Dietary influence on disease and tumor growth has been the subject of scientific investigations for years. Lifestyle habits affect hormones and immune system function and it is widely recognized that breast, ovarian and prostate cancers can be hormonally driven. The reality is all cancers are hormonally driven at some level; and the hormonal effect on autoimmune disorders cannot be ignored. As I have stated in other chapters, the fluctuations in Th1/Th2 dominance that is a normal and protective during pregnancy and breastfeeding flows evenly with changes in hormone levels that sharply define both an increase or decrease in symptom patterns women may experience during pregnancy should they be autoimmune.
Understanding Fermented Soy
Though there are different types of estrogens, a buildup of what is commonly known as ‘bad’ estrogens are classified as carcinogens and can cause and promote cancer in both men and women under certain conditions. These can be either from xenoestrogens (coming from the environment) or phytoestrogens (estrogen-like chemicals common in diet); not all phytoestrogens are bad and not every person reacts the same to these. Therefore it is important to recognize the relationship and interaction between estrogens, xenoestrogens, phytoestrogens, estrogen receptors, cellular immunity and cancers. Armed with this knowledge the physician can better manage and help prevent both and inflammatory autoimmune disorders and cancer.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with NON-bio-identical hormones, increases both cancer occurrence and death rates. To understand this, we need to recognize that both HRT and the exposure to xenoestrogens (bad estrogens from our environment), of which none of us can escape, increase the gene expression of the estrogen receptors-alpha (ER-a) on cells. This is the receptor site, or ‘docking port’ where estrogens attach to enter through the cell membrane to get into the cell.
Cancer and Estrogen Receptors
Cancers are always involved with the ER-a receptors. The gene expressions of ER-a and estrogen receptor-beta (ER-b) in healthy 20-year-old females and the gene expressions in four classes of postmenopausal women can be very different. Postmenopausal women can have increased ER-a sites and decreased ER-b sites in their cells. I know this sounds confusing but it is very important to understand. These two different receptors on the cell membrane (ER-a and ER-b) work very different from each other; where the ER-a is a true estrogen receptor, ER-b is not.
As women age and move towards perimenopause, ovarian secretion of estrogen slowly decreases and adrenal secretion of estrogen should ‘take up the slack’. Here lies a major problem; women entering perimenopause with adrenal insufficiency and hypothalamus-pituitary axis lesions are exposed to have extreme fluctuations in estrogen levels that lead to the problem of having an increase in the amount of ER-a sites on their cell membranes with a concurrent decrease the other receptor site called ER-b (Estrogen receptor beta). To further the problem – the greater the exposure to xenoestrogens, the greater the disparity between the numbers of ER-a and ER-b occurs. This is neither normal nor healthy for several reasons and worse when it comes to leading to cancer because the ER-b sites function to stimulate apoptosis. When you down-regulate receptor sites for apoptosis, bad things happen!
Say NO to Hormones
To make things worse, we see that use of non-bio-identical HRT, the increase exposure to xenoestrogens, and use of progesterone creams that aromatize to free (bad) estrogens and androgens cause increases in the ER-a receptor sites, which increases cancer risk and up-regulates the ER-a receptor sites. The ER-b sites on cells play a role in immunity and killing of cancer in the cells. Call them the ‘good guys’.
I know this all sounds mighty confusing, but stick with me for a minute. Research has shown that fermented soy phytoestrogens (fermented soy products) reduce the ER-a sites in these patients – that’s GOOD! Reducing ER-a on the cells and up-regulating your ER-b sites reduces your cancer risks of all types and allows your Th1 (immune killer cells) system to kill cancer cells! Remember that I said there are ‘good’ phytoestrogens and ‘bad’ phytoestrogens? Fermented soy is a good phytoestrogen.
In summary, cells have two different named estrogen receptor sites, ER-a and ER-b. ER-a receptor sites are the ones that receive and ‘process’ estrogens. If these sites are up-regulated and increased in number, estrogen toxicity begins and the risk of cancer in both men and women increases dramatically. The ER-b sites (good guys) are actually sites where another hormone, 3-beta adiol (adiol), attaches which then up-regulates immunity and kills cancer; you do not want this site down-regulated, which is what happens in HRT and exogenous exposure of xenoestrogens. Compounds that occupy the ER-b receptor site are anti-estrogenic, regulate immunity and kill cancer cells. Compounds that go to the ER-a site are carcinogenic, estrogenic, and involved with increased cancer risks.
I said all the above to introduce Haelin-951, a fermented soy product that up-regulates the ER-b (good guys) and down-regulates ER-a (the bad guys). It’s a great product!
We need to understand that fermented soy phytoestrogens are not estrogens, nor do they act like estrogens. Fermentation improves bioavailability and eliminates undesirable compounds found in non-fermented soy. All soy products are not created equal, and results presented herein may not be achieved with unfermented or lower-quality, GMO soy products. Though there are several products on the market, it must be emphasized that self-medicating is never a good idea. We suggest one be tested for the efficacy and necessity of this type of supplementation. More may be understood from my book, “Help, My Body is Killing Me – Solving the connections of autoimmune disease to thyroid problems, fibromyalgia, infertility, anxiety, depression, ADD/ADHD and more,” available as a free download here.