More than 10 million American women use birth control pills. They are the go-to contraceptive not only for pregnancy prevention, but also for PMS symptoms, heavy periods, and acne. Previous studies have suggested that birth control pills increase breast cancer risk, and the most recent research strengthens this relationship.
Birth Control Pills: A Known Carcinogen
Birth control pills join tobacco, asbestos, plutonium, and diesel exhaust as a group 1 carcinogen according to the World Health Organization. This means birth control pills are “a known and probable cancer-causing agent to humans.”
The latest study published in the August 2014 edition of the journal Cancer Research confirms the finding of past birth control/cancer studies. Researchers studied 1,102 women with breast cancer, along with 21,952 controls, and found that recent oral contraceptive use—particularly high-dose estrogen birth control pills—increased breast cancer risk by more than 50%. Birth control pills with ethynodiol diacetate (a type of progestin) also raised breast cancer risk by more than double, while triphasic birth control pills (pills that deliver different hormone doses over three stages of the monthly cycle) more than tripled breast cancer risk! Not all birth control pills fared so badly, however. Low-dose estrogen birth control pills did not seem to increase breast cancer risk.
Birth control pills block pregnancy by delivering a mix of estrogen and progestin hormones to your body. But these same hormones also over-stimulate breast cancer cells, which increases breast cancer risk. Dr. Angela Lanfranchi writes in her booklet on Breast Cancer Risks and Prevention:
“Estrogen can cause cancers in two ways. First, estrogen acts as a “mitogen.” Estrogen stimulates your breast tissue to increase cell divisions (mitoses). This sometimes results in cancers due to errors in cell division (mutations). Second, certain metabolites of estrogen also act as carcinogen or genotoxins, by directly damaging DNA, thereby causing cancer cells to form.”
Your risk for breast cancer further increases if you have a strong family history of breast cancer, you or a family member have had a biopsy that showed abnormal cells, or you carry an abnormal breast cancer gene.
If you are currently taking birth control pills, consider a safer method of contraception, such as the use of a diaphragm and/or condom. If you insist on taking birth control pills, then make sure you are on a low-dose estrogen pill.
The American Society for Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery estimates that 90% of women have cellulite, but we’d venture to guess that every woman grapples with unwanted dimples at some point in her life. It doesn’t matter if you’re curvy or skinny, short or tall… the fact that you’re a woman is enough of a reason for cellulite to strike. You may be more susceptible due to genetics, poor circulation, toxin buildup and inflammation. When fat cells grow larger and push through your fibrous bands of tissue, the cottage cheese look crops up on thighs, bellies and arms.
We aren’t sitting idly by. Cellulite is big business. American women spend upwards of $12 million annually on expensive anti-cellulite lotions. Cellulite cures, both natural and surgical, attempt to melt away the fat that has accumulated in your tissues, while encouraging collagen and elastin growth. (Collagen and elastin are the main components of connective tissue; the stronger your collagen, the less your cellulite.) Before you spend any more money on creams that temporarily reduce the appearance of cellulite, let’s take a look at some dietary changes you can implement that may actually help eradicate cellulite for good.
The Anti-Cellulite Diet
If heart disease and insulin resistance aren’t enough to get you to cut back on your salt and sugar intake, then perhaps cellulite will convince you. You may eat a low-fat diet, but if you eat too much sugar you’re still exacerbating the growth of fat cells. Excess sugar gets trapped in fat cells, causing them to swell into unsightly cellulite. Likewise, too much salt promotes fluid retention, which shines a spotlight on your cottage cheese. In order to minimize the appearance of cellulite, limit sugar consumption to six teaspoons per day, and don’t eat foods with more than 200 mg of sodium.
You can also help banish cellulite with the flaxseed trick. Flaxseed maintains estrogen levels and encourages collagen production. Add two tablespoons to cereal, yogurt or oatmeal each day.
Supplement with seaweed. Kelp contains a chlorophyll compound called fucoxanthin that revs up the body’s fat-burning engines. Studies have found that supplementing with kelp can trigger a loss in body weight of 5-10% and directly reduce the appearance of cellulite. Add dry kelp to soup, or sprinkle it on stir-fries and salads. If supplementing in tablet form, look for a concentration of 300 mg.
Gotu kola extract has also been clinically shown to reduce cellulite by improving skin elasticity and thickness.
If you’re looking for a quick fix to help mask cellulite, look for a cream containing the organic compound aminophylline, which helps break down trapped fat. Vitamin C is another superstar ingredient known for its collagen-boosting effects. Retinol cream is an effective cellulite solution that defends against the free radicals that damage collagen. Look for 100% retinol cream with added vitamins A, C and E.