Are You Living a Preventative Lifestyle?

 

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.

Estrogen Production

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.

  1. Reduce Inflammation by eating a Mediterranean Diet high in Omega-3 essential fatty acids. According to a study in the Journal of Epidemiology by Cottet, Touvier M. and colleagues, the Mediterranean Diet reduces the risk of breast cancer and many other cancers.
  2. Take a high-quality Omega-3 or flax seed oil supplement. While compounds such as curcumin, quercetin, and bromelian reduce your inflammation, it is important to get enough Omega-3 essential fatty acids in your body.  Note that you need to be aware of the contra-indications of fish oil such as increased risk of bleeding and low platelet count.
  3. Normalize your levels of insulin by eating low-glycemic index foods, and adding supplements such as alpha-lipoic acid, cinnamon, chromium, and vanadium to your diet.
  4. Increase your sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) by lowering your circulating insulin levels. Add flax meal or other essential fatty acids to your diet.
  5. Reduce your intake of animal-based protein sources. You must be aware of the amount of estrogen entering your body through your environment and food sources. Estrogen is routinely added to animal feeds to enhance productivity. Commercial milk is commonly sourced from pregnant cows which is an industry standard so they will produce more milk, so elevated levels of estrogen are present in the dairy.
  6. Aim to eat organic and always wash your food. Studies show that organic foods are higher in nutrients such as vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus and they are also significantly lower in nitrates and pesticide residues. As mentioned before, certain pesticides can increase your risk of breast cancer.
  7. Lower Your Stress. Having high stress puts you in an inflammatory state. Three effective tips for lowering stress can be found by clicking here.

*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.

For more information on Functional Medicine visit my website at KiranGrewalMD.com and follow us on Instagram Facebook for daily health tips, information and inspiration.

"My goal is to share my knowledge with the world. I believe in delivering valuable and ethical content that changes the lives of my patients." -Kiran Grewal MD 

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20359265

https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/basic_info/what-is-breast-cancer.htm

https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=167&ContentID=shbg_blood

http://www.imjournal.com/resources/web_pdfs/popular/1008_evans.pdf

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

 

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