Honor Breast Health Awareness Month by Taking Care of You!
When my best friend was recently diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer, the breast cancer epidemic really hit home for me and I went into overdrive.
Like so many others who have breast cancer today (approximately 1 in 8 of us) there was no prior history of breast cancer in my best friend’s family.
So I naturally embarked on a frantic research mission to update myself and her regarding the best lifestyle choices, supplements and healing foods to help strengthen her system and prevent re-occurrence in the future.
She opted to do a combination of low-dose chemotherapy with holistic therapies to maximize her immune system.
Beating Breast Cancer
Besides speaking to her nightly and telling her we would get through this together as we had weathered so many other of life’s ups and downs, I started working on the nutrition front.
Knowing her B positive blood type (the same as mine) with its unique DNA blueprint, I immediately sent her the adaptogen astragalus with some spleen and thymus tissue glandulars to bolster her immune system.
I included some of the Adrenal Formula with additional ashwaganda for her overly reactive fight or flight stress response and told her to get in bed by 10 PM sharp.
I also sent her several bottles of CoQ10 (which earlier research from Denmark suggested could shrink breast cancer tumors at about 390 mg daily).
To help deal with the nausea of the chemo treatments, I sent her my favorite recipes for more liquid meals—nourishing pureed veggie soup and bone broth.
Since I knew she was a smoothie lover, I also included Fat Flush Whey Protein, made from the healthiest hormone-free A2 protein to help make glutathione in her liver to help detox some of the chemo and strengthen her body.
Sourced from New Zealand, this protein powder contains non-mutant A2 protein that has not been associated with any of the health problems—including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and digestive problems—linked to the mutated A1 protein produced by most U.S. cows (and found in the majority of whey protein powders on the market).
I lectured her on keeping her cell phone far from her body—and especially not in her bra (for reasons briefly detailed below).
For years, my dear friend carried her cellphone in a pouch which sometimes landed right below her right breast—the side where the cancer was detected.
I told her to use glass or stainless steel to replace the plastic bottles she was using to transport her purified water.
AND—I told her to give up her love of dried fruits because cancer of all types loves sugar!!
Breast Cancer On the Rise?
It saddens me but breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer for women today behind skin cancer. Why? Factors like more xenoestrogens (estrogen mimics) in the environment from pesticides and plastics, having fewer children, delayed childbearing, synthetic HRT, and obesity in postmenopausal women are all significant.
Breast cancer is especially on the rise with women under 40—perhaps due to early puberty, hormones in meat and dairy, as well as excessive alcohol which can elevate estrogen levels particularly with women in their 20s when hormones are peaking at their highest levels.
Perhaps it just goes undetected because mammograms have generally only been recommended for women 40 and over (this is now changing to 50 and over according to the latest guidelines from U.S. Preventative Services Task Force) and many women are unfamiliar with the breast thermography tests that can now be performed to determine “hotspots” in the breast fairly accurately.
While a little bit of alcohol is good for us as adults, according to Dr. Christine Horner, surgeon, author, and breast health advocate, one drink day a day for a woman in her 20s increases a woman’s breast cancer risk by 11 percent and three drinks by 33 to 70 percent.
Since prevention is so much easier than treatment, here’s what we can all do today for the best breast health ever:
Go for an Oil Change. One of the best oils is flaxseed oil which is particularly female-friendly due to its high levels of alpha-linolenic acid. Women with high ALA levels in their breast tissue have been found to have up to a 60 percent lower risk of breast cancer than women with low levels of this fatty acid. Flaxseed is also rich in the phytonutrient lignans that help remove excess estrogen from the body by binding with estrogen receptors. High estrogen levels have been linked to breast cancer.
Iodine to the Rescue. Introduce iodine rich foods to your diet like sea vegetables (kombu, hijiki, and nori) and Seaweed Gomasio to add flavor to your favorite dishes with an extra dose of prevention. Breast tissue is the second biggest user of iodine in the body, right behind the thyroid gland. A deficiency in iodine has been linked to the tendency to develop breast cancer.
Pump Up the Polyphenols. Foods rich in polyphenols (a type of antioxidant) have been found to block inflammation, inhibit oxidative stress, choke off blood supply to tumors, and program cancer cells to die by reducing cell division. Helpful foods include 2-4 cups of green tea, daily doses of curcumin, pomegranates, and non-GMO soy.
Dial Up the D. Raise your daily Vitamin D intake (D is like a hormone rather than a vitamin) to at least 1,000 – 4,000 IU to reach a level of at least 52 ng/mL. Women with serum levels at <13 ng/mL level had a 50% higher risk than those with levels of 52 ng/mL. Supplement with fatty fish and Vitamin D formulas. If you have darker skin, you will need more time in the sun than a lighter skinned individual.
Get the Sugar Out! Plain and simple, cancer feeds on sugar which is known to immobilize white blood cells for up to five hours. Opt for more veggies during the day and snack on whole, low sugar fruit rather than fruit juice. Avoid processed sugar and processed grains which are metabolized like sugar in any form. If you want a sweetener, try a plant-based sugar substitute like stevia or monk fruit. For more tips on staying sugar free, check out my book “Get the Sugar Out.”
Ditch Your Bra Whenever Possible. Bras especially with under wires restrict your lymph flow so toxins can easily accumulate.
Use Non-toxic Cosmetics and Personal Care Products. Check for parabens (which function as estrogen mimics) and chemicals. I created my skin care line, BeauCle to be paraben-free and full of cancer fighting antioxidants and healing omega fats like omegas 3, 7, and 9. Aluminum, a heavy metal which interacts with the detox mineral magnesium, is often found in deodorant, antiperspirant and even in your contact lens solution.
Avoid Artificial Hormones. Try to avoid Premarin, Prempro and birth control pills which provide estrogen and synthetic progesterone. Keep hormones balanced and ensure an adequate level of natural progesterone to avoid estrogen dominance, a condition that can fuel breast cancer. Prolonged use of traditional combination hormone therapy increases breast cancer risk. Opt for natural or bio identical hormone replacement if you must use hormones to manage your symptoms and use alternative means of birth control that don’t include hormones if possible. Consider a salivary hormone test to get a baseline of all six key bodily hormones and test yearly.
Stay Clear of Microwave Radiation. Electromagnetic fields from microwaves in cellphones and wireless technology as well as electrical appliances and machines can destroy melatonin—a powerful hormonal antioxidant which protects against breast cancer. Remember to turn off your wireless router and cell phone. Keep your cell phone away from your body when it is on and don’t stash in your bra. The microwave radiation emitted from you cellphone is readily absorbed by your soft breast tissue. There is a growing body of case reports which link breast cancer with cellphones in the bra.
The good news is that 95% of breast cancers are now considered preventable—which makes becoming a breast health warrior such a winning proposition! And, as soon as my friend completes her choice of treatments I know she’s going to become a victor as well.
Barclay, Laurie. “New Scientific Options for Preventing Breast Cancer: Research Update on Compounds to Incorporate into Your Breast Health Program.” Life Extension 1 Oct. 2008.
Gittleman, Ann Louise. Zapped: Why Your Cell Phone Shouldn’t Be Your Alarm Clock and 1,268 Ways to Outsmart the Hazards of Electronic Pollution. New York: HarperOne, 2010.
Horner, Christine. Waking the Warrior Goddess: Dr. Christine Horner’s Program to Protect against & Fight Breast Cancer. North Bergen, NJ: Basic Health Publications, 2005.