We don’t see much information about the prevention of cancer and other diseases in the mainstream media and it’s probably because corporations can’t bottle, patent and make a profit from it. But rest assured the answer to preventing is not created in a lab – it is created by individuals.
Here’s the good news…can build a healthy body which is a hostile home for cancer. We all have cells in our bodies that can go rogue and become cancerous – but they need to have the right conditions for this to happen – they are opportunists looking for the perfect storm. Our job is to prevent this perfect storm from developing. A huge piece of this strategy is to reduce, eliminate, or, prevent inflammation in our body, especially in our gut. About 70 percent of the cells that make up your immune system are located in the lining of your digestive tract. “People don’t realize it, but your GI tract is one major way your body gets rid of toxins, explains Anish Sheth, MD, chief of gastroenterology at the University Medical Center of Princeton. The best tactic for keeping both your immune system and your digestive system in tip-top shape is to eat clean, he says, which means filling up on natural foods that are low in processed sugar and high in fiber, such as produce and whole grains.” Dr. Sheth mentioned processed sugar as a problem and we really need to pay attention to this as Americans are ingesting processed sugar at alarming rates. Here are just a few reasons why processed sugar is so harmful.
According to a 1973 study done by Loma Linda University, when you eat 100 grams of sugar or 3.5 teaspoons your white blood cells are 40 percent less effective at killing germs. This can cripple your immune system for up to 5 hours after eating sugar. http://healthfree.com/nutrition-sugar-immune-system-foods.html
Cancer cells love sugar! “That is why refined carbohydrates like white sugar, white flour, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and soft drinks are extremely dangerous for anyone trying to prevent or reverse cancer. Sugar essentially feeds tumors and encourages cancer growth. Cancer cells uptake sugar at 10-12 times the rate of healthy cells” (Dr. Susan Silberstein, BeatCancer.org)
Sugar ingestion seriously contributes to obesity, a known cause of cancer.
Sugar is highly acidic, the ideal blood pH is 7.4%; with a pH of about 6.4, sugar is 10 times more acidic than ideal. Cancer will grow and thrive in an acidic environment.
An alkaline environment is a hostile home to cancer as well, a key to creating this environment is our fluid intake. While we should avoid or drastically limit our intake of sugary drinks, we also need to ingest clean alkaline water. Municipal water from the tap may be considered “safe” but it is not necessarily healthy. The trouble is, most public water supplies are loaded with hazardous contaminants, such as disinfection byproducts (DBPs), fluoride, pharmaceutical drugs, chlorine, arsenic, lead, and more. (Mercola.com) These levels are not hazardous in that they will make you sick immediately but they will compound in your body over time and can become another source of inflammation. So, it is essential to drink clean filtered water. Ideally, the pH of your water should be somewhere between 6 and 8. There are water systems on the market that will both filter and alkalize your drinking water and can be another weapon in your disease prevention arsenal.
Beyond the gut, we need to consider what we put ON our body as well. Our skin is the largest organ we have, anything we put on it must be metabolized. So, we should apply only natural organic products on the skin. When we introduce something unnatural, the body does not know how to metabolize it so it may interfere with our endocrine system and/or turn to inflammation. Biomonitoring studies have found that personal hygiene and cosmetic ingredients – such as phthalate plasticizers, paraben preservatives, the pesticide triclosan, synthetic musks and sunscreen ingredients – are common pollutants in the bodies of men, women and children. Many of these chemicals are potential hormone disruptors (Gray 1986, Schreurs 2004, Gomez 2005, Veldhoen 2006). (EWG.org)
Other toxins we need to be aware of are found in household cleaners which can also seep into the skin or be inhaled. We should choose natural cleaners…vinegar and baking soda do a great job cleaning most surfaces, they are perfectly safe and are a fraction of the cost of toxic commercial cleaners.
If we eat clean and avoid toxins about 80% of the time, we can keep our bodies healthy and our immune system strong. If we are at high-risk, we should change to a 90/10 ratio and if we are diagnosed with disease we need to be 100% compliant…this will keep our immune system strong and build the hostile home where disease must battle to live.
As a women’s health activist, and being married to a man who has a passion for health, wellness and prevention of disease, one of my goals is to clear up the confusion, misinformation, and even fear surrounding hormones. What those of us working in the arena of Functional Medicine (holistic health that treats the body as a whole; and whose goal is to find and fix the cause of disease) understand is that our hormones play a huge part in our health from our development in our teen years, through our child-bearing years and most especially as we age and mature into our senior years. Our hormones never stop being important. They perform many important tasks in our bodies. The problem is that as we age, starting around age 35 for progesterone, these tasks still need to continue to be done, but with our capacity for making hormones diminishing with age, this becomes problematic as we mature into our 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond. I can’t emphasize enough the part our hormones play especially in the PREVENTION OF DISEASE. Which diseases?
Let’s talk specifically about estrogen and breast cancer. If you are like me, you may have heard that estrogen causes breast cancer. This is SIMPLY NOT TRUE. Estrogen has 300 essential functions in a woman’s body. While estrogen dominance and hormonal imbalance can allow breast cancer to develop and grow, estrogen does NOT cause breast cancer. More precisely, estrogen can turn on cancer genes but only if NOT opposed by progesterone. (*As a side note, progesterone performs important jobs in our body like promoting sleep, helping anxiety & depression, elevating mood, helping aches & pains, and balancing estrogen to help prevent breast cancer. Since progesterone is the first hormone to deplete, this means we become estrogen dominant simply because we have more of it than we do progesterone. This hormone imbalance happens to all women as part of the aging process. So refilling our hormone receptors with customized compounded hormones made from plant-based powders is a recommended strategy based on many, many studies by doctors in our world of functional medicine.) So blaming estrogen for cancer is a bit like saying that matches cause fires.
Progesterone acts as an antagonist to estrogen. Progesterone has anti-cancer effects. When the opposing force of progesterone is increased, the potential negative effect of estrogen caused by our hormone imbalance is decreased. So while estrogen can turn on cancer genes, progesterone turns on genes that can prevent breast cancer from occurring. Instead of blocking or eliminating estrogen, which performs so many important tasks in our bodies, you may want to concentrate on increasing progesterone so the fire is not ignited by the match. This is why we are fully immersed in hormone balance as a primary anti-aging strategy, where the focus is on refilling hormone receptors to keep hormones balanced, the risk of breast cancer diminished, and the important tasks of hormones continuing to be performed in our bodies, so we can maintain a high quality of life for the long haul.
Here is a stunning fact: ALL disease starts as inflammation. Cancer is no different. So it just makes sense that to reduce the risk of disease, including cancer, one must reduce inflammation.
We are now realizing the influence of nutrition on cancer, and the importance of eating a diet high in healthy fats and low in net carbohydrates. Scientists are now finding that mitochondrial dysfunction is at the core of many diseases, including cancer. This is called the metabolic model of cancer. One of the primary considerations is glucose (sugar) metabolism within the mitochondria–a theory originally developed by Dr Otto Warburg in the 1920’s. In fact, he won a Nobel Prize in 1931 for his discovery that cancer cells have a different energy metabolism compared to healthy cells. Cancer cells do not have the same metabolic flexibility as healthy ones. What does this tell us about the nutritional origins of cancer? Simply that sugar feeds cancer while fats starve it.
Healthy cells can use either glucose or ketone bodies from fat as an energy source, but cancer is metabolically restricted to using sugar only. Cancer cells lack metabolic flexibility and cannot metabolize ketones. This is why nutritional ketosis appears to be so effective against cancer. What is nutritional ketosis? It calls for minimizing carbohydrates and replacing them with healthy fats and moderate amounts of high-quality protein, which can offer hope against cancer, both for prevention and treatment. The premise is that since cancer cells need sugar to thrive, and carbohydrates turn into sugar in your body, then lowering the sugar level in your blood through carb and protein restriction literally starves the cancer cells into oblivion. Additionally, low protein intake tends to minimize the pathway that accelerates cell proliferation. This is good news since it means that we can optimize mitochondrial function by addressing certain lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise, and this knowledge opens up a whole new way of looking at and treating cancer.
Processed foods are a major cancer promoter because they are highly inflammatory. Key culprits include polyunsaturated fats, trans fats, added sugar in all its forms, especially high fructose corn syrup (soda, ketchup, etc.) and refined grains. Artificial ingredients can also promote inflammation. By reducing the amount of net carbs we eat, we will reduce inflammation and reduce the stimulation of cancer growth. One of the reasons a high-fat, low-carb diet (ketogenic diet) works so well is because it drives inflammation down to almost nothing. And when inflammation disappears, our bodies can heal.
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Published on 2014-09-21
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