Why Balancing Hormones Is Essential for Cancer Patients?
When we attempt to support hormonally driven cancer patients, we typically aren’t trying to block estrogen production like the drugs do; we would rather support healthy, normal elimination of estrogens through proper metabolism. However, some people may over-express estrogen in a state of ‘hyper-aromatization’ and do well on nutrients such as Chrysin, Quercetin, Naringenin, Resveratrol, Apigenin, Genistein, Grape Seed Extract, and Oleuropein, all ‘natural slowing agents’ of aromatase.
Generally, our desire is to support healthy metabolism by supporting the cytochrome P-450 pathways (we also look at these genes). Compounds found in vegetables such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli, from the Brassica plant family are essential for this. I3C and DIM, are found in these foods. Glutathione S-transferase is also upregulated by the sulfur constituents in cruciferous vegetables so make sure you look at and support genetic defects in the Transsulfuration pathway.
Other nutrients that support healthy estrogen balance may include Norway spruce lignan extract AND Hops extract. Plant lignans are phytonutrients commonly found in small amounts in unrefined whole grains, seeds, nuts, vegetables, berries, and beverages, such as tea (green tea) and coffee. The friendly bacteria in our intestines convert plant lignans into the “human” lignans called enterodiol and enterolactone. Aromatic-PN is a concentrated, naturally occurring plant lignan called 7-hydroxymatairesinol, which is derived from the Norway spruce (Picea abies). In humans, 7-hydroxymatairesinol is a direct metabolic precursor of enterolactone.
Enterolactone is a phytoestrogen that binds to estrogen receptors and has both weak estrogenic and weak antiestrogenic effects. The latter accounts for much of its cell-protective capacity. Additionally, in vitro work has demonstrated that enterolactone affects aromatase and the biosynthesis of estrogen and has strong free radical scavenging and antioxidant properties.
The protective effect of lignans and enterolactone on tissues, including those of the prostate and breast, is encouraging. At the same time, the estrogenicity of HMR and enterolactone, although milder than estradiol, offers promising applications for women with menopausal concerns. For instance, in a randomized, single-blind, parallel group pilot study, 20 menopausal women taking 50 mg/d of hydroxymatairesinol for eight weeks experienced half as many hot flashes as compared to pretreatment. Furthermore, high serum enterolactone has repeatedly been associated with cardiovascular health.
What Nutrients Can Be Used for Balancing Hormones?
Sulforaphane (SFN) is an isothiocyanate found in cruciferous vegetables and is especially high in broccoli and broccoli sprouts as well as other cruciferous vegetables. Recent studies suggest that SFN offers protection against tumor development during the “post-initiation” phase and mechanisms for suppression effects of SFN, including cell cycle arrest and apoptosis induction.
Other studies show data that suggests sulforaphane inhibits cell growth, activates apoptosis, inhibits HDAC activity, and decreases the expression of key proteins involved in breast cancer proliferation in human breast cancer cells.
We’ve found it to be beneficial in many hormone-driven cancers.
Read more about broccoli extract here.
Read more about the NRF2 pathway and sulforaphane here:
What we use for hormone regulation:
Indole-3-carbinol (I3C) is an essential nutrient found in Brassica vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and collard greens. Diindolylmethane (DIM) is the digestion derivative of indole-3-carbinol via condensation formed in the acidic environment of the stomach. If you are going to use I3C as a nutritional supplement (and you may want to consider this after reading this article), take DIM. DIM has long been studied for its anti-carcinogenic effects and its ability to bind and rid the body of ‘bad’ estrogens. These so-called ‘bad’ estrogens are both made in the body as intermediate metabolites and consumed through estrogen exposure in drinking water and estrogen disruptors such as plastics. The later are termed xenoestrogens, as there are toxins from environmental sources.
DIM’s history for cancer prevention and therapy  began when a mouse study showed its promising results in tobacco smoke, carcinogen-induced, lung adenocarcinoma. DIM was found to have ‘lung cancer preventive effects’ that are mediated via modulation of the receptor tyrosine kinase/PI3K/Akt-signaling pathway . DIM demonstrated ‘exceptional anti-cancer effects against hormone responsive cancers like breast, prostate and ovarian cancers’ . In a recent study, it was concluded that DIM rather than I3C was the active agent in cell culture studies destroying cancer .
DIM transduces signaling via aryl hydrocarbon (Ah) receptor, NF-κB/Wnt/Akt/mTOR pathways, to help inhibit growth. These pathways are typically up regulated in cancer patients yet DIM may help block many of these avenues.
DIM was also found to induce cell cycle arrest, helping slow replication of cancer cells. It also helps modulate key CYP enzymes in the liver, aiding important detoxification channels. DIM was found to alter angiogenesis, the lay-down of new vessels that cancers rely on for continued growth. It decreases cell invasion, metastasis and epigenetic behavior of cancer cells as well .
DIM was found to induce Nrf2-mediated, intercellular detoxification (GSTm2, UGT1A1, and NQO1) and antioxidant (HO-1 and SOD1) genes. These pathways are our essential detoxification pathways inside every cell. Think of them as the cellular garbage service that gets rid of the poisons that would otherwise wreak havoc. Individuals with genetic defects on Nrf2, Glutathione, and SOD genes have an even greater need to support such cellular garbage service.
DIM has also shown synergistic benefits with isothiocyanates, and sulforaphane, the nutrients found in cruciferous vegetables that have been found to have such wonderful benefits for patients with cancer .
Overall, DIM showed anti-cancer properties, especially in hormonally driven tumors. DIM is currently in clinical trials for various other forms of cancers, however, given its benefits to boost other natural therapies, it may be a good add for all cancer patients.
 Kim YS, Milner JA. Targets for indole-3-carbinol in cancer prevention. J Nutr Biochem. 2005;16(2):65–73. [PubMed]
 Qian X, Melkamu T, Upadhyaya P, Kassie F. Indole-3-carbinol inhibited tobacco smoke carcinogen-induced lung adenocarcinoma in A/J mice when administered during the post-initiation or progression phase of lung tumorigenesis. Cancer Lett. 2011 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
 Acharya A, Das I, Singh S, Saha T. Chemopreventive properties of indole-3-carbinol, diindolylmethane and other constituents of cardamom against carcinogenesis. Recent Pat Food Nutr Agric. 2010;2(2):166–177. [PubMed]
 Bradlow HL, Zeligs MA. Diindolylmethane (DIM) spontaneously forms from indole-3-carbinol (I3C) during cell culture experiments. In Vivo. 2010;24(4):387–391. [PubMed]
 Banerjee S, Kong D, Wang Z, Bao B, Hillman GG, Sarkar FH. Attenuation of multi-targeted proliferation-linked signaling by 3,3′-diindolylmethane (DIM): From bench to clinic. Mutat Res. 2011[PMC free article] [PubMed]
 Saw CL, Cintron M, Wu TY, Guo Y, Huang Y, Jeong WS, Kong AN. Pharmacodynamics of dietary phytochemical indoles I3C and DIM: Induction of Nrf2-mediated phase II drug metabolizing and antioxidant genes and synergism with isothiocyanates. Biopharm Drug Dispos. 2011;32(5):289–300.[PMC free article] [PubMed]
What we use for hormone regulation with DIM:
Indole-3-carbinol (I3C) is a naturally occurring compound found in numerous cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale and cabbage. Following ingestion of I3C, the body converts it to several different metabolites, one of which is diindolylmethane (DIM). Both of these compounds, as well as many other I3C metabolites, have been shown to impact metabolic shifts and cellular activities for improved health outcomes. I3C has also been shown to temper estrogen signals by competing for binding sites and inhibiting the activity of estrogen receptors.6-15 A study published in the Journal of Nutrition unveiled evidence that I3C supports healthy cellular function related to estrogen metabolism.
What we use for hormone regulation containing I3C:
Norway Spruce Lignan
Conners Originals EstroClear delivers a unique, proprietary blend of 8-prenylnaringenin (8-PN) from hops and plant-lignan extract at clinically relevant levels. Research suggests lignans and 8-PN can support the body’s natural process of healthy aromatase activity and exert phytoestrogen (e.g., enterolactone) and antioxidant activity. This all-natural formula may support cardiovascular, bone, breast, and prostate health and help relieve normal menopausal discomforts.
What we use for hormone regulation containing Norway Spruce Lignan:
It is helpful to understand that most cancers with a hormonal component 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. The gene expressions of ER-a and estrogen receptor-beta (ER-b) in healthy 20-year-old females and the gene expressions in 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!
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.
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.
I said all the above to introduce Haelan 951 and SanoGastril, fermented soy products that up-regulate the ER-b (good guys) and down-regulates ER-a (the bad guys). These are great products and should be considered by ALL patients with ANY hormonal involvement with their cancer – breast cancer, ovarian, uterine, prostate and others!
What we use for hormone regulation containing fermented soy:
Buy Stop Treating Cancer & Start Treating the Cause to learn more about hormone health & regulation.
Dr. Conners graduated with his doctorate from Northwestern Health Sciences University in 1986 and has been studying alternative cancer care for over 20 years. He holds AMA Fellowships in Regenerative & Functional Medicine and Integrative Cancer Therapy.
He is the author of numerous books including, Stop Fighting Cancer and Start Treating the Cause, Cancer Can’t Kill You if You’re Already Dead, Help, My Body is Killing Me, Chronic Lyme, 3 Phases of Lyme, 23 Steps to Freedom, and many more you can download for FREE on our books page.