach them!

What’s The Perceived Problem with Soy and Breast Cancer?

The main reason we have, in the past, been warned off having soy products after breast cancer is because soybeans contain compounds known as isoflavones. Isoflavones act like weak estrogens, also termed phytoestrogens. The estrogen-like properties of soy have raised concerns in the past for women with estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer, which is the main type of breast cancer. The worry is that the phytoestrogens might potentially influence cancer to grow. But that theory has not been proven, quite the contrary. What we are finding is that phytoestrogens occupy estrogen receptor sites on cells, preventing stronger estrogen from the body (and also environmental estrogens known as xenoestrogens) from exerting their more powerful influence. So phytoestrogens appear to have a protective and balancing effect on hormones.

The New Research

The latest study, appearing in the journal Cancer in June 2017  1 investigated the effects of soy isoflavones on breast cancer survivors. The National Cancer Institute-funded study collected data from the Breast Cancer Family Registry for 6,235 breast cancer patients over a period of 113 months (9.4 years). The program collected clinical and dietary data on participants and researchers specifically analyzed the soy intake of these women. They found that:

1. Eating foods rich in soy isoflavones was associated with reduced all-cause mortality;

2. A 21 percent decreased risk of death was enjoyed among women eating the highest amount of soy foods. This was also true for women with hormone-receptor-negative breast cancer AND women who did not have hormone therapy.

This is really interesting! The study tells us that soy isoflavones have a beneficial impact on women with breast cancer, regardless of whether their tumor was hormone-receptor positive or negative, also regardless of whether or not the women received hormone therapy such as Tamoxifen.

But Wait… There’s More!

This is not the only study on soy and breast cancer. I have four other, older, studies to share with you. In May 2012 a joint study 2 between Chinese and American researchers, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition followed 9,514 breast cancer survivors in America and China between 1991-2006. Those who consumed soy and its isoflavones had significantly reduced mortality from breast cancer and a “statistically significant reduced risk of recurrence.”

Canadian researchers investigated the same thing in 2013. The title of the study was Soy, Red Clover, and Isoflavones and Breast Cancer: A Systematic Review 3. Basically, they investigated various medical databases looking for human interventional or observational data relating to the safety and efficacy of soy and red clover isoflavones for patients with breast cancer, or at high risk. They concluded: “Soy consumption may be associated with reduced risk of breast cancer incidence, recurrence, and mortality. Soy does not have estrogenic effects in humans. Soy intake consistent with a traditional Japanese diet appears safe for breast cancer survivors. While there is no clear evidence of harm, better evidence confirming safety is required before use of high dose (=100mg) isoflavones can be recommended for breast cancer patients.

In addition to that, an American study published in Anti-Cancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry in 2013 4 also reviewed past studies and compared the available literature, looking at the anti-cancer vs cancer-promoting effects of soy isoflavones in humans and animals. Researchers concluded “it appears that soy isoflavones do not function as an estrogen, but rather exhibit anti-estrogenic properties. However, their metabolism differs between humans and animals and therefore the outcomes of animal studies may not be applicable to humans. The majority of breast cancer cases are hormone-receptor-positive; therefore, soy isoflavones should be considered a potential anti-cancer therapeutic agent and warrant further investigation.

In a 2014 meta-analysis, which is a study that analyzes all of the research on a particular topic, published in the journal PLOS-One by Chinese researchers 5, it was found that eating soy helped to prevent breast cancer in women of all ages. Researchers found that eating soy cut the risk of breast cancer by a whopping 41 percent!

One important precaution: Supplements and protein powders containing soy protein isolate and concentrated sources of isoflavones DO appear to stimulate the growth of estrogen-dependent tumors and should be avoided. Also avoid highly processed soy products such as soy flour, soy oil, silken tofu, TVP (texturized vegetable protein) and soy isoflavone supplements. These are not proven to be good for our health.

In the end, you must do whatever feels right for you. If it’s not a good fit for you, for instance if you hate the taste or texture of tofu, no problem! Move on to something else. There are plenty of anti-cancer foods – see my page Diet and Cancer for more ideas. If you have soy allergies, obviously eating soy is not going to help you. But eating a mainly plant-based diet is hugely beneficial and helps to cut the risk of breast cancer by a huge degree (especially when combined with exercise).

Other articles that may be of interest: Phytoestrogens – Harmful Or Beneficial For Hormone Driven Breast Cancer?
Is Soy Bad For Women with Breast Cancer? A Definitive Answer

References:

[1] Dietary isoflavone intake and all-cause mortality in breast cancer survivors: The Breast Cancer Family Registry – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28263368

[2] Soy Food Intake after Diagnosis of Breast Cancer and Survival: an In-depth Analysis of Combined Evidence from Cohort Studies of Us and Chinese Women –  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3374736/

[3] Soy, Red Clover, and Isoflavones and Breast Cancer: A Systematic Review – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3842968/

[4] Soy and its Isoflavones: the Truth Behind the Science in Breast Cancer – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23919747

[5] Soy food intake after diagnosis of breast cancer and survival: an in-depth analysis of combined evidence from cohort studies of US and Chinese women – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3374736/

GET MY BEST TIPS on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right. You can also “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark, Breast Health Coach) to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates. I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

Eating Greens and How It Affects Immune Health

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Eating Greens and How It Affects Immune Health

My mother always used to tell me “eat your greens, they’re good for you!” It turns out, mother was more right than she could possibly know.

Eating one’s greens may be even more crucial for immune health than we previously thought, according to recent research which has discovered that an immune cell population essential for intestinal health may be controlled by leafy greens in the diet.

The immune cells, termed innate lymphoid cells (“ILCs”), are located in the lining of the digestive tract. They were discovered in 2013 by researchers at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Molecular Research in Australia. [1]

Let me back-track a bit. Science has, for many years, divided the immune system into two types: innate and adaptive. Innate immunity is present at birth and does not require prior exposure to protect you against pathogens. Adaptive immunity only develops when you have been exposed to a pathogen, for instance chickenpox. Once exposed to a pathogen, your immune cells are able to recognize the invader and mount a defense against it. Adaptive immunity provides the SWAT team that identifies an invading enemy and makes the specific weapons (known as antibodies) needed to destroy it. The fascinating thing about ILCs is that they are neither innate nor adaptive, they sort of straddle the two.

ILCs include cells that have been known for decades, such as natural killer (NK) cells and lymphoid tissue-inducer (LTi) cells. NK cells are key in protecting us from cancer as they recognize a huge array of tumor cells and cancer stem cells and help to eliminate them through cytotoxicity and the production of cytokines. Other ILCs are found mainly in the mucosal lining of the gut and in other mucosal-associated lymphoid tissues, where they work hard to protect us from pathogens.

The 2013 research [2] discovered that a gene called T-bet is essential for producing these all-important ILCs. Going back to the subject of eating greens, they found that the gene responds to signals in the food we eat. They discovered that T-bet is the key gene that tells precursor cells to develop into ILCs. It does this in response to signals from the food we eat and to the presence of bacteria in the gut.

Here’s how it works. Apparently proteins in green leafy and cruciferous vegetables interact with a cell surface receptor that switches on T-bet. Researchers think that the proteins in leafy greens may be part of the same signaling pathway used by T-bet to produce ILCs.

These researchers were excited about the discovery because it has been exceedingly difficult to isolate or produce ILCs. So finding out that something as simple as leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables in the diet can turn on the gene responsible for making ILCs is noteworthy. Without eating greens and without T-bet, the body becomes more susceptible to bacterial infections and other diseases.

Beyond their role in immunity, ILCs are also found in adipose (fat) tissue where they regulate thermogenesis and prevent inflammation that may lead to metabolic syndrome, obesity-related asthma and insulin resistance. [3]

Interestingly, while reading all the research as I prepared to write this article, I came across any number of web articles that boldly denied that diet had any role to play in bolstering immunity – despite the vast amount of research that’s being published to the contrary. Some people live in an interesting land called DENIAL.

For more information on which foods help with immunity and fighting cancer, see my page Diet and Cancer.

References:

[1] Gene Discovery Reveals Importance of Eating Your Greens –
https://www.wehi.edu.au/news/gene-discovery-reveals-importance-eating-your-greens

[2] T-bet is essential for NKp46+ innate lymphocyte development through the Notch pathway –
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4076532/

[3] Innate lymphoid cells: A new paradigm in immunology – http://science.sciencemag.org/content/348/6237/aaa6566

GET MY BEST TIPS on healthy ways to beat breast cancer and prevent recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right.  You can also “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark, Breast Health Coach) to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates.  I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

7 Effective Ways to Lower Cholesterol without Statins

7 Effective Ways to Lower Cholesterol without Statins

We already know that obesity is linked to breast cancer, there are several studies that have linked the two quite effectively. Now it appears that having high cholesterol levels MAY also put us at a higher risk for breast cancer.

Several studies have recently been published investigating whether there was an association between hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol) and breast cancer.  There have been mixed results, with one preliminary British study saying there definitely is an association, and one French study finding no association between blood lipids and breast cancer risk.

Dr Harold Burstein, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and a spokesman for the American Society of Clinical Oncology has stated “The link between cholesterol and breast cancer risk is mild, at most, and has not been a consistent finding in different studies, especially when other factors such as weight, obesity and diet are factored into the epidemiology.”

So the experts don’t agree and the studies are inconclusive but we already know that having high cholesterol levels is bad for our cardiovascular health.

Also in the breast cancer community, patients treated with aromatase inhibitors often develop hyperlipidemia, hypercholesterolemia, and hypertension, all of which are recognized risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

So it only makes sense to do what we can to naturally reduce high cholesterol levels without the  use of statin drugs, which come with their own set of problems and side effects.

Following is a guest post from Kate Forsyth over at Be Healthy Today. Kate has shared 7 great tips on how to effectively lower cholesterol levels without statin drugs.

GUEST POST from KATE FORSYTH

Thanks to the onslaught of fast food and junk food we have easily available nowadays, a lot of people are battling with the bulge. This means having a high cholesterol content in the body. And that’s not good.

As we all know, having too much of something is always a bad idea. To ensure a healthy lifestyle, we always need to check the levels of everything. With regard to cholesterol levels,  one way that people ensure they’re not too high is through taking statins.

Statins, to put it simply, are cholesterol-lowering medications. How do they lower the blood cholesterol levels? They block the action of a specific chemical in the liver that is necessary for producing cholesterol. Take note that having too much cholesterol in the blood causes plaque buildup on the artery walls. This buildup will eventually cause the arteries to narrow and harden. Blood clots in these arteries will cause a heart attack or stroke. To prevent that, statins are then prescribed.

When a person takes statins, cholesterol levels are thus lowered. Because these levels decrease, this then reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes. In fact, some studies show that statins effectively lower the risk of heart attack, stroke, and even death from heart disease by around 25%–35%. Other studies also show that statins reduce the chances of recurrent strokes or heart attacks by around 40%.

So how exactly will you know if your blood cholesterol levels are “high”? Most of the practitioners in the medical community believe that the ratio of LDL (bad) cholesterol to HDL (good) cholesterol should be around 2:1. Taking a lipid profile blood test will show the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in your system.

Total Cholesterol

Below 200 mg/dL Ideal
200–239 mg/dL Borderline high
240 mg/dL and up High

LDL Cholesterol

Below 70 mg/dL Ideal for people with a very high risk for heart disease
Below 100 mg/dL Ideal for people with a slight risk for heart disease
100–129 mg/dL Near ideal
130–159 mg/dL Borderline high
160–189 mg/dL High
190 mg/dL and up Very high

HDL Cholesterol

Below 40 mg/dL (women) Poor
Below 50 mg/dL (men) Poor
50–59 mg/dL Better
60 mg/dL and up Best

Triglycerides

Below 150 mg/dL Ideal
150–199 mg/dL Borderline high
200–499 mg/dL High
500 mg/dL and up Very high

While I’m sure statins are a godsend to many people, wouldn’t it be better to lower cholesterol levels naturally? That way there won’t be any drug dependency, and you’ll have more control over your body.

There are quite a number of ways that you can lessen those high cholesterol levels. Here are a few prime examples that actually work.

  1. Watch That Fat

Make sure to limit your intake of foods loaded with saturated fats, trans fats, and dietary cholesterol. These include butter, fatty flesh (red meat), dairy products, palm oil, as well as coconut oil.

The best choices of food to load up on instead are those with omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, sardines, trout, and mackerel.

Also, opt for foods with polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids. These two will help lower LDL. Many plant-derived oils contain both. Some examples are safflower, grapeseed, olive, and peanut oils. (note by Marnie – make sure they’re organic!)

  1. Eat More Protein

For your protein content, great sources are legumes, beans, seeds, and nuts. Specific examples are red beans, pinto beans, white beans, and soybeans. They’re full of essential nutrients and help lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and insulin levels.

  1. Fiber Is Your Best Friend

Foods with high fiber intake have been proven to help lower high cholesterol levels. Excellent sources of fiber include oats, barley, peas, yams, sweet potatoes, and other potatoes. You can also stock up on legumes or beans, such as peas, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, and black beans. Good fruit sources are berries, passion fruit, oranges, pears, apricots, nectarines, and apples. And finally, vegetables rich in soluble fiber include carrots, Brussels sprouts, beets, okra, and eggplant.

  1. Hello, Herbs!

A number of herbs have been noted to help with cholesterol levels as well. These include rosemary, basil, and turmeric. Adding them to your food provides powerful antioxidants that are cardio-protective and can help lower cholesterol levels naturally.

  1. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise

Regular exercise improves cholesterol. Doing moderate physical activity helps raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Regularly exercising helps you lose weight. Making sure you maintain a desirable and healthy weight can gain plenty of benefits. One of these is improving your cholesterol profile. This helps prevent getting other sorts of diseases as well, like type 2 diabetes, strokes, heart attacks, gout, and some types of cancer.

In order to stay on track, it’s a good idea to find an exercise buddy who shares the same goals as you. You can both encourage and help each other out to be healthier.

  1. Say Goodbye to Smoking

If you smoke, quitting ASAP is a good idea. Cutting this bad habit will do wonders to your HDL levels. Once you quit, your blood pressure and heart rate decrease. Within a year of quitting, your risk of heart disease will be half that of a regular smoker.

  1. Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Sleep deprivation has been proven to increase the LDL levels. This leads to high blood pressure and overeating as well. Try to ensure you get a good solid 6-8 hours of sleep every night. Check out bedtime practices that work for you and are effective in providing you with the rest you need.

Author Bio:

Kate B. Forsyth is a writer for Be Healthy Today, who specializes in health and nutrition. Her passion is to help people get an overall transformation of health that lasts a lifetime. In her blog posts, she goes beyond research by providing health-concerned citizens doable and simple tricks to achieve a healthier lifestyle.

SOURCES:

https://www.pritikin.com/your-health/health-benefits/lower-cholesterol/1468-7-tips-for-improving-your-ldl-cholesterol.html

https://draxe.com/lower-cholesterol-naturally-fast/

http://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/how-to-lower-your-cholesterol-without-drugs

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20552005,00.html#dietary-fiber-0

http://www.newsmax.com/Health/Headline/statins-cholesterol-natural-drugfree/2013/11/14/id/536605/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/reduce-cholesterol/art-20045935

 

Thanks, Kate, for the 7 great tips!

GET MY BEST TIPS on healthy ways to beat breast cancer and prevent recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right. You can also “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark, Breast Health Coach) to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates. I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

YouTube Videos by Dr Michael Greger, A Great Source of Nutrition Facts

Dr Michael Greger
Dr Michael Greger

YouTube Videos by Dr Michael Greger, A Great Source of Nutrition Facts

One of my favorite sources of nutrition facts and information are Dr Michael Greger’s YouTube videos.  They are full of great information on nutrition, all backed by research and common-sense thinking, and he really delves deeply into the subject he is discussing. He also explains it all so clearly and concisely, so that the average person can understand.

The particular things I really like about Dr Greger and his videos are his witty dialogue, the way he simplifies medical jargon as he’s reciting the facts of medical studies, and the fact that the videos are in a short, easy-to-digest format. I appreciate the fact that he reads so many studies on a particular subject, boils it all down for us into 3-4 minutes of information, and delivers the facts with a minimum of fuss. No messing around – I especially like that, when you don’t have much time to waste on finding out about something, it’s a real plus! Just the fact that he reads all of those research studies (he obviously has an inquiring mind), that alone would turn us mere mortals blue in the face. Oh, and he’s not pushing any products, another nice thing.

Some of my favorite YouTube videos by Dr Greger are:

Are Organic Foods More Nutritious?

Antimutagenic Activity of Green Tea vs White Tea 

Is Soy Healthy For Breast Cancer Survivors?

BRCA Breast Cancer Genes and Soy

Cancer Reversal Through Diet?

Apple Skin: Peeling Back Cancer

Is Distilled Fish Oil Toxin Free?

Each video is only 4-5 minutes long and definitely worth your time and attention. Go check out some of these – I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. If you go to the NutritionFacts.org website, you will find a treasure trove of instructional videos over there on a huge variety of health subjects. Use the search field to find what you’re looking for. The YouTube channel is called NutritionFacts.org, so go on over to YouTube and subscribe to his channel and they will email you when new videos are released.

Searching for more information on breast cancer and nutrition? Visit my page Diet and Cancer.

GET MY BEST TIPS on healthy ways to beat breast cancer and prevent recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right. You can also “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark, Breast Health Coach) to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates. I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

Chamomile is an Effective Cancer Fighter

http://MarnieClark.com/Chamomile-is-an-Effective-Cancer-Fighter

Chamomile is an Effective Cancer Fighter

Welcome to my first article for 2017! I’ve been taking a wee break to spend time with my lovely grandchildren but it’s time to get back to work. This article is all about the wonderful herb chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and how great it is for killing cancer cells.

Chamomile has centuries of use as a remedy for inducing sleep, fighting the effects of stress and anxiety, and calming digestion. New research indicates that drinking chamomile tea regularly can also assist with many other health issues. Interesting 2015 Greek research found that chamomile tea consumption protected against thyroid cancer. For those who drank the tea two to six times per week, these participants had a much reduced risk of thyroid cancer. For the long-time drinkers of chamomile tea, researchers stated “Thirty years of consumption significantly reduced the risk of thyroid cancer and benign thyroid diseases development by almost 80%.” [1]

Chamomile has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, cholesterol-lowering, anti-parasitic, anti-aging, calming, and yes, anti-cancer properties. [2]

We know that antioxidants are important for reducing cancer risk. But that part about anti-inflammation? That’s important too. Chamomile has strong anti-inflammatory properties. Since many disease processes involve inflammation, including breast cancer, this is an important thing to get under control. Prostaglandins and COX-2 enzymes (molecules closely related to the process of inflammation in the body) are higher in tumor tissue than in normal tissue. Many recent studies have confirmed that if the inflammatory process can be stopped, tumorigenesis (the process of the formation of a tumor) stops too. In Germany, chamomile has been approved by the German Commission E for the management of inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, for topical application in the treatment of skin disorders, and for inflammatory disorders. [3]

Chamomile’s Phytochemicals

Chamomile contains some very interesting phytochemicals (plant-based, all natural chemicals) including apigenin, luteolin, terpene compounds, chamazulene, alpha-bisabolol, patuletin, quercetin, myricetin, and rutin.

Apigenin has strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Apigenin is a flavone, from the flavonoid family of phytochemicals. Besides chamomile, apigenin is also found in celery, celeriac, onions, grapefruit, oranges, and the herbs thyme, lemon balm and parsley. [4]

Canadian researchers reported in 2014 that apigenin inhibited the proliferation (spread) of four different types of breast cancer:
MDA-MB-231: estrogen receptor negative, progesterone receptor negative, HER2 negative – also known as triple negative breast cancer, highly metastatic
MDA-MB-468: estrogen receptor negative, progesterone receptor negative, HER2 negative, adenocarcinoma, metastatic
MCF-7: estrogen receptor positive, progesterone receptor positive, HER2 negative, infiltrating ductal carcinoma, metastatic
SkBr3: estrogen receptor negative, progesterone receptor negative, HER2 positive, infiltrating ductal carcinoma with lung metastases

The Canadian researchers stated: “low-dose apigenin has the potential to slow or prevent breast cancer progression.” [5]

Luteolin is also a flavone. Researchers at the University of Missouri in the USA reported late in 2016 that luteolin inhibited cell migration, the spreading of cancer cells to lungs and viability of triple negative breast cancer cells. It also induced apoptosis (programmed cell death, absent in cancer cells), inhibited VEGF secretion. VEGF stands for vascular endothelial growth factor, a protein that plays a critical role in breast tumors by enhancing cell proliferation (rapid growth), invasion (spread), angiogenesis (the ability of a tumor to create new blood vessels to feed itself) and metastasis (spread to other tissues of the body). [6]

Terpene compounds are a class of phytochemicals that are components of the essential oils found in plants. Terpenes have some wonderful characteristics. They are highly antimicrobial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and pain relieving phytochemicals. The most exciting aspect of terpenes, however, is that they clean off the receptor sites in cells, which helps to increase cellular communication. They have the ability to cross over the blood-brain-barrier separating the brain from the rest of the body. This means they can have direct effects on the brain. They can also erase incorrect coding information in DNA, and they help to reprogram cells with correct coding information to effect deep healing.

Chamazulene is a phytochemical found in chamomile, it has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. [7]

Alpha-bisabolol is one of the terpene compounds referred to above. Namely, it is a sesquiterpene. Italian researchers in 2016 listed five ways alpha-bisabolol worked as an effective cytotoxic (toxic to cancer cells) agent. Researchers stated that alpha-bisabolol acted “on different layers of cell regulation to elicit different concurrent death signals.” [8]

Quercetin, a flavonoid, is a strong antioxidant with anti-cancer effects. A 2013 study demonstrated that quercetin reduced proliferation, promoted apoptosis and decreased levels of survivin in MCF-7 breast cancer cells (described above). [9] See also the role of quercetin in breast cancer resistance protein, discussed below.

Myricetin, also a flavonoid, increases antioxidant levels in the body. In 2014, Indian researchers investigated its effects in a small animal trial. Rats were given a specific drug to promote breast cancer and for those who received myricetin, there was a significant protective effect. [10]
2016 research also found myricetin to have anti-cancer properties. It arrests the telomeres in the DNA of MCF-7 breast cancer cells. [11] Scientists have been investigating the use of small molecules to arrest something called the G-quadruplex structure. This has become a potential strategy for the development and design of a new class of anti-cancer therapeutics. While I’m not a scientist and I don’t understand this research sufficiently to be able to explain it to you in layman terms, I do know that telomeres play an important role in cancer and anti-aging. The article at [12] below may help to clarify matters for you.

Rutin is a flavonoid present in chamomile. In 2013, Chinese researchers investigated the role of rutin for neuroblastoma, a particularly lethal form of childhood cancer. Rutin was found to have potent anti-cancer effects on neuroblastoma cells. It induced cell cycle arrest, induced apoptosis, as well as regulating the expression of the gene related to apoptosis. [13]

Breast Cancer Resistance Protein

Doctors and researchers have been stymied in recent years by tumors that increasingly have a resistance to the chemotherapeutic drugs being used to battle the cancer. Identified in 1998, breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP), is a gene found in diverse cancer cells which appear to cause multidrug resistance. BCRP appears to function as part of a self-defense mechanism for the cancer – it enhances elimination of toxic substances (ie most chemotherapy drugs) and harmful agents in the gut and through the blood-brain, placental, and possibly even blood-testis barriers. BCRP expression in cancer cells operates by recognizing and transporting out of the body numerous anti-cancer drugs including conventional chemotherapeutic and targeted drugs. BCRP is also a known stem cell marker, its presence in cancer cells usually indicates drug resistance, self-renewal, and invasiveness and, consequently, poor prognosis. [14]

I’m sharing all of this with you because chamomile, and more specifically, quercitin has been found, in a brand new 2017 study from researchers in the UK, to down-regulate the expression of BCRP, without the neurotoxicity shown by other drugs designed to modulate BCRP. [15]

Curcumin was also mentioned as a down-regulator of the BCRP gene. See my article Harvest the Power of Curcumin to Kill Breast Cancer Cells

So which form of chamomile is best? Both Roman chamomile and German chamomile contain the potent phytochemicals mentioned in this article. Whether you drink the herbal tea or use the essential oil, chamomile is bad news for cancer cells.

References:

[1] The Effect of Greek Herbal Tea Consumption on Thyroid Cancer: a Case-control Study – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25842380

[2] A Review of the Bioactivity and Potential Health Benefits of Chamomile Tea (Matricaria Recutita L.) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16628544

[3] Chamomile, a Novel and Selective COX-2 Inhibitor with Anti-inflammatory Activity – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2784024/

[4] Apigenin and Breast Cancers: From Chemistry to Medicine – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25738871

[5] Exposure of Breast Cancer Cells to a Subcytotoxic Dose of Apigenin Causes Growth Inhibition, Oxidative Stress, and Hypophosphorylation of Akt – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25019465

[6] Luteolin Inhibits Lung Metastasis, Cell Migration, and Viability of Triple-negative Breast Cancer Cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5207335/

[7] Rapid Evaluation and Comparison of Natural Products and Antioxidant Activity in Calendula, Feverfew, and German Chamomile Extracts – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25666499

[8] The Antineoplastic Agent A-bisabolol Promotes Cell Death by Inducing Pores in Mitochondria and Lysosomes – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27278818

[9] Effects of Quercetin on the Proliferation of Breast Cancer Cells and Expression of Survivin in Vitro – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3820718/

[10] Evaluation of Protective Effect of Myricetin, a Bioflavonoid in Dimethyl Benzanthracene-induced Breast Cancer in Female Wistar Rats – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4014640/

[11] Myricetin arrests human telomeric G-quadruplex structure: a new mechanistic approach as an anticancer agent – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27249025

[12] http://www.news-medical.net/life-sciences/Telomeres-and-Cancer.aspx

[13] Anti-Tumor Effect of Rutin on Human Neuroblastoma Cell Lines through Inducing G2/M Cell Cycle Arrest and Promoting Apoptosis – https://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2013/269165/

[14] Breast Cancer Resistance Protein (Bcrp/abcg2): its Role in Multidrug Resistance and Regulation of its Gene Expression – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3777471/

[15] Phytochemical Mediated-modulation of the Expression and Transporter Function of Breast Cancer Resistance Protein at the Blood-brain Barrier: an In-vitro Study – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27771282

GET MY BEST TIPS on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right. You can also “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark, Breast Health Coach) to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates. I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

Yes Your Urine Might Change Color When Taking DIM

http://MarnieClark.com/yes-your-urine-might-change-color-when-taking-dimYes Your Urine Might Change Color When Taking DIM

I have long been an advocate of the supplement DIM, you will find many articles about it on this website. DIM is short for di-indolyl-methane and it is made from plant indoles, natural phytonutrients found aplenty in cruciferous vegetables like kale, cabbage, brussel sprouts, spinach, and my favorite, broccoli. Indoles help to manage out-of-control estrogen and estriol levels in both men and women. Today I’m sharing some information about one of the possible side effects of DIM supplementation. Your urine might change color when taking DIM. It can be a surprise if you’re not expecting it, and even slightly worrisome.

While I was on the subject I took a look at all of the newest (and exciting) research on DIM and have included that information in this article as well.

About That Urine Color Change with DIM…

I have taken DIM myself on many occasions. Recently, however, I changed my DIM product to a stronger formulation and began to notice something rather odd. My urine was a dark orange, almost a bronzey red color. I was also having some weird cramping, rather like very mild menstrual cramps. I have NEVER seen my urine that color before and with that and the cramping, I began to think I had a bladder infection or a UTI. I just wasn’t feeling so good.

Gotta say, all of that worried me a bit. I almost went in for a urinalysis, but then did a quick Internet search and connected the two. DOH! These are common symptoms when taking DIM. So I stopped taking it for a day or two and the dark urine color changed back to normal and any cramping stopped. I wondered why it hadn’t happened to me before because as I say, I have taken DIM before. But then I recalled that I was taking a stronger and better formulation. I’m back on it now and though my urine is dark again, there has been no more cramping.

So Why Does Your Urine Change Color When You Take DIM?

Because DIM is doing great things for you! It can be a sign that it is assisting your liver to detox your body of excess estrogen metabolites and other environmental estrogens (known as xenoestrogens). For that reason, it’s a good idea to also take some sort of liver support while taking DIM supplements. The herb milk thistle is extremely good for this. Also drinking lots of green tea is helpful for liver support. Please also ensure you drink lots of filtered water when you’re taking DIM because your body is trying to excrete toxic substances and you need to help it flush them out of your body. Add a slice of lemon and get some vitamin C too!

There are times when a change of urine color should be checked out by your doctor – see Other Causes for Concern for Dark Urine, below.

New Research on DIM

I’m excited to share some great new research on DIM, just released. Older studies have already shown that DIM inhibits the growth of human cancer cells by interfering with multiple signaling pathways, reducing the invasion, migration, and metastasis (spread) of cancer cells, as well as promoting apoptosis (planned cell death, which cancer cells lack). It is also a potent stimulator of immune function [1].

Research published in October 2016 by Korean researchers examining the effect of DIM on mice with colitis found that DIM has anti-inflammatory properties (always a good thing for your anti-cancer arsenal). It also suppresses the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor, a growth factor associated with a tumor’s ability to create new blood vessels to feed itself, a process called angiogenesis. [2]

Chinese research published in September 2016 investigating the effects of DIM on mice undergoing total body radiation found that DIM has radioprotective properties [3]. This is great news. Apparantly DIM helps to offset the injury that occurs to hematopoiesis, our ability to create new blood cells. This is one of the reasons people can have alarming decreases in various blood cell types when undergoing radiation.

Joint USA/Chinese research reported in September 2016 (again on mice) found that DIM reduces prostate tumor growth by suppressing a gene known as PCGEM1, while promoting apoptosis. [4]

A joint USA/Indian study on animals released in August 2016 found that two derivatives from DIM (DIM-10 and DIM-14) possessed strong anti-cancer effects, and were responsible for a significant reduction in tumor size in triple negative breast cancer cells. [5] These are cells that are not affected by hormones or HER2 status. An older 2002 study also found that DIM could induce apoptosis in breast cancer cells independent of estrogen receptor status. [6]

A July 2016 Korean study indicated DIM could also be useful for gastrointestinal cancers. [7]

DIM may be beneficial for those carrying the BRCA1/2 gene mutation as well. A small Canadian research study appearing in the British Journal of Cancer in 2014 investigated the ability of DIM to upregulate BRCA1 expression. Upregulating this gene, associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, translates to a reduced cancer risk. Although a small study, the women receiving 300 mg per day (150 mg twice per day) of DIM experienced a 34 percent increase in BRCA1 expression. [8] Very encouraging!

One other interesting thing. When taking DIM, oxygen levels in tumor cells increase. This is a really great thing because oxygen is hated by cancer cells. They thrive in anaerobic conditions (meaning without oxygen) so something natural that increases cellular oxygen levels is beneficial. The study was done at the University of California at Berkeley in 2008 and it was the first to demonstrate that DIM works by decreasing the accumulation and activity a key factor involved in angiogenesis called HIF-1alpha in hypoxic cancer cells. [9]

Here’s the brand of DIM I’m taking.

This is another great brand.

This is a great milk thistle supplement.

Other Causes for Concern for Dark Urine

If your urine turns dark when taking DIM, do not be alarmed. There are times, however, when you do need to be concerned and watchful for other symptoms. If your liver is diseased, you may have symptoms such as yellowing of eyes and skin, abdominal pain, pale or red stool, itchy skin, nausea and loss of appetite. Kidney disease symptoms include loss of appetite, fatigue, problems sleeping, muscles cramping and twitching, and decreased urine output.

References:

[1] 3,3′-Diindolylmethane Stimulates Murine Immune Function In Vitro and In Vivo – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2387240/

[2] Effect of Oral Administration of 3,3′-Diindolylmethane on Dextran Sodium Sulfate-Induced Acute Colitis in Mice – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27700072

[3] 3,3′-diindolylmethane Mitigates Total Body Irradiation-induced Hematopoietic Injury in Mice – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27609226

[4] Regulation of PCGEM1 by P54/NRB in Prostate Cancer – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5041109/

[5] Novel Diindolylmethane Derivatives Based NLC Formulations to Improve the Oral Bioavailability and Anticancer Effects in Triple Negative Breast Cancer – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27586082

[6] Bcl-2 Family-mediated Apoptotic Effects of 3,3′-Diindolylmethane (DIM) in Human Breast Cancer Cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11931841

[7] Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of 3,3′-Diindolylmethane in Gastrointestinal Cancer – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4964527/

[8] BRCA1 mRNA Levels Following a 4–6-week Intervention with Oral 3,3′-diindolylmethane –
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4183839/

[9] 3,3′-Diindolylmethane Reduces Levels of HIF-1a and HIF-1 Activity in Hypoxic Cultured Human Cancer Cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2387239/

GET MY BEST TIPS on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right. You can also “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark, Breast Health Coach) to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates. I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

The Benefits of Eating Raw Food vs Cooked

Image source: freedigitalphotos.net
Image source: freedigitalphotos.net

The Benefits of Eating Raw Food vs Cooked

As a breast health coach one of the things I recommend to my clients is the benefits of eating raw food vs cooked food, it’s part of my wellness recommendations for them. Let me be clear – I am not saying everyone should switch your diet to all raw (although some do and are quite happy to). In this article I hope to share with you why raw food should be considered part of a healthy regimen and in what quantity.

Malnourished?

According to health expert Philip Day, the top six causes of disease deaths in our western culture are ALL diseases of chronic malnutrition, especially cancer. Yes – malnutrition! Hard to believe in this day and age, but it’s absolutely true. Our bodies are literally starving for the nutrients they need to run properly.

The primary goal of eating a diet high in raw foods is to help your body get those easy-to-digest, high quality nutrients it so badly needs. Our bodies are naturally designed for this sort of diet. Secondly, cooked foods create a higher level of acidity in the body, while raw foods neutralize acid and help the body be more alkaline. We know that high levels of acidity are associated with increased disease.

Cooking vs Raw

The problem with cooking food is that heating it can destroy many of the natural nutrients and enzymes the food would normally contain. This is not a good thing because those enzymes assist with digestion and help in the fight against chronic disease (yes, even cancer). Foods that are high in antioxidants and phytonutrients (plant nutrients) simply don’t stand up well to cooking.

Cooked foods can also produce inflammation in the body and this is something we definitely want to avoid because cancer is an inflammatory process. So anything that creates or promotes inflammation is to be avoided wherever possible.

Some of the benefits of incorporating more raw food into the diet include less inflammation in the body, less acidity, better digestion, healthy weight promotion, good quality dietary fiber (helps elimination so less constipation), reduced food allergies, less joint pain, improved heart, liver and colon function, reduced need for vitamin supplements, more energy, clear skin, and more importantly, more cancer-fighting nutrients.

My Recommendations

One of the key parts of a breast healthy diet is one high in cancer-banishing phytonutrients that come from raw fruits and vegetables. Depending on which style of raw food diet you wish to follow, you can begin by just adding more raw fruit and vegetables into your diet every single day. There’s no need to completely make over your diet on day one. Start slowly and aim eventually for a 50/50 ratio of raw to cooked food – that’s a really great goal. Here’s a tip:  at each meal, fill a plate half way with fresh, raw, non-starchy vegetables and fruit and the other half of the plate with cooked or lightly steamed food.

For a list of the best anti-cancer fruits and vegetables to eat, check out my page Diet and Cancer. My personal feelings are that there is little need to go completely raw (unless you want to), because it’s too easy for a person to become deficient in protein and to feel deprived, unless they are following a very specific and rigorous raw food regimen. I’m finding many just don’t have the time or inclination for that.

So as to not feel too deprived I recommend people also include fish, sea vegetables, sprouted grains, fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi, also seeds, nuts, eggs, and small amounts of organic meat and chicken. This is definitely a matter of personal choice, however, and if you feel the need to completely avoid eating meat, that’s your right. We can agree to disagree.

You definitely want to avoid most packaged and processed foods sold in the grocery store like bread, cereals, crackers, cheese and most dairy products, condiments, highly processed oils and meats. One naturopath went a step farther and said to me “If it has a bar code, avoid it!” That’s not strictly true anymore as even fruit can have bar codes these days. But you get her meaning, right? The more natural (and preferably organic) that it is, the better.

Good Raw Food Websites

There are some wonderful websites out there that share loads of tasty and inventive raw food recipes. I recommend beginning with just one new recipe per week that you will enjoy and build up your recipe repertoire over time. Get familiar with the world’s leading raw food websites. Here are some of my favorites:

Raw Food Recipes


http://rawmazing.com/rawmazing-recipes/
http://allrecipes.com/recipes/16337/healthy-recipes/raw-food-diet/
http://www.thebestofrawfood.com/raw-food-diet-recipe-index.html
http://www.therawfoodmum.com/

Please remember the benefits of juicing too. Juicing vegetables and adding phytonutrient-rich green foods and fulvic acids to your diet gets some cancer-blasting nutrients into your body in a hurry. So if your diet has been less than optimal lately, today is a new day. Do some juicing. Eat a new raw food salad (my favorite one is at the top of the page here). Get some greens into you. Give your body what it needs. Raw vegetables and fruits RULE!

GET MY BEST TIPS on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right. You can also “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark, Breast Health Coach) to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates. I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

Study Shows Curcumin Works As Well As Herceptin In Some Cases

http://MarnieClark.com/Study-Shows-Curcumin-Works-As-Well-As-Herceptin-In-Some-CasesStudy Shows Curcumin Works As Well As Herceptin In Some Cases

While doing some research for one of my newsletters about curcumin, the pigment derived from the root spice turmeric, and its good effects for breast cancer, I ran across a study on curcumin that had some great information for those with HER2 positive breast cancer.

About 15-25 percent of breast cancer patients are HER2 positive, meaning that their tumors have an overexpression of this oncoprotein which researchers have observed is associated with a poor prognosis, increased disease recurrence and metastases. One of the drugs that has been created to address this problem is trastuzumab, also called Herceptin.

There is little doubt that Herceptin is saving lives, but there’s a problem for some people.

Quite a few women have contacted me from various parts of the world where Herceptin is either not available or too expensive – Africa being the main location where this is happening. These women have been diagnosed with HER2 positive breast cancer and are quite concerned that Herceptin is not available for them.  Another couple of problems exist as well. The tumor cells of some women have a resistance to Herceptin. And for some, Herceptin is too hard on their heart and/or lungs. So it is for these women that I am sharing this information.

The study I read was released in 2012 and its title is “The Potential Utility of Curcumin in the Treatment of HER-2-Overexpressed Breast Cancer: An In Vitro and In Vivo Comparison Study with Herceptin” [1].

As denoted by the title, the study was both an in vitro (test tube) study and in vivo (in body – with animals) study done with various lines of breast cancer cells and on mice. I believe the results are very interesting and are certainly worth considering, especially in view of the fact that not everyone has access to the drug Herceptin, some are resistant and some are just not able to tolerate it. These people need Herceptin alternatives.

The Research

Researchers wanted to gain some insight about what worked best for tumors that overexpress the HER2 oncoprotein. So they divided up various lines of breast cancer cells (listed below) in test tubes and also test animals into 8 different groups:

1. Those who received DMSO only
2. Those who received Herceptin only
3. Those who received curcumin only
4. Those who received a combination of Herceptin and curcumin
5. Those who received Taxol only
6. Those who received a combination of Taxol and Herceptin
7. Those who received a combination of Taxol and curcumin
8. Those who received a combination of Taxol, curcumin and Herceptin

The results revealed that curcumin reduced the cell viability of several different breast cancer cell lines, including MCF-7 (ER-positive, HER-2-negative), MDA-MB-231 (ER-negative, PR-negative, HER-2-negative – also known as triple negative), BT-474 (ER-positive, HER-2-positive), and SK-BR-3-hr (ER-negative, HER-2-positive but Herceptin-resistant) cells.

Herceptin Combined with Curcumin

Researchers found that when a low dose of Herceptin was used with curcumin, there was a synergistic effect, but when a high dose of Herceptin was used, there was an antagonistic effect, meaning that the combination didn’t work as well. So for someone having high doses of Herceptin, taking curcumin would most likely not provide an advantage.

In BT-474 cells (ER-positive, HER-2 positive), curcumin effectively decreased tumor size.

Also, researchers noted that curcumin had the ability to inhibit Herceptin-resistant breast cancer cells (SK-BR-3). This is of great importance to those who are HER2 positive but who are resistant to Herceptin. Researchers stated “The ability of curcumin to downregulate EGFR and HER-2 oncoproteins and inhibit the phosphorylation of Akt and MAPK and NF-kB activation suggests that curcumin has potential in the treatment of HER-2-overexpressed and/or herceptin-resistant breast cancer.”

In the animal study, curcumin treatment effectively reduced the tumor size by 76.7%, compared with the control; however, it was not as effective as Herceptin, which achieved an 86.7% tumor reduction.

Did you get that? Curcumin alone reduced tumor size by 76.7%. Yes, Herceptin did a better job, it reduced tumor size by 86.7% but Herceptin is also pretty hard on the body and curcumin is not.

Researchers also revealed that the combination of Herceptin and curcumin showed a greater antitumor effect than curcumin alone (87.5% versus 76.7% in tumor regression).

Interestingly, researchers anticipated the study to reveal that there would be a synergistic effect when combining Herceptin with curcumin, but in the animal study, combining Herceptin and curcumin was no better than Herceptin alone.

Taxol Combined With Curcumin

In the animal study, the combination of curcumin with Taxol had an antitumor effect comparable with combining Taxol and Herceptin, which is one of the current preferred chemotherapy regimens for those with HER2 positive breast cancer. The combination of Taxol, Herceptin and curcumin was associated with the smallest tumors, but was not “statistically different” from that of the Taxol and Herceptin regimen.

I take that last paragraph to mean that combining Taxol with curcumin is just as good as combining Taxol and Herceptin. That’s huge! And combining Taxol, Herceptin and curcumin provided the best results in the animal study.

In conclusion, I believe this study is significant. In people who do not tolerate Herceptin well or are unable to get this drug due to finances or geographical location, or for those whose tumor cells are Herceptin resistant, according to this study, the combination of Taxol and curcumin is just as good as combining Taxol and Herceptin.

For dosage advice of curcumin, see my article: Harvest The Power Of Curcumin To Kill Breast Cancer Cells.

References:
1. The Potential Utility of Curcumin in the Treatment of HER-2-Overexpressed Breast Cancer: An In Vitro and In Vivo Comparison Study with Herceptin – http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2012/486568/

GET MY BEST TIPS on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right.  You can also “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark, Breast Health Coach) to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates.  I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.  

How Beneficial Gut Bacteria Reduces Cancer Risk

Image source: Freedigitalphotos.net / OZphotography
Image source: Freedigitalphotos.net / OZphotography

How Beneficial Gut Bacteria Reduces Cancer Risk

We are now well informed that inside our digestive tract are millions of beneficial gut bacteria that help us break down the food we eat and limit the overgrowth of bad bacteria. They also protect us from infections by playing a crucial role in a healthy immune system. In this article I will share with you how beneficial gut bacteria also reduces cancer risk.

All one needs to do is take a course of antibiotics which kills off the beneficial gut bacteria to have a very good understanding of what an important role they play in our health. Supplementing with probiotics when one is taking antibiotics has long been favored by natural medicine doctors. Even a few conventional medicine doctors (if they are good ones) will advise taking probiotics to replace the good bacteria that is being killed off by antibiotic drugs.

In the past, taking probiotics has been seen primarily as something to help defend against intestinal problems such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s, etc. But scientists now believe that beneficial gut bacteria and probiotics play an even more important role in the prevention of other diseases, including cancer.

Did you know that 70-80% of your immune system is located within the gut? Also, the intestinal tract contains a very dense concentration of molecules that are involved in chemical detection and signaling and these molecules are able to affect cells throughout the entire body. This can be a good thing but it can also cause problems.

Intestinal bacteria produces proteins that are able to powerfully influence these chemical detector molecules. An imbalance in the ratio of good-to-bad bacteria within the gut activates these detector molecules in ways that can trigger the development of a wide range of diseases, including cancer. Fortunately, taking probiotics can reverse these disruptions to intestine-based signaling mechanisms. This, in turn, reverses the negative influence that triggers the development of chronic disease.

Some Research on Probiotics

A 2014 paper published in the World Journal of Clinical Oncology discussed a number of research studies which indicate that certain strains of beneficial bacteria have a protective effect against cancer. [1] The authors mentioned their own study wherein a probiotic bacterium known as Lactobacillus casei stimulated an immune response against a particular sort of breast tumor in mice, and delayed or avoided the growth of mammary tumors. [2]

A small animal study released in 2015 wherein Lactobacillus acidophilus was given to mice with breast tumors indicated that the mice that received this probiotic had an increased immune response and lived significantly longer than those who did not. Researchers concluded that the results of the study suggested that daily consumption of Lactobacillus acidophilus may modulate the immune response through its anti-tumor properties and enhance Th1 cytokine production. [3]

A 2014 study on rats found that long-term administration of a new strain of probiotic, Lactobacillus plantarum, combined with a prebiotic known as inulin (indigestible fiber derived from mainly root vegetables) suppressed tumor frequency, increased T-cells (part of the immune system), and reduced tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a cytokine associated with cancer promotion in certain conditions. [4]

A 2004 animal study indicated that probiotics such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum significantly decreased DNA damage associated with the development of malignant cells. [5]

8 Ways Beneficial Gut Bacteria Help To Guard Against Cancer

1. By binding to potential carcinogens (cancer causing agents) and promoting elimination by the body.

2. By suppressing bad bacteria that could convert cancer-causing molecules into carcinogens.

3. By boosting immune cells in the gut that play a role in tumor inhibition.

4. By decreasing the enzymes associated with the development of carcinogens.

5. By promoting immune cytokines which fight against early stages of cancer development.

6. By decreasing DNA damage that can trigger malignant cell development.

7. By suppressing or decreasing inflammation in the body.

8. By boosting natural antioxidant and detoxification enzymes that inhibit activation of potential dietary carcinogens.

Because today’s Western diet, stress factors, widespread antibiotic use (and other pharmaceutical drugs), treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation, and other lifestyle factors (even Caesarian delivery of babies), can disrupt the balance of healthy gut bacteria, supplementation with probiotics is highly recommended. An imbalance of gut bacteria can be reversed through supplementation with good quality probiotics and by regularly eating fermented foods such as kefir, organic plain yogurt, miso, sauerkraut, pickled cucumbers, pickled beets, pickled radishes, kimchi, tempeh, and kombucha.

References:

1. Modification in the Diet Can Induce Beneficial Effects Against Breast Cancer – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4127615/

2. The Administration of Milk Fermented by the Probiotic Lactobacillus Casei CRL 431 Exerts an Immunomodulatory Effect Against a Breast Tumour in a Mouse Model – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24646876/

3. Th1 Cytokine Production Induced by Lactobacillus acidophilus in BALB/c Mice Bearing Transplanted Breast Tumor – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4449865/

4. Preventive Effects of Probiotic Bacteria Lactobacillus Plantarum and Dietary Fiber in Chemically-induced Mammary Carcinogenesis – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25202079

5. Dietary Intervention with the Probiotics Lactobacillus Acidophilus 145 and Bifidobacterium Longum 913 Modulates the Potential of Human Faecal Water to Induce Damage in Ht29clone19a Cells – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15182396

 
GET MY BEST TIPS on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right. You can also “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark, Breast Health Coach) to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates. I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

How Much Iodine To Take?

http://MarnieClark.com/How-much-iodine-to-takeHow Much Iodine To Take?

If you have been recommended to take iodine and have no idea how much iodine to take, or even the best form of iodine, you are not alone, it can be incredibly confusing. With this article I will share some knowledge with you about how and when to supplement with iodine, how much iodine to take, and why you should even consider it.

The Tendency To Hypothyroidism

With our increasingly toxic world, many people tend towards hypothyroidism, that is, insufficient production of thyroid hormones by the thyroid gland.

From a breast cancer perspective, hypothyroidism can occur both before and after breast cancer strikes and can be caused by several things. Sometimes it is due to the low iodine content of the average modern diet, sometimes it occurs as a direct result of having breast cancer, and sometimes it results from an excess of heavy metal contamination in a person’s environment. Chlorinated water in particular is toxic to the thyroid gland. There are a few other factors as well, but because of the fact that the thyroid gland is an important regulator for a good portion of the endocrine system, it is vitally important to know when and how to properly supplement with iodine.

Classic signs of hypothyroidism include reduced energy levels, weight gain, low metabolism, fatigue, fuzzy thinking, and even a little depression. I know – I just described nearly every single woman after breast cancer treatments end!

It’s no wonder that people feel this way when the thyroid isn’t functioning well. An iodine deficiency slows down all of the systems of the body. It has been said that every 17 minutes all of the blood in the body passes through the thyroid gland and if there is an insufficient quantity of iodine to pass along to the cells that need it, there will be repercussions, make no mistake.

Iodine is a good tissue healer, a natural antiseptic and detoxifier, it elevates blood pH, helps the body absorb minerals and vitamins, and assists a broad range of illnesses, breast cancer being just one of them.

Iodine and the P53 Gene

Iodine is critical for a gene known as P53, which is fondly referred to as the “Guardian of the Genetic Code”, it’s that important. Without iodine and selenium, the P53 gene is unable to function properly, and it is critically needed by cancer patients to help eliminate abnormal cells from the body. [1]

Food Sources of Iodine

There are some decent food sources of iodine, but the trouble is that getting a therapeutic dose from food is often difficult to achieve.

These foods include a good amount of iodine:

  • Sea vegetables such as kelp, hiziki, arame, kombu, and wakame (however, you would need to satisfy yourself that the ocean the sea vegetables came from was not polluted with heavy metals, otherwise sea vegetables are not a safe source of iodine)
  • organic yogurt
  • organic cranberries
  • organic strawberries
  • organic goat’s cheese
  • organic navy beans
  • organic kale
  • organic broccoli
  • organic cabbage
  • organic Brussels sprouts
  • organic potatoes
  • organic turnips
  • organic kohlrabi

Yes, I just used the word “organic” that many times because organic produce has way MORE iodine in it than conventionally grown produce and none of the associated pesticides.

Checking the Thyroid

1. Get your thyroid hormone levels checked at your local doctor’s office through a simple blood test. If found to have insufficient levels – or even bordering on low – by all means, supplement.

2. A decent self test is to paint some Lugol’s iodine onto the skin (especially the neck area as the thyroid gland is located at the front of the throat) and allow it to penetrate. Generally speaking, the body will absorb it in an hour or less if you are deficient in iodine. This isn’t always the case, however, so getting blood levels tested is always a preferable method.

Different Types of Iodine

If you are going to supplement you will run across a few different options, but the two main types are something called Lugol’s iodine or nascent iodine. Some natural health experts believe Lugol’s iodine to be quite safe and effective for iodine supplementation, while others vastly prefer nascent iodine. It’s a hotly debated topic so to help you choose, here’s a little more about each one.

Lugol’s Iodine

Lugol’s is not a brand name, rather it is a type of iodine solution in which iodine is combined with potassium (potassium iodide). It is named after the 19th century French physician who developed it, Jean Guillaume Auguste Lugol. It is available in a variety of dilutions, but normally 2 percent or 5 percent. Lugol’s can be a little harder on the stomach and rather bitter to the taste, so the preferable route of applying it is transdermally, through the skin. Here’s the one I recommend.

One maker of Lugol’s advises:

Lugol’s 5% – Each vertical drop equals about 6.25 mg of iodine/potassium iodide
Lugol’s 2% – Each vertical drop equals about 2.5 mg of iodine/potassium iodide

The Difference Between Vertical and Horizontal Drops

There are two different ways to administer a dosage, vertical and horizontal drops.

Vertical – hold the dropper vertical (straight up and down) and squeeze the rubber top. Each vertical drop of 5% Lugol’s is equal to 6.25 mg of iodine, less than half that amount for the 2%.

Horizontal – with the dropper held horizontally (side to side – like the horizon), you’ll get twice as much per drop, or 12.5 mg of iodine (5%)

Nascent Iodine

Where Lugol’s iodine combines iodine with potassium, nascent iodine has a slightly different configuration, atomically speaking. Without wanting to sound like a chemistry class, the nascent iodine molecule has the diatomic bond broken, with each atom keeping one of the two electrons that made up the covalent bond, and that gives it a high electromagnetic charge. Many iodine gurus believe this makes the nascent variety more absorbable and more effective as a supplement.

Nascent iodine is a 2 percent solution, meaning 2 percent iodine to a base of 98 percent grain alcohol or vegetable glycerine. Nascent iodine is much more palatable and not as hard on the stomach as the Lugol’s so it can be more easily taken orally.

The Difference Between Grain Alcohol and Vegetable Glycerin

When taking nascent iodine with an alcohol base, know that the alcohol is simply ethanol, also known as grain alcohol. Yes, it is the same alcohol used to make alcoholic beverages, so it is an intoxicant. This form may not be appropriate for everyone, particularly children, recovering alcoholics or those fighting cancer. Another factor is that alcohol is often made with GMO corn. See my article We Must Avoid Genetically Modified Organisms.

Nascent iodine made from vegetable glycerine is probably a much safer supplement although you have to be wary here too. Some glycerine is derived from animals, some of it comes from GMO soy. If you can find it made with certified organic or Kosher-certified vegetable glycerine, so much the better. This type of vegetable glycerine is much safer and gentler as a preservative and will not present you with any of the problems associated with alcohol or GMO products. It is better absorbed, does not upset blood sugar levels like alcohol can, is easier on the delicate tissues of the body and is not toxic to the liver. Here’s the one I recommend.

Therapeutic Dosage of Iodine

According to Dr Mark Sircus, one of the world leaders on iodine supplementation, 2% nascent iodine contains around 400 micrograms (mcg) per drop so 10 drops would equal 4 mg of iodine. 100 drops would equal 40 mg. He says it’s safe to take much higher dosages than that suggested on the bottles. The sicker the person, the more iodine they need.

Dr Sircus states “One hundred drops a day is a strong dose, but when treating life threatening diseases it would not be unheard of to use upward of 200 drops a day in divided doses. It is very important to remember though that one should not shoot straight up to these dosage levels. One should start at low dosages and monitor for detox reactions, which will be less if sodium bicarbonate and other substances are used in conjunction.”

You can take it internally and you can take it trans-dermally (through the skin).

For hypothyroid conditions, I recommend using:
25-50 mg per day until condition stabilizes (check with blood test), thereafter 12 mg for maintenance dose

For breast or prostate cancer, up to 300 mg per day is considered by Dr Sircus to be a therapeutic dose, but that dosage is also hotly debated in natural health circles. If you are going to use a high dose, start at low dosages and work up to this dosage, and don’t take it all at once. Divided doses are best. Dr David Brownstein uses 200-300 mg per day for those with breast cancer and prostate cancer or for those who have metastases.

At high dosages, just please be aware of any unusual symptoms such as sweating, oily skin, high blood pressure, heart palpitations, feeling jittery, and bulging eyes as these symptoms can indicate you are taking too much iodine.

Iodine is best taken on an empty stomach 30 minutes before a meal, or at least one hour after meals, other medications and/or supplements. Taking it in early evening is not recommended because it can raise energy levels and keep you awake at night. So the best times to take it are 30 minutes before breakfast, 30 minutes before lunch and/or around 3:30 in the afternoon, no later than that.

Don’t Forget the Selenium

Selenium is also necessary for a properly functioning thyroid and it’s another mineral of which we have all too little in our diet. Selenium is required for the conversion of the thyroid hormone T3 (triiodothyronine, an inactive hormone) to T4 (thyroxine, the active thyroid hormone). For more information on this interplay, see my article Why Iodine and Selenium Are Useful for Breast Cancer

Warning:
If you have been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, make sure you are under a health professional’s care and advice before supplementing with iodine.

References:

1. Enzyme’s Cancer-promoting Activities Linked To Inactivation Of ‘Genome Guardian’ – https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071015215101.htm

http://www.naturalnews.com/033875_iodone_deficiency.html

Christiane Northrup – Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom (Revised Edition)

Dr Mark Sircus – Iodine – Bringing Back The Universal Medicine (e-book)

Charles Walters – Minerals for the Genetic Code (e-book)
GET MY BEST TIPS on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right.  You can also “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark, Breast Health Coach) to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates.  I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.  

We MUST Avoid Genetically Modified Organisms

http://MarnieClark.com/we-must-avoid-genetically-modified-organisms-gmosWe MUST Avoid Genetically Modified Organisms 

In the battle against breast cancer, we absolutely must avoid genetically modified organisms (GMOs). With this article I will share with you some basic information about genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the best ways for you to avoid them, and some ways to help you be more proactive with regard to GMOs.

You would have to be a hermit living in a cave not to be aware of the fact that our food has changed drastically. In any given household you can find at least one thing in the food pantry that previous generations would not have considered to even be food.

Between food additives, contamination by toxic chemicals, and major corporations creating so-called food in a lab using ingredients never intended by nature, our food now contributes to anything but good health.

Due mainly to proactive souls on the Internet and social media, there is a ground-swell of people who are educating themselves about food quality and excellent nutrition. Shoppers the world over are now spending record amounts on organic food and that’s a really good thing.

What Are Genetically Modified Foods?

Genetically modified organisms are created in a laboratory by taking the genes/genetic information from one plant or organism and forcing it into another mainly for purposes of stronger crops, resistance to insects, and weeds. This process is quite distinct and different from the time-honored tradition of cross breeding which farmers have used for centuries to produce better crops.

In order to fully understand GMOs, I will need to provide you with a brief discussion of herbicides and pesticides because they typically work in unison.

Pesticides & Herbicides

GMO crops, pesticides and herbicides are almost always used together and the problem with this is that it creates a potentially disastrous situation for biological functions in all walks of life.

Pesticides are combinations of toxic chemicals which are sprayed onto plants as they grow to attract, kill and/or render useless the insects which would normally feed on that crop. The crops tolerant to pesticides have the genes of particular bacteria forced into the plant and this turns them into bug killers. When an insect attempts to eat the GMO plant, the toxic genes contained in the plant create holes in the insect’s stomach, which eventually kills it. Many of the chemicals utilized are listed as carcinogens by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Herbicides are toxic chemicals used to kill unwanted plants like weeds. The crops tolerant to herbicides, the most popular of which is Roundup Ready, are engineered with genes from bacteria, pieces of virus and other things that aren’t naturally found in plant crops. This is done so that they are able to tolerate large amounts of herbicide that would ordinarily kill it. This is supposed to make weeding easier because farmers are then able to spray their entire field with herbicide to kill the weeds but not the crops. Over 80 percent of the world’s GMO crops are engineered for tolerance to herbicides. The most used herbicide worldwide, glyphosate, was recently upgraded to Group 2B carcinogen status by the WHO.

The Health Ramifications of GMOs Are Grim

Any idea what’s happening to humans eating pesticide and herbicide tolerant crops? Altered gut bacteria, leaky gut syndrome, lowered immune function, auto-immune diseases, allergies, altered genes, and many other problems including increased incidence of cancer.

To further complicate matters for our health, glyphosate was patented originally to be used as a mineral chelator (chelate means to grab and bond to) so what happens is that when this chemical is sprayed onto crops, not only does it poison the soil and the crop, it also blocks our ability to utilize vital, plant-based minerals like magnesium, manganese, selenium, and calcium. We now know that mineral deficiencies have been linked to many cancers and a whole host of other diseases.

The problems don’t end there. According to the Institute for Responsible Technology, “Genes inserted into GM soy, for example, can transfer into the DNA of bacteria living inside us, and the toxic insecticide produced by GM corn was found in the blood of pregnant women and their unborn fetuses.”

Environmental Concerns

GMO crops and the herbicides associated with them also harm birds, insects, amphibians, marine life, and natural organisms found in the earth. Again quoting the Institute for Responsible Technology, “… GM crops are eliminating habitat for monarch butterflies, whose populations are down 50% in the US. Roundup herbicide has been shown to cause birth defects in amphibians, embryonic deaths and endocrine disruptions, and organ damage in animals even at very low doses. GM canola has been found growing wild in North Dakota and California, threatening to pass on its herbicide tolerant genes on to weeds.”

GMO crops have created yet another problem – they are directly responsible for the emergence of weeds and insects that are adjusting to these chemicals and becoming resistant to them so that even more toxic poisons are being required to kill them. It is known that between 1996 and 2008, US farmers had to spray an extra 383,000,000 pounds of herbicide on GMO crops because of the “super weeds” that were emerging.

To contend with this problem, chemicals such as 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic (aka 2,4-D) are being used, which is one of the ingredients in Agent Orange, a chemical defoliant used during the Vietnam War. And we all know what happened to soldiers and civilians who came into contact with Agent Orange – they had a hugely increased risk for cancers such as soft tissue sarcoma, prostate cancer, Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, lung cancer, respiratory diseases and many other forms of cancer and weird diseases.

Our government agencies are not protecting us, so – ONCE AGAIN – it’s up to us to be proactive and protect ourselves.

We absolutely must avoid GMOs if we are to heal from cancer and stay healthy. We do this buy NOT purchasing them, by refusing them. Let your pocketbook do the talking because money talks, we all know this.

The 8 Crops That Are Most Often GMO

There are currently eight genetically modified crops on the market in the USA and other parts of the world and they are:

1. Corn
2. Soybeans
3. Canola (aka Rapeseed)
4. Alfalfa
5. Beets
6. Papaya
7. Squash
8. Potatoes

The scuttlebutt is that apples will be GMO at some point in 2016. Please avoid canola altogether and only purchase the other 7 organically grown.

How To Shop for Safe Foods

1. Choose organic produce whenever you possibly can. In the USA, organic certification by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) means that the farm and its produce is free from prohibited chemicals, it must undergo periodic inspections, and it adheres to specific requirements for the produce grown, the environment around the farm, and other health practices.

2. The Institute for Responsible Technology has a useful non-GMO shopping guide available.

3. Download an app for your smart phone for use when you are shopping. The Buycott app uses the camera in your phone to allow you to scan barcodes and provides you with quick information about whether or not the item is GMO! How brilliant is that?

4. If you are in the USA, join the Institute for Responsible Technology’s Non-GMO Tipping Point Network.  According to Jeffrey Smith of the IRT, “We need about 5% of US shoppers – 15 million people or 5.6 million households – to choose healthier non-GMO brands in order to generate a non-GMO tipping point. It’s just a matter of reaching enough people. That’s what our educational tools and talking points are designed to do.”

Produce Buying Guide

One last bit of information for you. Thanks to the Environmental Working Group, we have the 2015 list of the 50 fruits and vegetables tested by the USDA that do have pesticide residue, and they are listed from the most residue to the least. If you must buy conventionally grown produce, concentrate on the items at the bottom of the list. The first dozen or so (termed the “dirty dozen”) really must be organically grown if you are to avoid certain chemical exposure.

1. Apples
(contains highest level of pesticide)
2. Peaches
3. Strawberries
4. Nectarines
5. Grapes
6. Celery
7. Spinach
8. Bell Peppers
9. Cucumbers
10. Cherry Tomatoes
11. Sugar Snap Peas (imported)
12. Potatoes
13. Hot Peppers
14. Blueberries (domestic)
15. Lettuce
16. Kale/Collard Greens
17. Cherries
18. Plums
19. Pears
20. Green Beans
21. Raspberries
22. Winter Squash
23. Tangerines
24. Blueberries (imported)
25. Carrots
26. Summer Squash
27. Broccoli
28. Snap Peas (domestic)
29. Green Onions
30. Bananas
31. Oranges
32. Tomatoes
33. Watermelon
34. Honeydew Melon
35. Mushrooms
36. Sweet Potatoes
37. Cauliflower
38. Cantaloupe
39. Grapefruit
40. Eggplant
41. Kiwi
42. Papayas
43. Mangos
44. Asparagus
45. Onions
46. Sweet Peas (frozen)
47. Cabbage
48. Pineapples
49. Sweet Corn (buy organic)
50. Avocados
(lowest level of pesticide)

References:
http://www.nongmoproject.org/
http://responsibletechnology.org/10-reasons-to-avoid-gmos/
http://responsibletechnology.org/over-half-of-the- european-unions-28-countries-representing-two-thirds-of-the-population-want-nothing-to-do-with-gmos/
http://responsibletechnology.org/irtnew/docs/mm_onepage.pdf

http://www.naturalhealth365.com/DARK-Act-gmo-breast-cancer-1534.html

Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24678255

Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases III: Manganese, neurological diseases, and associated pathologies – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25883837

Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases IV: cancer and related pathologies – https://www.researchgate.net/publication/283490944_Glyphosate_pathways_to_modern_diseases_IV_cancer_and_related_pathologies

GET MY BEST TIPS on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right. You can also “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates. I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

Breast Cancer Stem Cells – Stopping Them In Their Tracks

Image Source: Rgbstock.com / StariSob Image Source: Rgbstock.com / StariSob

Breast Cancer Stem Cells – Stopping Them In Their Tracks

A growing area of cancer research, breast cancer stem cells were first identified in 2003 by scientists at the University of Michigan (UM) in the United States. With this article I will do my best to explain breast cancer stem cells, and offer some guidance about natural therapies that help to create healthy stem cells.

Healthy Stem Cells vs Breast Cancer Stem Cells

Think of healthy stem cells as “mother cells” that have the potential to become any type of cell in the body. One of the chief characteristics of stem cells is that they have the ability to self-renew or multiply while maintaining their potential to develop into other types of cells like blood cells or heart cells or bone cells. When the DNA of healthy stem cells becomes impaired or damaged, that’s when they can become cancer stem cells.

Conventional cancer theory states that any cell in the body may undergo changes in their DNA sequences and become a  rogue cancer cell. Researchers at the Ludwig Center at Stanford, however, postulate that “our normal stem cells are the only cells that reproduce themselves and are therefore around long enough to accumulate all the necessary changes to produce cancer.” 1

According to UM researchers, breast cancer stem cells (hereinafter “BCSCs”) are identified by a cell surface glycoprotein marker named CD44, which is responsible for cell to cell communication, cell adhesion and migration. Also on BCSCs are very low or no levels of a surface marker named CD24, another glycoprotein on the cell surface of most B lymphocytes, a white blood cell and part of the immune system. UM researchers discovered that just a few BCSCs were required for the growth and spread of breast cancer and that unless the BCSCs could be destroyed, tumors were likely to recur and spread to other parts of the body (called metastasis). 2

Although BCSCs comprise only a small population within a tumor, they are resistant to conventional chemotherapy and radiation therapy because BCSCs do not renew themselves through normal cell division as other cancer cells do. In fact, these therapies are known to stimulate BCSCs and make them grow faster. 3, 4

Let me repeat that. Chemotherapy and radiation do not kill BCSCs. Any cancer therapy that ignores BCSCs in favor of killing non-tumor causing daughter cells in order to shrink a tumor will not result in destroying the root of the cancer.

My friend Elyn Jacobs, a cancer strategist in New York City, advises: “Don’t be misled into thinking that tumor reduction guarantees that you are making progress with respect to overcoming the disease, as you may not be. Shrinking a tumor by killing the less damaging cancer cells (the non-stem cells) with chemo and/or radiation may NOT improve long term survival and may increase the likelihood that these cancer stem cells will metastasize, allowing them to regenerate tumors elsewhere in the body. So although you may get an 80% reduction in tumor bulk, you are not targeting the most dangerous of the cells.” 5

The BRCA1 link

For those who have a mutation in the BRCA1 gene, this part may be of interest. As we know, the BRCA1 (or breast cancer 1) gene is a tumor suppressor gene, mutations in which are strongly linked to breast and ovarian cancers.

UM Cancer Center scientists have discovered that the BRCA1 gene regulates self-renewal of BCSCs. When the gene is mutated, BCSCs multiply abnormally.

So the task becomes clear – we must take in the nutrients that help our stem cells and genes be as healthy as they can be. By doing this, we not only combat any BCSCs currently circulating in the body, we are also actively creating healthy cells and genes that have no damaged DNA.

Natural Therapies To Combat Breast Cancer Stem Cells

Glyconutrients.
The exterior of most healthy cells are covered densely with things that appear to be tiny little trees, called glycoforms or glycans. These glycoforms prevent viruses, bacteria and other enemies from entering the cell by blocking the entrance to the cell’s surface. The glycoforms of healthy cells are also responsible for assisting in cell-to-cell communication, indeed they play an intimate role in nearly every single human physiological process. Glycoforms can also hold onto an enemy cell for safekeeping until an immune cell comes to destroy it (kind of like a holding cell at the police department!). The objective is to create healthy glycans/glycoforms so that our cells are able to communicate effectively, and this helps in a myriad of ways, including the formation of healthy stem cells and immune cells. In order to create healthy glycans/glycoforms we need to be consuming at least 8 simple sugars, known as monosaccharides, from our diet and the problem is we are only consuming two – glucose and galactose. The other 6 sugars are missing because of things like fertilizers, pesticides, GMOs, harvesting fruit and vegetables too early – before they are completely ripe – thus most of the all-important simple sugars are either missing or extremely depleted. We absolutely must supplement with glyconutrients in order to build healthy cells that do the jobs they were meant to do.

Foods/Herbs that Help.
Cruciferous vegetables (and especially broccoli sprouts) contain particular phytochemicals such as sulfurophane which work in a myriad of ways to block the formation of BCSCs. 6
Curcumin – literally hundreds of studies have been done on curcumin and its ability to kill cancer cells, but it also targets BCSCs and improves the sensitivity of certain chemotherapy drugs in estrogen receptor positive (ER+), progesterone receptor positive (PR+) and estrogen receptor negative (ER-) breast cancer cell lines. 7 One study also indicated that curcumin inhibited the migration of BCSCs, an important factor for metastasis. 8 Get it by using loads of turmeric in your cooking, by all means, but the best way is to supplement with it. Make sure that your supplement has been optimized for bioavailability by the addition of piperine (it improves absorption). This is a good one.
Ginseng – a chemical component called ginsenoside F2 derived from ginseng has been tested for its efficacy against BCSCs. Research found that ginsenoside F2 suppressed BCSC proliferation (rapid growth) and increased apoptosis (planned cell death). 4, 9
Raspberries (both red and black), and more specifically ellagic acid and ellagitannins, help our immune system find BCSCs by removing the protein that hides them from our immune system. While it may be tempting to take ellagic acid via a supplement, you must eat the berries because they contain the all-important ellagitannin complex within them. Raspberries also have many anti-mutagenic and anti-carcinogenic properties and are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, they help reduce inflammation and encourage apoptosis. 10
Fermented soy products including soy sauce, miso, natto and tempeh have research indicating they help to reduce cancer symptoms, reduce chemotherapy side effects, decrease chemotherapy resistance, increase survival rates and improve cancer stem cell differentiation, suggesting reduced aggressiveness of cancer. 11

This by no means an exhaustive list, but the items listed above are definitely among the best things that are known to help create healthy stem cells rather than BCSCs.

Please do avoid all sugar, processed food (if it has a bar code, check it out!), preservatives, conventionally grown produce (always buy organic), chemically laden body products and cleaning products, drinking from plastic bottles and drinking tap water.

For more information about some more healing foods, check out my page Diet and Cancer.

Research:

1. The Stem Cell Theory of Cancer – https://med.stanford.edu/ludwigcenter/overview/theory.html

2. http://www.mcancer.org/research/stem-cells/breast

3. Targeting Breast Cancer Stem Cells: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1574789110000517

4. Breast Cancer Stem Cells: A Novel Therapeutic Target –http://www.clinical-breast-cancer.com/article/S1526-8209%2812%2900221-2/pdf

5. Cancer Stem Cells and Progression of Disease – What You Need to Know Now – http://elynjacobs.com/2015/07/08/cancer-stem-cells-and-progression-of-disease-what-you-need-to-know-now/

6. Dietary Sulforaphane in Cancer Chemoprevention: The Role of Epigenetic Regulation and HDAC Inhibition – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4432495/

7. Curcumin Improves the Tumoricidal Effect of Mitomycin C by Suppressing ABCG2 Expression in Stem Cell-Like Breast Cancer Cells –http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4549178/#pone.0136694.ref009

8. Curcumin Inhibits Breast Cancer Stem Cell Migration By Amplifying the E-cadherin/ß-catenin Negative Feedback Loop – http://www.stemcellres.com/content/5/5/116

9. Ginsenoside F2 Induces Apoptosis Accompanied By Protective Autophagy In Breast Cancer Stem Cells – http://www.cancerletters.info/article/S0304-3835(12)00100-0/abstract

10. The Truth About Ellagic Acid and Red Raspberries – http://jonbarron.org/article/truth-about-ellagic-acid-and-red-raspberries#.VKHrV14AGA

11. Managing Immunity In Resistant Cancer Patients Correlates To Survival: Results and Discussion of a Pilot Study – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25961344

The Trophoblast and the Origins of Cancer – By Dr Nicholas Gonzalez

GET MY BEST TIPS on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right. You can also “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates. I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.