Supplements To Prevent Breast Cancer Recurrence

photo credit: Wikipedia

photo credit: Wikipedia

Can a pill really prevent a breast cancer recurrence? Some people actually scoff at the notion that supplements really do much good at all in disease prevention. Lest we forget, many of the most popular pharmaceutical drugs in history come from natural substances. For example, digoxin, a drug commonly used to treat heart conditions, comes from the foxglove shrub. And that lovely Taxol you’ve enjoyed at your oncologist’s office? Yep, it comes from the Pacific Yew Tree. So, is it really a stretch that we can harness the power of nature in a kinder, gentler way to help us win the war on cancer?

I’m not naive enough to think that I can take a few vitamins to keep the beast at bay. No, this will require a multi-pronged approach to change the internal terrain that allowed the cancer to flourish in the first place. Think about it. Your immune system is designed to do two things very well, seek and destroy foreign invaders, whether they be bacteria, viruses, or cancer cells. The fact that you developed cancer means that something went terribly wrong with that system. What was it? Nobody really knows…it could have been a genetic error, an environmental insult, stress, poor diet, or all of the above.

So, when I think about my strategy to win this war, I think globally. And a large part of that strategy is the supplement protocol that I have come up with through hours of research and conversation with doctors and other survivors. Since taking a butt-load of pills is no fun, I have tried to select only those that come up repeatedly as beneficial for cancer prevention. Sorry, it’s still at least half a butt-load. But I consider this a life insurance policy, and it’s worth a little inconvenience in my book.

**Vitamin D: the superstar of cancer prevention; a building block and co-factor for countless reactions in the body. If you’re actively fighting cancer, shoot for a level around 80-85 ng/mL. For prevention, an ideal range is 60-80. Please check your levels at baseline and monitor regularly. Vitamin D can be toxic in excess, but this is rare. I’m pleased to say my level is now 62 ng/mL after taking 6,000 IU per day for months. Your dosage will vary based on your starting level and how much sun exposure you get.

**Green Tea Extract: one of the most studied substances for cancer prevention; works at the metabolic level; may be involved in programmed cancer cell death, preventing cancer blood vessel formation, protecting DNA from damage leading to uncontrolled proliferation, and more. Super anti-oxidant. I take 1,000 mg twice per day.

**Curcumin: see above; better absorbed in a formula containing black pepper; I take 500 mg twice per day. Take this with food, and watch for stomach upset/heartburn. I have developed some unexplained mild burning in my stomach, so I’m going to take a break from this for a week or so and see if it is the culprit.

**DIM: I’m going to be honest here; I’m still working with this one. I think it’s very important, as it funnels estrogen metabolism down benign pathways instead of cancer-causing ones. However, since my estrogen is very low already, it seems to drive it too low. Give it a shot. Nature’s Way DIM Plus has great reviews.

**Iodine: Iodine has proven to be a great thing for the breasts; it prevents and reverses fibrocystic changes that lead to breast cancer. As a bonus, it helps with hot flashes. I use 2 mg per day as Prolamine Iodine by Standard Process. If you’re leery of taking this, you can have an urinary iodine loading test done to see where your levels are, but many experts (look up David Brownstein) feel that most people are deficient.

**Echinacea Premium: I use this brand by Mediherb because it is of such high quality. Not all Echinacea is created equal, and since this is the foundation of my immune support, I want only the best. 2-4 per day, depending on how depleted you are.

**Mushroom Complex: Be sure it contains at least Turkey tail mushrooms, which are the most researched, but Reishi, Maitake, and Ganoderma are also great. Host Defense is the brand used in clinical research, but it is pricey, so get it on sale.

Food-Based B-Complex: I use Emerald Labs brand because it is all natural (many synthetic B’s are made from coal tar and other really nasty substances) and contains the methyl forms of folate and B12. Methyl groups are crucial for detoxification pathways (think liver health and estrogen metabolism). One per day.

Buffered Vitamin C with bioflavonoids: I use Ester C. Anti-oxidant and immune support. 1,000 mg twice per day.

Fish Oil: Buy a quality brand and keep it refrigerated, as fish oil will go rancid quickly and can cause more harm than good. 2-3 grams/day. This supplies Omega 3 fatty acids, which are generally in very short supply in the American diet.

Wild Yam Complex:  Forget cancer for a minute, this is all about me.This has been a God-send to control hot flashes. It is from Mediherb and contains a blend of herbs, including a little St. John’s Wort for mood. Please check any drugs you are taking for interactions, as St. John’s Wort will affect many. Between this and Iodine, I have zero hot flashes.

Everyone is different, and this approach may not be possible or desirable for some, but I feel that in an age where people regularly pay $4.00 for a cup of coffee and think nothing of it, I’m willing to suck it up and make my health a priority.

No, you can’t swill liquor while smoking and eating chocolate cake because you take these supplements. But that’s a post for another day:)

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9 thoughts on “Supplements To Prevent Breast Cancer Recurrence

  1. Thank God for wild yam!!! I take this one as well, along with Flashease (Dong quai root and black cohosh root) and Women’s X-Action (primarily maca root extract) to finish the balancing out of my hormones. Both are available from NaturesSunshine.com. And, of course, I take several others that you mention. Those insurance policies are important! I shared this on my Lights Cancer Action Facebook page. 🙂 Thanks!

    • Thank you! I appreciate that. Nature’s Sunshine makes good products; I’ve used them before. I’ve wondered about the maca. Whole World Botanicals makes one with DIM. I tried it before my diagnosis (without DIM) for a short time but didn’t notice much. Of course, that could change since my estrogen is sooo low now.

  2. I hope and pray that you will win your battle against cancer. That you will have an optimal health, fast healing and the strength to overcome the many challenges ahead. My wife is also scared about breast cancer and though her doctor assured her that her last physicals were okay, she can’t help but wonder and be anxious about it. We always include it in our prayers and my 8-year old makes sure he never forgets to pray for his mom’s good health. Sorry to hear about your son’s passing too. Family, good friends and faith above all help us go through the worst. Thank you for sharing and inspiring everyone to hang on to hope and to keep fighting for all sorts of battles life gives us. God bless you and your family.

    • I understand your wife’s concern. It seems as if everyone is being diagnosed with cancer these days. But hopefully she can relax and enjoy life. Stress is bad for the immune system!

  3. I am with you on this i am following a supplement program and diet via a functional medicine doctor for some other health issues not related to cancer… I am starting to feel so much better. I am having some via injection or IV as my gut is not absorbing nutrients well… The difference the next day when i have these is remarkable… 😃😃

    • I’m glad you’re feeling a difference. That’s a good point about absorption. A lot of us actually have too little stomach acid to absorb nutrients, especially the older we get. I’m thinking of trying an old Amish tonic called Yoder’s. It has apple cider vinegar and a bunch of natural herbs for health and vitality. Apple cider vinegar is great for digestion.

  4. As the say, “Nothing beats a failure, but a try.” I am open to accepting recommendations and furthering my awareness of most things. Definitely, I want to pursue the available options to address breast cancer recurrence. Thank you so much for sharing. Of the supplements you have listed, I take only Vitamin D and Fish Oil (in capsule). I assume the liquid form of fish oil is the recommended supplement to avoid recurrence. Thank you for sharing.

    • You’re so welcome, and I hope you get some useful information out of this. You can take the fish oil capsules, but you want to make sure on the bottle that they have been purified and then keep them refrigerated.

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