Saturday, April 25, 2015

Breast Health: Take Control (Part 1)

It used to be that only older women got breast cancer; now increasing numbers of younger women – even women in their 20’s – are developing breast cancer. More and more people of all ages, sexes and ethnic backgrounds are getting sick. Shouldn’t we be asking, “What’s going on? What can we do about it?”

Breasts can be early warning devices for women. If our breasts are tender, painful and lumpy, and anything other than completely healthy, they are telling us not only that something is wrong with our breasts, but that there may also be something wrong with our bodies. These signs tell us that it is time to take action to avoid more serious disease in our breasts and in the rest of our bodies.

Breast Tenderness and Excessive Effective of Estrogen
The most common breast complaints have to do with premenstrual breast tenderness. This is most commonly due to an excessive accumulation of our own natural estrogens in the breasts, relative to progesterone. It may also be due to birth control pills, which may have a stronger estrogenic effect, other medications, which exert an estrogenic effect, or environmental toxins that are estrogenic (aka xenoestrogens). Symptoms can be treated by getting out of bras as much as possible, taking supplemental progesterone, and taking iodine.

Some women may go on to develop fibrocystic breast disease, which presents as lumpy, bumpy and tender breasts. These women need to do the exact same things as women who simply have tender breasts. In addition to these steps, women can help resolve fibrocystic breast disease by taking evening primrose oil and sufficient amounts of vitamin D, and avoiding or reducing the intake of caffeine, which alters the way the body metabolizes estrogen and affects the estrogen receptors. Topical iodine applied directly to the skin over the painful cysts speeds resolution of the problem.

Breast Lumps
Another problem is a breast lump. Fortunately, over 90% of the time breast lumps are not cancerous. In younger women, a single nontender lump is almost always a non-cancerous tumor called an adenoma. Surgery is curative. However, because of the heightened awareness of breast cancer – even in young women – it can be quite alarming when a woman finds a lump in her breast. A woman is thrown into limbo, and she may feel as if she is not in control of her life. Breast lumps should not be ignored.

The first thing to do is to pay attention to when you noticed the breast lump. If the breast lump is tender and first noticed during the two weeks prior to the onset of one’s period, then it is reasonable to wait until after having a period to see if the breast lump resolves. If it gets much smaller and the tenderness disappears, this indicates fibrocystic breast disease, so follow the recommendations above. If, however, the breast lump is not tender and it does not go away, a woman needs a mammogram and an ultrasound, and possibly a biopsy.

Monday, April 20, 2015

My Go-To Resource Guide

There are certain websites I know I can count on for the latest news, research and tips on many important subjects related to healthy living. I have compiled a list of these sites (with links) for anyone who wants to learn more. 

If you're a Piedmont Triad resident who attended the Natural Triad Health, Wellness & Green Living Show this past weekend, you'll recognize a lot of this information from my talk.
The Environmental Working Group is a good place to start. It has many subsections, including:
  • FOOD Scores provides information about food safety. EWG’s smart phone app, Food Scores, gives you information about processed food when you scan the product barcode. Search for it on Google Play or AppStore.
  • Food News provides information on pesticides and food, and ranks the dirty dozen and the clean 15. Smart phone app also available as Dirty Dozen.
  • EWG’s The Shoppers Guide to avoiding genetically engineered food.
  • EWG also provides information on Filtering Water.
  • SkinDeep is EWG's comprehensive list of safe and not-so-safe personal care items.
  • This EWG-sponsored website focuses on how to raise healthy kids.
Moms Across America is a grassroots organization that is working to increase the awareness of the toxicity of glyphosate, i.e.  RoundUp®. They have documented that it is bio-accumulating in breast milk.

Monsanto’s dream bill, which blocks states from requiring GMO labeling, was reintroduced into Congress in March by Rep. Mike Pompeo (KS). Its formal name is the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act. It is also called the DARK Act (Deny Americans the Right to Know Act) by critics and opponents of the law. Contact your representatives to let them know you oppose this act!

Institute for Responsible Technology is the first and the most comprehensive website on the dangers of GMO foods and products. It's run by Jeffrey Smith, who first sounded the alarm against GMOs in the late 1990s.

The Power of Poop explains the importance of having a healthy microbiome. It details the availability of fecal transplants as an option to reintroducing life-enhancing microbes into the digestive system.

This TED Talk concerns the microbiome in the gut. The American Gut Project lets you donate money and a stool sample and find out exactly what critters are living in your gut.

The movie BOUGHT looks at different factors that may be contributing to why children are getting sicker and what we need to do to promote greater health.

The World Health Organization created this report on indoor and outdoor air contaminants.

The WaterKeeper Alliance informs people about pollutants in our natural waterways and why we need to take action to protect them.

BYRDIE provides a short simple list of ingredients to avoid in cosmetics.

MercOut details the problems of Mercury toxicity and offers an oral chelation therapy to remove mercury from the body. This product is available at Vaughan Integrative Medicine.

Thrive Market is a great place to buy better food at reasonable prices.

Wise Choice Market specializes in recently produced organic fresh foods--bone broth, fermented foods, etc.--that can be ordered for delivery.

Holy Crap offers gluten-free, vegan and certified organic breakfast cereals.

Wholesome Chow offers gluten free and organic grains and baking mixes.

GoodRx helps you shop the prices of pharmaceuticals at local pharmacies. You can also download coupons that may save you more money than your insurance.