Natural healing, natural wellness

Hormone Health

Exercise To Reduce Estrogen Load

One cancer-fighting tip that is often recommended on cancer forums or discussion boards everywhere is EXERCISE. When you have a life-threatening disease like cancer, getting fighting-fit is absolutely essential, and regular exercise helps to achieve this.

Exercise is particularly important with hormone-dominant cancers like estrogen-positive breast cancer. Fat cells harbor estrogen, so the more weight you lose, the lesser your estrogen load. Having a “spare tyre” is dangerous for people with estrogen-sensitive cancer. Exercise also helps to alleviate many side-effects associated with drugs prescribed for cancer like aromatase inhibitors.

Since I started on the aromatase inhibitor Letrozole (Femara) a couple of months ago, I have been putting on weight, a common side-effect of AIs. This is not good for someone with my condition. I had actually been losing weight steadily over the last couple of years, until Femara came along. Now, it seems to me that no matter what I do I just can’t seem to lose weight. It’s so frustrating.

So I bought myself a pedometer last week, to help keep track of the number of steps I walk daily. The recommendation is to take at least 10,000 steps each day. Not counting the steps I take when I’m indoors, this translates (for me) to two hours of brisk walking. Each time I walk my dog, Ginger, it takes 25-30 minutes, and I do this twice a day. Either I walk her four times daily (ha! ha!) from now on, or I’ll just have to find some other way to get the other 5,000 steps in. So far, by taking an additional long walk each day, I’m averaging 9,000 steps. At least the pedometer reminds me to walk at least 10,000 steps everyday.

I’ve also been looking at other things I can do naturally to help lose weight, like drastically reducing sugar intake. I already hardly consume any sugar, so I’ve just switched from drinking “reduced-sugar” soy milk daily to “sugar-free” soy milk. Hopefully, that will help. I’m also thinking of taking virgin coconut oil daily, as my research shows that it assists weight loss, besides providing many other health benefits.

Weight-bearing exercises are supposed to help burn fat too. I used to have a pair of barbells. Wonder where they are now? Must look for them. Meanwhile, I bought an exercise band yesterday, so I can do some resistance-based stretching and pulling, even while sitting at my computer. I spend hours working at my desk, so every bit of exercise I can work in helps.

If you have any other ideas to help me lose weight safely and quickly, please share. I’m not doing this for vanity’s sake, but for my life.

Fight Breast Cancer With Cruciferous Vegetables

Green cabbage was very cheap at the supermarket nearby a few days ago so I bought two – one to make sauerkraut and the other for general eating (coleslaw, sauté, soup etc). I would have bought more had my fridge had the space. I couldn’t resist buying a nice head of purple cabbage too. I’ll use that as well as some green cabbage to make coleslaw. That night, we enjoyed a big plate of braised cabbage with onions and dried prawns. The vegetables had been cooked slowly to coax out the sweet flavors. Absolutely delicious!

It’s a good thing I like cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables, as phytochemicals such as indole-3-carbinol (I3C) and sulforaphane are components of cruciferous vegetables which exhibit antitumorigenic activity. In the digestive tract, indole-3-carbinol produces a metabolite (product of metabolism) called diindolylmethane (DIM), a new class of antiestrogens that inhibit breast cancer growth. DIM also encourages cells that are abnormally multiplying to stop reproducing and die.

Research shows that it is possible for the stronger and more dangerous form of estrogen (estradiol) to be converted into the weaker form (estriol) without using drugs. As all women who have had breast cancer know, estradiol fuels breast cancer. For this reason, aromatase inhibitor drugs (Ais) were invented to block the production of estrogen. Unfortunately, like most drugs, aromatase inhibitor drugs have serious side effects. Also, not all kinds of all estrogen are harmful. Estriol is a weaker and relatively harmless form of estrogen. Being less active than estradiol, it is desirable for it to occupy the estrogen receptor as, by doing so, it effectively blocks estradiol’s strong “grow” signals.

In 1997, researchers at Strang Cancer Research Laboratory at Rockefeller University discovered that diindolylmethane or DIM can change “strong” estrogen to “weak” estrogen and, when this happens, it stops human cancer cells from growing and provokes the cells to self-destruct, a process known as apoptosis. Subsequent studies done at the University of California at Berkeley show that DIM inhibits some human breast cancer cells from growing by as much as 90% in culture.

Apparently, DIM is the most active phytochemical in promoting the synthesis of protective hydroxylated estrogen (2OHE). Also known as 2-hydroxyestrone, 2OHE and 16-alpha-hydroxyestrone (16OHE) are metabolites of estrogens. 2OHE is biologically inactive, while 16OHE is biologically active meaning that, like estradiol, it can send “grow” signals. In cases of breast cancer, the ‘bad’ 16OHE is often elevated and the ‘good’ 2OHE is decreased. Studies show that people who take DIM not only have beneficial increases in estriol, they also have beneficial increases in 2OHE. Low levels of the 2OHE have been linked to breast cancer (in both women and men), uterine cancer, cervical cancer and lupus.

If you’ve had breast cancer, regular consumption of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, turnips, kale, green cabbage, collard greens and mustard greens is a very good idea. While cooking such vegetables, creating mild acidic conditions by adding some lemon juice or vinegar helps convert indole-3-carbinol (I3C) to the active cancer-fighting substance DIM. No wonder fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and kimchi are recommended cancer-fighting foods. Go ahead and indulge in these vegetables!

Endocrine Disrupters – Deadly Chemicals in Our Midst

Do you buy convenience foods? What about canned foods? Do you store foods and beverages in plastic containers or, worse, heat them up in plastic containers? If your answer to these questions is “yes”, it’s time to change these habits.

Compounds called endocrine disrupters have long been suspected to be behind health disorders such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, brain cancer, diabetes, heart problems, liver disease and even behavioural changes.

An endocrine disrupter which is one of the world’s highest production volume chemicals, bisphenol A (BPA), is estimated to be detectable in the bodies of more than 90% of the population in the US and Europe. More than 2.2 million tonnes of bisphenol A are produced annually, mainly for making plastics such as containers, baby bottles and food packaging. It’s even used to line cans.

In June 2009, the US Endocrine Society presented research showing that this chemical can affect women’s hearts and permanently damage the DNA of mice. Scientists in January 2010 reported that exposure to bisphenol A has been linked to heart disease, confirming earlier findings. The study was led by Dr. David Melzer, professor of epidemiology and public health at the Peninsula Medical School in Exeter, England. Dr, Melzer’s team studied data on 1,493 people aged 18 to 74. Their research confirmed that BPA also plays a role in diabetes and some forms of liver disease.

In a previous study, using data from a US government national nutrition survey in 2006, American and British scientists examined the effects of bisphenol A and found that high levels of the chemical in urine samples were associated with heart disease.

Pressure has been mounting to ban the use of the chemical in food packaging and bottles. Food and drug regulators in countries such as the US, Canada and the United Kingdom have been examining the safety of bisphenol A. Canada plans to outlaw plastic bottles made with BPA. The organization Breast Cancer UK in December 2009 urged the British government to do the same because they said there was compelling evidence linking bisphenol A to breast cancer risk.

In 2008, US government toxicologists at the National Institute of Health expressed concerns about BPA’s harmful effects on the development of the prostate and brain, as well as behavioural changes in foetuses, infants and children.

US environmental health advocacy groups are urging a federal ban on bisphenol A. “There’s enough research to take definitive action on this chemical to reduce exposure in people and the environment”, said Dr. Anila Jacob of non-profit organisation the Environmental Working Group.

Governments don’t move as fast as an individual can. What are YOU going to do TODAY to protect yourself and your loved ones from the harmful effects of endocrine disrupters like bisphenol A?