Exercise Your Way Away from Breast Cancer
"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."
iodine/iodide helps the body convert carcinogenic forms of estrogen (estrone, 16-alpha-hydroxyestrone) into non-carcinogenic estriol.
May 13, 2004
We've all known for a long time that even moderate exercise, performed regularly, can substantially reduce your risk of heart disease. Well, a study conducted at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and published in a recent issue of Cancer Research (www.cancerfacts.com) has taken exercise one step further - it shows that as little as three hours of moderate exercise per week can, in fact, reduce breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women.
The risk of breast cancer increases as a woman ages or undergoes synthetic hormone replacement therapy (HRT). It also increases with daily alcohol consumption, higher fat diets, and certainly if there is a family history of breast cancer. In addition, women without children are at higher risk due to the constant production of estrogen and progesterone throughout their pre-menopausal lives. I personally believe that postmenopausal women who take statins are also at greater risk due to low CoQ10 levels compromising their immune systems.
And while nearly one out of every two women will develop heart disease, and only one out of nine will develop breast cancer, there seems to be a far greater fear of the latter because so many young women develop it and succumb to it.
Unfortunately, you have no control over factors such as aging, when you begin menopause, or family history. But there are other factors you do have control over, including:
I first wrote about the benefits of exercise in relation to breast cancer in my book Heart Sense for Women. Exercise reduces circulating estrogens in postmenopausal women. It also increases levels of a protein called sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) that regulates free-floating estrogens in the bloodstream. By tying up the estrogen, it is prevented from influencing target organs such as the breast.
In the year-long Seattle study, women who aerobically exercised five days a week, at 60-75 percent of their maximum heart rates, had significant reductions of serum estradiol (estrogen), as compared to little or no reductions in women who merely stretched. The women who exercised did so on treadmills, exercise bicycles, and outdoor walking trails for 171 minutes, or nearly three hours, per week. The women chosen for the study were all sedentary and overweight or obese.
After 12 months, the women who lowered their body fat by more than two percent had also lowered their free serum estradiol by 16.7 percent, their serum estradiol by 13.7 percent, and their serum estrone by 11.9 percent. What's more, there was no drop in bone density in the women who exercised as compared with their pre-study levels or with the women who only stretched. T
This study supports previous research that has shown conclusively that simply walking every other day will result in major health benefits. Of particular interest to me is that walking and other forms of aerobic exercise will also help you lose weight, which among other things, will eliminate or minimize inflammatory cytokines and thin your blood (see my upcoming June issue of the Sinatra Health Report for information on blood viscosity), thus promoting cardiac and vascular health.
And what's even greater is that all these exercises can be done in the comfort of your own home and neighborhood, and don't require any fancy, expensive equipment. Just you and a good pair of walking shoes are all it takes!
Just remember, ladies, that if you are postmenopausal and wish to embark on an exercise program, that you check with your physician first and get his blessing. In fact, any woman over 45 should undergo an exercise treadmill evaluation anyway. It's a good way to identify any hidden dangers, and will serve as the first step toward a healthier you.
Until next time,
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