Cancer Tips

The Supplement Causing Cancer Story is BS…

Concentrated Fiber Capsules OR Fresh Salad

The Supplement Causing Cancer Story is BS…

Takeaway First

Dr. Tim Byers conducted a meta-analysis of two decades worth of research and concluded that a number of supplements actually made a person much more likely to develop certain types of cancer. He presented his research this past Monday, April 20th, 2015 at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Philadelphia. My opinion is this study is not new at all—and complete bullshit! (Oops…I can’t believe I just said that.)

Details of Dr. Byers’ view

Here is the link to the sensational news reports:

University of Colorado Cancer Center 

In an interview with CBS Dr. Byers was quoted:

There’s enough evidence along these lines that we should really consider better regulation of these nutritional supplements,” Byers told CBS News. “I think it’s time to step back and say there’s probably a safety issue.”

Well, is it true? Is there really enough research to show that consuming dietary supplements increase the risk of cancer?

My Take on Dietary Supplements Increasing the Risk of Cancer

This latest news on dietary supplements causing cancer is old, old news. In other words, what Dr. Byers did is rehash studies that began up to 30 years old, most of which we have spoken about ad nauseum like the SELECT study. So, why is Dr. Byers bringing up such old stuff again?

I don’t know. A cynic (and I can be one at times, I admit) would think he is paid by big pharma to bring the supplement industry down to its knees. Or he is simply anti-supplements and anti-natural medicine spokesperson like a few other doctors.

But no. Dr. Byers is a faculty member of the University of Colorado with interest in the role of nutrition and diet in cancer. Why would anyone write a paper that is not only  unoriginal but as old as the Clinton administration?

The answer is simple: money. The more papers you publish in journals, the more publicity you get and the more likely you are to be able to secure grants to continue your investigations. And saying something counter intuitive like “supplements cause cancer” will always get a lot of media attention since we are talking about a nearly $30 billion dietary supplement industry.

You see, researchers are under an astronomical amount of pressure to publish and gain attention for their work, which in turn leads to more research grants – which in turn leads to more security and more appointments. Research scientists are burned out by this pressure to publish as often as possible. It’s publish or perish, as they say in the academic world.

Joeri K. Tijdink, MD, PhD, fellow at Free University Medical Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, has been quoted saying:

“If you’re a professor who has a lot of papers that have been published, you feel less burned out and less pressure. This is logical, because you’re more used to how the system works.

By the way, confusion about dietary supplements is a major discussion at the CaPLESS Retreat (prostate cancer health retreat) since some supplements can potentially promote cancer.

Back to Dr. Byers and his Recent Analysis

Through his research, Byers found that people who took high doses of beta-carotene supplements had an increased risk for lung cancer. Again, none of this information is new. The connection between beta-carotene and lung cancer in smokers was published in the mid-1990s. I assume you can find concentrated beta-carotenes in some bottle somewhere, but integrative and naturopathic doctors have been using mixed carotenoids, which might have protective benefits unlike the concentrated form beta-carotene.

Dr. Byers: Men who took vitamin E had an elevated risk for prostate cancer.

Me: OK, are we seriously talking about SELECT again? This goes back to 2008. And besides, if you’ve been reading my blogs for a while you I have highlighted the flaws of SELECT.

But in case you are new to this, allow me to provide an summary:

SELECT was a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of selenium and vitamin E in healthy men who were at elevated risk of prostate cancer by virtue of age or African ancestry. Participants were randomized to receive daily oral doses of either:

  • 200 micrograms selenium (in the form of SelenoMethionine) plus placebo,
  • 400 milligrams dl-alpha-tocopherol vitamin E plus placebo,
  • 200 micrograms selenium plus 400 milligrams dl-alpha-tocopherol,
  • or two placebos.

The study was supposed to last 12 years, but after about 6 years SELECT was stopped following an interim analysis showing that it was unlikely that either selenium or vitamin E had any benefit for prostate cancer.

Further SELECT research showed a 17% increased risk of prostate cancer in those taking 400 of dl-alpha-tocopherol vitamin E and a 91% increased risk of high-grade cancer among men taking SelenoMethionine (selenium). All these men had high selenium status at baseline (Klein et al., 2011).

My take on SELECT

SELECT was a high powered (35,000 subjects), multi-centered ( more heterogeneity) , long-term (12-year) clinical study well funded (between $150 TO $300 million) clinical study.

Unfortunately, SELECT researchers, non of which have a background in nutrition science, by the way,  lost an opportunity to see if using the right form of vitamin E and Selenium would have any benefit in preventing prostate cancer. In other words, we wasted a whole lot of tax payer money on this one.

What do I mean? The vitamin E used in SELECT was a synthetic form – dl-alpha-tocopherol. And the form of selenium used was selenomethionine not High Selenized Yeast (SelenoExcell.

Why is this important? The reason the study SELECT became of interest is because the Alpha Tocopherol Beta Carotene (ATBC) study showed that dl-alpha-tocopherol reduced the risk of prostate cancer.

Oh, yeah. They used 50 units of the unnatural, dl-alpha-tocopherol Vitamin E.

For an unknown reason, researchers used 400 units in SELECT. That’s right – eight times the amount used in the ATBC study – the study that initiated interest. Also, natural vitamin E with high amounts of gamma-tocopherol is protective against prostate cancer. (Jiang et al. 2004). In the year 2000, John’s Hopkins looked at over 10,000 men, showing higher blood levels of alpha-tocopherol and gamma-tocopherol were each associated with a lower risk of developing prostate cancer, but the association with gamma-tocopherol was stronger than that of alpha-tocopherol. (Helzlsouer et al. 2000)

How about Selenium? Interest in selenium’s  protective effects against prostate cancer came from the NPC trial, which showed a reduction in prostate cancer along with other forms of cancer. The problem? The NPC used High Selenized Yeast, SelenoExcell, which is more food-like and less concentrated compared to SELECT, which used 100% Selenomethionine. Selenium Yeast not only consist of selenomethionine but also contains a wide variety of organically bound selenium compounds like selenocysteine and methylselenocysteine, which very likely could have greater anti-carcinogenic activity than selenomethionine alone.

Recently, High Selenized Yeast, SelenoExcell was randomized to placebo  and SeMet (200 mcg/day) administered for 9 months in 69 healthy men. Dr. Richie and his team noticed a reduction in biomarkers of oxidative stress relevant to prostate cancer following supplementation with High Selenized Yeast but not selenomethionine in healthy men. This study suggests that selenium-containing compounds other than selenomethionine may account for the decrease in oxidative stress. (Richie et al. 2014)

If this is not the GIGO effect I don’t know what is.

Other studies Byers reviewed indicated that many other supplements had no apparent impact on cancer riskneither increasing nor decreasing it.

No apparent impact on cancer risk; Really? How come some of the studies I have compiled have shown the opposite?

Take for example a study of a dietary supplement formula consisting of broccoli , turmeric, pomegranate and green tea.

Researchers looked at 199 men, average age 74 years, with localized prostate cancer, 60% managed with primary active surveillance (AS) or 40% with watchful waiting (WW) following previous interventions, were randomised the botanical blend for 6 months.

PSA reflected underlying disease status as the percentage change in PSA was 10-fold lower in the men with and a disease shrinkage was noticed on MRI compared with disease progression no man taking the food supplement had disease progression with a stable PSA. This study would have had more impact if the follow-up would have had a biopsy. But who wants excess biopsies? And who would pay for that? Cost often makes supplement studies prohibitive when a lot of expensive testing is involved. HERE is a link to the study.

In the VITamins and Lifestyle (VITAL) study, which looked at over 35,000 subjects, the use of grapeseed supplements was associated with a 41% reduced risk of total prostate cancer.

Another meta-analysis of observational studies supports an association between higher calcium consumption and reduced breast cancer risk.

One meta-analysis found that higher calcium intake was associated with reduced colorectal cancer risk.

The Physicians’ Health Study, evaluating the impact on men using a regular multivitamin supplement demonstrated a modest 8% reduction in total cancer incidence in men taking a multivitamin. In addition, men with a history of cancer derived the most benefit from MVM supplementation, with a 27% lower incidence of new cancer compared to placebo.

The French randomized clinical trial Supplémentation en Vitamines et Minéraux Antioxydants (SU.VI.MAX) evaluated a supplement containing Vitamin C 120 mg, vitamin E 30 mg, beta-carotene 6 mg, selenium 100 µg, and zinc 20 mg. This supplement was associated with a 31% reduction in overall cancer and a 37% reduction in overall mortality in men but not in women (about 7.5 years).

A meta-analysis of 13 prospective European and North American cohort studies reported a decrease in risk of colon cancer among MVM supplement users compared with nonusers . MVM supplement use for 15 years was associated with a 75% reduction in colon cancer risk in the prospective Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) based on questionnaires completed by 88,756 female nurses in the United States.

But the better question is – why are dietary supplements studied like drugs when they are not drugs?

The scientific method is the approach used by the scientific community to assess if a pharmaceutical drug or a medical procedure has any effect on a particular disease. To control an experiment, you want to eliminate as many confounding factors an isolate the treatment as much as possible.

What do I mean?

If I want to know if drug A, a pill, can cure cancer, then I would set up a study where I recruit, say, 1000 people with cancer (any cancer, to keep it simple), randomly assign 500 to the drug and the other 500 to an indolent pill that looks like pill A but only contains sugar.

I would then follow both groups for as long as possible. The more subjects to study and the longer the study, the more valuable the data and the more clinical relevance it may have. Of course, this gets expensive. That’s why studies like this are rare and should be executed with excellent methodology (the exact opposite of SELECT).

So, when scientists study nutrients in isolation, e.g., dl-alpha-tocopherol (not the natural form with other important components), selenomethinine (without other key forms of selenium), beta-carotene (excluding other carotenoids) – then of course the outcome is rarely good. These are high doses of a single chemical that usually comes in a complex package.

In other words, super concentrated nutrients without the synergism of other key components are similar to pharmaceutical drugs and carry the same risk. But physicians who are nutritionally oriented know that – and have known that for a long time.

And, only integrative, functional, and naturopathic doctors are the experts in the responsible use of nutritional supplements.

So, no, don’t tell your doctor about the supplements you are taking (there is not one nutrition course in Harvard medical school) because she will not know what to do with that information unless she is a nutritionally oriented physician.

Nutrition science and botanical medicine is a discipline in its own right.

So, what should you do…

  • Don’t just take supplements, but eat whole foods (organic as often as possible) from local sources when possible.
  • Exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes a day and then still stay moving afterwards as much as possible.
  • Most good research suggests you can benefit from taking Vitamin D3, so do so. Anything above 2000 units a day should be monitored by an integrative, functional or naturopathic doctor.

Other supplements may very well be helpful but it is always a good idea to seek the help of an expert. I have seen patients who often take way more than what they need.

Whew! This was a long one. :)

Leave comments below as I know this is a hot topic.

References:

Helzlsouer KJ, Huang HY, Alberg AJ,  et al.  Association between alpha-tocopherol, gamma-tocopherol, selenium, and subsequent prostate cancer.  J Natl Cancer Inst. 2000;92(24):2018-2023

Jiang Q, Wong J, Fyrst H, Saba JD, Ames BN. gamma-Tocopherol or combinations of vitamin E forms induce cell death in human prostate cancer cells by interrupting sphingolipid synthesis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004;101(51):17825–30.

Richie JP Jr, et al.Comparative effects of two different forms of selenium on oxidative stress biomarkers in healthy men: a randomized clinical trial. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2014 Aug;7(8):796-804.

Thomas R1, Williams M2, Sharma H2, Chaudry A3, Bellamy P4. A double-blind, placebo-controlled randomised trial evaluating the effect of a polyphenol-rich whole food supplement on PSA progression in men with prostate cancer-the UK NCRN Pomi-T study. Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2014 Jun;17(2):180-6

Your Parents Were Right All Along: Why You Really Should Eat Your Broccoli

Boy-eating-broccoli

Your Parents Were Right All Along: Why You Really Should Eat Your Broccoli

The Takeaway First

In 2010 researchers discovered that sulforaphane, a chemical found in broccoli, reduces the risk of prostate cancer. The latest research adds that this broccoli-derived compound actively kills cancer stem cells. This and other research shows us that the powers of leafy, green vegetables extend further than we think.

The Details

According to a leafy greens review (Royston & Tollefsbol, 2015) published a few months ago in the journal Current Pharmacology Reports, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables have incredible powers as preventive medicine. Diets high in these vegetables significantly decrease the risk of death from cancer and the risk of developing cancer at all.

This same article explains that eating broccoli is one easy way to create cancer-fighting chemicals in the body. Broccoli turns into glucosinolates, which turn into the sulforaphane. Sulforaphane attacks cancer stem cells and stunts them before they can even begin to metastasize.

On top of all this, eating leafy greens in the same family as broccoli has been found to reduce inflammation (Royston & Tollefsbol, 2015).

The authors of another recent article on sulforaphane (Labsch et al., 2014) recommend a high-sulforaphane diet for cancer-prevention and cancer-suppression.

Related to all this, a brand-new Korean study (Hwang & Lim, 2015) found that broccoli stems and leaves actually have a lot more sulforaphane than the florets (the tiny green buds that bloom from the stalk).

My Take On This

Remember when you were a kid, and the only thing left on your plate after dinner was a dark-green pile of stalky vegetables? If you still avoid these greens, now is the time to stop. Broccoli is one of those powerful, natural preventive medicines that I have come to love in my years of practice. I think of it alongside turmeric, pomegranate, and green tea as a major component to maintaining a cancer-unfriendly body.

And that is why I recommend eating broccoli and all cruciferous vegetables.

These are not exactly groundbreaking studies, but they do confirm the findings of a growing body of research that is uncovering the huge benefits of eating cruciferous vegetables—especially for men like you. In my last post on this topic, I mentioned a study where eating cruciferous vegetables decreased men’s risk of prostate cancer by 32% (Steinbrecher et al. 2009). Even after diagnosis, cruciferous vegetables knocked down another group of men’s risk of prostate cancer progression by 59% (Richman et al., 2011). These are not small numbers!

What You Should Do

OK, so chances are your parents did not know that broccoli had such an ability to decrease your risk of cancer, let alone prostate cancer, and I’m 99.9% sure they didn’t know that broccoli directly targets cancer stem cells by flooding your body with sulforaphane—but you have to admit: they were right.

I know you know what to do, but I’ll say it anyway: eat broccoli. Don’t just eat the thinner stalks and the florets; eat the big, chunky stems and the leaves, too. My juicer friends sometimes tell me they add kale and broccoli leaves to their morning smoothies. Make sure to steam them well, however. Raw broccoli contains chemicals called goitrogens which can cause thyroid problems down the road. Also, broccoli is tough to digest when raw. Skip the raw broccoli from the veggie platter at the next party. The carrots are fine to eat raw—and easy on the creamy dip! (I digress.) Personally, I prefer colorful fruits in my smoothies (pomegranate is powerful and delicious) mixed with leafy greens. I do not like broccoli in my smoothie, but you might. Supplements made out of broccoli extract also seem to help – I recommend them often. For your health and your gustatory pleasure (trust me, it’s a word): try one of my favorite recipes:

Creamy Cruciferous Soup by Marti Wolfson – Culinary Nutrition Educator
  • This luscious emerald soup is surprisingly rich sans the cream which many pureed soups contain. I especially love to make this soup transitioning from winter to spring. The liver reaps great benefit from the broccoli, cabbage and as well as aliums such as onions and garlic. You can swap your favorite greens like spinach, kale or dandelion greens or herbs like parsley, thyme, and rosemary.

    Serves 8

    Ingredients:

    • 1 T. olive oil
    • 1 medium onion, diced
    • 1 tsp. ginger, minced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 4 celery stalks, chopped
    • 3 cups chopped broccoli, florets and stems
    • 1 head, fennel, chopped
    • 2 cups chopped savoy or napa cabbage
    • 6 cups water or stock
    • 1 tsp. sea salt
    • 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

     

    Procedure:

    Heat the oil in a large pot on medium high heat. Add the onion and cook until the onions are translucent. Next, add the ginger, garlic, celery, broccoli, fennel, cabbage and a generous pinch of sea salt and continue to cook another 2 minutes. Add the water or stock, remaining sea salt and pepper.

    Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat, simmering for 20 minutes. Place the soup in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Taste for salt.

     

References

Hwang, J.-H., & Lim, S.-B. (2015). Antioxidant and Anticancer Activities of Broccoli By-Products from Different Cultivars and Maturity Stages at Harvest. Preventive Nutrition and Food Science, 20(1), 8–14. doi:10.3746/pnf.2015.20.1.8

Labsch, S., Liu, L. I., Bauer, N., Zhang, Y., Aleksandrowicz, E. W. A., Gladkich, J., . . . Herr, I. (2014). Sulforaphane and TRAIL induce a synergistic elimination of advanced prostate cancer stem-like cells. International Journal of Oncology, 44(5), 1470-1480. doi: 10.3892/ijo.2014.2335

Richman EL, Carroll PR, Chan JM.Vegetable and fruit intake after diagnosis and risk of prostate cancer progression. Int J Cancer. 2011 Aug 5.

Royston, K. J., & Tollefsbol, T. O. (2015). The Epigenetic Impact of Cruciferous Vegetables on Cancer Prevention. Curr Pharmacol Rep, 1(1), 46-51. doi: 10.1007/s40495-014-0003-9

Steinbrecher A, Nimptsch K, Husing A, Rohrmann S, Linseisen J. Dietary glucosinolate intake and risk of prostate cancer in the EPIC-Heidelberg cohort study. Int J Cancer 2009; 125: 2179–86.

More Than a Pick-Me-Up: the Dramatic Health Benefits of your Daily Coffee

coffeeinthemountains

More Than a Pick-Me-Up: the Dramatic Health Benefits of your Daily Coffee

The Takeaway First

About 50% of Americans drink coffee every day, but far fewer Americans know that regular coffee drinking has substantial health benefits. According to several studies published over the past two years, coffee has an effect on your heart, your brain, your bones, and your risks of diseases over the lifetime. Despite the benefits, the potential drawbacks from coffee’s caffeine content are worth considering. Know thyself, as they say, and drink carefully.

Details

A German study (Bakuradze et al., 2014) found that four weeks of regular coffee consumption increased feelings of satiety after eating. This and the subjects’ loss of body fat suggests that coffee might help with weight loss or chronic overeating.

The same study found that drinking coffee tended to protect DNA from harmful mutations that could lead to cancer (Bakuradze et al, 2014). And an updated study supports the notion of coffee protecting DNA integrity. (Bakuradze et al, 2015).

A broad review article found that regular coffee consumption reduced the risk of diabetes mellitus, hypertension, obesity, and depression (O’Keefe et al., 2013). The same article reports that coffee either has no effect or a positive effect on cardiovascular health.

O’Keefe et al. (2013) also found that coffee reduced the risk of neurodegenerative disease.

A Brazilian study found that drinking coffee in very low doses reduced hepatic fibrosis in adults with Hepatitis C (Machado et al., 2013).

In one meta-analysis (analysis of many studies already published), regular coffee consumption decreased the risk of fractures by almost 25% in men (Lee et al., 2014).

A study of Spanish adults found that regular coffee consumption had no significant adverse effects on health-related quality of life (Lopez-Garcia et al., 2013).

An older study found that regular coffee consumption had no effect on long term risk of coronary heart disease specifically (Wu et al., 2009).

My Take on Coffee and Health

Coffee, like most naturally occurring mixtures, is not just water, caffeine, and coffee molecules. Well, in some sense it is, but “coffee molecules” consist of countless and diverse chemicals, from methylxanthines to diterpine alcohols to chlorogenic acids to antioxidants, all of which combine to give coffee its complex effect. The effect we all know is the mental effect of increased alertness and decreased feelings of sleepiness.

Besides this effect are numerous side-effects, though. Side-effects are not necessarily bad, as we can 

see from the scientific findings that I noted above. Living longer with less disease is nothing to complain about. However, I want to remind you that every food, coffee included, has complex and far-reaching consequences for the body and for the rest of the lifestyle. Drinking coffee, for instance, might wake you up in the morning, but it can also keep you from sleeping at night. A poor sleep schedule leads to more fatigue, and more fatigue makes that second (or third, or fourth) cup of coffee smell awfully delicious, and pretty soon you’re a wreck every morning unless you drink five cups of coffee. This is not only excessive but expensive, depending on your source.

People who drink coffee daily need to know their limits. Too often in New York I see people more high-strung and stressed out than I ever thought possible, and then I see a quivering cup of coffee in their hand and think, “Hm.” Coffee affects your entire body, but most importantly it affects your brain. And by this point in your life you have come to terms with the fact that you’re not invincible. All this is to say, be aware of the benefits of coffee, but also remember that adding caffeine to your diet changes your wake-sleep patterns, your feelings of tiredness, and your appetite. You can live a happy, healthy life with or without coffee.

What You Should Do

I value your independent thinking, so I won’t give you a prescription for Starbucks. But I will say this: consider the place of coffee in your lifestyle. Nutritional science tells us that adding any substance to your diet has numerous effects on your body chemistry. Coffee contains caffeine, which tends to create a chemical dependency, so drink carefully. Know your own mind; avoid coffee if you’re prone to anxiety or panic attacks. Limit caffeine after noon to avoid insomnia. Also, counterbalance coffee consumption with a good amount of water. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it will make you eliminate fluids more frequently. With so many benefits, it’s worth a shot.

References

Bakuradze, T., Parra, G. A. M., Riedel, A., Somoza, V., Lang, R., Dieminger, N., . . . Richling, E. (2014). Four-week coffee consumption affects energy intake, satiety regulation, body fat, and protects DNA integrity. Food Research International, 63, Part C(0), 420-427. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2014.05.032

Lee, D. R., Lee, J., Rota, M., Lee, J., Ahn, H. S., Park, S. M., & Shin, D. (2014). Coffee consumption and risk of fractures: A systematic review and dose–response meta-analysis. Bone, 63(0), 20-28. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bone.2014.02.007

Lopez-Garcia, E., Guallar-Castillon, P., Leon-Muñoz, L., Graciani, A., & Rodriguez-Artalejo, F. (2014). Coffee consumption and health-related quality of life. Clinical Nutrition, 33(1), 143-149. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clnu.2013.04.004

Machado, S. R., Parise, E. R., & de Carvalho, L. (2014). Coffee has hepatoprotective benefits in Brazilian patients with chronic hepatitis C even in lower daily consumption than in American and European populations. The Brazilian Journal of Infectious Diseases, 18(2), 170-176. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bjid.2013.09.001

O’Keefe, J. H., Bhatti, S. K., Patil, H. R., DiNicolantonio, J. J., Lucan, S. C., & Lavie, C. J. (2013). Effects of Habitual Coffee Consumption on Cardiometabolic Disease, Cardiovascular Health, and All-Cause Mortality. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 62(12), 1043-1051. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2013.06.035

Wu, J.-n., Ho, S. C., Zhou, C., Ling, W.-h., Chen, W.-q., Wang, C.-l., & Chen, Y.-m. (2009). Coffee consumption and risk of coronary heart diseases: A meta-analysis of 21 prospective cohort studies. International Journal of Cardiology, 137(3), 216-225. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcard.2008.06.051

 

Sugar is poison – last night on 60 minutes

The harmful effects of sugar are slowly becoming common knowledge. Did you see 60 minutes last night? They highlighted the fact that sugar (and High Fructose Corn Syrup) are a major cause of obesity, type II diabetes , hypertension and cancer. Yes, cancer. When a Harvard researcher was asked by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, “If you limit your sugar intake would you limit your chances of developing cancer?” The researchers response was simply – “absolutely.” It is commonly said that sugar feeds cancer. Technically speaking sugar does not feed cancer per se but it is does cause an overproduction of insulin and another substance known as insulin like growth factor – 1 (IGF-1) that contributes to the development and progression of cancer.

 

My take on this:

 

I have mentioned in previous blog  posts’ that sugar and simple carbohydrates are the major contributors to chronic, systemic inflammation and cancer (prostate.) The most important decision you can make to slow the “aging clock,” prevent heart disease and prevent or slow the progression of cancer cells is to significantly limit the consumption of sugar and simple carbohydrates. How easy is this?

Not easy at all. Sugar has a drug-like effect when consumed not too different from legal (alcohol, cigarette smoking, etc) and illegal drugs. Almost all drugs cause the brain to produce dopamine, which leads to a feeling of euphoria. Sugar intake does the same. In fact, just like most drugs, sugar is dose dependent in order to make you feel good. Another words, the more you take the more you need to make you feel “happy.”

The other challenge is that sugar is blended into many sauces and foods including but not limited to: yogurt, cereals, soups, peanut butter and energy drinks.

Now that you are hopefully convinced that sugar consumption is an addictive drug that causes or contributes to almost all disease – what  should you do?

  • Do a “Reset” of no simple sugars for two weeks. This is not easy. I know. I do it two times a year. For the first two or three days headaches and other withdrawal side effect may be experienced. By day 4, the cravings diminish significantly. By day 7 – 10, you are just tired of it look forward for variety.
  • Exercise with moderate intensity. An exercised body does not produce as much insulin or IGF-1 to metabolize sugar.
  • Snack on healthy nuts. Pistachios, almonds and walnuts are super healthy and controls sugar cravings.
  • Manage stress with exercise, deep breathing and by learning how to problem-solve. When we are stressed we typically look to sabotage ourselves with booze or sugary foods. There are many good books and resources on the topic. This link may also be useful.
  • Fruit juices are as bad as soda. A 12-ounce soda can has 10 teaspoons of sugar just like a 12 ounce glass of orange juice. Pomegranate juice, dark organic grape juice and other dark red or blue concentrated fruit juices are also high in sugar but have powerfully healthy components to them.

Here’s what you do: Mix any of those dark juices (about 2 to 4 ounces) with 4 ounces of club soda. This makes for a diluted, less sugary   soda type of drink with powerful antioxidant health benefits.

  • Fruits (not fruit juice) are the best source of sugar – primarily berries and the dark red, blue and purple kind.
  • Don’t eat any food with guilt. If you are going to have a cup cake, have it and enjoy it. Just know that that cup cake is an addictive substance. Two hour later you may no reach for another cup cake, but you may gulp 8 ounces of orange juice and keep this viscous cycle going.

Bottom Line: Cut your simple sugar intake by half starting now -then cut that to another half in two weeks.  You will experience more energy and mental clarity along with creating a hostile environment to cancer cells. Anyone with a blood sugar disease like diabetes should NOT do this on their own and should seek the help of a nutritionally oriented physician.

If you or a loved one has ever been diagnosed with prostate cancer – join us at our Prostate Cancer Health Retreat and discover how to eat and live and cancer-free lifestyle without deprivation. We have a few more spaces available. All my social network friends and NYU urology patients  benefit from a 10% discount.

See a clip on 60 minutes below on this topic.

 

References:

60 minutes – http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/60minutes/main3415.shtml?tag=hdr;cnav

Byrne MM, Davila EP, Zhao W, et al. Cancer screening behaviors among smokers and nonsmokers. Cancer Epidemiol. 2010;34(5):611–617.