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Top 10 Natural Steps in Promoting Breast Health
Where an Ounce of Prevention Truly is Worth a Pound of Cure
By Christine Dreher, CCN, CCH


Being someone has that lost one of my very special loved ones to breast cancer, I feel for all of you that have lost friends and family you cared for, and for all that have struggled with this disease. I am pleased when I hear about breast cancer awareness efforts, projects, and fund raisers that are researching for a cure. With my background as a natural, holistic Clinical Nutritionist and Herbalist practitioner, I can not help feeling that more attention needs to be focused on the causes of breast cancer and ways to prevent this disease from manifesting in the first place.

There is a growing consensus of agreement that breast cancer, like many other cancers is truly a ‘modern day’ epidemic, starting with the industrial revolution and escalating due to modern conveniences including fast foods, chemicals, xenoestrogens (by-product of industrial & chemical processing that has an unhealthy estrogen like affect), pesticides, other toxins, H.R.T., and more. Here are some startling timeline facts about the growth of cancer, including breast cancer since 1900 gathered from Wiki

  • 1900: Cancer caused only 3 out 100 deaths in the US. Breast cancer was basically unheard of.
  • 1949: After being unheard of 49 years ago, the breast cancer rate is now 58 out of every 100,000 .
  • 1950: From now to the year 2000, the overall cancer rate will go up 55%. (Lung cancer due to smoking is only 1/4 of that.) Breast and colon cancer will go up 60%, brain cancer 80% and childhood cancer will increase 20%.
  • 2000: Cancer is now the cause of 20 out of 100 of all deaths in the US, compared to just 3 out of 100 in 1900.
  • 2005: Breast cancer, which was extremely rare back in 1900 and only affected 58 out of 100,000 women in 1949, now strikes 1 in 3 women in the US. That means that in just 55 short years, it has gone up 568 times what it was.

It makes sense to me and hopefully to you that the answer for the explosion of cancers, including breast cancer is right in front of us, if we are willing to look at it. I agree with what Jon Barron says in his Alternative Cancer Therapies Natural Health Newsletter, Growth of Cancer article: “The incidence of cancer has increased dramatically over the last century. We absolutely know that the dietary and lifestyle choices we make and our exposure to toxins affect our chances of getting cancer.” “Likewise, we know that certain dietary choices, chlorinated water, radon gas in our homes, and exposure to numerous toxins and xenoestrogens in our environment significantly increase our risk of cancer."2

So, it does appear that our modern lifestyle and our environment is primarily to blame for the shocking increase in cancers since the 1900’s, including breast cancer. So what can we do? What do I recommend to my clients for breast cancer prevention? I believe this answer is multi-faceted, involving conscious healthy choices to support health and to prevent of breast cancer. I have included my top ten preventative protocol steps here for breast health.

#1 Healthy Whole Foods (Organic, Pesticide Free, Non-GMO foods)

By choosing whole foods free of pesticides and artificial ingredients, you are giving your body the proper fuel it recognizes for optimal nutrition. Many of the pesticides used in farming have been shown in studies to cause cell mutations and cancer. GMO (genetically modified organisms) foods safety has not been established because there has not been enough time yet for long term studies. Preliminary studies though have shown immunity and infertility issues. GMO foods are already banned in many other countries or they are requiring them to be labeled. In the USA, it is shocking to note that there is not even a requirement for proper labeling of GMO foods.

Currently in California, we have a ballot measure included in our upcoming fall election called Prop 37, otherwise known as “The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act of 2012.” This is offering Californians the opportunity to vote to know what’s in their food through mandatory labeling of genetically modified ingredients. I encourage all Californians, to vote “Yes” on Prop 37, for your right for proper food labeling. For health reasons, I encourage everyone to just say no to GMO’s. More information is available at: and with my online article “Just Say No to GMO’s” on my website.

Due to less than ideal amounts of nutrients available in our soil and produce, I recommend supplementing your whole food diet, with whole-food, organic, non-GMO nutritional supplements like New Chapter. These types of supplements are made from pure sources of whole foods, free of chemicals, and are cultured for maximum absorption and utilization by the body. See my article “Cultured, Whole Food Vitamins and Supplements – Best Source of Dietary Supplementation” for more information on whole food supplementation.

#2 Cleanse & Detoxification to Release Accumulated Toxins

In today’s world, we are impacted by toxins and chemicals in our food, water, and air supply. I believe that cleansing and detoxification is now essential on a regular basis to prevent the accumulation of toxins. I suggest at least a seven to ten day gentle colon and liver cleanse program with each season about four times a year. A heavy metal type cleanse program once a year is also helpful. For those that are more experienced with cleansing, a two to four week deeper colon and liver cleanse, and a cleanse diet can clean out even more toxins. Regular cleansing and detoxification can prevent toxins from accumulating, thereby reducing or preventing the occurrence of cellular mutations and potential disease. You can visit my website for more information and recommendations on why internal cleansing is so important and on my recommendations for internal cleansing programs.

Eat your broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale, and cabbage. These cruciferous veggies are rich in indole-3 carbinol, which offers a number of protections against breast cancer by supporting healthy breast tissue, including detoxification and immune support effects. They are also abundant in sulforaphane, which is a powerful breast-cancer inhibitor. It is best to get at least four servings of cruciferous veggies per week in your diet. One to two servings of broccoli or broccoli sprouts a day contains 27 to 54 mg of glucosinolates, which has been shown in studies to support healthy breast tissue.

#3 Pure Source of Drinking and Bathing Water

The causes of water contamination are many, ranging from agricultural runoff to improper use of household chemicals and everything in between. Few of us realize the extent or impact of these low level synthetic chemicals in the water we use. While the standard use in our society of over 80,000 different synthetic chemicals has led to added convenience and productivity in our lives, these come at a tremendous price... drastic increases in degenerative disease, including cancer. According to Ralph Nader Research Institute, “U.S. drinking water contains more than 2,100 toxic chemicals that can cause cancer.”

Once we realize that everything that goes down the drain, on our lawns, on our agricultural fields or into the environment by any means eventually winds up in the water we drink, we begin to see just how vulnerable our water supply really is. The use of pesticides and herbicides has become so excessive that they are now commonly found in household tap water and bottled water with alarming frequency. According to a recent article, “Tests on leading brands of bottled water turned up a variety of contaminants, including cancer-linked chemicals three times higher than California's health standard, according to a study released Wednesday by an environmental advocacy group.3” Most bottled water is bottled and sold within the same state to avoid federal regulations. There are no assurances or government requirements that bottled water be of any higher quality than tap water. As stated in a recent report from the National Cancer Institute to the surgeon general, "No level of exposure to a chemical carcinogen should be considered toxicologically insignificant for humans."

Water is the body's best way to flush out these toxins and the purer the water is to start with... the higher its capacity is to collect and cleanse these harmful compounds from the body. Pure water helps children's defenses grow stronger and perform better; giving them the protection they need during those fragile developing years. An increased intake of clean, healthy water is one of the easiest and best ways to help promote good health for all of us. I recommend investing in a whole home water filtration system or at least a drinking water and shower filter that provides third-party performance testing, done under strict industry guidelines, documenting that their filtration system exceeds the industry guidelines for removing chemicals and toxins. For more information, read my online article “How Healthy is Your Water?

#4 Healthy Inflammation Response & Omega 3’s

I recently interviewed Master Herbalist and founder of New Chapter Organic supplements Paul Schulick about inflammation and its role in the epidemic of modern diseases. You can listen to Paul’s interview online on my website. Paul shared that by regulating and balancing our internal inflammation response, we are able to support our health, including normal cell growth. He explained that inflammation is a natural process that affects every cell and organ in the body. It is only when the inflammation response gets out of balance, resulting in chronic inflammation that health challenges develop. These can include degenerative diseases, due to the oxidative stress and mis-programmed cellular changes that occur in the body. Chronic inflammation can also result in rapid aging of the body including the skin, the break down of the cardiovascular system, cognitive function, bones and joint function, and of course cellular degradation.

I believe that our diet is our first line of defense in preventing chronic inflammation and the resulting health challenges. Most of us have heard of essential fatty acids. These “good fats” which provide many health benefits are considered “essential” because they cannot be produced by the body alone and must be consumed through our diet and food supplements. In today’s world, I feel the most important class of essential fatty acids are Omega-3’s, which help the body maintain cellular health and help modulate our natural inflammation response. Creating and maintaining a healthy balance of essential fatty acids within our bodies is a key element for a healthy inflammation response. It’s very important that we balance the ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Sources have suggested that humans evolved with a diet that consisted of a 1:1 ratio of Omega 3’s to Omega 6’s. This makes intuitive sense as Omega-6 fatty acids, such as arachidonic acid, are pro-inflammatory and Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. Keeping these essential fats in balance helps promote a healthy inflammation response.

Unfortunately, with our modern western diet, most people are eating way too many Omega 6’s and very few Omega 3’s. Omega-6 fatty acids from sources like eggs, cereals, vegetable oils, baked goods and margarine has pushed the limits way beyond this 1:1 ratio. Experts suggest that our average western diet accounts for a 15:1 Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio. With pro-inflammatory fats outnumbering anti-inflammatory 15:1, our diet sets the stage for higher levels of inflammation. While reducing our intake of Omega-6’s is important, increasing our intake of Omega-3’s through diet and supplementation is an even better approach to help promote a healthy inflammation response.

Foods like cold water fish including wild Alaskan salmon, grass-fed meats and dairy provide excellent sources of Omega 3 fatty acids because the food sources for these animals is plant based; whereas farm-raised fish, commercial cattle and poultry are grain-fed. So animals and fish that are free-range and are grass fed are going to provide excellent sources of Omega 3 fatty acids, whereas ones that are fed grain are going to provide Omega 6 fatty acids. The best sources of vegetarian and vegan Omega 3’s include flax seed and chia seed oil, and marine algae like Minami's Vegan DHA Omega 3 supplement.

Omega-3 fatty acids are a form of polyunsaturated fats, one of four basic types of fat the body derives from food or supplements, and they are increasingly recognized as important to human health. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids (or EFAs)—essential because they must be derived through the diet. Interestingly, omega-3 fatty acids are not a single nutrient, but a collection of several nutrients. The primary omega-3 oil, ALA, is found in flaxseed oil as well as pumpkin seeds and walnuts. Fish, including deep sea fish, salmon, cod, sardines, and mackerel, and fish oils contain the other important omega-3 oils DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). Numerous studies indicate, however, that the EPA and DHA found in fish and fish oil are more biologically potent that those from ALA—making fish and fish oil the better nutritional choice. Omega-3 benefits, especially from DHA and EPA, are numerous and significant. They support heart, brain, blood vessel, nervous system, cellular, immune, and joint health. Additionally, they help maintain already healthy blood pressure and blood sugars levels. But that’s not all. They also serve as energy reserves, for oxygen transport, for synthesizing hormones, and for normal healing. Please see the "What are Omega-3's article for more information and to learn about Garden of Life's Ocean's 3 Beyond Omega-3 fish oils.

It is best to approach inflammation from multiple modalities of support, including not only Omega 3’s and fish oils, but numerous natural spices and herbs that can quench the fires of internal inflammation. I suggest using herbs and spices such as Baikal Skullcap, Barberry, Green Tea, Holy Basil, Turmeric, Rosemary, Oregano, and Ginger. The herbal formulation called Zyflamend by New Chapter offers therapeutic amounts of all of these anti-inflammatory herbs to help support a healthy inflammation response.

#5 Antioxidant Support to Prevent Oxidative Stress and Damage to our DNA

Proper antioxidant support reduces free radicals, thereby reducing oxidative stress which is known to cause DNA damage. Studies suggest that low antioxidant levels combined with high fat intake, can increase ROS production (reactive oxygen species) which can result in damage to cell structures. Antioxidant protection is an necessary element in reducing the ill effects of chronic inflammation. Controlling inflammation will reduce oxidative stress in the body. As mentioned in the inflammation section, controlling inflammation will also help reduce oxidative stress in the body.

Pomegranate juice has the highest concentration of punicalagins and ellagitannins, which are bioactive polyphenols that have more antioxidant properties than any other commonly consumed juice.According to Dr. Aaron Katz, “Research has firmly established the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of pomegranate. Additionally, pomegranate juice has been found to have apoptotic effects in lab studies, which means that it encourages the death of cancerous cells.

Lycopene is another powerful antioxidant that reduces LDL oxidation. Lycopene has also shown in studies to prevent breast, ovarian, and cervical cancers. Tomatoes and watermelon are good sources of lycopene.

#6 Natural Hormone Balance to Support Normal Cell Growth

I already mentioned the importance of grass-fed, hormone-free meat and dairy for omega 3’s and a healthy inflammation response. Now, I mention these again for a healthy hormone balance. Commercial meat and dairy generally have added hormones that do not break down with cooking. This can create estrogen dominance and a myriad of health issues. Alternatively, grass-fed, organic, wild, and free-range varieties of meat and dairy, do not have added hormones. I recommend having Beyond Organic food products shipped to you if you are in a location where grass-fed, organic meat and dairy is not available. I recommend having these shipped to you, if you are in a location where grass-fed, organic meat and dairy is not available. I suggest Beyond Organic food products. For more information on the importance of grass-fed, organic dairy and meat products, I suggest reading the “Beyond Organic” book by Jordan Rubin.

I also mentioned xenoestrogens in the introduction of this article that are derived from man-made chemicals. These mimic estrogen and can throw off not only the balance of estrogen, but all hormones and can cause other health issues. Further research, in the book “Our Stolen Future” by authors Colburn, Dumanoski, & Meyers have identified 51 families of hormone mimics including xenoestrogens, that can cause an alarming number of new health issues including breast, ovarian, uterine, prostate, and testicular cancer.

Plant and herbal compounds have the ability to block excess estrogen uptake by binding to estrogen receptor sites, helping to maintain a healthy hormone balance and healthy breast tissue. Plant lignans, which are phytoestrogens, can help balance proper estrogen levels by binding to the estrogen receptor cells, thereby blocking the xenoestrogens from attaching to the receptor cells. Therefore, the phyto-estrogen-like plant lignans protect against the negative effects of harmful synthetic estrogens in our environment and are protective against breast cancer. Plant lignans are phytochemicals found in grains, seeds, and legumes. In addition to adding plant lignans into your diet, I suggest supplementing with plant lignans derived from flax seeds in a natural supplement like Brevail. More information and articles on Brevail and plant lignans are available

Natural progesterone (not to be confused with the synthetic progestin) can also help with estrogen dominance and reduce breast cancer risks. Dr. Lee is the author of the books “What Your Doctor Will Not Tell You About Menopause” and “What Your Doctor Will Not Tell You About Pre-Menopause.” Both books explain the importance of natural progesterone for hormonal balance in our estrogen-dominated diets for health and for breast cancer prevention. I recommend and use a natural progesterone cream called ProgestCare by Life-flo that is made with natural progesterone rather than wild yam for better absorption and results that contain no added parabens or chemicals. It is natural and contains no parabens or chemicals. More information and recommendations for hormone balance are available on my website.

In vitro research has also demonstrated that the polyphenols (a type of antioxidant) from Pomegranate can block the effects of estrogen in the breast tissue, thereby protecting the breast cells.6

#7 - Immune Support – A Healthy Immune System Can Rid the Body of Damaged Cells

Keeping your immune system healthy is also important for breast health so that your immune system can dispose of damaged cells before they have a chance to multiply. Immune health can be protected and strengthened with immune modulators that balance immune function. My favorite immune modulators are medicinal mushrooms including Host Defense Organic Mushrooms. The mushrooms provide superior immune support because they utilize the whole mushroom’s protective shield (including the mycelium, fruiting bodies, spores, and their extracellular compounds) and utilize the whole life cycle of the mushroom; rather than mushroom isolates and short term cycles used in other medicinal mushrooms. Two that I recommend in particular are Host Defense MyCommunity formulated with a series of eleven tonic mushrooms (including Reishi) to support the immune system and overall vitality and wellness, and the Host Defense Reishi whose beta-glucans provide strong immuno-supportive effects for breast and overall health.

Probiotics and cultured foods help to keep the gastro intestinal tract healthy. The majority of immune cells are created in the G.I. tract, so a healthy G.I. tract also helps to keep the immune system strong. I recommend Garden of Life's Primal Defense Ultra HSO Probiotic formula because in addition to supporting G.I. health, it also helps maintain a healthy balanced immune system. It contains homeostatic soil organisms which are aggressive against pathogens and promote overall immune health.

#8 - Healthy Lifestyle, Healthy Home, Exercise, and Stress Reduction

I suggest you detoxify your home by eliminating all toxic chemicals from your cleaning supplies, skin and body care products. A multitude of ingredients in these types of products have been linked with cancer. There are plenty of alternative products available now that are paraben and chemical free. More information is available on my website.

When remodeling your home, I suggest researching alternative, natural materials that do not introduce out-gassing fumes and other toxic elements into your home.

Regular moderate exercise of at lest 2.5 hours a week can help keep your immune system strong and helps to reduce stress levels. Stress reduction is essential as stress creates an acidic environment and more internal inflammation. Finding ways to calm the mind, such as meditation, can bring internal peace and reduce stress and inflammation.

#9 - Regular Health Check Ups & Monthly Breast Exams

This step speaks for itself. Pick a day out of the month, like the first of each month to do a self-breast exam. In addition, be sure to have regular health checkups and if something seems off, get it checked right away rather than procrastinating.

#10 - Emotional Clearing – Forgiveness & Self Love

In addition to my health and nutrition profession, I am also a spiritual minister and teacher. I have been on my spiritual path of healing and transformation for 30 years now. From my own spiritual and professional observations and experience, I do believe there is a strong connection between our internal emotional, mental, and spiritual state and the outer reflection of our health and well-being – so within, so without. It seems that unresolved issues of resentment, unforgiveness, and other blocks to the heart energy seem to have an energetic effect on breast health. This could also include a lack of self love, such as giving to others but not willing or able to receive love back. I suggest reading Louise Hay’s books including “You Can Heal Your Life” for forgiveness and emotional healing work.

In Closing:

I do believe that vibrant health and well-being including breast health, is not only possible, but is our natural intended birth right. I also believe that an end to the suffering from our modern day diseases including breast cancer is possible. I feel this requires a ‘whole-istic’, whole-person approach. We need to learn to see food as our medicine and to understand that everything we put in or on our body has an effect on us whether we realize the connection or not. We all need to consciously choose to live in the healthiest way possible and to make choices that support a healthy planet for all, including for our future generations. Healing needs to happen on all levels of our being: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I like what Thomas Edison has to say about our health “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.

Please share this information with all the women in your life. It could be a life saver.

To your extra-ordinary, vibrant health, healing, and well-being!

Christine Dreher, CCN, CCH



2 Baseline of Health Foundation, Alternative Cancer Therapies, Natural Health Newsletter, Growth of Cancer, Jon Barron, 2-21-11,

3 Your ‘pure’ bottled water has contaminants, too - Study finds 38 chemicals in 10 brands, including those common in tap water,

4 AACN Clinical Issues, Advanced Practice in Acute & Critical Care, Nov 2002, Vol.13, Issue 4, pp 540-549

5 According to the Heber Cancer Letters of 2008

6 Lansky & Newman Journal of Ethno pharmacology 2007

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