Can Soy Help with Breast Cancer Prevention?
Soy has gotten a bad rap lately. In large part, this is for good reason. According to figures from the United States Department of Agriculture, approximately 94% of all soybeans grown in the US are genetically modified. There ARE still sources for healthy, organic, non-GMO soy products, however. In fact, fermented, organic, non-GMO soy may be one of the healthiest foods for your breast health journey. Here’s why.
Is Soy Good for ER-Positive Breast Cancer Protection?
Commercially-processed soy can be dangerous, but not for the reasons you may think. It is harmful because of its GMO origins and the pesticides use in its production, two factors consistently linked to ill health on many levels. The popular thinking, however, is that healthy sources of soy must be avoided as well because of what it may do to estrogen levels. Interestingly, soy’s effect on estrogen levels is precisely why many experts consider it a superfood for hormone-related cancers such as breast, uterine and prostate cancers.
First of all, it is important to remember that estrogen comes in three forms -- estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), and estriol (E3). Estradiol is considered “very aggressive.”’ It is the kind of estrogen that is mimicked most often by environmental chemicals that enter our bodies through the air we breathe and through the food, water and sundry products we ingest by eating, drinking and applying on the skin.
These “foreign” estrogen mimickers are called xenoestrogens; Bisphenol A (BPA), found in bottled water and canned foods, is just one example. Xenoestrogens can wreak havoc on a woman’s body when too many of them take over. When this occurs in the breast area, it can lead to ER-Positive breast cancer.
Isoflavonoids in Soy: The “Anti-Estrogens”
In conventional medicine, a lot of emphasis is placed on lowering estrogen levels; this is seen with drugs like Tamoxifen and “aromatase inhibitors.” It is true that a woman must be aware of the dangers of certain kinds of estrogen, like the xenoestrogens mentioned above, if she wants to prevent breast cancer. As we also just learned, however, not all estrogens are alike. The kinds of estrogen found in plants (phytoestrogens) can actually help prevent breast cancer.
There are over 4,000 kinds of phytoestrogens found in plants; the two basic kinds that can be beneficial for breast cancer prevention are lignans (in flax, nuts and grains) and isoflavonoids, found mostly in soy products.
Research shows that isoflavonoids found in fermented soy can have very positive effects on the body. In fact, some researchers, such as Walter H. Wainright, president of the US-based non-profit Haelan Research Foundation, calls fermented soy an “anti-estrogen.” The reason has a lot to do with how isoflavonoids and other phytoestrogens pace themselves within cells.
For many years, the conventional wisdom said that all estrogens, including pseudo-estrogens like xenoestrogens and phytoestrogens, sought out the same cellular receptor sites (ER-a sites). In 1995, that thinking was debunked with the discovery of the “estrogen receptor beta site” (ER-b). Researchers now know that while estrogen and xenoestrogen goes to ER-a sites exclusively, phytoestrogens have a large affinity for immune-building ER-b sites. In fact, they will go to these sites 20-30 times more than ER-a sites.
So by ingesting soy products that will vie for ER-b sites, you will reduce the number of ER-a sites and increase the number of ER-b sites-- and this means fewer places for super-aggressive estrogens like xenoestrogens to “land” and more fortification for your immune system overall!
Benefits of Soy Isoflavonones
A Canadian meta-analysis conducted in 2013 reviewed over 4,000 other studies on isoflavones and their effect on breast cancer, as well as other diseases. They concluded that “…isoflavones may have a protective effect on breast cancer and recurrence.”
Genistein is a type of isoflavone that has been found in research studies to be particularly effective. Perhaps the most important effect that genistein has is its ability to inhibit breast cancer stem cells, which can allow breast cancer cells to remain dormant for years and lead to metastasis years later. Conventional cancer treatments, namely chemo, radiation and surgery, do not affect circulating breast cancer stem cells. Genistein can.
There are many types of natural, organic fermented soy that can be very beneficial for overall health and cancer prevention. Natto, miso, tofu and tempeh are some examples. They can be a wonderful and tasty addition to any meal.
If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer and are considering soy as a natural option, however, then higher concentrations of a quality fermented soy product may be needed. I recommend and have personally used Haelen 951. It is a formula that was developed by Chinese doctors and nutritionists in the 1980’s; its sole purpose at that time was to provide support for those recovering from chemotherapy. It was brought to the United States in 1989.
According to Dr. B Weeks, MD, Haelen 951 has been shown to reduce unhealthy estrogen levels, stop the spread of blood vessels that help cancer tumors to grow, and induce cancer cell death.
Knowledge is Power!
When I was studying to be a chiropractor in the late 1970’s, products like almond and soy milk could not just be picked up at the local grocery store as they can now, so I was actually making my own soy milk—and even tofu—at home. The reasons why I consumed soy products back then are the same as they are now, only now I make sure that the soy I get comes from a reliable 100% organic and fermented source. Understanding the many benefits of fermented soy for breast cancer prevention can give you the confidence and health to move you towards a healthier, more vibrant you!
Dr. Veronique Desaulniers (“Dr. V”) is a best-selling author and founder of breastcancerconqueror.com. She specializes in Chiropractic, Bio-Energetics, Meridian Stress Analysis, Homeopathy and Digital Thermography. After 30 years in active practice, she decided to “retire” and devote her time to sharing her personal, non-toxic Breast Cancer healing journey with others. Her years of experience and research have culminated in “The 7 Essentials™ “, a step-by-step coaching program that unravels the mystery of healing the body. Her website and personal healing journey have touched the lives of thousands of women around the globe.
 Yan L, Spitznagel EL. Meta-analysis of soy food and risk of prostate cancer in men. Int J Cancer 2005 Nov 20;117(4):667-9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15945102
 Guo-Qiang Zhang, MSc, Jin-Liang Chen, PhD, Qin Liu, MD, Yong Zhang, MD, Huan Zeng, MD, and Yong Zhao, MSc. Soy Intake Is Associated With Lower Endometrial Cancer Risk. A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies. Medicine (Baltimore). 2015 Dec; 94(50): e2281. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5058928/
 Wainright W. The management of estrogens, estrogen receptors, estrogen metabolism, and cellular immunity in the treatment of cancers. Townsend Letter August / September 2010.http://www.townsendletter.com/AugSept2010/estrogen0810.html