Is Myomin the alternative natural aromatase inhibitor?

Is Myomin the alternative natural aromatase inhibitor?

Myomin is a herbal complex containing astragalus membranaceous, white curcumin, aralia, cyperus rotundus and smilax grablar developed by Dr. Tsu-Tsair Chi a Chinese-American Doctor and Naturopath, to reduce estrogen levels in both men and women through the reduction of aromatisation; indeed, it seems more an aromatase reducer than an aromatase inhibitor.

Myomin for Women and Men

More and more women who have problems with aromatase inhibitors, such as fatigue, pain and hot flushes, are turning to a Chinese Medicinal Herbal complex called Myomin.

Oestrogen (or Estrogen) is a family of chemicals comprising

        * endogenous human oestrogen (such as oestradiol and oestrone)

   * exogenous synthetic oestrogen or xenoestrogen, (such as BPA, phthalates, DDT, atrazine), and,

        * phytoestrogen (plant oestrogen)

Oestradiol (estradiol, or E2) is produced in various places in the body of both men and women, for example in the ovaries, testes, adrenal glands, liver, breasts, brain and fat stores. The primary source is cholesterol which is converted through a series of intermediates to androtestosterone, and thence to oestrone, and thereafter to oestradiol. Androtestosterone can also be converted to testosterone and then to estradiol. On menopause in women, the production of estrone and estradiol in the ovaries falls by 70-80%.

Aromatase enzymes are involved in the production of estradiol from testosterone. Aromatase enzymes are thus found in the same tissues - ovaries, testicles, adrenals, liver, brain and fat tissue. In fat stores particularly, there are high levels of aromatase enzymes resulting in people with more fatty tissue having higher levels of oestradiol and oestrone.

Of course, having too much estrogen is not just about cancer.

In women, it has been linked to problems such as uterine fibroids, thyroid troubles, endometriosis, cysts, infertility issues, PCOS, and more.

In men it has been linked to enlarged prostate glands, erectile dysfunction, enlarged breasts and prostate cancer.

Drugs have been created for women called Aromatase Inhibitors (AIs) – typically anastrozole, letrozole and exemestane. Post-menopausal women with breast cancer has almost certainly heard of these. Many women who are prescribed such drugs spend five years on them; others come off them after only a month or two because of hot flushes, pain in bones or fatigue. Side-effects can include strokes, brittle bones and stiffness and joint pain.

Aromatase Inhibitors do not work in the ovaries.

So what is in Myomin?

Myomin is often called a Chinese herbal complex. It is an all-natural herbal formula that contains:

  • Aralia,
  • Astragalus membranaceous
  • Smilax glabra,
  • Curcuma zedoria
  • Cyperus rotundus

There is a little problem here. Different reports claim different combinations of the above five ingredients. Often only three are listed.

Some of these herbs have been used for centuries for female ailments and hormone disorders; we will explore this later.

Who makes the Myomin?

The main man is Dr. Tsu-Tsair Chi, who became a Doctor in China and then earned a Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the Waksman Institute of Microbiology, Rutgers State University, New Jersey. He then became a Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor.

He went on to work for several drugs companies before developing a vaccine for poultry. In 1986 he founded Chi’s Enterprises, in California.

It is interesting to note that the skeptics are lined up on a search on Google below Myomin to criticise and cause their usual poorly- infomed mayhem.

So what are the claims for Myomin?

Myomin for women – lowers estradiol, reduces fibrocystic breast tissue, reduces ovarian cysts. uterine fibroids and endometriosis. It is also claimed to lower belly fat.

There are also claims that it inhibits the aromatase enzyme that makes oestradiol and therefore rivals AI drugs.

And there are also claims that it can safely replace HRT.

Myomin for men – increased testosterone, lower estradiol, lowers PSA, lowers belly fat.

What research evidence is there for Myomin?

A lot of the research ‘substance’ relates to one man, Dr. Jonathan Wright who argued that hyper-aromatisation lay behind the excessive conversion of testosterone and DHEA into estrogen. And excessive estrogen production of estrone (E1) and estradiol (E2) can cause, cysts, fibroids, endometriosis and breast and prostate cancer. A third estrogen (estriol, E3) is thought to balance these two.

Wright was a pioneer of Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) and argued both Myomin and BHRT were a good double act.

Hyper-aromatisation is particularly found in men, where it can lead to benign prostate growth and also to prostate cancer. It is usually linked with insulin resistance, poor weight control, low testosterone and poor metabolism (1).

Perhaps the two best pieces of research were a study showing Myomin significantly reduced levels of hepatic aromatase with 30 days (2) and another where it inhibited aromatase in the ovaries (3). Both were done by Dr. Chi, and thus resembles drug companies conducting their own drug research.

For readers' ease, I will simply list here some of the research study headline statements:

i) Myomin reduced aromatase expression in rat ovaries.

ii) Myomin reduced estradiol in research - on 60 post menopausal women after only 10 days from an average of 74.52 to 38.84 pg/ml

iii) In a study on fibrocystic breasts involving 45 women and 5 men, there was significant improvement after 6 months in 30%. Only 5 did not see an improvement.

iv) In a study on endometriosis and ovarian cysts involving 255 women, Myomin was effective in 57.6% of patients, with ‘some’ improvement in 34.1%. Only 27 patients saw no improvement.

v) In a study on uterine fibroids over 2.5 cm involving 60 women, Myomin in conjunction with Angiostop and Revivin was effective in 69.2% of women with significant
improvement in 19% after 6 months.

I do have a concern as a scientist - while I appreciate that the figures are as good or better than drug combinations, the references provided weren’t always ideal so I couldn’t always go and read the original report. Also the studies were all from about 1994 – 2010. However, you can read more for yourself in an online report:

Go to: Myomin a natural aromatase inhibitor for oestrogen-related conditions 

In Internet searches, I was unimpressed with the many claims for Myomin and Myomin supplements that started with 'Myomin is known to increase Chi' and other non-scientific puffery. So I turned to looking into the ingredients: 

What is known about Myomin ingredients:

i) Astragalus and estrogen – according to the Sloane Kettering website, Formononetin which is a substrate of Astragalus does have proven estrogen-receptor-modulating effects. Herbalists refer to Astragalus as an adaptagen, meaning it can and does modify and balance hormone levels. It is also and anti-oxidant and highly anti-inflammatory, a good anti-cancer combination. It is also known to boost the immune system. Astragalus root comes from the Northern and Eastern regions of China and is used through folklore to boost the size of breasts during puberty, where it is believed to regulate hormones.

ii) Aralia – has been shown to reduce oestrogen levels and in several studies to be cytoxic. The 'aralia family' includes Chinese or Siberian Ginseng, used in folklore to increase energy, it is an adaptagen and balances hormones. Used also for blood pressure and diabetes. Poorly researched though, although there is mention in research of its benefits for use in ‘young women’.

iii) Smilax glabra, or Sarsaparilla, is widely used in medicine. It has several active ingredients such as natural steroids and saponins, and known to mimic the action of estrogen and testosterone. Often used as a general tonic which can also treat arthritis and skin problems. Supposedly helps 'youthfulness'.

iv) Curcuma zedoria, or white turmeric is a close relation to ‘normal’ turmeric, and ginger. It’s an anti-inflammatory that reduces pain and there’s some evidence it clears away toxins from the body. There is research that it can kill cancer cells such as metastatic ovarian cancer cells, in vitro. It can reduce levels of white cells in the blood. There is also research showing that curcumin can bind to the estrogen receptor alpha, and it may well act as a Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator (SERM).

v) Cyperus rotundus, or Nut Grass, has many benefits – the usual skin and digestion benefits, anti-fungal, anti-viral (it treats herpes), it fights fat and reduces blood pressure. However, it is known to stimulate menstrual flow and boost breast milk production. There is an in vitro study showing it causes apoptosis in Triple Negative Breast Cancer cell lines.

Again, I was hoping to find more research, I will admit.  However, maybe Myomin is more than the sum of the parts and useful interactions are occuring. 

The reason I even looked at Myomin was that it was brought to my attention by patients happily and successfully using it. Indeed, we have had a good number of personal comments at CANCERactive on how women came off drug aromatase inhibitors and went on to Myomin. 

For example 1: "I have been taking DIM since my BC diagnosis 3 years ago: but when I added Myomin, my estrogen levels tumbled, as did my RGCC circulating cancer cell count."

For example 2: "Myomin made THE biggest difference imaginable to my Endometriosis, which stopped growing over the next 3 months and we cancelled the 'essential' operation."

Clearly there is something going on in terms of oestrogen reduction. And we have reports of both men and women using it alongside melatonin and indole 3 carbinol/DIM.

If anybody reading this can send me more telling research links, I will add them.

"If you are already buying supplements and want all natural, quality products where someone knowledgeable has done the brand selection process for you, why not see what Our Natural Selection has to offer?"

Go to: Indole 3 Carbinol/DIM - the safer natral Tamoxifen 

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References

  1. Yazici G, Sayin M. Role of aromatase inhibitors in glucose intolerance of obese men. Med Hypotheses. 2008;71(4):612-613.
  2. Chi TT. Myomin: natural aromatase inhibitor for estrogen-relatedconditions. Townsend Lett. 2009.http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Myomin%3a+natural+aromatase+inhibitor+for+estrogen-related+conditions.-a0213722869. Accessed September7, 2010
  3. Chi TC. Effect of myomin in the expression of aromatase. Fertil Steril.2010.

 

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