What is one thing you would be willing to do to prevent or stop the development of chronic disease? In Part 1 of this series, you learned that a healthy lifestyle is your best prevention of breast cancer.
Making changes to your lifestyle can sometimes feel like an intimidating task! I have witnessed the struggle of limiting beliefs in hundreds of my patients when faced with committing to changes-even though it would greatly improve their life! Yet, for women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer-this does not have to be the case.
The first step towards lowering your risk and optimizing your lifestyle starts by having the right information. If you haven’t already, check out Part 1, then come back to this second part. I will inform you of the Functional Medicine approach to treatment and simple changes you can make to reduce your risk. I also hope to inspire you to embrace healthy changes and use it to your advantage.
Assessing and normalizing estrogen production is key to this second part of my Integrative approach for prevention and treatment of breast cancer.
Estrogen is produced by an enzyme called ‘aromatase’ which is present in your fat cells. If aromatase is present in your fat cells that means your adipose tissue (loose tissue that insulates and cushions your body) produces estrogen. If the amount of adipose tissue, or visceral fat in your body composition is high, you are increasing your risk of breast cancer from elevated levels of estrogen.
So, visceral fat increases estrogen by increasing aromatase. Elevated estrogen, in return, increases the production of pro-inflammatory enzymes, Cyclooxygenase (COX1 and COX2). And again! This compounded production increases estrogen by stimulating the aromatase. So, as you can see this is a vicious feed-forward cycle.
As you know, breast cancer is a hormone-driven cancer. Higher exposure to estrogen is linked to a higher lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. In addition to the feed-forward cycle mentioned above, certain pesticides such as atrazine can also stimulate the activity of the enzyme aromatase.
Now, let’s talk about insulin and its link to breast cancer. Insulin also stimulates the aromatase, leading to more production of estrogen. Insulin decreases the sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) which is a carrier protein that transports estrogen around your body. This leads to free estrogen, which increases your overall exposure.
Normalizing Your Body’s Estrogen Production
After you have taken the steps in Part 1 to improve your estrogen elimination and assess its production in Part 2, here I will show you some ways to help normalize your estrogen production.
*Bonus! Check out the tips I provide by clicking the video above.
When life feels like a daily struggle to even take a full breath, it may be unreasonable to try to change your whole lifestyle at once. I want you to introduce changes comfortably, until these new habits weave themselves into your daily routine. Perhaps you can start with just one, then when you notice it has become a habit, incorporate another.
I really hope the content I send your way serves your path to healing and helps you rise into your greatest health and wellness.
To Your Health,
Kiran Grewal MD
*As everyone’s wellness journey is unique, you should consult your doctor before doing any type of treatment or changes to your diet and health approach. You need to be certain of any contraindications, or a condition that may be a reason to not use these items as they could cause harm.
40Cottet V., Touvier M., Fournier A., et al.: Postmenopausal breast cancer risk and dietary patterns in the E3N-EPIC prospective cohort study. J Epidemiol.. 170:1257-1267 2009