Sunday, October 16, 2011

Breast Health Dos

Diet, supplement and environmental strategies.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I think that the most terrifying words in the English language for a woman are “you have breast cancer.” But knowing that genetics only play a role in 5% of breast cancer cases should be very encouraging news for all of us because it means that we have nearly total control over the destiny of our bodies! The stats suggest that 1 out of 8 woman can develop breast cancer sometime during their lives yet, more women than ever before are survivors because of early prevention, detection, and awareness.

Diet wise, keep in mind that the omega-3s found in flax and fish oils have a protective effect against the development of breast cancer. Japanese women have a very low incidence of breast cancer and they are large consumers of cold water fish rich in the awesome omega-3s. Get on the right fat track—at least one to two tablespoons of ground flaxseeds (high in hormone-balancing lignans) and/or a minimum of 1 to 2 g of fish oil daily.

The women of Mediterranean countries also have a very low incidence of breast cancer and they receive about 40% of total calories from fat—in the form of delicious olive oil, a monounsaturated fat that can be used for salad dressings and stir-frying.

There is another promising disease-defying nutrient on the horizon: the antioxidant Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). Perhaps best known for its role in preventing heart disease, CoQ10 is so vital to your health that is it found in virtually every single cell in your body. It helps to convert energy in the mitochondria from glucose and oxygen. The highest energy organ of the body—like the heart—needs twice as much CoQ10 as other body parts, but this super supplement has also been linked to the breasts!

In the early 1990s, a research team led by Danish scientist Knud Lockwood, M.D. reported that CoQ10 in dosages as high as 390 mg per day had successfully treated patients with breast cancer. In 2006, CoQ10 again made headlines when University of Miami researchers presented a study at the 2006 American Association for Cancer Research that suggested CoQ10 “not only inhibits the growth and spread of cancer cells but effectively programs the cancer cells to self regulate and destroy themselves.”

Since CoQ10 is oil soluble, I always recommend that it be taken at the same time as your omega-3s. I personally take three 100 mg CoQ10 softgels per day—I spread them out at breakfast, lunch, and dinner—as a preventative since evaluating the research.

Other tips for helping to protect your breasts by shielding against toxic exposures from the environment:

* Keep air, water, and workplace clean by using filters.
* Avoid prolonged exposure to household chemicals, solvents, and cosmetics with synthetic preservatives. Eliminate plastics and pesticides as much as possible.
* Have X-rays taken only when needed. Avoid electromagnetic fields from home appliances and wireless gadgets (cell phones, cordless phones, laptops). Sleep grounded to restore natural electrical balance to your cells by infusing your system with healing electrons.
* Check out the Iodine Loading Test to assess your body’s levels of iodine—an overlooked “adaptogen” mineral—that can increase breast cancer risk. I was first made aware of this test thanks to the work of Nan Kathryn Fuchs, Ph.D. Iodine is heavily concentrated in the breasts and balances estrogenic effects on breast tissue. According to Dr. Guy Abraham, the developer of the Iodine Loading Test, “there’s strong evidence that women who are deficient in iodine are more prone to breast cancer.”

Last but not least, for those of you who are concerned about the radiation from mammograms, there is now an inexpensive at-home test you can perform called the Liv Aid. This heart-shaped soft pad made from polyurethane was found by Italian researchers to be 100% effective in detecting tiny lumps the size of a sugar grain. Used with thermography, this inexpensive screening could be a lifesaver. Check out today!

-Edge On Health, Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman