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                                                           CANCER: ITS CAUSE, TREATMENT AND PREVENTION

 

What is cancer?

       Cancer results from the proliferation of abnormal cells in the body that in many cases cause a mass of tissue to develop called a tumor.  When that tumor becomes malignant it is called cancer.  The word malignant, as used in medicine, means something that spreads and causes damage. 

       Specific cancers are usually named after the particular body tissue being affected.  For example, colon cancer involves the presence of a malignant tumor in the colon.  Prostate and breast cancer are the presence of malignant tumors in those tissues.  Carcinoma is cancer of the skin.  Leukemia is a non-tumorous cancer that begins in blood forming tissue such as bone morrow resulting in abnormal blood cells being produced.  There are over one-hundred types of cancer that have been identified.  When cancerous cells move from one tissue system to another it is said the cancer has metastasized.

How does cancer develop in the body?

       The body is composed of trillions of cells.  Normal cell activity involves cells being formed, dividing to form new cells and then getting old or damaged and dying.  Tumor formation results from cells skirting this process and dividing uncontrollably and not dying off as is true with normal cells.  Tumor formation often occurs when the DNA of cells becomes damaged and mutations take place that produce abnormal cells.  It is the DNA of cells that control their division, growth and death.  Tumors are formed when the body fails to rid itself of abnormal cells.  Tumors that stay contained within a specific tissue and don’t grow in any significant way are said to be benign or non-cancerous.

       One can often survive benign tumors for years without experiencing symptoms.  In some cases a benign tumor will cause problems for the particular tissue in which it is found but not to the extent of causing the tissue to fail. If such tumor is causing a system to fail it can often be removed and thus allow the affected system to return to proper function.  However, when a tumor becomes malignant, which means it continues to grow, this is when it is labeled a cancer and can do significant damage to a tissue system and eventually cause that system to fail or the entire organism to die.

       If abnormal cells of a malignant tumor metastasize (spread to other parts of the body), they present a much greater threat to the survival of the organism.   Around 90% of deaths from cancer are due to cancer cells traveling beyond their original site to other tissues of the body. 

       Recent research reveals that cancer cells have a stickiness about them that hold them together.  Because of certain molecular activity associated with cancer cells, they tend to break loose from this stickiness and travel beyond their original location and metastasize to other tissues.  Recent research also shows that cancer cells are more agile and vigorous than normal cells.  Therefore, they can work their way into other tissues with relative ease.  Some researchers believe that if a way could be found to stop the breaking loose of cancer cells from their sticky matrix, it would do much to prevent cancers from spreading and greatly reduce death from this disease. 

What causes cancer to develop?

       The prevailing theory as to how cancer develops is that it is caused by mutated DNA in cellular genes.  Things that are believed to cause mutated DNA are generally referred to as carcinogens. Various chemicals found in tobacco smoke, car exhaust, cleaning products, cosmetics, bug sprays and building materials have been found to adversely affect DNA.  There are hundreds of chemicals used in manufacturing and agricultural.  Many, if not most of such chemicals, have not been tested for their carcinogenicity.  Many are suspected of being carcinogenic.

       In addition, we have the growing list of synthetically produced agents added to our food supply.  Many of these agents are suspected of interfering with the normal activity of cells.  Radiation from the use of our many electronic devices is suspected of causing cellular damage.  Even radiation from the sun can negatively affect cellular function.  In addition, certain viruses and other pathogens have been identified as altering the proper function of DNA resulting in the onset of cancer.    

       While the mutation theory as to how cancer is caused predominates in medical circles, other theories have been advanced over the years.  One such theory postulates that it is interference with proper circular respiration that is responsible for cells becoming abnormal and causing cancer.     

       Cells have enzymes that require omega 3 alpha-linolenic acid and omega 6 alpha-linoleic acid in order to produce energy through cellular respiration.  These are called essential fatty acids meaning they must be derived from the diet as the body does not make them. When these fatty acids are in short supply, or replaced by hydrogenated fatty acids, these enzymes die off and the cell, lacking sufficient ability to utilize oxygen, begins to produce its energy by fermenting sugars.  Some believe it is these anaerobically (without oxygen) functioning cells that lead to cancer. 

       Some years ago the German bio-chemist Dr. Johanna Budwig developed a protocol using organic flax seed oil taken with cottage cheese as a means of getting the necessary fatty acids into cells to facilitated their cellular respiration. Flax seed oil is a rich source of these fatty acids, especially omega 3.  The reason for the cottage cheese is that it contains certain sulphurated amino acids which are necessary for the utilization of these fatty acids.

       It was shown that by increasing the intake of these fatty acids, she was able to return anaerobic functioning cells to normal aerobic respiration and in so doing eliminate cancerous tumors.  By combing this protocol with a comprehensive nutritional program, Dr. Budwig experienced success in restoring cancer patients to health.

Conventional treatment of cancer:

       The three most common ways cancer is treated is surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.  If a cancerous tumor is confined to a specific bodily tissue and has not metastasized, surgery can remove the cancerous tumor and if the surgeon gets it all, you are free for the moment of that particular cancer.  The surgeon will often remove the entire cancerous organ (as seen in breast and prostate removal) to be on the safe side.   Radiation and/or chemotherapy are often used in addition to the surgery to insure all of the cancer has been eliminated. 

       Radiation treatment is often used by itself to shrink a tumor by killing off the cancer cells with high doses of gamma or x-rays.  Unfortunately, this procedure often kills surrounding healthy cells as well.   Chemotherapy involves the use of various chemicals that interfere with a cancer cells ability to divide.  This therapy is often used to treat cancer that has metastasized since the chemicals used will travel throughout the body and attack cancerous cells that have spread beyond their point of origination.  Unfortunately, chemotherapy has many side effects as the chemicals used to kill cancer cells also adversely affect body tissue in general. 

       All three of these methods (surgery, radiation and chemotherapy) place great strain on the body’s natural defense systems, the very systems the body uses to fight cancer and all other threats to ones health.  The body has extraordinary defense mechanisms.  Keeping those mechanisms nutritionally supported so they can properly do their job is key to maintaining freedom from disease, including cancer.   For an overview of how the body’s defense systems work, go to Healthy Cell Concept: Part Three.

Alternative cancer treatments:

       There are multiple dozens of alternative approaches to treating cancer that have been advanced over the years.  By alternative we mean using methods to treat cancer in ways other than the conventional techniques discussed above or using such methods as an adjunct to the conventional techniques.

       We briefly discussed Dr. Budwig’s approach aimed at restoring proper cellular respiration.  As is true with Dr. Budwig, many of the alternative approaches to treating cancer involve various nutritional protocols.  For example, there is the well known therapy developed by Dr. Max Gerson.  Dr. Gerson believed that cancer can’t exist where there is a strong immune system.  His approach was to restore strong immunity through cellular detoxification, a comprehensive nutritional program, restoration of the proper sodium to potassium ratio in the cells and increasing cellular oxygen levels.  The Gerson therapy has had a good measure of success in restoring cancer patients to health.

       Increasing cellular oxygen levels appears to be a primary dynamic in the treatment of cancer using alternative protocols. In addition to Dr. Budwig's and Dr. Gerson's, therapy's, many have successfully used hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to increase cellular oxygen levels. This can be accomplished by both oral ingestion of H2O2 and by adding it to bath water. Only food grade 35% H2O2 can be used for this purpose and must only be used in a highly diluted state. Great caution should be exercised in the use of H2O2.  For an overview of hydrogen peroxide, go to  Hydrogen Peroxide and your health.

       There are a number of additional alternative/complimentary protocols that have been successfully used in the treatment of cancer. There are herbal protocols such as the Hoxsey Therapy and the Essiac Tea formula. For more information on Essiac go to Essiac Herbal Supplement.  Dr. Kelley's enzyme therapy and the use of Laetrile have been effective in treating cancer. For more information on Laetrile go to Vitamin B17.  A product called Protocel has been shown to be very efficacious in the treatment of cancer.  All these protocols and a number of others are explained in detail in the book, "Outsmart you cancer: Alternative Non-Toxic Treatments That Work." This book is available at Milk 'N Honey.

       It should be noted that clinical trials and double blind studies are the preferred method for determining the usefulness of a particular protocol in dealing with a health problem including cancer.  Most of the alternative treatments extant have not gone through such trials and studies. However, it must be understood that while such trials and studies can confirm the efficacy of a particular protocol, this doesn’t mean that a protocol not backed up by such trials and studies isn’t viable.  Antidotal evidence for the efficacy of a protocol should not be overlooked. If a substantial number of people claim a certain product or protocol benefited them in their fight against cancer or some other health problem, it may be short sighted to ignore such testimony.                 

       When deciding how to deal with cancer or any other health issue, it is best to consider all available protocols.  While the primary conventional approach to dealing with cancer is surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, there are a number of alternative/complimentary treatments that have produced good results. 

Nutrition and cancer:

     As already noted, most alternative approaches to dealing with cancer involves some type of nutritional intervention.  This is true because it is understood that the body is able to fight cancer if provided the proper nutrition.  Preventing and treating cancer isn’t rocket science.  Preventing and dealing with cancer involves two primary considerations.  Number one, we must insure we are feeding our body the nutrition it needs to maintain health.  Number two, we must do all we can to guard against exposure to carcinogens.

       As already discussed, cancer results from the proliferation of abnormal cells.  Conventional thinking is that these abnormal cells are largely created by damaged DNA due to carcinogens.  Some, as was true of Dr. Budwig, believe cancer cells are created by insufficient cellular respiration. In 1924, the German Nobel laureate Otto Heinrich Warburg proposed that cancerous tumors primarily generate energy for their growth by non-oxidative (without oxygen) breakdown of glucose, a process called glycolysis. This has become known in cancer research as the "Warburg Effect." It is well known that cancer cells consume great amounts of glucose as they proliferate in the body. The wasting effect seen in cancer patients (loss of weight) is largely due to glucose being used up by cancerous tumors rather than feeding and sustaining healthy tissues.

       No doubt there are a number of dynamics involved in the process of abnormal cells forming in the body.  Our challenge is to determine what we can do to prevent abnormal cells from forming a tumor and becoming cancerous. Our bodies are designed to be healthy, not to be sick.  However, a healthy body requires regular care and maintenance. 

       Maintaining the body’s ability to sustain health has become increasingly more challenging in recent years.  Compared to the historical past, we are being exposed to a greater amount of carcinogens than ever before.  At the same time we have compromised our body’s defensive capacity to deal with carcinogens because of a lack of adequate nutrition.  The body has multiple ways of protecting itself from attack.  This defense system, however, must be maintained.  It cannot be maintained by eating the standard American diet which largely consists of highly processed and devitalized food. 

       While carcinogens in our environment have been identified as a cause of cancer, it could just as easily be said that our body’s inability to effectively deal with such carcinogens is a cause of cancer.  Lack of sufficient nutrition has led to a decrease in our ability to avoid disease.  A number of studies have shown a direct correlation between the introduction of processed and refined food and increased incidence of cancer and other degenerative disease. 

       It is from food that we get the nutrients to maintain our body’s defense systems.  Yet research shows the nutrient level of our food supply has been dropping for years.  While there has been some recent movement toward eating more organically grown foods, the vast majority of Americans eat foods that are highly processed and produced on farms using chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.  Eating such foods on a regular basis will not provide the nutrients the body needs to defend itself against carcinogens.  In fact, the eating of such foods adds to the carcinogen load the body must deal with.  So what can we do?  Guarding against environmental carcinogens is the difficult part.  We can’t avoid interacting with what is around us.  However, there are some things we can do.  

Water and air:

       You can purify your water.  Water is a carrier of carcinogens.  Industrial chemicals, runoff from farm lands containing toxic pesticides, herbicides and fungicides and toxins and pathogens from human and animal waste all find their way into the water supply.  While municipal water treatment systems do a reasonably good job of removing toxins, some still get through and others are added when chlorine and fluoride is used in the treatment of water. Using a water purification system such as distillation, reverse osmosis or solid carbon filtration can greatly reduce the amount of toxins you ingest.   For an overview of how best to treat your water, go to Nutrition 101: Lesson Nine.

       You can provide cleaner air in your home or work place by installing an air purification system which will remove particulate matter.  Many chemicals of unknown toxicity are used in the manufacture of furniture, carpeting, and various building materials.  Molecules of these chemicals seep into the air you breathe. A well designed air purifier will remove these molecules and reduce the amount of potential carcinogens inhaled.      

Personal care products:

       Many personal care products contain chemical compounds that are suspected carcinogens.  Shampoo’s, conditioners, toothpastes, soaps, hair sprays, lip sticks, and other such products contain an array of ingredients that often have not been adequately tested for toxicity.  Fortunately, there are products available in all these categories that do not contain suspected carcinogens.  These alternative products are often made from herbs and are minimally processed.  At Milk ‘N Honey, we carry a number of such products.  

       Many common household products also contain chemical compounds that are suspected carcinogens.  Cleaning agents are notorious for containing an array of chemicals that are suspected of being carcinogenic and in some cases have been identified as such but continue to be used.  As with personal care products, there are available much safer alternatives.     

Food:

       It is on the nutritional front where we can make a huge difference as to the health of the body and the body’s ability to ward off disease, including cancer.  We can start by largely avoiding processed, refined foods and going as organic as possible.  Certified organically grown foods are grown in soils conditioned with traditional fertilization methods such as animal manures, plant cover crops and other organic materials.  This kind of fertilization provides the soil with multiple dozens of nutrients and conditions the soil to allow for the proliferation of beneficial organisms that break down organic material and inorganic minerals so they are made available to the growth and development of plants.  

       Synthetic chemical fertilizers supply only a small fraction of the nutrients plants should be providing us with.  Using such chemicals, along with an array of herbicides, fungicides and pesticides, virtually sterilizes the soil and makes it impossible for beneficial organisms to live in such soil and do what they are designed to do.

       Of recent concern has been the introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) into the food supply.  Little is known about the long term consequences of these organisms and how they will affect our health.  Some research has shown that GMOs negatively affect the nutritional value of plants. For a comprehensive discussion of GMOs, go to Genetically Modified Organisms

       Eating organically grown food will greatly reduce the intake of carcinogenic pesticides, herbicides and fungicides as organic farmers control for weeds and pests using non-toxic methods.  Eating organically grown foods will provide a much wider range of nutrients to the diet and thus support all metabolic functions including those functions responsible for protecting our bodies from disease, including cancer. 

       While most Americans get adequate protein, carbohydrate and fat in their diet, many do not get adequate amounts of vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, enzymes and important fatty acids such as omega 3’s.  Enzymes in particular are lacking in the diet because enzymes are destroyed in food processing and are only present in raw foods or foods processed below 120 degrees Fahrenheit.   While the body produces its own enzymes, including many antioxidant enzymes, getting enzymes from food is essential to maintaining health.  Enzymes play an important role in detoxifying the body.  Research shows that those with cancer are depleted in enzymes.  For an overview of the importance and role of enzymes, go to Nutrition 101: Lesson Eight.

       It is important to eat some raw fruits and vegetable on a regular basis, preferably organically grown.  This will provide enzymes and a host of other nutrients in their natural form.  It is best to avoid foods that have been adulterated by the addition of preservatives, artificial coloring agents and a host of other additives commonly found in processed foods that come in a package, box or can.  Many of these agents are suspected of being carcinogenic.   It is also important to avoid hydrogenated fats containing what are called trans fats.  Such fats, so prolific in refined foods, actually interfere with the activity of the important omega 3 fatty acids used by the body for proper cellular respiration.  For more information on the dangers of trans fats and the subject of fats in general, go to, Fats: the good, the bad and the ugly. 

Stop Feeding Cancer:

        Sugar feeds cancer! Malignant tumors frequently exhibit an increase in anaerobic (without oxygen) metabolism. This is a metabolism where cancer cells burn glucose (blood sugar) in the absence of oxygen. This results in the production of abundant lactic acid.  Lactic acid buildup lowers body pH which means body tissues become more acidic. Cancer cells grow more prolifically in an acidic environment.  Lactic acid buildup interferes with production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), our basic energy molecule, by reducing the extraction of energy from the food we eat.  This leads to malnourishment and subsequent fatigue.  This results in many cancer patients experiencing a “wasting away” because of the lack of proper food metabolism.

        When battling cancer, you must eliminate simple sugars such as sucrose (common table sugar) and fructose from the diet.  Sucrose quickly converts to glucose.  Most commercial fructose is made from corn syrup and is 55% fructose and 45% glucose. The glucose immediately passes into the blood stream while the fructose is converted by the liver to glycogen (stored carbohydrate). This stored carbohydrate is converted to glucose as the body needs it or is converted to triglycerides which increases the amount of stored fat in the body. 

        A study involving sixty-eight mice injected with an aggressive strain of breast cancer was fed diets to induce either high blood sugar, normal blood sugar or low blood sugar.  After 70 days, only 8 of 24 mice with high blood sugar were still alive.  16 of the 24 mice with normal blood sugar were still living.  Of the 20 mice with low blood sugar, 19 had survived.

        An epidemiological study in 21 countries, including North America, revealed that sugar intake is a strong risk factor that contributes to higher breast cancer rates, especially in older women.  It is interesting to note that the PET scan (Positive Emission Tomography Device) used to detect breast cancer, uses radioactively labeled glucose to detect sugar hungry tumor cells.  Thus, the medical establishment recognizes the sugar hungry nature of cancer cells.

        A human study involved ten healthy people who were fed 100 grams of simple carbohydrates such as glucose and sucrose.  The purpose was to measure the activity of neutrophils, which are immune cells that envelop and destroy pathogens including cancer cells.  The consumption of these sugars significantly reduced the ability of neutrophils to do their job in the body. One researcher found that the protective activity of the immune systems T lymphocytes was reduced by 94 percent after eating a meal high in sugars,   Consumption of complex carbohydrates do not have this effect on immunity. 

        Simple sugars as found in many processed and refined foods, fast foods, deserts, snacks, soft drinks, alcoholic drinks, etc., quickly increase blood sugar levels which restrict the immune system from fighting cancer and actually accelerate the growth of cancerous  tumors. Simple sugars rapidly increase the production of insulin.  High levels of insulin have been found to increase the risk for cells to mutate into cancerous tumors.  

        Complex carbohydrates as found in vegetables, whole grains and legumes, break down slowly into glucose and, therefore, do not have the negative impact on the immune system or feed tumors in the manner seen with simple sugars. If you have cancer, get simple sugars out of your diet. 

        Obtain your carbohydrates primarily from vegetables which will not only give you complex carbohydrates, but will also provide vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids and fiber. Simple sugars as found in fruit are fine.  However, while fighting cancer, I would go light on eating fruit in order to keep the overall level of simple sugars low in the body.

        You should also purchase a glucose monitor, such as diabetics use, to keep track of your blood sugar levels. Your goal should be to keep your blood sugar levels in the 90 to 100 mg/dl range.  To accomplish this you will need to keep dietary simple sugars at a minimum, exercise to burn sugar, and possibly take supplements which will enhance sugar metabolism.

The pH factor in cancer:

       The pH (potential Hydrogen) of the body is a measurement of the body’s acid/alkaline balance.  More specifically it is the ratio between positively charged ions (ions are electrically charged molecules) which are acid-forming and negatively charged ions which are alkaline-forming.  A neutral pH is seven.  Number ranges from seven to zero measure levels of acidity and number ranges from seven to fourteen measure levels of alkalinity. 

       Blood pH fluctuates little throughout the day as the body must maintain a rather narrow range of blood pH in order to stay alive.  Normal blood pH is 7.4 which is slightly alkaline.  On the other hand, the pH of body fluids such as urine and saliva will fluctuate within a wider range of the pH scale throughout the day.  This wider fluctuation is largely in response to what we eat.  When foods digest they leave behind either an acid or alkaline ash depending on the kind of nutrients contained in the food.   The pH of the urine and saliva will reflect the type of ash left behind.  For example, if you ingest a green food such as Spinach, your urine will be more alkaline.  It you eat a piece of cheese your urine will be more acidic.  You can easily test for your urine and saliva pH by using pH strips.  Such pH strips are available at Milk 'N Honey.   

       While blood pH is largely controlled by the kidneys and respiratory function, there is indication that if urine and saliva pH show sustained levels of being acidic, the body may have a more difficult time maintaining a blood 7.4 pH.  What does this have to do with treating and preventing cancer?  

       While it is normal for the pH of body fluids such as urine and saliva to fluctuate throughout the day, it has been shown that the body is healthier when the pH of such body fluids is consistently more toward being alkaline than being acid. Research shows that disease causing organisms, including malignant tumors, do not thrive well in an alkaline environment. However, the urine and saliva of many people tend to be acidic much of the time. 

       The average Western diet is very acidic.  Most preservatives and other additives found in processed and refined foods are acidic.  Artificial sweeteners are very acidic.  Meats and dairy products are acidic.  Coffee, alcoholic drinks and soda waters are acidic.  Refined sugar is acidic.  Refined sugar is added to many processed/refined foods.   These are the things most people consume in abundance.  On the other hand, almost all vegetables and most fruits are alkaline. Grains and legumes tend to be neutral or slightly acidic. 

       To bring the body to a more predominate state of alkalinity, you must increase the eating of vegetables and fruits and decrease the consumption of processed and refined foods.  Green foods in particular will help alkalize the body. Soda waters should be virtually eliminated from the diet as they are very acidic.  Many Americans are mineral deficient and this adds to the predominance of an acidic body.   Minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium are all essential to health and also act as buffering agents in neutralizing acids in the body.  Taking a colloidal mineral supplement can be helpful in providing the necessary minerals to maintain a more alkaline pH. See Nutrition 101: Lesson Five for a comprehensive discussion of the role of minerals in health. 

 Detoxification and cancer:

       Most alternative protocols for the treatment and prevention of cancer involve some form of detoxification.  In the summer of 2005, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published their third National Report on Human Exposure To Environmental Chemicals.  The CDC sampled the blood and urine of thousands of people throughout the United States for 148 environmental chemicals.  This report documented the presence of multiple dozens of toxic compounds in human bodies. 

       Among their finding was that about one in eighteen women of child bearing age have levels of mercury at or above the “safe” levels established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).   More than 1 in 20 Americans carry dangerous levels of the toxic mineral cadmium which has been linked to kidney malfunction and lowered bone mineral density.  The pesticide chlorpyrifos, which has been found to damage the nervous system, was found in more than 50% of those tested.  Phthalates, which are chemicals found in cosmetics and soft plastics, were found to be more highly concentrated in children’s bodies and at four times the “safe” levels set by the EPA. 

        Since a number of toxins have been shown to be carcinogenic, it is critical to the treatment and prevention of cancer to do as much as we can to limit and cleanse the body of toxins.  Please read the article on this website entitled: Detoxify Now for information on how to facilitate detoxification.

Exercise:

       Exercise increases the rate of respiration and thus increases the intake of oxygen. Since there is evidence that a lack of cellular respiration is a dynamic in how cancerous cells proliferate, it is would appear that maintaining good cellular oxygen levels is important to maintaining cellular health. 

Inflammation and cancer:

       Inflammation is part of a complex biological response to cellular damage caused by injury or some sort of irritant.  As covered earlier, tumor formation often occurs when the DNA of cells becomes damaged and mutations take place that produce abnormal cells. Chronic inflammation can damage DNA and if the body isn’t able to repair such DNA such inflammation can lead to the development of cancer.  A number of studies have shown that inflammation is linked to the development of tumors.  Therefore, it is important to do as much as is possible to reduce inflammation.  In addition to following the recommendations so far advanced in this essay, using extracts of the herb turmeric will help to keep inflammation at bay. 

      The herb turmeric contains compounds called curcuminoids which are phenolic compounds known to facilitate anti-inflammatory effects.  Turmeric’s most active and dominant curcuminoid is curcumin.  Research has shown that curcumin is an effective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.  Curcumin has been shown to be effective in the treatment of a variety of health problems including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and arthritis.  There have been thousands of studies published on the beneficial effects of the curcuminoids found in turmeric.  All indications are that these compounds will help reduce inflammation and oxidation in the body and some studies show curcumin to be effective in treating existing cancers.   

       In a 2004 study, lung cancer cells treated with curcumin showed curcumin to have an inhibitory effect on the growth of these cells and to facilitate the death of existing cancer cells.  A 2005 study reported in Biochemical Pharmacology found that curcumin can help slow the spread of breast cancer cells to the lungs in mice.  This report explained that curcumin acts to shut down genes that are involved in the growth of cancer cells. Research at Emory School of Medicine has shown that curcumin attacks vascular endothelial growth factors which reduces the ability of tumors to generate their own blood supply lines, a process know as angiogenesis.  This is a critical dynamic in preventing tumors from growing. 

       A good book to read on the ways in which curcumin has been shown to be effective in preventing tumors from generating new blood supplies (angiogenesis) is entitled, CURCUMIN: Nature's answer to cancer and other chronic diseases. This 2016 publication discusses how curcumin prevents angiogenesis, ensures the proper functioning of programed cell death (apoptosis), protects against metastasis, and interferes with the ability of cancer stem cells to initiate new cancers. This book is available at Milk 'N Honey 

       Because of the evidence for the effectiveness of curcumin, many curcumin products have become available in recent years.  Such products are often advertized as natural anti-inflammatories.  However, research done with curcumin reveals it is poorly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract.  The intake of large amounts of curcumin is needed in order for it to show up in the blood.  The challenge has been to get adequate levels of curcumin into the blood stream to allow for its therapeutic effect.

       In an effort to solve this problem of poor absorption, the company New Chapter manufactures a curcumin product called Turmeric Force which provides not only the curcumin but also the other curcuminoids found in turmeric along with other constituents present in this herb.  It is New Chapter’s belief that all the components of turmeric need to be present in order for this herb to be adequately absorbed and utilized by the body. 

       In 2009, research was conducted at Miami Children’s Hospital where Turmeric Force (TF) was used to treat certain forms of pancreatic cancer.  It was found that TF was more effective in killing cancer cells than curcumin used by itself.  This result appears to be supported by the fact that the incidence of pancreatic cancer in India is very low compared to the United States and Europe.  The people of India use a great deal of turmeric in their daily diet.  Turmeric Force  is available at Milk ‘N Honey.  Another product from New Chapter called Zyflamend is also available at Milk ‘N Honey and contains an ample amount of curcumin plus other anti-inflammatory nutrients.  

       Another curcumin product that has shown excellent results is Curamin from the company EuroPharma.  This product contains a very absorbable form of curcumin called BCM-95.  BCM-95 is a blend of curcuminoids and the essential oil of turmeric.   According to an article found on www.TerryTalksNutrition.com, fifteen healthy volunteers (men and women ages 24-45 years old) were assigned either to a group using a standard curcumin extract or to a group using the specialized curcumin, BCM-95.  Blood samples were drawn before the volunteers were given the curcumin and then at regular intervals after they ingested the curcumin.  This study indicates that the bioavailability of the specialized curcumin (BCM-95) extract was 7 times higher than that of the standard curcumin extract.  Moreover, the results show that the specialized curcumin stayed in the blood stream longer and at higher levels than the standard curcumin extract.  We carry Curamin at Milk ‘N Honey.  

       Because of the poor absorption of curcumin into the blood stream, it is best to use a high concentration of the whole herb turmeric as seen in the New Chapter product or to use a specialized extract of curcumin as found in BCM-95.  While you will get some curcumin into your diet by using turmeric as a spice and eating turmeric based products such as curry, the amount of curcumin ingested will be very minimal.  However, regular eating of turmeric based products does appear to provide some level of benefit.   For more information on the impact of inflammation on the body, go to: Inflammation: The Good The Bad and The Ugly.

Pomegranate and cancer:

       Pomegranate fruit contains polyphenols which are chemical compounds that perform antioxidant activity in the body.  A major polyphenol found in pomegranate is ellagitannin, which hydrolyzes in the body (breaks down) into ellagic acid. The Hollings Cancer Institute at the University of South Carolina conducted a nine year double blind study on a group of 500 cervical cancer patients and found that ellagic acid inhibited mitosis (proliferation) of cancer cells and facilitated apoptosis (cell death) for breast, pancreas, esophageal, skin, colon and prostate cancer cells.  Ellagic acid inhibits the initiation of tumors through a number of mechanisms, including inhibition of metabolic activation of carcinogenic compounds such as hydrocarbons and certain food preservatives.  Therefore this acid is beneficial as a preventive against cancer.

       A study done at the University of California in 2006 demonstrated that the drinking of an eight ounce glass of pomegranate juice on a daily basis resulted in a significant reduction in the elevation of PSA levels.  Elevation of PSA (prostrate specific antigen) levels is a marker for prostate cancer development.  The men in this study had all been diagnosed with prostate cancer and had undergone surgery or radiation treatment but had continued to experience raising levels of PSA. Before drinking the pomegranate juice the PSA of these men was doubling every 15 months.  After drinking pomegranate juice on a daily basis for a specified period of time, it took 54 months for PSA to double.  Drinking pomegranate juice appears to have significantly slowed down the increase in levels of PSA which indicates a significant slow down in the growth of cancer associated with the prostate cancer.

       Pomegranates apparent ability to slow the growth of prostate cancer may be due to this fruits content of punicic, ellagic, caffeic and luteolin acids in its seed oil.  In a 2005 study, PC-3 (advanced prostate cancer cells) were introduced to an artificial membrane made from a gelatinous protein mixture to which these acids had been added.  It was found these acids prevented the cancer cells from invading the membrane.  These results were obtained when employing these acids individually or in combination with each other.

       Some research has showed that pomegranate extracts will cause differentiation in leukemia cells. Differentiation is the ability of cancer cells to revert back to their normal non-cancerous identities.  These results appear to be better obtained by using fermented pomegranate products such as pomegranate wine than using fresh juice.

       At Milk ‘N Honey we offer a raw, unpasteurized pomegranate juice concentrate, as well as, pomegranate in softgels. Our softgel product is called PomXtra from the company EuroPharma. Taking two softgels is equal to drinking 14 ounces of pomegranate juice.  PomXtra contains pomegranate seed oil extract which is rich in punicic acid and pomegranate seed extract which is high in polyphenols.

Epigenetics and cancer: 

       Epigenetics is the study of how our life style influences the behavior of our genes.  It’s been shown that life style dynamics such as a bad diet, lack of exercise and environmental toxins can actually shut down cancer preventing genes while a return to a good diet, regular exercise and the minimization of harmful environmental factors will turn on cancer fighting genes.  Our genes control cellular processes that are critical to the growth or the elimination of cancer in the body.  As alluded to above, there is a process that goes on in our bodies called apoptosis that insures that cells do not outlive their genetically programmed life span.  When this process fails, cells that should have died continue to live.  This can lead to the development of cancerous tumors. There are genes that can turn this process on or off. A nutrient dense diet, regular exercise and protection against environmental toxins can help to keep these genes turned on and thus regulate the proper expression of apoptosis.    

       In addition to general life style considerations playing a role in the expression of apoptosis, there are specific botanicals that have been found to enhance this process.  I already identified pomegranate as one of those botanicals but here are several more.   

Black Seed Oil and Frankincense/Boswellia:

       Black seed oil is obtained from the seeds of the Nigella Sativa plant which is native to Asia and the Middle East.  Black seed oil contains a substance called thymoquinone (TQ).  TQ has been shown to increase apoptosis as demonstrated in a study published in 2010 in the Journal, Experimental Biology & Medicine.  This study showed that TQ helped activate apoptosis in treating human prostate cancer cells.  In a study published in 2004 in the International Journal of Oncology, TQ extracted from black seed oil was shown to help stimulate apoptosis in human colon cancer cells.

       In 2013, researchers in India treated two groups of rats having liver cancer with the compound TQ.  One group was given just plain water to drink and the other group was given water containing TQ.  After 16 weeks the group drinking the TQ water had greatly reduced liver tumor markers while the rats that drank just plain water had substantial increases in tumor size.  Other research has shown TQ extracted from black seed oil to inhibit the spread of breast cancer, leukemia and other cancers.

       A study cited in 2010, in the publication Oncology Letter, reported that rats given two doses per day of black seed oil resulted in significant inhibition of the growth of cancerous tumors in the lungs, esophagus, stomach and lungs.  In a study published in 2007 in the Brazil Journal of Medical and Biological Research, it was reported that rats had black seed oil injected into induced cancerous tumors every day for 30 days.  After the 30 days the tumors in the treated rats were only two-tenths of a centimeter whereas in a control group of untreated rats with induced cancerous tumors, the tumors had increased in size to 2.5 centimeters. 

       Frankincense is an oil extracted from a resin produced by the boswellia tree, a native of Asia, Africa, India and the Middle East.  The active ingredients in frankincense are tirucallic acids.  It is these acids that appear to activate certain proteins that lead to apoptosis.  In the March 2010 issue of Molecular Pharmacology, it was reported that tirucallic acid extracted from frankincense successfully killed cultured human prostate cancer cells that were grafted into mice.  In the March 2005 issue of Molecular Cancer Therapy, it was reported that frankincense successfully induced apoptosis by around 40% when applied to leukemia cells.  In a report in the March 2009 issue of BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, frankincense was shown to be toxic to bladder tumor cells while not affecting healthy cells.

       Boswellia, from which frankincense is derived, has its own anti-cancer effects.  Boswellia contains an anti-inflammatory compound called acetyl-11-keto-B-boseellic acid (AKBA)  AKBA has been shown to inhibit the duplication of leukemia and prostate cancer cells.  Researchers at the MD Anderson Cancer Center report that boswellia deactivates an important receptor located on cancer cells that is instrumental in the spread of cancer.  In a study reported in the June 2010 International Journal of Cancer, it was found that boswellia hampered the growth and the spread of human colon cancer cells.  Research at the Cleveland Clinic revealed that an extract of Boswellia serrata (a sub-species of boswellia) was effective against benign tumor cells of the brains covering.  Boswellia serrata appeared to inhibit these cells from multiplying and also killed existing tumor cells.  Another study involving mice with implanted tumors, showed boswellia reduced tumor size and further study revealed that boswellia serrata activated gene signals that led to apoptosis.

       At Milk ‘N Honey we carry a boswellia/frankincense product from the company EuroPharma called BosMed+.  This formula is a proprietary blend of boswellia serrate gum resin extract standardized to contain 70% total boswellia acids with 10% AKBA and CO2 extracted frankincense oil.  We also carry two brands of black seed oil.  We have Black Seed oil from the company North American Herb and Spice and from the company Amazing Herbs.  The label on the Black seed oil from Amazing Herbs shows their product to have 48 milligrams per serving of thymoquinone (TQ),

Additional Recommendations:       

        If you presently have cancer, there are specific supplements you can take which will help your body fight the cancer.  I recommend a high quality green food concentrate such as BarleyLife which will provide a wide range of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes and antioxidants.  A substance called IP-6, made of phytic acid with the addition of the B vitamin inositol, has been shown to boost the activity of the immune system’s natural killer (NK) cells which in turn kill cancer cells.  The herb Cat’s Claw, when containing high levels of the compound called pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids (POA’s), has been shown to enhance the activity of the immune system’s macrophages, which are large white cells which digest foreign material including cancer cells.  Cat’s Claw, high in POA’s, also increase the number of T-cells which are major players in the body’s immune response.  In some European countries, Cat’s Claw is routinely used in conjunction with conventional cancer treatment.  We recommend the Cat’s Claw product Saventaro from Enzymatic Therapy. This product has high levels of POA’s and is free of tetracyclic oxindole alkaloids (TOA’s) which destroy the effectiveness of POA’s. 

        The medicinal mushroom Maitake has a compound called D-fraction, which laboratory studies show will stop the growth of cancer cells and cancerous tumors by stimulating the activity of both macrophages and natural killer cells.  All three of these components, IP-6 with inositol, Cat’s Claw with high POA levels and Maitake, are available in a single formula called Cell Fort’e Max3 from Enzymatic Therapy.  We carry the products BarleyLife, Saventaro and Cell Fort'e Max3 at Milk ‘N Honey.       

The bottom line:

      If you want to prevent cancer or effectively deal with an existing cancer, you need to switch from eating a processed/refined food diet to a diet featuring a lot of organically grown vegetables and fruits.  You need to avoid hydrogenated fats. Visiting a fast food establishment should be a rare event.  Supplementing your diet with food concentrates made from organically grown cereal grasses is highly recommended.   Adding organic flax oil and a high quality fish oil to your diet will provide the important omega family of fatty acids. Providing better cellular respiration through exercise and other methods is strongly recommended. Taking a food based multiple vitamin/mineral supplement will do much to enhance your nutritional intake.  Avoid taking synthetically produced mass market multiples which may be little utilized by the body. (Please read: What You Should Know About Your Multiple Vitamin/Mineral Supplement.

       Identifying quality supplements can be a challenge in today’s marketplace. To help you make an informed decision as to the quality and efficacy of the supplements you purchase and use, I suggest reading the following articles posted on this website. Included in this list is a comprehensive article on how exercise promotes a healthy body. You may click these titles for a direct link to the articles of choice.

 

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THE PATHWAY TO NATURAL IMMUNITY

WHY WE NEED ANTIOXIDANTS

WHY YOU NEED TO EXERCISE

THE WONDERS OF POMEGRANATE