Long-term use of oral contraceptives (OCs) and of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) have been linked to increased blood coagulation, with its increased risk of cardiovascular problems. Their long-term use also has been linked to altered immune and inflammatory factors, suggesting an increased risk of chronic immune disorders with an inflammatory component, including cancer. This report reviews these various risks. Also discussed are 2 natural food extracts, one showing anticoagulant effects and the other exhibiting certain anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects.
Isoflavones from soy have both estrogenic and antiestrogenic action, and in vitro and animal studies have shown possible interference with hormone blockade agents used in breast cancer aftercare. Epidemiological data, however, suggests that soy consumption is not associated with increased risk in any population of women with a history of breast cancer. Further, there appears to be a linear relationship between decreased risk of recurrence and/or mortality and increasing soy consumption.
Metabolic syndrome is a common condition that can increase complications in breast cancer treatment and increase risk of recurrence. While metformin is a promising therapeutic agent, intensive lifestyle interventions and natural therapies can be safely and effectively implemented in people with metabolic syndrome before they become diabetic. Natural medicine interventions such as exercise, dietary counseling, herbal medicine, and dietary supplementation can help optimize outcomes during and after cancer treatment. Strategies discussed in this article include various diets, management of cortisol levels, sleep, avoidance of obesogenic compounds, and use of the nutrients chromium, zinc, vanadium, magnesium, myo-inositol, alpha lipoic acid, fish oil, vitamin D, CoQ10, L-carnitine, herbal bitters, cinnamon, berberine, and green tea.
Diminished ovarian reserve, a natural process by which the follicular pool diminishes with time, is often clinically asymptomatic but presents a challenge to those wanting to become pregnant. Although pelvic ultrasonography and day 3 serum hormone testing have long been common methods of assessing ovarian reserve, promising research suggests the utility of anti-mullerian hormone testing to identify patients with diminished ovarian reserve. Conventional wisdom would suggest that in vitro fertilization is the only answer for diminished ovarian reserve, but preliminary research offers hope that egg quality and ovarian reserve can be improved by dehydroepiandrosterone, melatonin, and myo-inositol.
The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis interacts with sleep in multiple ways. This article reviews the effects of the HPA axis on sleep and the converse. The hormones secreted by the hypothalamus and anterior pituitary that interact with the adrenal cortex are discussed, with implications on sleep disturbances and insomnia. A review of the stages of sleep and sleep architecture is given, and particular attention is paid to the role of cortisol. A dysfunctional HPA and alterations in the rhythm of cortisol production is described as a basis for understanding many cases of insomnia. This abnormal cortisol production and cycling is the basis for the hypothesis and the small body of research on the use of natural therapies to regulate the HPA axis and cortisol production.
Citicoline (cytidine diphosphocholine, CDP-choline) is a novel nutrient with a broad spectrum of benefits for conditions associated with symptoms of neurological dysfunction. An endogenous compound, citicoline is an essential intermediate in the synthesis of cell membrane phospholipids and its formation is the rate-limiting step in phosphatidylcholine synthesis. It plays several important roles in human physiology, including enhancement of structural integrity and signaling for cell membranes, support of acetylcholine synthesis, and synthesis of betaine, a methyl donor.
In this literature review we discuss the accumulating body of preclinical research which shows honokiol to have wide-ranging biological and clinically relevant effects, without appreciable toxicity. In vivo studies suggest that honokiol’s greatest value is in its multiple anticancer actions.