Articles by Natural Health Author Barbara Minton
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Natural Aromatase Inhibitors May Keep Younger Women Safe from Breast Cancer
by Barbara Minton
(The Best Years in Life) Happily, research from the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston has revealed that many postmenopausal women may cure their hormone dependent breast cancer simply by taking estrogen. But in women who have not yet achieved menopause, there is still no easy fix. For them, unbalanced estrogen may actually stoke the fires of the disease, and avoiding breast cancer is paramount. How to do that? Scientists are finding that eating a diet rich in natural foods that inhibit the aromatase enzyme goes a long way in preventing normal breast cells from becoming cancerous.
Most of a woman’s estrogen is made in the ovaries, but lesser amounts are found in the breasts, produced by the aromatase enzyme. There it can encourage growth of healthy breast tissue and also cancerous cells if any are running around, which there usually are. There are drugs which can mitigate this process, with Tamoxifen and Raloxifene being the most popular with physicians. Not surprisingly, these drugs have horrendous side effects that include hot flashes, vaginal dryness, loss of libido, nausea, cataracts, osteoporosis, broken bones, severe bone pain, dementia, and brain shrinkage.
Thankfully, natural aromatase inhibitors can be easily added to the diet with a trip to the grocery store. Nature’s aromatase inhibitors are effective, low in cost, don’t require a doctor’s prescription, and seldom have any side effects at all.
Nature’s aromatase inhibitors stop cancer from occurring and support good health
There are many aromatase inhibitors to choose from. Most contain high levels of pytochemicals known as flavonoids, which are plant pigments. Unlike drugs, which rob the body of nutrients, natural aromatase inhibitors are beneficial compounds that provide enhancement throughout the body. Because they come from real whole foods, they have the added benefit of perfect synergy in their nutrients and compounds.
Resveratrol, quercetin, oleuropein, epigallocatechin gallate, naringenin, and apigenin are all powerful flavonoids that come from whole foods. Each has a big effect on aromatase and a treasure chest of other health benefits too. Remember that when these foods are grown organically, their power is increased even more.
Quercetin is the reason an apple a day keeps the doctor away. It is a major antioxidant with a multitude of anti-aging benefits. Quercetin fights inflammation and reduces the cellular damage inflammation causes. This inflammation-stopping feature also helps decrease swelling and pain, and it keeps the circulatory system healthy. Quercetin boosts endurance and recovery from exercise, and it helps prevent fatigue. It has anti-viral properties, and supports the immune system and the liver. Recent research has found that quercetin has other anti-cancer benefits besides inhibiting aromatase in breasts and prostates. It has been found to inhibit growth in pancreatic cancer, a disease with little hope, and it suppresses invasion of squamous cell carcinoma. In addition to apples, find quercetin in onions, garlic, cabbage, and cranberries.
Resveratrol has been recently shown to be highly effective against both hormone positive and hormone negative breast cancer, as well as cell cycle progression and primary tumor growth and metastasis. Resveratrol protects the lining of the liver against alcohol, and keeps the central nervous system strong by protecting neurons from oxidative stress. Supplements of resveratrol are popular but don’t provide the full polyphenol group of nutrients, a group shown to work synergistically. Best sources of resveratrol include dark grapes, red wine, peanuts, blueberries and dark chocolate.
Oleuropein gives olive oil its special flavor. It’s found in the leaves of the olive tree and is the reason olive leaf supplements are so popular for wellness. Using olive oil gives a boost to immunity so necessary to prevent many types of cancer. Research has shown olive oil is even effective against HER-2 breast cancer, a particularly resistant form of the disease. Olive oil has been shown in animal studies to enhance nitric oxide production. It has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammation properties.
Apigenin is relatively new to cancer prevention and treatment. Research has shown it reduces oxidative damage to DNA, slows growth and induces differentiation in human leukemia cells, and promotes apoptosis (programmed cell death). It is anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory. Parsley, basil, chamomile, and celery contain good amounts of apigenin.
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a catechin found in green tea is revered around the world for its anti-cancer benefits, which include stopping cancer cell growth, killing cancer cells, and preventing the formation and growth of new blood vessels and tumors. In addition, it is a super antioxidant that can scavenge free-radicals and stave off the aging process. Drinking green tea boosts fat burning and physical endurance. It protects the brain and lowers risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia, and may lower cardiovascular risk too.
We’ve saved one of the best aromatase inhibitors for last. The anti-cancer activity of Naringenin has been proven in several cancer studies. Research published in March investigated its use against gastric cancer cell lines. Researchers found that Naringenin was able to stop cell proliferation, migration, and invasion of cancerous cells. It also induced apoptosis in the cell lines. In another study, Naringenin was found able to reduce lung metastasis in a breast cancer resection model. Naringenin is another powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It promotes proper metabolism of carbohydrates, so important for avoiding obesity and diabetes, and it can block the glucose production in the liver. The best source for this compound is grapefruit, though oranges and other citrus contain lesser amounts.
So you see that nature has provided what is needed to inhibit aromatase. Add several of these foods to your diet on a regular basis, along with a good night’s sleep and plenty of exercise for a cancer-free lifestyle.
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Barbara is a school psychologist and the author of Dividend Capture, a book on personal finance. She is a breast cancer survivor using bioidentical hormone therapy, and a passionate advocate of natural health with hundreds of articles on many aspects of health and wellness. She is the editor and publisher of AlignLife's Health Secrets Newsletter.
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