(Health Secrets) Most women who worry about the health of their breasts have a yearly mammogram and hope for the best. But it has been shown repeatedly that mammograms actually cause cancer because of the radiation used and the extreme amount of compression to the breasts. A better way is to have optimal levels of these three supplements for staying breast cancer free, not a difficult task because each one is readily available.
Progesterone – It has become medical dogma that unbalanced estrogen fuels the initiation and development of breast cancer. What you don’t hear much about is another hormone known as progesterone. This is primarily a female hormone, although men produce small amounts of it until they reach andropause. A look at the name makes it clear that progesterone is the hormone of gestation.
In women progesterone is normally present only during the second half of the monthly cycle, coming on stage just as estrogen is exiting. This relationship highlights the fact that progesterone is the primary balancing hormone for the aggressive tendencies of estrogen.
Harvard Medical School Professor John Lee M.D, studied the effects of progesterone throughout his career, and found that:
- Progesterone quiets the breast cell stimulation caused by estrogen
- Progesterone promotes apoptosis, the scheduled death of cells. When cells die on schedule there is no threat of cancer
- Progesterone causes cancer promoting genes such as BCL2 to down regulate, and it up regulates P53, the gene that causes cancer cells to die
Estrogen and progesterone work as team from the time of puberty until around the age of 35. After that progesterone production in the body begins to decrease drastically. As the result of declining levels of progesterone, estrogen becomes the dominant hormone and has free reign to over stimulate breast cells, which can lead to breast cancer.
Natural progesterone cream is available without prescription in health stores and healthy image grocery stores. And be sure to read Dr. Lee’s book What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer.
Melatonin – It’s well known that having a good immune system protects against cancers including cancer of the breast. The immune system seeks out cells that have become cancerous and destroys them. It’s important to know that this process goes on while you are asleep, so if you have difficulty sleeping, your risk of cancer and recurrence increases dramatically.
Melatonin is the hormone that causes us to fall asleep when darkness comes, and sleep soundly until the wee hours of the night. It is our interface to the circadian rhythm of life, the physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a 24-hour cycle responding primarily to light and darkness.
Melatonin levels diminish as we age, just as the levels of other hormones do, typically falling off around age 35. It you are having difficulty falling asleep or you wake up after sleeping only a couple of hours, you may have low levels of melatonin.
Studies have revealed that as our levels of melatonin sink, our risk of breast cancer rises. Scientists at Tulane University School of Medicine published a data review of research investigating melatonin-mediated signaling in human breast cancer growth. They found that:
- Melatonin fosters signaling that produces strong anti-proliferative effects in the breast
- Melatonin suppresses estrogen receptor expression and estrogen activity and signaling
- Melatonin regulates gene activity, enzymes used in estrogen metabolism, and gene expression related to the circadian rhythm.
- Melatonin inhibits invasion and metastasis
- The activation of pathways supporting breast cancer are down-regulated by melatonin
- Melatonin signaling is interrupted by having a light on at night
Other research has shown that melatonin inhibits the growth of breast tumors by decreasing the ability of breast cells to engage in aromatase activity (the conversion of other hormones to estrogen in breast tissue).
Natural melatonin supplements are widely available without prescription. A healthy pineal gland produces about 2.5 milligrams of melatonin each night.
Lignans – Ever wonder why flax is supposed to be so healthy? It’s because flax is chocked full of lignans, special compounds found in many plants, which are known as phytoestrogens. When plant lignans are consumed and metabolized by intestinal bacteria, they turn into human lignans and convey great benefits for breast health.
Human lignans resemble the shape and structure of estrogen, and they have some of estrogen’s functionality, but none of estrogens aggressive tendencies. Because they resemble estrogen, lignans are able to compete with estrogen for docking into estrogen receptor sites on breast tissue. When lignans block receptor sites, they reduce the amount of estrogen that can dock there, resulting in less estrogen to stimulate breast tissue.
Other benefits of lignans are:
- Decrease in cell proliferation
- Inhibition of the ability of cancerous cells to set up a blood supply
- Increase in the normal programmed death of cells
How do you reach a therapeutic level of lignans in your body? Lignans are found in many seeds, beans and legumes, and in some fruits and vegetables, but you would need to eat a lot. One of the best ways is to get them is by grinding and eating fresh flax seeds or by using flax oil that has added lignans. If this doesn’t sound appealing, lignans in supplement form are now on the market under such names of Brevail and Life Extension. Taking one lignan supplement each day can achieve a therapeutic level fairly quickly.
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