The Big C — What Are You Doing To Prevent It?

Someone posted something on Facebook the other day that said, “OK, we’re aware of breast cancer (October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, just in case that escaped you!) — now, can we do something about it?” and that’s exactly how I feel. Statistics show that in the last 50 years, death rates from cancer have only dropped by 5%. In 50 years!

That stunned me, because billions of dollars are spent on research but what this article in the New York Times points out is that the research is usually in less “risky” areas like extending a patient’s life by weeks rather than in “out-of-the-box” thinking that could really find a cure. So it’s really up to us to do as much preventive care as possible.

There are lots of concoctions, herbs, devices, and theories abounding regarding cancer and I know that some of them have some basis in research and results, and some of them are just hogwash. So we compiled four relatively easy things to do, that we are personally doing, to better our chances against that dreaded diagnosis.

When people ask me what’s the first thing I’d recommend, it would be to reduce carbohydrates in the diet. And by reduce, I mean to 70 – 100 grams a day. Most people are eating 3 – 5 times that. The reason this is so important is because cancer cells have a fast metabolism, up to 4 times as fast as a normal cell, and they need sugar to support that. Carbs turn into sugar. And those tumor cells have more insulin receptor sites on them than normal cells.

Studies have been done by Johns Hopkins and by Duke University confirming this, and if you asked doctors about this, they would agree, and yet it is not commonly discussed in oncology offices. In fact, the head researcher for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Research Center has stated that, in his estimation, glucose and insulin are the instigating factors for 80% of human cancers. 80%!

The problem is, most people change their diet AFTER they get a diagnosis, when it matters much less. If people changed it beforehand, maybe they wouldn’t GET that diagnosis.

Another important link to cancer rates has been tied into Vitamin D levels. According to Dr. William B. Grant of the Sunlight, Nutrition, and Health Research Center (SUNARC), there areover 800 studies confirming that low Vitamin D levels increase rates of cancer. And to give you some perspective on how prevalent low D levels are, the national statistic is that 85% of people are deficient (95% of seniors) and our experience bears that out — in all the Vitamin D blood tests that we’ve run, we’ve had only one that has come back normal without supplementation. And we’re including ourselves!

The obvious source of Vitamin D is the sun, but now that it’s past the solstice, the angle of the sun lessens its impact. This is important — it’s been shown that over a certain latitude in the US, there are substantially higher rates of cancer and auto-immune disorders, and this all has to do with how much sun the northern part of the country gets. If you CAN get sun exposure, it has to be in direct sun (not a cloudy day) without sunscreen, for a minimum of 20 minutes per day. Consistency is the key — one day or one week isn’t going to do it.

For many, including myself, supplementation is easier and more reliable. The recommended amounts for OPTIMAL health (as opposed to the RDA levels which are much lower) are about 4,000 IU’s a day, and blood levels over 50 ng/mL. Again, consistency is very important — when people are very deficient, it can take a couple of months to get their levels into a normal range.

If you do supplement, it comes in many forms. D3 (cholecalciferol) is the recommended form and can be had in pill form, in cod liver oil, and as an olive oil-based serum that entails only 2 drops per day. As we carry all of these in our pharmacy, these different ways of taking vitamin D lets us find what way is easiest and most effective for you! Let us know if you have questions about this.

And if you don’t know if you are deficient or not, call our office and we’ll set up a simple, inexpensive blood test to see what your levels are. Optimal levels of Vitamin D are ESSENTIAL for preventing and fighting cancer.

A third VITAL nutrient in the fight against cancer is iodine. Many people think that Japan’s low breast cancer rate is because of their soy intake, but nothing could be further from the truth. It’s actually because of their high iodine intake, found mainly in seaweed. Yes, we have iodized salt in this country, but that’s just to prevent goiter, not enough for optimal health. Iodine is essential for thyroid health, eliminates fibrocystic breasts (a precursor to breast cancer) and prostate health, and after adequate levels are established in those tissues, is used throughout the body. Most people certainly aren’t eating much seaweed besides occasional sushi, and the only other source is from the soil, which is so depleted that the presence of iodine is almost non-existent. Supplementation is one of the only ways to regain normal levels of iodine.

If all this wasn’t enough reason to take iodine, it’s also vital for brain development and mental performance!

We have never had a patient walk in with optimal levels of iodine, and, as a result, have many of them taking iodine supplements. But, it is dangerous to self-supplement iodine without a blood test to test for the presence of thyroid antibodies. If you have a history of breast or prostate cancer in your family, have had breast or prostate cancer in the past, or have fibrocystic breasts, this supplement can make a profound difference for you. Call our office at 512-495-9015 to pick up a blood test requisition form and we’ll get you started.

Lastly, estrogen levels directly impact breast cancer, and western drugs have mixed results on lowering those levels. (This is also where the recommendation to eat more leafy greens comes in.) There are explicit, directed nutritional protocols to reduce estrogen levels in a matter of a couple of weeks — we’ve done it several times, with proven blood test results (see the story below involving Will’s mom!) It can be a fully complete program, like our MWC Detox Cleanse, which comes with DVD’s and a binder for support, or it can be simply taking our cruciferous vegetable concentrate, or our green food concentrate. Each of these increases the effectiveness of the liver to convert estrogen out of the system, and can be consistently taken over time for people who tend to have higher levels (like people with insulin-resistance, or those who might be getting hormones from outside sources like meats, plastics, birth control or hormone replacement therapy). You can start these anytime and you don’t need a blood test for these — very few of us eat enough vegetables, and very few of those vegetables have enough nutrition these days. These are organic supplements in a concentrated form, giving you a “jump start” on your veggie intake!

Again, some of these recommendations you can do on your own, and some are safer working with a blood test and a practitioner. In our commitment to keeping people healthy, we’ll meet you wherever you are — call our office if you have questions, want to get the Vitamin D or iodine tests, or if you’d like to pick up any supplements!

We sometimes think genetics is something we can’t avoid, but genetic tendencies for ANYTHING are actually responsible for only a certain percentage of diseases or problems — for example, longevity is determined only 30% by your genes. So don’t let “fate” or “genetics”  have you feel like you can’t do anything — you definitely can, so let us help you get started.