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Breast Healthy Living

Breast Healthy Living

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How lifestyle choices can help shape your risk of breast cancer. It’s never too early to be proactive. Breast cancer ranks as the top health concern for women young and old. In Canada, 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime. Despite this staggering statistic, we have made little progress in advancing our understanding of how to treat never mind prevent breast cancer. “An ounce of prevention, is worth a pound of cure”. The lack of progress is in part due to our underestimating the important role that lifestyle plays in shaping a woman’s risk. Eight of every ten women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history. Women living in the US have a greater risk of dying from breast cancer than do women living in Thailand. These facts underscore the important role lifestyle plays in shaping our risk. “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. It is never too early to adopt a breast healthy lifestyle. What we choose to eat, drink, and apply to our skin are choices we make everyday. The following guide will help you to take proactive measures to reduce your risk through the decades: In your Twenties It’s easier to never start than to stop smoking. Most smokers pick up the habit before their 21st birthday. Starting early and smoking longer are linked with an increased risk of breast cancer. Instead, young women can adopt breast healthy diets adding cruciferous vegetables (i.e. broccoli, bok choy and kale) that enhance estrogen metabolism and reduce health problems caused by hormone imbalance. When we are young it is crucial to limit exposure to environmental hazards such as dioxins in pesticides and mercury in contaminated fish as maturing breast tissue is more vulnerable. We can do this by selecting organic produce (check out the dirty dozen list for the most heavily sprayed crops) and limiting fish intake to three servings a week. While a good diet should be the foundation of health, it may not be enough. From birth, it is recommended that we take the sunshine vitamin (D3) as a supplement as inadequate stores are linked with risk of breast cancer later on. In your Thirties Pregnancy and breastfeeding are protective to the breast. Becoming pregnant, especially having a baby before the age of 30 years, and breastfeeding are associated with a lower risk of acquiring breast cancer later in life. Skin and hair care products begin to be used and we must do so wisely. Carefully check labels and avoid those products that contain harmful ingredients such as parabens, hormone disruptors that may be linked to breast cancer. In your Forties Body shape changes commonly start at midlife. Being overweight is one of the most important predictors of breast cancer. The diagnosis of breast cancer often follows a stressful life event. In our forties, we face the...

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Skincare + Menopause: How to Care for Your Skin

Skincare + Menopause: How to Care for Your Skin

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What steps can women in perimenopause/ menopause take to protect their skin? Estrogen loss in the perimenopausal years contributes to rapid facial aging with marked loss of volume and hydration. Women can counteract these changes by consuming ample purified water, eating a diet rich in anti-‐oxidants, and taking extra vitamin D3 in the form of a supplement. Skin care regimens should combine anti-‐oxidant and hydrating nutrients without harmful chemicals such as parabens, phalates, and petroleum products. A mineral based broad-‐spectrum sunblock should be applied daily to provide UVA and UVB protection. Are age spots associated with menopause and what can be done about them? Hyperpigmentation commonly occurs during periods of hormonal change such as when using oral contraceptives, in pregnancy, and early in perimenopause. The pigment cells and melanocytes can become activated by the high estrogen levels that precedes menopause. Women may note pigment changes on the face and chest. Other skin changes such as red dots (cherry angiomas) on the chest and skin tags on the underarm and breast area may appear during this time. Hyperpigmentation is best managed with vigilant prevention using mineral based sun blocks. For the treatment of existing hyperpigmentation, consult with a dermatologist. Why is getting a good night’s sleep especially important for your skin during menopause? We’ve long accepted the idea that when we are well rested we tend to look healthier. However, new science has now provided evidence that beauty sleep is more than just an expression, its science. Research has shown that sleep-deprived people appear less healthy, less attractive and tired compared with when they are well rested. The good news is that a good night’s sleep won’t cost you a penny! Aim for 8 hours and use natural remedies over sleeping pills to help get you there. What foods should you include in your diet eat that can help keep your skin healthy? Eating a diet rich in colourful anti‐oxidant foods such as carrots, berries and kale can lead to better skin tone and texture. The anti-‐ oxidant power of these foods helps protect the skin from age‐related deterioration, and the B vitamins help support cell turnover and collagen synthesis for improved skin tone and firmness. Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids such as wild salmon, chia seeds and almonds can help maintain a more youthful complexion and have been shown to help reduce age and sun induced deterioration. Dr. Jennifer Pearlman Dr. Jennifer Pearlman is a medical doctor with a focused practice in the area of women’s health and wellness. She is a NAMS Certified Menopause Practitioner certified by the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) and is attending staff physician at the Menopause Clinic at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. Dr. Pearlman has been awarded a focus practice designation by the Ontario Medical Association to enable her to work as an expert consultant to other physicians in the...

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Love the Skin You’re In…Pearls to Beautiful Skin and a Radiant You!

Love the Skin You’re In…Pearls to Beautiful Skin and a Radiant You!

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Your skin is your largest organ providing a barrier to protect internal vital organs and forming your appearance and shape. Here are some “pearls” to taking care of this important organ. Reduce oxidative damage- Continued oxidative damage from free radicals deteriorates our skin, damages our DNA and causes aging. Fortunately, we can slow this process by harnessing the powerful effects of antioxidants. Applying antioxidant creams such as vitamin A at bedtime and vitamin C in the morning should be a key part of your skin care program. You can also eat your antioxidants through a diet rich in vitamin A (carrots, broccoli), vitamin C (citrus and berries), vitamin E (nuts and seeds), and polyphenols found in green tea. Consider a daily anti-oxidant supplement for a truly supercharged anti-aging regimen. Practice Safe Sun- Sun exposure is another threat to our skin as it thins, weakens and deteriorates our skin, causing fine lines and pigmented patches not to mention skin cancer. Avoid excessive sun exposure with a broad rimmed hat, sun glasses and staying indoors during peak UV hours of 10am to 2pm. Apply daily physical sun blocks using naturally occurring earth minerals, such as zinc and titanium dioxide, as these block UVA and UVB rays as opposed to chemicals which absorb UVB only. UVA rays, which cause cancer and photo-aging, can penetrate windows, making sun block a necessary step to skin care all year round even when indoors. Revolumize Naturally- As we age, we lose all components of our soft tissue including collagen, elastin, and fat. Taking a supplement with vitamin B complex including biotin can help support collagen renewal. Smile..it’s easier- Prevent deep furrows and frown lines by facial relaxation. Smiling requires less energy and uses fewer muscles than frowning. Sleeping on your back can help minimize sleep lines that form along the lower face. When we feel good …we look good!- So take time to enjoy the simple pleasures of life as a necessary step to beautiful skin and a radiant you!  Visit www.pearlrejuvenation.com for more information. Dr. Jennifer Pearlman Dr. Jennifer Pearlman is a medical doctor with a focused practice in the area of women’s health and wellness. She is a NAMS Certified Menopause Practitioner certified by the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) and is attending staff physician at the Menopause Clinic at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. Dr. Pearlman has been awarded a focus practice designation by the Ontario Medical Association to enable her to work as an expert consultant to other physicians in the area of women’s health. Dr. Pearlman completed her medical school and residency training at The University of Toronto. She graduated with Honours and received numerous scholarships and awards. Dr. Pearlman is an active member of the Canadian and Ontario Medical Associations, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, and the College of Family Physicians of Canada. She is an active...

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Breast Cancer – What can be done to reduce your risk?

Breast Cancer – What can be done to reduce your risk?

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Breast cancer results from uncontrolled growth of breast cells. About 1 in 8 Canadian women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. Only 20% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have a family history of breast cancer and known gene mutations (such as BRCA1 and BRCA2) account for only 5 to 10% of cases. This means that most breast cancer occurs in women without a family history. Women living in the US have a 10-fold greater risk of dying from breast cancer than do women living in Thailand. When women migrate from areas with a low incidence of breast cancer (i.e. Asia) to the US their, breast cancer risk increases. These facts suggest that environment, diet and lifestyle play an important role. Unlike gender and age, these modifiable risk factors can be controlled by; maintaining a healthy weight, diet, regular exercise, restoring hormone balance, avoiding alcohol, and avoiding environmental toxins that can serve as transforming agents for breast cancer (i.e. xenoestrogens and carcinogens). The following is a list of scientifically based interventions to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer. Restore Hormone Balance The phase prior to menopause (lasting 5 to 7 years) is marked by increasing levels of estrogen and falling progesterone as the ovarian follicles are no longer capable of producing efficient ovulation. As well, there is a significant shift in the balance of the three forms of estrogen as menopause approaches with falling levels of estriol (E3) and estradiol (E2) and increasing levels of estrone (E1). E1 continues to be made in postmenopausal women as it is converted in fat tissue and the adrenal glands. The surplus of E1 and low levels of protective progesterone are major contributors to the rise in breast cancer after menopause. Optimize Estrogen Metabolism Estrogens are broken down by the liver and tissue into three major metabolites -two of which have potent activity at the estrogen receptor and are both mutagenic and carcinogenic to the breast. A high “2/16 ratio” of favourable metabolites (2hydroxy-estrone) to toxic metabolites (16hydroxy- estrone) is considered protective and can be enhanced through nutritional factors that optimize the hydroxylation of estrogen. Factors that can increase the 2/16 ratio include: cruciferous vegetables indole 3-carbimole (400mg) di-iodomethionine (DIM) soy flax rosemary vitamin D3 The supplement from femMED, Breast health containing indole-3 carbinol, milk thistle extract, calcium-D- glucarate, Schizandra chinensis fruit extract, stinging nettle, lignans and vitamin D recently underwent a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Researchers were pleasantly surprised to discover consumption of the femMED supplement significantly increased the mean urinary concentration of 2- OHE in pre- and post-menopausal women (by 110% and 88%, respectively), suggesting a risk- reducing effect. The Breast Health supplement was well-tolerated, and displayed no adverse side effects. The study was published in Breast Cancer: Basic and Clinical Research. Enhance Elimination of Toxic Estrogen Metabolites Phase 2 detoxification involves methylation and glucuronidation to enhance elimination and inactivate toxic estrogen metabolites. Phase 2 detoxification requires many important enzymatic pathways (sometimes affected by gene mutations) and nutrients such as vitamin B6,...

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An Anti-Aging Alphabet

An Anti-Aging Alphabet

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The aging process is the cumulative effect of oxidative damage and deterioration affecting our cells, tissues and organs. The following “ABC’s of Anti-Aging” lists the top 5 strategies that attempt to halt or reverse this process and extend life. A- Anti Aging Vitamins for Women Anti-oxidants protect from “free radical damage”. Proponents of the “free radical theory of aging” endorse the use of anti-oxidant supplements such as vitamin C, coenzyme Q10,  and N-acetylcysteine to extend life expectancy. Anti-oxidant minerals like selenium and zinc have been shown to reduce cancer, improve immune function, enhance wound healing, and protect the body from premature aging. Another important micronutrient is Vitamin D3; a fat-soluble vitamin that is produced in the skin after exposure to UVB light. Vitamin D3 deficiency has been linked with increased risk of death and premature aging, as well as increased risk of breast and colorectal cancer and heart disease. Because it is not reliably available from food and because the use of sunblock prevents over 99% of its absorption, vitamin D3 should be taken as a supplement in pill or drop form. B- Bioidentical Hormone Therapy Bioidentical hormones are chemically identical to those produced by the body. They may be pharmaceutical or compounded agents taken orally or absorbed through skin or mucosal surfaces (i.e. of the mouth or vagina). Hormonal deficiencies in aging women may adversely affect wellbeing, vitality and virility. After menopause, symptomatic women with an intact uterus may be treated with a combination of low dose estrogens (such as estradiol taken alone or in combination with estriol) and a progestin (such as progesterone). Androgen replacement in carefully selected post-menopausal women may be used to increase womens sex drive and low energy. C- Cosmetic Considerations The average woman uses 9 personal care products daily exposing her to 168 chemicals each and every day. We absorb, inhale and ingest many of these chemicals into our bodies. There are links between chemical exposure and reproductive health and fertility issues and breast cancer risk. According to the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization, that specializes in providing useful resources (like Skin Deep and the Shoppers’ Guide to Pesticides in Produce) to consumers, 9 out of 10 ingredients used in personal care products have not been evaluated for safety. At http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com , the Environmental Working Group has a searchable database it calls “Skin Deep.” Type in the name of a product to find the ingredients on that product’s label plus an assessment of the health risks of those ingredients. D- Diet A low calorie diet that reduces energy intake by up to 25% less than the average Western diet has been shown to lower blood sugar, blood pressure and mortality.  While caloric restriction offers much promise in countering the aging process, it is not without its risks. This diet is not recommended for individuals who are less than 21 years of age...

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