In my last newsletter I wrote about depression, anti-depressants, and how your gut health affects your brain and moods. Anti-depressants can be life saving and sometimes are necessary. However, as I mentioned in my last article, they do not address the root cause of depression and have a long list of side effects. A recent study found that paroxetine (the active ingredient in Paxil and Pexeva – widely prescribed SSRI antidepressants) may promote breast cancer. A large percentage of breast cancers are sensitive to estrogen, which means that estrogen contributes to their growth. According to this new research, Paroxetine has an estrogenic effect. “The paroxetine finding helps explain previous studies showing that it reduces tamoxifen therapy’s effectiveness,” explained Shiuan Chen, Ph.D., professor and chair of City of Hope’s Department of Cancer Biology and lead author of the study. “And it has implications for patients with estrogen-sensitive breast cancer who are on other medications.” 1.
Endocrine disrupting chemicals interfere with the biosynthesis, metabolism, and functions of steroid hormones, including estrogens and androgens. The research team at City of Hope has developed a novel screening method that can be “used to assess the estrogen-disrupting properties of more compounds, including medications, environmental pollutants and common household chemicals. Such compounds also can disrupt the functions of other hormones, Chen said, potentially raising the risk of obesity and diabetes later in life.” 2.
There is an upside and downside to this study. Good news first, new technology now allows the researchers at City of Hope to analyze large volumes of compounds with potential estrogen disrupting properties more accurately and quickly. The downside: clinical depression is twice as common in women as it is in men. In fact, one in four women in their 40s and 50s (one in ten Americans overall) now take an antidepressant medication. 3. And women in their 40s and 50s are at higher risk of having breast cancer.
But I have good news again. Not only can you use diet, lifestyle, team support, and the power of nutrients to address depression; you can also use foods and superstar nutrients to help you better metabolize harmful estrogens! For example, I just learned from Dr. William Walsh this weekend that zinc deficiency is common in almost all mental disorders. And did you know that broccoli seed extract, rich in sulfur, contributes sulfur groups to the Phase II sulfation pathway, one of the pathways that metabolizes potentially harmful estrogens! There is so much that we can do to not only transform our health through nutrition, but also prevent pain and disease.
1, 2 http://breakthroughs.cityofhope.org/antidepressant-paxil-estrogen