Breast Cancer, Phytoestrogens, Chia Seed & Fiber

Breast Cancer, Phytoestrogens, Chia Seed & Fiber

Chia Seed & Fiber, Breast Cancer, PhytoestrogensQ: I am taking medication and treatment for an estrogen sensitive breast cancer and I’m wondering if it would be okay to take Mila (Chia Seed) as a good fiber source but my oncologist wants me to avoid phytoestrogens during my treatment, would this be okay?  I need some fiber, please help with other suggestions if this wouldn’t work!

A: Mila the Miracle Seed, is 100% Proprietary Blend of Salvia Hispanica L.(commonly known as Chia).

Salvia hispanica is an annual herbaceous plant of the Lamiaceae (mint) family. Its origin is believed to be in Central America, where the seed (historically called “chian” or “chia”) was a staple in the ancient Aztec diet. The seeds of a related plant, Salvia columbariae (also called “golden chia”), were used primarily by Native Americans in the southwestern United States. The roots of another relative, Salvia miltiorrhiza (danshen), are used medicinally in China and other countries.

I do not find any evidence in research of the Salvia hispanica (Chia Seed) as having phytoestrogens at this time.  There seems that there is no published research on this topic with this species of Salvia as of yet, so I really don’t know if it has phytoestrogens or not, though it has been studied for its nutritional benefits.  However, it wouldn’t surprise me this species does have some phytoestrogen effect that has not been uncovered as of yet.

There is one recent 2011 study of the Salvia miltiorrhiza (Danshen) from China having phytoestrogens (see link):
Direct vasorelaxation by a novel phytoestrogen tanshinone IIA is mediated by nongenomic action of estrogen receptor through endothelial nitric oxide synthase activation and calcium mobilization.

Their conclusions: “Our findings support a continued effort in discovering and developing novel phytoestrogens as an alternative hormone replacement therapy for safer and more effective treatment of cardiovascular diseases.”

Mila states this about their processing techniques: “Micro-sliced (not ground) in order to expose the most essential oils without destroying them. Grinding can destroy these oils.  Mila has a greater bioavailability than either ground or whole Chia seeds due to this unique preparation.” – so hence the high price for their seeds : Mila the Miracle Seed

Here is a link to one that is ground, and half the price:

Here is a link to a great psyllium-based fiber product, with the intestinal healing nutrient, glutamine:

There is a link to a fiber without seeds, soy or flax, wheat or gluten, or any other known phytoestrogenic ingredients:

  • Clearly Fiber Powder by DaVinci Labs – Digestion Resistant Maltodextrin (Fibersol-2 brand) – When Fibersol®-2 is made in the U.S. it is made from both genetically modified and non-genetically modified corn. The corn processing supply chain simply does not allow for segregation of these types of corn.

A word about Phytoestrogens:

The word “phytoestrogen” is derived from phyto, meaning “plant” and estrogen, because of their ability to affect estrogenic activity in the body. Phytoestrogens are a diverse group of polyphenolic, nonsteroidal plant compounds that may cause both estrogenic and antiestrogenic effects. These effects are similar, although less intense, than those of endogenous steroidal estrogens. There are reportedly approximately 300 plant species containing phytoestrogen compounds that possess some degree of estrogen activity.

Several epidemiological studies have indicated that phytoestrogens have health benefits, including possible protection against menopausal symptoms and osteoporosis, as well as a potential reduction in breast cancer, prostate cancer, and cardiovascular disease risks.  However, for now it seems the consensus among the scientific and medical community is to avoid in patients with estrogen-dependent tumors.

More can be read on this complicated issue of phytoestrogens here:

http://erc.endocrinology-journals.org/content/13/4/995.full#sec-12 – Phytoestrogens and breast cancer –promoters or protectors? – 2006

http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1289%2Fehp.10538#Conclusion – Phytoestrogens and Breast Cancer Prevention: Possible Mechanisms of Action – 2008

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