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NBE Guide: biology, endocrinology, herbs, nutrition
#1
Anatomy:
The breast is composed of glandular, connective, and adipose tissues.<yj><Britannica> This glandular tissue is made up of numerous milk producing lobules and ducts.<yj><Britannica> The breast ligaments originate over the span of the pectoralis major muscle, while most of it lies over the "second to the sixth ribs."<yj>

The endocrine system, including the pituitary gland, regulates mammary glands.<Britannica> Areolar and mammary glands are exocrine glands.

Breasts contain 'estrogen receptor alpha' (ER-α), 'progesterone receptor' (PR) (possibly PRB), and 'prolactin receptor' (PrlR) proteins. Estradiol, progesterone and prolactin normally activate the respective receptors that cause breast growth.<gland activation> Estrogens, and progestogens are different categories of hormones. Prolactin is another type of hormone that reduces estradiol.

Estrogens cause elongation or forward growth by stimulating (lactiferous) mammary duct cells,<yj> through activation of ER-α.<gland activation> PR activation, believed to be specific to 'Progesterone Receptor B' (PRB),<mod> causes growth of milk producing cells or sidebranching.<yj><gland activation> Progestogens also cause stimulation of connective breast tissue (cooper's ligaments).<yj> Density, Areolar gland development, and gland lactation development are caused by prolactin receptor activation.<gland activation>

Most breast development occurs during the luteal phase, usually days 14 to 28, which is associated with high levels of progesterone and a lesser but significant amount of estrogen.<endogenus> The luteal phase is signaled to start by luteinizing hormone (LH).

During the follicular phase, days 1 through 14, IGF-1 and prolactin are positively correlated with breast size.<endogenus> 'Insulin-like growth factor 1' (IGF-1) causes breast epithelial cell proliferation, and it may allow for breast size maintenance,<endogenus> and growth. Some hormones may be necessary for keeping gains made during the luteal phase.

Estrogen is normally high during ovulation (between menstruation and the luteal phase) and causes breast growth.<mlpswelling> Breast swelling during luteal phase is also growth,<mlpswelling><endogenus> and perhaps antagonists undo this action that is associated with water weight. Progestins may possibly be ER-α antagonists, and estrogens might be PRB antagonists. Certain receptor antagonisms might be necessary to lessen desensitization, due to up or down regulation. However, an overload of antagonisms may damage receptors, desensitizing them. Lower androgen levels are associated with larger breast sizes.<yj><endogenus>

Endocrinology:
Prolactin and progesterone signal each other in a loop to boost each other's presence, while lowering estradiol. Estradiol alternatively lowers both prolactin and progesterone. Massage might indirectly raise progesterone, through prolactin's effects, but there's little evidence of this being done significantly. Limit massage that stimulates prolactin to menstruation, and during breast swelling.

Long, frequent, or heavy periods can be attributed to too much estradiol. Estradiol doesn't necessarily have to be lowered, but it has to be balanced out by progesterone or prolactin.

All three hormones can be elevated proportionally during breast swelling. Don't supplement with human hormones, use the herbs that influence human hormones or provide phytohormones, or massage. Anti-DHT herbs are important, because DHT inhibits breast growth more than testosterone.

LH and FSH stimulate ovulation, and doctors have administered them to cause pregnancy or cause multiple births. Too much LH or FSH over extended use may be a risk for premature ovarian reserve failure or early menopause. LH, FSH and estrogen stimulating herbs are unsafe to take during pregnancy, as they induce contractions, or try to start menstruation.

           

References:
* gland activation - Hormone Action in the Mammary Gland
* mod - Botanical modulation of menopausal symptoms: Mechanisms of action? Botanical modulation of menopausal symptoms: Mechanisms of action?
* endogenus - Breast size in relation to endogenous hormone levels, body constitution, and oral contraceptive use in healthy nulligravid women aged 19-25 years
* mlpswelling - Breast:premenstrual tenderness and swelling
* yj - Yen & Jaffe's Reproductive Endocrinology (6th Ed.): The breast
* Wiki: Reproductive health

Note:
* A lot of this information is reposted.

See also:
* Thread - Hormones and fertiliy (ovaries, FSH, mint, clover, ZEN, etc) - about infertility
* Thread - Glossary: Hormones and receptors; definitions and abbreviations
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#2
From this we can see...

Inverted nipples:
Considering how PrlR are contained in the nipples, it can be seen how endogenus prolactin may be helpful for inverted nipples. Prolactin's imporance is during menstruation. Massage increases prolactin, which is normally higher during sleep. Mood may be important too, or at least a decrease in stress. Perhaps inverted nipples are an indication of a longterm excess of estrogens, compared to prolactins.

Tuberous breasts:
Also note how endogenus progesterone, which causes lateral growth and lobule development, may be helpful for tubular breasts. Progesterone must be balanced during the luteal phase, but it must be balanced by estrogens to lower pms symptoms. Aromatases are important for estrogen production made from testosterone.

Breast firming:
Progesterone receptors (likely PRB) are contained in the ligneous tissue (cooper's ligaments) of the breast. Progesterone may be important for breast firming.
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#3
Herbs shown scientifically to influence breasts:
Fenugreek (and Wild Yam) - contains diosgenin - Increases duct branching.<diosgenin><bust> Fenugreek seed sprouts contain more diosgenin than non-sprout fenugreek seeds.<psytoday>

Asparagus root (common or shatavari) - contains shatavarins - Ayurvedic herb asparagus racemouses increased mammary and areolar tissues,<asparagus>

Hops (Humulus) - contains 8-prenylnaringenin - Activates ER-α,<planta> and progesterone receptor.<8pn> Causes mammary cell proliferation.<8pn> Increases prolactin and IGF-1 levels.<8pn> Decreases LH and FSH.<8pn> Affects menstrual cycles. Potent phytohormone.<planta> Reduces hot flashes.<planta>

Fennel (Foeniculum) - Increased weight of mammary glands.<bust>

Tea tree and lavender oil cannot be ingested, and can only be used topically. Lavender tea might be ok. Tea tree and lavender oil were implicated in gynecomastia.<lavender> Reference links and discussion for tea tree and lavender oil are here.

There is Breast Nexus consensus for Pueraria.

Hops, asparagus, lavender, and fenugreek have antitumor or anticancer properties.

References:
* <bust> "Bust enhancing" herbal products
* <asparagus> Asparagus racemosus - an update
* <8pn> In vivo estrogenic comparisons of Trifolium pratense (red clover), Humulus lupulus (hops), and the pure compounds isoxanthohumol and 8-prenylnaringenin
* <planta> Hop extracts and hop substances in treatment of menopausal complaints
* <psytoday> Breast-enlarging herbs: a bust?
* <lavender> Oils 'make male breasts develop' and Prepubertal Gynecomastia Linked to Lavender and tea tree oils
* <diosgenin>Diosgenin - a growth stimulator of mammary gland of ovariectomized mouse
*Antitumor/anticancer properties:
** Lavender - Activities of Ten Essential Oils towards Propionibacterium acnes and PC-3, A-549 and MCF-7 Cancer Cells: p5-6, and Raloxifene, retinoids, and lavender
** Fenugreek - Fenugreek: a naturally occuring edible spice as an anticancer agent

Other herbs:

Aromatases
Aromatases are important, as they convert androgens into various estrogens. Aromatase may be the only or major way estradiol is produced.
* White peony<1>

Anti-DHT
Anti-5-alpha-reductases are important, since they prevent the conversion of testosterone into the more portent DHT. DHT inhibits breast growth more than testosterone.
* pygeum
* pumpkin seed<2>
* red reishi<1>

Adaptogens:
* siberian ginseng (eluthero)
* panax ginseng (panax)
* indian ginseng (ashwaganda)
* schizandra
* maca

Other:
* spearmint - Spearmint raises estradiol, LH and FSH.<1> Based on its properties, spearmint is probably an aromatase too.<1> It can induce menstruation because of its LH and FSH properties. Mints are dangerous in large quantities.
* Chasteberry - lowers pms symptoms, and reduces excess prolactin.<1> It also raises progestogens, while normalizing the luteal phase.

Please do a search to find more aromatases, anti-5-alpha-reductases, and other herbs for their properties.

Note:
See MedLine Plus: Herbs and supplements for safety information of herbs. It is also available in spanish: Hierbas y suplementos. If the herb is not listed there, continue with an internet search.

References:
* <1> Summary of effects of plant derived anti-androgens.
* <2> Foods that boost aromatase - needs further verification
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#4
Timing:
Timing is important to match the menstrual cycle. The paper “Breast size in relation to endogenous hormone levels, body constitution, and oral contraceptive use in healthy nulligravid women aged 19-25 years” gives an indication of IGF-1, Prl, progesterone, and estrogens related to breast growth during different times of they cycle.

Nipple massage and hops increase prolactin. The best times to increase prolactin are during menstruation before sleep.

Massage, aromatases, and a presence of progesterone together are best for growth during swelling. The three hormones may be influenced in different proportions during different times of the cycle. Aromatases are important during the luteal phase, with a proportionate amount of progestogen presence. This can be tweaked.

Anti-DHT is important at all times.

If PMS symptoms occur or menstrual discomforts happen, take a break.
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#5
Nutrition:
Vitamins or pre-vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E, and K are important according to Daily Reference Intake, Optimum Daily Intake, or Dietary Reference Value guidelines. RDA and RDI are obsolete guidelines, but they are still on labels and are still useful for basic guideline to prevent deficiency. Lettered vitamins can be taken individually.

For minerals take a multivitamin. A supplement containing all of calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin D can also be taken. Minerals are easy to imbalance, so it is not recommended to take minerals individually. Multivitamins are especially important to take during menstruation. An iron deficiency is also an indication of a lack of other dietary minerals.

Dietary fiber is important. It helps the body rid of toxins. Also, fiber is believed to be digested by bacteria to make anti-cancerous chemicals that enter the body. This dietary fiber is otherwise indigestible by the human body and malignant cells.

Liquids are important, and it can also include fruit juices. It is important to dilute supplements in liquids, because too many concentrated supplements can tax the liver.

Think fruits, vegetables, barley, rye, natural nut butters. Avoid foods with hydrogenated vegetable oils. Limit or avoid foods containing artificial colorings, or artificial flavorings.

There are many books on nutrition.
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#6
Cautions:
* Kava can easily cause severe liver damage up to failure. It is not useful here.
* Do not try NBE while pregnant.
* NBE may interfere with conceiving. Take precaution and avoid during ovulation if trying to conceive. Better yet, avoid it during conceiving.
* Thread - Hormones and fertility (ovaries, FSH, mint, clover, ZEN, etc) - about infertility

See:
* Medline Plus - Herbs and supplements for safety of herbs.
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#7
Timing: <endogenus>
Days 5-10: contraceptive use, high prolactin
Days 18-23: contraceptive use
Follicular phase: high IGF-1
Luteal: high estradiol, high(est) progesterone, low testosterone
------------------
Interpretation and substitutes:
Notes:
Contraception use substituted with presence of progesterone and estrogen.
Days 1-4 will be considered menstruation.
Low Testosterone will be symbolized by aromatases which also increase estrogens, and use of anti-DHTs.

Menstruation: Vitamins, IGF-1, Adaptogens
Days 5-10: increase prolactin, progesterone, IGF-1 and estrogen
Between day 10 until luteal: possibly a break
Luteal: Peak progesterone, aromatase (in balance), and anti-dht
Vitamins, healthy fats, and adaptogens taken at other times too.

Raises IGF-1: healthy fats. hops, Vitamin C
Adaptogens: (siberian, indian, panax) ginsengs, schizandra, maca
Aromatases: Peony, (Spearmint tea possibly raises T and is an aromatase too)
Anti-DHT: Pumpkin seed, Red Reishi, Pygeum
Raises prolactin: Hops, nipple massage, mood
Others to tweak: Pueraria, topical Tea Tree oil, topical Lavender oil. Fenugreek, Thistles, Fennel, eggs
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#8
Estrogen Dominance is the theory that estrogen is highly out of proportion compared to progesterone overall during the cycle. Both estrogen and progesterone are important for breast growth, so keeping them in proportion is necessary. Estrogen dominance may also be a sign of a low proportion of prolactin compared to estrogen.

Possible symptoms of Estrogen Dominance:
* heavy or frequent menstruation
* inverted nipple - is possibly a symptom of high estrogen, and low prolactin
* tubular breasts - is possibly a symptom of high estrogen, sufficient prolactin and low progesterone

Progesterone:
A higher proportion of progesterones (progestogens) are associated with light menstruation.

Other sign of hormonal imbalance:
* PCOS - uncertain if it is of dominant progesterone, estrogen or androgens. See Medline Encyclopedia - Polycystic ovary syndrome or WebMD - Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) - Treatment Overview for more. Estrogen or other hormone dominance might possibly be symptoms of high androgens. Exercise and normalizing cycles were mentioned in Medline Encyclopedia's or WebMD's entries on PCOS.

Balance:
Prolactin and progesterone lower estradiol. Progestogenic or prolactin-like herbs (usually lactogogues) are of interest against estrogen dominance. Anti-DHTs are important too.

Archived thread about Estrogen Dominance and Deficiency symptom list... .
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#9
Hormone pathways:

[Image: attachment.php?aid=8379]

Based on Estriol:Safety and Efficacy, and information from Wikipedia and NLM.

16-alpha-Hydroxylase (16α-OHase) is a liver enzyme, that is in many pathways to estriol.

Most estradiol is bound to SHBG. While estriol is 10s of times less potent than estradiol, estriol is 10s of times more bio-available. Estriol is also safer than estradiol or estrone, but still, estriol must be seen with caution. Normally, very little estradiol or estrone converts into estradiol via the liver.

There are other metabolites of estrogens too. Toxins (including synthetics) can cause estriol to metabolize into carcinogenic compounds. Eating healthy foods including plant fiber can help estriol metabolize into safe compounds.

(All endogenous hormones necessary for normal function)


Progesterone and Prolactin Feedback Loop:
[Image: attachment.php?aid=8382]

Progesterone, Prolactin and Estradiol interaction:
[Image: attachment.php?aid=8385]
           
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#10
Diagram with receptors:

[Image: attachment.php?aid=8384]

   
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