Relieving Yourself of Excess Estrogen – Dietary Habits For Breast Cancer Prevention

Vegetarian Diet Helps Prevent Breast Cancer By: Michael Greger, M.D., a physician, author, and internationally recognized professional speaker.

Earlier this year a study was published comparing the hormonal levels of women with and without breast cancer. If estrogen makes most breast cancers grow, then one would expect that the levels of both estrogen would be higher in women who have breast cancer compared to women who don’t, or at least who don’t yet.

And indeed, no surprise, that’s what they found, significantly more estradiol freely circulating through their bloodstream of those with breast cancer. But the study also looked at diets and hormonal levels. These were all omnivores. The women eating vegetarian did even better.

This may help explain why, in a study of the “relative risks for breast cancer by levels of animal product consumption”, there appears to be a trend between lower breast cancer risk the more vegetarian someone eats. And it was researchers at my medical alma mater Tufts that figured out why, in a landmark article published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

See, the way your body gets rid of excess cholesterol is to dump it into the digestive tract knowing full well that there will be lots of fiber in there to grab it, hold onto it, and flush it out the body. (hopefully you chew a little better than that).

We did, after all, evolve quite a long time before Twinkies and Wonder Bread, and royal institutions such as Burger King and Dairy queen. So our body just expects it. It just assumes our intestines are going to be packed with fiber all day long—7 times more than we’re getting now. We certainly did evolve eating some meat, but plants don’t tend to run as fast and so the bulk of our diets was made up, of a lot of bulk.

And that’s how our body gets rid of excess estrogen. Vegetarian women have increased fiber input, which leads to “vegetarian women having an increase fecal output, which leads to increased excretion of estrogen and a decreased blood concentration of estrogen.”

And this just wasn’t in theory, they measured it. “Subjects were provided with plastic bags and insulated boxes filled with dry ice for thee 24 hour fecal collections.” You’ve hear of popsicles, well they had them make more like, poopsicles.

And here you go: In any one 24 hour period, the vegetarians were fecally excreting more than twice as much estrogen as the omnivores.

And, measuring the estrogen excretion versus the size of the fecal output, you can see, the bigger the better. See heavyweight V’s versus the welterweight Os? No wonder vegetarian women in the United States have been found to have such lower rates of breast cancer.

It’s great that many women stopped HRT, stopped taking extra estrogens. Well, another way to rid yourself of excess estrogens is in the way nature intended.

Video Sources

Mills PK, Beeson WL, Phillips RL, Fraser GE. Dietary habits and breast cancer incidence among Seventh-day Adventists. Cancer. 1989 Aug 1;64(3):582-90.

Goldin BR, Adlercreutz H, Gorbach SL, Warram JH, Dwyer JT, Swenson L, Woods MN. Estrogen excretion patterns and plasma levels in vegetarian and omnivorous women. N Engl J Med. 1982 Dec 16;307(25):1542-7.

Aubertin-Leheudre M, Hamalainen E, Adlercreutz H. Diets and hormonal levels in postmenopausal women with or without breast cancer. Nutr Cancer. 2011 May;63(4):514-24.

Michael Greger M.D.About Michael Greger M.D.
Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, 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.

Related Article:

Estrogen Dominance and Xenoestrogens

10 Ways to Reduce Risk of Breast Cancer

Estrogenic Cooked Meat Carcinogens

Estrogen Dominance and Xenoestrogens

Eliminate Plastic Packaging To Prevent Breast CancerBy: Dr. Christina Grant, A Holistic Healer, Intuitive Counselor, Teacher, and Author of The Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer: Every Woman’s Guide to Health, Vitality, & Wellbeing.

Estrogen dominance and xenoestrogens are words smart women are learning about to keep their bodies healthy and strong in our plasticized world.

Signs of excess estrogen in your body include painful or unpredictable periods, PMS, cervical dysplasia, depression, anxiety, worry, decreased libido, fatigue, weight gain in the hips and stomach, possibly cold hands and feet, and fibrocystic breasts or cancer. Estrogen dominance is partly caused from foods, cosmetics, and other products that carry xenoestrogens (fake estrogens) into the body.

Some chemicals found in plants act like the female sex hormone estradiol, our primary estrogen. Synthetic forms of this chemical are found in plastic, pesticides, dioxins, PCBs, and in drugs given to livestock and poultry to prevent miscarriage and promote growth.

To lower the chances for these xenoestrogens to enter your body and behave like estrogen, reduce or eliminate foods that come in plastic wrap and plastic packaging. This includes water you buy in plastic bottles, since chemicals in the plastic leach into food and water.

In a study at Tufts University published in Environmental Health Perspectives in 1991, Drs. Ana Soto and Carlos Sonnenschein observed that breast cancer cells placed in plastic dishes would grow quickly. Knowing these cells need estrogen to reproduce, they were curious about what contributed to the rapid cell growth. They discovered that the chemical nonylphenol, which prevents plastic from cracking, caused the growth of the breast cancer cells. Apparently nonylphenol had leached out of the plastic dishes and behaved like estrogen with the cells. Researchers then experimented with other commonly used plastics, detergents, and pesticides. They witnessed rapid growth when the breast cancer cells were exposed to these products. (See my post Breast Health through Liver Health for numerous ways to help your body clear these toxins.)

Conventionally-raised beef and dairy cows are given growth hormones. Their feed is treated with pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. When you consume conventional milk, cheese, ice cream, cottage cheese, yogurt, chocolate, and processed foods with beef, milk, or milk products in them, you risk overloading your body with xenoestrogens. (Not to mention what the GMOs are doing.) Read more about this in Milk: Does it Do a Body Good?

Organic, grass-fed beef and dairy are the better choice. If you can’t find them or if they are too costly, look for hormone and pesticide-free products. Eat organic chicken and eggs when you can find them, organic grains, and produce that is free from toxic sprays. Note that chemicals used to kill bugs and fungi on the food supply penetrate the surface of whatever they land on, including the soil. Even washing these foods well before you eat them won’t take away the chemicals they have absorbed.

Sometimes you will be in situations where poor quality food and water is all there is. I find this happens most when I travel or attend public events. Until the “food consciousness” raises in this country and truly healthful choices are accessible, we can make the best of it based on what is available. Bless your food and water then return to your organic, food-from-nature, plastic-free diet when you return home.

Dr. Christina Grant Contributor For Breast Cancer Authority BlogDr. Christina Grant is a holistic healer, intuitive counselor, teacher, and author of The Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer: Every Woman’s Guide to Health, Vitality, & Wellbeing. With a PhD in Human Science, she blends meaningful, intuitive life guidance with energy healing and balancing, both by phone and in person, to help people attain physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness. Her book can be found on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle versions, as well as B&N, and other retailers.

To learn more about Dr. Christina Grant or to contact her, please visit her website at

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