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Topic: alternative estrogen blockers--any SEs?

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: Sep 12, 2013 08:45AM - edited Sep 12, 2013 08:45AM by peggy_j

peggy_j wrote:

I've recently stopped taking tamox (I'm pre-meno and experienced significant bone loss after two years of tamox). I'm investigating my options for my ER+ BC. I see that some people take natural or alternative estrogen blockers. I had a couple questions:

--since the goal is to block estrogen, do patients still see side effects? It seems like having the estrogen blocked--by whatever means--could still create SEs, like hot flashes, etc.

--does anyone know how these alternatives work in the body? Tamox and AIs work very differently. Also, SERMs, like tamox, are anti-estrogenic in some parts of the body (breast tissue) but mimic estrogen in other parts (like  the uterus, and bones, if you're post menopause. My bone endocrinologist said that SERMs create a different "estrogen milieu" if you are pre- or post-menopausal, which is why some pre-meno women have bone loss on tamox).  So it makes me wonder if some alternatives are more effective if you're post-meno, vs pre-meno.

Any thoughts? thanks

Dx 2/2011, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 14, 2013 09:40AM lightandwind wrote:

Peggy, I have wondered the same thing about the effectiveness of supplements on pre meno vs. post meno. I've been taking Femara for a year and a half. I have had to take a few breaks from it due to SEs. I have not gone without a natural estrogen blocker during those times however. I did have an oorph, but it's the androgens converting to estrogen via the enzyme aromatase that concern me, especially when there is no progesterone to balance the estrogen. I find it disturbing that women are not informed early in life of the dangers of estrogen dominance, and there is not ongoing testing for endocrine balance.  I believe there is enough info out there for women who are estrogen dominant to possibly prevent ever having hormone + bc with supplements such as DIM, Iodine, and D3. The supplements I've taken for blocking estro are Myomin, DIM, calcium d gluc, iodine, and agaricus blazei mushrooms. I have not taken any consistently for a long period of time though except DIM. They  all seemed to have some very mild side effects that are similar to the AIs but none of them have the extreme SEs that accompany femara (joint bone feet hand pain, cognitive impmpairment, gastrointestinal, flu like symptoms depression). For me, these supplements help to reestablish some quality in my life. What to take why, and when are such personal decisions. If we only knew what for sure would work.  It's maddening that we have to just guess.

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Dec 4, 2014 05:01PM jojo68 wrote:


Light,

Can Myomin be used pre-menopausal?

2012 Stage 3 Lobular Er+/Pr+/her-/Grade 2 7 nodes +/2014 marrow mets/2018 Mets to Bones/ovaries and peritoneum
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Dec 5, 2014 10:29AM lightandwind wrote:

jojo, I really don't know. You'll have to do some research on that. I don't take myomin anymore.

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Dec 5, 2014 04:38PM pipers_dream wrote:

I just got thru reading this before I came here, and here you are posing this question lol. "DECREASE ESTROGEN WITH ANTI-ESTROGENS

I have tried many supplements. While couple of them have been very effective, I saw the biggest improvement with these anti-estrogen supplements, besides adaptogens, Hawthorn, vitamin D, Forskolin and fish oil.

The most potent estrogen blockers and aromatase inhibitors are:

  • Chrysin (5'7-Dihydroxyisoflavone) is a flavonoid from blue passion flower which has shown to be the most powerful natural aromatase inhibitor. However, its low bioavailability gives weak results in real life. To overcome that, you should consume it with piperine from black pepper, dihydroxybergamottin (DHB) from grapefruit or both.
  • White Button Mushrooms seems to be very powerful aromatase inhibitor with great real life results.
  • Trans-Resveratrol is not as strong as other AI's but it works. It also has numerous other health benefits, especially regarding the cardiovascular system.
  • Daidzein (4'7-Dihydroxyisoflavone) is a strong isoflavonoid extracted primarily from Kudzu root. Although it is not as strong as Chrysin, the body absorbs it much better.
  • Hesperetin is created by metabolising hesperidin in the stomach which is found in citrus fruits, especially orange.
  • Naringenin is another citrus bioflavonoid whose metabolites are able to inhibit aromatase enzyme and reduce estrogen.
  • Nettle Root contains probably the weakest of all aromatase inhibitors, 3,4-Divanillyltetrahydrofuran and Secoisolariciresinol.
  • CAPE from Bee Propolis is a natural SERM and estrogen blocker. It is one of the newest addition in the fight against xenoestrogens. It is helpful for men suffering from prostate cancer, women battling breast cancer as well as for reducing the risk of heart disease.
  • Vitamin D is another natural aromatase inhibitor. It is one of the reasons why so many teens experience growth spurt during summer.
  • Turmeric may also help, by occupying estrogen receptors.
  • 7-MF (7-Methoxyflavone) is natural compound with powerful aromatase inhibiting properties, superior bioavailability as well as strong resistance to hepatic breakdown. Don't confuse it with methoxyISOflavone. 7-MF is completely different compound.
  • Acacetin (4'methoxy-5,7-dihydroxyflavone) is one of natural aromatase inhibitors isolated from the damiana plant which may suppress up to 63 percent of aromatase activity. Unlike some other natural AI's, it has no estrogenic activity at all.
  • NOTE: Although phytoestrogens such as Chrysin and Daidzein as well as natural SERMs such as CAPE, Turmeric and Resveratrol may inhibit aromatase enzyme to some degree, they are primarily estrogen blockers. They bind to estrogen receptors thereby blocking estrogen which causes an increase in testosterone, progesterone, DHEA and androstenedione." This came from: Natural Aromatase Inhibitors

    Another thing that really helps is that if you're overweight, and esp if you're an apple, you want to get that belly fat off b/c it produces more estrogen all on its own.

    And Jojo, my doc has me on Myomin and I'm premenopausal, so I think the answer is yes.

    Breast cancer should not be something to fear but rather a call to go deeper in this journey called life. Dx 11/14/2013, ILC, 5cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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    Dec 5, 2014 07:42PM flaviarose wrote:

    thank you, Piper's dream, great information. I am thinking that I want to do things besides taking arimidex to lower my estrogen. I do take DIM and other things, but know that i need to do more, because of my abdominal fat (which has gotten much worse on arimidex - I was always overweight, but mostly in hips and butt, I used to be an hourglass kind of gal - but now I have a spare tire.). I have always been estrogen dominant - very large breasted, always overweight, despite numerous attempts to lose weight (I have lost some, and am working hard to keep it off, but still, I know that the fat that I do have isn't good for me.. ) anyway, I looked at that Myomin and it sounded great - and then I looked at the ingredients and it said that it had astragalus in it. Recently I heard that astragalus promoted estrogen.... so I stopped taking it.... there is so much conflicting information about there regarding the phytoestrogens - there needs to be a lot more research.

    Dx 4/10/2013, IDC, 1cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Surgery 5/10/2013 Lumpectomy: Right Targeted Therapy 6/13/2013 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 6/13/2013 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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    Dec 6, 2014 01:36AM new2bc wrote:

    I am currently taking astragalus to boost my immune system but I did not know it has estrogen. My estradiol level recently was 400. I will stop taking it and then retest to see if this level decreases. Thank you so much for posting this info. 

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    Dec 6, 2014 04:05PM flaviarose wrote:

    re: astragalus.

    There is so much conflicting information it is hard to know what to believe.


    from here:

    http://www.lef.org/Protocols/Cancer/Breast-Cancer/...

    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).


    and from here:

    http://foodforbreastcancer.com/news/calycosin-in-a...(huang-qi)-promotes-er%2B-breast-cancer-cell-proliferation

    Compared with cells not treated with calycosin, low concentrations of calycosin (2-8 μM) were found to stimulate the proliferation of MCF-7 cells and decrease the percentage of early cell death. Calycosin inhibited cell proliferation at higher concentrations (16 and 32 μmol/L). In the mouse study, calycosin was found to stimulate a dramatic increase in uterine weight (which indicates estrogenic activity). The authors conclude that the study results show that calycosin has stimulatory effects on the proliferation of MCF-7 cells at relatively low concentrations, apparently due to an estrogenic effect.


    apparently it can have estrogenic or anti-esteogenic effects depending on the concentration? how do you know?????

    Dx 4/10/2013, IDC, 1cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Surgery 5/10/2013 Lumpectomy: Right Targeted Therapy 6/13/2013 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 6/13/2013 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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    Dec 13, 2014 02:35PM new2bc wrote:

    flaviarose,

    I checked my hormones on Nov 7th of this year. FSH and LH were around 21 which is little bit short of being in the postmenopausal category. Estradiol was 441. I was taking astragalus at this time. I stopped taking it on Dec 6th and had my blood work checked by oncologist on Dec 10th. Now my estradiol level was < 12 and FSH was 31. My oncologist called me and told me that I can switch to Arimidex now and stop taking Tamoxifen. I was very surprised about the result. Was astragalus the reason for this change? My ob/gyn had me check my hormones again yesterday and I have not got the results yet. But my estradiol was in the 700 range in late 2013 before I started taking astragalus. Another test in early 2014 showed estradiol level around 330 which was the time I was taking astragalus and Indole 3 carbinol for a month. So I am very confused what happened. Did my estradiol level drop 400 points in a matter of a month by itself? or stopping astragalus had anything to do with it? Let me know what you think.

    Now I have a question about Arimidex. If my estradiol level is really below 12, should I still take DIM or Indole 3 carbinol? I am scared of the bone loss caused by Arimidex. What dose vitamin D and calcium are you taking? Do you take anything else for bone loss? Thanks for your help.

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    Dec 13, 2014 08:34PM flaviarose wrote:

    Hello new2bc.... I'm no expert, wish I was. I don't know what to think, but I do think that we need to be cautious with some herbs, and maybe astragalus is one of them. I take 9000 units of Vit. D. and my last level was 50. You shouldn't take a dose that high without testing. I am olive skinned and don't burn easily - also live in the cold north without much sun for 6 months of the year, and during those 6 months, most of my skin is covered anyway. I don't take extra calcium - just what is in my multivitamin. I am also cautious about taking calcium. I do take Vitamin K which is very important for bones. There is some debate, but my nutritionist recommended it, and it is also good for cancer:

    http://www.lef.org/magazine/2009/1/Vitamin-K-Prote...

    I don't know enough about estradiol levels and DIM or Indole 3 carbinol to give you an educated answer. But, I don't think it would be harmful to take them, just my guess.

    Dx 4/10/2013, IDC, 1cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Surgery 5/10/2013 Lumpectomy: Right Targeted Therapy 6/13/2013 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 6/13/2013 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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    Dec 14, 2014 11:07AM pipers_dream wrote:

    Wow Flavia, I've been taking 15,000 units/day of vit D since last February and I'm still just at 35. I've also been taking all the other vitamins as well but can't seem to get it up any higher. I might add that I'm very light skinned with blue eyes and did some sunbathing this summer as well as taking the vitamins. Gosh, no wonder I got cancer--my levels of D must have been at zero--I can't remember what it was in Feb. So the doc is ordering a special shot to boost it--I've never heard of that. I was even taking vit D supplements before I found out about the BC, but was afraid to take more than 5000 units/day. Was going to a conventional doc and asked about a test for vit D and was discouraged from doing it and insurance wouldn't pay for it.

    For bones, you're right--K is just as important and now they're figuring out that Boron plays a role as well--it's a trace mineral but very important. Hell, they're all important and you have to wonder why you never hear of some of them, like boron, iodine, and sulfur.

    As for DIM and indole-3-carb, my understanding is that they won't block estrogens so much as they will change the composition to a healthier mix--they will lower the estradiol, which when too high can be carcinogenic, and raise the the other types, which are more protective against cancer.

    Breast cancer should not be something to fear but rather a call to go deeper in this journey called life. Dx 11/14/2013, ILC, 5cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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    Dec 14, 2014 08:22PM flaviarose wrote:

    Pipers, my level was 26 when I started testing a couple of years ago. It took a while to get it up to 50. My nutritionist also recommended cod liver oil instead of fish oil if you need extra D.

    Dx 4/10/2013, IDC, 1cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Surgery 5/10/2013 Lumpectomy: Right Targeted Therapy 6/13/2013 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 6/13/2013 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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    Dec 15, 2014 06:10AM pipers_dream wrote:

    yes I suppose it's a matter of time but doc seemed concerned enough to order the shot. I looked it up on a vitamin D website and malabsorption was mentioned and it said in that case you can sun bathe or go to a tanning bed that has UVB bulbs. I'll ask my doc about that since I have some time off over the holidays and I found a place in Stl that has the UVBs.

    Breast cancer should not be something to fear but rather a call to go deeper in this journey called life. Dx 11/14/2013, ILC, 5cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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    Oct 12, 2015 12:41PM sailorgalsails wrote:

    Hi, how are you able to check your estrogen levels..?  My oncologist told me that they dont check it in their blood tests (MD ANDERSON) because it isnt necessary....I had asked because I thought having a baseline reading would be helpful in determining the efficacy of arimidex, in my case,  in reducing estrogen levels....do I need to insist on this at my next appointment? Karen


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    Oct 12, 2015 02:42PM katcar0001 wrote:

    If your MO won't check your estrogen levels, then ask your GP or your OB-gyn. My MO insists on them. It's the one test he is concerned about.

    IDC left side, ER+/PR+/AR+. Oncotype 17, Ki-67 - 4%, MAPK1 and PIK3CA mutations. UMX 12/4/14, no chemo or rads. Tamoxifen 1/7/2015. Benign tumor removed from rt. side on 2/25/15. Started Anastrozole/Arimidex 7/4/17. Dx 11/22/2014, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 12/3/2014 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left Hormonal Therapy 1/6/2015 Arimidex (anastrozole), Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery 2/22/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 8/2/2015 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Surgery 11/18/2015 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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    Mar 26, 2016 06:52PM - edited Apr 9, 2016 08:59AM by funthing42

    This Post was deleted by funthing42.
    Dx 6/1/2009, IDC, <1cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 6/5/2009 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 6/5/2009 Lumpectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 8/1/2009 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 11/1/2009 Arimidex (anastrozole) Dx 11/1/2013, IDC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR-, HER2+ Surgery 1/1/2014 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Targeted Therapy 2/1/2014 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 2/1/2014 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Dx 10/1/2014, IDC, Right, <1cm, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Hormonal Therapy 11/1/2014 Aromasin (exemestane) Dx 2/2016, IDC, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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    Mar 26, 2016 09:07PM flaviarose wrote:

    Hello Funthing,

    the only thought I have is to get a second opinion. You could go to a major cancer center and see if they have any advice.

    Dx 4/10/2013, IDC, 1cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Surgery 5/10/2013 Lumpectomy: Right Targeted Therapy 6/13/2013 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 6/13/2013 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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    Mar 26, 2016 10:03PM - edited Apr 9, 2016 08:59AM by funthing42

    This Post was deleted by funthing42.
    Dx 6/1/2009, IDC, <1cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 6/5/2009 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 6/5/2009 Lumpectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 8/1/2009 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 11/1/2009 Arimidex (anastrozole) Dx 11/1/2013, IDC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR-, HER2+ Surgery 1/1/2014 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Targeted Therapy 2/1/2014 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 2/1/2014 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Dx 10/1/2014, IDC, Right, <1cm, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Hormonal Therapy 11/1/2014 Aromasin (exemestane) Dx 2/2016, IDC, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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    Nov 10, 2017 09:59AM roche wrote:

    I'm not sure if this is the correct forum to post. Just in a hurry to get possible responses. Is anyone with estrogen positive diagnosis familiar with the estrogen metabolism assessment test? Measures hormones and hormone metabolites in a dried urine sample. Supposedly more accurate, specific results compared to the basic hormone panel. Thanks

    Dx 11/2016, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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    Nov 11, 2017 07:24AM dtad wrote:

    roche....would love to know more about it. As it stands most MOs do not do hormone testing. IMO its a huge gap in our care.

    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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    Apr 17, 2018 08:56AM lrsreyes wrote:

    When I moved and can not find an oncologist who can prescribe me Femara, I used DIM and experienced dizziness. For now I am taking Femara until 12/2018 but I am confident that DIM is effective and feel less anxiety when I stop Femara. I just hope that the other side effects of Femara such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides will be gone.My bone density test showed no more osteopenia so I will continue to take supplements & do everything I can to prevent a recurrence

    Dx 5/5/2008, ILC, 6cm+, Stage IIIC, Grade 1, 15/30 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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    Apr 17, 2018 01:57PM klvans wrote:

    Walk in labs that don't require Dr.'s orders for blood work are becoming more and more common. I know there are several in my area. The draw back is that they don't accept insurance. Usually a test for hormones doesn't cost too much. It's an option if your Dr. doesn't test.

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