Archive for October, 2016

What to do with extra Halloween candy

halloweencandy72

Trick or treat?

Halloween candy is both. It is a tasty treat that becomes a trick when it shuts down our immune systems for hours, starts a winter-long sweet-craving and throws the rest of our metabolism out of whack. (Author Nancy Appleton lists over 144 ways sugar is hard on your health.)

Health nuts like Bill and I might wish we could give out something wholesome. Unfortunately, parents are afraid of anything but factory sealed candy. (And we don’t want our house decorated with eggs or toilet tissue.) If we just turn off the porch light and hide, we’d miss those few cute kids who visit in homemade costumes (and the late-arriving teens who think that a flannel shirt is a costume). So, we give in and give the kids what they want. Parents have a bigger problem if they are concerned about their children’s health…they must figure out what to do with a pillow case full of collected goodies. There are some good uses for extra Halloween candy.

 Here at least are some ideas for what to do with leftovers:

  • After one stomach-churning binge, parents sometimes trade toys for the balance of the loot and send the leftovers in care packages to the troops. They don’t have a convenience store on every corner and are more likely to burn it off than seniors in a rest home. (I understand they sometimes use little treats to make friends with native children.) Here is a good group: Operation Gratitude. It is a chance to teach children something about nutrition and appreciation for our freedoms. We can even teach them the power of action by starting a neighborhood collection for this organization to send: Do Something
  • Creative dentists trade items donated by local businesses for the kids’ candy which is then sent to the troops. For instance: Halloween Candy Buy Back
  • If you have been assigned to bring a decadent dessert to some function, instead of buying more sugar, here are ideas for 27 Desserts made with leftover candy.
  • Hide some away for Christmas stockings? Some candy freezes for use next year.

I hope your holiday is fun and safe.

 

The science on supplements for powerful immune support continues to build

support-pinkIt is seems apparent that our immune system is affected directly or indirectly (for good or bad) by virtually everything we eat, drink, breathe, put on our skin and certainly by what we think. When I suggest supplements to support immune protection against breast cancer or any other disease, please know that they are no substitute for a healthful diet and lifestyle. That said, the science on supplements for powerful immune support continues to build.

  1. Curcumin – This substance is the main constituent of the spice turmeric. Enter the words “curcumin cancer” into PubMed.com (the government science database) and today it returns 3,580 citations! Narrow the search to just breast cancer and still get 441. Curcumin seems to work in a number of ways to protect against cancer including improving how our genes operate (epigenetics). It even makes chemotherapy more effective. LINK. I chose that link in particular because prolific researcher, Ajay Goel, PhD of Baylor University Medical Center (Dallas), is an author. Some curcumin extracts are made to be much more easily absorbed and utilized. This one by Doctor’s Best is a good example.
  2. Aged Garlic Extract (AGE) – Although garlic in food does help immune function, aging the garlic increases its potency and creates new beneficial substances. Among other benefits, AGE seems to suppress the unwanted multiplication of cells. LINK. Our sponsor, Kyolic, has conducted over 750 studies on its product and, as far as I can tell, Kyolic is the only commercial source of AGE. The company also smartly combines AGE with other nutrients to address particular health issues.
  3. Aloe vera – Consuming properly made Aloe vera juice (or gel) supports immune function by providing antioxidant protection; decreasing blood levels of certain toxins; improving nutrient uptake; and by increasing the numbers of immune white cells. I thought that this linked study was interesting because it shows that aloe can cause pancreatic cancer cells to die and that it increases the effectiveness of radiation therapy. In my book on Aloe vera, I discuss that the richness in concentration and higher molecular weights of polysaccharides are key to effectiveness. My choice (based on an independent university analysis) is Lily of the Desert
  4. Flaxseed –In natural medicine, flax has long been considered beneficial for cancer prevention and even treatment. The Dr Johanna Budwig anti-cancer food plan is a notable example. Flax seems to help in part because of its omega-3 content. Fish oil contains more omega-3 in a more useable form. But, flax’s effect is also due to its content of lignans. Lignans have a weak estrogenic effect that concerned some people in regard to estrogen-dependent breast cancer. As it turns out, flax appears to be quite beneficial and even seems to help Tamoxifen therapy work better. LINK. I prefer sprouted flax because it is less likely to become rancid than the fragile ground seeds and its nutrients are more readily available. That product is not easy to find, but here is one source. (Blueberry and Cranberry flavors are also available.)
  5. Resveratrol. You may know resveratrol as the anti-aging, macular degeneration relieving molecule from grapes. It is an antioxidant, but so much more. It seems to selectively encourage cancer cells to die and reduces the growth of their blood supply. The molecule also seems to reduce metastasis by stopping the tumors from breaking down tissue. It has been studied in connection with multiple myeloma, and cancers of the skin, breasts, prostate, and stomach. I grabbed this LINK because it is a review of studies dealing with lung cancer. In this linked article I discuss the diverse benefits of resveratrol and explain why I choose the Longevinex brand.
  6. Colostrum – Colostrum is the original breast fluid mammals (including humans) make for infants before breast milk starts flowing. It is full of immune-strengthening compounds that give the baby a good start in the world. Although it has long been known as a supplement for helping to prevent / resolve colds and flu (and for helping body builders), new research into benefits for cancer is encouraging. LINK. According to my research PerCoBa is a superior product. That company sells a liquid. PerCoBa lozenges (which kids love) and powder are available from a sponsor with an online store.

We are learning that one way these substances are beneficial is that they support our intestinal bacteria. As I mentioned in last week’s blog probiotics in our systems have a crucial role in immune function (and it appears, every other function). Supplements hold great promise, but I think it is unlikely that they can make up for a collection of these: a diet high in sugar, smoking, being obese, eating out of BPA-lined cans, being sedentary, drinking too much, overdoing hormone replacement, being sleep deprived and deficient in vitamin D.

 

 

Build super smart immune function with supplements

super-woman

Whether we are thinking about the annual flu or any cancer (including breast cancer here in Pinktober), our best protection is to build super smart immune function with supplements. I say “smart” because we need immune system action against invaders like bacteria, viruses and errant cells. We don’t want the system to be confused and cause allergies. It is an even worse situation when the immune system attacks healthy tissue as is the case with auto-immune conditions. To build a super smart immune system, good food is the place to start. Read about 8 pink foods that help prevent breast cancer

The supplement list below (installment one of two) keeps that important balance in mind. For each I’ve provided an interesting reference for your consideration. For the most part I’ve used breast cancer examples, but I recently did the same search for leukemia and found similar evidence. In each section I’ve also given a link to a high quality product so you have an idea what to shop for. (Since they are such fine hand-picked companies, it should come as no surprise that our radio sponsors are represented.)

  1. Vitamin D – This article shows that “raising vitamin D levels to the recommended range of 40-60 ng/ml reduces incidence of breast cancer by 50-80%”. Wow!!! (We will have an interview on vitamin D on October 29.) Most milk is fortified with vitamin D2 rather than the more effective vitamin D3 that is in supplements. Any good brand of D3 supplement will work…if you get enough. I like the sublingual by Superior Source because it is easy and at 5,000 IU you are more likely to take enough to achieve beneficial blood levels.
  2. Probiotics – In my book, The Probiotic Cure, I discuss the research on the benefits of a healthy microbiome (balance of gut bacteria) for cancer and many other immune challenges. Good bacteria can not only tell immune cells when to attack, but also when to calm down. They even help our genes behave. I gave a link to an interesting study on microbes and breast cancer in last week’s blog. Here is a revealing mouse model study. LINK. As I’m sure you know, my favorite product of any kind is Ohhira’s Probiotics. It doesn’t contain the exact organisms used in some studies, but it does help create a good environment in the gut for our native strains. The same fine folks that import Dr. Ohhira’s from Japan also make Reg’Activ which contains a strain that makes glutathione, the master antioxidant. One of the Reg’Activ combinations is specifically for immune function.
  3. Minerals – Our microbes can make a few vitamins, but they cannot make minerals. The processing of foods in America removes many minerals. What about “enriched” flour you might ask? Iron is added to that and sometimes calcium, but not the following minerals that are so important for immune function:
    1. In an archived interview, Richard Passwater discussed a study that showed that the right form of the mineral selenium prevented up to 50% of cancer deaths. The form in the supplement at this link is the same type used in the study. (Sadly, a follow-up study used a completely different form that did not get such good results. That is the cheap form used in many supplements.) A recent study shows that low selenium in the blood may be a factor with childhood cancers. LINK.
    2. Zinc is well known to help immune function. Bill Sardi wrote a useful article on zinc deficiency. I like Jarrow’s Zinc Balance because it is a good form and combines a little copper to keep that mineral in balance.
    3. Magnesium. I know, I know, I make it sound as though magnesium is good for everything. Well, that is about the size of it. In a recent study of breast cancer patients, increased magnesium intake was associated with reduced death from all causes especially in postmenopausal women. LINK. Most any magnesium will help, but the cheaper forms are more likely to cause a loos stool. I like this form.

The list above isn’t necessarily in priority order because any given person might be okay with one item, but deficient in another. Actually, we don’t have to choose because they can all be taken concurrently.

Click here to read my Library article on building immunity. Anyone interested in “stage zero breast cancer” (ductal carcinoma in situ) should listen to this interview with Sayer Ji about the risks of over-treatment.

Next week I’ll cover curcumin, aged garlic extract, Aloe vera, flax seed, resveratrol and colostrum.

Cancer – Causes, Prevention and Resources

beyond-pink

Can we please change October “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” to “Prevent and Defeat Breast Cancer Month”? (By the way, breast cancer does affect men too.) As the graphic implies, we all want to be “in the pink”. On Saturday’s Show I skimmed through some causes of breast cancer. These factors are interrelated and hint at ways to prevent cancer. Beyond that, if cancer has already been diagnosed, they suggest how we might add benefit to whatever type of treatment has been chosen. Happily, these actions also improve overall wellness and help prevent other diseases.

CAUSES / PREVENTIVE STEPS:

  • Our heredity does play a role in the risk of cancer. However, it is increasingly apparent that our eating habits and lifestyle can control whether genes become active or stay peacefully dormant. LINK
  • Free radicals (also known as oxidants) damage cells and our DNA. That can set us up for cells that don’t know when to stop multiplying—e.g. tumors. Smoking is one of many toxins that cause free radicals. In fact, even exposure to secondhand smoke is a risk factor for breast cancer. LINK. Most of us take antioxidant nutrients (such as vitamin C, zinc, selenium, colorful plant foods and many more) to help control free radicals.
  • Radiation is another cause of free radicals and an increased risk of cancer. Concerns about accumulating radiation exposure is why there is controversy about how often it is wise to get a mammogram. LINK (Note: thermography does not share those risks.)
  • Inflammation is implicated in most degenerative diseases. At this LINK the Mayo Clinic lists some proven causes for this risk. Another less publicized source of inflammation is a diet high in sugar and omega-6 oils. Those oils are found in processed foods and vegetable oils (e.g. soy and corn). Omega-3 fats (e.g. fish oil) has the opposite effect. It is anti-inflammatory. (Some research shows it works as well as anti-inflammatory drugs for arthritis pain. LINK) Magnesium is another anti-inflammatory nutrient with many fringe benefits. LINK
  • The microbiome. As I describe in The Probiotic Cure, probiotic bacteria and other microorganisms that make up the hugely diverse community in our intestinal tract known as the microbiome. They not only contribute greatly to our immune function, they also help regulate hormone imbalances that can lead to cancer. LINK. It is an exciting beginning that a lab study showed that certain probiotic bacteria caused breast cancer cells to reproduce more slowly, shrink and die! Even probiotics killed by heat had that inhibitory effect. LINK
  • Alcohol in moderation may have some benefit to health However, according to the American Cancer Society “Those [women] who have 2 to 5 drinks daily have about 1½ times the [breast cancer] risk of women who don’t drink alcohol.” A new study shows that alcohol increases the density of breast tissue which is a cancer risk. LINK
  • Diet is of course important to all aspects of health. The Mediterranean Diet has shown promise not only for prevention, but also reducing return bouts with the disease. LINK. I was pleased to see that the famous cancer clinic, MD Anderson, acknowledge the role of dietary sugar in increasing breast cancer risk. LINK  One human study (LINK) came to conclusions that surprised me. They found that those women who ate tomatoes, drank coffee and canned meat had lower rates of breast cancer. (Sure, tomatoes and coffee contain antioxidants, but, canned meat? Really? The study was done in Malta. Maybe their canned meat is better than ours?) Here is a surprise: consumption of fava beans, cabbage and low sodium salt substitute increased risk.
  • Many other factors certainly have an effect. The surprising study listed in the previous paragraph also found that protection was better in women who got (Not surprising since that is the primary source of vitamin D which is powerful for the immune system.) Those who had not taken oral contraceptives had lower risk. (Apparently nature is better at balancing hormones.) Also at less risk were those who had not experienced a heart attack. (We’d think they were generally healthier.) On the other hand, the study found that being tall was not a good thing. (I’ve seen this odd association before.) This study was carefully done, but it used interviews and without confirming intervention studies is not considered proof that these associations are causes.

CHARITIES

I’m sure that anyone who makes a donation to help with breast cancer wants that money to go as far as possible toward stopping this scourge and helping patients. Unfortunately, there are outright fraudulent “charities” and some that are legitimate, but who in my book not good stewards of the money.

  • Charity navigator is a very useful site to check on any charity that you are considering. The service ranks them for transparency and by how much of donated money goes to good works. I like to see charities that go beyond supporting more of the same old kind of research that has been the basis of the unimpressive War on Cancer since 1971.
  • Why not donate to the Best Answer for Cancer Foundation that Annie Brandt talks about on the October 8, 2016 HBN Show. Their site says: “A full 90% of your donation will go towards studies, patient care, raising awareness, and advocacy. The other 10% will support the administrative cost of the foundation.” (Charity Navigator does not rate funds that bring in less than $1 million in revenues.)
  • I like that the Breast Cancer Fund researches chemical causes and has “Tips for Prevention” on their home page. About 77% of their income goes to their mission. (The smaller the charity, the harder it probably is to keep administrative and fundraising costs to a low percentage. The Best Answer for Cancer Foundation is an example that it is possible.)
  • The Breast Cancer Research Foundation has the highest rating by Charity Navigator and invests 91% of its income into stopping breast cancer. They fund a fairly broad range of cancer research areas. LINK.

RESOURCES

The October 8, 2016 show guest is Annie Brandt, a long term survivor of “stage 4” breast cancer and the author of The Healing Platform: Build Your Own Cure!  Other shows in October feature special testing that is very helpful, the role of vitamin D and many other interviews of interest.

The following pages from our HBN Library contain a lot more helpful information.


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