Begin with this idea: The factors that inch women toward breast cancer are the same factors that may predispose men to cancer.
Then move to this idea: Estrogens and their derivative compounds may be more responsible for breast cancers than almost anything else.
Finally, consider this: There are a number of mycotoxins (fungal poisons) that we’re exposed to every day in America that make our estrogen fight all the more challenging.
So, when I’m putting together my own philosophy of cancer prevention for both men and women, I focus a great deal of attention on minimizing and neutralizing the effects of “estrogenic mycotoxins”. (I also like avoiding chemicals that imitate estrogens in the environment. These chemicals are called “xenoestrogens”, and include things like plastics, certain laundry detergents and shampoos, air fresheners that contain pthalates, and a number of other consumer products.)
Let me share a couple of studies that show how impressively estrogenic mycotoxins can disrupt the physiology of the body. The first comes from The Journal of Pediatrics, May 2008: “Myco-estrogenic zearalenone is suspected to be a triggering factor for precocious puberty in girls.” In English, this means that girls may be developing secondary sexual characteristics much earlier, thanks to estrogenic mycotoxins.
Here’s a quote from a 1995 issue of Carcinogenesis Journal: “Zearalenone and its estrogenic metabolites showed a positive DNA damaging effect.” This means that it damages the genes, which could lead to cancer.
Finally, a March 2003 issue of the Journal of Reproduction and Infertility says that “zearalenone can bind estrogen receptors” because they resemble natural estrogen and “cause alterations in the reproductive tract”. It goes on to say that this same mycotoxin “has been observed to possess tumor-promoting activity in humans similar to that of estrogens and can hypothetically induce proliferation and carcinogenesis in estrogen dependent tissues.” Sorry for all of the technical terminology. Interpretation: This estrogenic mycotoxin may cause cancer in estrogen-sensitive tissue.
So, how are we exposed to this mycotoxin, zearalenone? It comes from the fungus Fusarium, and is often present in such foods as corn, wheat, and barley. More interestingly, a synthetic version of zearalenone called “zearanol” is often given to cattle as a growth-promoter. This means that if you’re eating conventionally raised beef, its possible for you to be exposed to this estrogenic compound.
Very obviously, the first strategy I have for breast cancer (and others) prevention is to avoid estrogenic mycotoxins as much as possible. This means Doug’s Phase One Diet – and a “clean” version of it. “Clean”, meaning, grass-fed, antibiotic-free, hormone-free beef, organic produce, etc. I can’t do this all of the time, though. But I make every attempt to make this a priority for my family.
Natural anti-fungals such as caprylic acid, oregano oil, pau d’arco, and cat’s claw are obvious supplements, but I also like taking anti-mycotic supplements such as NAC, alpha-lipoic acid, psyllium, and even activated charcoal from time to time. (NOTE: Never take charcoal with other supplements, as it will bind to them. Always take it on an empty stomach apart from food, supplements, and any medications. Also, it’s not something for everyday use. Check with your naturopath/nutritionist/physician for details on how to use it in your specific situation.)
Switching things up a bit, I also like supplements that have been shown to help maintain normal hormonal balance. An example would be maca powder, which is excellent in smoothies.
My favorite estrogen maintenance supplements for both men and women have cruciferous vegetables as the central player. Seagate makes an excellent broccoli sprout capsule that I take every day. Concentrates of certain vegetable components are also extremely powerful. In particular, I love a product called Breast-D by Pure Essence Labs. I also love two supplements by Solaray called DIM Supreme and Indole-3-Supreme. These products magnify meaningful doses of the estrogen balancing compounds DIM, I3C, and calcium-d-glucarate. (NOTE: None of these companies have asked me to write about their products, and none of the manufacturers are making any medical claims associated with their use. Please do careful research for yourself, and check with your doctor before making any changes to your health regimen.)
I’d like to say something about taking plant hormones from progesterone creams, Mexican yams, black cohosh, etc. The use of these products needs to be directed by a true hormone professional, and regular blood and saliva monitoring is a must. The same is true with bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. Hormone balance using hormones, themselves – even natural ones – requires special attention by a professional. Taking real hormones can have a profound effect on the body, but the profundity can be challenging to balance. This is why I always prefer the natural supplements in the previous paragraphs. Dealing with true hormone products isn’t easy, and in very many cases, if you begin taking them, you’ll always need to take them. In my own opinion, adding actual hormone products, whether they are creams, herbal hormones, pills, or injections is a last resort.
In summary, I have to come back to a clean Phase One Diet, avoidance of estrogenic mycotoxins, and hormone-balancing strategies when thinking through the estrogen-related cancers, such as breast cancer. During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it only seems right to be aware of every option, not just the pharmaceutical options.