Animal Protein May Play a Role in Cancer Risk

In the two decades between 1990 and 2010, the leading causes of death and disability remained relatively constant. Heart disease remains the leading cause of loss of health and life, but among the diseases whose incidence has increased the most over the past generation is chronic kidney disease. The number of deaths has doubled.

Our “meat-sweet” diet has been implicated in this escalation. Excess table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup consumption is associated with increased blood pressure and uric acid levels, both of which can damage the kidney. The saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol found in animal products and junk food are also associated with impaired kidney function, and meat protein increases the acid load to the kidneys, boosting ammonia production and potentially damaging our sensitive kidney tissue. This is why a restriction of protein intake is often recommended to chronic kidney disease patients to help prevent further functional decline.

Is all protein created equal? No—not all protein has the same effect on your kidneys. Our kidneys appear to handle plant protein very differently from animal protein. Within hours of consuming meat, our kidneys rev up into hyperfiltration mode, dramatically increasing the kidneys’ workload. This is true of a variety of animal proteins—beef, chicken, and fish appear to have similar effects. But an equivalent amount of plant protein causes virtually no noticeable stress on the kidneys. Eat some tuna, and within three hours, your kidney filtration rate can shoot up 36 percent. But eating the same amount of protein in the form of tofu doesn’t appear to place any additional strain on the kidneys.

Why does animal protein cause the overload reaction while plant protein doesn’t? Researchers discovered that after giving subjects a powerful anti-inflammatory drug along with animal protein, the hyperfiltration response disappeared, suggesting the hyperactive response was triggered by inflammation.

Animal protein may also play a role in cancer risk. IGF-1, insulin-like growth factor 1, is a cancer-promoting growth hormone that is released in excess when we eat animal protein. This is presumably why those who eat less meat, egg white, or dairy proteins have significantly lower levels circulating within their bodies within weeks of making the dietary switch. This lowering of IGF-1 levels is thought to be why the blood of men and women eating plant-based diets suppresses prostate and breast cancer growth in vitro significantly better than those eating the Standard American Diet.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

Dr. Michael Greger on Breast Cancer Authority Blog

Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous “meat defamation” trial. Currently Dr. Greger proudly serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States.

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Easy Vegan Pea Soup

When you switch to a “cancer fighting diet” you do not have to make a lot of dietary changes, just add in some new veggies to substitute the meat.  Healthy eating is not that hard, it tastes better, and you family will learn healthy lifestyle choices too! Remember to always use organic ingredients when available.

Ingredients

2 – 3 tablespoons of olive oil or vegetable oil
4-5 carrots, sliced
3 celery stalks, minced
1 onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 potato, diced
3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons parsley
2 bay leaves
1 cup small pasta
3 cups of dried split peas
2 cartons or 6 cups of vegetable broth
2 cups of water

Directions

  1. Place carrots, celery, onion, and garlic in pan with olive oil. Heat for approximately 10 minutes or until tender. Place nutritional yeast, parsley and bay leaves in and let flavors meld together for 30 seconds. Remove, and place to the side.
  2. Then, place broth, water and split peas in pot. Bring to boil, then let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent split peas from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  3. Add cooked carrots, celery, onions, and garlic in pot as well as the potato. Partially cover and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.

A healthy diet is only one of several factors that can affect the immune system; exercise and stress management are just as important in improving your overall health and well-being.

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DawnBradford Co-Founder of Breast Cancer YogaAbout Dawn Bradford Lange: Co-founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Dawn is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

 

 

Delicious & Healthy Mediterranean Roasted Chickpea Wrap

This simple and delicious Mediterranean inspired roasted chickpea wrap with refreshing tzatziki a cucumber vegan yogurt sauce comes from Susan at LiveLeanEat.com . We at Breast Cancer Yoga made this recipe and give it two thumbs up!

Ingredients
• 1 15 oz can chickpeas 425 g, 1 ½ cup soaked chickpeas if starting from dry, drained and rinsed
• 1 Tbsp olive oil 15 mL
• 1 Tbsp paprika* 7 g
• 1 tsp ground black pepper 3 g
• 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper 1.5 g
• 1/4 tsp salt 1.5 g
• 4 pita flatbread
• 1 cup tzatziki  (vegan plain yogurt & cucumber sauce)
• 1/4 red onion cut into strips
• 2 lettuce leaves roughly chopped
• 1 tomato sliced

Directions
1. Pat dry chickpeas with paper towel, removing any skins that may come off.
2. Gently toss chickpeas with oil, paprika, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and salt.
3. Spread chickpeas onto a greased rimmed baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees F (200 C) for about 20 minutes, until lightly browned but not hard.
4. Spread some tzatziki onto one side of the pita, then sprinkle in ¼ of the chickpeas and add veggies. Fold in half and enjoy!
Notes
• *If you don’t like spicy foods, half the amount paprika, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Taste a chickpeas before baking and adjust flavors as needed.
• If your pita breads crack when you fold them, cover them with a moist paper towel and microwave for 20 to 30 seconds. Assemble your sandwich immediately after microwaveing.
• Wanna bring these to lunch? Try them in meal prep-able form!

A healthy diet is only one of several factors that can affect the immune system; exercise and stress management are just as important in improving your overall health and well-being.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

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DawnBradford Co-Founder of Breast Cancer YogaAbout Dawn Bradford Lange: Co-founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Dawn is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

Protein Rich, Sugar-Free & Vegan Hot Chocolate Recipe

This hot chocolate mix is packed with protein and is the answer to a daily high calorie, sugar-free warm chocolate comfort drink. This protein powder hot chocolate mix makes four cups. Always use organic ingredients hen possible.

Protein Powder Hot Chocolate Mix

  • 1 cup Chocolate Brown Rice Protein Powder
  • 1/2 cup Monk Fruit Sweetener or sweetener of choice
  • 1/4 Dark Cocoa Powder (sift cocoa powder)

Directions To Make 1 Cup of Hot Chocolate

  1. Add 7 tablespoons of very well mixed hot chocolate ingredients to a mug.
  2. Add 1/2 cup of boiling hot water and mix very well so no clumps remain.
  3. Add another 1/2 cup warmed nut milk, mix again and enjoy.

A healthy diet is only one of several factors that can affect the immune system; exercise and stress management are just as important in improving your overall health and well-being.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

.

DawnBradford Co-Founder of Breast Cancer YogaAbout Dawn Bradford Lange: Co-founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Dawn is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

 

Freaking Awesome High Protein Pumpkin Bread Recipe (Vegan & Sugar-Free)

A vegan sugar-free diet can be safe for anyone undergoing cancer treatment; however, working with a registered dietitian to develop the right meal plan for you is recommended. We hope this high protein pumpkin bread recipe will help in the planning of a healthy lifestyle diet that meets the special nutritional needs of patients with cancer. Always use organic ingredients when necessary.

Ingredients

1 cup pumpkin puree
1 whole egg alternative (1/4 unsweetened apple sauce mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder)
¼ cup alkaline water
¼ cup oil
½ cup sugar substitute (molasses, agave or maple syrup
1 cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup / 1 large scoop protein powder (vanilla or unflavored)
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp fine grain sea salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground ginger
a pinch of black pepper

Optional: chopped walnuts, dark chocolate chips, cranberries, cherries or raisins.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Lightly grease and flour a loaf pan.
  3. In a medium bowl combine pumpkin puree, egg replacement, oil, water, and sugar substitute. Whisk until well combined.
  4. In another bowl, combine whole wheat flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt, pepper and baking soda. Carefully stir the dry ingredients into the wet mixture until just combined. Do not overmix.
  5. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan. If you feel like, sprinkle some oats on top.
    Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. The bread is ready when a toothpick or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. You want to get that beautiful orange/gold color on the cake, but at the same time you don’t want to bake all the moisture out of it

A healthy diet is only one of several factors that can affect the immune system; exercise and stress management are just as important in improving your overall health and well-being.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

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DawnBradford Co-Founder of Breast Cancer YogaAbout Dawn Bradford Lange: Co-founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Dawn is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

Collection of Vegan and Sugar-Free Recipes for Breast Cancer patients

During breast cancer treatment (such as surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy) your protein requirements increase. It is important to include protein rich meals and snacks into your daily diet plan. Breast Cancer Authority Blog has offered many recipes for breast cancer patients in pass and this is a collection of the top recipes for you to try.

Sugar-Free Chocolate Protein Truffle Recipe For A Cancer Diet

These protein truffles are an ideal alternative to regular high sugar and high-fat chocolate truffles. With 5g of protein per truffle and no sugar, it is a great way to consume protein for a  person who has no appetite but needs to consume proteins during cancer treatment.

Apple No Bake Protein Bar Recipe (Dairy & Sugar-Free)

Dig these healthy No-Bake Apple Pie Protein Bars that taste like a dessert you can eat daily….multiple times. Not only do they only take 10 minutes to whip up, they are a one bowl wonder which is a no-mess, no fuss kind of snack. They have a soft, chewy and doughy texture. Not only do each bar pack at a hefty protein boost, they are also naturally gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free!

Protein Rich Raspberry Coconut Mousse (Vegan & Sugar-Free)

This surprisingly good and easy to make fruit flavored mousse is for perfect for breast cancer patients. This recipe includes red raspberries that are reported to help fight cancer and protein to help support cancer treatment recovery.  As always try to use organic ingredients when possible.

Amazing Banana & Almond Milk Protein Shake

This fabulous shake recipe tastes delicious and makes you run and beg for the recipe… and so we did! After trying this at home we made a few little changes, like adding the ground coriander seeds and the pumpkin seeds (after all, we try to add some good health into every recipe). Here is the recipe of the best almond banana shake, for the benefit of all man kind.

Delicious & Sugar-Free Protein Brownies – Recipe For A Cancer Diet

Breast cancer patients can exhibit an increased demand of protein. Tumors utilize glucose as their main source of energy supply. Thus, a diet supplying the cancer patient with sufficient protein while restricting the sugars tumors thrive on, is a helpful strategy in improving a breast cancer patients healthy recovery.

This protein rich recipe includes hemp protein powder which is not marijuana. The two plants are distant relatives, having similar physical appearances and structures but little more.  Marijuana flowers contain a chemical called THC which, when heated and ingested, causes intoxication.  Marijuana has been used for this reason as a medicine for thousands of years.

Protein Rich Meal Idea For A Cancer Diet: Green Beans With Tomato Sauce

green-beans-with-tomato-sauceA simple but so delicious dish, packed with plant-based protein which is the best for us!
You may eat it as is or mix it with rice. Green beans contain high levels of several proteins, carotenoids and other antioxidants that make it a veritable mine of nutrition.

Chocolate Maca Protein Truffles

maca-protein-truffles-for-a-cancer-diet

These are really simple, and incredibly tasty. Not only that, but they’ll keep in the fridge (in a sealed container) for about a week, so it you make up a batch on a Monday, you’ll have snacks on hand for when you need a bit of a lift. Best of all?  They are made of healthy ingredients such as dates, cashews, walnuts, maca and raw chocolate!

Learn What Locally Grown Vegetables Are In Season Plus Recipes

Use The Seasonal Food Guide to learn when & where locally grown produce is in season. Use this guide to pick the best cancer fighting superfoods and add them to your menu this week. Late September features Avocado as an in season superfood and we have included six avocado recipes featured in past on Breast Cancer Yoga Blog.

Avocado Cancer Fighting Information:
Antioxidants and Phytochemicals found in avocados include: Carotenoids: beta carotene, alpha carotene, zeaxanthin shown to inhibit the growth of prostate, breast and head and neck (oral) cancers. Vitamin E is an antioxidant. However, according to Food For Breast Cancer avocados may pose a risk for breast cancer.

Avocado Recipes For A Cancer Free Lifestyle Diet:

  1. Super Delicious Avocado Lime Cake – Dairy & Sugar Free Recipe
  2. Avocado Toast With Veggies & White Bean Salad
  3. Summer Salad Recipe – Quinoa, Spinach & Tomatoes Stuffed Avocados
  4. Easy Sweet Potato, Kale & Avocado Salad Recipe
  5. Kale and Avocado Salad Recipe
  6. Tomato Avocado Soup For Breast Cancer

Eat a Plant-Based Diet of Fruits and Vegetables For Breast Cancer:
make your diet rich in organic fruits and vegetables that are full of micronutrients and bioflavonoids which are duly noted to help prevent breast cancer or other cancers. Five or more servings per day is recommended by the American Cancer Institute. Red and blueberries hold a significant amount of the necessary cell builders and anti-cancerangetic properties that are a necessity on our tables.

  • Look for free recipes on the internet
  • Start by adding healthy food choices to diet –  http://www.healthranger.org/healthtips.html
  • Begin transition to a healthy diet with meatless Monday
  • Begin to eliminate cancer causing foods from your diet

A combination of a healthful diet and physical activity seems to be particularly important, as was shown in the Women’s Healthy Eating and Living Study, which included 3,088 women previously diagnosed with breast cancer. Women who had at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day and averaged 30 minutes of walking 6 days per week had roughly half the risk of dying from breast cancer, compared with women who ate fewer vegetables and fruits or who were less active.

So a healthful plant-based diet helps in many ways. It makes weight control easier, helps you avoid unhealthful fats, and keeps fruits and vegetables front and center. This combination, along with regular exercise, helps prevent cancer and also reduces the risk of recurrence.

Dawn Breast CancerAbout Dawn Bradford Lange:  Co-founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Dawn is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

How Meat Stimulates Breast Cancer

In 1979, an epidemic of breast enlargement was noted in Italian children. Poultry or veal was suspected, given that estrogens may be fed to farm animals to accelerate their weight gain. After this episode, Europe banned the use of anabolic growth promoters in agriculture, and has banned the importation of American meat from animals injected with drugs like Zeranol, sold as Ralgro Magnum.

Zeranol is the one of the most potent known endocrine disruptors—100,000 times more estrogenic than the plastics chemical, BPA, for example. And Zeranol constitutes a special case among potential endocrine disruptors, because in contrast to all other estrogenic “endocrine-disrupting” chemicals, Zeranol is present in human food, because it’s deliberately used—in fact, designed to be a potent, persistent, estrogen, whereas the estrogenic properties of the other chemicals are accidental.

And if you drip blood from a cow that’s been implanted with the drug on human breast cancer cells in a petri dish, you can double the cancer growth rate. We don’t drink blood, though, but preliminary data also showed that muscle extracts, meat extracts, also stimulated breast cancer cell proliferation.

Furthermore, Zeranol may cause the transformation of normal breast cells into cancer cells in the first place. Zeranol-containing blood from implanted cattle was capable of transforming normal human breast cells into breast cancer cells within 21 days.

Obese women may be at greater risk of developing Zeranol-induced breast cancer, since they already have high levels of leptin, a hormone produced by fat cells, that can itself promote breast cancer growth. And Zeranol exposure can greatly enhance this growth-promoting action. This result also suggests that Zeranol may be more harmful to obese breast cancer patients than to normal weight breast cancer patients, in terms of breast cancer development.

In conclusion, because these anabolic growth promoters in meat production are, by far, the most potent hormones found in human food, we should really be testing people, especially children, before and after eating this meat. It amazes me that it hasn’t been done, and until it has, we have no idea what kind of threat they may pose—though the fact that Zeranol is as potent as estradiol—the primary sex steroid in women and DES—should concern us. DES is another synthetic estrogen marketed to pregnant women—all pregnant women until 1971, when it was shown to cause vaginal cancers in the daughters. But few know it was also used in meat.

In the absence of effective federal regulation, the meat industry uses hundreds of animal feed additives, with little or no concern about the carcinogenic and other toxic effects of dietary residues of these additives. Illustratively, after decades of misleading assurances of the safety of DES and its use as a growth-promoting animal feed additive, the United States finally banned its use some 40 years after it was first shown to be carcinogenic. The meat industry then promptly switched to other potentially carcinogenic additives, such as Zeranol.

When girls started dying from vaginal cancer, DES-treated meat was subsequently banned in Europe. However, misleading assurances, including the deliberate suppression of residue data, managed to delay a U.S. ban on DES in the meat supply for eight years.

Today, virtually the entire U.S. population consumes, without any warning, labeling, or information, unknown and unpredictable amounts of hormone residues in meat products over a lifetime. If all hormonal and other carcinogenic feed additives aren’t banned immediately, the least we could have is “explicit labeling requirements of the use and of [hormone] residue levels in all meat products, including milk and eggs.”

Doctor’s Note

Isn’t that amazing about the DES story? I had no idea it was used in meat production. Check out some of the other Big Pharma on Big Farms: Illegal Drugs in Chicken Feathers.

The most dangerous additive used in the meat industry is antibiotics, though. See, for example:

For more on what may be bad for the breast, check out:

And for what may be protective, see:

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous “meat defamation” trial. Currently Dr. Greger proudly serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United

Is Soy Healthy for Breast Cancer Survivors?

Soyfoods have become controversial in recent years,…even among health professionals,…exacerbated by misinformation found on the Internet.” Chief among the misconceptions is that soy foods promote breast cancer, because they contain a class of  phytoestrogen compounds called isoflavones. Since estrogens can promote breast cancer growth, it’s natural to assume phytoestrogens might too.

But, people don’t realize there are two types of estrogen receptors in the body—alpha and beta. And, unlike actual estrogen, soy phytoestrogens “preferentially bind to and activate [estrogen receptor beta]. This distinction is important, because the 2 [types of receptors] have different tissue distributions…and often function differently, and sometimes in opposite ways.” And, this appears to be the case in the breast, where beta activation has an anti-estrogenic effect, inhibiting the growth-promoting effects of actual estrogen—something we’ve known for more than ten years. There’s no excuse anymore.

The effects of estradiol, the primary human estrogen, on breast cells are completely opposite to those of soy phytoestrogens, which have antiproliferative effects on breast cancer cells, even at the low concentrations one gets in one’s bloodstream eating just a few servings of soy—which makes sense, given that after eating a cup of soybeans, the levels in our blood cause significant beta receptor activation.

So, where did this outdated notion that soy could increase breast cancer risk come from? The concern was “based largely on research that showed that [the main soy phytoestrogen] genistein stimulates the growth of mammary tumors in [a type of] mouse.” But, it turns out, we’re not actually mice. We metabolize soy isoflavones very differently from rodents. The same soy leads to 20 to 150 times higher levels in the bloodstream of rodents. The breast cancer mouse in question was 58 times higher. So, if you ate 58 cups of soybeans a day, you could get some significant alpha activation, too. But, thankfully, we’re not hairless athymic ovariectomized mice, and we don’t tend to eat 58 cups of soybeans a day.

At just a few servings of soy a day, with the excess beta activation, we would assume soy would actively help prevent breast cancer. And, indeed, “[s]oy intake during childhood, adolescence, and adult life were each associated with a decreased risk of breast cancer.” Those women who ate the most soy in their youth appear to grow up to have less than half the risk.

This may help explain why breast cancer rates are so much higher here than in Asia—yet, when Asians come over to the U.S. to start eating and living like Americans, their risk shoots right up.  For example, women in Connecticut—way at the top of the breast cancer risk heap—in their fifties have, like, ten times more breast cancer than women in their fifties living in Japan. But, it’s not just genetic, since when they move here, their breast cancer rates go up generation after generation, as they assimilate into our culture.

Are the anti-estrogenic effects of soy foods enough to actually change the course of the disease? We didn’t know, until the first human study on soy food intake and breast cancer survival was published in 2009 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, suggesting that “[a]mong women with breast cancer, soy food consumption was significantly associated with decreased risk of death and [breast cancer] recurrence.” Followed by another study, and then another, all with similar findings.

That was enough for the American Cancer Society, who brought together a wide range of cancer experts to offer nutrition guidelines for cancer survivors, to conclude that, if anything, soy foods should be beneficial. Since then, two additional studies have been published, for a total of five, and they all point in the same direction. Five out of five, tracking more than 10,000 breast cancer patients.

Pooling all the results, soy food intake after breast cancer diagnosis was associated with reduced mortality (meaning a longer lifespan) and reduced recurrence—so, less likely the cancer comes back. Anyone who says otherwise hasn’t cracked a journal open in seven years.

And, this improved survival was for both women with estrogen receptor negative tumors and estrogen receptor positive tumors, and for both younger women, and for older women. Pass the edamame.

Doctor’s Note

This is probably the same reason flax seeds are so protective. See Flax Seeds & Breast Cancer Survival: Epidemiological Evidence and Flax Seeds & Breast Cancer Survival: Clinical Evidence.

What about women who carry breast cancer genes? I touched on that in BRCA Breast Cancer Genes & Soy, and it’s the topic of my next video, Should Women at High Risk for Breast Cancer Avoid Soy?

What about genetically modified soy? I made a video abut that too; see GMO Soy & Breast Cancer.

Who Shouldn’t Eat Soy? Glad you asked. Watch that video too! 🙂

Not all phytoestrogens may be protective, though. See The Most Potent Phytoestrogen is in Beer and What are the Effects of the Hops Phytoestrogen in Beer?

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous “meat defamation” trial. Currently Dr. Greger proudly serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United

How to Block Breast Cancer’s Estrogen-Producing Enzymes

The vast majority of breast cancers start out “hormone-dependent,” meaning the primary human estrogen, called “estradiol plays a crucial role in [breast cancer] development and progression.” That’s one of the reasons why soy food consumption appears so protective against breast cancer—because soy phytoestrogens, like genistein, act as estrogen-blockers. They block the binding of estrogens, like estradiol, to breast cancer cells.

But, wait a second. “The majority of breast cancers occur [after menopause], when the ovaries have [stopped producing estrogen].” What’s the point of eating estrogen blockers if there’s no estrogen to block? It turns out the breast cancer tumors themselves produce their own estrogen from scratch to fuel their own growth.

Estrogens may be formed in breast tumors by multiple pathways. The breast cancer takes cholesterol, and, using the aromatase enzyme, or two hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase enzymes, produces its own estrogen.

So, there’s two ways to stop breast cancer. One is to use “antiestrogens,” estrogen-blockers, like the soy phytoestrogens, or “the anti-estrogen [drug] tamoxifen…However, another way to block estradiol is by using anti-enzymes” to prevent the breast cancer from making all the estrogen in the first place.

And, indeed, there are a variety of anti-aromatase drugs in current use. In fact, inhibiting the estrogen production has been shown to be “more effective” than just trying to block the effects of the estrogen—”suggesting that the inhibition of estrogen synthesis is clinically very important for the treatment of estrogen-dependent breast cancer.” It turns out soy phytoestrogens can do both.

Using ovary cells taken from women undergoing in vitro fertilization, soy phytoestrogens were found to reduce the expression of the aromatase enzyme. What about in breast cancer cells, though? Breast cancer cells, too—not only suppressing aromatase activity, but the other estrogen-producing enzyme, too.

But, this is in a petri dish. Does soy suppress estrogen production in people too Well, circulating estrogen levels appear significantly lower in Japanese women than American white women. And, Japan does have the highest per capita soy food consumption. But, you don’t know it’s the soy until you put it to the test. Japanese women were randomized to add soymilk to their diet—or not—for a few months. Estrogen levels did seem to drop about a quarter in the soymilk-supplemented group. Interestingly, when they tried the same experiment in men, they got similar results: a significant drop in female hormone levels, with no change in testosterone levels.

These results, though, are in Japanese men and women that were already consuming soy in their baseline diet. So, it’s really just looking at “higher versus lower…soy intake.”

What happens if you give soymilk to women in Texas? Circulating estrogen levels cut in half. Since increased estrogen levels are a “[marker] for high risk for breast cancer,” the effectiveness of soy to reduce estrogen levels may help explain why Chinese and Japanese women have such low rates of breast cancer.

And, what was truly remarkable is that estrogen levels stayed down a month or two, even after they stopped drinking it. This suggests you don’t have to consume soy every day to have the cancer-protective benefit.

Doctor’s Note

Wait, soy protects against breast cancer? Yes, in study after study after study. Even in women at high risk? See BRCA Breast Cancer Genes & Soy.

Even if you already have breast cancer? See Is Soy Healthy for Breast Cancer Survivors?

Even GMO soy? See GMO Soy & Breast Cancer.

Okay, then, Who Shouldn’t Eat Soy? Watch that video too! 🙂

What else can we do to decrease breast cancer risk? See:

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous “meat defamation” trial. Currently Dr. Greger proudly serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United

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