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Assessment of Oxidative Damage to DNA - Cancer, Metals, and Cardiovascular Disease

Posted By David Quig, Phd - VP Scientific Support, Doctor's Data, Inc., Thursday, November 17, 2016
Reactive oxygen species (ROS), both radical and non-radical, are formed continuously in all cells and they are indeed part of physiological and metabolic processes. Under normal physiological conditions there is a balance between the generation of ROS and the body’s ability to appropriately quench them.  When the capacity to quench is exceeded, varying degrees of oxidative stress can ensue.  When sustained major oxidative stress occurs, radical oxygen species such as the hydroxyl radical can cause oxidative damage to important macromolecules such as DNA.  The hydroxyl radical (.OH) readily oxidizes guanosine nucleobases and most of the resultant 8-OH-2’-deoxyguanosine (8-OH-dG) is excised and excreted in urine. 8-OH-dG is the most heavily studied biomarker of excessive intracellular oxidative stress (over 6,200 articles). The level of 8-OH-dG in urine is an important clinical biomarker of oxidative damage to DNA, degenerative diseases, accelerated aging processes, excessive exposure to metals, and cancer. 

We are all subjected to at least low level exposure to environmental and food derived toxicants, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have stated that the epidemic of epidemics of CVD, neurological diseases, and immunological diseases is likely associated with environmental toxicants. Based upon published biomedical literature it is likely that we can add cancers to that list as well.  A primary common effect of environment toxicants, and their partially metabolized toxins, is that they induce oxidative stress in the form of electrophiles and ROS. ROS are formed continuously in all cells and are absolutely essential for life as they participate in cell signaling pathways, and both radical and non-radical ROS are deployed by the immune system to kill invading microorganisms (systemically and in the gastrointestinal tract).  Physiological levels of non-radical oxygen species such as hydrogen peroxide can be readily neutralized by glutathione peroxidase and catalase enzymes.  Likewise even the radical superoxide anion can be neutralized by innate superoxide dismutases. However, when hydrogen peroxide and/or the superoxide radical are produced in excess of the body’s capacity to neutralize the ROS, the .OH is generated from hydrogen peroxide in the Fenton (Fe+) and Haber-Weis (superoxide anion) reactions, respectively. Unlike hydrogen peroxide and the superoxide radical, the extremely reactive .OH has a half-life of only 10-9 seconds and cannot be eliminated by an enzymatic reaction. There aren’t clinically applicable ways to directly measure the .OH, but the damage that it causes to proteins, lipids and DNA can be assessed in various biological matrices.

Oxidative damage to DNA can result in base and sugar modifications, covalent crosslinks, and single- and double-stranded breaks. However with respect to cancer, nucleobase oxidation has been subject of the most research. The C8 position of the 2-deoxyguanosine nucleoside base is extremely vulnerable to oxidation by the .OH resulting in 8-OH-dG. The 8-OH-dG is a radical in and of it-self and is involved in the initiation and promotion of carcinogenesis when not quantitatively removed by DNA repair mechanisms (e.g. the OGG1 protein). 8-OH-dG has a major role in spontaneous mutagenesis. It induces C- to- T transversions which are among the most frequent somatic mutations found in human cancers. Elevated levels of 8-OH-dG in urine have been associated with prostate, bladder, and lung cancer. In recent years numerous studies have identified the importance of urinary levels of 8-OH-dG in human lung cancer, and this association has been linked with exposure to tobacco smoke, diesel exhaust particles (metals and polycyclic hydrocarbons), oil fly ash (vanadium, manganese, nickel and lead), and urban air pollution.  Other research has focused on the effects of occupational exposures to known carcinogens such as benzene, styrene, and inorganic arsenic and urine 8-OH-dG. Therein a dose response relationship has consistently been found.

Exposures to inorganic arsenic, chromium, and mercury have also been found to be associated with elevated levels of urine 8-OH-dG.  Evaluation of the urine levels of arsenic, chromium, and 8-OH-dG for children (n=142, 10-12 years old) in multiple schools in China were determined. One school was adjacent to and downwind of 8 coal-fired power plants (effluent smoke and dust) and the other two schools were upwind in a more suburban area. Urine 8-OH-dG levels were correlated with urine chromium and arsenic levels, and the highest levels of 8-OH-dG were exhibited in the children with high levels of both chromium and arsenic.  The data were analyzed by co-variate analysis of variance and smoking in the home was not a significant co-variate.  In a more recent study, low level exposure to inorganic arsenic in utero and during early childhood was associated with higher levels of urine 8-OH-dG than for non-exposed children.  As methylation reactions are essential for innate detoxification and elimination of inorganic arsenic it is not surprising that those with higher levels of urine arsenic and 8-OH-dG had lower methylation indices (e.g. low plasma SAM : SAH ratios).  Consistent with the mechanism for the appearance of 8-OH-dG in urine, arsenic exposed children that had lower expression of the DNA base excision repair protein (OGG1) also had lower levels of 8-OH-dG in urine.

Exposure to inorganic mercury with compromised serum redox status has also been associated with elevated urine levels of 8-OH-dG. First morning urine levels of mercury and 8-OH-dG, fasted serum glutathione and total thiols were measured in mercury-exposed (active occupational, n=35) and non-exposed control adults in China.  Serum mercury, urine mercury and urine 8-OH-dG levels were markedly higher for the mercury-exposed group, and the biomarkers of redox status were significantly lower for the mercury-exposed group. It should be noted the serum and urine mercury levels in the exposed subjects were about 40-times greater than the non-exposed subjects.

Urine 8-OH-dG also appears to be an emerging risk factor for cardiac events. Urine 8-OH-dG is derived from both cellular and mitochondrial DNA.  In a 1.8 year prospective study of 186 CVD patients the odds ratio for cardiac events was 4-times higher for patients with elevated urine levels of 8-OH-dG. Elevated levels of 8-OH-dG have also been detected in atherosclerotic plaque from humans. Further, in a very recently published meta-analysis (14 studies) it was found that CVD patients had significantly higher urine and serum levels of 8-OH-dG than control subjects. Other conditions associated with elevated levels of urinary 8-OH-dG include mitochondrial dysfunction, inflammatory conditions (NF-ҡB mediated), and diabetic nephropathy and retinopathy (correlated with HbA1c).

Urine levels of 8-OH-dG have in fact been shown to represent levels of oxidative damage to DNA in cells.  The levels in urine and extracted lymphocytes from subjects were highly correlated when 8-OH-dG was measured by three independent methodologies.  Further, a study of human volunteers that were fed highly oxidized N15-labelled DNA clearly demonstrated that diet does not directly contribute to urinary levels of 8-OH-dG, and studies have indicated that normal cell death does not contribute significant levels of 8-OH-dG.  We and others have validated that levels of 8-OH-dG are highly correlated in 24 hour and first AM urine collections, and levels in urine are inherently higher in young children compared to adolescents/adults; age-appropriate reference ranges should be applied.  Urine 8-OH-dG levels can be conveniently assessed in a first morning urine specimen and provide an excellent, non-invasive indication of excessive intracellular oxidative stress and direct oxidative damage to cellular and mitochondrial DNA.

Select References
Gedik MC et al. Oxidative stress in humans: validation of biomarkers of DNA damage. Carninogenesis (2002)23(9):1441-46. 
 Accessed 5 September 2016

Valavanidis A et al. 8-hydroxy-2’-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG): A critical biomarker of oxidative stress and carcinogenesis. J Environ Sci Hlth (2009) 27 Part C:120- 39.
  Accessed 5 September 2016

Wong R-H et al.  Increased levels of 8-hydroxy-2’-deoxyguanosine attributable to carcinogenic metal exposure among schoolchildren. Env Hlth Perspect (2005)113(10):1386-90.
 Accessed 5 September

Hinhumpatch P et al. Oxidative DNA damage and repair in children exposed to low levels of arsenic in utero and during early childhood: application of salivary and urinary biomarkers. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol (2013)273(3):569-79.
  Accessed 30 October 2016
Chen C et al.  Increased oxidative DNA damage, as assessed by urinary 8-hydroxy-2’-deoxyguanosine concentrations, and serum redox status in persons exposed to mercury. Clin Chem (2005)51(4):759-67.
  Accessed 5 September 2016

Roseelo-Lleti E et al.  Impact of cardiovascular risk-factors and inflammatory status on urinary 8-OHdG in essential hypertension. Am J Hypertens (2012)25:236-42.
 Accessed 5 September 2016

Di Minno A et al. 8-Hydroxy-2-Deoxyguanosine Levels and CardiovascularDisease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Literature. Antioxidants & Redox Signaling (2016)24(10).
DOI: 10.1089/ars.2015.6508
  Accessed 13 November 2016 

Feruson LR et al.  Oxidative DNA damage and repair: Significance and biomarkers. J Nutr (2006)136:2687S-89S.
 Accessed 5 September 2016

Jomova K et al.  Metals, oxidative stress and neurodegenerative disorders. Mol Cell Biochem (2010)345:91-104.
  Accessed 5 September 2016

Pilger A and Rudiger HW.  8-hydroxy-2’-deoxyguanosine as a marker of oxidative DNA damage related to occupational and environmental exposures. Int Arch Occup Environ Hlth (2006)80(1):1-15.
 Accessed 5 September 2016

Tags:  cancer  cardiovascular disease  DNA  heavy metals  oxidative medicine 

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How to Live WITH and WITHOUT Cancer - by Vivienne Noble-McGehee, BA, CN

Posted By Frank O. McGehee, Jr, MD, CCN, Thursday, July 9, 2015
Updated: Thursday, May 7, 2015
I. Laboratory Testing
A. In order to assess the health status of the patient, lab testing with a 50 value chemistry, viral and fungal testing, and bone density should be performed. Additional testing should include fecal toxic metal test with provocation, saliva adrenal and bio identical hormone testing. If cancer is present, cancer markers such as CEA and CA 19-9 should be performed two times monthly. Standard labs should also be assessed monthly if cancer is present. Detailed questionnaires allow us to assess the symptoms patients have apart from the lab results. If the patient can furnish us with copies of laboratory results in the past year, it will help us assess treatment needs.

Iron Anemia
B. Many cancer patients suffer from serum iron and storage iron anemia, along with hemoglobin and hematocrit anemia. Most oncologists would immediately prescribe oral iron. If any microorganisms are present such as parasites, yeast, or virus, the additional oral iron fuels these organisms like an all-you-can-eat buffet. Yes, the patient is most certainly anemic because of chemo. Our choice is to replenish stores of iron naturally. B-vitamins such as B1, 2, 6, 12, and folic acid. These are the vitamins that build the body naturally. These B vitamins can be given orally and/or injected IM daily at home.

Thyroid Hormone Replacement
C. Most patients in America today are thyroid deficient, because of the lack of iodine in our food sources. While we perform a Total T3, T4, and TSH value, the results are sometimes obtuse, because of organisms inhabiting the thyroid. The determination of need for thyroid replacement is also the basal digital temperature under the arm, taken before getting out of bed in the morning. If the temperature is less than 97.6 degrees for 5 days in a row, the person would do well with T3 and T4 thyroid replacement. Naturesthroid is made from a porcine source; which is anatomically the closest to ours. Naturesthroid is exactly the T3 and T4 percentage found in the human body. Armour thyroid is similar to Naturesthroid, but has not been filtered additionally like Naturesthroid for impurities.

II. Detoxification
Because chemo and radiation does not willingly leave the body, detoxification of chemo and/or radiation with vitamin C IVs until immune markers improve. Vitamin C IV's are administered in 25, 50, and 75 gram doses. A minimum of a three month detox I V program three days a week should be begun as soon as possible. We have treated patients who are actively having treatment at cancer centers. If the patient takes the treatment on a Monday, the therapeutic benefit is over in 48 hours. The remnants of the treatment only cause additional cell degradation, and compromise kidney and immune functions. The patient could “drain off” the chemo on Wednesday with a detox IV

III. Immune System Repair
The reason the patient got cancer is that their immune system crashed. Immune system repair with anti oxidants like vitamin C; and other natural supplements is vital for recovery. The oral vitamin C we recommend is Lypo-Spheric, and is manufactured by Liv-On Labs. It is a gel, one just tears open a packet and squeezes it into the mouth. Because it is lypospheric, 1,000 milligrams; as it stays active for 12 hours in the system. Vitamin E is another powerful antioxidant. The best Vitamin E is made by A.C. Grace Company. It is called Unique E - 400 IU 2X a day. There are many other immune modulators, which are actually too numerous to mention for this article.

IV. Use of Oxygen
Another beneficial treatment modality is the use of oxygen while sleeping and exercising. Most people are hypoxic, meaning they lack oxygen. Unless someone is an extreme athlete, they are in need of additional oxygen. Suggested exercises are yoga, Pilates, stationary bike riding, walking, low tension treadmill, light weight training, ballroom dancing, and swimming. Used Room air oxygen converters can be purchased for about $200.00 on Amazon. Use of oxygen while exercising and sleeping increases energy production. See hypoxia questionnaire at the end of this article.

V. Life Style Eating Choices
After cancer treatment, mineral and vitamin stores are left in a nutritional wasteland. Efforts should be made to take the stress off the body when digesting food. Nutrition and lifestyle eating changes should include: 80 percent raw food, and juicing of organic fruits and vegetables. Adequate consumption of water is important for maintenance of health. Example: 100lbs of bodyweight: the person needs 50 ounces of spring or R/O water daily, with no additional exertion. Carbonated drinks of any kind should not be consumed by anyone EVER. Coke contains 1 teaspoon of sugar per ounce: 12 ounces=12 teaspoons of sugar. If diet Coke is your drink of choice, aspartame is the artificial sweetener one molecule removed from formaldehyde. When a person drinks a diet drink, the aspartame becomes formaldehyde in the body. Diet drinks begin the process of "pickling" your insides long before the funeral home begins working on your remains.

VI. Organic Food
Organic food is preferred, if one can eat organic chicken, pacific wild caught fish, and organic meat, they can lessen the load of toxic chemicals in the body. Breakfast can be almond milk in the blender with Jay Robb’s egg white protein, ice and strawberries, blueberries or raspberries. Jay Robb’s protein is available at Kroger, HEB, and online. Frozen fruit is also acceptable. Patients should eat every two hours while awake. Ruth’s Hemp bars are an excellent snack. They have no sugar or glutens, and are available in many fruit flavors. You can find them at Ruth' Another great snack is organic hard cooked eggs. We usually hard cook a dozen organic eggs one day a week, peel them, and load them into bags. This is a great snack between meals. Another go-to snack is roasted chicken breast. Coat the breasts with Olive Oil, garlic powder, pepper, and Sea or Celtic salt. Roast in the oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Take the meat off in strips and load into zip lock snack bags.

VII. Toxic Metals, Chemo, and Radiation
Chemo is composed of toxic metal and chemicals. If left in the body, there is some belief that they can lead to a reoccurrence or growth of a new cancer. If toxic metals are indicated on the toxic metal test, EDTA suppositories can be given three nights a week at home, to remove toxic metals. For the test, toxic metals are "provoked" out of the cell using blue green algae tablets for 5 days. Collection occurs on the 6th day. Results are then sent to Doctors Data in Chicago. After results are received of the toxic metal test, the patient should determine if they have mercury fillings in their mouth. If so, they should contact a biological dentist for removal. In the Houston area we recommend Dr. Bill Glaros on Kuykendahl or Dr. Marilyn Jones on Bering Drive. Mercury has no half life. This means the toxic vapor is released forever! After results of toxic metal test are received and the patient is free of mercury, the blue green algae tablets can be used ongoing to remove the remaining toxic metals, if one would rather not utilize a suppository.

VIII. Far Infrared Sauna
Patients should invest in a Far Infrared sauna in the home for detoxification of radiation and or chemotherapy treatments. The sauna for one person is sufficient. Detoxification should be ongoing, even if a person has not suffered cancer. If a person believes we are not swimming around in a toxic soup, they are unaware of the toxicity in America today. Sauna should be utilized at least 3 times weekly for about 20 minutes at a time. When beginning sauna therapy, daily use would be recommended. The brand we recommend is High Tech Health Saunas: 1(800)794-5355. If you mention Dr. McGehee’s name, a $500.00 discount will be given to you. The cost is $2,500.00.

IX. Melatonin and Sleep
Melatonin: 20 to 60 mg nightly/if cancer is present, 500 milligrams per night. Melatonin increases serotonin and immune system markers. Natural melatonin levels drop with age. Some older adults have none at all. That is one of the reasons for depression in older adults. During the shorter days of the winter months, your body produces melatonin either earlier or later in the day than usual. This change can lead to symptoms of seasonal affective disorder or winter depression.

Melatonin is a powerful immune modulator. Research has proven large doses of Melatonin to be safe for people with cancer. In order to awaken adrenal function every morning, a LED light is a fantastic addition to anyone’s regimen. It is also useful for jetlag. The light is used for 20 minutes every morning to help the adrenal gland produce Cortisol for the energy needs of the day. The light can be purchased for about $170.00 online.

X. Gallbladder/Liver Cleanse
To cleanse the body of toxins, a gallbladder/liver cleanse should be performed on a regular basis. The malic acid/magnesium is supplied by our office. Instructions for the cleanse are included at the end of this article.

XI. Water System
Another useful tool for recovery is the reverse osmosis water system for the home at the point water enters the home, with additional filtration for the drinking and the cooking source in the kitchen. Municipal water systems are "disinfected “with chlorine for bacterium, and fluoride to "help us retain our teeth." Chlorine is a toxic chemical, and surely will compromise the recovery of a cancer patient. A 15 minute shower in chlorinated water is the equivalent of drinking a cup of swimming pool water. Patients should equip their shower head with a reverse osmosis filter, and take ONLY showers!

If the patient has a chlorine disinfected swimming pool, they should not swim in it. An alternative would be conversion to a salt water pool. Another type of water system that could be a benefit to the patient is the Alkaline Water Treatment System. This small device changes the pH of your water from acid to alkaline. The device is manufactured by High Tech Health (303)413-8500. Because cancer thrives in an acid pH, the alkaline is the answer for anyone who has had or has cancer.

XII. Glycemic Index
Another critical component of recovery is the observation of the Glycemic index; which is calculated to indicate how quickly food turns to sugar. One slice of white bread has a glycemic index score of 100. No one should eat any foods with a score over 50. A copy of the Glycemic Index is included. Dairy products should be avoided with the exception of a bit of organic butter. Wheat and gluten products, which turn to sugar upon ingestion, should also be removed from the diet. Blue Diamond manufactures nut and rice crackers which are delicious, and available at your local grocery store.
Gluten free bread or spelt bread are suitable substitutes occasionally! Routinely, cancer patients are instructed to eat pies, cakes, ice cream, drink coke, eat hamburgers, and chicken fried steaks; keep the weight up! Actually cancer thrives on sugar, so it should be avoided. Cancer patients should eat meat and fish protein, vegetables, and salad. Fatty foods or carbohydrates turn immediately to sugar when ingested. Some patients have actually
produced the wrapper from the whole wheat bread. See no sugar listed on the label. Quite right, but when the yeast touches your tongue, it is sugar!

XIII. The Endocrine System
The body system clearly impacted by cancer treatment is the endocrine. The endocrine is composed of the thyroid, sex hormones, and adrenal system. Testing needs to be performed for adrenal and bio identical hormone replacement using saliva collection. Saliva collection is the preferred method of testing, because it yields "free" hormone values. Blood testing only yields hormone values which have bound to albumin and globulin. If the patient cannot produce saliva, blood testing can be substituted.
This is the aspect of our program may be confusing for some patients. Oncologists tell their patients that "hormones" can feed cancer. They are actually partially correct. Synthetic hormones cooked up in the lab can indeed encourage cancer growth. These are pharmaceutical hormones available at CVS and Walgreens. Synthetic hormones are 78 percent identical to the body. That percentage actually does not sound so bad, but imagine if the key to your home was only 78 percent identical to the lock! We compound individually formulated, plant-based hormones. It is impossible and unrealistic to imagine that consumption of plant based hormones could "feed cancer". If that were the case, cancer patients should cease eating vegetables!

XIV. Spiritual Regrowth
After endurance of cancer, the surgery, treatment, anxiety, and depression, the person becomes wounded; wounded in the way that the patient no longer feels “like their old self”. Ideas for spiritual regrowth may include volunteering a portion of your time to those less fortunate than you are. Volunteering in cancer treatment facilities might be a good place to begin your spiritual regrowth. Meditate or pray daily. Use visualization techniques to imagine your cancer going away, and exiting the body. Also imagine your life as a cancer free person. Cancer changes the patient and the family forever. The changes need to be embraced. Many times the person we become after a long illness is stronger, wiser, and hopefully grateful for the blessings they have.
Another aspect of healing involves letting go of any anger or resentment you have toward others; who may have "wronged you” in some way. This may be the hardest request we ask of you. Complete healing will not occur without total forgiveness of everything negative that has occurred. Many patients feel anger at the cancer for hurting them. Yes, the cancer needs to be forgiven also.
We have experienced main stream cancer treatment first hand in our family. For twenty years we traveled to M. D. Anderson for "treatment". Treat they did, to the limits of the insurance, and/or the life span of the patient. Your continued survival is now in your hands. Most of the beliefs and half truths you have learned from your cancer center will no longer serve you in your post treatment phase of your life. Now we must cleanse the body of the "treatments" that have been given to you. We believe we can impart to you the tools you need to live a long and healthy life. Always with God's help!

Related books on Natural medicine and cancer are:
“Knockout by Suzanne Somers”
“Natural Cancer Therapies by Russell Blaylock

Tags:  cancer  iron anemia 

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Cancer Center Leaps to Wrong Conclusions After Reviewing Faulty Supplement Studies

Posted By Tim Reihm, Director of Communications & Outreach - Alliance for Natural Health, USA, Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Health advocacy group calls the University of Colorado’s analysis “grievously flawed” and “premature”

April 22, 2015 — The Alliance for Natural Health USA (ANH-USA) today recommended caution regarding the University of Colorado Cancer Center’s claim that dietary supplements have been “shown to increase cancer risk.” According to Gretchen DuBeau, ANH-USA’s legal and executive director, the center’s conclusions, which were presented at a forum at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2015, are based in part on studies that have been largely discredited.

“Leaving aside the hysteria with which media outlets have been reporting this very minor story, with headlines like ‘Too many vitamins can give you CANCER, major new study warns the millions who take them,’” DuBeau said, “the research on which these dire conclusions are based is not new, by any means. This was a meta-analysis of twelve trials conducted with wildly varying parameters, inputs, and controls over two decades, and some of those studies were grievously flawed. This reduces the significance of any findings tremendously, since one study cannot be directly compared to another. And because this new analysis has not yet been published, it hasn’t been subjected to any peer review process, so any real conclusions are premature at best.”

According to scientists and reviewers familiar with the analysis, one of the trials was the SELECT study, the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial of 2008. In it, participants were given vitamin E in the form of synthetic alpha-tocopherol—an incomplete form of the vitamin not found in nature. “Vitamin E is comprised of mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols,” DuBeau explained. “Too much alpha-tocopherol can interfere with your body’s use of the arguably more important gamma form. No information was kept on the participants’ dietary or exercise habits or other lifestyle considerations. And a peer-reviewed study published in the respected Journal of the National Cancer Institute demonstrated a 32% reduction in prostate cancer incidence in response to daily vitamin E supplementation! Studies in other scientific journals tell a similar story.”

The current meta-analysis also noted concerns over vitamin B and a risk of colon cancer. “But once again, the researchers tested the wrong stuff,” says DuBeau. “They used folic acid, a synthetically produced form that is widely used to fortify processed foods. The important thing to remember is that folic acid is not itself biologically active, and 30% to 40% of the population can’t efficiently convert synthetic folic acid into folate, the naturally occurring form of the vitamin that the body can actually use. So of course these people would never see any benefits from supplementing with folic acid.”
DuBeau has some sound advice for consumers worried about all the contradictory, frightening warnings about supplements being disseminated by the media: talk to an integrative physician or other healthcare professional who understands things like co-factors (which supplements need to be taken together), take appropriate therapeutic doses, and choose the highest quality supplements possible.

# # #

About the Alliance for Natural Health USA (ANH-USA) 
The Alliance for Natural Health USA is part of an international organization dedicated to promoting natural, sustainable healthcare through good science and good law. We protect the right of natural health practitioners to practice, and the right of consumers to choose the healthcare options and treatment modalities they prefer, including complementary and alternative medicine. As a membership-based organization, we unite consumers, practitioners, and industry to speak with a common voice and have worked since 1992 to shift the medical paradigm from an exclusive focus on surgery, drugs and other conventional techniques to an “integrative” approach incorporating food, dietary supplements, and lifestyle changes.

Tags:  cancer  dietary supplements  university of colorado 

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Breast Cancer and Nutrition

Posted By Andrea Purcell, ND, Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Updated: Thursday, January 30, 2014

October is breast cancer awareness month. There are walks for breast cancer sponsored by various groups; many working to find a cure for cancer. A walk I recently attended was with Support Connection, a non-profit organization providing free support services for women with breast and ovarian cancer.

From a Naturopathic perspective, preventing cancer is the first step, curing and or surviving cancer is the second step. It seems as if many people miss the first step, and by the time they get to the second step there is a lot of fear involved.

There is some basic information that will keep you informed about how to prevent breast cancer and why conventional medicine often provides a false sense of security around this topic.

Point #1: Nutrition is important. Sadly, more often than not I come face to face with women with cancer and close family members who do not realize that nutrition has an impact on survival rate and overall health. Sugar feeds cancer cells and it lowers the immune system. Gluten and dairy products are inflammatory and will cause more inflammation slowing down the cellular repair processes. Certain vegetables such as dark green leafy greens, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and parsley have chemical compounds proven to prevent and fight cancer. Artificial colorings, flavorings, dyes, hormones, and preservatives in food are often suspect carcinogens.

Point #2: Most conventional doctors do not discuss nutrition with their clients. Nutritional biochemistry is not taught in conventional medical schools. The reason your doctor most likely did not discuss nutrition with you is because the importance of it is not stressed in medical schools.

Conventional doctors do two things very well:
Diagnose and treat disease with drugs and surgery. The key word is disease. If you have a disease they will either recommend drugs or surgery. If you are trying to prevent a condition that you don’t officially have yet, it means your conventional doctor can’t help you. Conventional doctors diagnose and treat diseases only. If you want to know how to help yourself with nutrition, or pursue natural therapies to help your body, do not expect to get all the information that you need from your conventional doctor.

Point #3: Mammograms do not prevent cancer, mammograms screen for cancer. A mammogram will not tell you if you will develop cancer next year or evaluate the current health of breast tissue. Therefore, mammograms have limitations. If you are relying on your annual mammogram to give you the green light, for another year of bad nutrition, and lack of exercise, think again. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to make some healthy lifestyle changes now? As Benjamin Franklin said, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Mammograms are not recommended in younger women for two reasons:
Reason 1:Younger women can have denser breasts, which create less visibility and therefore less accuracy on a mammogram.
Reason 2: Mammograms are x-rays. Repeated radiation of breast tissue can accumulate in the body and cause cellular damage to breast cells. X-rays are known carcinogens. Receiving a note that your annual mammogram is negative provides a false sense of security to a woman who may have some pre-disease states manifesting that will ultimately impact the health of the breast tissue.

Note from Dr. P:
As usual, naturopathic medicine has the other side of the story.
Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition, I can’t stress this enough! How can you expect your body to perform optimally for 40+ years on Frappuccino’s, lunch at the local sandwich shop, and take out? It just won’t. Yet, I see some highly educated women out there who put everything before food, nutrition, and feeding themselves. This has got to stop! Food is our gasoline; it provides the fuel for every body system. Usually we can "cheat” up until age 40 but as usual, you can only make withdrawals from the body for so long before it becomes bankrupt. I call it nutritional bankruptcy. From this point, we go into accelerated aging, the development of chronic diseases, hormone imbalance, depletion, and we are left wide open for cancer and other undesirable conditions.

Whole food is food that grows. When you are reviewing ingredients and food choices, ask yourself, have I ever seen this growing on a farm or in the soil? Hint: Frappuccino’s don’t grow on any farm anywhere.

Mammograms are an important screening tool, yet they need to be properly understood in order to see the whole story. Breast health is an indication of whole body health; the breasts cannot be separated from the rest of the body. Naturopathic medicine has a lot to offer women with pre-existing hormonal imbalances, which will enhance the health of breast tissue over time, reduce fibrocystic densities, and prevent cancer.

- Be Healthy, Happy, and Holistic

Tags:  cancer  nutrition 

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B Vitamin May be of Value in Ovarian Cancer and Breast Cancer

Posted By Nalini Chilkov, LAC, OMD, Thursday, September 8, 2011
Updated: Thursday, January 30, 2014

Niacinamide, a B Vitamin, may be of value to women with genetic risk of Breast Cancer and Ovarian Cancer.

Why are some women more prone to developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer? This is a complex question. Every person and every cancer constitute a unique and complex set of contributing factors.

One factor, related to genetics, is the inability to repair damaged DNA(damaged genetic material inside the cell) effectively. Damaged DNA, like damaged software, will send out incorrect operating instructions to the cells in our body. This can lead to uncontrolled growth and the development of cancerous tumor cells.

For those patients with genetics that lead to inefficient and poor DNA repair who are therefore at high risk for aggressive cancers there is a new class of drugs called "PARP inhibitors” undergoing research and approval. While waiting for PARP inhibitor drugs to finally be approved and available studies have demonstrated that the B vitamin Niacinamidealso acts as a PARP inhibitor in doses that yield a pharmacologic effect. Studies used 1.5 grams (1500 mg) three times daily. PARP inhibition allows damaged DNA in the cell to be repaired. Cells with damaged DNA are prone to develop into malignant cancerous cells.*

Women who are positive for the BRCA1 gene are known to have poor DNA repair. These women may benefit from PARP inhibitors. BRCA1 is associated with aggressive and often lethal breast cancer as well as colon cancer.

Recently another gene associated with poor DNA repair has been identified.This gene, RAD51D,is associated with increased risk for ovarian cancer. PARP Inhibitor drugs as well as Niacinamide may also be of value to these women.

Here is an excerpt from article that appeared in Reuters Mon, Aug 8 2011By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) – Women who carry a faulty copy of a gene called RAS51D have an almost one in 11 chance of developing ovarian cancer,scientists said on Sunday in a finding they called the most significant ovarian cancer gene discovery for more than 10 years.

Tests to identify those at highest risk are expected to be available within a few years, according to Cancer Research UK, and may lead some women to decide to have their ovaries removed in order to beat the disease.

The finding should also speed the search for new drugs.

Laboratory experiments already suggest that cells with faulty RAD51D are sensitive to PARP inhibitors – a new class of drugs designed to target cancers caused by faults in two known breast and ovarian cancer genes, BRCA1and BRCA2.

For the latest study, researchers from Britain’s Institute of Cancer Research compared the DNA of women from 911 families with ovarian and breast cancer to DNA from a control group of more than 10,000 people from the general population.

"Women with a fault in the RAD51D gene have a one in 11 chance of developing ovarian cancer,” said Nazneen Rahman of the Institute of Cancer Research and The Royal Marsden in London, who led the study and published its findings in the journal Nature Genetics.

Ovarian cancer can remain hidden for a long time and thus is often not discovered until it is advanced.

An estimated 230,000 women worldwide are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year. Most are not diagnosed before the cancer has spread, and up to 70 percent of them die within five years.

Speaking to Reuters in a telephone interview she said the identification of RAD51D pointed to PARP inhibitors as a new class of drugs that might offer fresh hope. Initial tests in the laboratory found that cells with faulty RAD51D were highly sensitive to this class of drugs.

"PARP inhibitors work because they were designed to target DNA repair pathways,” she said. "They haven’t been used in patients in that context yet but we would predict they would behave in the same way.”

SOURCE: Nature Genetics, online August 7, 2011.© Thomson Reuters 2011. All rights reserved.

*Niacinamide Monograph Alternative Medicine Review December 2002

Always consult your physician regarding any nutritional program. These statements have not been approved by the FDA and do not constitute medical advice or treatment which is between you and your physician.

Tags:  cancer  nutrition 

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Why 80% of Cancer Patients Use Integrative Medicine

Posted By Administration, Monday, March 28, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

by Nalini Chilkov, LAC, OMD

Approximately 83 percent of people with cancer use at least one complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) modality (11).

Using my experience as a health and wellness expert, I have compiled a list of what cancer patients say about the choices they make regarding cancer treatment:

  •  To be proactive, to take control, to  take charge of decisions that affect my care, my health, my experience, my results and outcomes.
  • To participate in my own care and my own decisions rather than giving power to make all decisions away to my care providers.
  • To feel a sense of empowerment rather than be disenfranchised and disempowered.
  • To decrease and manage my fear, stress and anxiety and to support, increase and improve my peace of mind.
  • To ask my care providers to work with me as a team and to show respect for my values, my feelings and my choices in all decisions.
  • I choose to reject an approach based solely on a 'war on cancer' that only targets my cancer tumor cells and neglects the whole person and the environment.
  • I choose a comprehensive care approach using a wide range of therapies, tools and resources from many traditions and many points of view.
  • I choose individualized and targeted care which views me and my cancer as unique and in which decisions and choices are based on a careful analysis of the traits and characteristics of my cancer cells and my unique physiology, genetics and risk factors rather than a generic one size fits all approach.
  • I choose humane, caring and compassionate whole person patient centered care for my body, mind and spirit.
  • I choose safe and non toxic therapies whenever possible.

  • To actively manage and reduce both short term and long term toxic side effects from conventional cancer treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormones and other drugs used by oncologists, radiologists and surgeons.
  • To manage and reduce my pain with safe and non-toxic therapies.
  • To enhance and improve the therapeutic benefit and effect of my treatments.
  • To enhance and improve my survival.
  • To use therapies that prevent further cancers and recurrences or that may increase and extend my disease free time to recurrence.
  • To enhance and improve the quality of my life during and after cancer treatment.
  • To support and strengthen my sense of well-being.
  • To feel a sense of hope over hopelessness and despair.
  • To include a plan and a goal for health and wellness in my cancer journey.
  • To clearly recognize that absence of disease is not the same as rebuilding, nourishing and sustaining health and healthy function.
  • To protect, support and stimulate all systems including my immune system, digestive system, heart, liver, kidneys, brain, skin and bone marrow affected by my treatments.
  • To protect my cells, tissues and organs from damage during my treatment.
  • To grow and develop effective coping strategies for myself.
  • To address the continuous small and large traumatic experiences that cancer patients undergo as part of every stage of my cancer journey.
  • To develop and cultivate positive, supportive healing relationships with my care providers, my team.
  • To utilize integrative cancer care and alternative treatments when the conventional oncology treatment offered to me is perceived as worse than the disease itself.
  • To utilize integrative cancer care when there are no conventional oncology treatments that offer me a therapeutic benefit.
  • To utilize integrative oncology care when the known risks of conventional oncology treatments are greater than the known benefits of those treatments.
  • To utilize integrative cancer and alternatives to conventional care and to use integrative cancer care without conventional oncology treatments when there are no effective  conventional cancer treatments recommended or available to me.
  • To meet the diagnosis and experience of cancer as an opportunity to find meaning, to grow, to develop and to transform emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.
  • I have fundamental confidence in the value and benefits of integrative cancer treatments that address the whole person and have my health, recovery, survival, quality of life and peace of mind (not just absence of disease) as both a short term and a long term goal.

Choosing an integrative cancer care approach makes a significant difference for each unique individual cancer patient.  In this model, the patient is a fully empowered participant in making decisions and choices related to their cancer treatment, cancer recovery and cancer survivorship in concert with their team of care providers.  

This is the goal of evidence based, compassionate person centered health care: combining the best of science and nature, modern knowledge and ancient healing wisdom, in order to transform disease, restore healthy function, wholeness and quality of life to each unique individual patient.  

Rather than a model focused primarily on disease management, this is a model which also includes health, healing and the whole person as well as the internal and external environments of each unique individual to form a matrix in which the continuum of health and disease can be more fully met and understood.  

When a health care model includes not only disease management, but also restored health and function, different choices are made by both patients and care providers.

Even if the disease is not eradicated and recovery is not possible, healing and wholeness may still unfold. Even in terminal illness, when compassionate care becomes the primary care, the patient can achieve integration of the experience and a capacity to face the end of life and make peace with what is so.


1. Block KI, Gyllenhaal C, Tripathy D, Freels S, Mead MN, Block PB, Steinmann WC, Newman RA, Shoham J. Survival Impact of Integrative Cancer Care in Advanced Metastatic Breast Cancer. Breast J. 2009 May 12. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 19470134

2. Frattaroli J, Weidner G, Dnistrian AM, Kemp C, Daubenmier JJ, Marlin RO, Crutchfield L, Yglecias L, Carroll PR, Ornish D. Clinical events in prostate cancer lifestyle trial: results from two years of follow-up. Urology. 2008 Dec;72(6):1319-23. Epub 2008 Jul 7. PubMed PMID: 18602144.

3. Molassiotis A, Fernadez-Ortega P, Pud D, Ozden G, Scott JA, Panteli V, Margulies A, Browall M, Magri M, Selvekerova S, Madsen E, Milovics L, Bruyns I, Gudmundsdottir G, Hummerston S, Ahmad AM, Platin N, Kearney N, Patiraki E. Use of complementary and alternative medicine in cancer patients: a European survey. Ann Oncol. 2005 Apr;16(4):655-63. Epub 2005 Feb 2. PubMed PMID: 15699021.

4. Mulkins AL, Verhoef MJ. Supporting the transformative process: experiences of cancer patients receiving integrative care. Integr Cancer Ther. 2004 Sep;3(3):230-7. PubMed PMID: 15312264. 5. Nahleh Z, Tabbara IA. Complementary and alternative medicine in breast cancer patients. Palliat

5. Support Care. 2003 Sep;1(3):267-73. Review. PubMed PMID: 16594427.Support Care. 2003 Sep;1(3):267-73. Review. PubMed PMID: 16594427. 6. Ornish D, Lin J, Daubenmier J, Weidner G, Epel E, Kemp C, Magbanua MJ, Marlin R, Yglecias L,

6. Carroll PR, Blackburn EH. Increased telomerase activity and comprehensive lifestyle changes: a pilot study. Lancet Oncol. 2008 Nov;9(11):1048-57. Epub 2008 Sep 15. Erratum in: Lancet Oncol. 2008 Dec;9(12):1124. PubMed PMID: 18799354.

7. Ornish, D., M. J. Magbanua, G. Weidner, V. Weinberg, C. Kemp, C. Green, M.D. Mattie, R. Marlin, J. Simko, K. Shinohara, C. M. Haqq, and P. R. Carroll. 2008a. Changes in prostate gene expression in men undergoing an intensive nutrition and lifestyle intervention. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 105 (24):8369-74.

8. Pud D, Kaner E, Morag A, Ben-Ami S, Yaffe A. Use of complementary and alternative medicine among cancer patients in Israel. Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2005 Jun;9(2):124-30. PubMed PMID: 15944105.

9. Verhoef MJ, Balneaves LG, Boon HS, Vroegindewey A. Reasons for and characteristics associated with complementary and alternative medicine use among adult cancer patients: a systematic review. Integr Cancer Ther. 2005 Dec;4(4):274-86. Review. PubMed PMID: 16282504.

10. Verhoef MJ, Mulkins A, Boon H. Integrative health care: how can we determine whether patients benefit? J Altern Complement Med. 2005;11 Suppl 1:S57-65. PubMed PMID: 16332188.

11. Richardson MA, Mâsse LC, Nanny K, Sanders C. Discrepant views of oncologists and cancer patients on complementary/alternative medicine. Support Care Cancer. 2004 Nov;12(11):797-804.
PMID: 15378417

12. Ruth E. Patterson, Marian L. Neuhouser, Monique M. Hedderson, Stephen M. Schwartz, Leanna J. Standish, Deborah J. Bowen, Lynn M. Marshall. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. August 2002, 8(4): 477-485. doi:10.1089/107555302760253676.


Tags:  cancer  integrative medicine 

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Can Tumeric Reduce the Spread of Breast Cancer?

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 10, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

by Nalini Chilkov, LAC, OMD

Recent studies from the University of California, San Diego, published in the British Journal, NATURE, have discovered a molecule called RANKL, found in aggressive breast cancer cells that predicts more deadly, lethal and life threatening disease. The findings from these recent studies suggests that drugs that block RANKL may be effective in preventing both the early stages of breast cancer and the advanced progression of the disease. Research has also shown that curcumin, the active ingredient in the common spice, turmeric, has properties that also reduce the expression of these deadly molecules within cancer cells and can potentially slow the spread of breast cancer.

Breast Cancer is not one disease. There are actually many breast cancers. When a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, the tumor cells in her body must be analyzed in order to understand the nature of her unique disease.  Some cancer cells are more aggressive and fast growing. Some cancer cells are sleepy, slow growing and less dangerous.

It is the presence of these more aggressive cancer cells that predicts that the breast cancer will spread to other parts of the body through a process called metastasis. Metastasis kills. Cancer patients rarely die from the primary tumor, the site where the cancer originates in the body. Breast cancer patients typically die from cancer that has spread or metastasized to other parts of the body, debilitating the function of vital organs such as the liver, lungs or brain. When breast cancer cells are aggressive and able to spread throughout the body, long term survival is threatened. Identifying agents that stop or slow the spread of disease through these mechanisms can stop or slow the spread of cancer and save lives.This new research demonstrates that when a protein molecule called RANKL (Receptor Activated Nuclear Factor Kappa Ligand) is present in breast cancer cells in high amounts, these tumor cells are more activated, more aggressive and more likely to spread, more likely to kill. RANKL is produced by regulatory T-Cells that modulate our immune response.  High levels of these T-cells means high levels of RANKL, high levels of inflammation and aggressive high risk disease.

Blocking tumor promoting RANKL can block the spread of breast cancer cells to other parts of the body.  A new drug, denusomab, has recently been released by Amgen that performs this function. However, this  new drug is not widely available to patients for all possible applications, requires insurance company approval and is very expensive. Therefore few patients will be able to have access to and benefit from this new therapy in the near future. The good news is that there is alternative cancer answer available now without a prescription, the natural substance curcumin, derived from turmeric that can lower inflammation, lower RANKL, lower risk.

Dr. Bharat Aggarwal, Ph.D. Professor, Department of Experimental Therapeutics, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX is one of many respected researchers and experts who has published many studies on the effects of curcumin on cancer cells. According to Dr. Aggarwal

Curcumin has a very special nature which will work both for cancer prevention as well as for cancer therapy.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is one of the most potent Cancer Fighting Foods. Curcumin, the active ingredient in this common medicinal and culinary herb has been widely studied. It is recognized as a potent cell protectant, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. Turmeric has been used for centuries to support cancer patients in Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine and Indian Ayurvedic Medicine. Now modern science demonstrates why it works. Curcumin has been shown to influence many cellular factors, including lowering RANKL.

Curcumin has been shown to decrease RANKL in tumor cells. Curcumin can block RANKL as well as other inflammatory and tumor promoting molecules in cells (COX-2, LOX-5, MMP2,TNFa, NFKbEGFR, HER2, bFGF, TGF-B1, and VEGF.)  Turmeric is found in many herbal formulas for the prevention and treatment of cancer.

The active medicinal principle, curcumin, when taken orally, is best absorbed when taken with oil in traditional Indian curries. To use botanical medicine for the prevention and treatment of any serious health condition, the herb must be of pharmaceutical quality and taken in the proper doses. As with any potent botanical medicine, the use of curcumin as an anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor agent should be used under the supervision and guidance of a knowledgeable health care professional. Countries such as India in which tumeric is frequently consumed in the daily diet have lower rates of many cancers including prostate cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer. Tumeric can be safely added to your food as a cooking spice to add anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-cancer properties to your daily diet.

Tags:  breast cancer  cancer  tumeric 

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Alternative Versus Integrative Appraoches to Cancer Treatment

Posted By Administration, Monday, February 21, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

If you watched Dateline's interview with Suzanne Somers and are wondering about ACAM's position on alternative approaches to cancer treatment, this video outlines the basic differences between integrative and alternative medicine.  

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



Tags:  cancer  integrative medicine 

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Cancer Causing Chemicals: Dangerous Exposures Everyday

Posted By Administration, Thursday, January 27, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014


by Nalini Chilkov, LAC, OMD

More than 80,000 chemicals now in use have never been fully assessed for toxic impacts on human health and the environment. Many of these chemicals are linked to increased incidence of cancer. Watch this shocking and disturbing video by expert Linda Greer, the Director of the Health Program at NRDC, the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of the most effective environmental protection groups. She clearly states that there is a lack of government oversight by the, EPA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the very department that is supposed to be protecting us, but protects corporate interests instead, putting our lives and our children’s health and wellbeing at risk.

The chemical industry should have to demonstrate that a chemical isn’t dangerous before it’s used in everyday products. But the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) has no such requirements.  These regulations have not been updated since 1976.  It’s time to require that all chemicals be tested for safety and grant the EPA the authority to protect the public from toxic chemicals. But chemicals are “innocent until proven guilty”. This means chemicals are in use that have no proven safety record. Watch the video


The Breast Cancer Fund has a comprehensive report on the link between environmental toxic chemicals and breast cancer. The President's Cancer Panel released a report in April 2010  detailing the link between cancer and toxic exposures including chemicals used in industry, in the military and in medicine.  The report states that “the link between exposure and cancer is strong” and  ”the risk of cancer increases with more exposure”. Children, the unborn fetus and pregnant women are at greatest risk.

If you wish to be informed about the chemicals in products that you use at home and work, visit the website of the Environmental Working Group. They also have another website devoted to the many unregulated toxic chemicals found in personal care products such as shampoos, lotions, toothpaste and cosmetics.  Another educational site that shows you how to  feed your family safe and healthy food and reduce your chemical exposures at home is Organic Authority.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, MD, a medical doctor and medical journalist produced a television series "Toxic America" which reveals the most common chemicals that are linked to a multiplicity of health problems, including many cancers that are ubiquitous in our daily lives.  This report brings to light the many chemicals that find their way into the womb and into newborns who are come into life on day one with high levels of toxic chemicals in their tiny and developing bodies and then nurse on toxin laden breast milk increasing their body burden of dangerous chemicals.

Tags:  cancer  toxins 

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Vitamin C and Cancer Revisited

Posted By Administration, Friday, August 27, 2010
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

3237070041_a872337c89_oIn the issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), Chen et al. (1) it shows that i.p. injection of “pharmacologic doses” of vitamin C decreases the growth and weight of human, rat, and murine tumor xenografts in athymic, nude mice. This work follows a number of articles by the same group, led by Mark Levine at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, showing that millimolar concentrations of extracellular vitamin C kill cancer cells but not normal cells in a hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-dependent manner (1–3). Such millimolar concentrations of vitamin C can be achieved in humans by i.v. infusion but not by diet or supplements (4). Hence, vitamin C is postulated to exert local pro-oxidant effects in the interstitial fluid surrounding tumor cells, killing them or inhibiting their growth, while leaving normal cells intact (1–3). 

It is well known that vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is an effective biologic antioxidant and does not act as a pro-oxidant under normal conditions (5) because it does not readily autoxidize, i.e., react with oxygen (O2) to produce reactive oxygen species, such as superoxide radicals (O2•−) or H2O2. However, ascorbate readily donates an electron to redox-active transition metal ions, such as cupric (Cu2+) or ferric (Fe3+) ions, reducing them to cuprous (Cu+) and ferrous (Fe2+) ions, respectively (Reaction 1). In fact, reduction of copper or iron in the catalytic site of certain enzymes underlies ascorbate's well known biologic function as a co-substrate in procollagen, carnitine, and catecholamine biosynthesis (6). Reduced transition metal ions, in contrast to ascorbic acid, readily react with O2, reducing it to superoxide radicals (Reaction 2), which in turn dismutate to form H2O2 and O2 (Reaction 3): 

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The H2O2 produced this way (Reactions 1–3) seems to be key to ascorbate's antitumor effect because H2O2 causes cancer cells to undergo apoptosis, pyknosis, and necrosis (2). In contrast, normal cells are considerably less vulnerable to H2O2. The reason for the increased sensitivity of tumor cells to H2O2 is not clear but may be due to lower antioxidant defenses (7). In fact, a lower capacity to destroy H2O2—e.g., by catalase, peroxiredoxins, and GSH peroxidases—may cause tumor cells to grow and proliferate more rapidly than normal cells in response to low concentrations of H2O2. It is well known that H2O2 exerts dose-dependent effects on cell function, from growth stimulation at very low concentrations to growth arrest, apoptosis, and eventually necrosis as H2O2 concentrations increase (8). This dose-dependency may be shifted to the left in tumor cells, making them more sensitive to both the growth stimulatory and cytotoxic effects of H2O2. Whatever the exact mechanism, the increased sensitivity of tumor cells to killing by H2O2 may provide the specificity and “therapeutic window” for the antitumor effect of extracellular ascorbate (1, 2). 


Millimolar concentrations of extracellular vitamin C kill cancer cells but not normal cells. 

The chemical reactions linking ascorbate to H2O2, as explained above (Reactions 1–3), require a redox-active transition metal—without it, ascorbate cannot exert pro-oxidant effects. Chen et al. (2) speculate that there is an extracellular “metalloprotein catalyst” of between 10 and 30 kDa in size that interacts with ascorbate. Identification of this metal-containing protein will be critical because it seems to be the cause for millimolar concentrations of ascorbate to act as a pro-oxidant in interstitial fluid. In contrast, the protein must be absent or inactive in blood, otherwise ascorbate would become oxidized to the ascorbyl radical or be unstable, which is not observed (1). If this putative metalloprotein can be identified and characterized, it may serve as an additional target for anticancer therapy. For example, other naturally occurring reducing agents, such as certain flavonoids or thiol compounds, may be particularly effective in reducing the protein's metal center, or drugs may be developed specifically targeting this center. 

Although Chen et al. (1) provide no direct evidence for the existence of the metalloprotein or the formation of reduced transition metal ions by extracellular ascorbate, they measure the other reaction product formed between ascorbate and the putative metal center, i.e., the ascorbyl radical (Reaction 1). They show formation of this radical in a time-dependent and ascorbate-dose-dependent manner in interstitial fluid of tissues, including tumor xenografts, but not in blood (1, 3). They also show that the concentration of the ascorbyl radical correlates with the concentration of H2O2 in interstitial fluid, whereas no H2O2 can be detected in blood or plasma (3, 9). These observations, combined with the inhibitory effect on xenograft growth, provide the proof of concept that millimolar concentrations of extracellular ascorbate, achievable by i.p. injection or i.v. infusion in experimental animals and humans, respectively, exert pro-oxidant, antitumor effects in vivo


Why is it important to understand how vitamin C can produce H2O2 and kill cancer cells but not normal cells? Because without this detailed knowledge, we do not have a scientific rationale to revisit the question of whether i.v. infusion of vitamin C may have value in treating cancer patients. The potential cancer-therapeutic activity of vitamin C has a long and controversial history. In 1973, Linus Pauling and Ewan Cameron (10) postulated that vitamin C inhibits tumor growth by enhancing immune response and stabilizing glycosaminoglycans of the extracellular matrix by inhibiting hyaluronidase. Cameron and Campbell (11) reported on the response of 50 consecutive patients with advanced cancer to continuous i.v. infusions (5–45 g/d) and/or oral doses (5–20 g/d) of vitamin C. No or minimal response was observed in 27 patients; 19 patients exhibited tumor retardation, cytostasis, or regression; and 4 patients experienced tumor hemorrhage and necrosis. The first clinical study by Cameron and Pauling (12) compared survival times between 100 patients with terminal cancer treated with i.v. and oral vitamin C, usually 10 g/d, and 1,000 comparable patients not given vitamin C. Patients treated with vitamin C survived approximately four times longer than controls, with a high degree of statistical significance (P < 0.0001). A follow-up study reported that patients given vitamin C had a mean survival time almost 1 year longer than matched controls (13). Overall, 22% of vitamin C-treated patients but only 0.4% of controls survived for more than 1 year. 

The National Cancer Institute sponsored two randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trials of vitamin C and advanced cancer at the Mayo Clinic (14, 15). In both trials, patients were given 10 g/d vitamin C or placebo. Survival rates were essentially the same for all groups. Plasma concentrations of vitamin C were not measured in either study, and vitamin C was given only orally. In retrospect, the Mayo Clinic trials may have failed to properly evaluate the clinical efficacy of vitamin C in cancer because of insufficient plasma concentrations of vitamin C attained with oral supplementation (4). 

Pauling and colleagues (16) emphasized host resistance to cancer but recognized the anticancer role of redox chemistry, especially reactive oxygen species formed from the reaction of vitamin C with copper. When mice were inoculated with Ehrlich tumor cells and injected i.p. with the copper-containing tripeptide copper:glycylglycylhistidine (Cu:GGH) and vitamin C, 40% survived 60 days, whereas no controls survived for longer than 30 days. The combination of Cu:GGH and vitamin C was also toxic to Ehrlich tumor cells in vitro, but the cytotoxicity was abrogated by catalase, suggesting that H2O2 was the cytotoxic species. The work of Chen et al. (1–3) also strongly suggests that H2O2 is responsible for the anticancer activity of vitamin C. 

Interestingly, Chen et al. (1) noted that metastases were present in ≈30% of athymic mice grafted with glioblastoma tumors, whereas no metastases were detected in similar mice injected i.p. with ascorbate. This observation warrants further investigation because metastases account for a substantial percentage of cancer mortality.   


Two Phase 1 clinical trials of cancer and vitamin C have recently been published that demonstrated remarkable tolerance and safety for high-dose (up to 1.5 g/kg) i.v. vitamin C in patients screened to eliminate hyperoxaluria, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, and other medical conditions (17, 18). Additionally, a series of case reports indicated that high-dose i.v. vitamin C was associated with long-term tumor regression in three patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma, bladder carcinoma, or B-cell lymphoma (19). Clinical plausibility has been repeatedly suggested, and Chen et al. (1–3) now have convincingly demonstrated biologic plausibility and are poised to explore the potential value of “pharmacologic ascorbate in cancer treatment” in humans. 


The authors declare no conflict of interest. See companion article on page 11105. 


1. Chen Q, et al. Pharmacologic doses of ascorbate act as a prooxidant and decrease growth of aggressive tumor xenografts in mice. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2008;105:11105–11109. [PMC free article] [PubMed] 

2. Chen Q, et al. Pharmacologic ascorbic acid concentrations selectively kill cancer cells: Action as a pro-drug to deliver hydrogen peroxide to tissues. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2005;102:13604–13609. [PMC free article] [PubMed] 

3. Chen Q, et al. Ascorbate in pharmacologic concentrations selectively generates ascorbate radical and hydrogen peroxide in extracellular fluid in vivo. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2007;104:8749–8754. [PMC free article] [PubMed] 

4. Padayatty SJ, et al. Vitamin C pharmacokinetics: Implications for oral and intravenous use. Ann Intern Med. 2004;140:533–537. [PubMed] 

5. Carr A, Frei B. Does vitamin C act as a pro-oxidant under physiological conditions? FASEB J. 1999;13:1007–1024. [PubMed] 

6. Englard S, Seifter S. The biochemical functions of ascorbic acid. Annu Rev Nutr. 1986;6:365–406. [PubMed] 

7. Oberley TD, Oberley LW. Antioxidant enzyme levels in cancer. Histol Histopathol. 1997;12:525–535. [PubMed] 

8. Davies KJ. The broad spectrum of responses to oxidants in proliferating cells: A new paradigm for oxidative stress. IUBMB Life. 1999;48:41–47. [PubMed] 

9. Frei B, Yamamoto Y, Niclas D, Ames BN. Evaluation of an isoluminol chemiluminescence assay for the detection of hydroperoxides in human blood plasma. Anal Biochem. 1988;175:120–130. [PubMed] 

10. Cameron E, Pauling L. Ascorbic acid and the glycosaminoglycans. Oncology. 1973;27:181–192. [PubMed] 

11. Cameron E, Campbell A. The orthomolecular treatment of cancer. II. Clinical trial of high-dose ascorbic acid supplements in advanced human cancer. Chem-Biol Interact. 1974;9:285–315. [PubMed] 

12. Cameron E, Pauling L. Supplemental ascorbate in the supportive treatment of cancer: Prolongation of survival times in terminal human cancer. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 1976;73:3685–3689. [PMC free article] [PubMed] 

13. Cameron E, Pauling L. Supplemental ascorbate in the supportive treatment of cancer: Reevaluation of prolongation of survival times in terminal human cancer. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 1978;75:4538–4542. [PMC free article] [PubMed] 

14. Creagan ET, et al. Failure of high-dose vitamin C (ascorbic acid) therapy to benefit patients with advanced cancer. A controlled trial. N Engl J Med. 1979;301:687–690. [PubMed] 

15. Moertel CG, et al. High-dose vitamin C versus placebo in the treatment of patients with advanced cancer who have had no prior chemotherapy: A randomized double-blind comparison. N Engl J Med. 1985;312:137–141. [PubMed] 

16. Kimoto E, Tanaka H, Gyotoku J, Morishige F, Pauling L. Enhancement of antitumor activity of ascorbate against Ehrlich ascites tumor cells by the copper:glycylglycylhistidine complex. Cancer Res. 1983;43:824–828. [PubMed] 

17. Riordan HD, et al. A pilot clinical study of continuous intravenous ascorbate in terminal cancer patients. PR Health Sci J. 2005;24:269–276. 

18. Hoffer LJ, et al. Phase I clinical trial of i.v. ascorbic acid in advanced malignancy. Ann Oncol. 2008 doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdn 377. [Cross Ref] 

19. Padayatty SJ, et al. Intravenously administered vitamin C as cancer therapy: Three cases. Can Med Assoc J. 2006;174:937–942. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Source: Frei, Balz. Lawson, Stephen. Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 August 12; 105(32): 11037–11038. Published online 2008 August 5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0806433105. 

Tags:  cancer  vitamin C 

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Vitamin D Therapy Halts Cancer Growth and Supports Immune Function

Posted By Administration, Sunday, January 27, 2008
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

Gina Nick, PhD, NMD

An excellent summary of the research supporting the use of Vitamin D3 therapyas a treatment for specific cancers and for compromised immune function was recently released by the Orthomolecular Medicine Society. I am including the report in full below.  Take note of the historical use of this simple, inexpensive nutrient and of the recent research also supporting its use.  Sometimes the simple treatments are the most profound. I test the blood for Vitamin D3 levels and almost always find low levels associated with cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome.  In general I recommend 3,000 IU of Vitamin D3 per day to support optimal immune function. Exposure to sunshine every day is one of the best ways to keep your vitamin D levels in a healthyrange however, practicing in Laguna Beach, CAwhere there are more sunny days than not, I still find that the majority of my patients are deficient in this nutrient/hormone, even those that are outside for at least 30 minutes per day.

In health,

-Dr. G

Vitamin D Stops Cancer; Cuts Risk In Half American Cancer Society Drags its Feet

(OMNS, October 2, 2008) A new study of 3,299 persons has shown that those with higher levels of vitamin D cut their risk of dying from cancer in half. (1) Another recent study shows that ample intake of vitamin D, about 2,000 IU per day, can cut breast cancer incidence by half. (2) Still more research found that inadequate Vitamin D is “associated with high incidence rates of colorectal cancer” and specifically urges that “prompt public health action is needed to increase intake of Vitamin D-3 to 1000 IU/day.” (3)

Vitamin D’s anticancer properties are so evident, and so important, that the Canadian Cancer Society now recommends supplementation with 1,000 IU of Vitamin D per day for all adults in winter, and year-round for persons at risk. (4)

The American Cancer Society, however, is dragging its feet, still maintaining that “More research is needed to define the best levels of intake and blood levels of vitamin D for cancer risk reduction.” (5)

What is taking them so long?

Researchers in 2006 noted that “The evidence suggests that efforts to improve vitamin D status, for example by vitamin D supplementation, could reduce cancer incidence and mortality at low cost, with few or no adverse effects.” (6)

If you search the US National Institutes of Health’s Medline online database for “cancer vitamin D,” you will find over five thousand papers. . . some dating back nearly 60 years.

It’s true: physician reports on vitamin D stopping cancer have been ignored for decades. In 1951, T. Desmonts reported that vitamin D treatment was effective against Hodgkin’s disease (a cancer of the lymphatic system). (7) That same year, 57 years ago, massive doses of vitamin D were also observed to improve epithelioma. ( 8) In 1955, skin cancer was again reported as cured with vitamin D treatment. (9) In 1963, there was a promising investigation done on vitamin D and breast cancer. (10) Then, in 1964, vitamin D was found to be effective against lymph nodal reticulosarcoma, a non-Hodgkin’s lymphatic cancer. (11)

The American Cancer Society has been obsessed with finding a drug cure for cancer. Pharmaceutical researchers are not looking for a vitamin cure. And when one is presented, as independent investigators and physicians have continuously been doing since 1951, it is ignored.

No longer. Michael Holick, MD, Boston University Professor of Medicine, has come right out and said it: “We can reduce cancer risk by 30 to 50% by increasing vitamin D. We gave mice colon cancer, and followed them for 20 days. Tumor growth was markedly reduced simply by having vitamin D in the diet. There was a 40% reduction in tumor size. And, casual sun exposure actually decreases your risk of melanoma. Everyone needs 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 each day.” (12)

What about safety? Yes, it is possible to get too much vitamin D, but it is not easy. “One man took one million IU of vitamin D per day, orally, for six months, “says Dr Holick. “Of course, he had the symptoms of severe vitamin D intoxication. His treatment was hydration (lots of water), and no more vitamin D or sunshine for a while. He’s perfectly happy and healthy. This was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.(13) I have no experience of anyone dying from vitamin exposure. In thirty years, I’ve never seen it.”

There are, of course, some reasonable cautions with its use. Persons with hyperparathyroidism, lymphoma, lupus erythematosus, tuberculosis, sarcoidosis, kidney disease, or those taking digitalis, calcium channel-blockers, or thiazide diuretics, should have physician supervision before and while taking extra vitamin D. And when employing large doses of vitamin D, periodic testing is advisable.

But 1,000 IU per day of vitamin D is simple and safe. Some authorities recommend much more. (14, 15) The American Cancer Society recommends less.

What a shame.


(1) Pilz S, Dobnig H, Winklhofer-Roob B et al. Low serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D predict fatal cancer in patients referred to coronary angiography. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2008 May;17(5):1228-33. Epub 2008 May 7.

(2) Garland CF, Gorham ED, Mohr SB et al. Vitamin D and prevention of breast cancer: pooled analysis. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol, 2007. Mar;103(3-5):708-11.

(3) Gorham ED, Garland CF, Garland FC, Grant WB, Mohr SB, Lipkin M, Newmark HL, Giovannucci E, Wei M, Holick MF. Vitamin D and prevention of colorectal cancer. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2005 Oct;97(1-2):179-94.


(5) Aug 29, 2008.

(6) Garland CF, Garland FC, Gorham ED, Lipkin M, Newmark H, Mohr SB, Holick MF. The role of vitamin D in cancer prevention. Am J Public Health. 2006 Feb;96(2):252-61.

(7) Desmonts T, Duclos M, Dalmau. [Favorable effect of vitamin D on the evolution of a case of Hodgkin's disease.] Sang. 1951;22(1):74-5. And: DESMONTS T. [Favorable action of vitamin D in leukemic erythroderma and Hodgkin's disease.] Pathol Gen. 1951 Mar;51(326):161-4. Also: VACCARI R. [Vitamin D2 and experimental carcinogenesis.] Boll Soc Ital Biol Sper. 1952 Aug-Oct;28(8-10):1567-9.

( 8) Sainz de Aja Ea. [Case of an epithelioma in a patient treated with massive doses of vitamin D.] Actas Dermosifiliogr. 1951 Nov;43(2):169-70.

(9) Linser P. [Spontaneous cure of skin carcinoma by vitamin D treatment.] Dermatol Wochenschr. 1955;132(40):1072-3. German.

(10) Gordan GS, Schachter D. Vitamin D activity of normal and neoplastic human breast tissue. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1963 Jul;113:760-1.

(11) Desmonts T, Blin J. [Action of Vitamin D3 on the course of a lymph nodal reticulosarcoma.] Rev Pathol Gen Physiol Clin. 1964 Mar;64:137. French.

(12) Andrew W. Saul Interviews Michael F. Holick, MD, PhD.

(13) Koutkia P, Chen TC, Holick MF. Vitamin D intoxication associated with an over-the-counter supplement. N Engl J Med. 2001 Jul 5;345(1):66-7.

(14) Vitamin D Boosts Health, Cuts Cancer Risk in Half. Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, October 3, 2007.

(15) Doctors Say, Raise the RDAs Now. Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, October 30, 2007.

For more information:

Saul AW. Vitamin D: Deficiency, diversity and dosage. J Orthomolecular Med, 2003. Vol 18, No 3 and 4, p 194-204.

Online access to free archive of nutritionalmedicine journal papers:

A free, non-commercial vitamin D newsletter is available from John Cannell, M.D., and the Vitamin D Council:

Sunlight, Nutrition And Health Research Center:


Nutritional Medicine is Orthomolecular Medicine

Orthomolecular medicine uses safe, effective nutritional therapy to fight illness. For more information:

The peer-reviewed OrthomolecularMedicine News Service is a non-profit and non-commercial informational resource.

Editorial Review Board:

Damien Downing, M.D.
Harold D. Foster, Ph.D.
Steve Hickey, Ph.D.
Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D.
James A. Jackson, PhD
Bo H. Jonsson, MD, Ph.D
Thomas Levy, M.D., J.D.
Erik Paterson, M.D.
Gert E. Shuitemaker, Ph.D.

Andrew W. Saul, Ph.D., Editor and contact person.

© Dr Gina Nic


Tags:  cancer  immune function  vitamin D 

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