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Topic: Treating estrogen responsive cancer naturally

Forum: Alternative Medicine —

This forum is a safe, judgement-free place to discuss Alternative medicine. Alternative medicine refers to treatments that are used INSTEAD of standard, evidence-based treatment. Breastcancer.org does NOT recommend or endorse alternative medicine.

Posted on: Aug 6, 2012 09:37PM - edited Aug 8, 2012 01:31PM by Natkat

Natkat wrote:

Hello please post here ONLY if you are researching or using natural tx to address hormone responsive cancer. Please stay on topic - no posts about standard drugs or ovary removal. No posts about general anti cancer. Thread for people who need alternatives SPECIFIC to hormone responsive cancers

Will share my own research and looking foward to hearing about yours
Thank you

Dx 6/2012, ILC, 4cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Page 72 of 77 (2,309 results)

Posts 2131 - 2160 (2,309 total)

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Sep 6, 2017 05:28PM ChiSandy wrote:

A high-fat diet is not obesogenic if it does not provide excess calories (and lacks sugars & starches). A diet that provides more calories than an individual can burn causes weight gain. How those calories are burned varies both by their source and the particular individual. The tide of credible medical-nutritional research is turning to implicate sugars & starches, not fat, as the culprits in obesity--especially the low-fat diet craze. The reason high BMI women are likelier to get ER+ bc is that the excess weight consists of adipose tissue, not muscle or bone (except in certain types of athletes). BMI does not take into account body composition, but just height & weight. Muscle & bone weighs more than fat. Body fat percentage is a more reliable gauge of true obesity. (Because accurately measuring body fat percentage is a complex, cumbersome & time-consuming process that involves many tests--galvanic current, buoyancy in water, caliper measurements--which not every practitioner is equipped to conduct--BMI is used as a default (and not always statistically accurate). And it is the fat cells themselves, not the fat (just a chemical compound) they contain, that is biologically active. Fat itself can only be stored or burned. It does nothing else.

That Oregon study found either no correlation or an inverse correlation between dairy intake and breast cancer. Because the latter is paradoxical, the authors counseled against drawing any conclusions without further research. I do like sheep and goat cheeses better than cow's milk cheeses--they're just more interesting. And I do drink goat milk kefir.

I take alternative & complementary medicine sites--especially ones with hokey gimmicky pop-ups like the one cited--inherently suspect, especially because they rarely advocate truly complementary or integrative regimens.

But because this particular thread is on the Alternative forum, which was created to be a safe harbor for advocates of non-conventional medicine, I will respect the right of those advocates to post without being criticized--and so this will be my last post in this thread.

Diagnosed at 64 on routine annual mammo, no lump. OncotypeDX 16. I cried because I had no shoes...but then again, I won’t get blisters.... Dx 9/9/2015, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/22/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 11/1/2015 3DCRT: Breast Hormonal Therapy 12/30/2015 Femara (letrozole)
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Sep 6, 2017 06:27PM FridayYet wrote:

I have lost 50 pounds eating a high fat diet, which I think is ultimately better for my health on the long run. Although my total cholesterol is up slightly, my triglycerides have dropped and my HDL has increased. My IBS and my rebound hypoglycemia have both disappeared. My skin is clearer and I have more energy.

So if this thread is for vegans only, looks like I'm in the wrong spot.


Dx 8/3/2017, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/3/2017 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 8/17/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 9/13/2017 Multi-catheter: Breast
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Sep 6, 2017 06:36PM - edited Oct 13, 2017 02:11PM by marijen

That’s great FridaYet.

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Sep 7, 2017 04:49AM Ladybird-dancer wrote:

Good luck to you all. I know what I believe in and if that is contrary to what you believe in, so beit.

I never had the problem of being overweight or unfit and yet I still got cancer.

Canceractive.com IS a VERY good website, despite Momine's withering comments. All their info is based on medical science and the website is run by a Bio-chemist and I would highly recommend it.


Dx 4/19/2011, ILC, Left, 4cm, Stage IIA, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 4/25/2011 Aromasin (exemestane), Faslodex (fulvestrant), Femara (letrozole), Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery 11/20/2016 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant Radiation Therapy 6/14/2017 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Chemotherapy Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Ellence (epirubicin), Fluorouracil (5-fluorouracil, 5-FU, Adrucil), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery
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Sep 7, 2017 05:02PM marijen wrote:

So would anyone like to weigh in on peanut butter? Is it good, bad? And how much fat grams is allowed on a high fat diet?

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Sep 7, 2017 08:40PM - edited Sep 7, 2017 08:44PM by FridayYet

Marijen - From what I've read, Peanuts can be inflammatory for some people so it's an individual thing on whether it is good for you or not. I don't like it, so it's not a problem for me, but I buy DH an organic peanut butter that only has peanuts and salt in it.

On a keto diet, fat grams are not limited. A typical day is 20 grams of carbs (mostly from veggies) 50-60 grams of protein, and equal/double/triple your protein grams in fat. You eat fat to keep you full, so the actual fat grams can change from one day to another, depending on hunger. Eat enough to keep you full 4-6 hours. No snacking. One bit of advice though, go all-in or don't do it. Nothing worse for your body than eating high carbs and high fat! Carbs have to be very low or you will never flip the switch from burning glucose to burning ketones for fuel.

A good overview can be found on Diet Doctor

Dx 8/3/2017, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/3/2017 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 8/17/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 9/13/2017 Multi-catheter: Breast
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Sep 7, 2017 09:34PM marijen wrote:

Oh this website is perfect FridayYet. Thank you so much. I don't see my beloved fruit but for 15lbs I'll deal with it. I see I can still have a lemon. I'm not big on cauiflower but the cauliflower hash looks great. What is that big round of cheese? On the first page? Two meals and not being hungry. Well I think I've been missing out.

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Sep 7, 2017 10:17PM marijen wrote:

Insulin Index from the Diet Doctor

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Sep 7, 2017 11:25PM - edited Sep 7, 2017 11:32PM by marijen

Cancer and obesity fact sheet



Nevertheless, the follow-up study of weight and breast cancer in the Women's Health Initiative (36) found that for women who were already overweight or obese at baseline, weight change (either gain or loss) was not associated with breast cancer risk during follow-up. However, for women who were of normal weight at baseline, gaining more than 5% of body weight was associated with increased breast cancer risk.

How does obesity affect cancer survivorship?

Most of the evidence about obesity in cancer survivors comes from people who were diagnosed with breast, prostate, or colorectal cancer. Research indicates that obesity may worsen several aspects of cancer survivorship, including quality of life, cancer recurrence, cancer progression, and prognosis (survival) (37, 38).

For example, obesity is associated with increased risks of treatment-related lymphedema in breast cancer survivors (39) and incontinence in prostate cancer survivors treated with radical prostatectomy (40). In a large clinical trial of patients with stage II and stage III rectal cancer, those with a higher baseline BMI (particularly men) had an increased risk of local recurrence (41). Death from multiple myeloma is 50% more likely for people at the highest levels of obesity compared with people at normal weight (42).

Several randomized clinical trials in breast cancer survivors have reported weight loss interventions that resulted in both weight loss and beneficial changes in biomarkers that have been linked to the association between obesity and prognosis (43, 44). However, there is little evidence about whether weight loss improves cancer recurrence or prognosis (45). The NCI-sponsored Breast Cancer WEight Loss (BWEL) Study, a randomized phase III trial that is currently recruiting participants, will compare recurrence rate in overweight and obese women who take part in a weight loss program after breast cancer diagnosis with that in women who do not take part in the weight loss program.

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Sep 8, 2017 02:00AM Momine wrote:

There was some study a year or two ago that nixed peanuts for breast cancer patients. I don't remember why, but it should be easy to find.

Interesting study on the weight. It highlights another problem. Things that are correlated with risk of getting the beast in the first place do not always correlate with risk of recurrence. We need more research.

Dx 6/1/2011, ILC, 5cm, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, 7/23 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 6/19/2011 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Ellence (epirubicin), Fluorouracil (5-fluorouracil, 5-FU, Adrucil), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 9/12/2011 Mastectomy: Left, Right Radiation Therapy 1/8/2012 Surgery 3/7/2012 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy 3/31/2012 Femara (letrozole)
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Sep 10, 2017 12:52PM Suz-Q wrote:

Fat and cholesterol protect our brains, sugar is the real devil!

Even if you are overweight, exercise can help to lower your risk.

56 at diagnosis. Oncotype DX 10 Dx 9/17/2015, DCIS/IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 11/2/2015 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 12/13/2015 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 1/20/2016 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 8/4/2016 Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting Hormonal Therapy 10/7/2017 Aromasin (exemestane)
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Sep 10, 2017 10:01PM - edited Sep 10, 2017 10:02PM by scaredashell07

how does anyone eat a no sugar diet? Is that what these threads are proposing. I am having such a hard time eating without sugar. I have two small kids and can't seem to get anything in my body for breakfast besides oatmeal or eggs. And I cant find any whole grain bread that doesn't have sugar added. Dinner I Can manage but breakfast is tough. Fruit and bread is out of the question?

Dx 9/2016, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 1/19 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 11/8/2016 Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 12/15/2016 AC + T (Taxol) Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Sep 10, 2017 10:33PM gardengypsy wrote:

scared: It's refined sugar that we don't want in our bodies.

The key is to monitor what you eat. The less sugar, of any kind, the better. Your kids will also benefit from eating less sugar.

I would never raise my children without providing the nutrition and enjoyment of whole (not canned or processed) fruit. Healthy dietary practices are difficult to achieve in our society. The media and other people's influence make it very difficult, but hold the line!

Your family will grow to appreciate healthy food and they will also be supporting your health. Without sugar polluting your body, good food will taste even better.

There is plenty of delicious bread that is made without sugar. There are lots of resources for you on line. It may take some research but the effort is so worth it.

Good luck


Dx 10/29/2015, ILC/IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 12/3/2015 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 1/9/2016 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 5/23/2016 Hormonal Therapy 5/28/2016 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy 6/6/2016 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Sep 10, 2017 10:34PM illimae wrote:

My MO and team advised me to avoid sugar as much as possible. Fruit and whole grain carbs are good within reason and Stevia to replace sugar in coffee, etc. The nutritionist echoed everything my MO said and I've been doing a good job but do enjoy the random slice of birthday cake or French bread.

Diagnosed at 41 Stage IV De Novo Dx 11/16/2016, IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, Grade 3, 3/13 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+ (IHC) Chemotherapy 1/2/2017 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Targeted Therapy 1/2/2017 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Targeted Therapy 1/2/2017 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Surgery 6/26/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary Radiation Therapy 8/10/2017 Breast, Lymph nodes Dx 10/5/2017, IDC, Left, Stage IV, metastasized to brain Radiation Therapy 10/20/2017 External: Brain Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Sep 11, 2017 09:12AM Chloesmom wrote:

I lost the 18 lbs that i gained on letrozole for 18 mintgs by following a keto diet. IBS etc cleared up. Now do a hybrid of bullet proof coffee for breakfast and modified paleo for lunch and dinner to get more vitamins from veggies. No grains including peanuts Only sugar is piece of dark chocolate as my treat. Never felt better. Energy back. Now 5 lbs lighter than pre BC but its more about how i feel than anything.

Still taking letrozole as scared to stop it but the SEs are less without foods that were inflammatory for me

No recon - Loving Flat & Free! Oncotype 25 (Note: ILC hides in the shadows- US, Mammo, MRI neg on "good" side but not really good after all!) Dx 11/21/2014, ILC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/24/2014 Arimidex (anastrozole), Aromasin (exemestane), Femara (letrozole) Surgery 12/11/2014 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Chemotherapy 2/2/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Sep 11, 2017 10:02AM Chloesmom wrote:

ChiSandy. Sorry to see you go from this thread. Really appreciated your informative detailed input!

No recon - Loving Flat & Free! Oncotype 25 (Note: ILC hides in the shadows- US, Mammo, MRI neg on "good" side but not really good after all!) Dx 11/21/2014, ILC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/24/2014 Arimidex (anastrozole), Aromasin (exemestane), Femara (letrozole) Surgery 12/11/2014 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Chemotherapy 2/2/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Sep 11, 2017 04:03PM - edited Sep 11, 2017 04:03PM by GoKale4320

ChiSandy - I hope you will reconsider and stay. I agree, that I enjoy reading the information you share. I have done some research of my own so I am thankful to read more information, and if there is anything I don't completely agree with, I just keep reading. No reason to be upset by differing opinions. We certainly know the science is not straight forward or exact.

Dx: January 2017, IDC, Stage IIa, 1/23 nodes,
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Sep 11, 2017 07:00PM yoga_girl wrote:

Nutrition and cancer: A review of the evidence for an anti-cancer diet


Dx 4/7/2013, IDC, 2cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 9/1/2013 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel Radiation Therapy 10/27/2013 3DCRT: Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 6/14/2014 Femara (letrozole)
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Sep 13, 2017 03:06AM - edited Sep 13, 2017 03:09AM by marijen

Natural Therapies

Protecting Breast Cells Against Dangerous Estrogens

The stronger form of estrogen, estradiol, can be converted into the weaker form, estriol, in the body without using drugs. Estriol is considered to be a more desirable form of estrogen. It is less active than estradiol, so when it occupies the estrogen receptor, it blocks estradiol's strong "growth" signals. Using a natural substance the conversion of estradiol to estriol increased by 50% in 12 healthy people (Michnovicz et al. 1991). Furthermore, in female mice prone to developing breast cancer the natural substance reduced the incidence of cancer and the number of tumors significantly. The natural substance was indole-3-carbinol (I3C).

Indole-3-carbinol (I3C) is a phytochemical isolated from cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, turnips, kale, green cabbage, mustard seed, etc.). I3C given to 17 men and women for 2 months reduced the levels of strong estrogen, and increased the levels of weak estrogen. But more importantly, the level of an estrogen metabolite associated with breast and endometrial cancer, 16--a-hydroxyestrone, was reduced by I3C (Bradlow et al. 1991).

When I3C changes "strong" estrogen to "weak" estrogen, the growth of human cancer cells is inhibited by 54-61% (Telang et al. 1997). Moreover, I3C provoked cancer cells to self-destruct (kill themselves via apoptosis). Induction of cell death is an approach to suppress carcinogenesis and is the prime goal of cytotoxic chemotherapy. The increase in apoptosis induced by I3C before initiation of new tumor development may contribute to suppression of tumor progression. Nontoxic I3C can reliably facilitate apoptosis (12 week treatment in rats); thus, this phytonutrient may become a standard adjunct in the treatment of breast cancer (Zhang et al. 2003)

I3C inhibits human breast cancer cells (MCF7) from growing by as much as 90% in culture; growth arrest does not depend on estrogen receptors (Cover et al. 1998). Furthermore, I3C induces apoptosis in tumorigenic (cancerous) but not in nontumorigenic (non-cancerous) breast epithelial cells (Rahman et al. 2003).

I3C does more than just turn strong estrogen to weak estrogen. 16-a-Hydroxyestrone (16-OHE) and 2-hydroxyestrone (2-OHE) are metabolites of estrogen in addition to estriol and estradiol. 2-OHE is biologically inactive, while 16-OHE is biologically active; that is, like estradiol, it can send "growth" signals. In breast cancer, the dangerous 16-OHE is often elevated, while the protective 2-OHE is decreased. Cancer-causing chemicals change the metabolism of estrogen so that 16-OHE is elevated. Studies show that people who take I3C have beneficial increases in the "weak" estriol form of estrogen and also increases in protective 2-OHE.

African-American women who consumed I3C, 400 mg for 5 days, experienced an increase in the "good" 2-OHE and a decrease of the "bad" 16-OHE. However, it was found that the minority of women who did not demonstrate an increase in 2-OHE, had a mutation in a gene that helps metabolize estrogen to the 2-OHE version. Those women had an eight times higher risk of breast cancer (Telang et al. 1997).

I3C Stops Cancer Cells from Growing

Tamoxifen is a drug prescribed to reduce breast cancer metastases and improve survival. I3C has modes of action similar to tamoxifen. I3C inhibited the growth of estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer cells by 90% compared to 60% for tamoxifen. The mode of action attributed to I3C's impressive effect was interfering with the cancer cell growth cycle. Adding tamoxifen to I3C gave a 5% boost (95% total inhibition) (Cover et al. 1999).

In estrogen-receptor-negative cells, I3C stopped the synthesis of DNA by about 50%, whereas tamoxifen had no significant effect. I3C also restored p21 and other proteins that act as checkpoints during the synthesis of a new cell. Tamoxifen showed no effect on p21. Restoration of these growth regulators is extremely important. For example, tumor suppressor p53 works through p21 that I3C restores. I3C also inhibits cancers caused by chemicals. If animals are fed I3C before exposure to cancer-causing chemicals, DNA damage and cancer are virtually eliminated (Cover et al. 1999).

A study on rodents shows that damaged DNA in breast cells is reduced 91% by I3C. Similar results are seen in the liver (Devanaboyina et al. 1997). Female smokers taking 400 mg of I3C significantly reduced their levels of a major lung carcinogen. Cigarette chemicals are known to adversely affect estrogen metabolism (Taioli et al. 1997).

There is no proven way to prevent breast cancer, but the best and most comprehensive scientific evidence so far supports phytochemicals such as I3C (Meng et al. 2000). The results from a placebo-controlled, double-blind dose-ranging chemoprevention study on 60 women at increased risk for breast cancer demonstrated that I3C at a minimum effective dosage 300 mg per day is a promising agent for breast cancer prevention (Wong et al. 1997). The results of a single-blind phase I trial which studied the effectiveness of I3C in preventing breast cancer in nonsmoking women who are at high risk of breast cancer are awaited. The rationale for this study is that I3C, ingested twice daily, may be effective at preventing breast cancer.

I3C was found to be superior to 80 other compounds, including tamoxifen, for anticancer potential. Indoles, which down-regulate estrogen receptors, have been proposed as promising agents in the treatment and prevention of cancer and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and lupus. Replacement of all the chemically altered estrogen drugs, such as tamoxifen, with a new generation of chemically altered indole drugs that fit in the aryl-hydrocarbon (Ah) receptor and regulate estrogen indirectly may prove beneficial to cancer patients (Bitonti et al. 1999). An I3C tetrameric derivative (chemically derived) is currently a novel lead inhibitor of breast cancer cell growth, considered a new, promising therapeutic agent for both ER+ and ER- breast cancer (Brandi et al. 2003).

A summary of studies shows that indole-3-carbinol (I3C) can:

  • Increase the conversion of estradiol to the safer estriol by 50% in healthy people in just 1 week (Michnovicz et al. 1991)
  • Prevent the formation of the estrogen metabolite, 16,alpha-hydroxyestrone, that prompts breast cancer cells to grow (Chen et al. 1996), in both men and women in 2 months (Michnovicz et al. 1997)
  • Stop human cancer cells from growing (54-61%) and provoke the cells to self-destruct (apoptosis) (Telang et al. 1997)
  • Inhibit human breast cancer cells (MCF7) from growing by as much as 90% in vitro (Ricci et al. 1999)
  • Inhibit the growth of estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer cells by 90%, compared to tamoxifen's 60%, by stopping the cell cycle (Cover et al. 1999)
  • Prevent chemically induced breast cancer in rodents by 70-96%. Prevent other types of cancer, including aflatoxin-induced liver cancer, leukemia, and colon cancer (Grubbs et al. 1995)
  • Inhibit free radicals, particularly those that cause the oxidation of fat (Shertzer et al. 1988)
  • Stop the synthesis of DNA by about 50% in estrogen-receptor-negative cells, whereas tamoxifen had no significant effect (Cover et al. 1998)
  • Restore p21 and other proteins that act as checkpoints during the synthesis of a new cancer cell. Tamoxifen has no effect on p21 (Cover et al. 1998)
  • Virtually eliminate DNA damage and cancer prior to exposure to cancer-causing chemicals (in animals fed I3C) (Grubbs et al. 1995)
  • Reduce DNA damage in breast cells by 91% (Devanaboyina et al. 1997)
  • Reduce levels of a major nitrosamine carcinogen in female smokers (Taioli et al. 1997)

How to Use I3C

While the evidence is compelling, it is too soon to know exactly how effective I3C will be as an adjuvant breast cancer therapy (see the Breast Cancer References for citations pertaining specifically to I3C).

Suggested dosage: Take one 200-mg capsule of I3C twice a day, for those under 120 pounds. For those who weigh more than 120 pounds, three 200-mg capsules a day are suggested. Women who weigh over 180 pounds should take four 200-mg I3C capsules a day.

Caution: Pregnant women should not take I3C because of its modulation of estrogen. I3C appears to act both at the ovarian and hypothalamic levels, whereas tamoxifen appears to act only on the hypothalamic-pituitary axis as an anti-estrogen. Both I3C and tamoxifen block ovulation by altering preovulatory concentrations of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) (Gao et al. 2002). The reported aversion to cruciferous vegetables by pregnant women may be associated with their ability to change estrogen metabolism. Estrogen is a necessary growth factor for the fetus.


Apigenin, a flavone (ie, a class of flavonoids) that is present in fruits and vegetables (eg, onions, oranges, tea, celery, artichoke, and parsley), has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer properties. Many studies have confirmed the cancer chemopreventive effects of apigenin (Patel 2007).

Apigenin stimulates apoptosis in breast cancer cells (Chen 2007). A 2012 study showed that apigenin slowed the progression of human breast cancer by inducing cell death, inhibiting cell proliferation, and reducing expression of a gene associated with cancer growth (Her2/neu). In another study, it was noted that blood vessels responsible for feeding cancer cells were smaller in apigenin-treated mice compared to untreated mice. This is significant because smaller vessels mean restricted nutrient flow to the tumors and may have served to starve the cancer as well as limit its ability to spread (Mafuvadze 2012).

Apigenin has been proven to have a synergistic treatment effect when combined with the chemotherapy drug paclitaxel (Xu 2011). In a study, apigenin increased the efficacy of the chemotherapy drug 5-Fluorouracil against breast cancer cells (Choi 2009).


Astragalus, an herb used for centuries in Asia, has exhibited immune-stimulatory effects. Astragalus potentiates lymphokine-activated killer cells (Chu 1988). One study found that astragalus could partially restore depressed immune function in tumor-bearing mice (Cho 2007a), while another concluded that "…astragalus could exhibit anti-tumor effects, which might be achieved through activating the…anti-tumor immune mechanism of the host" (Cho 2007b).

It was observed in a clinical trial that astragalus inhibited the proliferation of breast cancer cells. Authors of the study stated, "The antiproliferation mechanisms may be related to its effects of up-regulating the expressions of p53…" (Ye 2011). Similar findings were noted in a previous experiment (Deng 2009).


Blueberries are rich in anthocyanins (ie, dark pigments in fruits) and pterostilbenes (ie, antioxidant closely related to resveratrol). The anti-cancer effects of blueberries are mediated by multiple mechanisms:

Blueberry extracts block DNA damage. Damage to cellular DNA underlies most forms of cancer. By preventing such damage, blueberry extracts can block the malignant transformation of healthy cells (Aiyer 2008).

Blueberry extracts inhibit angiogenesis. Rapidly-growing cancers recruit new blood vessels to meet their ravenous appetites for nutrients and oxygen. Blueberry inhibits new tumor blood vessel growth, known as angiogenesis (Gordillo 2009; Liu 2011).

Blueberry extracts trigger cancer cells' suicide. If normal cells replicate too fast, they are programmed to die through apoptosis. Cancerous cells, by contrast, ignore that programming, constantly doubling their population unchecked. Blueberry components restore normal programming and induce apoptosis in cells from a variety of cancers, putting the brakes on their rapid growth (Katsube 2003; Yi 2005; Seeram 2006; Srivastava 2007; Alosi 2010).

Blueberry extracts stop excessive proliferation. Uncontrolled cell reproduction results in formation of dangerous tumors, as cells ignore the normal signals to stop growing. By restoring normal cellular signaling, blueberry extracts stop such out-of-control proliferation (Yi 2005; Adams 2010; Nguyen 2010). In an experimental breast cancer cell line, blueberry significantly reduced breast cancer cell proliferation, leading the researchers to state that "blueberry anthocyanins … demonstrated anticancer properties by inhibiting cancer cell proliferation and by acting as cell antiinvasive factors and chemoinhibitors" (Faria 2010). In rats with experimentally induced breast cancer, the volume of new breast tumor formation was reduced by 40% in the group of rats supplemented with blueberry compared to the control group (Srinivasan 2008).

Blueberry extracts slow tumor spread by invasion and metastasis. Solid cancers produce matrix metalloproteinases, which are "protein-melting" enzymes that help them invade adjacent tissues and that enable them to metastasize. Blueberry extracts block matrix metalloproteinases, thereby inhibiting cancer invasion and metastasis (Adams 2010a; Matchett 2005). In one experiment published in 2011, blueberry extract was administered to mice with breast cancer. Compared to the control group, tumor volume was 75% lower in mice fed blueberry extract. Moreover, mice fed blueberry extract developed 70% fewer liver metastases and 25% fewer lymph node metastases compared to the control group (Adams 2011).


Breast cancers that are estrogen-receptor positive can grow and be exacerbated in the presence of estrogen in the body. One aim of drug therapy for estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer is to decrease the levels of estrogen in the body. To that end, drugs used to block the enzyme (ie, aromatase) that converts testosterone into estrogen (ie, aromatase inhibitors) are widely used in women with estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer. Chrysin, a flavonoid, is a natural aromatase inhibitor (Campbell 1993; Mohammed 2011).


Coffee, especially brews enriched with chlorogenic acid, protect cells against the DNA damage that leads to aging and cancer development (Bakuradze 2011; Hoelzl 2010; Misik 2010). Growing tumors develop the ability to invade local and regional tissue by increasing their production of "protein-melting" enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases. Chlorogenic acid—present in coffee—strongly inhibited matrix metalloproteinase activity (Jin 2005; Belkaid 2006).

A 2011 study reported that postmenopausal women who drank 5 cups of coffee dailyexhibited a 57% decreased risk of developing estrogen-receptor negative (non-hormone-responsive) breast cancer (Li 2011). Chlorogenic acid and other polyphenols are the likely beneficial agents in such cancers (Bageman 2008).


Curcumin is extracted from the spice turmeric and is responsible for the orange/yellow pigment that gives the spice its unique color. Turmeric is a perennial herb of the ginger family and a major component of curry powder. Chinese and Indian people, both in herbal medicine and in food preparation, have safely used it for centuries.

Curcumin has a number of biological effects in the body. However, one of the most important functions is curcumin's ability to inhibit growth signals emitted by tumor cells that elicit angiogenesis (growth and development of new blood vessels into the tumor).

Curcumin inhibits the epidermal growth factor receptor and is up to 90% effective in a dose-dependent manner. It is important to note that while curcumin has been shown to be up to 90% effective in inhibiting the expression of the epidermal growth factor receptor on cancer cell membranes, this does not mean it will be effective in 90% of cancer patients or reduce tumor volume by 90%. However, because two-thirds of all cancers overexpress the epidermal growth factor receptor and such overexpression frequently fuels the metastatic spread of the cancer throughout the body, suppression of this receptor is desirable.

Other anticancer mechanisms of curcumin include:

  • Inhibition of the induction of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF). bFGF is both a potent growth signal (mitogen) for many cancers and an important signaling factor in angiogenesis (Arbiser et al. 1998).
  • Antioxidant activity. In vitro it has been shown to be stronger than vitamin E in prevention of lipid peroxidation (Sharma 1976; Toda et al. 1985).
  • Inhibition of the expression of COX-2 (cyclooxygenase 2), the enzyme involved in the production of prostaglandin E2 (PGE-2), a tumor-promoting hormone-like agent (Zhang et al. 1999).
  • Inhibition of a transcription factor in cancer cells known as nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-KB). Many cancers overexpress NF-KB and use this as a growth vehicle to escape regulatory control (Bierhaus et al. 1997; Plummer et al. 1999).
  • Increased expression of nuclear p53 protein in human basal cell carcinomas, hepatomas, and leukemia cell lines. This increases apoptosis (cell death) (Jee et al. 1998).
  • Increases production of transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta), a potent growth inhibitor, producing apoptosis (Park et al. 2003; Sporn et al. 1989).
  • TGF-beta is known to enhance wound healing and may play an important role in the enhancement of wound healing by curcumin (Mani H et al. 2002; Sidhu et al. 1998).
  • Inhibits PTK (protein tyrosine kinases) and PKC (protein kinase C). PTK and PKC both help relay chemical signals through the cell. Abnormally high levels of these substances are often required for cancer cell signal transduction messages. These include proliferation, cell migration, metastasis, angiogenesis, avoidance of apoptosis, and differentiation (Reddy et al. 1994; Davidson et al. 1996).
  • Inhibits AP-1 (activator protein-1) through a non-antioxidant pathway. While curcumin is an antioxidant (Kuo et al. 1996), it appears to inhibit signal-transduction via protein phosphorylation thereby decreasing cancer-cell activity, regulation, and proliferation (Huang et al. 1991).

Based on the favorable, multiple mechanisms listed above, higher-dose curcumin would appear to be useful for cancer patients to take. However, as far as curcumin being taken at the same time as chemotherapy drugs, there are contradictions in the scientific literature. Therefore, caution is advised. Please refer to the Cancer Chemotherapy protocol before considering combining curcumin with chemotherapy.

Curcumin's effects are a dose dependent response, and a standardized product is essential. The recommended dose is four 900-mg capsules 3 times per day, preferably with food.

*Green Tea (green tea extract can cause liver failure)

As a tumor grows it elicits new capillary growth (angiogenesis) from the surrounding normal tissues and diverts blood supply and nutrients away from the tissue to feed itself. Unregulated tumor angiogenesis can facilitate the growth of cancer throughout the body. Antiangiogenesis agents, including green tea, inhibit this new tumor blood vessel (capillary) growth.

Green tea contains epigallocatechin gallate EGCG, a polyphenol that helps to block the induction of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Scientists consider VEGF essential in the process of angiogenesis and tumor endothelial cell survival. It is the EGCG fraction of green tea that makes it a potentially effective adjunct therapy in the treatment of breast cancer. In vivo studies have shown green tea extracts to have the following actions on human cancer cells (Jung et al. 2001b; Muraoka et al. 2002):

  • Inhibition of tumor growth by 58%
  • Inhibition of activation of nuclear factor-kappa beta
  • Inhibition of microvessel density by 30%
  • Inhibition of tumor-cell proliferation in vitro by 27%
  • Increased tumor-cell apoptosis 1.9-fold
  • Increased tumor endothelial-cell apoptosis threefold

The most current research shows that green tea may have a beneficial effect in treating cancer. While drinking green tea is a well-documented method of preventing cancer, it is difficult for the cancer patient to obtain a sufficient quantity of EGCG anticancer components in that form. Standardized green tea extract is more useful then green tea itself because the dose of EGCG can be precisely monitored and greater doses can be ingested without excessive intake of liquids. A suggested dose for a person with breast cancer is 5 capsules of 350-mg lightly caffeinated green tea extract 3 times a day with each meal. Each capsule should provide at least 100 mg of EGCG. It may be desirable to take a decaffeinated version of green tea extract in the evening to ensure that the caffeine does not interfere with sleep. Those sensitive to caffeine may also use this decaffeinated form.

However, there are benefits to obtaining some caffeine. Studies show that caffeine potentiates the anticancer effects of tea polyphenols, including the critical EGCG. Caffeine will be discussed in further detail later in this protocol. Green tea extract is available in a decaffeinated form for those sensitive to caffeine or those who want to take the less-stimulating decaffeinated green tea extract capsules for their evening dose.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) found naturally, as a component of beef and milk, refers to isomers of octadecadienoic acid with conjugated double bonds. CLA is essential for the transport of dietary fat into cells, where it is used to build muscle and produce energy. CLA is incorporated into the neutral lipids of mammary fat (adipocyte) cells, where it serves as a local reservoir of CLA. It has been proposed that CLA may be an excellent candidate for prevention of breast cancer (Ip et al. 2003). Low levels of CLA are found in breast cancer patients but these do not influence survival. Nevertheless, it has been hypothesized that a higher intake of CLA might have a protective effect on the risk of metastasis (Chajes et al. 2003).

CLA was shown to prevent mammary cancer in rats if given before the onset of puberty. CLA ingested during the time of the "promotion" phase of cancer development conferred substantial protection from further development of breast cancer in the rats by inducing cell kill of pre-cancerous lesions (Ip et al. 1999b). It was determined that feeding CLA to female rats while they were young and still developing conferred life-long protection against breast cancer. This preventative action was achieved by adding enough CLA to equal 0.8% of the animal's total diet (Ip et al. 1999a).

CLA inhibits the proliferation of human breast cancer cells (MCF-7), induced by estradiol and insulin (but not EGF). In fact, CLA caused cell kill (cytotoxicity) when tumor cells were induced with insulin (Chujo et al. 2003). The antiproliferative effects of CLA are partly due to their ability to elicit a p53 response that leads to growth arrest (Kemp et al. 2003). CLA elicits cell killing effects in human breast tumor cells through both p53-dependent and p53 independent pathways according to the cell type (Majumder et al. 2002). Refer to Cancer Treatment The Critical Factors, for more information on determining the p53 status of cancer. The effects of CLA are mediated by both direct action (on the epithelium) as well as indirect action through the stroma.

The growth suppressing effect of CLA may be partly due to changes in arachidonic distribution among cellular lipids and an altered prostaglandin profile (Miller et al. 2001). Intracellular lipids may become more susceptible to oxidative stress to the point of producing a cytotoxic effect (Devery et al. 2001). CLA has the ability to suppress arachidonic acid. Since arachidonic acid can produce inflammatory compounds that can promote cancer proliferation, this may be yet another explanation for CLA's anticancer effects.

Life Extension's recommendation for CLA is a dose of 3000-4000 mg daily, which is approximately 1% of the average human diet. The suggested amount required to obtain the overall cancer-preventing effects is only 3000-4000 mg daily in divided doses.

CLA may work via a mechanism similar to that of antidiabetic drugs not only by enhancing insulin-sensitivity but also by increasing plasma adiponectin levels, alleviating hyperinsulinemia (Nagao et al. 2003) protecting against cancer. A number of human cancer cell lines express the PPAR-gamma transcription factor, and agonists for PPAR-gamma can promote apoptosis in these cell lines and impede their clonal expansion both in vitro and in vivo. CLA can activate PPAR-gamma in rat adipocytes, possibly explaining CLA's antidiabetic effects in Zucker fatty rats. A portion of CLA's broad-spectrum anticarcinogenic activity is probably mediated by PPARgamma activation in susceptible tumor (McCarty 2000). However, CLA's anticarcinogenic effects could not be confirmed in one epidemiologic study in humans (Voorips et al. 2002). (Note: The term PPAR-gamma is an acronym for peroxisome proliferator-activatedreceptor-gamma. A PPAR-gamma agonist such as Avandia®, Actos®, or CLA activates the PPAR-gamma receptor. This class of drug is being investigated as a potential adjuvant therapy against certain types of cancer.)


Caffeine occurs naturally in green tea and has been shown to potentiate the anticancer effects of tea polyphenols. Caffeine is a model radio-sensitizing agent that is thought to work by abolishing the radiation-induced G2-phase checkpoint in the cell cycle. Caffeine can induce apoptosis of a human lung carcinoma cell line by itself and it can act synergistically with radiation to induce tumor cell kill and cell growth arrest. The cancer cell killing effect of caffeine is dependent on the dose (Qi et al. 2002).

Caffeine enhances the tumor cell killing effects of anticancer drugs and radiation. A preliminary report on radiochemotherapy combined with caffeine for high-grade soft tissue sarcomas in 17 patients, (treated with cisplatin, caffeine, and doxorubicin after radiation therapy) determined complete response in six patients, partial response in six and no change in five patients. The effectiveness rate of caffeine-potentiated radiochemotherapy was therefore 17%, and contributed to a satisfactory local response and the success of function-saving surgery for high-grade soft tissue sarcomas (Tsuchiya et al. 2000).

In a randomized, double blind placebo-controlled crossover study, the effects of caffeine as an adjuvant to morphine in advanced cancer patients was found to benefit the cognitive performance and reduce pain intensity (Mercadante et al. 2001).

Cancer patients should note that one study demonstrated that caffeine reduced the cytotoxic effect of paclitaxel on human lung adenocarcinoma cell lines (Kitamoto et al. 2003).

To ascertain the inhibitory effects of caffeine, mice at high risk of developing malignant and nonmalignant tumors (SKH-1), received oral caffeine as their sole source of drinking fluid for 18-23 weeks. Results revealed that caffeine inhibited the formation and decreased the size of both nonmalignant tumors and malignant tumors (Lou et al. 1999).

In cancer cells, p53 gene mutations are the most common alterations observed (50-60%) and are a factor in both carcinomas and sarcomas. Caffeine has been shown to potentiate the destruction of p53-defective cells by inhibiting p53's growth signal. The effects of this are to inhibit and override the DNA damage-checkpoint and thus kill dividing cells. Caffeine uncouples cell-cycle progression by interfering with the replication and repair of DNA(Sakurai et al. 1999; Ribeiro et al. 1999; Jiang et al. 2000; Valenzuela et al. 2000).

Caffeine inhibits the development of Ehrlich ascites carcinoma in female mice (Mukhopadhyay 2001). Topical application of caffeine inhibits the occurrence of cancer and increases tumor cell death in radiation-induced skin tumors in mice (Lu et al. 2002). Caffeine inhibits solid tumor development and lung experimental metastasis induced by melanoma cells (Gude et al. 2001).

Consumption of coffee, tea, and caffeine was not associated with breast cancer incidence in a study of 59,036 Swedish women (aged 40-76 years) (Michels et al. 2002).


Lignans are found in high concentrations in flaxseed and sesame. Once consumed, lignans are converted in the intestines into enterolactone.Enterolactone has been shown to inhibit angiogenesis and promote cancer cell apoptosis (Bergman 2007; Chen 2007).

Enterolactone inhibits the aromatase enzyme, which converts testosterone into estrogen (Brooks 2005; Wang 1994).

Researchers conducted an analysis of breast cancer risk and dietary lignan intake in 3158 women. They determined that premenopausal women with the highest lignan intake had a 44% reduced risk of developing breast cancer (McCann 2004).

Thirty-two women awaiting surgery for breast cancer were randomized to receive either a muffin containing 25 grams of flaxseeds or no flaxseed (control group). Post-operative analysis of the cancerous tissue revealed that markers of tumor growth were reduced by 30-71% in the flaxseed group versus no reduction in the control group (Thompson 2005). Scientists concluded that "dietary flaxseed has the potential to reduce tumor growth in patients with breast cancer."

In order to examine the relationship between dietary lignan intake and breast cancer, researchers assessed the diets of 1122 women in the 1-2 years before breast cancer diagnosis. They noted that postmenopausal women with the highest dietary intake of lignans had a 71% decreased risk of death from breast cancer (McCann 2010).


One of the most important supplements for a breast cancer patient is the hormone melatonin. Melatonin inhibits human breast cancer cell growth (Cos et al. 2000) and reduces tumor spread and invasiveness in vitro (Cos et al.1998). Indeed, it has been suggested that melatonin acts as a naturally occurring anti-estrogen on tumor cells, as it down-regulates hormones responsible for the growth of hormone-dependent mammary tumors (Torres-Farfan 2003).

A high percentage of women with estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer have low plasma melatonin levels (Brzezinski et al. 1997). There have been some studies demonstrating changes in melatonin levels in breast cancer patients; specifically, women with breast cancer were found to have lower melatonin levels than women without breast cancer (Oosthuizen et al. 1989). Normally, women undergo a seasonal variation in the production of certain hormones, such as melatonin. However, it was found that women with breast cancer did not have a seasonal variation in melatonin levels, as did the healthy women (Holdaway et al. 1997).

Low levels of melatonin have been associated with breast cancer occurrence and development. Women who work predominantly at night and are exposed to light, which inhibits melatonin production and alters the circadian rhythm, have an increased risk of breast cancer development (Schernhammer et al. 2003). In contrast, higher melatonin levels have been found in blind and visually impaired people, along with correspondingly lower incidences of cancer compared to those with normal vision, thus suggesting a role for melatonin in the reduction of cancer incidence (Feychting et al. 1998).

Light at night, regardless of duration or intensity, inhibits melatonin secretion and phase-shifts the circadian clock, possibly altering the cell growth rate that is regulated by the circadian rhythm (Travlos et al. 2001). Disruption of circadian rhythm is commonly observed among breast cancer patients (Mormont et al. 1997; Roenneberg et al. 2002) and contributes to cancer development and tumor progression. The circadian rhythm alone is a statistically significant predictor of survival time for breast cancer patients (Sephton et al. 2000).

Melatonin differs from the classic anti-estrogens such as tamoxifen in that it does not seem to bind to the estrogen receptor or interfere with the binding of estradiol to its receptor (Sanchez-Barcelo 2003). Melatonin does not cause side effects, such as those) caused by the conventional anti-estrogen drug tamoxifen. Furthermore, when melatonin and tamoxifen are combined, synergistic benefits occur. Moreover, melatonin can increase the therapeutic efficacy of tamoxifen (Lissoni et al.1995) and biological therapies such as IL-2 (Lissoni et al. 1994).

How melatonin interferes with estrogen signaling is unknown, though recent studies suggest that it acts through a cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP)-independent signaling pathway (Torres-Farfan 2003). It has been proposed that melatonin suppresses the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGF-R) (Blask et al. 2002) and exerts its growth inhibitory effects by inducing differentiation ("normalizing" cancer cells)(Cos et al. 1996). Melatonin directly inhibits breast cancer cell proliferation (Ram et al. 2000) and boosts the production of immune components, including natural killer cells (NK cells) that have an ability to kill metastasized cancer cells.

In tumorigenesis studies, melatonin reduced the incidence and growth rate of breast tumors and slowed breast cancer development (Subramanian et al. 1991). Furthermore, prolonged oral melatonin administration significantly reduced the development of existing mammary tumors in animals (Rao et al. 2000).

In vitro experiments carried out with the ER-positive human breast cancer cells (MCF-7 cells), demonstrated that melatonin, at a physiological concentration (1 nM) and in the presence of serum or estradiol (a) inhibits, in a reversible way, cell proliferation, (b) increases the expression of p53 and p21WAF1 proteins and modulates the length of the cell cycle, and (c) reduces the metastatic capacity of these cells and counteracts the stimulatory effect of estradiol on cell invasiveness. Further, this effect is mediated, at least in part, by a melatonin-induced increase in the expression of the cell surface adhesion proteins E-cadherin and beta (1)-integrin (Sanchez-Barcelo et al. 2003).

Melatonin can be safely taken for an indefinite period of time. The suggested dose of melatonin for breast cancer patients is 3-50 mg at bedtime. Initially, if melatonin is taken in large doses vivid dreams and morning drowsiness may occur. To avoid these minor side effects melatonin may be taken in low doses nightly and the dose slowly increased over a period of several weeks.


Pomegranate, which is rich in antioxidants, has gained widespread popularity as a functional food (ie, has health benefits). The health benefits of the fruit, juice(s), and extract(s) have been studied in realtion to a variety of chornic diseases, including cancer (Syed 2012; Johanningsmeier 2011).

Researchers discovered that consumption of whole pomegranate seed oil and juice concentrate (Kim 2002) resulted in dramatic growth inhibition of estrogen-dependent breast cancer cells. The same study showed inhibition of tumor formation in rodent cells exposed to known breast carcinogens. Using different methods, another research group found a 42% reduction in tumor formation with whole pomegranate juice polyphenols and an 87% reduction with pomegranate seed oil (Mehta 2004).

Pomegranate seed oil is a potent inhibitor of aromatase, the enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen (Adams 2010). This enzymatic blockade contributes to pomegranate seed oil's ability to inhibit growth of estrogen-dependent breast cancer cells. Pomegranate extract has also been shown to enhance the effects of the estrogen blocking drug tamoxifen, with the authors of a study stating that "…pomegranate combined with tamoxifen may represent a novel and a powerful approach to enhance and sensitize tamoxifen action" (Banerjee 2011). Pomegranate also increases apoptosis, even in cancer cells that lack estrogen receptors (Kim 2002).

Cancer cells need to grow new blood vessels to support their rapid growth and tissue invasion (angiogenesis). They typically do this by ramping up production of a variety of growth factors, including VEGF and inflammatory interleukins. Pomegranate seed oil powerfully inhibits production of VEGF while upregulating production of migratory inhibitory factor (MIF) in breast cancer cells. In a laboratory model of vessel growth, these modulations translated into a significant decrease in new blood vessel formation (Toi 2003). Pomegranate seed oil's capacity to block breast cancer development was also demonstrated in an organ culture model of mouse breast cancer (Mehta 2004).Treating the glands with pomegranate seed oil prior to exposure to a powerful carcinogen resulted in a 87% reduction in the number of cancerous lesions compared with controls.

Pomegranate seed oil contains a number of unique chemical constituents with potent biological effects. Punicic acid, an omega-5 polyunsaturated fatty acid that inhibits both estrogen-dependent and estrogen-independent breast cancer cell proliferation in lab cultures (Grossmann 2010), also induced apoptosis at rates up to 91% higher than those in untreated cell cultures—effects which appear to be related to fundamental regulation of cancer cell signaling pathways (Grossmann 2010).


PSK, which is a specially prepared polysaccharide extract from the mushroom Coriolus versicolor, has been studied extensively in Japan where it is used as a non-specific biological response modifier to enhance the immune system in cancer patients (Koda 2003; Noguchi 1995; Yokoe 1997). PSK suppresses tumor cell invasiveness by down-regulating several invasion-related factors (Zhang 2000). PSK has been shown to enhance NK cell activity in multiple studies (Ohwada 2006; Fisher 2002; Garcia-Lora 2001; Pedrinaci 1999).

In a study investigating the use of PSK in women with stage 2 breast cancer, post-operative participants received Tamoxifen with PSK (3 g daily) or Tamoxifen alone. The 5-year survival was 89.9% in the PSK group compared to 86.9% in the group receiving Tamoxifen only (Morimoto 1996).


Pterostilbene, a polyphenol found in blueberries, grapes, and in the bark of the Indian Kino Tree, is closely related to resveratrol (but with unique attributes). Pterostilbene's mechanisms of action include blocking enzymes that activate carcinogens (Mikstacka 2006, 2007), inducing apoptosis (Tolomeo 2005) and cell cycle arrest (Wang 2012), and enhancing nitric oxide-induced cell death (Ferrer 2007).

Researchers observed that pterostilbene markedly inhibited the growth of breast cancer cells in the laboratory by inducing apoptosis and cell cycle arrest (Wang 2012).


Quercetin is a flavonoid found in a broad range of foods, from grape skins and red onions to green tea and tomatoes. Quercetin's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties protect cellular DNA from cancer-inducing mutations (Aherne 1999). Quercetin traps developing cancer cells in the early phases of their replicative cycle, effectively preventing further malignant development and promoting cancer cell death (Yang 2006). Furthermore, quercetin favorably modulates chemical signaling pathways that are abnormal in cancer cells (Morrow 2001; Bach 2010).

In breast cancer cells, quercetin induces apoptosis and cell cycle arrest (Choi 2001; Chou 2010). Querctin inhibited the growth of tumors (Zhong 2003) and prolonged survival of mice with breast cancer (Du 2010).


Se-methylselenocysteine (SeMSC), a naturally occurring organic selenium compound found to be an effective chemopreventive agent, is a new and better form of selenium. SeMSC is a selenoamino acid that is synthesized by plants such as garlic and broccoli. Methylselenocysteine (MSC) has been shown to be effective against mammary cell growth both in vivo and in vitro (Sinha et al. 1999) and has significant anticancer activity against mammary tumor development (Sinha et al. 1997). Moreover, Se-methylselenocysteine was one of the most effective selenium chemoprevention compounds and induced apoptosis in human leukemia cells (HL-60) in vitro (Jung et al. 2001a). Exposure to MSC blocks expansion of cancer colonies and premalignant lesions at an early stage by simultaneously modulating pathways responsible for inhibiting cell proliferation and enhancing apoptosis (Ip 2001).

Se-methylselenocysteine has been shown to:

  • Produce a 33% better reduction of cancerous lesions than selenite.
  • Produce a 50% decrease in tumor development.
  • Induce cell death (apoptosis) in cancer cells.
  • Inhibit cancer-cell growth (proliferation).
  • Reduce density and development of tumor blood vessels.
  • Down-regulate VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor).

(Ip et al. 1992; Sinha et al. 1997; Sinha et al. 1999; Ip et al. 2001; Dong et al. 2001)

Unlike MSC, which is incorporated into protein in place of methionine, SeMSC is not incorporated into any protein, thereby offering a completely bioavailable compound. In animal studies, SeMSC has been shown to be 10 times less toxic than any other known form of selenium. Breast cancer patients may consider taking 400 mcg of SeSMC daily.


Sulforaphane, which is an isothiocyanate, is most highly concentrated in broccoli as well as in other cruciferous vegetables (eg, brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower).

Sulforaphane detoxifies potential carcinogens, promotes apoptosis, blocks the cell cycle that is required for cancer cell replication, prevents tumor invasion into healthy tissue, enhances natural killer cell activity, and combats metastasis (Zhang 2007; Nian 2009; Traka 2008; Thejass 2006). Research has also demonstrated that sulforaphane is among the plant chemicals most potently capable of blocking the cancer-producing effects of ultraviolet radiation (Dinkova-Kostova 2008).

It has been observed that sulforaphane activated apoptosis (Pledgie-Tracy 2007) and inhibited the proliferation of breast cancer cells in culture (Ramirez 2009; Jo 2007). The binding of estrogen hormones to estrogen receptor alphapromotes breast cell proliferation, which can promote the progression of breast cancer. Researchers have also noted that sulforaphane down-regulates the expression of estrogen receptor alpha in breast cancer cells (Ramirez 2009).

In another clinical trial, mice injected with breast cancer cells developed 60% less tumor mass when treated with sulforaphane compared to untreated mice (Jackson 2004).


Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is synthesized in humans from tyrosine through a cascade of eight aromatic precursors. These precursors require eight vitamins, which are vitamin C, B2, B3 (niacin) B6, B12, folic acid, pantothenic acid, and tetrahydrobiopterin as their coenzymes.

Since the 1960s, studies have shown that cancer patients often have decreased blood levels of coenzyme Q10 (Lockwood et al. 1995; Folkers 1996; Ren et al. 1997). In particular, breast cancer patients (with infiltrative ductal carcinoma) who underwent radical mastectomy were found to have significantly decreased tumor concentrations of CoQ10 compared to levels in normal surrounding tissues. Increased levels of reactive oxygen species may be involved in the consumption of CoQ10 (Portakal et al. 2000). These findings sparked interest in the compound as a potential anticancer agent (NCCAM 2002). Cellular and animal studies have found evidence that CoQ10 stimulates the immune system and can increase resistance to illness (Bliznakov et al. 1970; Hogenauer et al. 1981; NCCAM 2002).

CoQ10 may induce protective effect on breast tissue and has demonstrated promise in treating breast cancer. Although there are only a few studies, the safe nature of CoQ10 coupled with this promising research of its bioenergetic activity suggests that breast cancer patients should take 100 mg up to 3 times a day. It is important to take CoQ10 with some kind of oil, such as fish or flax, because dry powder CoQ10 is not readily absorbed.

In a clinical study, 32 patients were treated with CoQ10 (90 mg) in addition to other antioxidants and fatty acids; six of these patients showed partial tumor regression. In one of these cases the dose of CoQ10 was increased to 390 mg and within one month the tumor was no longer palpable, within two months the mammography confirmed the absence of tumor. In another case, the patient took 300 mg of CoQ10 for residual tumor (post non-radical surgery) and within 3 months there was non residual tumor tissue (Lockwood et al. 1994). This overt complete regression of breast tumors in the latter two cases coupled with further reports of disappearance of breast cancer metastases (liver and elsewhere) in several other case (Lockwood et al. 1995) demonstrates the potential of CoQ10 in the adjuvant therapy of breast cancer.

There are promising results for the use of CoQ10 in protecting against heart damage related to chemotherapy. Many chemotherapy drugs can cause damage to the heart (UTH 1998; ACS 2000; NCCAM 2002; Dog et al. 2001), and initial animal studies found that CoQ10 could reduce the adverse cardiac effects of these drugs (Combs et al. 1977; Choe et al. 1979; Lubawy et al. 1980; Usui et al. 1982; Shinozawa et al. 1993; Folkers 1996).

Caution: Some studies indicate that CoQ10 should not be taken at the same time as chemotherapy. If this were true, it would be disappointing, because CoQ10 is so effective in protecting against adriamycin-induced cardiomyopathy. Adriamycin is a chemotherapy drug sometimes used as part of a chemotherapy cocktail. Until more research is known, it is not possible to make a definitive recommendation concerning taking CoQ10 during chemotherapy. For more information please see the Cancer Chemotherapy protocol.


Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) of the omega-6 (n-6) class, found in corn oil and safflower oil, may be involved in the development of breast cancer, whereas long chain (LC) omega-3 (n-3) PUFAs, found in fish oil can inhibit breast cancer (Bagga et al. 2002).

A case control study examining levels of fatty acids in breast adipose tissue of breast cancer patients has shown that total omega-6 PUFAs may be contributing to the high risk of breast cancer in the United States and that omega-3 PUFAs, derived from fish oil, may have a protective effect (Bagga et al. 2002).

A higher omega-3:omega-6 ratio (n-3:n-6 ratio) may reduce the risk of breast cancer, especially in premenopausal women (Goodstine et al. 2003). In a prospective study of 35,298 Singapore Chinese women aged 45-74 years, it was determined that high levels of dietary omega-3 fatty acids from marine sources (fish/shellfish) were significantly associated with reduced risk of breast cancer. Furthermore, women who consumed low levels of marine omega-3 fatty acids had a statistically significant increased risk of breast cancer (Gago-Dominguez et al. 2003).

Omega-3 fatty acids, primarily eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaneoic acid (DHA) found naturally in oily fish and fish oil, have been consistently shown to retard the growth of breast cancer in vitro and in animal experiments, inhibit tumor development and metastasis. Fish oils have antiproliferative effects at high doses, which means they can inhibit tumor cell growth, through a free radical-mediated mechanism, while at more moderate doses omega-3 fatty acids inhibit Ras protein activity, angiogenesis, and inflammation. The production of pro-inflammatory cytokines can be modified by dietary omega-3 PUFAs (Mancuso et al. 1997).

High consumption of fatty fish is weakly associated with reduced breast cancer risk (Goodstine et al. 2003). Flaxseed, the richest source of alpha-linoleic acid inhibited the established growth and metastasis of human breast cancer implanted in mice. This effect was found to be due to its down-regulation of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-1) and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGF-R) expression (Chen et al. 2002). The recommended dosage is to consume a fish-oil concentrate supplement that provides 3200 mg of EPA and 2400 mg of DHA a day taken in divided doses.

Vitamins A, D, and E

Vitamin A and vitamin D3 inhibit breast cancer cell division and can induce cancer cells to differentiate into mature, noncancerous cells. Vitamin D3 works synergistically with tamoxifen (and melatonin) to inhibit breast cancer cell proliferation. The vitamin D3 receptor as a target for breast cancer prevention was examined. Pre-clinical studies demonstrated that vitamin D compounds could reduce breast cancer development in animals. Furthermore, human studies indicate that both vitamin D status and genetic variations in the vitamin D3 receptor (VDR) may affect breast cancer risk. Findings from cellular, molecular and population studies suggest that the VDR is a nutritionally modulated growth-regulatory gene that may represent a molecular target for chemoprevention of breast cancer (Welsh et al. 2003).

Daily doses of vitamin A, 350,000 to 500,000 IU were given to 100 patients with metastatic breast carcinoma treated by chemotherapy. A significant increase in the complete response was observed; however, response rates, duration of response and projected survival were only significantly increased in postmenopausal women with breast cancer (Israel et al. 1985).

Breast cancer patients may take between 4000 to 6000 IU, of vitamin D3 every day. Water-soluble vitamin A can be taken in doses of 100,000-300,000 IU every day. Monthly blood tests are needed to make sure toxicity does not occur in response to these high daily doses of vitamin A and vitamin D3. After 4-6 months, the doses of vitamin D3 and vitamin A can be reduced.

Vitamin E is the term used to describe eight naturally occurring essential fat-soluble nutrients: alpha-, beta-, delta-, and gamma-tocopherols plus a class of compounds related to vitamin E called alpha-, beta-, delta-, and gamma-tocotrienols. Vitamin E from dietary sources may provide women with modest protection from breast cancer.

Vitamin E succinate, a derivative of fat-soluble vitamin E, has been shown to inhibit tumor cell growth in vitro and in vivo (Turley et al. 1997; Cameron et al. 2003). In estrogen receptor-negative human breast cancer cell lines vitamin E succinate inhibited growth and induced cell death. Since vitamin E is considered the main chain breaking lipophilic antioxidant in plasma and tissue, its role as a potential chemopreventative agent and its use in the adjuvant treatment of aggressive human breast cancers appears reasonable. Those with estrogen-receptor-negative breast cancers should consider taking 800-1200 IU of vitamin E succinate a day. Vitamin E supplementation, 800 IU daily for 4 weeks, was shown to significantly reduce hot flashes in breast cancer survivors (Barton et al. 1998).

Caution: Refer to the symptoms of vitamin A toxicity in Appendix A: Avoiding Vitamin A Toxicity. When taking doses of vitamin D3 in excess of 1400 IU a day, regular blood chemistry tests should be taken to monitor kidney function and serum calcium metabolism. Vitamin E has potential blood thinning properties, individuals taking anticoagulant drugs should inform their treating physician if supplementing with vitamin E and have their clotting factors monitored regularly.


When vitamin E was isolated from plant oils, the term tocopherols was used to name the initial four compounds that shared similar structures. Their structures have two primary parts--a complex ring and a phytyl (long-saturated) side chain--and have been designated as alpha, beta, delta, and gamma tocopherol. Tocopherols (vitamin E) are important lipid-soluble antioxidants that can protect the body against free radical damage.

However, there are four additional compounds related to tocopherols--called tocotrienols?that are less widely distributed in nature. The tocotrienol structure, three double bonds in an isoprenoid (unsaturated) side chain, differs from that of tocopherols. While tocopherols are found in corn, olive oil, and soybeans, tocotrienols are concentrated in palm, rice bran, and barley oils.

Tocotrienols elicit powerful anticancer properties, and studies have confirmed tocotrienol activity is much stronger than that of tocopherols (Schwenke et al. 2002).

Tocotrienols provide more efficient penetration into tissues such as the brain and liver. Because of the double bonds in the isoprenoid side chain, tocotrienols move freely and more efficiently within cell membranes than tocopherols, giving tocotrienols greater ability to counteract free radicals. This greater mobility also allows tocotrienols to recycle more quickly than alpha-tocopherol. Tocotrienols are better distributed in fatty cell membranes and demonstrate greater antioxidant and free-radical-scavenging effects than that of vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) (Serbinova et al. 1991; Theriault et al. 1999).

Tocotrienol's antioxidant function is associated with lowering DNA damage, tumor formation, and of cell damage. Animals exposed to carcinogens that were fed corn oil- or soybean oil-based diets had significantly more tumors than those fed a tocotrienol-rich palm oil diet. Tocotrienol-rich palm oil did not promote chemically induced breast cancer (Sundram et al. 1989).

Tocotrienols possess the ability to stimulate the selective killing of cancer cells through programmed cell death (apoptosis) and to reduce cancer cell proliferation while leaving normal cells unaffected (Kline et al. 2001). Tocotrienols are thought to suppress cancer through the isoprenoid side chain.

Isoprenoids are plant compounds that have been shown to suppress the initiation, growth, and progression of many types of cancer in experimental studies (Block et al. 1992). They are common in fruits and vegetables, which may explain why diets rich in these foods have consistently been shown to reduce the incidence of cancer.

Isoprenoids induce cell death (apoptosis) and arrest cell growth in human breast adenocarcinoma cells (MCF-7) (Mo et al.1999). Isoprenoids may suppress the mevalonate pathway, through which mutated Ras proteins transform healthy cells into cancer cells. Mutated ras is the most common cellular defect found in human cancers. The mevalonate pathway escapes regulatory control in tumor tissue but remains highly sensitive to regulation by tocotrienols. Tocotrienols are at least five times more powerful than farnesol, the body's regulator of the mevalonate pathway. Interestingly, human breast cancer cells have been shown to respond very well to treatment with tocotrienols (Parker et al. 1993).

Tocotrienols cause growth inhibition of breast cancer cells in culture independent of estrogen sensitivity and have great potential in the prevention and treatment of breast cancer (Nesaretnam et al. 1998).

In vitro studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of tocotrienols as inhibitors of both estrogen-receptor-positive (estrogen-responsive) and estrogen-receptor-negative (nonestrogen-responsive) cell proliferation. The effect of palm tocotrienols on three human breast cancer cells lines, estrogen-responsive and estrogen-nonresponsive (MCF7, MDA-MB-231, and ZR-75-1), found that tocotrienols inhibited cell growth strongly in both the presence and absence of estradiol. The gamma- and delta-fractions of tocotrienols were most effective at inhibiting cell growth, while alpha-tocopherol was ineffective. Tocotrienols were found to enhance the effect of tamoxifen (Nesaretnam et al. 2000).

Delta-tocotrienol was shown to be the most potent inducer of apoptosis (programmed cell death) in both estrogen-responsive and estrogen-nonresponsive human breast cancer cells, followed by gamma- and alpha-tocotrienol (beta-tocotrienol was not tested). Interestingly, delta-tocotrienol is more plentiful in palm tocotrienols than in tocotrienols derived from rice. Of the natural tocopherols, only delta-tocopherol showed any apoptosis-inducing effect, although it was less than one tenth of the effect of palm and rice delta-tocotrienol (Yu et al. 1999).

Tocotrienols effectively arrested the cell cycle and triggered cell death of mammary cancer cells (from mice) whereas tocopherols (alpha, gamma, and delta) did not cause inhibition of tumor cell growth. Highly malignant cells were most sensitive to the antiproliferative effects of tocotrienols, whereas less aggressive precancerous cells were the least sensitive (McIntyre et al. 2000).

Tocotrienols were found to be far more effective than alpha-tocopherol in inhibiting breast cancer cell growth. Tocotrienols in combination with tamoxifen proved more effective than either compound alone in both estrogen-responsive and nonresponsive breast cancer cells. The synergism between tamoxifen and tocotrienols may reduce the risk of adverse side effect from tamoxifen (Guthrie et al. 1997).

Tocotrienols are considered important lipid-soluble antioxidants, with potent anticancer and anti-inflammatory activity. Therefore, a daily dose of 240 mg of tocotrienols should be considered as an adjuvant breast cancer therapy.

At www.lifeextension.com

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Sep 13, 2017 09:31AM dtad wrote:

Thanks for posting. The theory that there is good and bad estrogen is the exact reason I take DIM in leu of an aromatase inhibitor. Good luck to all

Dx 3/20/2015, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 4/10/2015, ILC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/21/2015 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Sep 13, 2017 09:53AM marijen wrote:

Thanks dtad, it is long but a lot of info. I posted late, still have to read it all. PCP now, gotta go

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Sep 13, 2017 11:38AM Chloesmom wrote:

Please tell us about DIM. Did a search and couldnt find anything

No recon - Loving Flat & Free! Oncotype 25 (Note: ILC hides in the shadows- US, Mammo, MRI neg on "good" side but not really good after all!) Dx 11/21/2014, ILC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/24/2014 Arimidex (anastrozole), Aromasin (exemestane), Femara (letrozole) Surgery 12/11/2014 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Chemotherapy 2/2/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Sep 13, 2017 02:42PM - edited Oct 24, 2017 08:12AM by yoga_girl

Indole-3-carbinol (I-3-C) or DIM (diindolylmethane)

Cruciferous vegetables may help reduce estrogen-related cancers.




Indole-3-carbinol (I-3-C) is produced by the breakdown of the glucosinolateglucobrassicin, which can be found at relatively high levels in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, collard greens and kale.It is also available in dietary supplements.[2] Indole-3-carbinol is the subject of on-going biomedical research into its possible anticarcinogenic,[3]antioxidant, and anti-atherogenic effects.[4] Research on indole-3-carbinol has been conducted primarily using laboratory animals and cultured cells.[5] Limited and inconclusive human studies have been reported.A recent review of the biomedical research literature found that "evidence of an inverse association between cruciferous vegetable intake and breast or prostate cancer in humans is limited and inconsistent" and "larger randomized controlled trials are needed" to determine if supplemental indole-3-carbinol has health benefits.[6]

Indole-3-carbinol and cancer

Investigation of mechanisms by which consumption of indole-3-carbinol might influence cancer incidence focuses on its ability to alter estrogenmetabolism and other cellular effects. Controlled studies have been performed on such animals as rats, mice, and rainbow trout, introducing various controlled levels of carcinogens, and levels of Indole-3-carbinol into their daily diet. Results showed dose-related decreases in tumor susceptibility due to Indole-3-carbinol (inferred by decreases in aflatoxin-DNA binding). The first direct evidence of pure anti-initiating activity by a natural anticarcinogen (indole-3-carbinol) found in human diet was claimed by Dashwood, et al., in 1989.[7]

Indole-3-carbinol induces a G1 growth arrest of human reproductive cancer cells.[8] This is potentially relevant to the prevention and treatment of cancer, as the G1 phase of cell growth occurs early in the cell life cycle, and, for most cells, is the major period of cell cycle during its lifespan. The G1 phase is marked by synthesis of various enzymes that are required in the next ("S") phase, including those needed for DNA replication.

Overuse of indole-3-carbinol supplements in the hope of preventing cancer may be unwise, as the hormone balance should be tested (via simple blood test) before regular consumption. Such caution is advised, due to its effect on estrogen levels (estrogen has a significant impact on brain function).[9][10]

It promotes liver cancer in trout when it is combined with aflatoxin B1 and demotes metastasis.[5]

1.Jump up ^Data at chemblink.com

2.Jump up ^ Sarubin-Fragakis, Allison; Thomson, Cynthia; Association, American Dietetic (2007-01-01). The Health Professional's Guide to Popular Dietary Supplements. American Dietetic Associati. p. 312. ISBN 9780880913638.

3.Jump up ^ Park, N. I.; Kim, J. K.; Park, W. T.; Cho, J. W.; Lim, Y. P.; Park, S. U. (2010). "An efficient protocol for genetic transformation of watercress (Nasturtium officinale) using Agrobacterium rhizogenes". Molecular Biology Reports. 38 (8): 4947–4953. PMID 21161399. doi:10.1007/s11033-010-0638-5.

4.Jump up ^ Chemical Entities of Biological Interest (ChEBI), The European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI). "indole-3-methanol (CHEBI:24814)". www.ebi.ac.uk. Retrieved 2016-03-25.

5.^ Jump up to: ab Tilton, S. C.; Hendricks, J. D.; Orner, G. A.; Pereira, C. B.; Bailey, G. S.; Williams, D. E. (2007). "Gene expression analysis during tumor enhancement by the dietary phytochemical, 3,3'-diindolylmethane, in rainbow trout". Carcinogenesis. 28 (7): 1589–1598. PMID 17272308. doi:10.1093/carcin/bgm017.

6.Jump up ^ Higdon, J; Delage, B; Williams, D; Dashwood, R (2007). "Cruciferous vegetables and human cancer risk: Epidemiologic evidence and mechanistic basis". Pharmacological Research. 55 (3): 224–36. PMC 2737735 . PMID 17317210. doi:10.1016/j.phrs.2007.01.009.

7.Jump up ^ Dashwood, Rod H.; Arbogast, D.N.; Fong, A.T.; Pereira, C.; Hendricks, J.D.; Bailey, G.S. (1989). "Quantitative inter-relationships between aflatoxin B1 carcinogen dose, indole-3-carbinol anti-carcinogen dose, target organ DNA adduction and final tumor response". Carcinogenesis. 10 (1): 175–81. PMID 2491968. doi:10.1093/carcin/10.1.175.

8.Jump up ^ Hsu, J; Dev, A; Wing, A; Brew, C; Bjeldanes, L; Firestone, G (2006). "Indole-3-carbinol mediated cell cycle arrest of LNCaP human prostate cancer cells requires the induced production of activated p53 tumor suppressor protein". Biochemical Pharmacology. 72 (12): 1714–23. PMID 16970927. doi:10.1016/j.bcp.2006.08.012.

9.Jump up ^ Culmsee, Carsten; Vedder, Helmut; Ravati, Alexander; Junker, Vera; Otto, D??rte; Ahlemeyer, Barbara; Krieg, J??Rgen-Christian; Krieglstein, Josef (1999). "Neuroprotection by Estrogens in a Mouse Model of Focal Cerebral Ischemia and in Cultured Neurons: Evidence for a Receptor-Independent Antioxidative Mechanism". Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism: 1263–1269. doi:10.1097/00004647-199911000-00011.

10. Jump up ^"Estrogen's Influence on the Brain". Society for Neuroscience.

11. Jump up ^ Auborn, KJ; Qi, M; Yan, XJ; Teichberg, S; Chen, D; Madaio, MP; Chiorazzi, N (2003). "Lifespan is prolonged in autoimmune-prone (NZB/NZW) F1 mice fed a diet supplemented with indole-3-carbinol". The Journal of Nutrition. 133 (11): 3610–3. PMID 14608082.

12. Jump up ^ Yan, Xiao-jie; Qi, Mei; Telusma, Gloria; Yancopoulos, Sophia; Madaio, Michael; Satoh, Minoru; Reeves, Westley H.; Teichberg, Saul; et al. (2009). "Indole-3-carbinol improves survival in lupus-prone mice by inducing tandem B- and T-cell differentiation blockades". Clinical Immunology. 131 (3): 481–94. PMID 19278904. doi:10.1016/j.clim.2009.01.013.

13. Jump up ^ Rosen, Clark A.; Bryson, Paul C. (2004). "Indole-3-Carbinol for recurrent respiratory papillomatosis: Long-term results". Journal of Voice. 18 (2): 248–53. PMID 15193659. doi:10.1016/j.jvoice.2003.05.005.

14. Jump up ^ Rosen, Clark A.; Woodson, Gayle E.; Thompson, Jerome W.; Hengesteg, Arne P.; Bradlow, H.Leon (1998). "Preliminary results of the use of indole-3-carbinol for recurrent respiratory papillomatosis". Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. 118 (6): 810–5. PMID 9627242. doi:10.1016/S0194-5998(98)70274-8.

Castañon A, Tristram A, Mesher D, et al. Effect of diindolylmethane supplementation on low-grade cervical cytological abnormalities: double-blind, randomised, controlled trial. Br J Cancer. 2012 Jan 3;106(1):45-52. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2011.496.

Dalessandri KM, Firestone GL, Fitch MD, Bradlow HL, Bjeldanes LF. Pilot study: effect of 3,3'-diindolylmethane supplements on urinary hormone metabolites in postmenopausal women with a history of early-stage breast cancer. Nutr Cancer. 2004;50(2):161-7.

Nikitina D, Llacuachaqui M, Sepkovic D, et al. The effect of oral 3,3'-diindolylmethane supplementation on the 2:16α-OHE ratio in BRCA1 mutation carriers. Fam Cancer. 2015 Jun;14(2):281-6. doi: 10.1007/s10689-015-9783-2.

Smith S, Sepkovic D, Bradlow HL, Auborn KJ. 3,3'-Diindolylmethane and genistein decrease the adverse effects of estrogen in LNCaP and PC-3 prostate cancer cells. J Nutr. 2008 Dec;138(12):2379-85.

Staub RE, Onisko B, Bjeldanes LF. Fate of 3,3'-diindolylmethane in cultured MCF-7 human breast cancer cells. Chem Res Toxicol. 2006 Mar;19(3):436-42.

Dx 4/7/2013, IDC, 2cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 9/1/2013 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel Radiation Therapy 10/27/2013 3DCRT: Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 6/14/2014 Femara (letrozole)
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Sep 16, 2017 03:02PM marijen wrote:

Something different

Are cold showers good for your immune system?

on Friday, 24 February 2017. Posted in News, Opas Blog, Health

Are cold showers good for your immune system?

Cold showers, yes! You may be wondering what's so special about a cold shower? Oh, wait. Before I get into the benefits of a cold shower, I should explain how I came about this subject.

Well, it all started a couple of years ago, in my early 20's to be exact. We shared a household in Austria with my mum-in-law and although water is abundant, "warm" water was scarce.

We have water boilers in Austria to heat up the water, kind of like here in the U.S. but the difference is, we have a limit of how much warm or hot water the boilers supply. For example, we had a 100 Liter water boiler at the time. 100 Liters is a lot of water, when you think about it. You don't need 100 Liters of warm water to take a shower but if there is a larger household 3 people + including dishwashing and floor mopping, 100 L is not sufficient at all. In fact, there were many times when I prepared for a shower at night and was left with cold water. My mum-in-law loved using hot water and always forgot to reduce her use when we came back to Austria to visit.

That led me to get used to taking cold showers. (Insert Smiley Face here) I was not that happy to greet cold water at night especially in the winter. With -1 C degrees outside, its the last thing you think of bathing with cold water. Curious, I wanted to know what temperature our water was. You won't believe it, our water has an average of 8 degrees C. Time went by and I taking cold showers grew on me. I have taken so many cold showers, that it is no longer cold for me. Yes of course its cold, but it does not bother me or make me shiver.

1. Cold showers create beautiful skin

Cold water closes your pores, making your skin and hair more resistant to external influences such as heat and friction.

2. Cold showers strengthen the immune system

A Netherland study of 3000 willingly volunteers. One group was told to take a cold shower for 30 seconds, the second group for 60 seconds and the third group for 90 seconds. Lastly, the fourth group was told to take a hot shower. The results: 1/3 of group 1, 2, and 3 had less reportings of the flu and common cold and therefore had a stronger immune system.

3. Cold showers help with depression and mental health

Raise your hand if you would willingly jumps in a cold lake or take a cold shower? Not many of us, right? That's just the point, facing fears and conditioning your brain to be okay with change. That first step, its literally just that. For some of us, it takes a while to overcome small challenges and adapt to new changes. Whenever you want to achieve something, you must be able to jump into cold water. Yes this can be painful and a little uncomfortable but it' so worth it. Psychologist have proved training your brain to master the small unpleasant situations in your life and this in return will change your entire life. Not enthusiastic?

4. Cold showers help the body recover quicker after partaking in sports activities

Ice baths are used often by athletes to present sore muscles after a hard workout and to shorten breaks between training sessions. If you don't have a bathtub and access to pounds of ice, you can benefit just the same by taking a cold shower.

5. Cold showers helps reduce weight (thermogenesis)

Weight Loss with Shivering

Shivering turns on the so called brown fat. There are two kinds of fat in the body, Brown Fat Cells and White Fat Cells. Brown Fat Cells contain much mitochondria and help burn extra calories. White Fat Cells are fat cells that get stored in the body after the body receives too much energy. White Fat Cells have the ability to be turned into Brown Fat Cells.

When Brown Fat Cells get turned on by being in cold temperatures and shivering, they then directly produce energy in the brown adipose tissue. Those who are regularly exposed to cold climates automatically and easily produce heat. This means when the body is often trained to be in cold water or cold weather, it will take longer for the body to start to shiver. The reason, the metabolism is high and therefore has many brown fat cells that are supplying the body with heat. When the body does not have a sufficient amount of heat it will then start to shiver to make up for the lost warmth and to protect the organs.

What temperature does your body start burning fat?
Your body activates brown cells at 60 degrees.

6. Cold showers reduces stress, improve sleep and give a small spike in testosterone

This is especially good news for the guys. Cold showering can increase testosterone levels. Testosterone helps with motivation and helping to have a more positive outlook, in return helps with depression. With an increase in self confidence, comes better sleep and reduced stress.

What happens when the body comes in contact with cold water?

The blood vessels start to narrow, allowing more blood to flow into the body and less into the arms, legs and skin. This is a smart mechanism the body takes on to protect the inner organs. Secondly, the body turns on its heat by allowing the muscles to shiver, this fast vibrating reaction releases 30% warmth into the body, the other 70% heat is loss. When you shiver, your body uses waste as energy.

Other cold water activities to participate in include kneipping, walking barefoot in cold snow, rubbing snow on the body in the wintertime, swimming in a partial frozen lake, and ice baths.

How to start benefiting from cold showers?

According to experts, to allow your body to adjust without overcooling yourself, you should start with cold water on the feet. This method includes allowing cold water to run on the feet for 30 seconds and afterwards dry the feet well and directly put on socks. It's important that you protect your body.

Second method:

Allow cold water to run on the feet for 30 seconds followed by 30 seconds of warm water. The warm water should be warm-hot not extremely hot. Follow the warm-hot water by cold water. Immediately after dry your feet and slip into warm socks.

Third method:

If you are ready, apply cold water up to the calf areas. You may allow your body to get used to the cold water on the legs and work your way up towards the abdomen until you can fully shower with cold water.

Dos and Donts

Do make sure to put warm clothes on after your cold shower. Preventing to do so in as a beginner can risk of getting a cold.

Don't shower your head or ears in cold water, this puts you at risk for a cold. If you are shampooing your hair with cold water, add cold water quickly to hair under 15 seconds to be exact immediately dry and or blow-dry your hair to prevent sickness from occurring.

Don't shower everyday extremely in cold water if you are beginner, this can result in an inflamed bladder and sickness such as a cold.

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Sep 17, 2017 10:36PM HapB wrote:

Marijen, am glad to have found this site, I have been doing research on dietary healing of bc. There is so much information out there, but the doctors completely overlook diet in their treatment plans and it matters.

This week I have been listening to video modules of a program called, "Square One" and it has much information that is helpful.

I have a lot of reading to do on this site.

Is there a list of foods that contain Aromatse Inhibitors? I was surprised to learn that the meds we take are merely a syntheitc replication of what is found in nature. If we can prevent recurrences with the AI's found in certain foods, the pharmaceutical companies sure don't want us to know about it.

Does anyone know of a cancer center that is doing studies on dietary factors on BC ?

Dx 4/2017, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 5/10/2017 Lumpectomy: Right Targeted Therapy 6/9/2017 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Hormonal Therapy Radiation Therapy
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Sep 17, 2017 10:40PM HapB wrote:

I don't know if anyone has seen this study. I have been reading through it.


Dx 4/2017, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 5/10/2017 Lumpectomy: Right Targeted Therapy 6/9/2017 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Hormonal Therapy Radiation Therapy
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Sep 17, 2017 10:41PM marijen wrote:

I think the Diet Dr. Website is helpful. Then there's the ketogenic diet, the low carb high fat diet. The main thing is to get the weight off, because fat cells make estrogen. Or go to the what's for dinner topic and see what others are doing. It's a lot of information, it gets less overwhelming as you learn.

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Sep 17, 2017 11:01PM ChiSandy wrote:

Popping in just long enough to explain that I am no longer posting anything substantive on this thread because I have learned to respect the rule that the Moderators wisely set when they created the Alternative Medicine forum--disapproval of and disparagement of alternative therapies are fair game everywhere else on BCO, so it's only fair that those of the minority viewpoint have one safe space to trade questions and tips without the majority of us dissing your convictions. I'm not leaving BCO of course--just this forum, where I keep finding myself more the provocateur than the adviser. Anyone with questions about other aspects of bc--you know where to find me.

Diagnosed at 64 on routine annual mammo, no lump. OncotypeDX 16. I cried because I had no shoes...but then again, I won’t get blisters.... Dx 9/9/2015, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/22/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 11/1/2015 3DCRT: Breast Hormonal Therapy 12/30/2015 Femara (letrozole)
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Sep 17, 2017 11:52PM marijen wrote:

HapB if you hit the return after you post a link you will make it live. Go to edit and go to the end of your link maybe one space and return. Try it. It makes it a lot easier for the rest of us. Also if you say what the link is about it helps

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Sep 18, 2017 12:09AM Artista928 wrote:

I would be interested in this:

"Is there a list of foods that contain Aromatse Inhibitors? I was surprised to learn that the meds we take are merely a syntheitc replication of what is found in nature. If we can prevent recurrences with the AI's found in certain foods, the pharmaceutical companies sure don't want us to know about it."

I can't do AIs as it debilitated me way too much. Am on Tamox but would love to eat foods that have AI properties if someone can come up with a list.

Dx'd at 50. Doing it all, all by myself. Stopped Letrozole after 5 weeks. Debilitating se's. Back on Tamox now. Dx 6/2/2015, IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 1/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (DUAL) Surgery 8/6/2015 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 11/3/2015 AC + T (Taxotere) Radiation Therapy 5/2/2016 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 6/28/2016 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery 12/9/2016 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy 2/14/2017 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy 3/26/2017 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery 9/1/2017 Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting, Silicone implant

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