In no way did I intend on this coinciding with the Angelina Jolie thing, but it is certainly relevant. Only a small percentage of risk of cancer comes from your genetics. Even the greatest risk factor we know of for breast cancer, the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, while 80% of these women will go on to develop breast cancer over a lifetime, this means that 20% will not.
Luckily for BRCA1 and BRCA2 carriers, the 20% doesn’t happen merely by chance. A few examples include:
- Compounds from cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, etc..) help to overcome BRCA mutations.
- Selenium, known to protect DNA, can also protect against BRCA mutations.
- Coffee lowers the risk of breast cancer in BRCA carriers.
The list list longer, but you get the idea. And remember, this is for those women who carry the greatest genetic risks for development of breast cancer. For everyone else, the picture is far, far brighter. Some experts believe that genetics play a role in less than 10% of breast cancer cases (which does NOT even take into account the ways to lower the risk for those already at a genetically higher risk). That leaves you with a much greater than 90% chance to avoid breast cancer over your lifetime.
The list of ways to lower your risk of breast cancer is very long (you can check for specific medical references by scrolling through the breast cancer section of the website by clicking here). But here are a few potent factors:
- No smoking
- Plant based lifestyle including non-GMO soy and flax
- A diet high in omega 3 fats and low in omega 6 fats
- An anti-diabetic lifestyle (prediabetes is a massive risk factor for breast cancer)
- Stress reduction such as meditation, prayer, biofeedback
- Keeping calorie intake on the lower end (calorie restriction without nutrient restriction)
While there are many, many more, just sticking with these 6 will pretty much wipe out all but the highest risks of breast cancer.
However, if you’re not willing to do all this hard work, there is no need to worry because mainstream medicine is trying to ride in on its white horse to save the day. And of course, this involves better living through chemistry.
In this particular article, researchers evaluate the outcomes of trying to use drugs, specifically the selective estrogen modulating drugs Tamoxifen and Raloxifene. These drugs are already approved by the FDA to be used in high risk women to prevent breast cancer from occurring. But just how well did this work out?
- Tamoxifen and raloxifene reduced invasive breast cancer by 7 to 9 cases in 1000 women over 5 years.
- Neither drug reduced breast cancer–specific or all-cause mortality rates (are you paying attention here?).
- Both drugs increased blood clot embolism by 4 cases in 1000 women.
- Tamoxifen increased the incidence of endometrial cancer and cataracts.
Wow! Where do we sign up?? What woman wouldn’t want to drop her risk by 0.9% over 5 years and get the bonus of endometrial cancer or a pulmonary embolism?
No Association between Antibiotics in 1st Year of Life and Asthma, Allergic Rhinitis, or Eczema at Age 5 Years
I have included this report just to show how fair and unbiased I am in my research. Okay, so I’m actually just including it to better set up the next article…
AJRCCM — Abstracts: Celedón et al. 166 (1): 72
Awareness of the Risks of Heatstroke and Dietary Supplements
This article points to the finding that amphetamine derivatives and creatine may contribute to dehydration and heatstroke in football players. Although creatine does appear to be one of the few “wonder meathead supplements” (as opposed to whey protein, chromium, DHEA and androstenedione) that actually have research supporting their use in athletic and fitness training, caution should always be observed. I am strongly against their use in anyone younger that 18 (i.e. out of high school). Prior to this age the system is still growing and potentially more sensitive to insults and/or abnormal muscle growth that may affect tendons and ligaments in the future.
The Neurosurgeon in Sport: Awareness of the Risks of Heatstroke and Dietary Supplements
TNF Receptor 2 Gene and Polycystic Ovary, Hyperandrogenism
We’re getting into some heavy biochemistry here, but the concept is similar to those in past Updates. We are starting to identify genetic polymorphisms (SNPs) that can affect our body’s response to our environment. Here we see a genetic variant in a receptor for TNF-alpha. Recall that TNF-alpha upregulates our immune system and blockade of its action is a new therapeutic target in diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease. With the genotype in this study, patients were shown to have increased risk for PCOS and hyperandrogenism. Aggressive natural approaches to TNF-alpha lowering in these patients (managing insulin resistance, exercise…) may yield better outcomes or even prevention.
JCEM — Abstracts: Peral et al. 87 (8): 3977
p53 Tumor Suppressor Down-Regulation by 17ß-Estradiol
The evidence continues to mount for estrogen being a carcinogen. Here we start seeing the potential biochemical reasoning for this outcome. Remember, however, that estrogen (as produced by the body) is a naturally occurring substance and serves its purpose. I firmly believe that the body, in its wisdom, down-regulates production of certain hormones as we age as a protective mechanism. Evidence strongly supports this theory for estrogen and HRT.
JCEM — Abstracts: Gao et al. 87 (8): 3915
CRH Stimulation Test in White Coat Hypertension
Recall that the adrenal axis is the route by which the body responds to stress. Epinephrine can raise blood pressure. Here we see that white coat hypertension may be due to hypersensitivity of this system. Overreaction can be modified in several ways, including exercise, adaptogenic herbs such as ginseng and B vitamin support (primarily B5). Unfortunately, this approach is usually outside of the “box” for many doctors encountering white coat hypertension.
JCEM — Abstracts: Tabeta et al. 87 (8): 3672
Role of endogenous oestrogen in aetiology of coronary heart disease
I just hate it when research finds that estrogen, the wonder-substance of perimenopausal and postmenopausal women designed to eliminate all age related diseases and bring a woman back to her twenty-something health, really has little impact on heart disease and environmental risk factors are the major role. What a novel concept!! Imaging lifestyle changes such as exercise, healthy plant-based diets having more power to prevent disease that a prescription drug!!
bmj.com Lawlor et al. 325 (735 =9): 311
Betaine Increases Intraepithelial Lymphs in Duodenum and Increases Functional Properties of Phagocytes
I know this seems like one of those big long technical titles, but the take home message here is that betaine, considered as a strong methyl donor akin to folic acid, may have positive effects on the immune system being able to fight off infections.
Nutrition.org — Abstracts: Klasing et al. 132 (8): 2274
IDDM 3 Years After Hemophilus Influenza B (HiB) Immunization
This is an example of one of those article that proves that immunizations are not always (and actually, rarely) benign. Studies like this are scattered throughout the medical literature and can sometimes be difficult to track down. But they are there. These findings need to be disclose to EVERY parent before their child is vaccinated. Let the parent make a decision with true informed consent. I believe we would start seeing lowered rates of immunizations if parents really knew these immunizations had the potential for serious adverse side effects.
Taylor & Francis Group – Article
Folic Acid Supplementation and Prevention of Birth Defects
We’ve seen much research and opinion supporting folic acid in women of child bearing age to lower risk of neural tube defects. This article, however, looks for effective levels of supplementation for women with prior NTD births and suggest 4,000 micrograms. Considering that it took four decades just to get up to the 400-800 mcgs and this dose is 5 to 10 fold higher don’t expect this to hit the newsstand anytime soon.
Nutrition.org — Abstracts: Green 132 (8): 2356S