Women's Health

  1. Breast cancer? Here’s why you should exercise

    Get moving to boost your energy -- and your brain

    Ladies, when you've got breast cancer -- or if you've already survived it -- the thought of exercising probably sounds about as appealing as getting a root canal.

    Fighting the cancer... enduring the chemo... and suffering the insomnia that so often accompanies your treatments has got you more than wiped out.

    To add insult to injury, you might also feel as though your brain isn't firing on all cylinders, a complaint known as "chemo brain" that's common among those getting chemotherapy.

    But even though you're feeling dazed and dog-tired, it turns out that the best thing you can do to feel better is probably the last thing you feel like doing: EXERCISE.

    Because according to a new study, doing some moderate-to-vigorous physical activity -- even just taking a brisk walk -- can ease your fatigue and, in turn, perk up your brain.

    The study out of the University of Illinois tracked the physical activity of nearly 300 breast cancer patients and survivors for one week and measured their performance on a bundle of cognitive tests.

    By the end of the study, those who had the highest levels of daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity reported the LEAST fatigue!

    And there was a domino effect, too: Less fatigue translated into BETTER performance on cognitive tasks, including those that involved memory and "executive function," which is a set of mental skills that helps you get things done.

    Even 10 minutes a day of brisk walking was enough to improve both fatigue AND "chemo brain"!

    What's more, previous studies have shown that regular exercise may even SAVE your life -- because those who were active on a regular basis slashed their risk of dying from breast cancer by 40 percent.

    So, if you're battling breast cancer, don't assume that exercising will tire you out more or worsen your "brain drain."

    Instead, pull yourself up off the couch for a true "pick-me-up"!

    You don't have to train for a triathlon -- start easy by just taking a brisk walk outside. As a bonus, your body will convert those UV rays you soak up under the sun into vitamin D (a.k.a. the "sunshine vitamin") -- shown in other studies to improve your chances of surviving breast cancer.

    You can even try a yoga class. Studies show that twisting your body into funny-named yoga poses also gives your brain a boost.

    And if insomnia is an issue, you might want to check out a tai chi class. The graceful exercise has been shown to ease insomnia in breast cancer survivors and boost cognitive function, too.

    Aim for the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity at least five days a week for the most benefits.

    And if you lose a few pounds in the process, all the better -- because keeping your weight in check itself lowers the risk of breast cancer recurrence.

  2. Chemo can help breast cancer cells spread

    Don't let your cancer treatment turn against you

    Ladies, if you've been diagnosed with breast cancer, you want to do everything you can to get rid of the cancer... AND keep it from spreading.

    So, you might be tempted to jump onboard with the "slash-and-burn" approach of mainstream medicine: chemotherapy to shrink the tumor, followed by surgery to remove it.

    Not so fast.

    Think carefully before you agree to that chemo treatment -- because according to a new study, those drugs could help open the door for cancer cells to enter your bloodstream and set up shop elsewhere in your body.

    The study looked at the effects of common chemotherapy drugs like paclitaxel on tumors in both human and animal tissue. It turned out that even though the drugs did decrease tumor size, they INCREASED the risk of the cancer spreading to other parts of the body, a.k.a. "metastasizing."

    The chemo drugs did this by boosting the activity of what's known as "tumor microenvironments of metastasis" (TMEM), which are places on your blood vessels where cancer cells clump up with immune cells that usher them right into the bloodstream.

    The study found that depending on the type of tumor, the increase in TMEM activity caused by chemotherapy can as much as TRIPLE the chance that a common type of breast cancer (estrogen-receptor positive/HER2 negative) will metastasize.

    We already know that chemo can wreck your immune system and lead to other life-threatening complications like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

    But the damage it can do turns out to be much worse than you may have ever thought.

    And when you consider that radiation can double your risk of developing a SECOND cancer... and surgery may not add a single candle to your birthday cake... it's tough to understand why so many docs recommend these treatments without a second thought.

    Many breast tumors won't spread on their own and don't require such aggressive treatment!

    So, if you're weighing your treatment options, talk to your doc about proven alternative therapies like intravenous vitamin C -- which I use in my own practice -- before signing on for chemo.

    And even if you've already had a mainstream treatment like radiation or chemo, supplements like quercetin, curcumin, berberine, and fish oil have powerful anti-cancer properties and can help protect against your cancer's return.

  3. Drinking tea protects women from cancer

    Get brewing to beat this deadly disease "You have to believe we are magic. Nothing can stand in our way." When breast cancer survivor and pop singer Olivia Newton-John sang those words back in the early 1980s, I can't imagine she had any clue how they would resonate for generations of women, over 30 years later. The 68-year-old former Grease...
  4. Not sleeping enough doubles risk of dying from breast cancer

    How sleeping more could keep you alive longer If you're like many seniors, you probably woke up today more tired than when you went to bed last night. As we get older, it gets harder to get a good night's sleep... especially with aches and pains... and those late-night trips to the bathroom. As I've previously shared with you, sleep...
  5. Balance your hormones to ease polycystic ovary syndrome

    How toxins can wreck your hormones Q: My daughter wants to tone her polycystic ovary syndrome down enough to where she can have a child. Can you point us in the right direction? GR: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) -- in which women experience a proliferation of ovarian cysts -- is a leading cause of poor fertility and endocrine dysfunction in...
  6. Osteoporosis linked to nutritional deficiencies

    Beat back osteoporosis with more than just calcium Q: My wife has just been diagnosed with osteoporosis. Do you recommend any natural remedy she can use instead of drugs? GR: An estimated one in four women over the age of 50 has osteoporosis, the bone-thinning disease where the bones become brittle and fragile. It's one of the most common chronic...
  7. Vitamin D ups breast cancer survival odds

    Lower levels of vitamin D are associated with more advanced-stage tumors and a worse prognosis at the time of a breast cancer diagnosis. But you can increase your odds of surviving breast cancer if you ever do get diagnosed by maximizing your intake of vitamin D now.
  8. Women's sharp memory can mask Alzheimer's

    Study shows women are likely to show signs of cognitive impairment at a later stage than men, even when their brains show early signs of Alzheimer's.
  9. Nighttime hot flashes can make menopausal women depressed

    New study shows menopausal women are depressed by nighttime hot flashes – and not just because they’re sleep deprived. But instead of taking meds to reduce the depression, try a natural remedy to reduce the hot flashes.
  10. Natural treatments boost sex drive for women

    Adjusting hormone levels and using herbal remedies can help women have a healthier sex drive and get more satisfaction out of sex.

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