Wednesday, October 28, 2009

How to Prevent Cancer

We know what causes cancer and the roles that cancer-causing chemicals and inflammation play in the development and progression of cancer. We know that we need to avoid cancer-causing chemicals, but without inflammation even a cancerous cell cannot progress or spread throughout the body. To prevent cancer, then, what we need to do is to reduce our exposure to cancer-causing chemicals and substances and concurrently reverse the inflammatory process. Fortunately, there is a large body of evidence that shows us the things that contribute to inflammation as well as those that are anti-inflammatory. The main reason that aspirin has gained so much popularity during the past 30 years has been its anti-inflammatory effect that can reduce both cancer and cardiovascular disease rates.

Anti-inflammatory processes are rooted in both our lifestyle and the foods we eat. Exercise, reducing your calorie intake and relaxation processes such as meditation are all anti-inflammatory. They trigger master genes and a subsequent cascade of genes that activate the anti-inflammatory biochemistry in the body. However, research suggests that these lifestyle processors are active and not passive in as much that the exercise has to create some exertion on the body, the reduction in calories needs to be 20% to 30% and the relaxation needs to be focused. An hour or two of sunlight each day produces vitamin D, which is not only necessary for the health and well being of every individual, but is also anti-inflammatory. A large amount of research is now showing that most people in Western countries are severely deficient in vitamin D.

Anti-inflammatory foods include the thousands of food components derived from plant sources found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, herbs and spices. It appears that many of the antioxidants that we find in these foods also have potent anti-inflammatory qualities. For example, turmeric—a bright orange spice found in lots of curries—is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammation nutrient. The enzymes found in some foods, particularly pineapple, pawpaw and mango, are absorbed into the blood and have anti-inflammatory effects. Enzymes in the blood play a major role in breaking down the inflammatory processes once they have been initiated in the body. This is especially important as we age and our anti-inflammatory enzymes decrease dramatically.

The omega 3 fatty acids (fish oils EPA and DHA) and to a lesser degree the omega 9 (olive and avocado oil) are anti-inflammatory. These high-energy foods are reminiscent of the hunter-fisher-gatherer diet with which we evolved and which dramatically reduces our rates of all chronic illness, including most cancers.

Probiotics, the beneficial bacteria in the gut, have a strong anti-inflammatory effect. This starts at birth and plays a significant role in the source of allergies in infants and children. If the wrong bacteria or fungi take hold in the gut of an infant as a result of caesarean birth, antibiotics given to the mother or infant, or some exposure to antibacterial chemicals such as cleaning products, this dramatically increases the risk of developing allergies such as asthma, eczema and severe allergies to foods including peanuts and fish. These occur as a result of the bacteria or fungi stimulating the inflammatory responses of the immune system (Th2). It appears that we have evolved with a range of positive bacteria, particularly bifidobacteria that keep our gut and immune system in balance (Th2/Th1 balance). A dysbiotic gut is a contributing factor to many inflammatory gut illnesses ranging from Celiac disease to irritable bowel and Crohn’s disease.

Other contributors to inflammatory processes are many aspects of our modern diet, obesity, poor digestion and chronic stress. Fat cells are inflammatory. They appear to be a secondary part of our immune system that developed in our evolution to protect us from the viruses and bacteria that threatened our lives as hunter-fisher-gatherers. By producing inflammation, fat cells protected us from these viruses and bacteria when we were able to put on a little bit of extra weight in times of plenty. We now have too much “plenty” and, as a result, too much fat and too much inflammation. Our bodies were not designed for the abundances of the 21st century.

Foods that feed inflammation include the omega 6 vegetable oils, saturated fats and protein derived from animal sources such as meat and dairy, trans-fatty acids and highly processed foods. The danger of these foods is that they are not only inflammatory but also have replaced many anti-inflammatory foods, exacerbating the problem even further.

Finally, many of the chemicals to which we are exposed can contribute to inflammation either directly or indirectly. These include our everyday domestic chemicals such as a cleaning and personal care products right through to the chemicals that are known to cause cancer. The best thing we all can do is to reduce our exposure to synthetic chemicals around the home and at work.

Not only do you dramatically reduce your risk of cancer by adopting an anti-inflammatory lifestyle and diet but also you reduce your risk of all forms of chronic illness from Alzheimer’s to cardiovascular disease and arthritis. Incremental and thoughtful changes can mean the difference between health and suffering—and even between life and death.

Monday, October 26, 2009

What is Cancer??

What is Cancer?

During the past 40 years, rates of cancer have gone up so drastically that nearly one in two people will develop cancer. It is now the number one killer in developed countries. Each year, more people die from cancer, despite the billions of dollars spent on treatments that have had no real success. The major reasons for this failure are our lack of understanding of what cancer is the predominance of the pharmaceutical medical model, which treats the cancer only after it has developed and progressed. In most cases, the cancer has been growing in the body for 10 or more years. The pharmaceutical model also relies on highly toxic chemicals—chemotherapy—with serious side effects.

Fortunately, with the latest research we now have a much beter understanding of what cancer is and how to treat and even prevent it.

The traditional model for cancer was based on the notion that mutations occurred in the DNA of cells as a result of the natural background mutation rate (somatic mutations) or from exposure to some toxic substance such as asbestos. However, the existing evidence is inconsistent with this explanation and at best explains only a small number of rare cancers. More than a century ago, researchers suggested that chronic inflammation contributed to the development of cancer. More recently, overwhelming scientific evidence has shown inflammation to be a major contributor to cancer. There is now convincing scientific evidence of the “inflammon genesis of cancer.”

The evolution of cancer proceeds through a continuum of steps; the first is mutagenesis, the development of dysplasia when normal cells undergo changes of the nucleus and cytoplasm. The next step is the beginning of the invasive process, mitogenesis, in which the cells continue to grow and reproduce. Next is angiogenesis, with the formation of blood vessels to supply the cancer. Then comes metastasis, during which cancer spreads throughout the body and, finally, suppression of cell death (apoptosis) and immunosuppression so it can grow and spread virtually undetected by the immune system.

While the first step, mutagenesis, is linked with exposure to a cancer-causing agent—a carcinogen—it is now believed that the cancer needs support to go through the remaining stages of development. Inflammation is not only linked with the expression of cancer genes and mutagenesis but also can contribute to every single step in the formation of cancers, from mutagenesis to metastasis and immunosuppression. There is now an overwhelming body of evidence from both animal and human studies to show that anti-inflammatory nutrients and medication can contribute significantly to the reduction in cancers. We now recognise that inflammation is the single most important factor in the development of most cancers.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

uncertainty about the clinical effectiveness of influenza vaccines

Medicine that has lost its way

Cochrane review, (see below for study details)the most prestigious independent medical science review body has, after several reviews of flu vaccine efficacy concluded that "there is substantial uncertainty about the clinical effectiveness of influenza vaccines" and "The consequences of influenza in children and adults are mainly absenteeism from school and work." The flu vaccine does not change the likelihood of us getting the flu and at best it only reduces the symptoms marginally, if at all. Even worse is that it has no benefit at all for seniors and yet the media continue to run a scare campaign directed at seniors with advertisements on television for seniors to get the flu vaccine.

Why then is there this fear campaign being carried out in the media and who benefits from it?