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Chia Seeds Safe for Estrogen Positive Breast Cancer?

Sandra2 Member Posts: 3

I have recently heard a lot of positive things about the benefits of chia seeds and yesterday bought a bottle for myself. However, once I got it home started to wonder about its connection to flax seed (which my oncologist suggested I avoid) and whether chia seeds were safe to use if you have been diagnosed with estrogen positive breast cancer. Searching on the Internet did not really produce much helpful information - basically just advertiser's info. Has anyone done this research or spoken to their oncologists about chia seeds?


  • pip57
    pip57 Member Posts: 7,080
    edited April 2011

    This is funny.  I was googling this very topic and this page came up.  Obviously no one had much to say about it when it was started, but maybe somebody will have some info now.

  • pip57
    pip57 Member Posts: 7,080
    edited April 2011

    I did some more research and came up with this article.

    "I’ve been talking for a while now about the benefits of Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), and in particular flax, fish and evening primrose oils. But some new research is emerging on flax seed oil and its possible link to estrogen dominance, which perhaps makes it a questionable oil to consume on a regular basis.

    Estrogen dominance is becoming a huge problem all over the world. We’re consuming way too many estrogens from both obvious and hidden sources which is elevating our estrogen levels by way too much. And it’s not just a female problem either, this is a problem no matter what gender you are because men naturally have the estrogen hormone too.Before I get onto Chia seeds (which is what this article is supposed to be all about), I’d like to first talk about plastics, because plastics are the biggest culprit of all containing a lot of hidden estrogens. And unfortunately plastic is everywhere and we use so much of it everyday. It may surprise you that all plastic contains estrogens. And the more flexible the plastic the more estrogen it contains.So if you can, store your food in glass containers, use a glass drinking bottle, and never ever heat your food in a plastic container. I was using those little plastic sandwich bags for a while to store almonds and cashews in my handbag. I’m not going to do that anymore because the flexible plastic bag contains a lot of estrogens. And if you think the estrogens cannot get into your food or liquid, think again because they can.Why is there estrogen in my flax seed oil? Flax SeedsFlax seed is in fact “linseed” which is what linen is made out of. Linseed contains a very high amount of plant based estrogen and phytoestrogens.Whether or not flaxseed oil raises your natural estrogen levels is very controversial. Some say that the plant based estrogens in the oil mimic the natural estrogens in our body and therefore raise our estrogen levels. Others say that the phytoestrogens actually level out any estrogen imbalances we have in our body.I’ve heard both differing opinions from reputable sources, so until I can decide for myself which is the truth, I’m going to stay way from flaxseed oil. So what’s the best alternative? Chia seed.Why chia seed is so goodChia is an ancient superfood that is very similar to flax, but without the estrogen and phytoestrogen element. It is a just as good, if not better source of EFA, so will do wonders to your health and to your skin.Here’s a bit of trivia for you – the chia seeds were originally used by the Mayans as an energy supplement. The running messengers used to carry a little pouch of the seeds around with them. So, chia has been called the “Indian running food”.And here are some facts for those into food. Chia seeds contain –2 times the protein of any other seed or grain5 times the calcium of milk2 times the amount of potassium as bananas3 times more iron than spinachand of course, copious amounts of omega-3 and omega-6How to use Chia in your dietIf you’re currently taking a flax supplement then you can just replace it with a chia supplement if you want. Or you can choose to use raw chia in your cooking. Chia has a very mild, bland taste so you can easily add it to your cooking without it changing the taste. Try adding the seeds to your salad dressing or sprinkling it onto your cereal or oatmeal.For more extensive information about the benefits of Chia, have a read of this article – The Chia Cheat Sheet"

  • CorinneM1
    CorinneM1 Member Posts: 317
    edited August 2011

    Thanks for this information.  I recently purchased a Costco-sized  bag and was questioning whether or not I can even eat this after I purchased it (I too had an ER+ cancer).

    I will start adding this to my foods and smoothies.

  • Hindsfeet
    Hindsfeet Member Posts: 675
    edited August 2011

    I add chia to smoothies, salads, or drink it in water. It has very little or no taste to it...can be slimy. I have a friend who use it for joint problems. She could hardly walk and now she is running a few miles a day due to chia seeds.

    BTW...I don't worry about having too much estrogen. It seems as I age that it is disappearing faster than I can take it in :) If you had early cancer most likely the cancer is removed by surgery so it is not an issue to worry about.

  • Renrel
    Renrel Member Posts: 13
    edited August 2011

    Chia seeds can also be made into a gel by just adding water and letting them sit a bit, then you can add them to hamburger to strech the meal while lowering animal fat and adding all sorts of good stuff to the meal.  Can subsitute for any egg you might use to hold a hamburger together, if you want to get rid of the egg for some reason.  

  • MsBliss
    MsBliss Member Posts: 62
    edited August 2011

    I love chia seeds, but they don't love me back. I have the strangest reaction to them....I get horrible stomach pain, or intestinal pain when I eat them. This never happened with flax or oat bran, just chia seeds! I pureed them and mixed it with water, but developed terrible pain. I re challenged several times, but like clock work, the cramps returned. I was known for having a cast iron stomach, even though I have a history of ulcerative colitis, nothing ever "upset" my stomach, until I met chia. I wonder if anyone has any suggestions on finding a way to re introduce chia because I know it is so good for the body.

  • snow-runner
    snow-runner Member Posts: 1
    edited August 2011

    Ms. Bliss,

    Try to ingest chia seeds with more liquid: filtrated soft water. Not water direct from ...but filtrated or even better distilled ( essential for those with beningn or malign tissues ).

    ALmost ideal option is tu ingest chia seeds with green leafy fresh juiced  vegetables or wild plants.

    1. you pick up the leaves

    2. juiced them

    3. grind chia seeds in coffee grinder or specialized grinder

       but do it slowly so that seeds wont get hot or too warm and destroy unstable healthy

       unsaturated fats

    4. add ground seeds into green juice

       Green juice contains a lot of vitamin E that is anti oxidant and protector of unstable fats even

       throug metabolic pathway during travelling stomach, and intestinal.

    How to made juices?

    In your case when mentioning symptoms of stomach ( ulceritis ) you must be very carefull about

    gastro acids and how to rejuvenate stomach linings. 

    Please go and see if you can pick up young blackberry leaves with small thorns  and raspberry

    leaves. You can add also nettle leaves and green part of the carrot and green part of the celery.

    For better taste you can add some juiced pine apple. After the juice is made with juicer please filtrate juice once more to remove any aditional fibres. Use more green pine apple than yellow.

    You can put seeds in this juice but not every day. For example every second day . two big spoon per half litter of juice in the morning.

    At the evening drink only juice and every another second weekend.

    For inflammation of intestinal and stomach use tea of Iseland moss or lat. Cetraria Islandica.

    If you are dealing with acidic body consider some oral form of zeolit powder to add to some juices.

    There is possibility to prepare smoothies but to my experiences juices are more effective specially in simple fast protocols or other more enrich diet like green leaves vegetable juices.

    There are other juices very valuable for stomach and intestinal inflammation.

    For stomach inflammations please use cabbage juice. Use a lot of hiccory in your food salads. The best option is without any vinegar, salt, oil just raw.

    Good idea is also to grow wheatgrass baby plants to the height of 10 to 15cm for juicing and than drinking with ground chia seeds. Another idea is sprouted and grown sunflower seeds.

    Sonflower greeines are also suitable for healing protocols specially in intestinal inflammation scernarious. Also rich with vitamin E when making juice what makes this juice apropriate for

    adding chia seeds. The amount of Wheatgrass or barley grass juice or juice from sunflower greenies  because of its potency andneeded amounts of plants is enough in much few amounts then other green leafy vegetable.

    Suggesting you to take some steps and organize yourself to switch to raw vegetable juices al least 1 litter per day or even more, Chia seeds is almost ideal option for intaking all necessary fats and proteins. Please take care in other daily food: no fried food, for cooking use only coconut fat, not cook to much. Use as much as possible in raw form at the beginining mostly as juice or smoothy. Be careful at the herbs and spices. Some of the are very phytoystrogen potent. Remove most of the legumes from the food (specially soya) because of phytoestrogens.

    I agree with those who claim flaxseed is too unstable  for using in healing manner.

    For stomach and other bening or malign tissues:

    try to sprout as much as you can broccoli and radish sprouts. Add them and eat as salads or in pancakaes made from no eggs or milk but on buckwheat flour added with corn or millet.

    But the first rule for some effective start healing program diet is:

    - remove gluten (cereals as wheat ,...)

    - remove diary ( milke, products )

    - remove eggs and meat.

    Later when you are stable you can consider what will it return to your daily diet.

    But at the beginning base your diet on vegetable juices, chia seeds, smoothies on green leaves, sprouts, buckwheat ( has no phytoestrogens ) flour, millet,...maybe quinoa, amaranth, of course chia but in raw form, rice,no sweeteners-. Guess you already avoid fruit because of fruit acids that are potentially harmfull for inflammations. Step by step you ll be able to add some fruits to green vegetable juices but in steps.

    And very valuable: a lot of filtrated water, not bottled one, filtrated ..maybe you should consider to buy destillator for oral distilled water use.

  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Member Posts: 1
    edited June 2012

    Hi everyone,

     I have done some research and I must agree with the original posted in that there really is not much information on the subject, so I need to continue searching to have my question answered. There were a few things that I wanted to say. The OP said she bought a bottle of chia seeds. I know that chia goes in many differen forms. There are even gels which I am not a big fan of since they are quite expensive. I normally by just raw seeds and I cover then with a bit of warm water and that is it. You give it a little of time and they will be ready to consume.

    Also, I would like to add to what pip57 already mention. There are quite a few benefits of chia seeds. I know that they fill your body with energy, which is a good thing. They have lots of omega-3 (good for people with diabetes) and they help you loose weight. I am sure these are not all of the benefits. There might be others.

    I hope this helps to someone. 

  • Shayne
    Shayne Member Posts: 524
    edited June 2012

    My naturopath told me freshly ground flax was great - but not flax oil, or buying already ground flax seeds.  When I asked about chia seeds, she said yes, and she did know i was estrogen positive.

  • purple32
    purple32 Member Posts: 1,767
    edited July 2012

    Here we go again!

    More confusion. A google search said :  "One of the best things about these seeds is that they are extremely nutritious, containing around 22% of protein, 35% of healthy fats (Omega 3, Omega 6)"

    I thought we were supposed to AVOID the omega 6.

    Anyone ?

  • Hindsfeet
    Hindsfeet Member Posts: 675
    edited July 2012

    You will have a stomach ache if you don't let your chia seeds sit in water for several minutes to 30 minutes. Rather than swelling in the water before drinking it ... the seeds will swell in your stomach.

  • pip57
    pip57 Member Posts: 7,080
    edited July 2012

    I have been told that about soaking the seeds too.  However, we sprinkle them on our veggies every night and eat them right away with no problems at all.

     Purple, we don't need to completely avoid omega 6.  We need to make sure we have a healthy balance between the two.  The ratio differs depending on who's giving the advice but I generally try to keep it 75% or more of the omega 3. 

  • pip57
    pip57 Member Posts: 7,080
    edited July 2012

    Thanks.  Good info.

  • Soyaandpepper
    Soyaandpepper Member Posts: 43
    edited August 2012

    So am I getting this right? From all the above posts, chia seeds are good for us er+ while flax seeds is not? Its all very confusing.Something is good while at the time, other studies show that same thing is NOT.

  • louisat1111
    louisat1111 Member Posts: 1
    edited November 2013

    I was told that because chia seeds are seeds, that they contain growth hormones in order to grow. Is this true, and is there any concerns regarding cancer growing/spreading.

  • Blessings2011
    Blessings2011 Member Posts: 1,801
    edited November 2013

    Well, I'm 100% ER+, and when I asked my MO (a dedicated researcher and committed MD) about both chia and flax, she said there was no credible research evidence to justify eliminating them, so not to worry.

    With contradictory information being published everywhere, all the time, I have to choose to believe one person. For now, that person will be my MO. I trust that she will be up on the latest studies.

  • Rdrunner
    Rdrunner Member Posts: 67
    edited November 2013

    Here is a good and reputable website that you can get all the latest info and research on this sort of stuff

    The issue with chia and flax and soya is that they are phytoestrogens.. this website will explain what they are and why the concern. As a conference recently, a pharmacist from Europe (there they have to study Botany here in north american they dont) talked about these and their safety. No evidence re flax, chia didnt come up. Flax though to get full benefit buy whole seeds and ground them yourself.. keep in fridge or they will go rancid. She did advise to stay away from soy and soya products as much as possible ( soya bean oil or soy lecthin is in everything almost) because there is conflicting research so better to err on the side of caution.

  • Sonisard
    Sonisard Member Posts: 1
    edited April 2015

    I started taking freshly ground flax seeds with my protein shake as it was yummy and make it a thick shake

    ..along with benefits

    .. (which I thought abt it -At that time)


    6 heaped teaspoons a day and in 2 months I gained weight on my hips n stomach and had depression and mood swings and Hair thinning! !

    even evening primrose oil had the same effect on me 8 years ago when I tried it (weight gain and moods swings...don't knw abt estrogen levels at that time)

  • juneping
    juneping Member Posts: 634
    edited April 2015

    ^^i think you took too much. 2 tablespoon the most....and you were eating more than the max amount....

  • mclark55
    mclark55 Member Posts: 92
    edited June 2015

    I came across this thread while doing research for my article (below) and thought all of you would like to have some decent information with research on chia seeds. Hope it helps someone!

  • patty9999
    patty9999 Member Posts: 43
    edited January 2016

    Thank you for this thread. I am so glad to finally see something that I have been doing since Mar 2012 has actually been helping me. I never knew chia seeds were good for ER+ breast cancer. I mix a mixture of chia seeds, orange peel and cinnamon and use it in my smoothies every morning. Used to put on my cereal or oatmeal before I switched to smoothies.

  • cp418
    cp418 Member Posts: 359
    edited January 2016

    Thanks for bumping this post. I forgot about it but glad I reread it. I have been adding Chia seeds to smoothies or morning cereals too and forgot why! Happy

  • pipers_dream
    pipers_dream Member Posts: 187
    edited January 2016

    Video--Flax vs. chia

    Video--the role of flaxseeds in breast cancer survival

    I don't grind mine--I put them in a dish and put a few into my mouth and suck and chew on them. I actually enjoy this.

  • EWB
    EWB Member Posts: 592
    edited January 2016

    I was just speaking with my onc about this, his feeling was that I would have to ingest an awfully large amount of Flax seed for it to have much effect on the cancer. Since I am careful with other things and do not use crazy amounts, I started using the flax again since I feel better with that kind of diet. So hard to know w er+ status what is ok or not. Since I am now 9 yrs out from dx, figure I am doing something right (in addition to a lot of luck!)

  • Rosey10
    Rosey10 Member Posts: 2
    edited September 2016

    (To the person a few years ago that said flax is ok after you've had the tumor removed?? ) Your info is entirely "incorrect!" Please don't post info unless you have done the research! A person (like myself) who has had estrogen/progesterone positive breast cancer (or any cancer) must "always" be concerned! Just because the tumor has been removed and the cancer appears to be gone is very naive thinking! Stem cells are in the blood which were not removed when the tumor was. Therefore a person needs to remain on a healthy diet, removing estrogen causing foods, i.e., soy, flax, etc. And sugar, which feeds cancer, therefore removing sugar from your diet except maybe tiny amounts of raw honey, or raw sugar? But may not be worth that? Read your product labels! Remember reg carbs, (not veggies) turn into sugar once in the body i.e., white products, flour & breads, and grains as well. Its advised to speak with a nutritionist or natur-path, and research as you do not want cancer to return! Fresh fruit in moderation is healthy as well! And lean proteins. And exercise, take good quality supplements! A diet change of life is required! And alcohol turns into sugar in the body as well! Cancer is most active in the evenings.

  • Rosey10
    Rosey10 Member Posts: 2
    edited September 2016

    i've read so much conflicting research on flax oil, or flax seeds that it just is'nt worth the risk! There's many other great options! I have completelyomitted any flax from my diet as i had estrogen/progesterone positive bc.

  • chisandy
    chisandy Member Posts: 11,223
    edited September 2016

    Whoa--lotta junk science going on here. (Sorry to burst bubbles). First, the statement “all plastics contain estrogens” is utterly incorrect, born of a faulty leap of logic. Yes, there are certain chemicals--phthalates, BPA--in some plastics that are “endocrine disruptors,” in that they affect the body’s ability to regulate estrogen and encourage the conversion of other naturally-occurring hormones to estradiol. But not all plastics contain these chemicals, and plastics themselves do NOT “contain estrogen.”

    Next, the statement that chia seeds “contain growth hormones” that could spur growth of cancer cells also shows a misunderstanding of basic biology. First of all, whether or not they contain “growth hormones,” ALL seeds--and that includes peas, beans, the seeds in tomatoes, berries or cucumbers, nuts--not just chia, would contain the necessary genetic material to become plants. So all seeds and all foods that contain them therefore are equally culpable in causing cancer--which of course is patently ridiculous. Second, even assuming arguendo (i.e., a hypothetical assumption) that seeds “contain growth hormones,” there is a HUGE difference between plant and human growth hormones--and taking it a step further, not all human growth hormones affect the growth of tumor cells.

    Finally, the fallacy that “sugar feeds cancer.” Now, nobody needs sugar, especially not as sucrose or fructose or from refined carbohydrates that become simple sugar when acted upon by the enzymes in saliva and the gut. Sugar is responsible for a whole host of ills, from Type 2 diabetes to insulin resistance to reactive hypoglycemia to fat storage and inhibition of fat burning. But sugar--in the form of glucose, which the body turns it into, fuels ALL cells, not just cancer cells.

    This is not to pass judgment on the relative merits or faults of chia or flax seeds in an ER+ bc patient’s diet. But before you take up that discussion, get the basic science right.

  • Lily55
    Lily55 Member Posts: 1,748
    edited September 2016

    I have been worried about phytoestrogens but eventually had the test done on cancer cells in my blood and results were very clear, for me taking soy isoflavones IS anti cancer and protective, even though I am very high ER POSITIVE, so I have started taking it. There are two kinds of oestrogen, a dangerous one and a healthy one, increasing the healthy one with phytoestrogens apparently blocks the bad kind from attaching to cells as the good kind that does not promote cancer.......this is very much a potted version............

    Being overweight is far more risky than taking phytoestrogens.......the fatter we are the higher risk we have, I still struggle to get within normal BMI, am just above it...........