Aromatase Inhibitors and Cancer Treatment

I was watching television the other day and heard this commercial about this new medication for treating breast cancer, it is an aromatase inhibitor.  An aromatase inhibitor, as you may not know, is something that prevents sex hormones like testosterone, from converting to estrogen.  However, I know aromatase inhibitors in a different manner.

Aromatase Inhibitors are used in Cancer Treatment

Why is this important? Because often breast cancer is thought to be caused by excess estrogen in the body. These estrogens can come from the body itself, or many outside sources, such as the chemicals in our make up and lotions, and the processed foods we eat. Aromatase inhibitors are considered beneficial in keeping estrogenic toxins from being absorbed by the estrogen receptor sites in our cells.

Aromatase inhibitors have been used for quite a while for just this purpose. In fact, it is well known with both the body building community and the hormone specialists that these particular substances can prevent testosterone from covering to excess estrogen. The part that is new, is the use of them to treat breast cancer.  Apparently the pharmeceutical companies are catching on.


Ways to prevent Breast Cancer

Have you ever heard that if you want to prevent breast cancer, that you should eat cruciferous vegetables? Broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, and kale, are great things to eat to prevent breast cancer.  Did you ever wonder why? They are known as guess what: aromatase inhibitors. In fact, specifically, they contain Indole-3 Carbonyl. For all those years that the medical community said food cannot help prevent cancer, and for those outside of the medical community who said cruciferous vegetables are great for preventing or helping with breast cancer, I find this an interesting turn of events.

I am interested in the idea that these vegetables that act as aromatase inhibitors can be beneficial in at least the prevention of breast cancer.  Even more so that they are being used to treat breast cancer with conventional methods.


Pharmaceutical Phytonutrients

Nutrients from plants are called phytonutrients. In general, many pharmaceutical drugs are simply concentrated phytonutrients, or compounds that come from plants. Digitalis, for heart, comes from foxglove; asprin first came from white willow bark; penicillin comes from mold, and the list goes on. What they do is concentrate the compound so it is very potent. However, since they only take one concentrated component of a plant, they don’t have any of the other beneficial components. There is a theory that the entire plant, with the other components may be even more effective in activating the beneficial components. Apparently the pharmaceutical companies are finding benefits of vegetables, but instead of telling us to eat those vegetables in their natural, fresh and nutritious state, they want us to get specific components from the very expensive drugs they create from them.


Side Effects

Sometimes there are other components in the plant that prevent the side effects from the beneficial compound. For example, most fruits and vegetables as well as raw dairy, have enzymes that help break down the food while being digested. If you take the enzymes out of the food and extract just one compound, our bodies may not be able to digest the compound as well. Taking the fiber from the foods also creates a negative effect, such as constipation. That is why it is best to eat your fruits and vegetables in their fresh, natural state, as opposed to either a concentrate or a vitamin. There are benefits to the concentrated state, as with pharmaceutical drugs, but wouldn’t it be better to prevent the need for even vitamins by eating the food itself? Keep in mind, the drugs used to treat cancer patients with this method do have side effects, such as joint pain and bone loss. However, who has ever heard of anyone suffering from an overdose of broccoli? Just something to think about.


Start Now

Back to aromatase inhibitors. If these compounds are helping to treat or “cure” some cancers, wouldn’t it make
sense to get as much of these compounds naturally by eating them in their fresh and natural state before they are needed in pharmaceutical concentration? So, my recommendation to you is to learn to eat broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts and cauliflower. If it helps to slather them in butter and salt, that’s ok. If it gets you eating these amazing foods, enjoy them in abundance.  There are some great ways to make these food delicious, so experiment and see what ways you can make them so you and your family can enjoy them!


I hope this helps you understand why I stress eating fresh, whole, natural foods, and especially vegetables!


To your health!

Patti Bealer

Health Coach, IIN

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