Breast Health Tip #11: CoQ10


CoQ10, a powerful natural occurring antioxidant, lowers your risk of breast cancer, shrinks metastatic breast tumors, protects your organs from the damaging effects of chemotherapy, and may increase your chances of surviving breast cancer.

Ubiquinone, otherwise known as Coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10, is a vitamin-like substance and powerful antioxidant that is found in every cell in our body. It is absolutely essential for energy production in our cells. Research shows CoQ10 levels in tumors are much lower than in normal tissues. When CoQ10 is given to breast cancer patients, some spectacular results have been seen.

In a study published out of Denmark in 1994, 32 patients with high risk breast cancer were treated with antioxidants (vitamin C and E, selenium and beta carotene), essential fatty acids (gamma linolenic acid and omega-3 fatty acids) and 90 mg of CoQ10. Breast cancer tumors shrank in six of the 32 patients. The researchers wondered what would happen if they increased the dose of CoQ10. So, they decided to increase the daily dose of CoQ10 to 390mg in just one of these 6 patients. They got a big pleasant surprise. In one month, the tumor in this patient had become so small, the researchers couldn’t feel it anymore. A mammogram done a month later showed the tumor had completely disappeared. These researchers then gave another patient with breast cancer 300mg of CoQ10 a day and her tumor disappeared. In the 18 months the patients were treated, none of them died or showed further signs of metastases. The expected number of women who would have died, based on the stage of their tumor, was 4.

Encouraged by these results, the researchers continued their study of CoQ10 in breast cancer patients and published a report the following year. Three hundred and ninety milligrams of CoQ10 was given to each breast cancer patient every day. One patient was a 44 year old woman whose breast cancer had spread to her liver causing numerous tumors. After taking the CoQ10 for a short while, all the metastatic tumors disappeared. Another patient with metastatic breast cancer tumors to the lining of her lung was given CoQ10 and 6 months later, her doctors could no longer find any of her tumors.

Chemotherapy can cause organ damage, especially to the liver, heart and kidneys, because it doesn’t just target cancer cells — it also kills normal cells too. CoQ10 has been found to help prevent organ damage caused by chemotherapy and may also increase survival. Certain drugs like Adriamycin commonly damage important heart cells. In elderly patients with heart disease, the damage caused by Adriamyin can be fatal. CoQ10 is normally found in high concentrations in the heart. Adriamycin causes those levels to go down. When patients on Adriamycin are given CoQ10, it prevents CoQ10 levels from going down in the heart and protects heart cells from being damaged.

Taking CoQ10
CoQ10 is fat soluble. This means it is better absorbed when it is in fat. When CoQ10 comes in a soy oil suspension contained in a soft shell capsule, it is better absorbed than if it is in a dry tablet or capsule. That means, you will need a higher dose of the dry form of CoQ10 compared to the oil suspension to get the same levels in your body. For prevention 30-100 mg a day are recommended. If you have breast cancer, you’ll need to take more. Research shows about 300-390mg a day is very effective. A study from the University of Scranton found bio-grown CoQ10, prepared from whole food cultures may be the most well absorbed and metabolized form of CoQ10. It was found to have 20 times more antioxidant activity than the standard preparation of CoQ10. Since more CoQ10 is biologically available in this form, only 22mg are required a day. Please work with your doctor when taking this supplement.

This information is used with permission by Christine Horner, MD

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Breast Health Tip #10: Antioxidants


Taking supplemental antioxidants, like selenium, can lower your risk of breast cancer by as much as 50%.

Oxygen free radicals are tiny unstable molecules of oxygen normally created as by-products of cellular metabolism. We need them to drive all the chemical reactions in our body. But, if there are too many of them, they can cause biological devastation by attacking cell membranes and DNA. The damage they cause initiates and fuels chronic degenerative diseases like atherosclerosis, heart disease, strokes, emphysema, diabetes, arthritis, senility, accelerate aging and cancer, including breast cancer. Pollution, pesticides, smoking, alcohol, and grilled red meat are just a few of the things that pour excess oxygen free radicals into our body, so avoiding them will help to decrease your oxygen free radical load.

Another good way to combat excess oxygen free radicals is with substances called antioxidants. Antioxidants neutralize oxygen free radicals. Our body makes its own antioxidants, but usually it isn’t enough to keep with the large number of oxygen radicals that are constantly bombarding us. So we need to get additional antioxidants from outside sources. Fresh organic fruits and vegetables contain large amounts of diverse and powerful antioxidants. Not surprisingly, research shows that women that eat a diet rich in them have a significantly lower risk of breast cancer.


  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Garlic
  • Kale
  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Plums
  • Broccoli
  • Beets
  • Oranges
  • Red grapes
  • Red pepper
  • Cherries
  • Kiwi

But in this age of widespread pollution, toxins, and stressful lifestyles that fuel the production of oxygen free radicals, most of us we need more antioxidant protection than what we can get from our food. That’s why research shows taking an additional antioxidant supplement, like the mineral selenium, can be of great benefit in lowering the risk of several different kinds of cancer, including cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.

One of the reasons selenium is so effective in lowering the risk of cancer is that it causes our body make its own powerful antioxidant — an enzyme called “glutathione peroxidase.” Selenium makes up a fundamental part of the structure of this enzyme. Without it, the enzyme can’t work.

Selenium also helps to fight cancer in several other ways. Research shows it is able to prevent cancer cells from growing, causes cancer cells to die, foils the formation of blood vessels needed for cancer to grow, and enhances the immune system, especially natural killer cell and T-cell function. It also has anti-inflammatory effects.

With all these anti-cancer effects, it’s easy to understand why there is a growing mountain of evidence that taking supplemental selenium can be of enormous help for preventing and treating cancer. In a double blinded, randomized, prospective study published in 1996, patients were given 200 micrograms (mcg) of supplemental selenium everyday. After 6 years, the patients taking selenium had half the deaths from cancer compared to the patients who weren’t taking the additional selenium. In other words, during this study, the number of people who died of cancer in the group taking selenium was 52% lower than the number of people who died of cancer in the group that wasn’t taking it. The subjects taking selenium also had 35% less new cancers diagnosed. So taking selenium not only lowers the risk of developing cancer, it also appears to lengthen the life of those with cancer. Since that time, numerous studies have confirmed these same impressive statistics. The conclusion of the vast majority of studies looking at the relationship between selenium and cancer, is that taking supplemental selenium, or eating a selenium-rich diet, reduces your risk of most types of cancer, including breast cancer, by as much as 50% and improves your chances of survival if you have cancer.

Our main source of selenium comes from the plants we eat. Selenium is naturally found in soil and is absorbed by plants as they grow. But the amount of selenium in soil varies considerably from region to region. If there’s not much selenium in the soil, there won’t be much in the plants growing in that soil. Research shows that the amount of selenium in the soil and the rate of cancer at that location, are inversely proportional.

This means the areas of the world with the highest selenium levels in the soil have the lowest rates of cancer, and those with the lowest amount of selenium are found to have the highest rates of cancer.

The best food source of selenium is Brazil Nuts. Just one ounce of Brazil Nuts a day gives you 1200% of the daily recommended allowances.

Other foods high in selenium include garlic, onions, green leafy vegetables, mushrooms and whole grains, especially whole wheat. You can also take selenium in supplement form. The recommended dose is about 200 micrograms a day.

This information is used with permission by Christine Horner, MD

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Breast Health Tip #9: Anti-inflammatories


Taking an anti-inflammatory can lower your risk of breast cancer by as much as 50%.

The largest on-going national study of women’s health called “The Women’s Health Initiative” (WHI), recently found that women who took aspirin or ibuprofen an average of 3 times week for the last 10 years had a significant lower incidence breast cancer. Those taking aspirin had a 28% lower incidence and the women who took ibuprofen had a 50% lower incidence. But aspirin and ibuprofen have potential serious side effects. For instance, 16,000 people in the US die each year from bleeding complications from these medications. So I recommend you take a safe herbal anti-inflammatory, like “Zyflamend”, instead. Research shows herbal anti-inflammatories works just as well. And rather than side effects, they have a multitude of wonderful side benefits.

Inflammation is a normal and important process created naturally by our bodies and serves an important role. It helps to get rid of unwanted bacteria, and other invaders. It also assists our bodies in cleaning up dead cells from trauma or infections. When inflammation rises to assist our inner healing intelligence during these special circumstances and then quietly quells when it is no longer needed, no harm is done. But, if the inflammation remains beyond its useful purpose and becomes “chronic” — meaning it stays as an ongoing process in our body over time — it turns into a lethal firestorm, breaking down cells and destroying the natural architectural boundaries of the body’s tissues which makes it easier for tumors to invade and grow. Researchers have found that chronic inflammation not only plays a key role in the commencement and progression of many types of cancers, but it also fuels a wide variety of chronic disorders, including heart disease, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease.

One main reason why chronic inflammation can be so devastating to our health is because it doesn’t act alone. It creates additional destructive ammunition: oxygen free radicals. The cells in our immune system use oxygen free radicals like cosmic ray guns to shoot bacteria and other offenders. In the presence of inflammation, these cells release showers of oxygen free radicals and excess oxygen free radicals can cause damage to DNA that can lead to cancer.

Certain foods and stress promote inflammation. Refined carbohydrates, sugar and certain fats (especially trans-fats) are some of the worst offenders. On the other hand, a diet rich in antioxidants found in fresh organically grown fruits and vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids reduces inflammation. Taking supplemental antioxidants and practicing stress reduction techniques are also very beneficial in preventing and reducing inflammation.

There’s another way to reduce inflammation. It involves blocking the activity of a key enzyme essential to the process of inflammation. The enzyme is called cyclo-oxygenase 2 or COX-2. A relatively new class of pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories targets the COX-2 enzyme and blocks it or inhibits it. Celebrex and Vioxx are two examples. But pharmaceutical medications, as you are probably aware, are hard on the body and create imbalances that result in potentially serious side effects. When reaching for COX-2 anti-inflammatories, the wisest choice is to choose those made by Nature. Herbal COX-2 inhibitors not only block the “evil” enzyme with equal force, but they also import a fantastic amount of extraordinary intelligence and balance into the body.

Nature’s COX-2 inhibiting pharmacy includes dozens of herbs. The standouts are green tea, turmeric, holy basil, rosemary, ginger, oregano, Scutellaria, barberry, and the Chinese herbs Hu Zhang and Chinese Goldenthread. Researchers at Columbia University are currently studying the effectiveness of an herbal product, called Zyflamend, composed of a mixture of all of these potent herbal anti-inflammatories against prostate and breast cancer. The details of the study will be discussed in the upcoming section on “Zyflamend and Cancer.”

Leading complementary and alternative physicians, like Dr. Andrew Weil, prescribe Zyflamend for their patients with inflammatory conditions. It is also used at the Cleveland Clinic Spine Center in Cleveland, Ohio. If you want learn more about the properties of the herbs in Zyflamend, there’s an excellent book I recommend called Beyond Aspirin (Newmark and Schulick, Hohm Press 2000).

Researchers have found that inflammation isn’t the only thing that the COX-2 enzyme takes part in. It also plays a key role in the initiation and growth of several cancers including cancers of the colon, prostate, and breast. The COX-2 enzyme stimulates breast cells to start dividing and growing. It also prevents tumor cells from undergoing normal cell death, so more tumor cells stay alive, accelerating the growth of the tumor. The more tumor cells there are — the faster and bigger the tumor grows. The COX-2 enzyme also encourages new blood vessels to grow. New blood vessels are continually required to deliver enough nutrients and oxygen-laden blood to feed an expanding tumor. The more nutrients and oxygen the tumor gets — the bigger and faster it will grow.

Tumor cells are able to invade normal tissue more aggressively as a response to COX-2. COX-2 also increases the tumor’s ability to metastasize or spread to other parts of the body and suppresses the immune system so that it can’t fight off cancer cells as well. It also increases the production of mutagens — substances that cause mutations in our DNA that can lead to cancer. When you add them all up, all these nasty effects of the COX-2 enzyme powerfully promote tumor growth in our body. It’s no wonder studies show taking anti-inflammatories that blocks all the ill effects of the COX-2 enzyme can reduce your risk of developing breast cancer by as much as 50%.

Some tumors show an “over-expression” of the COX-2 enzyme. What this means is that these tumor cells have a lot more active COX-2 enzymes than normal tissue usually does. The tumors that frequently show over-expression of the COX-2 enzyme include cancers of the colon, prostate and breast. Not all breast cancers over-express the COX-2 enzyme. Researchers found about 50% of breast cancers do.

According to a study published in the Austria British Journal of Cancer in 2003, women with breast tumors that over-express COX-2 are more likely to have their tumors recur, or come back, in a short period of time after treatment. Patients with these types of tumors also have an overall poorer survival.

As discussed above, certain anti-inflammatory pharmaceutical medications, like Celebrex, are designed to work by blocking or inhibiting the COX-2 enzyme. All the herbs found in Zyflamend inhibit the COX-2 enzyme too. Research shows all COX-2 inhibitors, not surprisingly, have powerful anti-cancer properties. In experimental animals, they have been found to significantly reduce the formation of breast tumors and the number of tumors that grow in response to a carcinogen. They also inhibit the growth of tumors once they have formed. Researchers at Ohio State University in a study published in 2001, found a direct relationship between the amount of COX-2 inhibitor that was given and the number of breast tumors that formed in the test animals. The higher the dose of a COX-2 inhibitor that was given, the lower the incidence of breast tumors that formed.

COX-2 INHIBITORS AND CANCER RISK FACTORS COX-2 inhibitors lower the risk of cancer in 2 major ways. They reduce inflammation and they block the COX-2 enzyme expression in tumors. As you learned above, inflammation creates copious amounts of oxygen free radicals and destroys natural tissue boundaries making it easier for tumors to grow. The COX-2 enzyme has a multitude of ways that it promotes the inception and cultivation of tumors. COX-2 enzyme inhibitors block every one of these tumor fostering processes.

This information is used with permission by Christine Horner, MD

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Breast Health Tip #8: Medicinal Mushrooms


Add maitake mushrooms to your diet or take them as a supplement.

Maitake mushrooms, considered gourmet food in this country, have been used for thousands of years as medicines in Asian cultures, especially in Japan. Recent research has discovered this ancient natural medicine can be very beneficial in protecting against and fighting many types of cancer including breast cancer. Maitake mushrooms boosts and stimulates the immune system. The immune system is our primary defense against most diseases. These mushrooms have also been found to stop tumor cells from growing, causes tumors to shrink, and prevents them from spreading to other areas of the body.

In a clinical study, breast cancer patients (stage 2 to stage 4) were given whole maitake powder or something called the “D fraction” of maitake mushrooms. The D fraction of the mushrooms contains polysaccharides or a type of sugar that is thought to be responsible for most of the mushroom’s medicinal effects. Tumors shrank and symptoms improved in 68.8% of the patients.

Maitake mushrooms are also beneficial for patients taking chemotherapy. Chemotherapy weakens the immune system. Maitake mushrooms will counteract this effect by helping to keep the immune system strong.

This information is used with permission by Christine Horner, MD

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Breast Health Tip #7: Vitamin E


Consume foods high in vitamin E.

Research shows women who regularly eat foods rich in vitamin E have a lower risk of breast cancer. These foods include avocados, almonds, sweet potatoes, leafy green vegetables, wheat germ, and salmon.
Scientists have found several explanations for why vitamin E is able to decrease your risk of breast cancer and improve your chances of surviving it if you have it. First, vitamin E is an excellent antioxidant. Antioxidants neutralize oxygen free radicals, tiny unstable molecules of oxygen that can damage our DNA – damage that can lead to cancer. Vitamin E also slows down how fast tumor cells grow and divide, and promotes tumor cell death.

Vitamin E’s tumor fighting capabilities don’t stop there. It also prevents new blood vessels from growing into tumors. Without new blood vessels, tumor can’t get the necessary nutrients they need to grow bigger.
The best source of vitamin E is food rich in this protective nutrient. You can take vitamin E as a supplement — but, research shows you don’t absorb it from supplements as well as you do from food. If you do take a supplement, make sure it is made from a natural source of vitamin E rather than a synthetic form. Synthetic forms of vitamin E absorb so poorly, they won’t do you much good. The daily recommended dose of vitamin E is 400-800 international units. By the way, researchers have found that other antioxidant vitamins, like vitamin C and Coenzyme Q10, make the anti-cancer effects of vitamin E even stronger.

This information is used with permission by Christine Horner, MD

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Breast Health Tip #6: Vitamin D


Vitamins D protects against breast cancer in several different ways. Your body is able to manufacture vitamin D through a chemical process in your skin caused by sunlight. Just 15 minutes of sunlight on your skin daily creates all the vitamin D you need. If you can’t get this much sunlight on your skin, be sure to take supplemental vitamin D.

Most famous for making bones and teeth strong by helping the body to effectively use calcium and phosphorous, vitamin D has another notable talent. Research shows that vitamin D protects against and fights breast cancer. It helps to make your breast cells more resistant to toxins, decreases the ability of breast cells to divide, stops tumor cells from growing, causes the death of tumor cells, prevents new blood vessels from growing into a tumor, and boosts the immune system, especially the activity of Natural Killer (NK) cells.

Vitamin D is unique because your body can make its own supply. The secret catalyzing agent is not from this world; it comes from a star—the sun. Sunlight reacts with chemicals in your skin to produce vitamin D. Just fifteen minutes of sunlight a day makes enough vitamin D to reduce your risk of breast cancer by as much as 40 percent. Of course, too much sunlight isn’t a good thing, because the ultraviolet radiation in sunlight damages the DNA in skin cells. If you get too much sun, especially if you have lightly pigmented skin, the damage can be severe. Serious ultraviolet-radiation damage to your skin can cause premature aging, leathery skin, deep wrinkles, discolored spots, and potentially deadly skin cancer.

But a little sunlight is important to enable you to make enough health-promoting and -protecting vitamin D. Fifteen minutes in the early morning or late afternoon—when the suns rays aren’t so intense—is ideal. Combine it with a brisk walk, and you double your benefits. Research shows that regular aerobic exercise can lower your risk of breast cancer by 30-50%.

If you live in a climate that doesn’t see much sun, especially during the cold winter months, taking supplemental vitamin D is a must. Fatty fish (for example, salmon and mackerel) are about the only foods with natural vitamin D. Most of the vitamin D in our diet comes from foods that are fortified with it, for example, certain dairy products and breakfast cereals. Most multivitamins have the daily recommended amount of vitamin D in them, about 200–400 international units (IU).

This information is used with permission by Christine Horner, MD

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Breast Health Tip #5: Fats to Avoid


Avoid saturated animal fats, trans fats, and excessive amounts of omega-6 fatty acids. All of these fats have been linked with an increased risk of breast cancer.

Certain types of fat are very bad for your body. They damage your overall health and significantly increase your risk of breast cancer and other serious diseases. The worst types of fats are saturated fats—especially animal fats—and fats that have been chemically altered, called trans fats or hydrogenated fats.

Saturated Fats
Eating a diet high in saturated animal fats, like those found in red meat and high-fat dairy, notably increases your risk of breast cancer. A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 2003 interviewed 90,655 women and found that young, pre-menopausal women between the ages of twenty-six and forty-six who consumed the highest amounts of red meat and high-fat dairy had a higher risk of breast cancer than those who ate only a small amount of these fats.

What’s interesting, according to the study’s principal researcher, Eunyong Cho, is that this study “found that earlier [dietary habits] have a stronger impact on later breast cancer risk. In other words, women had an increased risk if, as young adults, they had a higher intake of animal fat, mainly from meat and dairy fat.” But don’t think that this means there’s nothing you can do now to reverse the damage. You can.

Remember, other studies show that decreasing your saturated-fat intake lowers your estrogen levels and significantly reduces your danger of developing breast cancer.

When you eat saturated animal fats, they make the cells throughout your body more insulin-resistant, and consequently increase the level of insulin in our blood. This seemingly innocent, normal response actually brings on a flood of increased risk; high insulin levels are one of the biggest risk factors and promoters of breast cancer. Women with abnormally elevated insulin levels have a 283 percent higher risk of developing breast cancer than those with normal insulin levels.

Saturated animal fats are a storehouse for concentrated toxic chemicals such as pesticides. Some of these chemicals mimic estrogen and make cell division in the breast speed up rapidly. The faster cells divide in your breast, the higher will be your risk of breast cancer. If the animals and animal products you eat were not organically raised, the level of toxic chemicals in them can be quite high. In addition, these animals are commonly given hormones and growth factors that, when you ingest them, speed up breast-cell division. These hormones are also very dangerous for women with breast cancer, because they cause breast tumors to grow more rapidly.

Organic, but Not Toxin-Free
Organically raised animals, by law, must be fed only organically grown foods. They cannot be given any antibiotics, hormones, or growth factors. Despite this, organically raised animals aren’t always completely toxin-free. Some of them may have small amounts of toxic chemicals concentrated in their fat. Why are there toxins in organic animals? Primarily because, instead up being confined in stalls, they graze in pastures. Although being outdoors is a good thing, our environment is contaminated with hundreds, if not thousands, of toxins. Rainwater may, and often does, contain poisonous chemicals. When it rains, these dangerous compounds fall onto the pasture and into the ponds where organic animals eat and drink.

There’s another reason why organically raised animals may contain toxins. Harmful chemicals are generally very persistent in our environment. That means that they don’t break down easily. For a farm to become certified organic, no synthetic or questionably safe chemicals may have been used on the land for a minimum of three years. But some of these toxins persist in the soil for much longer than three years. In fact, it’s not unusual for them to last twenty years or more.

IGF-1: A Top Breast-Health Enemy
Potato chips crispier, and they increase the shelf-life of processed foods such as crackers, chips, cookies, and baked goods. But what Insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) is a huge promoter of breast cancer, as well as prostate and colon cancers. In fact, scientists have found that there’s nothing we know of that stimulates breast cancer or prostate cancer more than IGF-1! This growth factor is like throwing rocket fuel onto the flames of cancer.

You can avoid inundating your body with excessive amounts of IGF-1 by steering clear of conventional dairy products. In the United States, cows are routinely injected with a genetically engineered growth hormone called “recombinant bovine growth hormone.” When rBGH is injected into a cow, it causes a natural growth factor, IGF-1, to be released into the body of the cow. Cows injected with rBGH have been found to have unusually high levels of IGF-1 in their fat and milk. When you consume IGF-1 in animal products, it normally breaks down in your stomach and causes no harm. But when IGF-1 is consumed in milk, it doesn’t break down. The protein in milk, called casein, prevents IGF-1 from breaking down, so it’s all absorbed into your body.

A study published in the British journal The Lancet in 1998 documented the enormous risk associated with IGF-1. The risk of breast cancer among pre-menopausal women younger than fifty-one who had the highest levels of IGF-1 in their blood was found to be 700 percent higher than the average.

The reason that the IGF-1 bite is so venomous is because there are IGF-1 receptors on breast cells, just as there are estrogen receptors. Research has found that IGF-1 and estrogen interact. According to a study from Georgetown University published in 2002, estradiol and IGF-1, through a complex “cross-talk” mechanism, stimulate normal breast cells to start dividing.

In summery, when you eat the non-organic saturated animal fats found in meat and dairy products, your risk of breast cancer escalates from a triple threat:

1. High insulin levels (as a response to the saturated fats),
2. High IGF-1 levels (from rBGH-injected cows), and
3. Toxic estrogenic hormones and chemicals (either injected into or fed to the cows).

This is why you should avoid non-organic red meats and dairy as much as possible. If you love dairy products, you can minimize your risk by eating only that which has been organically produced and is low in fat.

Trans fats: Another Top Breast-Health Enemy
Of all the fats you can eat, trans fats are the most dangerous. Trans fats are man-made. They are natural fats that have been chemically altered by adding extra hydrogen atoms. That’s why they are also called “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” fats. Chemical engineers created these fats in an effort to make processed foods taste better and to increase their shelf-life. They were successful. Hydrogenated fats make foods such as pthey didn’t know was that the fats they created also promote serious diseases, including heart disease and cancer.

The reason that trans fats are so bad for you is because they promote oxygen free radicals—molecules that cause damage to your cells and DNA, damage that can lead to cancer. Trans fats also encourage inflammation, which, in turn, creates more oxygen free radicals. Chronic inflammation has been identified as a key factor in the initiation and progression of breast cancer.

All these ill effects add up to a high probability of developing breast cancer. Research has found that women with the highest amounts of trans fats in their bodies have a 40 percent increased risk. And if that isn’t bad enough, cancer isn’t the only disease provoked by chronic inflammation. It’s thought to play a big role in many degenerative diseases, including heart disease, the #1 killer of American men and women.

Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Fats are made up of smaller units of molecules called fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids are needed by your body to function properly. But if you eat too much of them, they increase your risk of breast cancer. Studies have found that women with the highest amounts of omega-6 fatty acids in their bodies have a 69 percent increased risk of breast cancer. If you have breast cancer, eating large amounts of omega-6 fatty acids can make your prognosis—and your chance of survival—worse. These fatty acids increase the likelihood that your cancer will metastasize, spreading to other parts of your body.

Oils High in Omega-6 Fatty Acids

  • Borage
  • Commercial salad dressings
  • Corn
  • Cottonseed
  • Grape seed
  • Margarine
  • Mayonnaise
  • Peanut
  • Primrose
  • Safflower
  • Sesame
  • Soybean

Protective Fats
Not all fats are bad for you. There are some that are highly protective and health-promoting. Omega-3 fatty acids found in flax seeds and flax oil is considered the healthiest type of fat that you can eat.

This information is used with permission by Christine Horner, MD

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Breast Health Tip #4: Add Spice to Your Life


ADD SOME SPICE TO YOUR LIFE. The Indian cooking spice turmeric, responsible for the intense color of curry, is phenomenal in its ability to promote and protect health especially against cancer. This indigenous plant of Asia and India has been a superstar of the pharmacopoeia of Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine for over 5,000 years — and for good reason. Over 1,300 published studies in the medical literature confirm that this spectacular spice is one of nature’s most intelligent creations. The many imaginative and brilliant ways that it wards off cancer are nothing short of astounding. Turmeric breaks down toxins, stimulates the immune system, is a powerful anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant. It also specifically stops breast cancers from growing. It does this by causing cancer cells to die, stopping new blood vessels from growing and feeding tumors, and helping to prevent metastasis or spread of tumors. Turmeric also enhances the anti-tumor effects of two other notable natural breast cancer fighters: soy and green tea. For instance, turmeric makes the anti-cancer effects of green tea 8 times more potent and makes soy far more effective in blocking estrogen receptors in breast cells.

Turmeric is so powerful at protecting against and fighting cancer – scientists consider it the number one anti-cancer herb. Over 1300 published studies have documented the many amazing and diverse healing properties of turmeric including the ability to significantly reduce your risk of breast cancer as well as many other types of cancer. Research shows it has good effect against at least 8 different cancers: cancer of the lung, mouth, colon, liver, kidney, skin (melanoma), breast and leukemia. There are 5 general properties of turmeric that make it such a good cancer fighter. First, turmeric breaks down toxins in the liver and prevents carcinogens from forming. Second, turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory. This is an important anti-cancer defense because inflammation plays a key role in the formation and progression of many cancers. Third, turmeric is a powerful antioxidant – 300 times more potent than vitamin E. Antioxidants protect against cancer by destroying cancer-causing oxygen free radicals. Forth, turmeric stimulates the immune system. A healthy active immune system is essential for fighting off most diseases and illness including cancer. Fifth, turmeric helps to emulsify fat and promote weight loss. Obesity increases the risk of many types of cancer including breast cancer.
If you have cancer and need to take chemotherapy, turmeric can be extremely beneficial too because it can help to enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy against your tumor while protecting your organs from its damaging effects.

Turmeric has several ways it specifically helps to prevent and fight breast cancer.

First, it can block breast cancer-causing toxins. For example, DDT and chloradane mimic the estrogen molecule in our body (Too much estrogen has been found to be the primary cause of breast cancer. Estrogen attaches to estrogen receptors on the breast cells and causes them to start dividing. The faster cells divide, the higher the risk of breast cancer. Breast cancer is cell division out of control.) That means these pesticides act like estrogen in our body with one big difference: they act much more powerfully than natural estrogen. When these chemicals attach to the estrogen receptor, they cause breast cells to divide much more rapidly than natural estrogen does. Turmeric can decrease the estrogenic effect of these pesticides and help to block them from attaching the estrogen receptors in the breast. Second, turmeric “down regulates” the estrogen receptor. That means when the estrogen receptor is “turned on” by estrogen, the response will not be as great and breast cells won’t divide as rapidly as the normally would. Third, turmeric inhibits or blocks an enzyme called COX-2 that has been found to play a key role in the initiation and progression of breast cancer. The COX-2 enzyme is responsible for a long list of dangerous effects. It stimulates tumor cells to divide, prevents tumor cell death, stimulates the growth of new blood vessels into the tumor, makes the tumor better at invading the surrounding tissues, blocks important tumor suppressing effects of the immune system, increases the risk of metastasis or spread of the tumor to other areas of the body, and increases the production of a molecules that can cause mutations in our genes that will lead to cancer. Turmeric is able to block all of these effects.

Turmeric is prepared by soaking and then drying the root. The root is then ground into a powder. Powdered turmeric can be found in the spice section of most grocery stores. It is also a key ingredient in most curry powders and some Ayurvedic “churna’s” or standard mixtures of healing spices used for cooking. Remember to buy “organically grown” turmeric to avoid any harmful chemicals and pesticides. Add about 1/4th teaspoon to vegetables, soups, grains or other dishes near the end of cooking. Turmeric should be cooked but not over-cooked. You can also take turmeric as a supplement. Two 500mg capsules a day is the recommended dose.

This information is used with permission by Christine Horner, MD

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Breast Health Tip #3: B vitamins


Two types of B vitamins — folic acid and B12 — help to lower the risk of breast cancer principally by protecting your DNA from making mistakes that can lead to cancer.


Folic acid (also known as folate), is a type of B vitamin that is involved in the process of making proteins. It is necessary for the successful construction and repair of DNA and for normal cell division. Without it, cells can’t divide properly and can turn cancerous. During cell division—the process our body uses to grow and renew its organs and tissues–the DNA contained in the center of each cell must replicate itself. In other words, it must make an exact copy of itself. Mistakes can, and do, happen all the time during this replication process. Certain chance mistakes can turn the messages in DNA traitorous. Instead of dispatching communications for health, it may accidentally spawn messages for cancer. Folic acid helps to protect your DNA from making the mistakes that can lead to cancer. Think of it as an automated editor. This may explain why low levels of folic acid in the body are associated with a significantly increased risk of breast cancer.

In a 1992 study from the University of Vermont, researchers found that DNA mistakes, or mutations, increase with age and cigarette smoking. They also discovered that folate helps to prevent those mutations, including mutations that increase the risk of breast cancer.

Alcohol causes folate levels to drop. Women who drink alcohol and have low folate levels seem to have a particularly high risk for developing breast cancer. Harvard University conducted a very large prospective study, called the Nurses’ Health Study, which followed 88,818 women from 1980 to 1996. A prospective study is one that follows the subjects into the future; it is considered one of the best study designs for obtaining significant and reliable information. This study found that the women, who had the highest risk of developing breast cancer, drank at least 15 grams of alcohol a day and had low folate levels.

Good Sources of Folate
Folic acid is found in high concentrations in eggs, asparagus, whole wheat, deep-green leafy vegetables, and brewers yeast. It’s also found in certain meats and fish. But eating large amounts of meat and fish is a double-edged sword, since they considerably increase your risk of breast cancer due to the environmental toxins that they absorb, concentrate, and store. You can also take folic acid as a supplement. About 400 milligrams (mg) a day is all you need. As with all good things, don’t take too much folate. The Physicians Desk Reference for Nutritional Supplements reports no incidences of folate overdosing in the medical literature, but taking too much folic acid can be a problem for people who have a vitamin B12 deficiency. When vitamin B12 levels are very low and supplemental folate is given, the neurological problems and damage associated with low B12 can worsen.

Birth control pills, alcohol, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (such as aspirin and ibuprofen) lower folate levels. So, if you take any of these medications or drink alcohol regularly, make sure you take supplemental folic acid.

VITAMIN B12 (Cobalamin)
The other B vitamin that has been shown to protect against breast cancer is vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is known as “Nature’s most beautiful cofactor,” because its crystalline structure is a stunning dark red, like that of a rare ruby. Vitamin B12 works with folic acid, so it’s also a fundamental part of the DNA construction and repair team. Without it, the quality of DNA would never pass inspection. B12 is vitally important for keeping your DNA messages correct and free from cancer-inducing mistakes. Research shows that women with the lowest B12 levels in their bodies have the highest rates of breast cancer.

Vitamin B12 may also be very valuable for women who already have breast cancer. In the laboratory, scientists found that when B12 was applied directly to breast cancer cells, it stopped them from growing.
B12 has several other essential health benefits, for instance, it is necessary for a healthy nervous system and the production of energy.

Vitamin B12 is primarily made by bacteria in animals, so, not surprisingly, the richest sources of vitamin B12 are certain animals—especially specific organs such as the liver, brain, and kidney. Clams, oysters, sardines, and salmon also have significant amounts of B12. But as you know, eating meat and fish actually increases your risk of breast cancer due to the environmental toxins they contain; getting B12 another way is probably a better idea. For example, B12 is also found in egg yolks and fermented soy products, such as tempeh. Since B12 is generally found in low amounts in plant foods, it’s not uncommon for vegetarians to be deficient in it. Therefore, if you follow a vegetarian diet—which I recommend because research shows it is the healthiest diet and the one associated with the lowest risk of breast cancer–taking B12 as a supplement is important. About 3–30 micrograms (mcg) a day—about the weight of a tenth of a drop of water—is all you need for B12 to perform its miracles.

To be absorbed into your body, vitamin B12 requires something called “intrinsic factor,” which is secreted by cells in your stomach. As you age, you make less intrinsic factor and, therefore, absorb less B12. So, you must consume more B12 as you age to absorb amounts similar to what you got when you were younger. For this reason, supplemental B12 is a great idea for everyone who is age 50 or older. If you have certain conditions, such as the autoimmune disorder called “pernicious anemia,” or if you have had partial or total surgical removal of your stomach, the amount of intrinsic factor you make will be low. Pancreatic insufficiency, disorders of the small bowel, certain drugs, and a variety of other conditions can also interfere with B12 absorption. In all these situations, it’s very important to take supplemental vitamin B12.

In summery, significantly lowering your risk of breast cancer isn’t difficult. It can be as simple as eating delicious food rich in folic acid, or taking supplemental folic acid and vitamin B12. Both of these vitamins help to protect your DNA from making mistakes that can lead to cancer.

This information is used with permission by Christine Horner, MD

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Breast Health Tip #2: Green Tea


Drinking 8-10 cups of green tea a day or taking a daily green tea supplement significantly lowers the risk of breast cancer, and if you have breast cancer, it improves your prognosis. Research shows that green tea inhibits the growth breast cancer and lowers the risk of breast tumors metastasizing or recurring. Green tea has also been shown to enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy, while protecting against its dangerous side effects.

Over 4,000 years ago the Chinese began brewing the leaves of a plant and drinking it as a hot beverage. They called the infusion tea. More tea is now consumed everyday by people all over the world than any other liquid — except water. Research shows drinking tea, especially green tea, is a wise choice because green tea has been found to have many potent health benefits.

Research shows green tea is very effective in hampering the growth of at least 11 different types of cancer: cancers of the esophagus, stomach, colon, bladder, prostate, skin, ovaries, and breast. It also reduces the risk of leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and lung cancer in smokers. That’s why green tea is considered the #1 anti-cancer beverage. You may think the impact of drinking a few cups of tea each day on lowering the risk of these cancers is small. It’s not. Cancers of the digestive tract are as much as 68% lower in tea drinkers.

Part of the reason why green tea reduces the risk of so many cancers, is because it contains an exceptional blend of powerful anti-inflammatories and antioxidants. It also holds within it, the remarkable ability to amplify the power of enzymes in our liver that detoxify toxins and carcinogens. Researchers believe most of the health benefits of tea come from substances in it called “polyphenols.” There are 3 polyphenols that are considered most important: gallocatechin (GC), epigallocatechin (EGC), and epigallocatechin gallate (ECGC). Of the three, ECGC is the most potent.

Japanese researchers found that women who drink green tea have a lower risk of breast cancer, and women with breast cancer, live much longer than women who don’t drink this miraculous health tonic. For instance, women with stage 1 or 2 breast cancer, who were green tea drinkers before they were diagnosed, were found to have a much better prognosis. A 1998 study found drinking green tea lowers the risk of breast tumors metastasizing, and stops them from recurring, or coming back, after they have been treated. Several studies show the polyphenol in green tea, ECGC, inhibits the growth of breast cancer, and decreases the incidence of the cancer metastasizing to the lungs. A Japanese study of rats with mammary tumors found that 93.8% of the rats given green tea survived, compared to only 33% of the rats who weren’t given green tea. The rats that were given green tea also had smaller tumors than the other rats.

Scientists have mapped out 7 different ways that green tea combats breast cancer. This stellar brew increases the number of protein binders in the blood so that less estrogen is available to attach to receptors in the breast. It also lowers estradiol levels, and increases the number of estrogen and progesterone sensitive receptors in breast cancers found in post-menopausal women. This is important, because tumors with receptors sensitive to these hormones respond better to treatment and have a better prognosis. This extraordinary elixir also helps to block the growth of new blood vessels into the tumor — a quality that is technically referred to as “anti-angiogenic.” If you are on chemotherapy, green tea is able to enhance the effectiveness of your chemotherapy while at the same time protecting against many of its dangerous side effects.

Japanese researchers, Sugiyama and Saduka, published several studies between 1998 and 2003, showing that green tea and some of the individual components in green tea, increase the concentration of chemotherapeutic agents like doxorubicin and Adriamycin in tumors 2.1 -2.9 times, while decreasing their levels in normal tissue. The results are that when green tea in consumed while taking these chemotherapy drugs, tumors have been found to shrink more than they usual do when these pharmaceutical chemicals are given alone. In addition, the organs that are commonly damaged by these anti-cancer drugs, like the heart and liver, are protected from injury by drinking this dynamic green decoction.

Hundreds of studies show this verdant beverage has many other impressive health benefits. Green tea decreases your risk of heart attacks and strokes by decreasing cholesterol, blood pressure, and atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. It is also superb at killing certain bacteria, especially in the bladder. It’s flair for stopping the propagation of these bladder bugs is revealed by this statistic: tea drinkers have a 40% lower incidence of urinary tract infections. Green tea is a thermogenic. Thermogenics speed up your metabolism and help you lose weight. If you’re concerned about osteoporosis, drink this healthy brew often. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in April 2000 found that women ages 65-75, who drank at least one cup of tea a day, had significantly higher bone densities than women who didn’t drink tea. Green tea also aids digestion by increasing the beneficial bacteria in our intestines and decreasing the harmful ones.

Green tea comes from the tea plant, or Camellia sinensis of the family Theacea, for you biologists. It is processed by steaming the leaves at high temperatures. When the leaves are prepared in this way, the important health-promoting substances in the tea, called polyphenols, are preserved. Remember, polyphenols are thought to be responsible for most of green tea’s health benefits. Some of these polyphenols are destroyed during the processing of black tea. This is the most probable reason why green tea has been found to have more potent medicinal properties than black tea.
To create the best tasting and highest medicinal quality cup of tea, it is recommended to steep your tea bag or loose tea in hot water for about 3-5 minutes.

For the maximum protection, it’s recommended to drink 8-10 cups of green tea a day. If you were wondering, green tea does have some caffeine. But there are substances in the tea that seem to modify the effects of the caffeine. Most people don’t experience the side effects of caffeine when drinking green tea. The caffeine also appears to be an important component in enhancing green tea’s anti-tumor effects. If you don’t think you can drink this much green tea each day, you can take a green tea supplement. Two 250 mg tablets a day are recommended.

When you are selecting a green tea, it’s important to buy “organically grown” tea. As you may recall, organically grown, means that the plant was raised without synthetic chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. It also has not had its DNA genetically modified. There is a good reason to be concerned and to favor organic. A recent analysis of several brands of green tea found that they contained traces of the banned estrogenic pesticide, DDT.

Although DDT has been banned in this country for over 30 years, other countries still use it. You don’t want to drink something to reduce your risk of cancer, if it contains something that may increase your risk of cancer! Be safe and favor organically grown foods.

This information is used with permission by Christine Horner, MD

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