Aromatase Inhibitors: Natural vs Toxic
I wanted to follow up my post of May 1, 2012 – The Down & Dirty on Aromatase Inhibitors for Breast Cancer Treatment – with more information for you.
In that blog post, I’ve already described what aromatase inhibitors are, how they work, why doctors prescribe them and how the women that take them feel about them, so I won’t be covering those topics here. I want to present information on the differences between synthetic and natural aromatase inhibitors (let’s call them AIs for the sake of brevity).
Synthetic Aromatase Inhibitors
The main problem with synthetically produced AIs is the fact that they have unpleasant side effects. One of the most prescribed, Arimidex, has a list of side effects that includes hot flashes, nausea, weakness or fatigue, headaches, arthritis, general pain, joint pain, sore throat, bone pain, back pain, cough, difficulty breathing, osteoporosis, vomiting, broken bones, insomnia, swelling or water retention in the arms or legs, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, high cholesterol, infections, weight gain, breast pain, dizziness, urinary tract infections, and loss of appetite.
Some of these side effects such as bone pain and arthritis may not go away even when use of the drug is discontinued. Not particularly pleasant, by any means. But then (I hear you saying) neither is BREAST CANCER! Stay with me here.
Drugs are foreign substances that do not occur in nature. Your liver must detoxify them and that places a strain on it. Livers that are stressed from prolonged drug use can become enlarged and even cancerous. Because drugs are foreign substances they don’t work synergistically with your body and your immune system mounts a defense against them. Since the drug is taken daily, your immune system is continuously overworked and not available to do the job for which it was intended, which is keeping your body healthy and well.
Eventually the immune system is able to render these drugs ineffective. Women who have relied on AIs to keep them safe from a recurrence of breast cancer are then left unprotected and uneducated as to what to do to protect themselves.
A research study done at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto compared AIs to Tamoxifen in post-menopausal women. More than 30,000 breast cancer patients were involved in multiple trials to obtain their data. It was found that longer use of AIs led to more bone fractures and heart disease, while prolonged use of Tamoxifen resulted in higher rates of cancer of the womb and blood clots. Although AIs were found to prevent breast cancer recurrence, they were not found to prolong life.
There is still one more problem regarding AIs. They take the focus off the real issue which is why a breast cancer developed in the first place. Since cancer is an obvious wake up call that something is radically wrong in the body, this something needs to be addressed!
AIs may keep breast cancer away for awhile, but how about the rest of the body? If the conditions that promoted the breast cancer have not been addressed, there is danger of cancer to other organs and tissues as well as chance for other degenerative disease to get started because this is a body that has already exhibited a willingness to promote disease.
8 Natural Aromatase Inhibitors
These are the things found in nature – the things with which we were provided by nature for our pharmacy. They don’t come with a myriad of side effects. Most natural therapists agree: natural AIs are the only good choice for preventing breast cancer.
They work as effectively as drugs with none of those aforementioned side effects! According to research conducted at the University of Munster in Germany, when women who have estrogen imbalances consume foods rich in natural AIs, breast cancer never gets the opportunity to begin. Eating an unhealthy diet of processed and refined foods high in unhealthy fats, simple sugars, artificial sweeteners and other food chemicals will have the opposite effect.
- Quercetin – a powerful flavonoid easily obtainable from apples, cabbage, onions and garlic.
- Apigenin – another powerful flavonoid, found in ample supply in celery, parsley, artichokes, basil, and chamomile.
- Naringenin – a flavonoid with potent antioxidant benefits, you can get it in all citrus fruits. However, be warned that you shouldn’t eat too much grapefruit or grapefruit juice because it has an inhibitory effect on cytochrome P450, an enzyme which is involved in breaking down and metabolizing sex hormones and preventing their excess accumulation in the body, so inhibiting it is not something you’d want to do.
- Oleuropein – a flavonoid that comes from the olive tree, found in abundance in olive leaves and oil.
- Vitamin D3 – the latest research indicates that vitamin D3 interferes with aromatase – see this article for the best way to obtain vitamin D3
- Mushrooms – check out my article on how mushrooms are being used as aromatase inhibitors.
- Keep your weight in check – The aromatase enzyme resides in fat cells. This is why being overweight is linked with breast and other hormone sensitive cancers. With fewer fat cells in the body, less unbalanced estrogen is produced.
- Prevent estrogen dominance – Natural therapists recommend getting your hormone levels checked and limit your exposure to xenoestrogens (see a list of them by clicking here).
Book: “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer” by John R Lee, MD
Research paper: B Ebert et al, Phytochemicals Induce Breast Cancer Resistance Protein in Caco-2 Cells and Enhance Transport of Benzo [a] Pyrene-3 Sulfate, Toxicology Science, April, 2007.
Research paper: Pelissero C, Lenczowski MJ, Chinzi D, Davail-Cuisset B, Sumpter JP, Fostier Effects of flavonoids on aromatase activity, an in vitro study. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 1996 Feb;57(3-4):215-23.
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