Cancer General

Cancer General

Cancer General

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If someone’s immune system is functioning properly he or she is unlikely to get cancer. We all produce abnormal “cancer” cells each day.
 Free radical damage, environmental influences, stress, and harmful lifestyle choices, all conspire in the formation of abnormal cells. When your immune system is functioning properly, however, your body is able to identify these abnormal cells and destroy them. If for some reason you don’t have enough immune cells to eliminate the mutated cells, or more cells are produced than can be destroyed, you can end up with the onset of cancer. Yes, a single cell formed incorrectly and left to multiply over and over again can lead to some sort of cancer.
Trust the Fundamentals
The immune system plays the most critical role in your body’s ability to prevent and cure cancer.  Modern “treatments” are mostly directed at either bolstering the immune system so it can rid the body of abnormal cells, or accomplishing what a flawed immune system has failed to achieve. In my lectures on this subject, I focus on either boosting or supporting proper immune function – that is, helping the body react the way nature intended.  I can’t stress enough the importance of taking care of your immune system. This is accomplished by adhering to the fundamentals of healthy living – what I term the Four Pillars of Great Health: diet, activity, mind/spirit, and a sound supplemental regimen.
Our immune system can handle only so much stress. Often I use the phrase: “the straw that broke the camel’s back”, but in this case, none of us know which straw will be the one to provoke immune system’s collapse.  A genetic predisposition places a heavy load on the camel’s back right out of the gate. A diet high in refined foods adds to the burden, and exposure to a toxic environment (it’s great to eat organic, but you still have to breathe) piles on even more weight. And don’t forget that the stress of the daily grind contributes, too.  Stress is linked to just about every major health issue facing the modern world (including hypertension, obesity, and cancer, to name just a few).
Stay Alert
Here are a few symptoms of a taxed immune system.
  •  Do you have 2 or more colds during the year?
  • Are you on or regularly using antibiotics?
  • Are you experiencing yeast or fungal infections?
  • Do you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
  • Do you, or have you, had cancer?
  • Have you been diagnosed with Lupus/MS/Rheumatoid Arthritis?
  • Do you frequently become exhausted?
  • Do you have a problem with warts?
  • Do you have frequent viruses, cold sores, or herpes?
  • Do infections usually settle in head, neck, or chest?
If you responded yes to any of these questions, you may not be able to handle any more straw.
So What’s a Person to Do?
Great question, with a simple but difficult answer: Change your lifestyle immediately – this goes for those trying to avoid Cancer, as well as those already diagnosed with it. I continue emphasizing my Four Pillars of Health for a reason: IT WORKS!  Due to space limitations, I’m not going to expand on the first 3 Pillars here; they are included in past newsletters, which are available online at www.vitaminshoppe.com. The key point is that the same information regarding diet, activity, and mind/spirit applies regardless of which health condition you have.  At this time, I want to focus on what may be the Pillar easiest to improve, supplementation.
Dietary Supplements to the Rescue
When it comes to supplements, I recommend starting with the Dietary Supplement Pyramid (DSP). Taking Multivitamin/mineral and broad-spectrum Calcium/mineral/D supplements should not change. What will change are your choices for Antioxidant(s) and Special Needs. If you aren’t familiar with the DSP, please refer to the same website mentioned above for a past article explaining its importance.
Let’s talk antioxidants
As a quick recap, antioxidants neutralize something called “free radicals.” Free radicals occur naturally in the body and also enter the body from outside toxins. Free radicals can damage a cell’s exterior and interior, thus contributing to the onset and progression of all major diseases. Free radicals can damage your DNA, which in turn can result in the formation of abnormal cells (perhaps cancer cells). If we don’t neutralize these little buggers, we will become sick, and perhaps even die! I know this may seem dramatic; it’s intended to emphasize the importance of antioxidants. Antioxidant consumption will not only help prevent damage from free radicals but, in some cases, help the body repair damage already done. The following are a few well-known antioxidants that can provide benefits for those concerned with cancer.
  • Green Tea
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid
  • E (mixed tocopherols)
  • C
  • Selenium
  • Mixed Carotenoids
  • Lignans
  • IP-6
  • Zinc
  • CoQ10
  • N-acetyl-cysteine
  • Lycopene
  • Lutein
  • Bilberry
  • Turmeric
  • Grape Seed Extract
The list of antioxidants could be endless. My advice is to do more homework on the type of cancer you are addressing and find the antioxidant(s) that are specific to your health needs.  If I were addressing Cancer, I would consider using Green Tea as part of my everyday diet and not as a supplement. Brewing multiple cups at one time and then consuming it like water throughout the day would be best. (I do this periodically with my medicinal teas and store them in the refrigerator in a glass pitcher.) In many cases of cancer therapy, multiple antioxidants are needed.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
While addressing cancer concerns you want to look for supplements that support your immune system, rather than stimulate the body. Stimulating the body over long periods is not, in my opinion, beneficial. However, short-term immune stimulating supplements like Echinacea, C, Goldenseal, Wild Indigo, and Elderberry can be helpful when you need a quick boost. You may wish to look for a combination product such as Esberitox. This may be needed following certain cancer treatments provided by modern medicine. Using these supplements may help you recover more quickly and even keep you from getting sick (not vomiting) post-treatment.
The best route is to provide the body with the added nutrition your immune system and cells need to function properly.  Supplements such as the medicinal mushrooms, Maitake, Reishi, Shiitake, possess the components needed to support immune health. Combination products like New Chapter’s Host Defense are at the top of my list for immune support. (I use this supplement to help fulfill the “special needs” portion of my Dietary Supplement Pyramid) Other supplements that help support the immune system are:
Beta Glucan (WGP 3-6®)
Advanced Immune Support (MD Select)
AHCC ®
Maitake D-Fraction ®
Immunolin ®
Immune Support Formula (Weil Nutritional Supplements
Bacteria to the rescue???
Yes, bacteria (Probiotics) can and do play a huge role in the long-term strength of your immune system. The gastrointestinal tract relies on “good” bacteria to help support the body’s immune response. Probiotics are important because they help prevent foreign bacteria and allergens from passing through the intestinal wall. They are also important to the overall health of your intestinal immune system. In addition, Probiotics help fortify the barrier found in the digestive tract, which helps protect the body from disease. Lastly, Probiotics help improve the activity of certain immune cells responsible for ridding the body of abnormal cells. (For more information on Probiotics, please refer to www.vitaminshoppe.com for past newsletter articles.)
Although clinical research is scarce, I recommend them
Ok, I understand this is a first for my loyal readers. The Herbal Pharmacist ® is going to mention things that have not been well researched yet. Sometimes you have to throw caution to the wind, as when dealing with cancer. I have seen many positive things happen to people with cancer, yet few, if any, scientific studies exist to prove or confirm the results. Why? Well, if I had a nutritional supplement that anyone else could make, why would I want to spend millions of dollars proving it did something if everyone else could use my research to sell their product too? If I had serious concerns with Cancer, the following are products I would include in my special needs section of the Dietary Supplement Pyramid:
  • Flor-Essence Tea or Essiac Tea
  • Systemic Enzymes
  • Chlorella
  • Cat’s Claw
  • Pau d’arco
  • DIM
  • Calcium D-Glucarate
  • Mistletoe
  • Theanine
  • Lactoferrin
  • Milk Thistle
  • Modified Citrus Pectin

Again, this list could go on and on. I may have left things out of this article on purpose or by accident. Please forgive me in either case.

Cancer is a complex disease. That’s why there is still no “cure”. However, by following the Four Pillars of Great Health, you can feel confident that you are addressing your body’s fundamental needs.  You can’t miss any one of these FOUR components of health. If you do, you are opening yourself up to problems. In future newsletters I will provide more specific supplements for the different types of cancer. In the meantime, if you have specific questions about your health, feel free to submit them to the “Ask the Herbal Pharmacist®” section of the newsletter ( newsletter@herbalpharmacist.com).