Tag Archives: breast cancer nutrition

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.

Eating Greens and How It Affects Immune Health

Image source: rgbstock / johnnyberg

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.

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.

Anti-Inflammatory Foods That Help Fight Breast Cancer

 

Image source: freedigitalphotos.net / KEK064
Image source: freedigitalphotos.net / KEK064

Anti-Inflammatory Foods That Help Fight Breast Cancer

I was inspired to write this article when my friend Kate, a naturopath in New Zealand who has successfully battled breast cancer herself, sent me a very cool wall chart called The Anti-Inflammatory Food Guide (more details on that below).  Kate’s lovely gift got me thinking that it would be useful for me to share with you a list of the best anti-inflammatory foods that help fight breast cancer.

Eating Healthy Just Makes Good Sense

Adopting a healthy diet when you have been diagnosed with breast cancer just makes good sense.  We have often heard the old adage Let Food Be Thy Medicine and Medicine Be Thy Food, attributed to Hippocrates, and many of us have experienced the healing power of eating the right kind of food.  We know we feel better when we are eating well and when we are not and Mother Nature has provided us with some of the most miraculous things with which we can help heal ourselves.

Yet modern science and many doctors completely ignore the healing power within certain foods. You only have to check yourself into a hospital and see what they feed you to experience the disconnect that has occurred in our medical system.

Cancer Is An Inflammatory Process

Inflammation isn’t always a bad thing – it is a healing response from the body’s immune system to injury or infection, usually in a very small area of the body.  But when inflammation becomes more systemic – as the body works to rid itself of chemicals or as a response to hormonal imbalance or poor diet, we begin to see conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, leaky gut, hayfever, and yes, cancer (and so many other disease processes) emerge. The body is constantly working to rid itself of harmful agents and re-establish homeostasis.

So what does a healing diet look like for breast cancer?  Since cancer is an inflammatory process, changing one’s diet so that it includes a wide variety of anti-inflammatory foods is one of the best things you could do for yourself.  I don’t suggest that changing your diet be the ONLY thing you do to heal from breast cancer, but it should certainly be part of your holistic battle plan.

The Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods for Breast Cancer

While not an exhaustive list, here are some of the very best anti-inflammatory foods on the planet. Please buy organic whenever possible – if you are eating for health, you want to give yourself the cleanest produce possible, free of toxic spray residues.

Beverages: Coconut milk, coconut water, fresh green juices, herbal tea, black tea, green tea, white tea, rooibos tea, kombucha, almond milk (without carrageenan), cranberry juice (sugar free), fresh vegetable juices

Condiments: apple cider vinegar, capers, horseradish, manuka honey, miso, red wine vinegar, stevia, sun-dried tomatoes, tahini, tamari, vanilla, wasabi

Dairy: ghee (clarified butter), organic kefir, organic butter, organic goat’s milk, sheep cheese, organic plain yogurt

Essential oils (to be used topically, not eaten): The essential oils with the very best anti-inflammatory properties are copaiba, dill, lemongrass, Melaleuca ericifolia, nutmeg, oregano, palo santo, peppermint, rose, thyme.  A little further down the list but still exhibiting strong anti-inflammatory benefits are basil, clove, eucalyptus, fennel, frankincense, German chamomile, ginger, hyssop, juniper, lavender, lemon, marjoram, myrrh, myrtle, patchouli, petitgrain, ravensara, Roman chamomile, sandalwood, tangerine, wintergreen

Fats And Oils: algae oil, black cumin seed oil, blackcurrant oil, borage oil, flaxseed oil (make sure it’s fresh and has been refrigerated), pomegranate seed oil, sacha inchi oil, almond oil, amaranth oil, avocado oil, chia oil, virgin coconut oil, evening primrose oil, hazelnut oil, hemp oil, extra virgin olive oil, salmon fish oil, sea buckthorn seed oil, apricot oil, walnut oil, wheat germ oil

Fish & Seafood: Because of the contaminants in fish these days, you are best advised to choose wild caught fish or fish that live in deep seas or unpolluted rivers and try to avoid farmed fish from Asia, Indonesia or Vietnam. Alaskan and Atlantic wild-caught salmon, chinook salmon, coho salmon, king salmon, red sockeye salmon, anchovies, barramundi, black cod, blue mussel, caviar, green lipped mussel, herring, mackerel, Pacific oyster, blue fin tuna, bluefish, flounder, grouper, haddock, halibut, John Dory, king mackerel, mahi mahi, mullet, octopus, oyster, perch, pike, rainbow trout, sardines, scallops, sea bass, snapper, sole, squid, trout are generally regarded as safe to eat, highly anti-inflammatory, but consider your source well.

Fruits: acai berry, acerola cherry, apricot, avocado, blackberry, blueberry, cacao (raw), cantaloupe (rockmelon), cherry (tart are more anti-inflammatory than sweet), coconut, cranberry (unsweetened), elderberry, feijoa, goji berry (aka wolfberry), grape, honeydew melon, kiwi, lemon, lime, mango, maqui berry, guava, nectarine, noni, orange, papaya, passionfruit, peach, pineapple, plum, pomegranate, raspberry, rhubarb, strawberry, tamarillo, tamarind, watermelon

Grains: amaranth, barley grass, black rice, buckwheat, kasha, quinoa, sprouted wheat, wheat germ

Herbs: aloe vera, asafoetida, basil, bay leaf, bilberry, black pepper, blackberry leaf, calendula, caraway, cardamom, chamomile, chive, cinnamon, clove, coriander, curry leaf, elderberry, fennel, galangal, garlic, ginger, horseradish, juniper, lemon balm, lemongrass, licorice, maca, marjoram, nettle, oregano, parsley, plantain, raspberry leaf, rosehip, rosemary, thyme, wasabi

Legumes, Beans & Soy: adzuki sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, chickpea sprouts, clover sprouts, edamame, lentil sprouts, lentils, mung bean sprouts, tempeh, tofu

Meats: Grass-fed organic beef, kangaroo, rabbit, bison, elk, goat

Mushrooms/Fungi: brown, common button, crimini, enokitake, maitake, oyster, portabella, reishi, shiitake

Nuts and Seeds: almond, almond butter, brazil nut, chestnut, chia seed, flaxseed, hazelnut, hemp seed, macadamia nut, mixed nuts (no peanuts, salt added), pecan, perilla seed (mint family, also called Shiso), sesame seed, walnut

Poultry: organic chicken, organic chicken stock, free range duck, goose, pheasant, organic egg whites

Seaweed/Sea Vegetables: arame, bladderwrack, kombu, nori, red algae, wakame, agar agar, dulse, hijiki, kelp, sea lettuce

Spices: amchur, aniseed, basil, bay leaf, black cumin seed, black pepper, caraway, cardomom, cayenne pepper, celery seed, chili, chive, cinnamon, clove, coriander, cumin seed, curry leaf, curry powder, fennel, fenugreek, garam masala, garlic powder, ginger, juniper, keffir lime leaf, lemongrass, marjoram, mustard seed, onion powder, oregano, parsley, rosemary, saffron, star anise, thyme, turmeric

Supplements: broccoli sprout powder, fulvic acids, maca, spirulina, wheat grass, barley grass, chlorella, licorice (not candy), turmeric (curcumin)

Vegetables: arugula, beet, bell pepper (capsicum), bok choy, broccoli, broccoli sprouts, brussel sprouts, cabbage (red and green), carrot, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, chili pepper, collard greens, cucumber, daikon, dandelion greens, endive, garlic, globe artichoke, green beans, jalapeno pepper (raw), kale, kimchi, kohlrabi, kumara, leek, lettuce, mushroom (see separate listing for mushroom types), mustard greens, onion, parsley, pumpkin, radish, sauerkraut, shallot, silverbeet (Swiss chard), spinach, sweet potato, tomato, turnip, turnip greens, watercress, yam

The Anti-Inflammatory Food Guide Chart

My friend Kate, a talented naturopath in New Zealand, has created a beautiful chart with all of the anti-inflammatory foods listed in order from the most anti-inflammatory (shown in a blue zone) with various gradations of color right down to the ones that should be avoided because they cause inflammation (shown in a red zone). The chart even includes extensive notes on the reverse which define inflammation and offer ways to reduce it.  It is a really handy guide that provides you with a helpful visual guide for meal planning.  The guide is available from her website  – you could buy the laminated version and attach it right to the kitchen wall or inside your pantry door.  She also has charts for alkalinity/acidity guides, glycemic index and other useful items. Kate’s website is www.betterbalance.co.nz

PLEASE NOTE: The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only. Please use this information as part of a carefully constructed wellness plan provided to you by your physician, oncologist or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for diagnosis or as a stand-alone treatment of any health problem and please be sure to consult your health care professional when making decisions about your health.

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.  

Selenium And Its Important Role For Breast Cancer

Image Source: freedigitalphotos.net / rakratchada torsap
Image Source: freedigitalphotos.net / rakratchada torsap

Selenium And Its Important Role For Breast Cancer

I am ever on the outlook for research-based natural medicine that will help breast cancer patients and survivors and selenium plays an important role in the fight against breast cancer.

Selenium is always among the natural supplements I recommend to my coaching clients, I tell them it’s not to be missed.  I recently found some research that indicates (among other things) selenium can also help to reduce upper limb lymphedema following surgery and radiation.  Since some of my people are having trouble with lymphedema at the moment, I thought this research might be of interest.

The study authors did not elucidate how much selenium should be taken, nor what form, they merely stated “Selenium can reduce upper limb lymphedema following surgery and radiation treatments.” 1

More About Selenium

Selenium is an essential trace mineral, and research shows that those who have breast cancer have vastly reduced levels of selenium.

There are thousands of studies which indicate selenium’s usefulness for breast cancer (and indeed for many forms of cancer).  All you need to do is go to pubmed.gov and put the words “selenium cancer” in the search field.  You will be rewarded with pages and pages of links to all kinds of studies.

If you don’t have time for that, however, allow me to just touch on the most important properties of selenium.

Selenium’s Main Benefits For Those With Breast Cancer, Survivors And Those Wishing To Avoid Breast Cancer

1.  Selenium activates the antioxidant glutathione, a critical and powerful antioxidant that helps neutralize free radicals inside cells. 2
2.  Selenium is an effective detoxifier of heavy metals.
3.  Selenium is a natural anti-inflammatory.  Since cancer is an inflammatory process, reducing inflammation is crucial. 3
4. Selenium helps to convert T4 (the prohormone thyroxine containing 4 molecules of iodine) into T3 (triiodothyronine, the bioactive thyroid hormone containing 3 molecules of iodine).  Many suffer thyroid problems prior to breast cancer – and they certainly do after conventional breast cancer treatments end.
5. Selenium helps to degrade excess hydrogen peroxide that can damage the cells.
6.  Selenium reverses chromosome breaks, important for women who carry the BRCA1 gene mutation.  When women with the BRCA1 mutation were given selenium for one to three months, the number of their chromosome breaks were greatly reduced. 4
7. Selenium plays an active role in bone health. 5
8. Selenium increases the effectiveness of the cancer drug docetaxel.  In the referenced study 6 selenium greatly increased the rate of apoptosis and cell cycle arrest, as well as decreasing cancer cell growth compared to the action of docetaxel on its own.
9. Selenium promotes a healthy immune system.
10. Selenium shuts down the cancer cell replication cycle.
11. Selenium plays a part in the biosynthesis of brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters – low levels of selenium are linked with an increased risk of dementia and senility (okay, so it doesn’t have to do with breast cancer, but who among us isn’t interested in keeping their brain healthy?!).

One of the best articles I have found written about selenium and how it works to protect us from cancer appears in the article “Selenium: What Forms Protect Against Cancer?” 7

Selenium should definitely be part of your daily arsenal against breast cancer.  You can get it by eating Brazil nuts and shellfish, but in this particular instance I believe you are much better off consuming it via a supplement.

There is one company, to my knowledge, making a supplement that contains all three forms of selenium (as discussed in the article mentioned above).  It’s not expensive, it’s called Super Selenium Complex and you can obtain it by clicking that link.  Recommended dosage: 200-400 mcg daily.

References:

1.  Non-herbal nutritional supplements for symptom relief in adjuvant breast cancer: creating a doctor-patient dialogue – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24644186

2.  Glutathione peroxidase, selenium, and prostaglandin synthesis in platelets – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7235039

3.  The anti-inflammatory effects of selenium are mediated through 15-deoxy-Delta12,14-prostaglandin J2 in macrophages – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17439952

4.  Increased rates of chromosome breakage in BRCA1 carriers are normalized by oral selenium supplementation – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15894690

5.  Selenium in bone health: roles in antioxidant protection and cell proliferation – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23306191

6.  Effects of combination therapy of docetaxel with selenium on the human breast cancer cell lines MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 — http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25692115

7.  Selenium: What Forms Protect Against Cancer – https://www.lef.org/magazine/2012/ss/Selenium-Protect-Against-Cancer/Page-01

GET MY BEST TIPS on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences by signing up for my free 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.  

The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional.  You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem and please be sure to consult your health care professional when making decisions about your health.

The 10 Ways Pomegranates Help You Beat Breast Cancer

Image Source: freedigitalphotos.net / adamr
Image Source: freedigitalphotos.net / adamr

The 10 Ways Pomegranates Help You Beat Breast Cancer

While perusing the latest research on particular foods and supplements and their benefits for breast cancer, I came across so many research studies that indicate pomegranates offer big benefits for breast cancer (and other cancers as well), that I knew I must share this information with you.

You may have heard some of the marketing hype lately about the benefits of pomegranate juice,  that it is full of antioxidants and vitamins that are good for us, but pomegranates have also been found to be extremely potent allies in the fight against breast cancer.

It’s All About The Polyphenols

The thing about pomegranates is what they contain — they have very potent little plant chemicals known as polyphenols.  Polyphenols are a generic term for plant based molecules that have antioxidant activity and there are thousands of them.  Pomegranate polyphenols, such as ellagic acid, punicic acid, ursolic acid, delphinidin, luteolin, and several anthocyanins, have been found to be very helpful for breast and other cancers.

The 10 Ways Pomegranates Offer Benefits For Breast Cancer Patients

1.  Inhibit breast cancer cell proliferation and invasion for hormone receptor positive and negative breast cancer, for HER2 positive breast cancer, and for triple negative breast cancer 1, 6, 7, 8
2.  Promote apoptosis, or planned cell death, a factor which is lacking in cancer cells, allowing unchecked growth 1, 7, 8
3.  Have antitumor activity 2
4.  Inhibit angiogenesis, the process by which developing tumors create new blood vessels to feed themselves 12
5.  Inhibit aromatase activity and reduce side effects of letrozole 3
6.  Inhibit metastasis, or the spread of cancer to other parts of the body 11
7  Help to regulate genetic activity in key genes associated with breast cancer and protect DNA from damage 1, 5, 10, 11
8.  Reduce inflammation 2, 9
9. Improve the potency of Herceptin for those with HER2 positive breast cancer 4
10. Exert a protective effect on the bones, help to protect from osteoporosis 5, 9

I found it interesting that most of the research was done in China and I, for one, am thankful that they are out there doing this research and sharing it with us.

How to Easily Seed a Pomegranate

Since a lot of us did not grow up with pomegranates and its tough outer layer can be a bit daunting upon first inspection, I thought you might like some help on what to do with them.

1.  Cut the crown end – this is the protruding knobby end – off the pomegranate, removing with it some of the pale-yellow pith. Be careful not to pierce the seeds within.
2.  Lightly score the skin in quarters from stem to crown end.
3.  Immerse the scored fruit in a large bowl of cool (filtered) water (we don’t need chlorine messing with perfection!) and soak for about 5 minutes.  Holding the fruit under the water, break sections apart with your fingers, separating the seeds from membrane. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl.
4.  Discard skin and membranes. Drain the seeds and dry for a few minutes on a paper towel.

Recipe for Pomegranate Berry Smoothie

A NutriBullet works best for this recipe.  Use organic produce wherever possible.

2-3 leaves of kale
1/2 – 1 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup blueberries, frozen
1/2 cup strawberries or raspberries, frozen
4 dates
1 tablespoon freshly ground flaxseed
1/2 avocado, optional

Instructions:
Place ingredients into large NutriBullet container, fill it half full with filtered water or coconut water (be careful not to overfill).  Blast ingredients together and enjoy the protection!

References:

1. Ellagic acid induces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis through TGF-ß/Smad3 signaling pathway in human breast cancer MCF-7 cells — Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25647396

2. Review on anti-tumor effect of triterpene acid compounds — Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25207885

3.  Coadministrating luteolin minimizes the side effects of the aromatase inhibitor letrozole — Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25138022

4.  Anthocyanins potentiate the activity of trastuzumab in human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive breast cancer cells in vitro and in vivo — Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25070704

5. Pomegranate Fruit as a Rich Source of Biologically Active Compounds — Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24818149

6.  Ellagic acid exerts anti-proliferation effects via modulation of Tgf-ß/Smad3 signaling in MCF-7 breast cancer cells — Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24528038

7. Delphinidin inhibits cell proliferation and induces apoptosis in MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cell lines — Link: http://synapse.koreamed.org/DOIx.php?id=10.4163/jnh.2013.46.6.503

8.  Delphinidin Inhibits HER2 and Erk1/2 Signaling and Suppresses Growth of HER2-Overexpressing and Triple Negative Breast Cancer Cell Lines — Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21792311

9.  Pomegranate and its derivatives can improve bone health through decreased inflammation and oxidative stress in an animal model of postmenopausal osteoporosis — Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24232379

10.  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 — Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23359482

11.  Pomegranate juice and specific components inhibit cell and molecular processes critical for metastasis of breast cancer — Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23065001

12.  Ellagic acid, a phenolic compound, exerts anti-angiogenesis effects via VEGFR-2 signaling pathway in breast cancer — Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22350787

http://foodforbreastcancer.com/foods/pomegranates
http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/what-are-polyphenols/
https://www.drfuhrman.com/library/article19.aspx

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What You Eat As A Cancer Patient DOES Actually Matter

 

Photo courtesy of rgbstock.com / Tou Touke
Photo courtesy of rgbstock.com / Tou Touke

What You Eat As A Cancer Patient DOES Actually Matter

There seems to be a disturbing trend among the cancer patients with whom I am currently working.  Their oncologists are telling them that it really does not matter what they eat.

Incredible, is it not?  Oncologists are highly trained specialists and they should KNOW better!  Yet they continue to state that there is no evidence at all to support that a change of diet after a cancer diagnosis does us any good.

It’s Bad Advice And Here’s The Proof

This is clearly wrong and bad advice.  If you have been given this advice, go back to your oncologist with this 2011 research study from the British Journal of Cancer: The role of diet and physical activity in breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer survivorship: a review of the literature

Or how about this 2014 Korean study: Effect of 8-week nutrition counseling to increase phytochemical rich fruit and vegetable consumption in korean breast cancer patients: a randomized controlled trial

Or maybe this 2014 Spanish study: Influence of body weight on the prognosis of breast cancer survivors. Nutritional approach after diagnosis

And we have a 2014 US study that indicated women consuming better quality diets had a 26% lower risk of death from any cause: Better postdiagnosis diet quality is associated with reduced risk of death among postmenopausal women with invasive breast cancer in the Women’s Health Initiative

I find it both astounding and disappointing that in light of all of the recent studies we have which indicate otherwise our medical professionals are still giving us this bad advice.  All the more reason we need to empower ourselves with information and be proactive with our own healing.  Our doctors are clearly too busy to read the latest research.  All a bit sad, really, because we are relying upon them to be a trusted source of information.

For the list of the best foods to eat (and to avoid) when you have breast cancer, visit my page Diet and Cancer.

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters and e-book on the right, and/or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com).  It is my honor and my goal to help you through this so that you emerge from breast cancer feeling better than before, thriving!

Researchers Discover Mushrooms Could Be Potent Natural Aromatase Inhibitors

Photo courtesy of rgbstock.com and salsachica
Photo courtesy of rgbstock.com and salsachica

Studies at the Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope Cancer Center in Duarte, California, suggest that fresh white mushrooms contain substances that could make them potent natural aromatase inhibitors.

I have been investigating natural aromatase inhibitors for several years because controlling the enzyme aromatase helps to decrease estrogen levels and this is important because the bulk of breast tumors are reliant upon estrogen to fuel their growth.

On June 6, 2012, I wrote an article titled Aromatase Inhibitors – Natural vs Toxic and listed the problems with the pharmaceutical variety of various aromatase inhibitors, as well as introducing quite a few natural ones that don’t produce the side effects that so many are struggling with.

Last week I was watching a PBS program titled “Dr Joel Fuhrman’s Immunity Solution”.  Dr Fuhrman is an American board-certified family physician who specializes in nutrition-based treatments for obesity and chronic disease and his presentation included a discussion of particular nutrients that exhibited anti-cancer benefits, so of course I took notes!

One thing he mentioned – and it was the first time I’d heard it – was that mushrooms are natural aromatase inhibitors.  So I went online to discover where the research originated and found the City of Hope research.

The Parameters of the Study

“Postmenopausal breast cancer survivors who were cancer free after completion of their treatments were enrolled in the trial.  Groups received a 12-week course of white button mushroom extract at 5, 8, 10 or 13 gram doses.  Because aromatase inhibition leads to a decrease in estrogen levels, a specific estrogen called estradiol was monitored and response was defined as a greater than 50 percent decrease in free estradiol levels in the blood circulation. Mushroom extract was well tolerated at all doses. However, no dose could be identified that met response criteria. In spite of this, a measurement of aromatase activity developed by Dr. Chen suggested some modest transient aromatase inhibition that lasted longest at the highest dose level (6 hours), suggesting that weak aromatase inhibition by mushrooms is achievable in patients, but that likely much higher amounts would be needed to achieve a clinically significant result.

That didn’t sound too hopeful, so I read a bit deeper and discovered that over the course of the 12 week study, while the researchers were able to observe phytochemical activity of the mushroom extract, it wasn’t at high enough concentrations to significantly reduce estrogen levels in patients.  They admitted that future studies should focus on more highly concentrated preparations of mushroom extract and perhaps change their focus to watching tissue levels of estrogens rather than circulating estrogen levels.

The unknown factors are dosage and whether we should take the mushrooms via extract in a vitamin form or by eating them fresh.  I have sent an email to the researchers at City of Hope and if I get a response, I will let you know!

Obviously further research needs to be done (and it may be underway right now) but I believe that since mushrooms are yummy anyway, they should be included in our daily diet, particularly because mushrooms have two other anti-cancer activities:

(1) they have antigen binding lectins which inhibit the growth of cancer cells; and

(2) they are angiogenesis inhibitors – tumors rely on the formation of new blood vessels to keep them growing and mushroom extracts have been shown to inhibit this growth.

Read my other articles on natural aromatase inhibitors.

Reference:

http://www.cityofhope.org/about/publications/news/Pages/city-of-hope-researchers-demonstrate-anti-cancer-effect-of-mushrooms-in-studies-at-2011-asco-annual-meeting.aspx

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What Is Cancer Cachexia (CACS)?

cancer cachexia CACS

Cancer cachexia describes progressive weight loss, anorexia, and persistent erosion of body mass in a cancer patient with advanced cancer.

There’s a term for it – a syndrome called CACS, or cancer anorexia cachexia syndrome.

It’s a hard thing to see, especially if it’s your loved one going through it.  I watched my mother go from a lovely, normal weight to a person whose limbs were so thin she almost looked like a concentration camp survivor.  It made me want to cry.

More than 80% of cancer patients with advanced cancer develop cachexia, especially those with solid tumors, and it can become more pronounced as the cancer progresses.

Why CACS Occurs

Doctors used to believe that cancer increased your metabolic demand and weakened your appetite, and that’s what resulted in the malnutrition and muscle wasting. However, new research shows there’s a bit more to it than that.

Apparently the tumor actually alters your metabolism from being anabolic (where you are continually building muscle) to catabolic (where muscles are broken down to feed the tumor).  Cancer appears to raise your resting metabolic rate, and general nutrition does not help that.

The latest research indicates that cachexia results from a variety of tumor products, cytokines (a class of immunoregulatory proteins secreted by immune cells) and immune factors.

Basically, what’s happening is that the cancer patient ends up with a deficit of energy and their body has to use their muscles, fat and internal organs for that energy. When you add in the side effects of cancer treatments, it is easy to understand why your loved one looks absolutely malnourished.

Nutritional Advice for CACS

Dr Mercola (mercola.com), one of my trusted sources, recommends a high quality Antarctic krill oil to battle CACS.  It’s a great source of omega 3 fats and safer.  Because of the fact that our fish are now so contaminated with mercury, PCBs and metals, he no longer recommends fish oils.  Dr Mercola says krill oil is 48 times more potent than fish oil.

In addition, you want and need to optimize your vitamin D levels.  Dr Mercola offers a free one-hour lecture on video about how to do that (click the hyperlink to access the video).

You’ll need to avoid grains, sugar, processed foods (if it comes in a box or a can, avoid it), chemicals and artificial sweeteners.  See my article: Avoid Sugar, Help Your Immune System.

Get some organic coconut oil into your diet every single day, it will help with your battle against CACS.

Get busy juicing (see my article: The 12 Best Benefits of Juicing for Breast Cancer).  This part is important!  When I began juicing for my mother, she got out of bed and baked a cake!

Avoid alcohol, drink plenty of filtered water and get some exercise.  If you don’t feel like it or don’t have much energy, do as much as you can do and just increase it by a minute or two each day.

If you want more information, below are some studies which indicate high-dose omega 3 oils are helpful for CACS patients.

As usual, a big thank-you to Dr Joseph Mercola who provides us with so much high quality free information.

References:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cncr.20362/full

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/%28SICI%291097-0142%2819980115%2982:2%3C403::AID-CNCR21%3E3.0.CO;2-1/full

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/12/16/my-one-hour-vitamin-d-lecture-to-clear-up-all-your-confusion-on-this-vital-nutrient.aspx

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Coenzyme Q10 – Beneficial for Breast Cancer or Not?

viamins in handIs Coenzyme Q10 Beneficial for Breast Cancer or Not?

Back in 1996 when my mother was going through breast cancer that had moved into her bones, I encouraged her to see a naturopath.  I knew that she needed additional nutritional support – my father had just passed away and I knew she wasn’t eating as well as she could be.

The naturopath made a big list of vitamins she should take, among them was Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).  Though I had been studying naturopathy myself at the time, I hadn’t learned about CoQ10 yet.

He said that preliminary studies had indicated CoQ10 had cardioprotective properties for breast cancer patients and that it helped the immune system.  His concern for my mother was that CoQ10 helped to protect the hearts of study animals that were given the anticancer drug doxorubicin (Adriamycin) which can cause damage to the heart muscle.  It turned out that she was given another chemotherapy drug, but that’s another topic for another day.

What Exactly is CoQ10?

CoQ10 is a compound that is made naturally in the body, however it has been found to be lacking in those whose immune function is under attack, typically cancer patients and HIV/AIDS patients, and also the elderly because as we age, our bodies appear to make less CoQ10.

A coenzyme helps an enzyme do its job. An enzyme is a protein that speeds up the rate at which natural chemical reactions take place in cells of the body.  The body’s cells use CoQ10 to make energy needed for the cells to grow and stay healthy. The body also uses CoQ10 as an antioxidant.  An antioxidant is a substance that protects cells from chemicals called free radicals.  Free radicals can damage DNA.  I apologize if I got too basic there, but I wanted everyone to understand the importance of this nutrient.

I was interested and wondered since CoQ10 occurs naturally in the body, what is the supplement made from?  Further research found that it is made using fermentation with special strains of yeast.

Does It Actually Work?

The problem is the studies have thus far been too small to show definitive answers.  Animal studies found that CoQ10 boosts the immune system and helps the body fight certain infections and types of cancer, however, there have been no well-designed clinical trials involving large numbers of patients to study the use of CoQ10 in cancer treatment.

There have been some clinical trials with small numbers of people, but the way the studies were done and the amount of information reported made it unclear whether benefits were caused by CoQ10 or by something else.

The Studies on CoQ10 and Cardioprotection

Recent studies on CoQ10’s cardioprotective properties during administration of the chemo drug doxorubicin (Adriamycin) have been conflicting, which surprised the heck out of me.

One very recent study (April 2012) concluded that although CoQ10 does not alter the ability of doxorubicin to prevent the growth of cancer cells (good news), further studies would be “reassuring before a large-scale clinical testing of CoQ10 [could be recommended] as a cardioprotective drug” (Lack of Effect of Coenzyme Q10 on Doxorubicin Cytotoxicity in Breast Cancer Cell Cultures, Greenlee H, Shaw J, Lau YK, Naini A, Maurer M, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA).

The Good News

Despite the lack of scientific studies and actual PROOF positive that CoQ10 can be of assistance to cancer patients (and why would “big pharma” spend the money on such studies when CoQ10 is easily obtainable from any health food store), what we DO know about CoQ10 makes me a believer that it should be included in our daily arsenal against disease and most natural therapists I’ve consulted agree.

The good benefits of CoQ10 (the things we do know) are:

  • CoQ10 is required for your cells to produce energy, and is an integral part of helping cells take fat and other substances and convert them into usable energy
  • CoQ10 can help protect your body from free radical damage
  • CoQ10 offers powerful antioxidant protection
  • CoQ10 can boost your heart health
  • CoQ10 can help you reduce the signs of normal aging
  • CoQ10 supports your nervous system (which takes a beating during chemotherapy)

I take CoQ10 daily for my health regimen and I feel good about doing so (despite the lack of scientific research!).  I know it’s working and doing its job.  If you need a good, reputable source for CoQ10, contact me.

References:

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/coenzymeQ10/patient/page2

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22544232

http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/CoenzymeQ10.html

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/12/12/coq10-fights-obesity.aspx

http://www.everydayhealth.com/health-questions/coq10/what-is-coq10-made-from

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Book Review – Kicking Cancer In The Kitchen

http://MarnieClark.com/book-review-kicking-cancer-in-the-kitchenBook Review –  Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen: The Girlfriend’s Cookbook and Guide to Using Real Food to Fight Cancer by Annette Ramke and Kendall Scott

This is a great resource.  This cookbook was co-authored by two friends, Annette Ramke and Kendall Scott, both cancer survivors and holistic health coaches who adopted a “food as medicine” philosophy and began making small changes in their diets and busy lives to help their healing.

There are more than 100 recipes in the book and you are going to love them, they are all geared to helping you heal from cancer and STAY healthy.

The book has gone on to become #3 of The 25 Cookbooks of the Year for 2012 by TheDailyMeal.com.

I was very impressed with their story and their passion to help others and especially with the lovely recipes (which I can’t wait to try).  I have added the book to my Amazon shop for your convenience.

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right, and/or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com).  It is my honor and my goal to help you through this so that you emerge from breast cancer feeling better than before, thriving!

Chinese Study Examines the Role of Soy, Tamoxifen, Estrogen in Breast Cancer Survival

LastSoybeans growing week I received a copy of a very interesting 2009 study which examines the role of soy, tamoxifen and estrogen receptors in breast cancer survival.

The study was published in the esteemed JAMA, Journal of American Medical Association, December 9, 2009.  If you’d like to read the entire article, click:  Soy Food Intake & Breast Cancer Survival 2009 study.

The objective of the study, called the Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study (“the Study”) was to evaluate the association of the intake of soy foods after a breast cancer diagnosis.  It was quite a large study – over 5,000 female breast cancer survivors aged 20-70 years with diagnoses between March 2002-April 2006 were followed up through June 2009.  It was one of the largest population-based studies of breast cancer survival when it was published.  See the Study for all of the relevant details.

Many are Confused About Whether Soy is Safe or Not

I’m writing about this today, some 3 years after publication, because there still seems to be quite a lot of confusion about the role of soy’s phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) among breast cancer survivors and those actively battling it.  We are told to be wary of too much soy – that because soy’s phytoestrogens can supposedly act as weak estrogens, those who had estrogen receptor positive tumors (meaning estrogen appeared to fuel the growth of the tumors) should exercise caution and not eat too much soy.

The Study blows that theory out of the water. Here’s a direct quote:

In our comprehensive evaluation of soy food consumption and breast cancer outcomes using data from a large, population-based cohort study, we found that soy food intake was inversely associated with mortality and recurrence. The inverse association did not appear to vary by menopausal status and was evident for women with ER-positive and ER- negative cancers and early and late-stage cancers.”

For those not accustomed to the language used in scientific studies, “inversely associated with” means that the more soy foods that were eaten, the less mortality and recurrence was exhibited in the Study participants.

Soy Phytoestrogens vs. Our Estrogen

The Study also found that soy isoflavones (one of a family of phytoestrogens found chiefly in soybeans) compete with the body’s estrogen in the binding of estrogen receptors, they increase the synthesis of sex hormone-binding globulin (thus lowering the bioavailability of sex hormones), they reduce estrogen synthesis and increase the clearance of steroids from circulation.  It is thought that these anti-estrogenic effects may be one of the underlying mechanisms through which the consumption of soy foods is associated with better breast cancer outcomes.

Soy Phytoestrogens vs. Tamoxifen

Additionally, the Study found that soy food intake was associated with improved survival, regardless of tamoxifen use.  Interestingly, the Study concluded that for women who took tamoxifen and had low soy intake, the tamoxifen helped their overall survival rates.  For those who ate high levels of soy foods, tamoxifen was not related to further improvement of survival rates.  More importantly, women who had the highest level of soy food intake and who did not take tamoxifen had a lower risk of mortality and recurrence rate than women who did take tamoxifen and who had the lowest level of soy food intake.  This suggests that high soy food intake and tamoxifen use may have a comparable effect on breast cancer survival.

I know which one I’d rather take!

How much is enough?

The study indicated that 11 grams per day of soy protein was sufficient to confer the benefits they observed.

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Why to Consider Fighting Breast Cancer with Vitamin D

oil capsules 3Fighting Breast Cancer with Vitamin D

Responding to research showing that vitamin D may slow the progression of breast, colon and other common cancers, some doctors have begun recommending their patients add vitamin D to their “tool kit” of cancer therapies alongside more conventional treatments such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin.  When the sun shines on the skin, the ultraviolet rays activate a form of cholesterol which is present in the skin, converting it to vitamin D1.  Because the body can provide sufficient vitamin D to meet its needs simply through exposure to sunlight, some feel it is not really a vitamin, but rather a hormone.

What must be taken into account, however, is the fact that the amount of vitamin D converted through sunlight exposure varies according to the time of year, latitude and longitude where you live, the color of your skin, and whether or not you wear a sunscreen whenever you go out.  So not everyone gets the same amount of vitamin D.

Recent studies have indicated that women in North America and northern European countries exhibit the highest incidence rate of breast cancer, whereas women in southern regions are relatively protected.

While not all doctors are convinced that the studies are strong enough evidence to warrant taking an extra dollop of vitamin D, those recommending it say popping the pills is a simple health strategy that has few, if any, risks and has the added benefit of also improving bone health in those with cancer.

Doctors Discuss the Data on Vitamin D

There is emerging data on breast cancer recurrence rates and vitamin D levels that are quite compelling,” says Tracey O’Connor, an oncologist at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo who treats breast cancer and is having her patients take the vitamin.

Dr O’Connor recommends high doses of the supplement to the most deficient patients immediately after they are diagnosed to quickly raise blood levels of the nutrient.

Dr. O’Connor says that having a low level of vitamin D “is quite common” among women with breast cancer, and most patients – about 80% – are either deficient or have insufficient amounts.

Dr. O’Connor says some breast-cancer patients have such low stores of the nutrient that they need to embark on a crash course of taking up to 50,000 iu a week for several months to bring up their levels. Other patients whose starting levels aren’t so poor take a few thousand iu per day. She also monitors blood levels to make sure people don’t get too much.

International units are the standard measurement of how much vitamin D is contained in supplements or foods. Multivitamins typically have either 400 or 800 iu, and a cup of fortified milk has 100 iu.

Longer Survival Times

In recent years, vitamin D has emerged as one of the most intriguing areas of cancer research. There have been numerous epidemiological studies finding that people with less vitamin D in their blood are at a higher risk of developing cancer compared with those who have higher levels.  18 different cancers have been identified for which this trend has been observed and includes colon and breast cancer.

Other research has found that people diagnosed with cancer in summer and fall – when blood levels of vitamin D are at seasonal highs because of sun exposure – have longer survival times than people whose cancers are detected in winter and spring.

I’m not advocating using ONLY vitamin D to fight breast cancer.  I truly believe, however, that it is beneficial to add to your arsenal of weapons against breast cancer.  If you’re newly diagnosed with breast cancer, generally wear sunscreen or don’t spend much time in the sun, and don’t drink milk, it might be a very good idea to go and get your vitamin D levels checked and start supplementing if your levels are low.  Watch this compelling video by Dr Joseph Mercola on vitamin D testing and supplementation.

References:

http://qjmed.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/02/12/qjmed.hcs014.full

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22694289

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2004/04/03/vitamin-d-grant.aspx

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22234628

http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/TV+Shows/The+National/ID/1377954245/

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Survivor Rejects Oncologist’s Advice to Take Tamoxifen in Favor of Special Diet

To Take Tamoxifen or Not…. That is the Question

I wanted to share with you this great article I read today about Vicky Sewart, a 4-year breast cancer survivor who has rejected her oncologist’s advice to take Tamoxifen in favor of a special diet.

Here’s a link to that article.  It’s a great article, I hope you’ll read it.

I did exactly the same thing 7 years ago.  It’s nice to have company.

I’m not passing any judgment whatsoever on those who have decided to take Tamoxifen, I just know that for myself and my body it wasn’t the right thing to do.  I wasn’t willing to risk any of the side effects that the drug engenders, there are too many of them.

This may not be a good course of action for everyone, I’m not saying that either.  My whole desire here is just to inform – to let you know that in some cases doctors don’t know everything there is to know about the healing power of certain nutrients in our food.

My Biggest Hope

My biggest hope is that the field of oncology will begin to pay attention to and take on some of the wisdom that natural medicine has to offer.

I loved the part of the article that stated “Her experience will now form part of an academic study into how lifestyle can affect the body’s response to cancer.”  There are lots of these studies being done already. 

Just go to the pubmed.gov website and put the words “turmeric cancer” in the search field and you’ll get 20 studies that say curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) is effective against all kinds of cancer cells. 

The most interesting and newest study just published on June 14, 2012 says “The findings indicate that curcumin is of potential value for the chemoprevention of breast cancer, especially in breast cancer with Skp2/Her2 overexpression.”  Cycle arrest and apoptosis in MDA-MB-231/Her2 cells induced by Curcumin, Sun SH, Huang HC, Huang C, Lin JK, Eur J Pharmacol. 2012 Jun 14. [Epub ahead of print].

Come on, oncologists.  Your way isn’t the only way.  Get with the program!

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