(Natural News) Hormone replacement therapy is often touted for any number of things; these kinds of drugs are often given to women under the guise of reducing heart disease risk and minimizing the effects of menopause, for example. But are they really safe? While hormone replacement therapy (HRT) first gained popularity for reducing signs of menopause, like hot flashes and mood swings, studies have continued to point to the potential health risks that may come with the so-called therapy.
From increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and blood clots to an increased risk of cancer, the risks of HRT first came to light back in 2002. And current research only continues to build on what’s already been surmised: HRT is simply not worth the risk. This is especially true when it comes to breast cancer, as research has found that HRT contributes to an increased risk of breast cancer.
Recently, researchers at the University of Missouri “have linked natural and synthetic progestins to the body’s production of specialized cancer cells that act like stem cells in humans.” The team found that when exposed to progestin, breast cancer cells began to act like cancer stem cells, and also increased the expression of CD44, which is a protein linked to proliferation, cell communication and migration. You can see where that would be a bad thing when it comes to cancer cells.
Salman Hyder, a Zalk Endowed Professor in Tumor Angiogenesis and professor of biomedical sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center, also noted further, “These cells greatly increase the likelihood of resistance to therapies and the risk for metastasis.”
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While these cells are generally considered to be “rare,” the research pioneered by the University of Missouri shows that this subset of cancer cells is actually enriched by progestin — allowing them to replicate and spread with abandon. Like normal stem cells, these cancer stem cells are self-renewing and are capable of exponential proliferation.
Essentially, HRT triggers the production of proteins that encourage cancer cells to be produced and spread across the body. Additionally, HRT can actually foster cancer stem cell production and even causes “normal” cancer cells to behave very much like cancer stem cells.
Why would anyone promote the use of a drug that makes cancer spread faster and makes it harder to treat?
Natural News has covered the potential dangers of HRT many times throughout the years but the underlining theme is always the same: HRT just isn’t worth the risk, especially when there are plenty of natural alternatives to managing the effects of menopause and maintaining health through middle age and beyond. While “the change” is difficult for women –some more than others– HRT is not the only option. In fact, there are many options that don’t have the same deleterious effects on women’s health.
For example, several natural herbs have been found to be great for managing menopause symptoms. On top of that, avoiding or including certain types of foods in your diet can be helpful. Wild yam and ginseng are two herbs that have a long history of being used to help treat the symptoms of menopause. Wild yam is said to support reproductive health, control mood and prevent irritability, while ginseng is said to help relieve moodiness and prevent hot flashes.
Phytoestrogens — especially isoflavones– are also thought to help women going through menopause. Phytoestrogen literally means “plant estrogen” and these kinds of compounds can be found in a number of foods including soy, flax and sesame. Some other estrogenic foods include alfalfa sprouts, chickpeas, oats, olive oil, sunflower seeds and barley. These foods are said to help manage the effects of menopause, including preventing hot flashes. Flax seeds are considered one of the best foods for menopause, but whatever you choose — make sure it’s GMO-free.
Sources for this article include: