Nature’s Breast Cancer Defenders

Good Health Lifestyles Herbal Helpers

Taking proper steps to prevent breast cancer is important for everyone, not just people who are aware of it because it “runs in the family.” In fact, while many people are still under the assumption that breast cancer is largely a genetic disease, research suggests that this is hardly the case. Statistics show that approximately 85 percent of all people with breast cancer don’t have a single, first-degree relative with the disease. Instead, science tells us that many cancer cases occur due to genetic changes that happen as the result of the normal aging process.

This year alone, it’s estimated that 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the United States, in addition to 62,930 new cases of non-invasive breast cancers. The good news is that nature provides a number of nutrients and botanicals that can help prevent breast cancer—and scientific research is proving just how effective these natural solutions can be.

Pomegranate Seed Oil

High on the list of cancer-fighting foods, pomegranates are a delicious, ruby-red fruit with seeds that contain a powerful combination of antioxidants, including anthocyanins and polyphenols. The oil from pomegranate seeds also delivers a disease-fighting dose of omega-5 fatty acids. This unique fatty acid has been shown to inhibit both estrogen-sensitive and estrogen-insensitive breast cancer cells. In a cellular study, omega-5s stopped the proliferation of two types of cancer cells by 92 percent and 96 percent, respectively. In the same study, omega-5 fatty acids also supported apoptosis (cancer cell death) in two types of breast cancer cells by 86 percent and 91 percent. A separate study found that pomegranate seed oil showed a 90 percent inhibition of MCF-7 breast cancer cells, as well. Omega-5 fatty acids also have some of the same abilities of the anticancer drug tamoxifen, but without the drug’s dangerous side effects. If you have an elevated risk for breast cancer, consider supplementing with pomegranate seed oil. Researchers note that pomegranate seed oil has excellent chemo-preventive potential—either on its own or in addition to conventional therapy. A beneficial dose of pomegranate seed oil is 600-1,200 mg daily.

Curcumin

It’s no secret that persistent, low-level inflammation in the body can contribute to many diseases, including cancer. Curcumin is a potent, natural anti-inflammatory that may play a role in preventing breast cancer by shutting off the blood supply to tumors and triggering apoptosis among cancer cells. Some controlled studies have found that curcumin has an effect on highly invasive and aggressive forms of the disease, like antiestrogen-resistant and triple-negative breast cancers. Researchers have also studied the effects of curcumin on MCF-7 cells that become resistant to antiestrogen drugs like tamoxifen. One preliminary cell study found that curcumin helped to induce apoptosis of breast cancer cells. In a separate study of triple-negative breast cancer cells, curcumin prevented angiogenesis, which is the growth of new blood vessels that feed cancer tumors. The most effective forms of curcumin are enhanced with turmeric essential oil including ar-turmerone, which boosts absorption by the body. Look for an extract called BCM-95 (also listed on supplement labels as Curcugreen), a form that is backed by over 50 published studies.

Iodine

Iodine provides a number of health benefits, including the protection against breast cancer. Scientific tests using estrogen-sensitive breast cancer cells exposed to iodine have shown that they are less likely to grow and metastasize. The reason that iodine is so beneficial to breast health is because it makes breast cells less sensitive to estrogen and detoxifies certain toxins like bromide, fluoride, and chloride. Iodine has also been found to be beneficial for treating fibrocystic breast disease. In clinical research, approximately 70 percent of patients experienced pain relief and a reduction in abnormal tissue with iodine supplementation. In patients with mastalgia (breast pain), at least 50 percent of the women studied reported significant reductions in breast pain after taking 6 mg of iodine each day. In a separate study, 98 percent of women receiving iodine treatment were pain free by the study’s end, and 72 percent showed improvements in breast tissue. For optimal health, an iodine supplement should deliver three different forms of iodine, including molecular iodine, sodium iodide, and potassium iodide. The right dosage depends on the unique needs of each individual, so it’s important to consult with your doctor about how much iodine is right for you.

Grape Seed Extract

Once cancer cells have taken hold in the body, they’ll fight with a fury to survive. Thankfully, various studies have shown that grape seed extract can be beneficial in preventing breast, prostate, and colon cancer. Research also shows that grape seed extract has an impact on cancer stem cells. However, grape seed extract is the most adulterated botanical in the world, which means you have to be extremely careful about the supplement you choose. One unique form of French grape seed extract called VX1 is unadulterated and has shown tremendous promise in reducing cancer risk. VX1 contains small, easily absorbed oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs). Studies have shown that VX1 has the ability to inhibit the growth of tumors, stop the cycle of cancer cell signaling, and induce apoptosis. More importantly, preliminary research suggests that VX1 can kill cancer stem cells. These stealthy stem cells are why some cancers reoccur, primarily because they aren’t completely eliminated during chemotherapy. While this lab study was done on colon cancer cells, it shows promise for similar types of cancer stem cells, as well. Additional cell studies investigated grape seed extract’s impact on breast cancer cells, either alone or when used as part of conventional cancer treatment. Both strategies proved to be effective, but grape seed extract by itself was also able to inhibit the proliferation of breast cancer cells.