How To Enhance Tamoxifen to Increase its Effectiveness

How To Enhance Tamoxifen to Increase its Effectiveness

Enhancing Tamoxifen Increases its Effectiveness

As a chemopreventive agent, tamoxifen has been shown in two studies to reduce breast cancer by as much as 50% for women at high risk for breast cancer. In addition, tamoxifen reduces the incidence of osteoporotic fractures in postmenopausal women.

Whereas tamoxifen can reduce your risk for breast cancer, especially if you are high risk, it does have negative side effects.  Some of the side effects are due to low estrogen or estrogen being blocked at the cellular level.  But you can enhance the effectiveness of tamoxifen and reduce some of the negative side effects with the right nutrition.

What is Tamoxifen, and How Does It Reduce Breast Cancer Risk?

In 1966, Tamoxifen was initially developed as an emergency birth control but was ineffective in controlling women's fertility.  However, during research, it was discovered that tamoxifen inhibited the growth of ER-positive breast cancer cells.

Tamoxifen is a drug often used to treat women who have had estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer or are at high risk for breast cancer.  It is usually prescribed as therapy for 5-10 years to prevent or reduce the risk of recurrence.

As a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM), tamoxifen has the ability to be an “antiestrogen” in breast tissue.  By being a SERM, Tamoxifen can reduce breast cancer risk while preserving estrogen's positive actions throughout the body.

Is Tamoxifen an Anti-estrogen Drug?

Tamoxifen is often referred to as an anti-estrogen drug or thought of as reducing estrogen production.  In reality, it modulates or changes how the estrogen cell receptor receives the hormone estrogen.

Estrogen receptors are found throughout the body, including the breast and uterine tissue.  As a hormone, estrogen has various types of action.  For instance, estrogen decreases cholesterol levels (LDL), maintains bone density, regulates hormones, and controls the menstrual cycle.

Because Tamoxifen blocks the estrogen receptor, some of the side effects are related to low estrogen, like hot flashes.  You can reduce some of these side effects by enhancing Tamoxifen's effectiveness with the right foods.  In addition, these top 5 foods help promote healthy estrogen metabolism, reducing your risk for breast cancer.

Tamoxifen Helps Increase the Good Estrogen Receptor

In addition to reducing estrogen's effects on the target tissue, tamoxifen also promotes a healthy balance in the types of estrogen receptors.  There are two types of estrogen receptors – alpha and beta.

Alpha estrogen receptors are often referred to as the “gas” and promote cell growth and proliferation.   Increased expression of the alpha receptor is good, especially when pregnant, but not so much if we have a breast cancer tumor.

Beta estrogen receptors, on the other hand, are the “brakes” on cell growth.  Tamoxifen helps balance these two types of cell receptors, thereby reducing the risk of tumor development and cancer.

Primarily Pure

Can Foods Enhance Tamoxifen Reducing Risk for Breast Cancer

Food contains chemical compounds, like sulforaphane, that enhance the way that Tamoxifen works. These compounds help improve Tamoxifen by reducing estrogen levels and safely detoxing estrogen from our bodies.  Also, these compounds can help to balance our alpha and beta estrogen receptors.

Other compounds like epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG, found in green tea, actually increase the bioavailability or absorption of Tamoxifen.  This helps to improve the effectiveness and metabolism of Tamoxifen.


What are The Top 5 Foods That Enhance Tamoxifen?


Recent studies have shown that flaxseed and Tamoxifen reduced tumor size by more than 53%!  Flaxseed contains lignans, a phytoestrogen that blocks the estrogen receptor, similar to what Tamoxifen does.  It also helps create a healthy balance between the alpha and beta estrogen receptors, reducing breast cancer risk.

Flaxseeds are found in two types; brown and golden.   Golden flaxseed grows in colder climates, with brown being grown in warmer, more humid climates.  Brown flaxseed should be ground for better digestion and absorption.  Make sure to buy fresh seeds, grind them at home, and keep them in the refrigerator.   You can easily ground seeds in a small coffee grinder set aside for that purpose.  The ground flaxseeds can be added to smoothies, yogurt, muffins, and other baked goods.

You can also consume flaxseed oil, but remember it is very volatile; in other words, it can go bad very quickly.  Make sure to buy high-quality, fresh-pressed, and sold-in dark bottles.  A brand that I like is Barleans Flax Oil with Lignans, as they stated the date of when it was pressed and have been known for their quality products.  Make sure to store it in the fridge to maintain freshness.

Broccoli Superfood Breast Cancer


Like all cruciferous vegetables, broccoli contains high amounts of sulforaphane.  Research has shown that sulforaphane increases the sensitivity of Tamoxifen.  Sulforaphane also promotes the healthy detoxification of estrogen!

One of the highest sources of sulforaphane can be found in broccoli sprouts.  You can now easily find broccoli sprouts in your grocery store or sprout your own. Make sure to use organic broccoli sprouting seeds like this one.

A simple tip to get more sulforaphane from your cruciferous vegetables is to chop them up and let them rest for 30 to 60 min before cooking.  During this time, your broccoli will form more sulforaphane!

Designs for Health Broccoli Sprout Capsules – BroccoProtect Seeds + Sprout Extract Supplement with Sulforaphane + Myrosinase Enzyme to Optimize Bioavailability (90 Capsules)

Green Tea

Green tea contains EGCG, a compound known to enhance Tamoxifen, and has many other cancer-fighting properties.  It is one of my favorite foods that helps to reduce inflammation and upregulate the master gene known as Nrf2 – a known cancer-fighting gene.

Are green tea and matcha the same?  Matcha is just the ground leaves of green tea; therefore, much more concentrated in EGCG, making it a more potent Tamoxifen enhancer.  It is also higher in caffeine, so if you are sensitive to caffeine, limit matcha or go with green tea. You can drink matcha as a tea or use it in cooking like this Gluten Free Matcha Green Tea Banana Bread recipe.

It might be noted that some people will become more anxious with consuming green tea and matcha. Whereas there are moderate to low amounts of caffeine in green tea that may increase anxiety, this reaction may also be due to a reduced catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene. The COMT gene regulates dopamine and estrogen levels, and compounds in green tea can reduce the COMT gene's ability to degrade dopamine, leading to increased anxiety. 

Olive Oil

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Olive oil contains a compound known as oleic acid, which has been found to reduce the expression of a particular breast cancer gene by 46%!  In addition, it is high in antioxidants and protect against all cancers.

When choosing olive oil, make sure to choose an extra virgin, unrefined, and preferably organic.  By being unrefined, the olive oil will retain the cancer-fighting compounds.  Unrefined olive oil, however, will have a lower cooking temperature or what is called smoke point.

Garlic Onions

Garlic & Onions

Garlic and onions are in the same family known as alliums and contain many different anti-cancer-fighting compounds.  In addition to enhancing tamoxifen, these compounds help to promote the healthy detoxification of estrogen.

A recent study in Porto Rico showed that consuming a diet high in onions and garlic, including one of their favorite sauces, sofrito may be protective against breast cancer.


Can These Super Foods Take the Place of Tamoxifen?

The simple answer is no!  The information in this blog is not intended to take the place of your doctor's prescription and advice.  Instead, it is information on nutrition and lifestyle factors that greatly enhance the chemo-preventive qualities of Tamoxifen.  And to reduce some of the side effects of this drug.


Want to Learn More About How Can Reduce Your Risk for Breast Cancer?

Are you struggling to try to figure out just how you can prevent breast cancer or recurrence?  Are you confused with all of the nutrition advice out there?  It might be time to look at Nutrigenomics, which provides a truly personalized approach to reducing your risk for breast cancer.

Nutrigenomics is the science of how you can address your genes through nutrition and lifestyle changes reducing your risk for breast cancer.  Clinical research shows that there are genomic variances that go beyond the BRCA gene that you can help support through nutrition.


  1. Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators and Phytoestrogens, Oseni, et al, Planta Med. 2008 October
  2. Natural Products for the Management and Prevention of Breast Cancer, Mitra, et al, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2018
  3. The Effect of Flaxseed in Breast Cancer: A Literature Review, Calado, et al, Frontiers in Nutrition, Review 2018
  4. Nutrition Influences on Estrogen Metabolism, Douglas C. Hall, MD, 2001
  5. BRCA Mutations: Cancer Risk & Genetics Testing
  6. How Common is Breast Cancer?
  7. Combined effect of CYP1B1, COMT, GSTP1, and MnSOD genotypes and risk of postmenopausal breast cancer, Cerne, et al Journal of Gynecologic Oncology, 2011
  8. Molecular Targets for Bioactive Food Components, J. A. Milner, Nutritional Sciences Research Group, American Society for Nutritional Sciences, 2004
  9. Nutrigenomics and Breast Cancer; State-of-Art, Future Perspectives and Insights for Prevention, Sellami, et al Nutrients 2020
  10. Cancer Chemoprevention by Dietary Polyphenols: Promising Role for Epigenetics, Link, et al, Biochem Pharmacol, 2010
  11. Additive and synergistic effect of phytochemicals in prevention of oral cancer, Chandra, et al, European Jounral of General Destistry Vol 1, Issue 3, 2012



Best Breast Cancer Diet Based on Your Genes

Best Breast Cancer Diet Based on Your Genes

The Best Diet for Breast Cancer Based on Your Genes

When we think of genes and breast cancer, the first thing that comes to mind is the much-publicized -BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutation.  This gene mutation became well known when Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie discovered that she was at high risk for breast cancer when she tested positive for the BRCA1 gene.

She later decided to undergo a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy, thereby reducing her risk for breast cancer.  By making this extraordinarily personal and challenging decision public, she made women aware of genetics and breast cancer.

Current studies show that only 12% of women in the general population will develop breast cancer.  But for those that have the BRCA gene, this increases to 69% to 72% by age 80.  So it is no wonder that some women who test positive choose to have a double mastectomy.

Can You Lower Your Risk for Breast Cancer Even with the BRCA Gene?

Most gene mutations are not that affected by diet, lifestyle, or the environment.  Or, we thought anyway.

Increased consumption of vegetables and fruit lowers the risk for breast cancer even for those with the BRCA gene.  Consumption of foods high in folate, vitamin B12, and soy products also reduced risk.

On the other hand, women who consumed a high energy diet (high calorie), drank excessive coffee, and alcohol had increased risk even if they didn’t have the BRCA gene.

Could There Be Other Genes or Gene Variances that Increases Risk for Breast Cancer?

One in 500 hundred women will test positive for the BRCA gene.  Yet, 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer throughout her lifetime.

Researchers have found that there are many different slight gene variances that can increase the risk of breast cancer.   Unlike gene mutations, they are very responsive to diet, lifestyle habits, and our environment.

Nutrigenomics is the science of identifying these gene variances known as single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs.  And how you create healthy gene response with nutrition, thereby reducing your risk for breast cancer.

What Gene Variants or SNPs can Increase Your Risk For Breast Cancer?

A combination of the gene variances or SNPs known as CYP1B1, COMT, GSTP1, and MnSod increases the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women shown in a recent study.

Most SNPs or variances have little impact on their own.  But when combined with other SNPs, it can increase your risk for breast cancer.  Want to learn more about nutrigenomic testing, check out my Genomic Solutions.

By testing for these genomic variances or SNPs, you can make sure to eat the right foods or, as I like to say, nourish your genes!  And reduce your risk for breast cancer.


Nutrigenomics Food Can Affect Your Gene Response

Nourish Your Genes, Reduce Your Risk for Breast Cancer

These gene variances or SNPs that can increase your risk for breast cancer when combined are all involved in how your body clears out estrogen.  Or how your body detoxes estrogen from your body.

To safely eliminate hormones, your genes need a little help from vitamins, minerals, and bioactives! 

Vitamins and minerals act like little helpers or co-factors that upregulate and modulate your genes, safely detoxing your hormones—thereby reducing your risk for breast cancer. 

For instance, vitamin B6 plays a critical role in the formation of the queen of antioxidants known as glutathione and supports the SNP – GSTP1.

Bioactives also play a key role in the formation of the glutathione as they trigger your genes to produce this powerful anti-oxidant.  Glutathione has been shown to play a major role in the prevention of cancer making bioactives a key player in the fight against cancer.



What are Bioactives and How Can They Reduce Your Risk for Breast cancer?

Bioactives are unique chemical compounds found in food that trigger healthy gene response.  The classification of bioactives is flavonoids, carotenoids, organosulfur, and polyphenols.  There are other group classifications, but these are the big players in the bioactive world.

Some of the carotenoids we are very familiar with are lycopene found in tomatoes and lutein found in green leafy vegetables. 

Another example of a powerful bioactive is curcumins found in the spice, turmeric.  Curcumins have been founds to a powerful antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-inflammatory. 

The best source of curcumins can be found in the turmeric root itself and can easily be roasted like any other roasted root vegetables.  Caution should be used when taking turmeric as a supplement as too much turmeric can lead to iron deficiency.

Cruciferous Vegetables

Onions, Garlic,  and Cruciferous Vegetables – All High in Bioactives

Onions and garlic are in the same family called the allium vegetables.  They are high in allyl sulfur and have chemoprotective effects as well as kick-off healthy gene response reducing your risk for breast cancer. 

This is because they contain key compounds that help our body to produce glutathione, the queen of anti-oxidants.  They also trigger the master gene known as NrF2 – powerful anti-carcinogenic gene!

Cruciferous vegetables contain sulforaphane, a compound that promotes healthy detoxification of estrogen.  And, supports those gene variants known as CYP1B1 and GSTP1!  You can find your favorite cruciferous vegetables just about anywhere – cauliflower, cabbage, kale, garden cress, bok choy, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.

Matcha Green Tea Anti-Cancer

Green Tea Supports COMT – Reducing Your Risk for Breast Cancer

The COMT gene can increase your risk for breast cancer when combined with the other gene variants.  In most cases, a reduced COMT alone will not significantly increase your risk for breast cancer.  But in combination with other SNPs, this gene variant may increase your risk considerably.

Green tea supports the COMT gene because it is high in epigallocatechin-3-gallate – whew!  Or, commonly referred to as EGCG.  Studies have shown that EGCG can actually reduce your risk for breast cancer especially is you have what is referred to as a reduced COMT.  The COMT gene is one of the few gene variances that can be slowed down or speed up depending on the gene variant.

If you are not fond of green tea, which I am not, you may enjoy this recipe for Matcha Green Tea Energy Balls.  Matcha has 3-4 times the amount of EGCG as green tea.  Super easy recipe – try these energy balls instead of that cup of coffee.

What is the Best Diet to Reduce Risk for Breast Cancer

The Mediterranean Diet is one of the best diets for reducing your risk of breast cancer.  This diet offers a rich diversity of vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and clean sources of animal/fish protein.  With such diversity, you can easily get in those bioactives.

The color of the vegetables and fruit identifies the bioactives or the polyphenols in the plants.  For instance, white-green vegetables are high in allyl sulfides, which help to support that GSTP1 gene. 

White-green vegetables would be leeks, garlic, onions, and chives.  Red-purple plants like grapes, blackberries, red wine, raspberries, and blueberries are rich in anthocyanins and other polyphenols.

The more color and variety in your diet, the more you can reduce your risk for breast cancer.

The Mediterranean diet offers:

  • A vast diversity of plant-based foods
  • Rich in bioactive triggering healthy gene response
  • Provides a large variety of high fiber foods
  • Plant-based sources of protein – legumes, nuts, seeds
  • Clean sources of animal/fish protein

It is the balance of good wholesome food that nourishes your genes and reduces your risk.  Get my favorite Mediterranean Diet Food Guide.


DNA Genomics

What about Nutrigenomic Testing and Reducing Your Risk for Breast Cancer?

If you had breast cancer and want to be confident that you are doing everything you can to prevent a recurrence, then nutrigenomics would be worth the investment.  Or, if your doctor has told you that you are high risk.

According to Phillip S. Rosenberg, Ph.D., Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics, in the United States, breast cancer rates will increase by 50% by 2020, and 80% will have no family history.  Could these other genes be coming into play here?

If you ready to leap into the world of nutrigenomics, I would recommend Nutrition Genome.  The report is very comprehensive; however, it does not bring together breast cancer genomics.  But can easily do that with my Nutrition Genome Consult.  If you want to learn more about nutrigenomics, join my private FaceBook group, Nutrition Solutions Through Genomics.

  • BRCA Mutations: Cancer Risk & Genetics Testing
  • How Common is Breast Cancer?
  • Combined effect of CYP1B1, COMT, GSTP1, and MnSOD genotypes and risk of postmenopausal breast cancer, Cerne, et al Journal of Gynecologic Oncology, 2011
  • Molecular Targets for Bioactive Food Components, J. A. Milner, Nutritional Sciences Research Group, American Society for Nutritional Sciences, 2004
  • Nutrigenomics and Breast Cancer; State-of-Art, Future Perspectives and Insights for Prevention, Sellami, et al Nutrients 2020
  • Cancer Chemoprevention by Dietary Polyphenols: Promising Role for Epigenetics, Link, et al, Biochem Pharmacol, 2010
  • Additive and synergistic effect of phytochemicals in prevention of oral cancer, Chandra, et al, European Jounral of General Destistry Vol 1, Issue 3, 2012
Top 3 Things You Can Do To Prevent Breast Cancer

Top 3 Things You Can Do To Prevent Breast Cancer

We are all told the basics of eating a diet rich in vegetables, high in fiber, limiting fat, and even eating soy which remains controversial (another blog in of itself).  And, of course, limit alcohol and maintain a healthy weight.

Yet, despite these recommendations we will see breast cancer rates increase by 50% by 2030 and 80% will have no family history according to Phillip S. Rosenberg, PhD, Cancer epidemiology & genetics Biostatistics Branch of the NCI!

So, what can YOU do to prevent breast cancer?

I will cut to the chase for those who have short attention spans – nutrigenomics testing, ditch the chemicals, and the Mediterranean diet.  All three involve and promote a healthy hormonal balance, the metabolism, and the detoxification of estrogen.

  • Nutrigenomics testing will identify your TRUE risk for breast or how you can truly prevent a recurrence by promoting positive gene response and healthy detoxification.
  • Ditching the chemicals that promote hormonal imbalances is also key as we now know that are many chemicals that women are more often exposed to that can promote unhealthy estrogen levels.
  • Why the Mediterranean Diet – this diet which is predominantly plant-based with healthy sources of animal protein is also full of healthy fats, fiber and recommends a huge variety and color in vegetables.

Nutrigenomics Food Can Affect Your Gene Response

What is the Role of Nutrigenomics and Breast Cancer

Most of the nutrigenomics SNP’s (single nucleotide polymorphisms) or slight genomic variants involved in breast cancer are involved in the two-phase process of the liver detoxification system.

For instance, the SNP known as CYP1B1 is involved in the process of breaking down estradiol into certain compounds; a variant in this SNP will promote estradiol into 4-OH over the preferred compound known as 2-OH.  The compounds are known as 4-OH and 16-OH (see Estrogen Metabolism Nutrients) are implicated in breast cancer.

What if you knew you had this SNP?

What could you do?  By increasing your diet in crucifers (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower), berries, and yes, flaxseed you can promote healthy gene response.  And, you would know that you would need to avoid chemicals polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons found highest industrial seed oils and GMO grains and PCB’s.

What About Maintaining a Healthy Weight?

It is important to maintain a healthy weight not just for cancer, but overall health.  But, when it comes to cancer, being overweight especially with abdominal obesity (carry weight in your tummy), you greatly increase your risk of cancer.  This is because we know that insulin resistance is a key player in the role of cancer.  If you are carrying most of your weight in your tummy, that is a sure sign you have insulin resistance.

Abdominal obesity leads to hormone imbalances as this type of fat actually produces estrogen, especially in postmenopausal women.    This is where nutrigenomics comes in again – using nutrigenomics testing you can find out why you are struggling with your weight by looking at those genes that promote metabolic syndrome.  You can finally give up the guessing game as to what diet plan will work for you.

Natural Skincare Cosmetics

Ditch the Chemicals to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

Ditching the chemicals that promote hormonal imbalances.  The typical women put on over 15 different products before she walks out the door.  Many of these cosmetics, personal care, and skincare products contain known hormone disruptors and have been implicated in breast and uterine cancers.  That is one of the reasons I partnered with BeautyCounter – safer, cleaner, and better beauty products.  And, they continue to fight to protect women from harmful chemicals.

And, there are plastics that contain BPA – a known carcinogen yet we still drink water out of plastic bottles, use personal care products that are in containers with BPA, and heat foods in plastic. These chemicals are also known as “obesogens” promoting an unhealthy weight that also leads to estrogen imbalances.

Start avoiding these chemicals by looking for the top offenders – parabens and phthalates which are used often as preservatives so will be at the end of the ingredient list.  Phthalates can be hidden using the term “parfum” or “fragrance”.  Many environmental chemicals like glyphosate or Round Up, PCB’s and PAH’s are so pervasive in our environment, it has become more and more important to support healthy detoxification through nutrition and avoidance of chemicals where we can.

Mediterrean Diet Breast Cancer

How Does the Mediterranean Diet Help to Prevent Breast Cancer

This diet is predominantly plant-based emphasizing a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.  It is also not what I call a “reductionist” diet – where you have greatly reduced or eliminated a food group like gluten or fat.

Research shows that most if not all “reductionist” diet plan fail to provide adequate nutrition or even meet the minimum required recommended daily allowance (RDA).

The Mediterranean Diet is also rich healthy grains (yes, gluten grains like Kamut), seeds, nuts, and healthy fats from olive oil and cold-water fish.  What is best about this diet or cuisine is that it also incorporates spices, herbs, and greens we normally do not eat.

And, it is certainly not low fat.  Many sites recommend a low-fat diet without making the distinction between healthy fats and bad fats.  Again, a reductionist diet!  This was based on very poorly done studies and to me is one of the worse recommendations for hormone balance.  I know first hand what happens to a woman’s body on a low-fat diet – hormonal imbalance especially estrogen dominance which is highly implicated in breast cancer.

As we learn more and more about nutrigenomics and it's a role we can start to truly prevent breast cancer rather than waiting for our mammogram to detect if we have cancer when it many times it too late.  As find out more and more about genes and genomics we will beat the battle of cancer – what we are currently doing is simply not sustainable or really winning the battle.

Want to learn more about nutrigenomics?  Book your free genomic Consult Today!