In this episode of Curbside Consult on Breast Cancer with Dr. Lise Alschuler, ND FABNO, we discuss how integrative health physicians can support patients with the disease better manage the mental health challenges of the diagnosis.
From active listening to homeopathic remedies, neurotransmitter analysis, amino acid supplementation, and herbal nervines, this is an area where natural medicine really does excel.
Our Relationship with Patients
There's so much that naturopathic doctors can do, but I would say that they should not forget the therapeutic value of the relationship that they have with patients. Simply being there and listening carefully and offering them hope is crucial.
Circadian Health & Melatonin
Circadian health is really important. Some of the symptoms of cancer and even cancer treatment can lead to disruption of some of the clock genes that are tied to circadian health.
So restoring circadian health is one of the most important things we can do for patients.
Melatonin, the master regulator of circadian health, is the best studied natural supplement in integrative oncology, and it has been shown to reduce depression, improve sleep, and help women tolerate their treatments better.
Also, adaptogenic plants can help with depression. They improve mental and physical stamina and can improve energy levels.
It's really important for women to have supportive, nurturing relationships. Breast cancer support groups are important for women to have. Know your local resources and be able to refer her to good social support groups.
American ginseng is a go-to. American ginseng over Panax Ginseng because, while it's really effective, there is a little bit of an estrogenic action from Panax Ginseng, which is an issue in breast cancer.
For women who have anxiety mixed with depression and they're struggling to sleep, I advocate Ashwagandha because of its more sedative nature.
Holy basil (tulsi) and Rhodiola are also effective in helping patients deal with the stress of a breast cancer diagnosis. Holy Basil is most widely used for managing stress and anxiety.
Exercise is critical for women with breast cancer because it reduces the risk of recurrence by about 50%. It also increases energy and well-being and helps maintain good body mass. Exercise also improves well-being, which is an antidote for most people to feelings of depression and anxiety.
Exercise is always challenging but it's always fun, so women like it, but it's difficult. For most women, 45 minutes of exercise a day is the sweet spot for exercise.
WATCH EPISODE FOUR HERE
"There's so much that naturopathic doctors can do. First of all, I really encourage practitioners to not forget the therapeutic value of the relationship that they have with patients because simply being there and listening carefully and offering them hope goes tremendously far.
Remember, that the juxtaposition to that is their experience in oncology, which is all about getting chemo. They are given very bad news and it beats them up. So for you to be anything different than that is incredibly helpful." Dr Lise Alschuler, ND FABNO
The opinions expressed in this Nutramedica program are those of the guests and contributors. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Nutritional Fundamentals For Health Inc.
This video is intended for licensed or registered health professionals and students of health professions only. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Information contained in these programs is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.