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FIGHTING CANCER : THE HOLISTIC WAY ( PART 4 )

[2006-10-22]
 
( PART 4 ) : NUTRITIONAL HEALING FOR CANCER


This is the fourth article on the holistic way to fight cancer. Nutrition is the mainstay of good health, and therefore of disease prevention, and healing. I have already discussed at length what the anti-cancer diet should be, and the importance of anti-oxidants that scavenge the free-radicals that cause aging, disease and cancer. There are many other nutrient groups that are essential for good health, and for fighting cancer.

9 VITAMINS

Vitamins C and E were described under anti-oxidants. Vitamin A is another anti-oxidant vitamin, but since it can be toxic at high doses, it is preferable to take its precursor, beta-carotene ( pro-vitamin A ), which is water-soluble, and much safer. It is especially beneficial against breast and lung cancer. Other than having potent anti-oxidant power that fight cancer, all of them have other health benefits.

The vitamin B group is essential for cell metabolism which is indispensable for good health. In a recent study, women who consumed the most vitamin B6 had a 34 percent lower risk of colon cancer than women who consumed the least B6. The benefits appeared greatest for women who drank two or more alcoholic drinks per week. Vitamin B17 or laetrile ( main source is apricot kernel ) , although still controversial, has helped many cancer patients. For cancer treatment, very high doses are required. Some physicians even use it in pure form intravenously. It is available here as a supplement powder. However, it is banned in USA.

Most know the importance of vitamin D for bone health and preventing osteoporosis. Recently, researchers have discovered that vitamin D levels also determine how well the lungs work. Low vitamin D levels have also been linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer.

Research shows that vitamin D may help reduce the risk of colon, breast, prostate, and ovarian cancers. This may explain the paradox that exposure to the sun actually reduces the risk of getting lymphoma and leukemia, and for those already having melanoma, sun exposure will reduce fatality. While sun exposure is the leading cause of skin cancers, the resulting increased vitamin D production protects against some other cancers. The smart way to benefit is to go out in the sun in the mornings ( before 10am ) when the UV rays are less harmful, and to protect yourself with sunscreen thereafter.

Vitamin K plays a crucial role in many bodily functions, but until recently, has been poorly researched. Its role in our coagulation system is well-known. What is exciting is that it may be a key anti-aging and anti-cancer vitamin. It is a stronger anti-oxidant than vitamin E or co-enzyme Q10! Japanese researchers found that vitamin K may help in fighting diabetes, certain types of cancer, and Alzheimer's disease.


10 MINERALS

There are probably over 80 minerals and trace-elements ( needed in minute amounts ) that are essential for our good health. Apart from being essential components of certain tissues (eg. calcium for bones), minerals play varied roles, many of which are critical (eg. calcium, sodium and potassium in heart and muscle function, and in regulating blood pressure ). Without certain minerals, many hormones, enzymes, co-enzymes, vitamins and cell activities cannot even function. Some of these functions may be crucial to the immune system, and in preventing or fighting cancer. No wonder two-time Nobel laureate Sir Linus Pauling said that every sickness, disease and ailment can be traced to a mineral deficiency.

Whilst most of you know that minerals are important and may be taking mineral supplements, many may not be taking the right supplements. A diet fruit and veggie diet will be rich in minerals, but if your diet is not balanced, you will need supplements. If you have cancer, for nutritional healing, you must take mineral supplements too.

It is absolutely essential that if you take mineral supplement, it must be food-based, that is the minerals must be organic so that the molecules are small enough for the cells to absorb. Many cheap mineral supplements, even if absorbed by your intestines, only increase the blood levels without making the minerals readily available to the cells. The cheapest calcium carbonate supplements example, are only 5-10% absorbed by the cells. The high circulating inorganic calcium instead may increase the risk of gall-bladder and kidney stones. Drinking mineral water made from dissolved rocks ("mineral pot") may also give you high inorganic (harmful) calcium intake. Taking chelated minerals (combined with amino-acids or peptides) can increase the absorption up to 40%.

The importance of taking organic minerals was made known to me by a friend who fully recovered from inoperable brain tumour after consistent consumption of plant-derived organic, ionic, colloidal minerals. Colloidal means small molecules suspended in liquid. This is made from humic shale, which is a fragile rock-like deposit made from plants compressed for millions of years. When everything else has decomposed, only the pure organic minerals remain. Although the average plant or fruit contains less than 30 different minerals, the combination of so many plants means that the colloidal mineral supplement derived from humic shale contains nearly 80 minerals. More importantly, the absorption rate is 98%! This is not surprising since the molecules are 100,000 times smaller than that of inorganic mineral molecules. Organic minerals are also hydrophilic ( water-soluble ) and therefore easily absorbed by the cells. Inorganic metallic minerals are not. Organic, ionic, colloidal minerals supplement is a must in my own anti-aging and anti-cancer daily intake.


11 ENZYMES AND CO-ENZYMES

Digestive enzymes are necessary for proper digestion of food so that the nutrients can be absorbed and used by the body. Metabolic enzymes and co-enzymes are necessary to initiate, facilitate and accelerate many cellular metabolic activities. For example, superoxide dismutase is necessary to change superoxide free-radicals to less harmful products. Thus like many other enzymes, it is also an anti-oxidant. Co-enzyme Q10 is necessary for energy production, besides being a strong anti-oxidant. With their varied roles, it is easy to realize how important they are to maintain good health.

Unfortunately, as we age, enzyme production declines. Combined with our modern diet which includes less fresh fruits and veggies ( which are rich in enzymes ), but full of cooked dishes ( which are devoid of enzymes, since they are fragile and destroyed by cooking ), many of us end up with poorly-digested food and are therefore deprived of whatever little nutrients still available in the food eaten. And we don't even chew our food enough to give time for adequate digestion. If you are over 40 and not eating much fresh raw foods, you should start considering taking enzyme supplements with your cooked meals. It will do wonders for your digestion and bowel habits.

In nutritional healing, those with cancers are advised to reduce protein intake because undigested protein rots ( putrefaction ), and cancer itself is a "rotting" disease ( if you have seen advanced cancer cases, especially if the tumours are external, you will know what I mean ). It is very important that cancer patients take digestive enzymes at every meal when protein is eaten to ensure complete digestion of the protein. Of course the digestive enzymes will also help in the digestion of fats and carbohydrates too ( take combination of natural fruit and veggie enzymes that have many enzymes ).


12 PROBIOTICS ( FRIENDLY BACTERIA )

There are more bacteria in our intestines than there are cells in our whole body. These bacteria definitely affect our health. In fact the first gift a mother gives to her baby when giving birth the normal way is a dose of protective friendly bacteria (probiotics). The friendly bacteria ( Lactobacillus vaginalis ) in the healthy vagina keeps the environment there free from harmful infections, and the same friendly bacteria, when they contaminate the baby as it comes through the birth-passage, become the first residents of the baby's intestinal tract. It is fortuitous that over 100 years ago, a German obstetrician discovered this marvel about the friendly bacteria protecting women, and their babies. That's why the bacteria are often affectionately called Doderlein's bacteria after him.

We now know that there are thousands of other friendly bacteria types, each inhabiting a different body area and having different protective functions. Before birth, the intestinal tract is sterile. After birth ( by which ever way ), the baby will be contaminated by the viruses, bacteria, yeast, fungi and parasites from the mother and others handling it. Provided that the mother is healthy, the baby will have 80-90% healthy bacteria colonizing the intestines if it is fully breast-fed. Bottle-fed babies are more exposed to unfriendly bacteria, and unhealthy mothers will of course give unfriendly bacteria ( pathogenic bacteria ) instead of the friendly ones.

Mothers with vaginal yeast infection will give her baby oral thrush ( thick white patches in baby's mouth, often mistaken for milk sticking to the tongue ) and yeast nappy rash ( sore, reddish rashes that do not go off easily ). In my practice I have seen so many such babies, and treatment is not complete without treating the mothers as well. Obviously the babies also got very little, if any, friendly bacteria as gifts from their mothers!

As the child grows, especially in this modern day junk food plus antibiotic era, the friendly bacteria are gradually replaced by pathogenic bacteria. Just reflect upon how "dirtier" a child's faeces gets as he/she grows. By adulthood, the typical human has 80-90% unfriendly bacteria. The newborn baby's faeces is clean, whereas the adult human faeces is even worse than that of animals. That will give you an idea of what is happening inside your intestines, especially the colon, where the faeces are stored.

Is it a wonder that so many are getting colo-rectal cancer? This will then make you realize the importance of having adequate enzymes to prevent from providing materials to rot, and adequate friendly bacteria to fight the bad ones that do the rotting. Friendly bacteria also have many other functions. They in fact provide an estimated 60% of our immune defence by preventing invaders from ever entering our body through the intestinal and genital tracts. Some produce vitamin K for us.

A healthy bowel is the first step towards having a healthy body. The protective and preventive benefits of friendly bacteria extend beyond the intestinal tract. If your bowel is healthy, your skin will also be healthy and glowing, and your internal organs also healthy and functioning well. Food you eat will be properly digested and you will get much of the nutrients they contain. Your stools will be "healthier" and bowel movements regular. You can expect to be healthy. If you already have cancer, taking steps to revitalize your bowels with enzymes, probiotics and fibre will be a very important step towards recovery.

Some probiotics can kill pathogenic bacteria that even the most expensive antiobiotics cannot kill. A study at our own University Malaya showed certain probiotics can kill the supergerm E.Coli O-157 which has caused many deaths in homes and hospitals worldwide, and antibiotics could not kill this particular strain.

Probotics can be found in uncooked fermented foods like yoghurt or tempeh. Fried tempeh is useless. Since probiotics are living organisms, the best probiotic supplements are those that have the bacteria in living liquid or paste form ( even encapsulated paste ). The liquid form will have to be refrigerated. Freeze-dried powdered ( or in capsules ) forms are convenient because they may not require refrigeration, but the potency of the bacteria after reconstitution may not be fully restored.


13 FIBRE

We need about 30 gm of fibre daily to maintain good health. Soluble and insoluble fibres together add bulk to the stools, help regulate digestion and absorption of glucose, fats and nutrients, and help improve your bowel regularity and bowel health. Do not underestimate the importance of having adequate fibre. The next time you are constipated, you know why. Fresh raw veggies and certain fruits are rich in fibre ( and enzymes and other nutrients as well ), so that is why my anti-aging and anti-cancer diet is based on these. Processed and refined foods are usually depleted of fibre and good nutrients. If somehow you refuse to take veggies, then you have to take fibre supplements. Sometimes my meal consists only of a rich fibre-rich drink made from fruits and veggies extract, replete with vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, added enzymes, probiotics and other goodies. I have also cured many chronic constipators with this concoction. If you are one of them, please go to www.superqigong.com to know more. I have had Japanese and Arabs looking for this recipe, after having tried once.

Many studies have shown that fibre may prevent colon cancer. However some studies didn't show the same results. If you understand my message above that for proper bowel health, adequate enzymes and probiotics are also necessary, then maybe the reason why the results are not consistent is because they did not look at these other factors. If you have all three, plus adequate fluid intake and enough exercise ( which also influence your bowel habits ), then you can expect protection not only from colon cancer, but other cancers and other diseases too. And of course you can have a healthy body and glowing skin…just like me!

Happy Deepavali to my Hindu readers and Selamat Hari Raya to the Muslims.

 
Dr Amir Farid Isahak
 
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