Your microbiome and breast cancer are directly connected.
There’s emerging and exciting research—solutions—that focus on microbiome health and breast cancer healing. This article will dive into a few insights and solutions, so please keep reading to learn more and take action. However, if you only remember one thing from this article, it should be this: your gut/microbiome IS your immune system. About 80% of your immune system lives in your gut. Therefore, when your gut is sick, it can’t naturally fight off infection, bacteria, illness, and diseases. An unhealthy gut is also a root cause of unbalanced hormones. Click here to learn how your estrogen quotient ratio (Eq Ratio) affects breast health.
Gut Microbiome 101
A newly researched breast cancer risk factor is the dysfunction of the gut microbiome. However, what actually is a microbiome? Great question. The basic answer is this: The gut microbiome is the trillions of microbes living in our gastrointestinal (GI) tract. A dysfunctional microbiome is called “dysbiosis” and can lead to a range of health challenges.
Your microbiome includes everything from bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites—and it expands past your gut. Your skin, vaginal flora, mouth, respiratory tract, and breasts are a few other places that have their own microbiomes. Healthy microbiomes can ensure both the human and the organism benefit and live together in harmony.
Factors that disrupt this harmony include:
- Bad diet
- Lack of quality sleep and movement
- Environmental toxins
- Lack of probiotics
- Certain physical and mental health illnesses
Microbiome + Breast Health Connection
A healthy microbiome also starts from day one of life—drinking human colostrum and breast milk. It’s full of healthy microbes that originate from the mother’s gut. The term “entero-mammary pathway” describes the movement of the mother’s gut bacteria passing through the breast milk and into the infant’s GI tract, where the vast majority of their microbiome lives. The entero-mammary pathway is also hypothesized to carry immune cells, antibodies, and microbes through the lymphatic system to breast tissue. The microbes then populate breast tissue to create their own unique (breast) microbiome, essential to sustain breast health and pass on immunity to the newborn baby. Side note: If you were not breastfed, it’s okay—you can’t change that. However, you do have total control over what you now put in your body.
In adult women with breast cancer, the breast microbiome changes depending on the stage. As cancer develops, the “good” bacteria decrease, and the “bad” increases.
Studies show there’s a significant difference in breast microbiomes in those with breast cancer and those without. Perhaps with more research, we could look at breast microbiome biomarkers for cancer diagnosis. When this becomes possible, it could help doctors stop cancer in its tracks by noting if the microbiome is trending away from a cancer-favorable environment!
Breast microbiome also directly impacts several breast cancer risks, such as:
- Estrogen and progesterone levels (learn more about your Eq Ratio)
- The transformation of plant compounds into anti-cancer medicine (Essential #6: Repair Your Body With Therapeutic Plants)
- Immunomodulation (immune system modifications through natural and human-induced forms)
There is also growing evidence that the alteration of a healthy microbiome plays a role in the development of several cancers, including breast cancer—the term is: “Oncobiome.”
Heal + Protect With Produce
Fruits & Vegetables
Yes, you have heard it a million times, “eat your fruits and veggies!” It’s as accurate of a statement as you can get regarding general health. However, if you are here to heal, three phytochemical families pack a punch against breast cancer: glucosinolates, carotenoids, and polyphenols. They work together to prevent breast cancer growth and metastasis through various mechanisms.
These plant-based cancer-fighting chemicals induce cancer cell death and improve the effectiveness of many conventional breast cancer drugs (learn how in this study)! Strategically pairing natural health and conventional treatments can give you the most effective medicine possible. This is why I spent the last 3 years creating this groundbreaking integrative healing online program. Caveat: You need a healthy gut for treatments to work—meaning you still need to make the daily lifestyle changes to heal and improve your gut.
There’s no magic pill or vegetable. These compounds are specifically found in cruciferous vegetables, such as kale, broccoli (Brocco Power supplement), cauliflower, bok choy, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. To learn more about why cruciferous vegetables are critical for your breast cancer healing journey, please read this blog post.
- Lutein: Yellow veggies, sweet peppers, peas, egg yolk, spinach, zucchini (zucchini recipes), and squash (squash recipes) are some popular options. Studies have found that eating lutein decreased premenopausal breast cancer risk by a massive 53%! Due to lutein’s antioxidant properties, it can induce apoptosis (cell death) in breast cancer cells while keeping healthy cells safe and intact.
- Lycopene: Tomatoes, cabbage, carrots, asparagus, apricots (read about why apricot seeds are a must for healing via this blog), and watermelon. It acts as a potent antioxidant, eliminates damaging free radicals, decreases insulin-growth-factor (learn more here), reduces inflammation, and can prevent breast cancer cell growth.
- Beta-carotene: Leafy green vegetables and pumpkin, sweet potatoes (go big on these sweet treats), carrots, etc. This study found that women with the lowest levels of beta-carotene were twice as likely to develop breast cancer compared to those with the highest levels! Another study found that beta-carotene inhibited cancer cells from proliferating and increased cancer cell death.
They are anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidants. Blackberries, strawberries, cranberries, blueberries, red grapes, kale, almonds, and apples can all slow cancer growth and prevent cancer-contributing inflammation. Please learn more via this study. EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate), found in Matcha Tea, is also an essential polyphenol for breast cancer healing and preventing recurrence. Please learn more in this blog post on Matcha Tea and EGCGs.
You DO have control over your diet. Use these powers for good. Keep the superfoods mentioned above on hand and get creative with Breast Cancer Conqueror Recipes! Healing IS for you. One of the best ways to start is by taking the Survive & Thrive with Integrative Healing online program. It brings the top nutritionists and doctors together to create a specific healing roadmap for you.
YOU NEVER HAVE TO FEAR BREAST CANCER AGAIN!
Author: Dr. Veronique Desaulniers, better known as Dr. V, is a Doctor of Chiropractic & has 44 years of experience in the wellness industry. For personalized support, please partner with a trained Breast Cancer Conqueror Coach.