How Saliva Hormone Testing, Genetic Testing, and Dried Blood Spot Testing for Vitamin D Can Prevent Breast Cancer
It would seem that we are looking for the cure to Breast Cancer in all the wrong places. Most research in this area is focused on finding a pharmacological cure after the fact. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent every year on developing new chemotherapeutic drugs for this illness. Yet there are literally hundreds of studies to show that adequate amounts of Vitamin D may reduce the risk of developing Breast Cancer by as much as 50-90%. Vitamin D is very Anti-Cancer. Today it is estimated that 1 in every 8 women will develop Breast Cancer. With adequate supplementation of Vitamin D alone, that number could go to 1 in 72. Breast Cancer gets all the attention, but it is Heart Disease that women should be even more concerned about, as 4 out of 10 women will die from Heart Attack, Stroke, or Congestive Heart Failure. See my article on Heart Health. What is adequate supplementation of Vitamin D? It certainly isn’t the 1000 IU so commonly recommended. The reference ranges for so-called “Normal” levels in many labs are about 20-100 ng/ML. I can tell you if you have a level at 20 or below that you have an increased rate for mortality for all diseases, not just Breast Cancer. Conversely, women that have levels in the upper quartile of reference range for Vitamin D have 300-400% less Breast Cancer than those women with levels in the lowest quartile (25%) of testing. People who live near the Equator and are exposed to the sun for much of the day have levels of about 130 ng/ML. I personally feel that optimum levels should be in the 100-120 ng/Ml range. To accomplish this, most people will need to supplement 10,000 -20,000 IU of D3/K2 each day. D3 is absorbed better when it is taken in combination with K2, as the receptors for these two nutrients are found next to each other in all our cells. Is supplementing this much Vitamin D3 safe? Absolutely. There have never been any studies demonstrating toxicity at these levels. Vitamin D levels can easily be tested in the office measuring capillary blood from a simple finger prick test.
Another critical factor in preventing Breast Cancer, or its reoccurrence, is Estrogen detoxification. It is important for women to understand that they have three different kinds of Estrogen, i.e. Estrone or E1, Estradiol or E2, and Estriol or E3. Estrone and Estradiol are in a pool or reservoir together, and are potentially carcinogenic, and are readily interchangeable. Estriol, on the other hand, cannot transform back to Estrone or Estradiol, and is non-carcinogenic. Higher levels of Estriol are protective against Breast Cancer. Women must turn these oil soluble Estrogens into a water soluble form to get rid of it from the body through either the sweat, urine, or stool. This is probably why women who exercise regularly, statistically, have less Breast Cancer. When they sweat, they are increasing the detoxification of the Estrogen from the body. This first process of Estrogen Detoxification of making the hormone more water soluble, is called hydroxylation. In a normal metabolism, there are three bi-products, or metabolites, that can be made from Estrone, and they occur in a specific proportion; 2-hydroxyestrone at 50%, 16-alpha-hydroxyestrone at 40%, and 4-hydroxyestrone at 10%. As long as there is more of the 2 than the 4 and 16 versions, the woman is at decreased risk for Breast Cancer. However, there are multiple gene variants that can cause increased amounts of 4 and 16 versions to occur, increasing the risk for Breast Cancer. 22% of the population has one such variant. 28% of the population can have another such variant. That means as a woman, you have a 1 in 4 or 1 in 5 chance of having one of these genes. The good news is that there are naturally occurring foods and supplements that will help your body increase the amount of the 2-hydroxyextrone version. These are cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, brussell sprouts, and kale. Supplements containing I-3-Carbinol, DIM, Chrysin, Pepperdine Extract are often recommended as well.
The second phase of Estrogen detoxification is called Methylation. This is accomplished by Folate, B6, or B12. Unfortunately, about 22% have a gene variant related to either Folate or B12, meaning they have a problem with utilization of these B vitamins and, therefore, have a problem with methylation. By adding a methyl donor, the metabolites become respectively 2-methylhydroxyestrone, 16-methylalpha-hydroxyestrone, and 4-methylhydroxyestrone, and are now benign, or non-carcinogenic metabolites. Approximately, 40% of Caucasian women, 22% of African-American women, and 8% of Asian women have another gene variant that decreases their ability to methylate by 400-700%. Now you know some of the reasons why B vitamins are so important in the Phase II Estrogen detoxification process. We don’t know for sure if we need more B vitamins than usual if we don’t test for these gene variants. That is why genetic testing is so important. You need to know where your gene variants (weaknesses) are, so you can supplement appropriately.
By the time women are 35, Progesterone levels begin to drop. Progesterone is the natural balancing hormonal counterpart to Estrogen. Estrogen is dominant in the first 14 days of the cycle and Progesterone is dominant in the last 14 days. So, if you are, or did have PMS (irritability, weight gain, tender breasts), you were suffering from then, and still are, a deficiency of Progesterone. As women approach Menopause, the Progesterone levels drop even more. This lessens the protection from Breast Cancer. The risk of Breast Cancer increases with age. The incidence of Breast Cancer Under the age of 40 is only 5 % of the total number of cases diagnosed. However, Breast Cancer is the number one type of cancer diagnosed for women under the age of 40. Getting early genetic and saliva hormone testing and supplementing the found deficiencies and keeping Vitamin D levels optimum are good strategies for greatly reducing risks. Approximately 80% of all Breast Cancers occur in women over the age of 50. Menopause hits at age 50 on average. 50% of women having Breast Cancer are 62 years of age or older. Approximately one quarter of all cases occur after age 74. There are very few women under age 35 having an occurrence of Breast Cancer. Generally speaking, the younger a woman is when she is diagnosed with Breast Cancer, the more genetic variances play a role.
Genetic variants are tested by taking a swab sample of DNA from the inside of your cheek. This will determine specific gene variants that influence the Estrogen detoxification. This will determine if you need specific supplementation. Saliva hormone testing will determine if there is excess Estrone or Estradiol or insufficient Progesterone and Estriol, which will increase risk for Breast Cancer.
The risk of Breast Cancer increases with age. The incidence of Breast Cancer Under the age of 40 is only 5 % of the total number of cases diagnosed. However, Breast Cancer is the number one type of cancer diagnosed for women under the age of 40. Getting early genetic and saliva hormone testing and supplementing the found deficiencies and keeping Vitamin D levels optimum are good strategies for greatly reducing risks.
Specific supplementation can negate the negative gene expressions. However, if you don’t test, you don’t know, and you can’t fix it. You don’t have to figure all this out for yourself. That is where our expertise comes in. Call our office for more information at 813-774-3744, or call to schedule a consultation, or sign up for a consultation on line on our website.