Archive for cancer
DNA damage from micronutrient deficiencies is likely to be a major cause of cancer
Before we address the shocking implications of this article, we need to point out who the author is, lest everyone think he is some Joe Schmoe off the street. Dr. Bruce Ames was the developer of the AMES test, THE test for determining the carcinogenic potential of many substances. With that said, this article goes beyond any I’ve come across pointing to the importance of proper nutrition and vitamin supplementation on health. This article equates vitamin deficiencies (folic acid, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6, niacin, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, iron, or zinc) with radiation damage for causing DNA damage leading to cancer. No longer can mainstream medicine say that nutrition is not important in clinical practice. It may actually be the most important and least addressed factor.
When the USDA came out with the Food Guide Pyramid in 1992, smart physicians and researchers predicted increases in heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Guess what we saw?
Increases in heart disease, diabetes and cancer. But why? Those of you old enough to remember the Pyramid will recall that fats and oils were at the top of the pyramid with the instructions to “use sparingly.” Grains, with no guidance on whole grains versus refined, made up the base of the pyramid at 6-11 servings per day.
The problem is that fats and oils, the healthy ones, are an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. But the Pyramid drove fats into the category of “fattening” in the eyes of the American public. To this day, many people think that foods high in fat will make them fat. This is just not true.
Now that I’ve gotten this out of the way, we need to move on to the meat of today’s article.
There have been some clear associations between healthy fats found in wild caught fish, nuts and olive oil and lowered rates of certain types of cancer as well as an adjunct to mainstream cancer treatment. Some examples include:
- Using omega 3 fatty acids to improve cancer outcomes.
- Olive oil use lowers colorectal cancer risk.
- EPA kills off pancreatic cancer in the lab.
- Healthy fats protect skin cells from skin cancer.
There are many more, but I think you get the idea.
This particular article is a review of the anti-cancer properties of omega-3 fatty acids. Here’s what the authors point out:
- Epoxydocosapentaenoic acids (EDPs) are compounds made from the omega-3 DHA.
- EDPs block the compound VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor). VEGF stimulates the growth of new blood vessels that is so important for tumor growth.
- EDFs block another compound called fibroblast growth factor 2 that also makes new blood vessels.
- EDFs block endothelial cell migration–another process needed to form new blood vessels.
- EDFs block the enzyme protease, which is needed for cancer cells to metastasize.
- In special cellular studies, EDPs have been shown to cut primary tumor growth and metastasis by up to 70%
- Interestingly, compounds derived from the omega-6 arachidonic acid increase angiogenesis and tumor progression.
The bottom line is that an increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats combined with a decrease in animal-based saturated fats and omega-6 fatty acids is clearly have a role to play when it comes to cancer in our bodies.
Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include:
- wild caught fish
- grass fed meats (NOT grain finished) and wild game
- nuts and seeds (flaxseed, chia, almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc…)
- veg-a-fed eggs
Good sources of monounsaturated fats include:
- olive oil (extra virgin, cold pressed is best)
Foods high in omega-6 and animal saturated fats to avoid:
- vegetable oils (corn, soybean, peanut, cottonseed, etc…)
- commercially grown meats
- dairy products
If your fridge is a little short on items on the first 2 lists above and loaded with the third list, it’s time for a purge. Your future risk of cancer depends on it.
Functional polymorphism in promoter of progesterone receptor gene associated with endometrial cancer risk
Hate to beat up on today’s clinicians, but here we go again…the research is loaded with relationships between single gene nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and disease risk and tests to determine many of these SNPs are readily available, cheap and easy to do. And yet, I would guess that it will be well over 40 years (the magic number for clinicians to recognize and use the literature) before these tests are accepted by mainstream medicine. The wonderful thing about SNPs is that many of them identify unique requirements for nutrients, natural compounds and lifestyle changes that can reduce risk.
PNAS — Abstracts: De Vivo et al. 99 (19): 12263
Brassica, Biotransformation and Cancer Risk: Genetic Polymorphisms Alter the Preventive Effects of Cruciferous Vegetables
Sorry for the long title, but this article once again moves far beyond what today’s clinicians recognize: the compounds in broccoli and related veggies are good for us. This article begins to look at potential explanations for variations in response to the compounds found in cruciferous vegetables. Genetic variations in enzyme efficiency, variations in levels found in the vegetables themselves (usually based on growing processes) and variations from differences in preparation. Really an advanced article beginning to look past acceptance of benefit into the factors affecting level of benefit.
Nutrition.org — Abstracts: Lampe and Peterson 132 (10): 2991
This is not the first time I’ve gotten on a soapbox about how human physiology and disease does not respect the “specialist” boundaries we have created in orthodox, Western medicine.
Cardiology, dermatology, gastroenterology, endocrinology, neurology, obstetrics, orthopedics, urology, nephrology… You get the picture. The entire body has been broken up into specialties. And family practice, pediatrics and internal medicine are merely there to try to funnel out problems to the correct specialty. It’s a mess, with no respect for the inter-connectedness of the human body.
Every single system interacts with every other one. Even bone, that we used to view as a stagnant tissue that merely acted as an anchor for bones, is now realized as an extremely active tissue that is affected by gut health and, in turn, affects your risk of diabetes. In case you’re keeping track, that relationship alone cut across 3 specialties, neither of which views his or her area of expertise in the context of the other.
Until we back up and begin to realize and act like every system interacts with all the others, we will continue to be stuck in this mess of multiple chronic diseases all managed independently.
Here’s the good news: prevention cuts across all disease states and systems. Let me clarify–lifestyle prevention does this. Using the medical term of “prevention” would include approaches like statins to lower heart disease risk. This version of prevention is just short of worthless and certainly does not cut across multiple organ systems.
So why the diatribe?
Of course it relates to this particular study. Researchers looked at the American Heart Association ideal health / cardiovascular metrics and looked at how they related to developing cancer. These metrics include:
- Ideal BMI
- Healthy diet index
- Physical activity
- Total cholesterol
- Blood pressure
- Fasting blood glucose
Overall, these metrics are really pretty bottom of the barrel. They are very basic requirements and far short of the lifestyle recommendations that I recommend (that can be found by downloading my ebook by clicking here). Despite how basic they are, here is what researchers found:
- Those with at least 6/ 7 ideal health metrics had a whopping 51% lower risk of cancer compared to those with 0/7 metrics.
- A paltry 2.7% of the population meets these simple goals.
- Smoking played a large role in the overall risk (about 26% of the risk).
Slashed the rates of cancer in half. Keep in mind that these are all modifiable risk factors. Kind of begins to blow the heart disease and cancer is related to genetics thing, huh?
Can you begin to see how much lower the risk could go if we achieved these 7 metrics and more? If you look at these metrics, as I mentioned, they are really the most simple and basics of lifestyle changes.
The bottom line? If you’re on your way to heart disease, cancer is likely brewing somewhere in your body as well.
Hyperinsulinaemia on growth of human hepatocellular carcinoma
We are seeing more and more evidence that high insulin levels plays a role in the development of certain cancers. Remember that insulin does regulate certain aspects of cell cycling, and altering this regulation can certain lead to cancerous changes. The scary part is, current estimates range around 25% for the US population with hyperinsulinemia…
DNA Methylation and Diet in Cancer
This is such an important concept to grasp and is probably one of the more important biological processes that occurs that relates to health and longevity. Jeffrey Bland, PhD, describes methylation as the paper clip on DNA that keeps that area of the DNA from being exposed to the environmental toxins as well as keeping that DNA from being transcribed (even though a liver cell has DNA to be a brain cell, this does not happen because the liver’s “brain DNA” is methylated and kept quiet). The more DNA is exposed to toxins, the greater the likelihood of damage and subsequent errors in cell division (i.e. tumors). Some methylation is an incredibly important process and is supported by folic acid, Vit B12 and Vit B6 which provide the free methyl group needed for methylation.
Nutrition.org — Abstracts: Johanning et al. 132 (12): 3814S
Osteoporosis, Fractures in Postmenopausal Women Using Estrogen
The house of cards is certainly coming down. Here we see a ten year study on ERT use and risk of fractures. Basically, the results do show ERT users as “somewhat” better protected. “Somewhat??” Increased risk of breast and endometrial cancer and heart disease and all we get is “somewhat” better protected? And, for those of you into research statistics, the p value was only .05 (the p value is an indicator of how likely these results were due to pure chance and not a protective effect). A p value of .05 is not really anything to brag about.
Prunes on the ratio of 2- to 16alpha-hydroxyestrone
Remember that estrogens can be broken down by several pathways in the body, with the 2-hydroxyestrone pathway being considered protective and the 16- pathway being genotoxic. Thus, the 2/16 ratio has been shown to be a risk factor for several types of cancer, including breast and endometrial. Brassica family of veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts) are well known to favorably effect this ratio. Seems we can add prune juice to the list.
AJCN — Abstracts: Kasim-Karakas et al. 76 (6): 1422
Curcumin prevents trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid–induced colitis in mice
While seems like a long title, curcimin is an anti-inflammatory spice used in a lot of Indian foods like curry. It is well known for its beneficial effects on inflammation and cancer reduction. Here we see a mouse study showing a benefit with intestinal inflammation seen in colitis.
Gastroenterology Online -