Any alternative cancer strategy should only be considered after all traditional modalities have been exhausted. No representation is made that any of the following will cure cancer as we simply do not have enough scientific data, as it takes years to develop. The informed mind is the best mind. The discussion presented here is for general information purposes only and not to be construed as recommendations of specific treatments.
As of the year 2001, cancer has surpassed cardiovascular disease as the number one cause of death worldwide. The three conventional treatments for cancer are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Those afflicted with cancer will quickly realize that none of these are pleasant options.
Recent technology advancements, coupled with a better understanding of cancer developments, have led to alternative cancer treatment options. While the traditional "cure" for cancer means survival after five years, many cancer patients are redefining "cure" to mean free of the dreaded disease on an ongoing basis.
A variety of options are available to the cancer patient. Some options are backed by clinical research while others are currently in the early experimental stage. There is no guarantee with any form of cancer treatment. Alternative cancer treatments often work as adjuncts to traditional treatments. Both are not mutually exclusive but are in fact complementary.
The use of vitamin C supplementation in large doses for the prevention and treatment of cancer and other diseases was first used in the 1950s. In 1971, two time Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling, PhD, and Ewan Cameron, MD, brought vitamin C as a cancer therapeutic modality to the forefront of medical research. Since then, wide spread attention has been paid to vitamin C and how it aids cancer prevention. The use of megadose vitamin C (10 grams or more) in the treatment of cancer continues to be limited due to the difficulty in obtaining objective research data.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is widely found in plants, with its concentration varying from 0.01 percent in apples to about 1 percent in rose hips and citrus. It is a potent water-soluble antioxidant. While most animals synthesize their own vitamin C, humans and a few other animals such as non-human primates, guinea pigs, and fruit bats do not.
Hundreds of reputable studies over the years have shown that people with a high dietary intake of fruits and vegetables are less likely to develop cancer than people with a low intake. While many phytochemicals and micronutrients in fruits and vegetables may contain anticancer properties, much interest has focused on vitamin C. In addition to its antioxidant functions, possible mechanisms of protection by vitamin C include preventing the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines and fecal mutagens (vitamin C also has a laxative effect when taken at high doses, promotes passage of bowel movement), enhancing the immune system (increases activity of phagocytes, for example), accelerating the action of detoxifying liver enzymes and blocking the toxicological effects of carcinogens such as polycyclic hydrocarbons, organochlorine pesticides and heavy metals.
Animal Studies and Cell Cultures
Most of the evidence for the preventive and possibly cancer curative effect of vitamin C has come from animal and cell studies. Studies by Linus Pauling and his colleagues have shown that a large dietary intake of vitamin C delayed the onset of spontaneous mammary tumors in mice and significantly reduced the incidence. The vitamin also delayed the onset of malignant dermal tumors in mice initiated by exposure to ultraviolet light.
It has also been found that vitamin C and its lipophilic and, therefore fat-soluble derivative, ascorbyl palmitate, are effective in preventing skin cancer. Colon, kidney and bladder cancer in animals can be controlled by vitamin C intake. Furthermore, many researchers have noted that animals treated with vitamin C had well-encapsulated tumors that were less invasive.
In vitro studies of cell culture, vitamin C was shown to be cytotoxic to several malignant melanoma cell lines, mouse sarcoma cells, and mouse ascities tumor cells. At low concentrations, vitamin C is cytotoxic to mouse lymphocytic leukemia cells, mouse cells from a lymphoid neoplasm, human fibrosarcoma cells, and an acute lymphoblastic leukemic human cell line. Vitamin C is also cytotoxic to some non-malignant cell lines.
Mechanisms of Action
It is known that vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and free radical scavenger that reacts directly with superoxide, hydroxyl radicals, and singlet oxygen produced during normal cellular metabolism. Oxygen is necessary for life. Oxygen also comes in several radical forms that have been implicated in both initiation and post-initiation stages of the carcinogenic process as well as in invasion and metastatic processes.
Aside from its antioxidant properties, there is no single universally accepted and proven explanation for vitamin C's cancer fighting properties. It is likely that a variety of pathways are involved, which include (1) fortifying the immune system by increased lymphocyte production; (2) salvaging cellular free radical damage; (3) inhibition of hyaluronidase, keeping the ground substance around the tumor intact and preventing metastasis; (4) killing oncogenic viruses through its enhancement of phagocytic activities; (5) correction of an ascorbate deficiency commonly seen in cancer patients; (6) stimulating collagen formation and its stabilization necessary for "walling off" tumors; and (7) neutralization of carcinogenic toxins.
It is known that tumor cells are more susceptible to the effects of high dose, ascorbate-induced peroxidation products because of a relative catalase deficiency in these cells. Studies have shown that transient plasma ascorbate concentration of 400mg/dl or more, effectively kills most tumor cell types in vitro. The therapeutic end point therefore in megadose intravenous vitamin C therapy is to attain plasma ascorbate concentration above the tumor-cytotoxic level for as long as possible. This is often accomplished by the slow infusion of 50 to 150 grams intravenously at a time. The objective is to raise the concentration of ascorbate high enough to kill tumor cells.
It is impossible to have a discussion about vitamin C and cancer therapy without discussing the controversy stirred by the Vale of Leven and Mayo studies.
The Vale of Leven study was conducted by Ewan Cameron, MD and his associates, (later including Linus Pauling, PhD), at his hospital in Loch Lomondside, Scotland. This study was started in November 1971 on a small group of 50 cancer patients who were given a ten-day course of intravenous (IV) continuous slow-drip infusion of sodium ascorbate in half-strength Ringer's Lactate Solution. After the IV treatment, assuming the patient was able to take medication by mouth, an oral dose of vitamin C was taken at a dose of 2.5 grams every six hours for a total of 10 grams in 24 hours. The dosage varied from 10-30 grams daily and was continued indefinitely as long as the patient was alive. The goal was to maintain plasma ascorbate levels of at least 3 mg/dl. The researchers reported a general subjective improvement in well-being, vigor, pain relief and appetite within five to seven days. By the 100th day of treatment, the mortality rate was only 50 percent. Of the remaining 25 patients, 20 died between days 110 and 659. The average survival period was 261 days. Five subjects had an average survival period of more than 610 days.
A subsequent repeat study conducted in 1978, with more stringent criteria, was also carried out to improve on the design flaws in the original study. In 90 percent of the cases, in the repeat study, subjects who received the ascorbate lived three times longer than the control group. Long-term survival made it impossible to assess survival time with certainty for the remaining 10 percent of the cases. At the time the study was published, the survival rate of the ascorbate group was 20 times that of the control group.
Uncontrolled trials conducted, at two different hospitals in Japan during the 1970s, also confirmed the increase in survival time of terminal cancer patients who were supplemented with ascorbate. At the Fukuoka Torikai Hospital study, the average survival time for the "terminal" patient was 43 days for 44 patients supplemented with low levels of ascorbate (under 4 grams daily) and 246 days for 55 patients supplemented with higher dosages of ascorbate (greater than 5 grams daily - averaging 29 grams daily) from the time the patients were labeled "terminal".
Another study was conducted at the Kamioka Kozan Hospital. In this study, 19 terminally-ill control patients survived an average of 48 days compared to six patients on high levels of vitamin C who lived an average of 115 days or 2.4 times longer than the control group. These researchers also reported the improved quality of life observed in the Scottish studies.
In an effort to validate or refute the Cameron and Pauling results, the Mayo Clinic initiated a study on 150 advanced stage cancer patients who had previously received chemotherapy or radiation therapy. The patients were given ascorbate at the same dosage. The researchers reported no significant survival time difference between the vitamin C and placebo group. It is interesting to note, however, that the 27 patients who received no treatment lived an average of 25 days compared to an average of 51 days for the vitamin C or placebo groups. A vast majority of the subjects had received prior chemotherapy, radiation or both treatments.
Due to widespread criticism that the Mayo study had not addressed the effect of vitamin C on cancer patients who had not received prior chemotherapy or radiation, the same researchers initiated a second trial. One hundred cancer patients with advanced colorectal cancer were randomly assigned to receive either 10 grams of ascorbic acid or placebo on a daily basis. The subjects continued on the treatment for as long as they were able to take oral medications or until there was evidence of tumor progression. When this occurred, over half of the subjects received subsequent chemotherapy (5FU) and vitamin C therapy was stopped.
The researchers did not report survival time as they did not continue the patients on vitamin C on an indefinite basis until death. Instead, they reported that after one year, 49 percent of subjects who received vitamin C and 47 percent of the control subjects were still living. Survival time was comparable to the Cameron and Pauling untreated group for both groups.
Critics of the Mayo study, including Dr. Cameron and Dr. Pauling, pointed out that the study was seriously flawed. Vitamin C, according, to them, cannot be started and stopped in cancer patients like a drug. The effects of vitamin C therapy can only be documented with long-term therapy for life. Vitamin C will not produce immediate results like a drug, as it is not a drug in the traditional sense.
According to Dr. Cameron, Vitamin C is a totally different therapy that requires life long treatment and cannot be administered for only 10 weeks, like the Mayo study.
While the jury is still out on the efficacy of megadose vitamin C as mainstream cancer treatment, it can still be considered as an alternative form of treatment. Natural-oriented physicians use of megadose intravenous vitamin C as adjunct therapies, or in cases of traditional modalities, have been exhausted.
Despite the controversy on megadose therapy, there is considerable epidemiological evidence pointing to the benefits of vitamin C in the prevention of cancer. The following are examples.
Bladder Cancer: An epidemiological study was carried out in Hawaii comparing 195 males and 66 females with cancer of the lower urinary tract with two matched controls. Results showed that there was a decreased risk of cancer with an increased level of vitamin C consumption for women but not for men. Another study of 35 patients with bladder cancer showed that the serum ascorbate level was low for those with cancer.
Colorectal Cancer: Colonic polyps are a frequent precursor to colorectal cancer. In a study involving 36 patients with polyps, 19 received three grams of ascorbate a day while 17 subjects received a placebo. The researchers noted a decrease in the polyp area after nine months of treatment with ascorbate but not with the placebo. In addition, a trend towards a decrease in the polyp number was found.
Stomach/Gastrointestinal Cancer: Cohen and associates examined epidemiological studies and found 9 of 10 case-control studies and 10 of 11 non-controlled studies yielded a significant inverse relationship between ascorbic acid intake and stomach cancer risk. Administration of vitamin C to patients with asymptomatic peptic ulcer disease resulted in a decrease in DNA damage in 28 of 43 subjects.
Safety of Vitamin C
Some of the reported side effects of vitamin C include: calcium oxalate kidney stones, B-12 destruction, iron overload, and elevated urinary uric acid. Studies of these reported side effects have been inconclusive, especially in healthy individuals. For example, ingestion of large amounts of vitamin C results in only small increases in urinary oxalates or urates.
From a practical viewpoint, it is prudent to avoid high doses of ascorbate in calcium oxalate stone formers, patients on dialysis or with serious kidney disease, and possibly in patients with hemochromatosis and other iron overload diseases.
There is, however, one reported case of death associated with vitamin C intake. In a certain sub-population of terminal cancer patients who suffered from end stage metastasis (stage 4), the administration of high doses of ascorbate provoked tumor hemorrhage and necrosis, which resulted in the destruction of the tumor but the concomitant death of the patient.
Forms of Intravenous Vitamin C
Most healthy people can take up to 10 to 30 grams of ascorbate orally without any problems. However, a high dose vitamin C has a laxative effect. The bowel tolerance level differs from person to person. Physicians using a megadose of vitamin C of 30 grams or more often resort to slow intravenous drip as the delivery route of choice. The most commonly used form of IV vitamin C is sodium ascorbate. The rate of infusion is generally kept below one gram per minute and osmolality under tight control to avoid sclerosing of the veins.
Some physicians favor other forms of vitamin C such as benzylidene ascorbic acid (BSA), which has shown to contain anti-cancer properties against human tumors of the ovary, stomach, pancreas, uterus, bile duct and lung. Benzylidene ascorbate has also been shown to induce apoptosis or cell death in a human myelogenous leukemic cell line, rat hepatocellular carcinoma cells, and in an HIV-replicating human lymphoma cell line.
Other physicians use a unique combination of BSA in conjunction with glucose solution. SBA is produced with a "left-handed" molecular orientation while most ascorbic acids are molecularly "right-handed" (levo isomer vs. dextro isomer). It is postulated that a unique benzene "tail" anchors the SBA in the cell membrane, which prolongs its action and therefore creates a potent pro-oxidant effect in cancer cells. The 50 to 100 grams of SBA are introduced intravenously with glucose, which is the primary and preferred fuel of cancer cells. Cancer cells are basically defective in the enzyme catalase, which is found in normal cells.
Catalase is an enzyme essentially needed in the disintegration of hydrogen peroxide, a toxic metabolic byproduct. Like the "Trojan Horse" system, the cancer cells will take up the vitamin C along with the glucose. Without the catalase, the level of hydrogen peroxide accumulates, which ultimately multiplies to deadly levels.
While the specific protocol varies with each patient and the type of cancer, most IV vitamin C treatment entails a program of four weeks or more. There are two to three infusions per week, which starts at a low dose of 15 grams and increases gradually. The dose varies from person to person. It is adjusted to achieve transient plasma concentration of 400 mg/dl on a transient basis at the time of the infusion. This is supplemented by oral ascorbate daily (four to 10 grams) especially on days with no infusion to help prevent possible rebound effect.
Vitamin C alone may not be enough of an intervention in the treatment of most active cancers. It does, however, appear to improve the quality of life and extend survival time. It should be considered as part of a treatment protocol for all patients with cancer, whether they have chosen a primarily orthodox, alternative medical or complementary approach.
Max Gerson, M.D. was born in Wongrowitz, Germany (1881). Suffering from severe migraines, Dr. Gerson focused his initial experimentation with diet on preventing his headaches. This "migraine diet" had cured his skin tuberculosis. This discovery led Gerson to further study the diet and he went on to successfully treat many tuberculosis patients.
Dr. Gerson also befriended Nobel Prize winner Albert Schweitzer, M.D., by curing Schweitzer's wife of lung tuberculosis after all conventional treatments had failed. Gerson and Schweitzer remained friends for life and maintained regular correspondence. Dr. Schweitzer followed Gerson's progress as the dietary therapy was successfully applied to heart disease, kidney failure and finally - cancer.
The Gerson therapy is a program of natural detoxification treatment involving:
- Detoxification of the whole body.
- Providing the essential mineral contents of the potassium group.
- Adding oxidizing enzymes continuously as long as they are not reactivated and built in the body in the form of green leaf juice and fresh calf's liver juice.
The above will create a near normal condition of the oxidizing system in the body, to which malignant cells with the fermentation (anaerobic) system of metabolism cannot adapt. The ultimate aim is to boost the body's own immune system to heal cancer, arthritis, heart disease, allergies, and many other degenerative diseases.
An abundance of nutrients from thirteen fresh, organic vegetable juices are consumed every day, often at intensive intervals of every two hours round the clock. This provides the body with a megadose of enzymes, minerals and nutrients. These substances then break down diseased tissues in the body while coffee enemas aid in eliminating the lifelong buildup of toxins from the liver.
Over 200 articles in respected medical literature and thousands of people cured of their "incurable" diseases have acknowledged the Gerson Therapy's effectiveness. The Gerson Therapy is one of the few treatments to have a 60-year history of success.
While there is an exception to every rule and every case is different, the therapy has had repeatedly good results with melanoma, lymphoma, ovarian cancer, colorectal cancer, SLE, and arthritis.
Every cell in the human body has a gene called the P53 gene. This gene tracks the degeneration of the cell and when it finds that the cell is damaged beyond repair, it triggers its self-destruction. The P53 gene triggers old cells that died through this natural self-destruction process. New cells are then created through cell division.
The function of the P53 gene gets suppressed in tumor cells. The tumor cells lose the ability to die naturally. This insight about the P53 gene has led to the development of a new way to re-enliven the function of the suppressed P53 gene and bring back its ability to naturally self-destruct the cell upon recognizing that the cell is degenerated. What this means is that malignant tumors can be reduced and/or eliminated from the body by re-activating the cells suppressed P53 function. It is postulated that melatonin fights cancer by the re-expression of the P53 gene. With this function re-energized, the tumor cells recognize their own degenerated state and naturally die on their own thus allowing the body to manage the process of elimination of the dead tumor cell.
Melatonin is therefore much more than a natural sleeping pill. It is the agent used to induce programmed cell death (apoptosis). Melatonin's link to cancer was first reported when researchers discovered that flight attendants have twice the normal rate while blind people have half the normal rate of breast cancer. Blind people are known to have high levels of melatonin in their bodies. It is believed that is why blind people have half the normal rate of breast and other cancers. Flight attendants, on the other hand, have frequent jet lag and sleep disturbance. They have less melatonin, which according to researchers, accounts for the doubling rate of breast cancer.
According to an article in the American Journal of Epidemiology (April, 1987), the nighttime production of melatonin inhibits the body's production of estrogen. But exposure to either light at night or to electromagnetic fields can suppress the secretion of melatonin. Chronic exposures of this sort could lead to an increase in an individual's cumulative lifetime dose of estrogen and therefore to an increased breast cancer risk. Two researchers later showed that melatonin directly inhibited the proliferation of human breast cancer cells in culture. In fact, melatonin has been shown to increase the level of naturally occurring antioxidants in breast cancer cells.
One established center of melatonin and cancer studies today is the Division of Radiation Oncology of the San Gerardo Hospital, Milan, Italy. Doctors there have developed a "neuroimmunotherapeutic" protocol that includes a low-dose of IL-2 (Interlukin 2) (three million IU/day for six days per week, for four weeks) with the addition of melatonin taken by mouth (40 mg/day, starting seven days before IL-2).
In a randomized clinical trial reported in 1994, patients with advanced diseases (other than melanoma or kidney cancer) received either low-dose IL-2 alone or IL-2 plus the orally administered melatonin.
There was just one (partial) response out of 39 patients in the IL-2 group. However, when melatonin was added, there were 11 complete or partial responses. After one year on the treatment, there were just six survivors out of 39 patients on IL-2, but 19 survivors in the melatonin +IL-2 group. This was statistically significant and was reported in the British Journal of Cancer (1994; 69:196-199).
In another randomized study, patients with end stage inoperable brain metastases were given either just supportive care or supportive care and melatonin (20 mg/day taken orally). Survival at one year as well as freedom from brain tumor progression and mean survival time were all significantly higher in patients who were treated with melatonin than in those who received supportive care alone (Cancer 1994; 73:699-701).
Although studies like these and others are encouraging, they must be interpreted with caution. The studies were not placebo-controlled, so it is uncertain whether the results were caused by melatonin or a placebo effect. Further studies are needed for confirmation. It should also be noted that the doses of melatonin used in these cancer studies (20-40 mg per night) were considerably higher than the over-the-counter doses (3-6 mg) recommended for sleep. Those unfamiliar with melatonin dosing should note that the dosage to induce sleep is highly variable. Many have reported better sleep with lower dose melatonin (0.5 mg to 1 mg) than at high dose (5 mg and up).
Free radical damage is a well-accepted theory and the primary cause of many forms of cancer. Antioxidants from diet and supplementation form a foundation of any comprehensive alternative cancer therapy.
Key antioxidants include vitamins A, C, and E, lipoic acid, glutathione, bioflavonoids, certain minerals, carotenoids, green tea (active ingredient polyphenol), and tomatoes (active ingredient lycopene).
Antioxidants can be broken down in various categories:
Antioxidant Enzymes to Neutralize Free Radicals
- Superoxide dismutase: this enzyme contains a highly reactive form of oxygen which converts the very reactive free radical superoxide into hydrogen peroxide with zinc and manganese acting as cofactors.
- Catalase: Hydrogen peroxide is less reactive than superoxide but is still a generator of free radicals. Catalase converts the hydrogen peroxide formed by superoxide dismutase as well as other superoxides to oxygen and water. Tumor cells lack this enzyme.
- Glutathione peroxidase: Glutathione removes peroxides that contribute to the formation of free radicals. Glutathione peroxidase converts highly reactive molecules like lipid peroxides into less reactive molecules.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a very powerful water-soluble antioxidant that circulates freely within the plasma. Vitamin C plays a critical role in the recycling of vitamin E and other antioxidants.
- Vitamin E: This is a fat-soluble antioxidant that works to prevent the oxidation of the cell wall, which is primarily made of phospholipids. It is also needed to help to recycle vitamin C.
- Carotenoids: The carotenoids are a group of more than 500 different pigments found in plants. These include beta-carotene (found in carrots), leutin, lycopene (found in tomato), and zeaxanthin. While functioning as antioxidants, the way they perform is slightly different from other antioxidants. Certain forms of carotenoids are able to destroy a particularly damaging form of oxygen called singlet oxygen. Research supports the hypothesis that a diet rich in carotenoids reduce cancer.
Bioflavonoids: also known as flavonoids, these
are compounds that occur naturally in many plants. They can be divided
into six groups:
- Isoflavones (found predominately in soy),
- Flavonols (found in onions and broccoli),
- Flavones (found in greens, including thyme and parsley),
- Flavonones (found in citrus fruits),
- Catechins (found in tea and apples) and
- Proanthocyanidins (found in grapes and cherries.
- Minerals: Certain minerals play an important role as antioxidants. The most notable examples are selenium, zinc, and manganese. They function as cofactors for various antioxidant enzymes. For example, the enzyme superoxide dismutase catalyses the conversion of superoxide to hydrogen peroxides. The cytosolic (within the cell, but outside the mitochondria) form of this enzyme requires copper and zinc as cofactors while the mitochondrial form of superoxide dismutase requires manganese. Research has shown that consumption of certain minerals such as selenium is inversely correlated with the risk for developing cancer.
The optimum intake of various antioxidants for cancer prevention is shown below. Those with diagnosed cancer may require significantly more.
- Beta-carotene: 25,000 - 50,000 IU
- Vitamin C: 2,000 - 5,000 mg
- Vitamin E: 400 - 1,200 IU
- Grape Seed Extract: 100 - 300 mg
- Green Tea Extract: 100 - 300 mg
- Quercetin: 100 - 300 mg
- Selenium: 100 - 300 mcg
- Magnesium: 600 - 1000 mg
Additional Antioxidants and Minerals to be considered include:
- Coenzyme Q 10: 30 - 120 mg - a mitochondrial enhancer that is also an antioxidant
- Lipoic Acid: 100 -250 mg - the universal antioxidant
- Calcium: 300-600 mg - to maintain musculo-skeletal health
- Vitamin B complex: to fortify the nervous system
With or without cancer, the unified theory of free radicals as a cause of many degenerative diseases of aging including cancer must be taken seriously. Antioxidant therapy is a lifelong process. The difference between someone who has been diagnosed with cancer or yet to be diagnosed lies in the amount of intake. By the age 50, much of our cellular protein has already been damaged by environmental, dietary, and lifestyle factors. Genetic mutation is well under way. The average cancer takes about 20 years before physical examination or the traditional screening test detects it.
Taking antioxidants from food and supplementation is a cheap insurance for those who do not have cancer. It is a mandatory adjunct therapy for those who have been diagnosed with the disease.
While proper nutritional supplementation is essential during remission periods for those afflicted with cancer, their use should be restrained during chemotherapy or radiotherapy. This is because the supplementation could have a negative impact on cancer chemotherapy, as they appear to reduce the effectiveness of cancer therapy by counteracting the way cancer drugs work.
According to Dr. Rudolph Salganik from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, almost all anticancer drugs kill cancer cells by way of apoptosis. Antioxidants like Vitamins A and E dramatically reduce apoptosis in cancer cells, which is a process by which cells self-destruct after they have sustained significant damage to their DNA. A study published at the annual Meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology Washington DC (December 13, 1999) showed that a diet free of Vitamins A and E actually increased the proportion of apoptotic brain cancer cells from 3 percent with a normal diet to 19 percent. The proper use of nutritional supplements combined with the proper timing (before and after chemo and radiotherapy) offers the maximum benefit.
Because of tremendous individual variation, the use of nutritionals should therefore be personalized for your body. One person's nutrient can be another person's toxin. If you have a specific health concern and wish my personalized nutritional recommendation, write to me by clicking here.
Cancer cells are developed in three phases:
- Initiation (Phase 1): This occurs when a free radical or carcinogen alters a cell's genetic makeup, causing the cell to divide more frequently than it should. Calcium glucarate (CGT) reduces tumor multiplicity during this phase.
- Promotion (Phase 2): This occurs when the damaged cell goes into an uncontrolled growth phase. Calcium glucarate reduces tumor multiplicity during this phase.
- Progression (Phase 3): This occurs when the tumor builds itself a blood supply network through angiogenesis and invades surrounding tissue.
D-Glucaric acid is a nontoxic, natural compound. One of its derivatives is the potent beta-glucuronidase inhibitor (1,4-GL). 1,4-GL increases the detoxification of carcinogens and tumor promoters by inhibiting beta-glucuronidase and preventing hydrolysis of their glucuronides. 1,4-GL and its precursors such as calcium D-glucarate may exert their anti-cancer action through alterations in steroidogenesis. This is accompanied by changes in the hormonal environment and the proliferative status of the target organ. Glucarates may directly detoxify any environmental agents responsible for cancer formation. It has been postulated that D-glucarate exerts some of its effects by equilibrium conversion to D-glucarolactone, a potent beta-glucuronidase inhibitor. Laboratory studies comparing calcium glucarate (CGT) with a known chemo-preventive agent, 4-HPR during Initiation Phase (I), Promotion Phase (P), and Initiation plus Promotion Phase (I+P) together showed that CGT reduced tumor multiplicity by 28 percent, 42 percent and 63 percent for the various stages respectively as compared to 4-HPR which reduce tumor multiplicity 63 percent, 34 percent and 63 percent respectively. The maximum effect occurred during the P and I+P phases. In particular, studies showed that the chemo-preventive effect was synergistic when CGT was used together with 4-HPR.
The common intake of CGT is 100-300 mg a day.
Coenzyme Q10 is a benzoquinone compound synthesized naturally in the human body. The "Q" and the "10" in the name refer to the quinone chemical group and the 10 isoprenyl chemical subunits respectively that are part of this compound's structure. Coenzyme Q10 is used by cells of the body in a process known variously as aerobic respiration, aerobic metabolism, and oxidative metabolism or cell respiration.
Through this process, energy for cell growth and maintenance is created inside cells in compartments called mitochondria. The body as an endogenous antioxidant also uses coenzyme Q10.
CoQ10 's cardio protective effect is well known. The commonly used dose for optimum health is 30 to 90 mg. Those with cardiovascular disease would require higher doses. Patients with congestive heart failure usually require a much higher dose with up to 350 to 400 mg per day.
In patients with cancer, coenzyme Q10 has been shown to protect the heart from anthracycline-induced cardiotoxicity (anthracyclines are a family of chemotherapy drugs including doxorubicin that have the potential to damage the heart) and to stimulate the immune system.
In view of observations that blood levels of coenzyme Q10 are frequently reduced in cancer patients, supplementation with this compound has been tested in patients undergoing conventional treatment.
The use of coenzyme Q10 as a treatment for cancer in humans has been investigated in only a limited fashion. With the exception of a single randomized trial, which involved 20 patients and tested the ability of coenzyme Q10 to reduce anthracycline-induced cardiotoxicity, the studies that have been published consisted of anecdotal reports, case reports, case series and uncontrolled clinical studies.
In view of the promising results from animal studies, coenzyme Q10 was tested as a protective agent against the cardiac toxicity observed in cancer patients treated with the anthracycline drug doxorubicin.
An open-label (nonblinded), uncontrolled clinical study in Denmark followed 32 breast cancer patients for 18 months. The disease in these patients had spread to the axillary lymph nodes. An unreported number had distant metastases.
The patients received antioxidant supplementation (vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene), other vitamins and trace minerals, essential fatty acids, and coenzyme Q10 (at a dose of 90 milligrams per day). This was in addition to standard therapy (surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy, with or without tamoxifen). The patients were seen every three months to monitor the disease status (progressive disease or recurrence). If there were any signs of recurrence, mammography, bone scan, x-ray, or biopsy was performed.
The survival rate for the study period was 100 percent (four deaths were expected). Six patients were reported to show some evidence of remission. However, there was incomplete clinical data and information suggestive of remission was presented for only three of the six patients. None of the six patients had evidence of further metastases. For all 32 patients, the decreased use of painkillers improved quality of life and an absence of weight loss were reported. Whether painkiller use and quality of life were measured objectively (e.g., from pharmacy records and validated questionnaires, respectively) or subjectively (from patient self-reports) was not specified.
In a follow-up study, one of the six patients with a reported remission as well as a new patient was treated for several months with higher doses of coenzyme Q10 (390 and 300 milligrams per day, respectively). The surgical removal of the primary breast tumor in both patients had yet to be completed.
After three to four months of high-level coenzyme Q10 supplementation, both patients appeared to experience complete regression of their residual breast tumors (assessed by clinical examination and mammography). It should be noted that a different patient identifier was used in the follow-up study for the patient who had participated in the original study. Therefore, it is impossible to determine which of the six patients with a reported remission took part in the follow-up study. In the follow-up study report, the researchers noted that all 32 patients from the original study remained alive after 24 months of observation while six deaths had been expected.
In another report by the same investigators, three breast cancer patients were followed for a total of three to five years on high-dose coenzyme Q10 (390 milligrams per day). One patient posted a complete remission of liver metastases (assessed by clinical examination and ultrasonography [echogram]) and another had a remission of a tumor that had spread to the chest wall (assessed by clinical examination and chest X-ray). The third patient had no microscopic evidence of the remaining tumor after a mastectomy (assessed by biopsy of the tumor bed).
All three of the above-mentioned human studies had important design flaws that could have influenced their outcome. Study weaknesses include the absence of a control group (i.e., all patients received coenzyme Q10), possible selection bias in the follow-up investigations, and multiple confounding variables (i.e., the patients received a variety of supplements in addition to coenzyme Q10, and they received standard therapy either during or immediately before supplementation with coenzyme Q10).
Due to its cardio protective effect, coenzyme Q10 is a good nutritional supplement for cancer prevention. Food alone does not supply enough coenzyme Q10. Those who have no cancer should consider 30-90 mg a day for optimum health. Much higher doses should be considered for cancer patients.
Cancer patients should be on a strict vegetarian diet. Whey protein is often used as a source of protein to supplement the diet.
Protein powders are useful to the diet, as they are high quality proteins minus the saturated fats that frequently accompany foods that are high in protein.
The Biological Value, or BV, of a protein is an indicator of the quality of the protein. It is a measure of a protein's ability to be used by the body (or its bioavailability). It is a percentage (though the scale is skewed resulting in some BV's of greater than 100) of the absorbed protein that your body actually uses. Biological Values are indicators of which proteins are best at aiding nitrogen retention in muscles to help them maintain or grow in mass. The BV of whey protein (hydrolyzed) is higher than milk, fish, beef, soy, wheat, beans, and peanuts.
Nobel laureate in medicine Otto Warburg, Ph.D., first discovered in 1931 that cancer cells have a fundamentally and significantly different energy metabolism compared to healthy cells. In his Nobel thesis, Dr. Warburg postulated that malignant tumors frequently exhibit an increase in anaerobic glycolysis - a process whereby glucose is used as a fuel by cancer cells with lactic acid as an anaerobic byproduct. In fact, the co-efficient of anaerobic glycolysis to cell respiration in normal tissue is zero, while in malignant tissue the ratio is up to 12.
Many studies have been conducted to validate this theory. A study using a mouse model of human breast cancer demonstrated that tumors are sensitive to blood-glucose levels. Sixty-eight mice were injected with an aggressive strain of breast cancer. They were then fed diets to induce either high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), normal, or low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). There was a dose-dependent response in which the lower the blood glucose level, the greater the survival rate. After 70 days, eight of the 24 hyperglycemic mice survived compared to 16 of 24 normal glycemic and 19 of 20 hypoglycemic mice. This suggests that the restriction of sugar intake is the key to slowing the effects of breast tumors.
Another study of four years at the National Institute of Public Health and Environmental Protection in the Netherlands compared 111 biliary tract cancer patients with 480 controls. The cancer risk associated with the intake of sugars is more than doubled for the cancer patients. Another epidemiological study in 21 modern countries including Europe, North America, and Japan that keep track of morbidity and mortality revealed that sugar intake is a strong risk factor that contributes to higher breast cancer rates.
All cancer patients should be maintained on a low sugar diet. A strict controlled supply of glucose, regarded as the cancer's preferred fuel, would slow down the effects of cancer. The quest is not to eliminate sugars or carbohydrates from the diet but to control blood glucose within a narrow range to help starve the cancer cells and bolster immune functions.
Hyperthermia is the application of concentrated therapeutic heat to treat cancer.
In order to increase the temperature of the entire body (whole body hyperthermia, employing sauna-like chambers) or to local areas with tumors or metastasized sites (local or regional hyperthermia, using probes or focused emitting devices); various methods were employed including strong infrared radiation to cancerous areas. The patient's core temperature is raised up to 103° F and local areas even higher. As cancer cells are far more exposed to heat than healthy cells, it damages the enzymes, the membranes, and particularly the DNA of cancer cells. Since cancer cells need their own blood supply to grow into tumors, strong blood vessels are necessary. However, when heated to 103°F, they shrivel up. Thus, when their blood supply is cut off, tumor cells die. Tumor areas are heated between 107°F and 113° F - temperatures that are below the normal pain threshold.
Improvement depends upon many factors such as the site and stage of the cancer, age of patient, immune resistance, and tumor response rate have been reported which varies from 40 per cent to 80 percent depending on location. This treatment modality is used extensively in Europe. One cancer treatment concept utilizing this is the Systemic Cancer Multistep Therapy (SCMT). The SCMT protocol using hyperthermia is used as part of a "Trojan Horse" concept where the body is subjected to a hyperglycemic state to encourage cancer cell proliferation with subsequent hyperthermia to kill the proliferated cancer cells. Medical evidence indicates that hyperthermia does not interfere with the immune system but may in fact stimulate it.
With the use of computerized equipment to emit electromagnetic energy into patients, which matches the vibratory frequencies of elements within the body, healthy biological functioning is amplified, weakened, or neutralized by toxins or pathogens. The mechanism works by which all the atoms make up cells, which radiate energy with their aggregate thus creating a signature oscillation pattern. As the cancer cells differ from healthy cells in unique vibratory frequencies, radio waves are set to resonate with these frequencies and thus harming the cancer cells.
While the use of this therapy spans over 15 years by selected proponents, it is still very controversial due to the lack of scientific research studies.
When water is given a magnetic charge, hydrogen micro clusters are produced, which react with oxygen (O2) to create sodium hydroxide (NaOH). The water's pH is therefore raised thus making it more alkaline. Normally, the body's normal pH is 7.4. By drinking enough magnetic resonance water, it can increase the alkalinity of blood with a low pH of 7.2 to 7.6. (MRW also has 50 percent less surface tension than non-charged water, allowing it to permeate into cells more easily). As cancer cells grow rapidly in more acidic environment, their growth is inversely proportional to the alkalinity of the blood and intracellular fluids. Thus, drinking alkalinizing water and maintaining an alkalinizing diet make the body inhospitable for cancer. This is a simple yet effective way to subdue cancer cell multiplication. (A low-sugar vegetarian diet can further increase the blood's alkalinity, up to 7.8).
This is another alternative method that needs much more research to be validated.
Cancer is a dreaded disease. It is the end result of a combination of factors, including emotional, nutritional, poisons, drugs, infections, genetics, and pollutants. Genetics and free radicals are two primary theories of how cancer develops. Recognizing that cancer is a multi-factorial disease, prevention and treatment requires a pro-active approach using a wide variety of both traditional and non-traditional modalities.
Everyone should be concerned with cancer prevention. Many of the alternatives described here are for cancer prevention such as antioxidants, coenzyme Q10, and calcium D glucarate. Once cancer is detected, the same modalities continue to be used, but in higher dosages. New modalities are added as indicated.
None of these alternatives are meant to replace the traditional treatments. In cases where traditional treatments have nothing to offer, these alternatives may be considered.
Those pursuing the alternative approach either as replacement or adjunct to traditional treatments will learn quickly that often a "shot gun" deployment of various modalities in a joint and concerted approach is the best method to maximize the chance of killing cancer cells. Do not attempt any such alternatives without consulting a knowledgeable physician.
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