Cancer

The world of natural cancer treatment options is changing every day with promising new developments and breakthrough treatments. Stay on top of all the latest news right here on the NorthStar blog on cancer.

  1. Benefits of curcumin—Indian spice may help prevent 95% of cancers

    Dr. Ajay Goel, PhD is my kind of guy. He says genetics plays a role in less than five percent of cancers. So if your mom or dad got cancer, it‘s not a guarantee you‘ll get it too.

    In fact, Dr. Goel says the vast majority of cancers arise from "epigenetic influences," or diet and environmental factors which influence your genes.

    You see, according to Goel, some factors turn protective genes on. And some factors turn these protective genes off.

    This is good news, he says, because it means "you can influence 95 percent of all cancers with environment and lifestyle changes…" Which brings us to the benefits of curcumin…the Indian spice superstar.

    To help flesh out his theory, Dr. Goel is studying ways to keep these protective genes turned on. For one, Goel found that certain foods can "reawaken" sleeping genes that suppress tumors. These genes tell your body to launch the attack against cancer cells!

    So which foods did Dr. Goel study?

    Well, it’s not really a food exactly. Rather, it’s curcumin, and it’s found in two popular cooking spices. Can cooking with these spices give you the benefits of curcumin, namely protection from cancer?

    Healing powers found in Indian cuisine

    If you‘ve never tried cooking with tumeric or curry, you should. That‘s because these spices contain curcumin, a polyphenol that gives the spices their bright yellow color. Because of the health benefits of curcumin, it has also been used medicinally for thousands of years in India and China.

    Much of the recent research on the benefits of curcumin involves its  effect on the brain. Last year, researchers from Cedars-Sinai created a new molecule from curcumin. They found it might protect the brain and rebuild brain cells following a stroke.

    In addition, UCLA researchers found another benefit of curcumin is that it reduces inflammation and oxidative damage in the brains of Alzheimer‘s patients. Not only that, but researchers discovered that curcumin reduces the hallmark symptom of Alzheimer‘s disease -- plaques and tangles. You see, curcumin crosses the blood-brain barrier and seems to help sweep away harmful proteins that accumulate in the brain.

    But can curcumin also protect you against cancer, as Dr. Goel suggests?

    Reawaken your protective genes

    In a study published in the journal Gastroenterology, Dr. Goel looked at the "epigenetic influences" of curcumin on colon cancer cells. He wanted to see if curcumin could help "reawaken" the genes that protect you against colon cancer.

    A year ago, Dr. Goel isolated three colon cancer cell lines. Then, he treated the cells with various concentrations of curcumin.

    Next, he watched for any changes to the DNA that occurred after six days and after eight months. Almost immediately, he discovered the amazing benefits of curcumin  -- it did indeed "awaken" the sleeping genes. According to Goel, "this process keeps the cancerous tumor from growing and spreading, and is vitally important."

    Dr. Goel also believes another benefit of curcumin is that it will work on other forms of cancer. He believes the research holds a lot of promise.

    I suspect Dr. Goel is right on track...

    In fact, clinical trials on the benefits of curcumin and colon and pancreatic cancer are already underway. Men and women in these trials take high doses of curcumin to treat cancer. I‘ll keep you posted on their outcomes.

    However...

    Prevention is a far easier hand to play. So give Dr. Goel‘s advice a chance. Try tumeric and curry in your cooking . I like to sprinkle it on my stir-fried veggies.

    Plus, Dr. Goel promises to keep searching for other "epigenetic" influences on cancer, besides curcumin. I‘ll keep you updated on his progress.

  2. Sugar and cancer connection: reducing carbs and sugar could save your life

    When you go on a low-carb diet, you’re usually trying to do one of two things. Either you want to lose weight. Or you want to lower your blood sugar.

    But there‘s a third reason why you should cut back on carbs and sugar. And this is something you never hear people talk about – the connection between sugar and cancer. Not even doctors. But it could save your life.

    A new study found a clear link between carbohydrates, sugar and cancer, the deadly disease that targets 12 million Americans each year. (The study is as legit as they come. Of course, the mainstream press ignored it. They‘d rather talk about blockbuster drugs. Good nutrition just isn‘t sexy.)

    For this study, 70 percent of the mice fed a typical Western diet with 55 percent of calories coming from carbs died before reaching maturity. They all developed the same killer disease.

    Yes, the study involved mice. But researchers firmly believe the same principles linking carbs, sugar and cancer apply to human subjects. And I agree.

    You see, this killer disease thrives on sugar. It needs sugar. And what do carbohydrates turn into once they hit your blood stream?

    You got it: Sugar.

    But once you cut out the sugar and starches, you cut your disease risk.

    Piecing the puzzle together

    There’s a reason why so many of us in the West develop cancer. It has to do with our diets. It contains too many carbs with too much sugar. And the link between sugar and cancer is clear. You see, research shows that cancer cells need more glucose compared to normal cells. They depend on it for energy.

    However...

    A low-carb diet forces the normal cells in your body to use fat for fuel, instead of carbs. Cancer cells can’t do this. They need glucose to grow. So when you limit carbs, you cut off the glucose. This limits the fuel supply to the tumors.

    Plus, by limiting carbs, you reduce your body’s insulin levels. This too is a good thing. Insulin is a hormone that promotes tumor growth in both humans and mice. Numerous independent studies confirm this.

    That‘s why every oncologist in the country should tell their patients about the link between sugar and cancer and the need to cut back on the carbs and the sugar.

    But they don‘t.

    They hand you a chemo calendar. They write you a prescription for anti-nausea medication and send you on your way. (They will tell you to avoid taking vitamins during chemo, though. This might interfere with how your body responds to chemo.) Never do they tell you about sugar and cancer.

    High-carb = high cancer rates in mice

    For the latest study, researchers from the renowned British Columbia Cancer Research Centre implanted mice with cancerous cells. Then, they assigned half the mice a typical Western diet. This means the mice got about 55 percent of their calories from carbs. About 25 percent came from protein and 22 percent came from fat.

    The other group of mice followed a diet similar to the South Beach diet. About 15 percent of the calories they got came from carbs. About 58 percent came from protein and 26 percent from fat.

    Now, remember all these mice had cancer cells growing in their bodies to start. But the tumors grew consistently slower in the South Beach diet group. Remember, the connection between sugar and cancer -- glucose = cancer fuel.

    In addition, some of the mice had a genetic predisposition to develop cancer. The researchers made a sub-group out of these mice.

    Almost half of the predisposed mice on the Western diet developed cancer within the first year of their life. On the other hand, none of the mice on the South Beach diet developed cancer within their first year. And remember, these mice were also predisposed to develop cancer. But they didn’t when given a low-carb diet.

    And that’s not all...

    Only one mouse on the Western diet reached a normal lifespan. The rest of the mice died prematurely. And 70 percent of them died of cancer.

    On the other hand, only 30 percent of the predisposed mice given the low-carb diet developed cancer. Plus, more than half of them either reached or exceeded the typical lifespan for a mouse. Lastly, all the South Beach mice had lower blood sugar and insulin levels compared to the other mice.

    The researchers say we can apply these results to humans. According to lead researcher Gerald Krystal, PhD, "This shows that something as simple as a change in diet can have an impact on cancer risk."

    Sending the wrong message

    If sugar is clearly so bad in the fight against cancer, how come we don’t hear more about it?

    That got me thinking...

    What does the American Cancer Society have to say about the connection between carbs, sugar and cancer? I searched "carbohydrates" on their web site to see what I would turn up.

    I brought me to a special report called: "Nutrition for the Person with Cancer During Treatment: A Guide for Patients and Families."

    Okay, good start. Let’s see what it had to say.

    I skimmed the article quickly looking for something that told you about the clear link between sugar and cancer cells . Again, this is a proven scientific fact. Numerous independent studies prove it. But apparently, the American Cancer Society doesn’t think this information is pertinent enough to include in a nutrition brochure for cancer patients.

    Oh well. I guess I didn’t really expect them to be so forthright. However, I did expect to see some better suggestions than this...

    Under, "nutritious snacks" at www.cancer.org, you will find these suggestions:

    • Cookies
    • Pudding
    • Custard
    • Sherbet
    • Egg Nog (pasteurized)
    • Gelatin
    • Muffins
    • Ice Cream

    Seriously?

    Since when is ice-cream a "nutritious snack" for anybody, much less someone taking on the fight of his or her life? Not only are these snacks laughably un-nutritious...they will very likely fuel any cancer cells growing in your body because of the link between sugar and cancer. Remember, glucose = cancer fuel!

    I wish I were making this stuff up.

    Apparently, the good folks at the American Cancer Society are more concerned about selling bumper stickers than saving lives. I, on the other hand, would like to save a life and skip the pink sweatbands on NFL linebackers.

    If you’re serious about breaking the sugar and cancer cycle and preventing or conquering cancer, cut out the "nutritious" ice-cream snacks. Instead, keep your carbs down and your protein up.

    Now, I’m not giving you a free pass to eat all the bacon you want. The type of protein you choose does matter. Skip the bacon and other cured meats. Instead, go for organic red meat two to three times a week. The other nights of the week, go for fish or fowl.

    And when you do choose carbs, make sure they are complex carbs like short-grain brown rice or barley. Your body takes longer to digest these carbs. So your body releases the glucose nice and slow into your blood stream.

  3. Sulforaphane may help fight cancer naturally

    Before you grill your steaks, you probably take the time to scrape off the black gunk from the grates. You also avoid cigarette smoke. You even skip the harsh pesticides around your house. That‘s because these all contain known carcinogens. And if you can avoid them, you do. But what if I told you sulforaphane could help? There‘s a carcinogen out there that‘s so pervasive...it‘s hard to avoid. It’s a chemical called styrene, and according the EPA, the compound is in everything, including building materials, consumer products, food packaging, childrens toys, and more. Several recent studies suggest there may be a link between exposure to this compound and an increased risk of leukemia and lymphoma, among other cancers.

    Drowning in a sea of carcinogens

    There are a lot of mixed messages out there about styrene. The U.S. government says the biggest exposure comes from cigarette smoke. But the EPA says otherwise. According the EPA, indoor air is the way most of us get exposed to styrene. That‘s because styrene is in everything, including building materials and consumer products. It all contains styrene. Interestingly, indoor air in urban settings tends to contain more styrene than indoor air in rural areas. Gee, great. And I was just starting to feel less anxious as a non-smoker. Now, there is some good news in this whole mess... I have always said that prevention is the key. And a new study released earlier this month puts my faith back in the power of eating well. It all comes down to a phytochemical found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables called sulforaphane.

    Crunchy vegetable targets and kills cancer cells

    This month, scientists pinpointed for the first time exactly why broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables are so good for us: sulforaphane. Not only does sulforaphane help to prevent cancer by protecting your DNA from damage, it also targets and kills actual cancer cells. You‘ve probably heard me talk about sulforaphane before. So when the University of Oregon researchers released the results of their sulphoraphane study, I had to tell you about it. For the study, U of O researchers applied sulforaphane to healthy prostate cells and cancerous prostate cells. Then, they waited. Before too long, the researchers jumped for joy. The cancerous prostate cancer cells all died. But wait, the results from sulforaphane are even more impressive... As you know, chemotherapy kills cancer cells. However, it also kills healthy cells. In fact, it kills all the cells in your body that divide quickly. This includes cells that grow hair. That‘s why your hair falls out when you go on many kinds of chemo. But sulphoraphane is different. It killed the cancerous cells, but it also left the healthy prostate cells alone! As you can imagine, this is a huge discovery. In fact, Big Pharma has already caught wind of it and is trying to make a synthetic version of sulphoraphane. They need a synthetic version because they can‘t patent and market something you can grow yourself in the backyard. U of O researchers said plans are already underway for a clinical trial with sulphoraphane. This means they will try using sulforaphane on living breathing humans...not just in a lab. So while we may indeed live among a growing sea of carcinogens, take solace. Eat your broccoli. Eat your cauliflower. The sulforaphane in these veggies will help protect your DNA. P.S. Just in case you were wondering, here‘s the rest of the list:
    • Formaldehyde
    • Aristolochic acids, a botanical
    • Captafol, a fungicide
    • Cobalt-tungsten carbide, a type of metal used to make tools
    • Certain inhalable glass wool fibers
    • o-Nitrotoluene, used to make dyes
    • Riddelliine, a botanical
  4. Magnesium cuts hot flashes by 50 percent in breast cancer patients

    I have a friend who underwent treatment for breast cancer. Thankfully, she‘s now cancer-free. But she still suffers from terrible hot flashes, a common symptom among survivors. Plus, she lives on the East Coast where it‘s been steamy and hot since early June. So to say the least, she‘s been pretty miserable. But here‘s the good news... There is something that might help: Magnesium. A new study found that breast cancer survivors who took magnesium had fewer sweaty days and nights. For the study, U.S. researchers recruited breast cancer survivors. Each of the women experienced at least 14 hot flashes per week. But to help ease these symptoms, the researchers gave the women 400 mg per day of magnesium oxide for four weeks. A month later, the women reported 41 percent fewer hot flashes after taking magnesium. Plus, the hot flashes weren‘t as bad. In fact, the women said their intensity decreased by about 50 percent. No, the magnesium didn‘t wipe out the hot flashes completely. But at least it is a very natural and healthy way to make you feel more comfortable as you rebuild your strength after cancer. Magnesium should help my friend tremendously.
  5. The benefits of folic acid could lower your colon tumor risk

    Next time you‘re at the doctor‘s office, ask him to check your blood for vitamin B, particularly folate. How much you have may lower your risk of developing a colorectal tumor, thanks to the benefits of folic acid. In fact, Japanese researchers recruited 458 men and women to analyze the benefits of folic acid. Some of the volunteers had colorectal adenomas and some did not. These kinds of tumors in the colon and rectum are benign, but they can turn cancerous. The researchers then took samples of the volunteers‘ blood to check for folate. Folate is part of the vitamin B family. Most people get it by taking folic acid or by eating foods enriched with folic acid. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate. It turns into a form of folate when it crosses your intestinal wall. It then enters your blood stream, where the benefits of folic acid may become apparent. The researchers found that men with folate levels below 8.0 ng/ml were 50 percent more likely to develop a tumor. Women with levels below that were 23 percent more likely to develop one. On the other hand, volunteers with levels above 8.0 ng/ml did not raise their risk at all. Now... There has been a lot in the press lately about too much folic acid causing colon cancer. But hopefully, this study will help showcase the benefits of folic acid and put that argument to rest. Plus, this past April, the American Cancer Society wrapped up a huge study on the benefits of folic acid. The study involved 100,000 men and women. And they found zero connection between increased folic acid intake and colon cancer. On the contrary, it appears that by keeping your blood filled with plenty of vitamin B, you decrease your risk of developing a benign colon tumor. Given time, even these tumors can turn cancerous. Plus, as any nutritionist will tell you. Vitamin B is a water-soluble vitamin. That means that your body will wash away any excess amounts that it can‘t use. So keep up the vitamin B and experience the benefits of folic acid firsthand. Take a B-complex that includes all eight members of the vitamin family.
  6. New reports link sodium phosphate to cancer

    Over Memorial Day weekend, I stood in line for 10 minutes at my local grocery store‘s deli counter. I saw customer after customer load up on salami, honey ham, and smoked turkey for the holiday weekend. (Guess they haven‘t heard about the latest warning about processed meats and one type of deadly cancer. I‘ll tell you all about the new report in a moment.) There are probably 50 different types of lunch meat sold at my grocery store. But I‘ll only buy one. So when they finally called my number, I asked the clerk for a pound of their natural turkey. She held up a famous brand and asked if that‘s what I wanted. "This brand doesn‘t contain any preservatives or artificial ingredients, see," she said and pointed at the deli meat. Okay, I said, but I don‘t trust labels. I want to see what‘s in it. (I could hear the anxious customers grumble behind me!) She flipped the turkey breast over so I could read the ingredient list. And there you go, sure enough, it said "sodium phosphate." Sodium phosphate is not the same as sodium nitrite. That‘s true. But it does help to keep deli meat looking fresh, moist, and tender. That‘s why I consider it a preservative and won‘t ever buy meat that contains it. Here‘s why... As you can probably guess, sodium phosphate contains a lot of sodium. It actually contains much more sodium than table salt. So if you wonder why your deli meat looks moist, it‘s because they treat it with lots of salt so it will hold lots of water. But sodium phosphate also makes you retain water. This puts a strain on your kidneys. It makes them work harder. That‘s why people with kidney problems shouldn‘t eat deli meat. In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, sodium phosphate can actually cause kidney damage. According to the NIH web site: "Sodium phosphate has caused serious kidney damage in some people. In some cases, this damage was permanent, and some people whose kidneys were damaged had to be treated with dialysis (treatment to remove waste from the blood when the kidneys are not working well). Some people developed kidney damage within a few days after their treatment, and others developed kidney damage up to several months after their treatment." But sodium phosphate isn‘t the biggest problem lurking in your lunch meat. Most lunch meat is treated with sodium nitrite as well.

    Why are nitrites so bad?

    Salt has been used for centuries to cure and cook meat. And sodium nitrite is just another form of salt. It helps to give processed meat an appealing pink color. It adds to the taste. And it helps to retard the growth of bacteria. But here‘s the problem... Inside your body, nitrites turn into N-nitroso compounds. We already know these compounds cause cancer in test animals. In addition, numerous studies link processed meat (high in nitrites) with cancer in humans. In 2006, Swedish researchers found that eating just one ounce of processed meat a day increases your risk of stomach cancer up to 38 percent. Plus... In 2005, U.S. researchers looked at 190,000 men and women between the ages 45 and 75. They found that volunteers who ate high amounts processed meat were 68 percent more likely to get pancreatic cancer than those who ate the least. And guess what? If you eat 1.2 ounces of processed meat a day (just a slice or two of smoked turkey), you eat "high" amounts, according to this study. But there‘s more. The evidence linking processed meat with colon cancer troubles me the most.

    The processed meat connection to cancer

    According to a new report by the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research, we can prevent almost half of the colon cancer cases in this country. All we have to do is make simple changes to our lifestyle. These simple changes include:
    • Eating more fiber-rich foods
    • Limiting alcohol
    • Staying physically active
    • Maintaining a healthy weight
    Plus, researchers found a clear and consistent connection between the kind of meat you eat and colon cancer. Specifically, the researchers cited 24 studies linking colon cancer to processed meat. Researchers found that eating 3.5 ounces per day of processed meat increases your colon cancer risk by 36 percent (compared to those who don‘t eat processed meat). Plus, if you eat 7 ounces every day, your colon cancer risk is about 70 percent greater than those who don‘t ever eat processed meat. Now, if you like the occasional steak, here‘s good news... According to their research, eating 3.5 ounces of red meat every day raises your colon cancer risk by 17 percent higher than non-meat eaters. (Again, to put this into perspective, 3.5 ounces equates to a modest size cheeseburger or a petite filet of steak. It‘s about the size of your fist.) Plus, the more you eat, the greater your risk. However... Researchers found very little risk for men and women who eat less than 18 ounces of red meat per week. And this is exactly what I‘ve always suggested in my Guide to Good Health. Red meat is beneficial in small amounts. Eat a serving of it once or twice a week and you‘ll be fine. Just make sure it is hormone-free, antibiotic-free red meat. And remember, there is additive-free lunch meat out there. Just don‘t trust the deli counter clerk. Ask to see the list of ingredients...even if it is a holiday weekend and there‘s a long line of customers behind you. It pays to be particular. Hormel and Jennie-O both make a line of nitrite-free lunch meat. The other option is even better. Buy a whole turkey breast and roast it at home. Slice it thin and you‘ll have the most amazing turkey for sandwiches all week. Add a juicy tomato and an onion and I‘m in heaven.
  7. 2 key antioxidants help battle breast cancer and may stop it returning

    I remember when a friend of mine got cancer, her oncologist told her to stop taking vitamins. They might protect the cancer cells and get in the way of your treatment, he warned. But that‘s a bunch of baloney. Take your vitamins, especially if you‘re battling breast cancer. A recent study found that women with breast cancer who took two key antioxidants following their diagnosis significantly cut their risk of recurrence. For this study, researchers recruited about 5,000 women with invasive breast cancer. About six months after surgery, the women answered questions about their vitamin usage. Then, the researchers followed the women over the next four years. Here‘s what they found... Unfortunately, the cancer returned in 532 of the women. But the women who took two key antioxidants during the first six months following their diagnosis slashed their recurrence risk. In fact, women who used vitamin C for more than three months had a 38 percent lower risk of recurrence. Plus, they had a 44 percent lower mortality risk (compared to those who didn‘t use the vitamin). The benefits for taking vitamin E were even greater. Researchers found that women who took vitamin E for three months or more reduced their recurrence risk by 48 percent. Plus, they reduced their mortality risk by 43 percent compared to non- vitamin takers. According to the study‘s authors: "There is a widespread concern that the use of antioxidant supplements during cancer treatment may protect tumor cells from the oxidative damage induced by cancer therapies, thereby reducing the effectiveness of treatment and increasing risk of mortality. We found no evidence that vitamin use during the first six months following diagnosis had a detrimental effect on breast cancer outcomes." That‘s putting it lightly. I‘d say a 38 to 48 percent reduction in recurrence rates is huge news! Every oncologist should give these antioxidants to their breast cancer patients. But it will never happen. Most oncologists only want to tell you about drugs. Drugs like Avastin. Avastin is mainly used to treat lung and colon cancer. But the FDA approved its use for breast cancer back in 2008 based on evidence that it could add up to five months to a woman‘s lifespan. It works by cutting off the supply of blood vessels to a tumor. But since 2008, study after study has shown that Avastin does not extend the lifespan of a woman battling metastic breast cancer. Yet oncologists, Big Pharma, and patients groups want to keep it on the market. Tragically, this may do more harm than good. The FDA will make the call about Avastin‘s sometime in June. I‘ll keep you posted. But in the meantime, if you want to keep cancer out of your life for good, keep taking your vitamin C and vitamin E.
  8. Mainstream press misses link between diabetes drug Actos and cancer

    I hate to say I told you so. But every time I come down tough on drugs, it turns out they really deserve it. Take for example, the diabetes drug Actos. A few weeks back, I slammed Actos, despite new research (covered in TIME and The New York Times) that it decreases your risk of developing diabetes. Turns out, I should have come down harder on that darned drug. In fact, this week researchers published a report that found an association between Actos and a certain form of cancer. Plus, this isn‘t the first study to uncover a link between Actos and increased cancer risk. I‘ll give you all the grisly details in a moment. But first, let‘s back up a few months...

    Proof that mainstream reporters eat whatever‘s fed to them

    A month ago, Actos sounded like a wonder drug. Everywhere you looked the mainstream press kept repeating the same statistic...men and women with pre- diabetes who took Actos lowered their risk of developing full-blown diabetes by 72 percent. Sounds impressive, right? Actos may prevent diabetes! But remember the key flaw I told you about (and the mainstream press conveniently omitted)? The study was exceptionally small. In the end, we‘re talking talking about a total difference of 35 people! Considering that 300 million pre-diabetics live in the U.S., how could any doctor give Actos to just one of them based on such slim evidence? And here‘s the icing on the cake... Takeda Pharmaceuticals, the makers of Actos, actually conducted this shaky study. In my book, it was purely a PR scheme to boost sales. Actos‘s patent expired in January of this year. But Takeda Pharmaceuticals struck a deal to delay entry of generic versions of the drug until August 2012. Was this their last-ditch effort to boost sales before the generics hit the market? Or maybe... Was it their last-ditch effort to boost sales before something far worse hit the fan...?

    Researchers link Actos to cancer

    The FDA tries to keep tabs on all prescription and OTC drugs once they hit the market. So when you take a drug, even a drug like Tylenol, and have a bad reaction, you‘re supposed to report it to the FDA. Similarly, when you go to see your doctor and talk about your bad reaction to a drug, your doc should report it to the FDA. The FDA keeps track of all these "adverse reactions" -- no matter how small -- in a massive database. This is called the FDA‘s Adverse Event Reporting Program. The FDA compiles and publishes the data annually. But in the case of Actos... A group of Italian researchers analyzed all the adverse events reported to the FDA between 2004 and 2009 for 15 diabetes drugs on the market, including Actos and metformin. When they analyzed the reporting odds ratio (ROR), they found a "definite risk" linking Actos and bladder cancer. The risk of bladder cancer and the other diabetes drugs was "much weaker." The researchers aren‘t sure why Actos may increase your risk of developing bladder cancer. But they think it may have to do with certain receptor cells in your body. You see, Actos works by opening receptor cells so they will become more responsive to insulin. But this may also encourage them to turn cancerous. Now here‘s what troubles even more...

    Actos may be linked to even more problems

    The FDA‘s Adverse Event Reporting System isn‘t perfect. (I know. It‘s shocking, right?) You see, it‘s completely voluntary. It stands to reason there could be more cases of bladder cancer that we don‘t know about. For example, say Joe Smith from Indiana began taking Actos in 2004 for diabetes. Then, out of the blue, he got bladder cancer in 2008. Maybe his doctor never thought to connect Actos to his bladder cancer. None of this business about bladder cancer had hit the press yet. Now, let‘s say Joe is one of the lucky ones and went on to survive bladder cancer. He‘s no longer in treatment. Now we know about the cancer link. But his doctor never reported it to the FDA back in 2008 because back then, no one did. Hopefully, this new study will start to spread some awareness. Just don‘t count on the FDA to move quickly. They have known about the possible link between Actos and bladder cancer for at least a year. In fact, last year the FDA began to take a closer look at Actos after receiving early results from a long-term study by Takeda Pharmaceuticals. That study showed patients with the longest exposure (or highest cumulative dose) to Actos had in increased risk of developing bladder cancer. It will be interesting to see if TIME or The New York Times follows up on their Actos report, won‘t it? (I‘m not holding my breath. Before sending this week‘s GUIDE TO GOOD HEALTH off to my editor, I ran a quick Google search. At that point, The NYT still hadn‘t run anything about the new data linking Actos to bladder cancer. That‘s a full three days after the research hit the newswire. I‘m betting they just let it slip on by.) Well, maybe TIME Magazine will run something in its next issue. After all, the mainstream press is our last unbiased bastion of truth. (Yeah right.)
  9. Cooked carrots boost cancer-fighting compounds

    In most cases, cooking a vegetable decreases its nutritional content. But that‘s not the case with carrots. Cooked carrots are the best. In fact, when you cook a carrot, you absorb about 60 percent of its beta-carotene. But when you eat one raw, your body only absorbs about five percent of the beta-carotene. Plus... Here‘s a new health trick: always boil carrots whole. Never slice them first. You see, when you slice carrots into wedges and then boil them; the carrots lose vital nutrients very quickly. This is due to the increased surface area exposed to water. But when you cook the carrot whole, it retains more nutrients. In fact, scientists from the Newcastle University recently found that when you cook carrots whole they contain 25 per cent more of the anti-cancer compound falcarinol. So go ahead and eat lots of carrots this spring. Just cook them whole and then slice them. It may take a bit longer and you‘ll need a wider pan, but it will be well worth it. Plus, they‘ll taste sweeter cooked this way too.
  10. TIME misses key flaw in bogus drug study encouraging Actos for diabetes

    Last month, The New York Times and TIME magazine both ran articles that reported on new research for a diabetes drug called Actos (pioglitazone). According to the new research, men and women with elevated blood sugar levels who took Actos were less likely to develop diabetes than a placebo group. You can make the case that the reporters wrote balanced arguments. In fact, both reporters raised concerns about giving a diabetes drug to patients without full-blown diabetes. Plus, both reporters warned you about the drug‘s very serious side effects. But there‘s one major problem with both articles: They fail to point out a key flaw in the new research. In fact, the results of this study are so shaky, TIME and The NYT had no business giving it any ink. (You‘ll learn exactly why the results are so shaky in a moment, I promise!) But first, I want to point out something about Big Pharma... The new Actos research reflects Big Pharma‘s new marketing strategy. Don‘t just take our drugs to treat disease. Take them before you develop the disease too! Unfortunately, the national news media seems all too willing to take this strategy seriously. But, in my book, it‘s all about boosting sales. Here‘s what they don‘t tell you... Actos‘s patent expired in January of this year. But Takeda Pharmaceuticals -- the company that makes Actos -- struck a deal to delay entry of generic versions of the drug until August 2012. So, this is the company‘s last-ditch effort to boost sales over the next 12 months. Get men and women who don‘t have diabetes to take a diabetes drug. What a novel idea! Is it any surprise, then, that Takeda Pharmaceuticals partially funded this bogus study? Yep. Who didn‘t see that coming from a mile away? The good news is there are lots of ways to prevent diabetes without resorting to a drug like Actos. In fact, a new study proved that even small amounts of one key mineral could lower your blood sugar by nearly 10 percent. I‘ll tell you all about that study in a moment, but first let‘s look at the details of the latest Actos research... Study raises red flags from the start U.S. researchers gave Actos to 602 men and women with pre-diabetes for two years. (To be clear, these folks did not have full-blown diabetes, just elevated blood sugar levels.) During that time, 7.6 percent of the volunteers who took a placebo developed diabetes. By comparison, only 2.1 percent of volunteers who took Actos developed diabetes. According to TIME and The NYT, this means volunteers who took Actos reduced their risk of developing diabetes by 72 percent. Sounds great, right? The lead researcher for the study called these results "astounding." Well, not so fast Dr. Ralph A. DeFronzo. Let‘s look at the results from your study using the raw data. Here‘s what really happened in your "astounding" study... Of the 602 men and women who started the study, 10 patients who took Actos developed diabetes. On the other hand, 45 patients who took the placebo developed diabetes. So...we‘re talking about a total difference of 35 people! Just 35 people. Talk about ignoring the big fat elephant in the room. Did the reporters omit this information because it lessens the argument? I can‘t be sure but what I do know is that the mainstream press needs to take a long hard look at the study data. There are 300 million pre-diabetics living in the U.S. alone. Should we really even consider giving this drug to any of them based on the results that 35 fewer people developed diabetes? In my opinion: No. I don‘t care how much The NYT and TIME warned their readers about weight gain and fluid retention. When you leave out a key piece of information like that, you‘ve really dropped the ball. And that‘s not all... Actos linked to heart risk and bladder cancer Many people consider Actos a safer alternative to other diabetes drugs, but it‘s not. Here‘s why... It belongs to the same class of drugs as Avandia. As you‘ll recall, the FDA greatly restricts the use of Avandia because it may increase your heart attack risk. So, how about Actos? Could it increase heart attack risk too? Of course, it could. In fact, a 2010 study found that Actos caused as many heart problems as Avandia. Plus, the FDA is investigating a link between Actos and bladder cancer. I suspect they will find the longer you take Actos, the greater your risk. Now, I promised you some good news in this whole mess. And here it is: there are non-drug solutions to getting your blood sugar under control... Tackle diabetes naturally First off, there‘s diet and exercise. As I mentioned earlier, this can cut your diabetes risk by 58 percent. Plus, a new study found that magnesium might help too. For this study, researchers divided 52 men and women with diabetes into two groups. One group got 365 mg of magnesium per day for six months. The other group got a placebo. Overall, the magnesium group improved in two out of three tests for insulin sensitivity. Plus, their blood sugar levels after fasting improved by about seven percent. Though this study is small in scope, researchers point to large-scale meta-analysis that confirms their results. In that analysis, researchers found that men and women lowered their diabetes risk by 15 percent with each 100 mg of magnesium taken. So, just think...taking 300 mg magnesium each day could lower your risk by 45 percent. Not too shabby. If you want to learn more about how to lower your diabetes risk without drugs, go back and look at my Guide to Good Health from 8-12-10. In this report, you‘ll find three important steps you can take to improve your blood sugar control.
  11. Is there a connection between broccoli and cancer?

    Researchers from the University of Illinois tell us that studies indicate a possible connection between broccoli and cancer. They explain, "broccoli, when prepared correctly, is an extremely potent cancer-fighting agent -- three to five servings a week are enough to have an effect." But according to their research, many of us cook our broccoli too long and fail to get all the benefits. You see, when it comes to broccoli, it's all about the myrosinase. This unique enzyme unlocks broccoli's sulforaphane, a compound that combats cancer cells and inflammation. According to their research, you've got a small window for steaming broccoli. Just two to four minutes. Any longer and you'll kill the enzyme and eliminate the possible preventative measures between broccoli and cancer. To help improve your odds, researchers suggest teaming broccoli with other foods that contain high amounts of sulforaphane, such as broccoli sprouts, arugula, radishes, wasabi, and mustard. This creates a one-two punch against cancer. To shed light on their theory, researchers conducted a small pilot study. They recruited men to eat meals with broccoli powder (the same as perfectly steamed broccoli) or broccoli sprouts. A third group ate meals with broccoli powder and sprouts together. Then the scientists took samples of the men's blood and urine, looking for levels of that cancer-fighting compound. They found that men who took broccoli powder along with the broccoli sprouts had sulforaphane levels twice as high as the other men did. Bottom line? There seems to be a connection between broccoli and cancer. Strive to eat broccoli a few times a week. And cook it until it turns bright green...no more than four minutes. Plus, to pack an even bigger wallop, add some mustard sauce or wasabi to your broccoli!
  12. Vitamin D conspiracy leads straight to Big Pharma

    You've probably heard about the bad rap vitamin D has been getting lately. The argument goes something like this...the vitamin D crisis isn't as bad as we thought. You probably don't need as much of it as we thought. But it's a free country. So go ahead and take 400 IU of it per day, if you want. That's more than enough. Just don't go over 4,000 IU per day. "High doses" like that can increase your risk for "harm." These new guidelines come from the U.S. Institute of Medicine (or IOM), a powerful non-profit agency that advises the nation of matters of health. But here's the problem: Their report is pure propaganda. In fact, I believe these low doses of vitamin D are a deliberate attempt to keep the American public needing more drugs until the day they die. (I'll admit,that sounds a tad paranoid. But I'll explain why my paranoia is well-founded in a moment.) First, let's look at the three major problems with the IOM research.

    Leave it to the IOM to redefine "majority"

    First off, the IOM report states that the "majority" of adults living in the U.S. get enough vitamin D...and that's just nonsense. As you'll recall, last week I told you about a major CDC study that found almost 80 percent of Americans don't get enough vitamin D. Plus, another major study published late last year by researchers from the University of Tennessee came up with similar results. In fact, this time researchers found that 87 percent of the general population is mildly to severely deficient in vitamin D. Even the most conservative estimates put vitamin D deficiencies at about 50 percent of the population. So how the IOM can confidently claim the "majority" of Americans get enough vitamin D, I have no idea!

    Spend a minute in the sun each day

    The IOM report also states that "North Americans need on average 400 International Units (IUs) of vitamin D per day. People age 71 and older may require as much as 800 IUs per day because of potential changes in people's bodies as they age." Again, this is pure nonsense. But before I go any further, here's a quick biochemistry primer... The IOM says you only need 400 IU of vitamin D. But they actually mean 400 IU of vitamin D3 (or cholecalciferol). Your skin makes this natural form of vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. In fact, spending just 30 minutes in the sun without sunscreen, your skin will produce anywhere from 10,000 IU to 50,000 IU of D3! Plus, you can also take D3 as a supplement. Next... Vitamin D3 passes through your liver and it turns into a pre-hormone called 25-hydroxycholecalciferol. This is abbreviated as 25(OH)D. When you get a vitamin D blood test, we really want to see how much 25(OH)D is in your blood. We measure 25(OH)D in nanomoles per liter or nmol/l. Now, stick with me, because here's where it gets interesting... According to the IOM report, taking just 400 IU of vitamin D3 per day will give 97 percent of us a blood serum level of 50 nmol/l. And that level will protect us from fractures. Sounds okay, I guess. But let me put this another way to show you just how silly the IOM recommendation really is... Let's assume that your body makes 10,000 IU of D3 for every 30 minutes spent in the sun without sunscreen. (Most experts say you make at least twice that much...but let's not get picky.) So, how long does it take for your body to make 400 IU of D3? Hurray! Just 1.2 minutes in the sun! That's all you need to keep your bones strong. Is it me, or does that just sound wrong? Well, here's the good news. It isn't just me. It is wrong. And there's some solid scientific proof to back me up...

    IOM gets their numbers wrong

    Two major meta-analysis' from 2009 found that 50 nmol/l of 25(OH)D in your blood isn't enough to protect you from a fracture or a fall. In fact, 28 separate studies found that 50 nmol/l isn't enough! Plus, the International Osteoporosis Foundation recommends men and women have 75 nmol/l of 25(OH)D. This is what it takes to protect you from accidental falls and fractures. Lastly, numerous studies over the years show that the more 25(0H)D in your blood, the greater your bone density. But to get up to those higher levels of 25(OH)D, you need more D3. Plus, here's another interesting twist. The authors of the IOM report most likely knew about all this research...they just chose to ignore it. You see, before publishing the new vitamin D guidelines, the IOM board consulted with Dr. Walter Willet. The board even thanked Dr. Willet at the end of their report. So who's Dr. Willet? He's a vitamin D expert and Chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard. He also co-wrote one of the 2009 reports on vitamin D I mentioned earlier. The IOM, however, ignored his findings. But don't feel bad, Dr. Willet. Yours isn't the only research the IOM ignored...

    IOM report ignores research on vitamin D and disease

    Remember how I told you the IOM said 400 IU of D3 is enough to protect you against osteoporosis? Well, what about everything else...like cancer and heart disease? In a press conference, IOM chair Dr. Catherine Ross said "We could not find solid evidence that consuming more [vitamin D] would protect the public from chronic disease ranging from cancer to diabetes to improved immune function." And with that simple statement, Dr. Ross lost all credibility. Here are some of the best studies linking vitamin D and major diseases: Breast cancer: Women with vitamin D blood serum levels less than 50 nmol/mL are eight times more likely to develop an aggressive form of breast cancer. Colon cancer: Men and women with the highest vitamin D levels cut their colon cancer risk by 40 percent. Heart Disease & Stroke: Men and women with low vitamin D double their heart attack or stroke risk. Cognitive decline: Older women with low vitamin D are twice as likely to suffer cognitive impairment. Diabetes: A whopping 91 percent of diabetics have low levels of vitamin D in their blood. Plus, the less vitamin D in their blood, the greater their blood sugar problems. And I'm just scratching the surface here! If you want to look at all the scientific data on vitamin D, the Vitamin D Council is a good place to start. They list the studies by disease, so you can see the all scientific data Dr. Catherine Ross and her colleagues missed. In closing, there's one last reason why the IOM report has the pungent smell of propaganda...

    There's a rat in the house

    Glenville Jones, PhD is one of the authors of the IOM report. He's a scientist and also the co-inventor of drug made by a company called Cytochroma. This drug is still in development....but what condition will they treat with their top-secret drug? You got it. Vitamin D deficiencies! (I'm not making this stuff up. You can see the patent for yourself at the U.S. Patent Office website.) Dr. Jones also sits on the scientific advisory board of a drug company called Receptor Therapeutics. These guys also made a synthetic vitamin D treatment for cancer...in fact THREE synthetic vitamin D treatments for cancer. (Drug companies use synthetic vitamin D because they can patent it and make a huge profit. You can't patent natural vitamin D.) Well, isn't that so thoughtful... You don't need to take vitamin D. But if you do happen to get cancer...guess who plans to have a vitamin D drug you can take? Here's the bottom line for you: Ignore anything published by the IOM. Take up to 5,000 IU of natural vitamin D3 each day. And avoid anything made by Cytochroma and Receptor Therapeutics. Want more facts about vitamin D? Look back at all the Guide to Good Health reports by following this link. In the search box, type "vitamin D" and you'll find 40 articles.
  13. Why the FDA’s latest move on fluoride is a red herring

    Did you know that for the past 70 years you’ve been drinking fluoride, one of the most toxic chemicals found in nature? You can’t smell it…you can’t taste it…and you probably have long-since forgotten that this dangerous substance was ever added to our water supply. But the fact is that the EPA started adding this toxic element to public drinking water in the 1940s. Ironically, the goal was to protect children. This stuff is the equivalent of ingestible gasoline. In fact, it’s probably even far worse than petrol. Yet for all these years, it’s been heralded as “good for you.” Now, the FDA has finally decided to limit the amount of this “gasoline” they’re putting in our water, because of noticeable side effects. Many in the health community will praise this move by the FDA. But not me. Why? Well, in my book, the FDA’s new move is just a red herring. It distracts us from the real problem…primarily, that this “gasoline” doesn’t belong in our water at all.

    Seriously, gasoline doesn’t belong in our water!

    Of course, I’m talking about fluoride. You see, fluoride is a waste product of aluminum mining. In fact, any guesses on who funded the research back in the ’40s that convinced us we all needed fluoride for our teeth? Yep, you got it: The aluminum mining industry. Those captains of industry weren’t concerned about cavities. They wanted to make a quick penny by selling their aluminum by-products. And 70 years later, we’re all still buying their toxic leftovers.

    Dead rodents with clean teeth…

    Here’s another little-known fact about fluoride: It’s rat poison. Just go to any hardware store and check it out. Most brands of rat poison (the old-fashioned kind with the skull and crossbones on the box) contain sodium fluoride. What’s it doing in rat poison? Well, it’s not to prevent the rats from getting cavities…I can tell you that much. Nope, scientists classify fluoride as the most toxic chemical found in nature, second only to arsenic. (See, you would have been better off with gasoline, not fluoride, added to your water!) Fortunately, fluoride won’t kill a human being right away. It’s considered an “accumulative poison” that gradually builds up in your system. Dental fluorosis (those discolored patches on your teeth that the FDA is so concerned about) is usually the first sign of toxicity. But the side effects become much more serious as your exposure increases. That’s because once inside the body, fluoride tends to collect in areas with lots of calcium, such as your teeth…and your bones. In fact, in 1990, the New England Journal of Medicine carried a report that too much fluoride exposure increased “skeletal fragility” and lowered bone density in women with osteoporosis. But even that’s just the tip of the iceberg… Excessive fluoride exposure has also been linked to:
    • Neurotoxicity
    • Genetic damage
    • Tumors
    • Atopic dermatitis
    • Eczema
    • Gastro-intestinal problems
    • Headaches
    • Immune system disruptions
    • Loss of collagen (a protein critical to skin, muscle, tissue, ligaments and bone health)
    • Arthritis
    • Learning problems
    • Thyroid disorders
    Fluoride in your water supply is serious stuff, folks. It even affects unborn babies. In fact, two years ago, U.S. researchers looked at rural communities in upstate New York. They discovered that women who live in towns with fluorinated water deliver premature babies much more often than do women who live in towns without fluoride. So while it’s great that the FDA wants to limit the gasoline -- er, fluoride -- in your water…I wouldn’t start drinking straight from the tap any time soon.

    So how do you get rid of it?

    There are two ways to get rid of the fluoride in your drinking water. And neither one is very simple, I’m afraid. Your first option is to buy bottled water from the grocery store. But you have to be careful. Obviously, you want to avoid any brand that contains nothing more than bottled tap water. That’s because it probably contains as much fluoride as water straight from your tap…only it’s more expensive. If you’re really curious, you can contact the manufacturer to find out exactly how much fluoride your bottled water contains. Secondly, skip anything that calls itself “pure” water. You see, pure H20 is not normal in nature. All natural sources of water contain some “impurities.” Spring water contains natural minerals and electrolytes that your body needs. But when you distill or completely purify water, you remove these natural elements. I call this “soft” water or mineral-free water. And your body has a heck of a time processing this kind of water. In fact, there is significant evidence that drinking “soft” water increases your risk of cardiovascular disease or stroke. I remember, as a child, seeing warnings on bottles of distilled water for steam irons: “Not for internal use.” The only kind of bottled water I consider safe is high-quality spring water, drawn from a deep natural spring. Check the bottle’s label to see how many minerals the spring water contains. Pick the brand with the most magnesium. That’s your best bet…though it won’t be cheap. Your second option is to install a high-quality water filter. Lots of companies will dazzle you with a long list of chemicals their filters remove. But ask them if their filter removes fluoride.That’s the million-dollar question. If it does, you’ve got a winner on your hands. Lastly, aside from your drinking water, make sure to use fluoride-free toothpaste and mouthwashes. They are widely available now, even at big-name stores. Also, skip the fluoride rinse at your next visit to the dentist.
  14. Boost your health with sunflower seeds

    I keep sunflower seeds in my kitchen cabinets, at my desk, and in the car. These crunchy seeds contain lots of natural vitamin E. In fact, just a quarter cup of sunflower seeds contains almost 100 percent of your Recommended Daily Allowance of this fat-soluble vitamin. As you’ll recall, vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that patrols your body for harmful free radicals that lead to disease and aging. It also blocks free radicals from damaging cholesterol in your body. You see, every cell in your body needs a certain amount of cholesterol, but when attacked by free radicals, it becomes oxidized (or unstable). And cholesterol, once it has oxidized, can stick to blood vessel walls and lead to atherosclerosis. But eating a handful of sunflower seeds each day will give your body the tools it needs to flush out these unstable molecules. But that’s not all… When you eat a handful of sunflower seeds, it’s almost like taking a multivitamin. That’s because they contain all the nutrients your body needs, except for vitamin D. So when you bite into a sunflower seed, you also get:
    • Selenium, another powerful antioxidant shown to help with DNA repair
    • Magnesium, a versatile mineral that plays a major role in controlling blood pressure, migraines, muscle cramps, asthma, and fatigue.
    • Phytochemicals, such as phenolic acids and lignans, which may help prevent heart disease and cancer.
    • Fiber & protein, to help you to feel fuller longer.
    • Potassium, which helps to counteract too much sodium in your diet.
    • And even Tryptophan, the hormone that encourages the release of the feel-good neurotransmitter, serotonin.
    When shopping for sunflower seeds, look for black-and-white shells that are firm and unbroken. Skip any packs that have shells with a yellowish tinge…this means they’ve probably gone rancid. And if you buy them from a bulk bin, give them a sniff to make sure they still smell fresh. Add fresh seeds to salads, yogurt, oatmeal, and homemade muffins…or just eat them by the handful as I do.
  15. Is it true that vitamin C treats cancer?

    An apple a day keeps the doctor away - but orange juice cures cancer At least that‘s what researchers at the National Institutes of Health are reporting. To be fair, the treatment requires way more than a few glasses of orange juice. In actuality, it requires massive doses of intravenous vitamin C.

    Just how promising is the treatment? Well, Dr. Scott Greenberg of the Magaziner Center for Wellness in Cherry Hill, NJ has treated several patients successfully.

    For example, one of Greenberg‘s patients was diagnosed with lung cancer that had spread to his brain, and yet another had breast cancer that could be seen protruding from her chest. Both were told their situations were grim. However, after several months both patients responded well to the vitamin C treatment, and today both are doing well and appear to be cancer free.

    In fact, the breast cancer patient is past the critical five-year mark -- typically considered a full remission.

    While some researchers believe the treatment works by killing the cancer cells outright, others believe it is vitamin C‘s powerful antioxidant protection at work.

    Both theories are right, to a degree. You see, just like chemotherapy, vitamin C produces hydrogen peroxide in the body -- the same stuff you‘ve been using to kill germs on cuts and abrasions all your life.

    Hydrogen peroxide has a powerful oxidizing effect inside the body. And while oxidation (often referred to as free radical damage) is largely considered a bad thing, the flood of oxygen that results from the breakdown of hydrogen peroxide within the body actually destroys cancer cells -- leaving healthy cells unharmed while super-charging the immune system.

    However, unlike chemotherapy, side-effects are essentially non-existent. And, although the vitamin C treatment is not currently covered by insurance, the price of each treatment is only $125. Compare that to chemo and radiation therapies which can easily reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Dr. Greenberg says that the therapy can be used in conjunction with more traditional therapies. But, just as is the case with chemo and radiation, the treatment doesn‘t work for everyone. But it‘s certainly worth the effort for patients battling with cancer.
  16. Treat breast cancer naturally by shutting down its delivery system

    If you’ve ever had a scan of a tumor in your body, you know that one of the first things the doctor looks for is whether the tumor has blood vessels running through it. It’s often an indicator that the tumor is malignant. You see, cancer tumors survive on nutrients delivered by your blood vessels. And as the tumor grows bigger, so does its delivery system. To increase its blood vessel supply, the tumor sends a signal to release a protein called HIF. This protein tells normal tissue to redirect its blood vessels into the hungry tumor. As a result, the tumor grows and spreads with nutrients delivered by these "stolen" blood vessels. This is the process that the blockbuster drug Avastin is supposed to stop. But for some reason, it only works (though, temporarily, at best) for malignant colon, lung, kidney, and brain tumors. And it doesn’t work at all on breast cancer tumors. That’s why the FDA banned the use of Avastin for the treatment of breast cancer last month. And I say, good riddance. You’re better off not taking this $88,000 scheister-of-a-drug. But here’s the good news…there is something you [A1]can take that does block breast cancer’s delivery system. And it’s not a drug. It’s a plant compound found in one of the tastiest leafy greens on Earth. Better yet, compared to Avastin, it will only cost you pennies a day. Plant compound targets breast cancer tumors In a study I told you about earlier this year, UK scientists recruited a small group of breast cancer survivors. The scientists asked the volunteers to eat 80 grams of watercress (a cereal bowl full). Over the next 24 hours, the scientists collected blood samples from the volunteers. They discovered two things about the volunteers’ blood samples. First, the women had less HIF in their blood after eating the watercress. Remember, HIF signals the body to send healthy blood vessels into malignant breast cancer tumors. Plus, the women had lots of the helpful plant compound in their blood in the 24-hour period after eating the watercress. This compound naturally blocks new blood vessels from forming to feed the hungry cancer tumors. So if you’re concerned about breast cancer -- especially if you’re a survivor -- eat watercress as often as possible. You’ll find this tart leafy green in the produce section near the lettuce. It‘s got a small, delicate leaf that almost looks like a flower. Now, lets’ talk about some things you can do -- nutritionally -- to prevent breast cancer… Simple steps reduce breast cancer risk by almost 50 percent! As you’ll recall from last year’s Guide to Good Health fiber does plays a role in preventing breast cancer. In fact, last year scientists found that women who eat the most soluble fiber reduce their risk of developing certain types of breast cancer tumors by 44 percent. You’ll find soluble fiber in foods like oats, nuts, barley, and flax seed. If you’re concerned about developing breast cancer, you’ll also want to avoid foods that contain trans fats. Foods high in trans fats include French fries, baked goods, processed snack foods, and margarine. Trans fats became popular in the U.S. because they don‘t spoil as quickly as regular fats. They can sit longer on the shelf…waiting for someone to buy them. But your body isn’t equipped to deal with trans fats. In fact, according to a recent study, women between the ages 50 and 74 with the most trans fat in their cells have a 40 percent greater chance of developing breast cancer. This data held up even after the researchers accounted for other known risk factors, such as smoking, body weight, and family history of cancer. So if you want to cut your cancer risk, cut out the trans fats! In addition to cutting out trans fats, any woman concerned about breast cancer should follow a few rules of thumb: * Maintain a healthy weight * Cut out all sugar & processed foods * Exercise each day for 15 minutes (enough to raise your pulse) * Fill your plate with lean, organic meats, healthy greens, and whole grains * Take a high-quality multivitamin each day * Supplement with fish oil as well as vitamins B, C, D & E * Spend 15 minutes in the sun each day (without sunscreen) Lastly, over the past few years I’ve written quite a bit about ways to prevent breast cancer. So take some time this January to go back and reread them. All you have to do is go to www.northstarnutritionals.com and click on the blue link on the right side of the page that says “view all articles.” This allows you to search by keyword. Just type “breast cancer” into the keyword box and hit enter. You’ll find 32 articles about ways to prevent this devastating disease from ever becoming a part of your life. One of my favorite studies examines the role sleep plays in the development of breast cancer. Without enough, you could raise your risk by a whopping 62 percent!
  17. Androgen deprivation therapy may increase the risk of colon cancer

    A new study conducted by Swiss researchers found that men treated for prostate cancer might increase their risk of developing colon cancer. Fortunately, that's only a factor if you choose androgen deprivation therapy as treatment, something I've warned you against before.

    Watchful waiting vs. hormone therapy

    When a man is first diagnosed with prostate cancer, many times the oncologist will suggest watchful waiting. And this is a good decision. In most cases, prostate cancer grows slowly. And you're far more likely to die with prostate cancer than from it. That is, unless you follow an aggressive course of treatment called androgen deprivation therapy or ADT. It sounds technical. But it's not.

    Androgens are male hormones. And testosterone is the main male androgen. Men need it for many reasons and sexual function is just one small part. In fact, testosterone is critical in regulating a man's:

    • Weight
    • Blood pressure
    • Blood sugar
    • Heart health
    • Mood
    • Mental sharpness
    • Muscle and bone mass
    • Brain function
    But androgen deprivation therapy aims to reduce androgens in the male body. That's because cutting off a man's testosterone shrinks the prostate and blocks the growth of prostate cancer. There are two basic ways doctors accomplish this feat. (If your doctor suggests either one, run for the hills. I'll explain more about that in a moment.) Your first option is to have your testicles removed. This is called an orchiectomy. Clearly, this is not something that I favor in any way. And thankfully, it's not something most men choose. Your second option is to take a drug called a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonist. This may sound less painful, but the result is just as bad. In fact.... The new Swiss study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, showed that both forms of androgen deprivation therapy may raise your colorectal cancer risk.

    Nothing good comes from two bad choices...

    For the study, Swiss scientists analyzed data on 108,000 men with prostate cancer. All of the men were older than 67 and had been diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1993 and 2002. In addition, all of the men had taken a GnRH antagonist or received an orchiectomy.

    After analyzing the data, researchers found a 30 to 40 percent increase in colorectal cancer risk in these men. So by following androgen deprivation therapy, these men may have traded prostate cancer -- not likely to have killed them -- for a far more deadly form of cancer.

    Now, it's true that orchiectomy is rarely used. Most men just won't go for it...and with good reason. But GnRH antagonists are often prescribed to men who don't want to go under the knife. It's important to remember, though, that these drugs don't cure prostate cancer; they just shrink the tumors.

    Eligard is one kind of GnRH antagonist. And one of the worst, if you ask me. According to the drug company's own clinical trials, men who used Eligard for just two to four weeks saw testosterone levels drop to below the "castrate threshold."

    This means that Eligard--in just two to four weeks--can push your testosterone so low, it's as if you've been castrated! (And, oh yes, it shrinks your prostate gland as well...because you've got no testosterone left in your body.)

    Therefore, the new FDA warning should come as no surprise. Taking a GnRH antagonist may raise your risk of diabetes, heart attack, and stroke. Plus, according to the National Cancer Institute study, we can now add colon cancer to that list of possible outcomes of choosing androgen deprivation therapy.

    Safer options for prostate cancer

    As I said earlier, watchful waiting (or as I like to call it, "active surveillance") is often your best option. According to a 2009 study of nearly 15,000 men with prostate cancer, this tactic clearly had its benefits. In fact, in that study, 94 percent of the men who adopted active surveillance had at least a 10-year-survival rate.

    According to Timothy J. Wilt, MD, this study "reinforces accumulating evidence that the vast majority of men with prostate cancer detected by PSA testing have a very good prognosis and are unlikely to die of their cancer or suffer serious medical consequences from disease spread at 10 or more years, even if not treated with surgery, radiation, or hormone therapy."

    He went on to say, "This study also supports the view that many men are detected and treated who are unlikely to benefit, and thus may undergo harms that exceed benefits."

    In addition, there are plenty steps you can and should take to prevent prostate cancer. First off, take a look back at previous issues of my Guide to Good Health by visiting the blog here. Then just type "prostate" into the search box.

    You'll find plenty of recent articles on the topic of preventing prostate cancer. One of my favorites showed that eating nuts everyday reduced prostate tumor growth by 30 to 40 percent.

    P.S. There's an excellent FREE report called 5 All-Natural Solutions for Banishing Prostate Problems for Good that I recommend every man read. Just click on the link to get your free report and learn how to create a healthy prostate without drugs or surgery.

  18. Vitamin D and cancer: What you need to know

    Over the years, I've talked a lot about vitamin D and cancer. In fact, recent estimates suggest that vitamin D protects against 22 different types of malignancies including breast, colon and prostate cancer. Well, it may be time to add another type of cancer to the list. Two months ago, researchers found that vitamin D also protects you against bladder cancer. For the vitamin D and cancer study, published in the journal Cancer Research, scientists recruited 500 men to take part in the study. Each of them were cancer-free at the beginning of the study. Researchers took blood samples of the men between 1985 and 1988 to check for levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D. This is what vitamin D converts into in the body. Then, they compared men diagnosed with bladder cancer against men who did not have the disease. They found that men with less than 25 nanomoles per liter of 25-hydroxyvitamin D were 73 percent more likely to develop bladder cancer compared to men with at least 50 nanomoles per liter. And though the study was conducted with male smokers, I'm certain they will get the same results with nonsmokers and women. You see, scientists believe vitamin D helps to flush toxins out of your bladder. It also promotes the healthy turnover of cells in the bladder. So even if you're a woman or a nonsmoker, continue taking your vitamin D every day. Go for up to 5,000 IU per day, especially if you live in the northern part of the country.
  19. Vitamin D is critical to chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients

    Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a brutal disease. And the standard treatment usually calls for waiting until the symptoms to get bad enough so you can start chemotherapy. But according to a major new study, you don't have to play this helpless waiting game. You can help control the progression of the disease with the help of vitamin D.

    For the study, researchers from the Mayo Clinic and University of Iowa recruited 390 patients recently diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. First off, they checked the patients' blood levels for plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

    They found that roughly 30 percent of the patients were deficient in vitamin D (levels lower than 25 nanograms per milliliter). Then the researchers checked back in on all the patients three years later.

    Unfortunately, the disease progressed much faster in those deficient in vitamin D.

    In fact, patients low in the vitamin had a 66 percent greater risk of disease progression during that time compared to their counterparts. Plus, they had more than double the risk of dying.

    According to Dr. Shanafelt, lead researcher for the study, "This tells us that vitamin D insufficiency may be the first potentially modifiable risk factor associated with prognosis in newly diagnosed chronic lymphocytic leukemia. This finding may be particularly relevant for this kind of leukemia because although we often identify it at an early stage, the standard approach is to wait until symptoms develop before treating patients with chemotherapy. This watch and wait approach is difficult for patients because they feel there is nothing they can do to help themselves."

    So if you have chronic lymphocytic leukemia, show your oncologist this study. It was published on November 3, 2010 in the journal Blood. Once he gives you the okay, start taking 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily. It's the form of vitamin D best absorbed in the body. Plus, though the study was limited to chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients, I strongly anyone struck with cancer to take extra vitamin D.

  20. Study finds link between vitamin E and prostate cancer

    Scientists from Australia found that vitamin E might play a major role hampering the development and re-growth of prostate cancer tumors. For the study, Dr. Patrick Ling and a team of researchers injected mice with prostate cancer cells. Then, they divided the mice into two groups. They fed one group of mice water fortified with a form of vitamin E called gamma-tocotrienol or y-T3. The other group of mice drank regular water. Researchers found that 70 percent of the vitamin E mice never went on to develop prostate cancer tumors, despite being injected with malignant cells. And, yes, the remaining 30 percent did develop prostate cancer. But following surgery, their tumors were far less likely to re-grow or metastasize. On the other hand, tumors formed in 100 percent of the control group of mice not given vitamin E. Those incredible results, though tested on mice, show just how powerful vitamin E really is. According to Dr. Ling, "Currently there is no effective treatment for metastatic prostate cancer, because it grows back after conventional therapies in more than 70 percent of cases. But with [vitamin E3] researchers have found a better way to treat prostate cancer, which has the potential to inhibit recurrence of the disease." Dr. Ling went on to say that chemo, radiation, and hormone therapy fail to cure prostate cancer because they don‘t kill the cancer stem cell responsible for the re-growth of tumors. He also believes that y-T3 will also prove effective in suppressing other types of cancer, including breast, colon, liver and stomach. Dr. Ling and his team do have a clinical trial with men in the works. I‘ll pass on the results as soon as they‘re available. In the meantime, keep up the daily regimen of 400 IU of vitamin E. Choose only 100 percent natural vitamin E that contains mixed tocopherols. This will provide provide balanced antioxidant protection. At the very least, the bottle should say it contains d-alpha or D-alpha. Skip any bottle that says it contains Dl-alpha (note the different "Dl" prefix). This means it‘s a synthetic, cheap imitation of vitamin E. Plus, it probably won‘t contain y-T3.

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