CoQ10, Tamoxifen and Breast Cancer

Aggressive cancer treatments such as radiation, chemotherapy, and drug therapies all have nutritional implications.  The treatments are making drastic changes to the body, which often deplete critical nutrients. Nutrient supplementation can reverse these deficiencies and enhance these types of treatment.

For example, a supplement containing coenzyme Q10, riboflavin, and niacin was found to reduce markers of breast cancer cells in those also taking tamoxifen. This supplement may help drug treatment by restoring proper mitochondrial (the cell’s energy center) function and reducing tumor necrosis factor, a tumor growth-stimulating molecule.CoQ10

Medication and supplement interaction is complex so get the advice of an expert before making decisions. Some medical doctors and oncologists are trained in nutrition. However, it is more likely that your naturopath, oncology nutritionist or integrated medical doctor will be able to help you in choosing the best nutrients to support your recovery.

Lycopene for Breast Cancer Prevention

TomatoesLycopene, an antioxidant carotenoid found in tomatoes, is a powerful anticancer nutrient that can reduce pre-cancerous cells that lead to breast tumors. This nutrient reduces free radicals in the body which are a precursor of cancerous cells. By neutralizing the free radicals,  lycopene not only provides protection from developing cancer but also has the ability to reduce tumor growth.

Researchers have found that dietary lycopene, which is from whole foods rather than supplements, reduced cellular markers of oxidative stress in women with existing breast cancer.

This is promising research as it suggests that eating foods containing lycopene frequently can provide protection against breast cancer development as well as help reduce cancerous cells.


Plums Polyphenols for Breast Cancer

plumsPlums contain antioxidant polyphenols that have the ability to destroy breast cancer cells and block new cancer cells from developing.

Plums contain polyphenols, shown to interfere with cancer cell replication in laboratory studies. Extracts from plums containing concentrated polyphenols were effective in causing apoptosis (cell death) in cancerous cells in laboratory studies.

To increase your intake of these polyphenols, add fresh or frozen plums to smoothies, snack on dried plums (prunes), and spread plum jam on toast. Plum concentrate can be added to bubbly water such as Pellegrino for a refreshing nutrient drink or added to smoothies to add breast cancer fighting polyphenols, color and flavor.

Citrus Fruit Contain Anti-Tumor Compounds

Citrus Fruit Contain Anti-Tumor Compounds

Citrus fruits contain hesperidin, an antioxidant flavonoid compound that interferes with the growth of breast cancer cells.

Hesperidin inhibited the growth and replication of breast cancer cells in a laboratory study. Scientists think that hesperidin might interrupt certain cellular pathways involved in hormone receptor binding in cancerous cells.  Therefore, this nutrient is particularly effective  in preventing, and slowing the development of, hormone-related cancers.

Hesperidin is found abundantly in oranges, tangerines and grapefruit.

Carotenoids for Breast Cancer Protection

Carotenoids for Breast Cancer Protection

Carotenoids are a group of ‘pre-vitamin A’ nutrients that provide significant protection from breast cancer.  Orange-colored fruits and vegetables are rich sources of these antioxidant compounds.

Carotenoids are key nutrients for protection and treatment of breast cancer.  In a study of over 5,000 premenopausal women, higher intake of carotenoid-rich produce was associated with lower risk for breast cancer. Scientists believe that alpha- and beta-carotenes act as cancer-preventive agents by reducing oxidative stress and free radicals in the body.

My Favorite Carotenoid-Rich Foods –





Sweet Potatoes


Is a B12 shot better than a B12 pill?

Is a B12 shot better than a B12 pill?

My dear friend Helen was being seen at a naturopathic clinic recently and was given a vitamin B12 injection.  She called to ask whether the injection was a better delivery system than just taking B12 supplements.

Great question Helen!

Vitamin B12 injections are still common in medical clinics in North America (both allopathic and naturopathic).  For example in Ontario Canada alone, approximately 110,000 residents receive vitamin B12 injections each year.  The Ministry of Health in Canada had the same question as Helen and  looked into this issue to find out if this practice is effective and also to consider the expense of shots vs pills.

In the Ministry of Health’s HQO report (The Health Quality Ontario) found that vitamin B12 oral supplements (pills and sublingual) are as effective as injections of vitamin B12.

They also found that the Ministry of Health could save $14 million over five years by switching from intramuscular injection (shots) to oral administration (pills) of vitamin B12.

Based on this and other US studies, my advice is to skip the shots and simply take vitamin B12 as part of a B complex vitamin supplement or use a sublingual B12 supplement to reverse deficiencies.

Masucci L, Goeree R. Vitamin B12 intramuscular injections versus oral supplements: a budget impact analysis. ONTARIO HEALTH TECHNOLOGY ASSESSMENT SERIES (OHTAS)  Nov 1 2013.