What’s the most important food to eat for preventing—and helping to treat—breast cancer? There are many foods rich in phytonutrient compounds that are shown to help support and protect breast tissue.
But at the top of this list is one family of foods that offers a wealth of benefits: Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, kale and many others.
Cruciferous vegetables have a lot going for them. They’re dense with essential nutrients: Carotenoids, vitamin C, folate and calcium. On top of that, they’re rich sources of fiber. But even more importantly, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables contain powerful phytonutrients—unique plant compounds that support optimal health on the cellular level. Phytonutrients are often, but not always, certain antioxidant compounds that offer protection against cancer— as well other critical conditions.
One phytonutrient from cruciferous vegetables stands apart from the rest, thanks to its remarkable health benefits for breast cellular function and much more. It’s called DIM (3,3’-diindolylmethane).
DIM in Your Diet
DIM is formed in the body when cruciferous vegetables are consumed and metabolized. Research shows that DIM controls a number of key proteins associated with inflammation, immunity, cancer formation and cellular behavior, as well as hormone metabolism.
Importantly, DIM is shown to limit angiogenesis—the pro-cancer process that creates blood vessels to feed the tumor. In addition, the phytonutrient also supports apoptosis, the process behind programmed cell death and the cell life cycle. In cancer, normal apoptosis is impaired, allowing tumors to grow uncontrollably.
DIM also supports the immune system, helping to increase defenses against cancer, as well as infections and other assaults. One way DIM strengthens immunity is by helping the body produce more interferon-gamma (IFN-γ), which directly stimulates the immune response.1
Removing Harmful Estrogens
Most important for breast health is DIM’s effect on estrogen metabolism. When estrogens get broken down, they can turn into either beneficial estrogen metabolites, acting as antioxidants, OR they can become problematic estrogen metabolites—associated with cancer and other chronic health conditions.
This relationship with estrogen also makes DIM a potent detoxifier. Many harmful estrogen metabolites are toxins that are consumed or enter the body through skin, inhalation or other routes of exposure.
These estrogen-mimicking “everywhere chemicals,” also known as endocrine disruptors, are commonly found in plastics, body care products, environmental pollutants, and numerous other everyday sources.
The estrogen-like nature of these compounds tricks the body into allowing them to attach to estrogen and other hormone receptor sites, and wreak havoc. Ongoing exposure to estrogen mimics disrupts normal cell signaling and interferes with essential biological processes. But thankfully, DIM helps to remove these harmful estrogen-like compounds, and supports healthy hormone balance in both women AND men.
You can get DIM from eating cruciferous vegetables. But for optimal therapeutic dosages, I recommend a formula that combines DIM with other researched ingredients for the highest level of support.
Researched Breast Cancer Formula with DIM
Because DIM has so many critical benefits for immunity, hormone balance and protection against hormone-related cancers, it’s a key ingredient in a powerful researched breast formula that I recommend in my clinical practice to support breast cancer treatment and prevention.
This formula is shown in four published studies to actively defend against breast cancer. It’s even shown to work synergistically with other therapies, including conventional therapies—and Modified Citrus Pectin.
The most recent study on this breast formula, published 2017 in the journal, BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, shows that it works to enhance the effects of tamoxifen, a conventional hormone therapy for breast cancer. The combination of this breast formula with tamoxifen increased cancer cell death and reduced tumor growth in a model of ER+ breast cancer.2
Another study published in the journal Oncology Reports, showed the formula slowed tumor growth, suppressed metastasis, and favorably influenced gene expression to reduce cancer aggressiveness.3
In addition to DIM, this botanical breast formula contains other powerful immune-support and anti-cancer botanical extracts. One of these is bioavailable curcumin—a patented form of turmeric root extract that acts as a potent antioxidant and anti-cancer compound. Another is a powerful extract of Chinese skullcap herb.
The advantage of DIM formulas is that they’re designed for increased absorption into the bloodstream. In comparison, you’d need to eat more than a pound of cruciferous vegetables each day to experience the benefits offered by a powerful DIM supplement.
Now that we have a better understanding of what makes cruciferous vegetables so good for us, it only makes sense to synergize those benefits with targeted supplementation and a supportive, healthy lifestyle.
Aggressive breast cancer can leave you with limited treatment options. However, integrative, synergistic formulas like this one can give patients additional support to help increase the effectiveness of current protocols, or help support long-term breast health and overall longevity. Synergistic formulas and strategic therapeutic combinations are at the heart of integrative medicine, helping you achieve optimal health and vitality.
1) Xue L, Pestka JJ, Li M, Firestone GL, Bjeldanes LF. 3,3′-Diindolylmethane stimulates murine immune function in vitro and in vivo. J Nutr Biochem. 2008;19(5):336-344. doi:10.1016/j.jnutbio.2007.05.004
2) Cheng S, Castillo V, Welty M, et al. BreastDefend enhances effect of tamoxifen in estrogen receptor-positive human breast cancer in vitro and in vivo. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017;17(1):115. Published 2017 Feb 16. doi:10.1186/s12906-017-1621-7
3) Jiang J, Thyagarajan-Sahu A, Loganathan J, Eliaz I, Terry C, Sandusky GE, Sliva D. BreastDefend™ prevents breast-to-lung cancer metastases in an orthotopic animal model of triple-negative human breast cancer. Oncol Rep. 2012 Oct;28(4):1139-45. doi: 10.3892/or.2012.1936.