Can Supplements Prevent Sunburn?

Summer is here and along with summer comes sunburns, that we all hate.  We’ve been told for years to slather on the sunscreen, but still a long day at the beach on on the lake you still end up pink.  So wouldn’t it be nice if you could just pop a few pill and skip the sunburn?

Lets talk for a minute about what makes up the sun, or at least the part that causes damage and pain. Those are the ultraviolet (UV) rays. There are two types UVA and UVB:

  • UVA – These are the UV rays which cause damage to the skin. Think of UVA as UV-Aging. These cause can lead to cancer, dried out leathery skin, etc. These don’t cause the burn though.
  • UVB – These are the UV rays which cause burning, so think of UVB as UV-Burning. UVB rays also cause the conversion of cholesterol in the skin into vitamin D.

Ok, so now a bit about sunscreen. Many sunscreens just block the UVB rays, so they prevent the burning but also block the production of vitamin D, but they don’t block the UVA rays, so the rays which can damage the cells and possibly cause skin cancer get right in.  So when you shop for a sunscreen make sure it is a full spectrum sunscreen that blocks both the UVA and UVB rays.

OK, so about that magic pill that prevents sunburn.  Sadly there isn’t a pill that will totally prevent sunburn, but there are a number of vitamins that have been shown to lessen the burning. So you may still burn, but not as bad. These are:

  • Beta Caroteen – Beta Caroteen is found in high concentrations in carrots – that is what gives carrots their orange color. Many supplements will also use beta carotene as their source of vitamin A.  Your body can break down beta carotene to make vitamin A as it needs it without the risk of too much vitamin A. This, like all those that follow isn’t a morning after pill. It takes 10 to 12 weeks of daily supplementation to reduce the redness and burning.
  • Lutein and Lycopene are carotenoids that also show some protection. Lutein especially for the eyes. (Make sure your sunglasses block UV rays, not all do.)
  • Astaxanthin – This is another carotenoid that is found in krill and salmon giving them their red color. (Note only wild caught salmon have high levels of this. Farm raised salmon (often called Atlantic or Norwegian salmon) are fed feeds which don’t contain astaxanthin, so they add red dye to the salmon’s feed to make the flesh red. Yech.  This works quicker, within a week or two of daily consumption (salmon or astaxanthin supplements)
  • Coco flavanols – Yep, chocolate has been shown to reduce redness from UV exposure in women, though I bet it would work for men too. Unflortunaely eating a handful of Hershey Kisses won’t work (well maybe a bag full) but the chocolate you reach for has much more fat, sugar, and milk that actual chocolate. Instead reach for a 90-100% dark chocolate. My favorite is the Lindt 99% chocolate (hard to find in the US, but you can find the 90 and 95%)
  • Vitamin C and vitamin E – when taken together in high doses daily. One study found that 2,000 mg of vitamin C and 1,000 IU of vitamin E (as d-alpha-tocopherol – the natural form) taken daily for 8 days modestly reduced redness caused by UV light – Equivalent to SPF 2. Note that these higher doses can cause problems for some people. A top rated multi vitamin has 1,300mg of Vitamin C and 400 IU of vitamin E and this is well tolerated by most people. So take that daily for a base, then jump up to the higher levels before you head to Bali – just make sure you don’t have any side effects (common is diarrhea from vitamin C)
  • Pine bark extract (Pycnogenol®, Flavangenol®) has been found in clinical studies to significantly increase the amount of simulated UV-radiation required to cause redness and skin damage, as well as reduce measures of skin damage caused by UV exposure. It has also been found to decrease the color of age spots in healthy young women.

Some supplements like St John’s Wort and dong quai (found in some menopause supplements) can increase photosensitivity, so avoided these if you are going out in the sun.

The big fear is skin cancer. Maintaining optimal  levels of vitamin D and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids have been shown to reduce the risk of skin cancers.   This leads to the vitamin D paradox – You need sun to naturally produce vitamin D and vitamin D has been shown to reduce the incidence of many types of cancer, including skin cancers. (Here is an article about vitamin D and its role in skin cancer)  Applying a high SPF sunscreen before going in the sun blocks that production, so you lose that protection.  So go out for 20 minutes or so, then apply sunscreen.  The recommendations above may help lessen the redness and damage and help a bit when you forget to reapply sunscreen. If you’re in and out of the water all day, or sweating and wiping your face, you just forget or can’t keep reapplying sunscreen. Here is an article that explains how sunscreens work and SPF ratings.

So what do I do?  I take our USANA Essentials and Visonex daily.  These provide high levels of most of the vitamins and carotenoids above. I’m not one that tans easily and I run for an hour daily usually around noon plus all the other Colorado outdoor activities, skiing, hiking, canoeing/kayaking, etc. I live in Colorado so high altitude and lots of reflection from the snow in the winter and water in the summer. I rarely use sunscreen unless I’m out all day, then usually just one application around noon. I can’t remember the last sunburn I’ve had.

Enjoy the sun and the water this summer!

 

GMOs Can Probably Cause Cancer

The World Health Organization (WHO) today said that Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup, or Glyphosate, can probably cause cancer. Here is a Reuters article.

First what is Roundup, or glyphosate?  It is a very powerful herbicide that is used to kill weeds and just about anything which grows. If you went to Home Depot and bought a bottle of Roundup and sprayed it on your vegetable garden, you’d have a dead garden in a day or two. It is very potent.

So what does this have to do with Genetically Modified foods (GMOs)? Monsanto and other seed companies have modified corn, soy, canola, and other crops to be resistant to Roundup. By doing this the farmers can save money by not having to remove weeds from the fields by hand, now they can spray the fields with Roundup, it will kill the weeds, but it won’t kill the genetically modified crop.  Sounds great doesn’t it? Well read on.

When the field is sprayed the Roundup lands on the corn, soy, etc. The weeds, and the soil.  The corn for example will absorb the Roundup just as the weeds do, but it won’t kill the corn. The Roundup just stays in the corn, soy, etc and every part of the plant has Roundup in it.

When you eat a GMO food, or foods made form GMO foods, you are getting a small dose of Roundup with every bite.  Even baby formula has GMO ingredients in it.  Here are the top 10 GMO containing foods:

  • Canned soups
  • Frozen foods sweetened with HFCS
  • Baby Formula
  • Juices and dried fruit sweetened with HFCS
  • Many cereals
  • Vegetable and Canola oils
  • Tofu & Soy Milk
  • Meats – Cattle, pigs, chickens, and farm raised fish are fed GMO corn & Soy
  • Milk – Dairy cattle are fed GMO corn and soy
  • Soft Drinks – sweetened with HFCS

How do you keep GMOs and Roundup off of your families kitchen table? Simple, look for Certified Organic foods or those that bear the Certified Non-GMO Project Verified label.

 

References:

Glyphosate accumulates in Roundup Ready GM soybeans

Reuters article.

Daily Finance – 10 foods you’ll have to give up to avoid eating GMOs

You thought melatonin was to help you sleep, but it has many anti aging factors

Melatonin has long been though of as a hormone you can take just to help you get a better nights sleep. It is one of the regulators of your circadian rhythm, but beyond making you sleepy when the sun goes down, it does much more.

Melatonin production declines as we age. Researchers  believe that this may contribute to the aging process and the general decline in health.  So popping a melatonin before you go to sleep may help you sleep better and turn back the clock. 
Below are seven key benefits of melatonin:
  1. Antioxidant Defense – Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant. It is 200% more powerful than vitamin E and is superior to vitamin C.  In post menopausal women melatonin has been found to inhibit lipid per oxidation which in turn helps prevent heart disease.
  2. Fights Heart Disease – There is research showing that melatonin can protect the heart muscle from oxidative damage and decreasing the levels of LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol. It also helps with blood sugar management. Tame these and you’ve greatly reduced your risk of heart disease.
  3. Cancer Prevention – Melatonin has been shown to exhibit anti-carcinogenic properties and can also induce cancer cell death – apoptosis. For those undergoing conventional cancer therapy it has been shown to slow the cancer progression and lessen the side effects of the chemotherapy.
  4. Diabetes – Diabetes like cancer and heart disease all have one thing in common – Free radicals. These free radicals can cause damage to the cells, damage to your DNA, oxidation of lipids, and many other cellular defects. The high blood levels in diabetics causes a hire rise in oxidative stress and the release of free radicals. Melatonin comes to the rescue by quenching many of these damaging free radicals. Melatonin has also been shown to protect the pancreatic beta cells, kidney’s, eyes, and heart from the damages caused by the side effects of diabetes.
  5. Alzheimers – Another unique property of melatonin is that it can cross the blood-brain barrier. It not only crosses the blood brain barrier, but has also been shown to protect it. Melatonin has been shown to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and protecting delicate internal cellular structures. Melatonin also exhibits profound neruoprotective effects against the beta amyloid plaque, one of the suspected causes of Alzheimer’s.
  6. Combat Obesity – Obesity has been found to be correlated with stress, emotional eating, and sleep deprivation, and hormonal changes later in life. Melatonin’s basic function of aiding in sleep can reduce stress, cortisol, and emotional eating – We all know how much better we feel after a good nights sleep.
  7. Osteoporosis – Research has also found that melatonin has beneficial effects on bone repair and rebuilding. In a recent double-blind placebo controlled study with peri-meanopausal women found that melatonin improved sleep and increased the bio markers of indicating bone formation and decreased the levels of makers indicating bone depleting.  Osteoporosis occurs when the rate of bone depletion exceeds the rate of bone formation.
So with all these benefits is there any reason you shouldn’t be taking extra melatonin?  Melatonin has been shown to be safe with no side effects when taken in consistent dosages of less than 10 mg/day.
We all make melatonin naturally, but as we age we produce less and less. Also our life does all it can to combat melatonin production.
Melatonin is produced primarily in the pineal gland in the brain and in the retinas of the eyes. remember when you were out camping. The sun goes down and the sky and gets more red. It is that shift from the bluish bright day light to the reddish dusk light that starts the melatonin production. When it is finally dark melatonin production is at its height and you fall asleep.  Then when the sun comes up in the morning your eyes see the light and the light, especially more more blueish morning light quickly shuts down melatonin production and flushes the melatonin in your system out. 
So knowing now melatonin production works, now look at our typical life. When the light goes down we flip on the lights. When we finally go to bed, we are looking at our phones, iPads, and watching TV. All are bright bluish light. Then when the light is finally off you have an assortment of little lights on your chargers, phones, alarm clocks, etc. You also have street lights shining through the window. So without total darkness, you don’t sleep well because you are sabotaging your melatonin production.
So leave the TV in the bedroom off, cover all the little blinking lights, and close the blinds. That will help, but pop a very inexpensive melatonin tablet under your tongue and hour before you go to sleep and enjoy better sleep and better health.
One word of caution, not all melatonin is created equal. Most of what you’ll find on the store shelves comes from the pineal glands and eyes of cattle. It is very difficult to purify and live viruses from the cows brain, like mad cow disease, can survive intact in the tablets. This is why many countries have outlawed melatonin sales.  The product I use and recommend is pure 100% bio-identical melatonin, but synthesized in a lab so that there is no risk of viral contamination. So chose your melatonin wisely.

Resveratrol shown to have heart-protective benefits.

The results of a randomized trial published online on April 19, 2012 in The American Journal of Cardiology reveal a benefit for resveratrol in reducing cardiovascular disease risk factors in men and women taking statin drugs. “We have carried out the longest human trial reported thus far using a resveratrol-containing product,” announce researchers Juan Carlos Espín, PhD and his associates at CEBAS-CSIC and Morales Meseguer University Hospital in Murcia, Spain.

Dr Espin’s team divided 74 participants who were at high risk of cardiovascular disease to receive a grape extract containing 8 milligrams resveratrol, a grape supplement without resveratrol or a placebo daily for six months, followed by a six month period during which the dose of the treatments was doubled. Blood samples collected at the beginning of the study and at six and twelve months were analyzed for clotting factors, markers of inflammation and other values.

While the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 increased and the anti-inflammatory molecule interleukin-10 had decreased by the end of the study in the placebo group, no changes were observed among those who received grape extract without resveratrol. Subjects who received resveratrol experienced a 1.3 milligram per liter average decrease in high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) as well as a decline in tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a) by the end of twelve months, indicating a significant decrease in inflammation. Additionally, plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1) was reduced, reflecting a reduction in the risk of excessive blood clotting, while adiponectin and interleukin 10 were increased in the group that received grape extract with resveratrol.

“In the present study, we describe for the first time that a dietary intervention with a specific grape nutraceutical containing resveratrol 8 milligrams significantly improved the inflammatory and fibrinolytic status of patients undergoing primary prevention of cardiovascular disease,” the authors write. “This resveratrol-rich grape supplement seemed to exert a statin-like effect beyond patients’ standard medication. In this regard, a synergistic effect between statins and this grape nutraceutical cannot be ruled out.”

“Our results show for the first time that a dietary intervention with grape resveratrol could complement the gold standard therapy in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease,” they conclude.

Resveratrol has been found to inhibit the proliferation of a variety of human cancer cell lines, including those from breast, prostate, stomach, colon, pancreatic, and thyroid cancers.

Resveratrol is found in red wine and is credited for being the source of the “French Paradox” where the French eat a very fatty rich diet, but they have very low incidence of heart disease – the daily drinking of red wine is credited for that very beneficial effect.

Red wines contain between 0.3mg and 1.30mg of Resveratrol per 5 ounce glass. So the 8mg dose they used in the study above would equate to drinking bottle or two of red wine daily.  The supplement I take has 15mg of resveratrol (and I take 2 per day, so 30mg) so my daily intake of resveratrol equals probably 8-10 bottles of red wine per day. So all the benefit without the hangover or destroying my liver!

So enjoy a glass of red wine for your heart and better yet, add some resveratrol to your supplement regime.

How broccoli, cabbage, and other cruciferous vegetables help prevent cancer

The few paragraphs below are from the UPI, but there is a mountain of evidence from multiple studies which show without a doubt that these vegetables and prevent and stop cancer.

From United Press International   04-20-12

Cruciferous vegetables — broccoli, cabbage, leafy greens, cauliflower — help prevent breast and prostate cancer, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers at Vanderbilt University’s Ingram Center showed a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables — specifically the indoles they contain — protects and improves breast cellular health.

“Indoles are organic compounds that have a positive impact on cellular health. One in particular, diindolylmethane has been shown to support the immune system and help keep hormones in balance, particularly estrogen,” the researchers said. “In the body, estrogen gets broken down into a variety of metabolites, some of which promote healthy cells. Unfortunately, others can cause problems. Diindolylmethane has been shown to help the body produce beneficial estrogen metabolites with anti-oxidative effects.”

Certain estrogen metabolites, which have been associated with obesity, chemical exposure and other causes, have been shown to derail cellular healthy, but diindolylmethane has proven to increase the good kind of hormone metabolites and decrease the kind that can challenge health, the study said.

Breast, prostate and other areas of hormone-related cellular health depend on this delicate balance, the study said.

Copyright United Press International 2012

In Dr. David Servan-Schreibers book “Anti-Cancer, a new way of life” he goes into depth on how many different vegetables, berries, and herbs have been proven to prevent, slow, and stop cancer.  He has summarized the effectiveness of many different vegetables against colon, brain (which suffered from), lung, prostate, and breast cancer.

I all cases broccoli, cabbage, and other cruciferous vegetables were at the tops of the charts, though consistently outdone by garlic and leeks.  Other powerful proven cancer fighting foods are green tea, olive oil, soy, turmeric, mushrooms, berries (Black, rasp, straw, blue, etc), stone fruits (peaches, plums and nectarines), and an assortment of spices and herbs.

Some vegetables can actually stimulate different cancers, so chose your veggies carefully.  jalapeño peppers and tomatoes can stimulate colon cancer. Radishes brain cancer, add cucumber to the proceeding to stimulate lung cancer, eggplant and bock choy plus some others for breast cancer, and so on.

These foods aren’t powerful cancer killing agents that can instantly cure stage 4 cancers, but if eaten consistently while you are symptom free (you almost always have cancer cells growing in your body) your body can hold cancer at bay when it is just a few dozen or hundred cells, and eventually your immune system gets rid of it. So it isn’t that you never have cancer, but it never develops into anything and you just live peacefully with it. It is when it gets out of control that you are in trouble.

In those cases where you do have diagnosed cancer, which has been growing for probably 15-10+ years, these foods eaten several times a day, every day, can help to slow or stop the tumors growth, and in some cases turn it back.

So what can you and I do? ideally you blend up a garlic, broccoli, cabbage, soy, turmeric, mushroom, blue berry, peach shake seasoned with a pinch of everything in the spice rack. If you could stomach it it would be ideal. Dr. Servan-Schreiber does tell a story of a colleague of his who did this while he was doing his research and it did slow and stop his pancreas cancer.

The other option, which do, is take a very high quality and potent multi-vitamin which, like what I take, has extracts of olive oil, green tea, blue berries, broccoli, turmeric, etc in each tablet. So I take four a day, spread throughout the day, so I get some daily help, then I eat a diet very high in these foods, but it isn’t practical for most people to eat all of these fresh at every meal.

Grape seed extract is an anti-cancer powerhouse

The therapeutic potential of grape seed extract as anti-oxidant, anti-hypertensive and anti-inflammatory is so well established that this natural supplement is now being used in seven on-going clinical trials, only one of which is on cancer (of the breast). But the spotlight may soon shift to grape seed extract’s anti-cancer potential as recent landmark studies on human patients have just uncovered its remarkable protective effects against three major cancers: squamous cell carcinoma, prostate and hematologic malignancies. Even more remarkable is that this breakthrough in the science of natural medicine was not due to the foresight of medical practitioners who designed the trials, but to the patients who took grape seed extract, on their volition, as a nutritional supplement to support general health.

74% Risk Reduction of Skin Cancer (SCC)
A recent study, just published in June 2011, was carried out in northern California on 830 participants to test the effects of general supplement use on the occurrence of squamous cell carcinoma (the second most common skin cancer). The supplements in use included vitamins A, C, D, E, multivitamins and grape seed extract. Only the users of grape seed extract experienced a significant reduction in risk (P = 0.031) of squamous cell carcinoma–by an astounding 74%. Multivitamin users experienced 29% reduced risk, but this was only borderline statistically significant.

62% Risk Reduction of Prostate CancerA much larger study conducted in Washington State tracked 35,239 male participants starting in the year 2000 in the VITamins and Lifestyle (VITAL) cohort. Participants, aged 50-76 years, answered detailed questionnaires about specialty supplement use for the 10 years prior to the start of the study. Prostate cancer risk was assessed after a median follow-up time of 6.1 years. The results showed grape seed extract to be the stand-alone winner. Men, who used an individual grape seed extract supplement with “high average use” over 10 years, experienced a significant 62% risk reduction of prostate cancer compared to non-users, while average users of grape seed extract supplements experienced a 41% risk reduction. None of the other supplements observed in this study (CoQ10, fish oil, garlic pills, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, glucosamine, chondroitin or saw palmetto) were seen to offer protection against prostate cancer. Note, however, that green tea was not one of the supplements considered. This study was published in May 2011.

43% Risk Reduction of Hematologic CancersThe same VITAL cohort as used for the prostate cancer study was also used to assess risk of hematologic cancers (involving blood, bone marrow or lymph nodes). The population was expanded to include women, for a total of 66,227 participants. Those who had ever used grape seed supplements saw a 43% risk reduction for hematologic cancers. This was only matched by those with a “high use” of garlic, who saw a 47% reduction of risk. No other supplements offered significant protection. This study was published in August 2011.

In addition to the above cancers, grape seed extract has already demonstrated cytotoxicity against breast cancer, colon cancer, glioblastoma, and NSC lung cancer cells in laboratory studies. But the three study results on human populations given above provide a dramatic leap forward for the science backing grape seed extract as an anti-cancer supplement. It is astounding, then, that none of the above studies received much media attention. That will likely require full-blown clinical trials, which will almost certainly be kicked-off as a result of these studies, but will take years to complete. Until then, the latest findings on grape seed extract make a compelling case for its consideration in any program or supplement regimen meant to reduce cancer risk.

http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/r…
http://www.sciencedirect.com/scienc…
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/…
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/…
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/art…

About the author

Ethan Evers is author of the award-winning medical thriller “The Eden Prescription,” in which natural medicine outperforms a billion-dollar chemo drug and threatens the entire $50 billion cancer drug industry. Ethan based The Eden Prescription on the latest science on natural medicine for cancer, and wrote it to show the future reality that natural medicine can bring us—and to warn of the strategies now being used by those who are trying to stop it. Ethan has a PhD in Applied Science.

Vitamin D levels linked to a reduced risk of colorectal cancer

Many epidemiological and observational studies have made a link between higher levels of vitamin D and a reduced risk of several types of cancers. A recent review was conducted to analyze blood vitamin D levels and the possible connection to colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers.

Researchers identified 35 independent studies that met criteria, and separate analyses for case-control and prospective studies were done. 
A trend toward a decreased risk of breast cancer risk was associated with higher serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D, but results from prospective studies only did not support an association between vitamin D status and breast cancer. Researchers found no association between vitamin D levels and prostate cancer.

However, a consistent inverse relationship between serum vitamin D levels and colorectal cancer was found. Analysis of data from nine studies showed that for every 10 ng/ml increase in levels of vitamin D the risk of colorectal cancer decreased by 15 percent. 

Researchers suggest that new randomized trials need to be organized to determine whether vitamin D status is a risk factor or a marker for colorectal cancer and how much of an increase is required to change the risk sufficiently to be useful as a public health measure. 

S. Gandini et al. Meta-analysis of observational studies of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and colorectal, breast and prostate cancer and colorectal adenoma. International Journal of Cancer. 5 March 2011, Volume 128, Issue 6, pages 1414–1424.

The Dangers of Triclosan: A Common Anti-Bacterial Ingredient

Triclosan is an anti-bacterial ingredient in many cosmetics and personal-care products. These include nearly half of all commercial antibacterial liquid soaps, cleansers, deodorants, detergents, toothpastes, and mouthwashes.
Water testing studies by the U.S. Geological Survey have found that triclosan is among the top 10 persistent contaminants in U.S. rivers, streams, lakes, and underground aquifers. Of related concern, triclosan persists in the environment, accumulating as it passes up the food chain to our bodies, and contributes to reduced resistance to antibiotics.
Unexpected volatility has been documented when the triclosan in liquid soaps and other household products comes into contact with water, as would happen during common use. At Virginia Tech University, a team of researchers in April 2005 reported that some toothpastes and soaps create a chloroform gas when the triclosan in these products reacts with chlorinated tap water. Triclosan also interacts with free chlorine in tap water and degrades under sunlight to produce chloroform, which is both toxic and carcinogenic following inhalation or skin absorption, particularly while bathing in warm water.
Triclosan, has been shown to produce toxic hormonal effects, known as endocrine disruption, on the development of the thyroid gland in tadpoles, and on sex ratios and fin length in fish. Lab studies on rats have shown that triclosan is toxic to normal liver enzymes. In humans, this preservative has been linked to allergies, asthma, and eczema.
Of further concern, triclosan has been identified as a contaminant in umbilical cord samples. Furthermore, surveys in Sweden have also identified triclosan in the breast milk of 60 percent of women tested.
Based on these concerns, a 2005 advisory panel to the FDA concluded that triclosan posed “unacceptable health and environmental risks.” However, the FDA still ignores this warning.
The marketing for triclosan products has been so effective that some people are afraid to wash their hands—or anything else for that matter—without an antibacterial product. Let me put your fear to rest—study after study (after study) has shown these products are no more effective than regular, old-fashioned soap and water.
Use warm water to lather your hands vigorously for at least 15 seconds and then rinse for another 15 seconds. Then take a clean towel to dry your hands and sweep any remaining bacteria off your skin. If you need to use a hand sanitizer, make it one with alcohol, which flat out kills microbes without helping them develop resistance.
So look in your shower and on your bathroom counter to see if your skin care, shampoo, conditioner, body soap, or toothpaste contain Triclosan.  I check our bathroom and we are triclosan free.

Aspirin May Cut Colon Cancer Deaths

Study Shows Long-term, Low-Dose Aspirin Cuts Risk of Aggressive Colon Cancer
Long-term use of low-dose aspirin reduces colon cancer risk, U.K. researchers find.
Low-dose aspirin takers have a 24% lower risk of colon cancer and a 35% lower risk of dying from colon cancer, find University of Oxford researcher Peter Rothwell and colleagues.
“The new findings on the effect of low-dose aspirin should be included in advice given to the public,” Rothwell says in a news release.
The findings are based on analysis of 20-year follow-up data from five clinical trials. All of the studies were performed before sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy became widespread methods of screening for colon cancer. It’s not clear whether better screening reduces the benefit seen for aspirin.
And aspirin can have serious side effects, including severe stomach bleeding. While low doses of aspirin reduce this risk, people should consult a health care provider before adding aspirin to their daily health regimen.
However, the findings suggest that aspirin has a particular effect on more aggressive and faster growing colon cancers, particularly those in the proximal colon, which can be detected by colonoscopy but not by sigmoidoscopy.
This makes the study findings significant, says Alison Ross, senior science information officer at Cancer Research U.K.
“This is the first large study to show that low doses of aspirin may be effective in protecting against bowel cancer,” Ross tells WebMD via email. “Once it’s confirmed that the benefits of taking low-dose aspirin outweigh the risks, clear guidelines will be needed to help doctors inform their patients about long-term use.”
Alison Ross, senior science information officer at Cancer Research UK, says via email: “Aspirin can have side effects, including stomach ulcers and internal bleeding. It should not be taken regularly without first talking to your doctor.”
The Rothwell study appears in the Oct. 22 early online edition of The Lancet.

Red wine, dark chocolate are cancer killers

Agence France-Presse

03-11-10

Cabernet and chocolate are potent medicine for killing cancer, according to research presented here Wednesday.

Red grapes and dark chocolate join blueberries, garlic, soy, and teas as ingredients that starve cancer while feeding bodies, Angiogenesis Foundation head William Li said at a prestigious TED Conference.

“We are rating foods based on their cancer-fighting qualities,” Li said. “What we eat is really our chemotherapy three times a day.”

The Massachusetts-based foundation is identifying foods containing chemicals that evidently choke-off blood supplies to tumors, starving them to death.

Li cited a Harvard Medical School study showing that men who ate cooked tomatoes several times weekly were 30 to 50 percent less likely to have prostate cancer.

“There is a medical revolution happening all around us,” Li said. “If we’re right, it could impact on consumer education, food service, public health, and even insurance agencies.”

About a dozen drugs are already in use to deprive tumors of blood supplies in a treatment tactic called “anti-angiogenesis.

The foundation pitted some foods against approved drugs and found that soy, parsley, red grapes, berries and other comestibles were either as effective or more potent in battling cancer cells.

Eaten together, the foods were even more effective in fighting cancer.

“We discovered that Mother Nature laced a large number of foods and herbs with anti-angiogenesis features,” Li said.

“For many people around the world, dietary cancer treatment may be the only solution because not everyone can afford cancer drugs.”

The foundation also discovered that anti-angiogenesis properties of foods melt away fat, which relies heavily on blood flow to sustain itself.

Tests showed that mice genetically prone to be chubby could be trimmed to average mouse size using the approach.

“It got weight down to a set point for normal mice,” Li said. “In other words, we can’t create supermodel mice.”

Obesity Increases Cancer Risk

A recent report from the American Institute of Cancer Research states that excess body fat is now seen as a major cause of cancer. They studied seven different cancers known to have links with obesity and estimated that obesity may actually be responsible for nearly 100,000 cancer cases annually. The researchers concluded that carrying excess body fat plays a central role in many of the most common cancers. The felt that the reason excess body fat has a link to cancer is because it lowers immune function, increases inflammation, and increases oxidative stress, which all can lead to DNA damage.


Turmeric and black pepper fight cancer stem cells

A new study shows that a combination of turmeric and piperine can limit the growth of stem cells for breast cancer — the cells that conventional treatment have the hardest time eliminating.

Madhuri Kakarala is a physician at the University of Michigan; she’s a cancer specialist and a PhD researcher. But she’s also a nutritionist, and, during her final years of medical studies she was diagnosed with cancer — a stage IV cancer of the thyroid. Madhuri decided to invest all her talent as a researcher and clinician in the task of getting well, and she rapidly arrived at the conclusion that nutritional change could significantly improve her response to her cancer treatment.

Because Madhuri is from an Indian background, she was most interested in the medical and culinary traditions of her country, and particularly fascinated by the promising effects of turmeric in the prevention and treatment of cancers.

This month Madhuri published an important article on the effect of turmeric on breast cancer stem cells. [1] Stem cells are at the center of a theory that seeks to explain why cancer can sometimes return, despite apparently effective treatment. This is because even when all the cancer cells have been eliminated these cancer stem cells that have lied dormant and escaped treatments may be able to form entire new colonies of cancer cells. So to prevent relapse, it’s essential that we learn how to eliminate the stem cells. But unfortunately, because they don’t actively renew themselves through cell division like other cancer cells do, most existing treatments that target cancerous cells (like radiotherapy and chemotherapy) aren’t effective against stem cells. For this reason, the pharmaceutical industry has a whole sector of research devoted to developing new therapies to target and destroy stem cells.

For several years now, Madhuri’s lab at the University of Michigan has been studying the effect on breast cancer of curcumin — one of the most active substances in turmeric — and piperine, which is a substance active in black pepper. In her latest study she demonstrates that concentrations of curcumin and piperine which can be obtained through diet or from dietary supplements are capable of eliminating breast cancer stem cells, without causing any damage to the normal breast cells. In other words, this isn’t a general toxic effect on cells, like conventional anti-cancer treatments have, but an ultra-selective impact on cancer stem cells alone.

“This shows that these compounds are not toxic to normal breast tissue,” Madhuri says. “Women at high risk of breast cancer right now can choose to take the drugs tamoxifen or raloxifene for prevention, but most women won’t take these drugs because there is too much toxicity. The concept that dietary compounds can help is attractive, and curcumin and piperine appear to have very low toxicity.”

The possible anti-cancer properties of curcumin and piperine have been the object of many other studies. But this study is the first to show that they may have a targeted effect on stem cells. Medications like tamoxifen or raloxifene only act against cancers that are sensitive to estrogen. If curcumin and piperine can target stem cells, they have the potential to be useful in many types of breast cancer, particularly those that aren’t estrogen-sensitive — and these are often the most aggressive.

Madhuri’s study was performed on cell colonies in Petri dishes, in lab conditions. So we haven’t yet reached the stage of a clinical study that would establish guidelines for recommendations to take turmeric supplements at specific dosages for certain types of cancer. However, given that turmeric and pepper, taken as part of a normal diet, are practically never toxic in any way, it seems to me to be perfectly reasonable to recommend that all of us regularly consume a soupspoon of turmeric every day, with a pinch of pepper. You can use it in all your cooking, just like I’ve been doing for years.

CAUTION: Note that it is often safest to avoid turmeric during chemotherapy as well as a three days before and after the treatment. This is because it can – rarely, but it can – interfere with some chemotherapy treatments and reduce their benefits.

REFERENCE
1. Kakarala, M., et al., Targeting breast stem cells with the cancer preventive compounds curcumin and piperine. Breast Cancer Research & Treatment, 2009.

Green tea reduces risk of lung cancer

Drinking green tea may help protect smokers from lung cancer, a study has shown.

Scientists found smokers who drank at least one cup of the antioxidant-rich beverage a day were almost 13 times less likely to develop the disease than those who drank no green tea.

Among smokers and non-smokers combined, drinking green tea led to a more than five-fold reduced risk of lung cancer.

The study was conducted in Taiwan, where people drink a lot of green tea.

Lead researcher I-Hsin Lin, from Chung Shan Medical University on the island, said: “Lung cancer is the leading cause of all cancer deaths in Taiwan.

“Tea, particularly green tea, has received a great deal of attention because tea polyphenols are strong antioxidants, and tea preparations have shown inhibitory activity against tumourigenesis.”

Mr Lin’s team compared 170 lung cancer patients and 340 healthy individuals who were asked to provide information on their smoking habits, green tea consumption, diet and family history.

Participants were also tested for growth factors – biological chemicals – that stimulate cell growth, known to be associated with cancer.

Green tea drinkers genetically predisposed to have less harmful growth factor variants were 66% less likely to develop lung cancer than tea drinkers with a more hazardous version.

“Our study may represent a clue that in the case of lung cancer, smoking-induced carcinogenesis could be modulated by green tea consumption and the growth factor environment,” said Mr Lin.

The findings were presented yesterday at the Molecular Origins of Lung Cancer conference in Coronado, California. The meeting was jointly organised by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the Inter-national Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC).

Calcium Intake Decreases Risk of Cancer

A study reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine reported that total calcium intake is related to the development of cancer, especially in women. They followed an elderly population for years and determined their total intake of calcium from their diet and supplementation. Among women, the overall cancer risk of cancer decreased as the total intake of calcium increased up to 1300 mg/day. Gastrointestinal cancers decreased in both men and women who had the highest intake of calcium. Women saw a decrease of 23% and men a decrease of 16% of gastrointestinal cancers. The risk was especially low for colorectal cancers.

Diet high in omega-3 fatty acids offers protection against advanced prostate cancer

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids offers protection against advanced prostate cancer, even in men who carry a particular variant in the COX-2 gene that is known to raise the risk of the disease.

“Previous research has shown protection (by omega-3 fatty acids) against prostate cancer, but this is one of the first studies to show protection against advanced prostate cancer and interaction with COX-2,” Dr. John S. Witte of the University of California, San Francisco noted in a statement from the American Association for Cancer Research.

Witte and colleagues studied 466 men diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer and 478 healthy matched controls. They assessed diet using a “food frequency” questionnaire and genotyped the men for nine COX-2 variants.

The researchers report in the journal Clinical Cancer Research that increasing intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids — the kind found in dark fish, like salmon, and shellfish — was strongly associated with a decreased risk of aggressive prostate cancer.

Men who consumed the most long-chain omega-3 fatty acids had a 63 percent reduced risk of aggressive prostate cancer compared to men who consumed the least.

“Importantly,” Witte and colleagues say, this protective effect was even stronger in men who carried the COX-2 variant, rs4647310, which is a risk factor for prostate cancer.

Specifically, men with low intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and this particular variant had a more than fivefold increased risk of advanced prostate cancer. But men with high intake of omega-3 fatty acids had a substantially reduced risk, even if they carried the COX-2 rs4647310 variant.

In other words, the increased risk of prostate cancer associated with the COX-2 rs4647310 variant was “essentially reversed by increasing omega-3 fatty acid intake by a half a gram per day,” Witte said.

“If you want to think of the overall inverse association in terms of fish, where omega-3 fatty acids are commonly derived, the strongest effect was seen from eating dark fish such as salmon one or more times per week,” he added.

SOURCE: Clinical Cancer Research, online March 24, 2009.

Mushrooms, green tea may lower breast cancer risk

Women who get plenty of mushrooms and green tea in their diets may have a lower risk of developing breast cancer, new study findings suggest.

The study, of more than 2,000 Chinese women, found that the more fresh and dried mushrooms the women ate, the lower was their breast cancer risk.
The risk was lower still among those who also drank green tea everyday.
It’s known that the rate of breast cancer in China is four- to five- times lower than rates typically seen in developed countries — though the rate has been climbing over the past few decades in the most affluent parts of China.
The current findings suggest that traditional diets — and specifically, large quantities of mushrooms and green tea — may help explain China’s lower breast cancer incidence, according to lead researcher Dr. Min Zhang, of the University of Western Australia in Perth.
She and her colleagues report the findings in the International Journal of Cancer.
The study was conducted in southeast China and involved 1,009 breast cancer patients between the ages of 20 and 87, and an equal number of healthy women the same age. All completed a detailed dietary questionnaire that asked them how often they ate specific foods.
Overall, Zhang’s team found, women who ate the most fresh mushrooms — 10 grams or more per day — were about two thirds less likely to develop breast cancer than non-consumers of mushrooms. Meanwhile, women who ate 4 grams or more of dried mushrooms per day had half the cancer risk of non-consumers.
Finally, mushroom eaters who also drank green tea everyday had only 11 to 18 percent of the breast cancer risk of women who consumed neither.
The study does not prove cause-and-effect, the researchers point out.
They did account for several kinds of risk factors for breast cancer – such as the women’s weight, education level, and exercise frequency and smoking habits — but there could be other factors that explain the findings.
This is also the first study linking high dietary amounts of mushrooms and green tea to lower breast cancer risk, Zhang told Reuters Health.
Therefore, she said, it’s too early for women to assume that the foods will help them avoid the cancer.
Still, it is biologically plausible, the researchers point out.
Lab research has shown that mushroom extracts have anti-tumor properties and, in animals, can stimulate the immune system’s cancer defenses. For its part, green tea contains antioxidant compounds called polyphenols that have been shown to fight breast tumors in animals.

SOURCE: International Journal of Cancer, March 15, 2009

The Truth about a recent study about MultiVitamins and Cancer & Heart Disease

by Joan E. Baumann, NutriSeach
MULTIVITAMINS CONSIDERED USELESS IN PREVENTION OF CANCER OR HEART DISEASE
Dramatic, misleading headlines such as the one above are so frequently picked up and run by the press.
I decided to check out the source in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

At the bottom of the abstract there was a clinical trials Identifier Number: Trial Registration Number NCT0000611.

The identifying number gave a clearer picture of the criteria. Here is what the Government Trials website stated as to eligibility:
Eligibility

Ages Eligible for Study: 50 Years to 79 Years

Genders Eligible for Study: Female

Accepts Healthy Volunteers: No

Criteria

Postmenopausal women ages 50 to 79.

The Trial Criteria allowed for Postmenopausal Women Ages 50 – 79 BUT excluded healthy volunteers! http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT00000611/

The women were asked if they took multivitamins, and a detailed record of their vitamin of choice was kept. The Data regarding their vitamin use was accepted even if they took their multivitamin as infrequently as once a week!

SomeBIG IFSbecame apparent: if they took one of the heavier advertised brands, with their minimal amounts of basic nutrients,if their vitamin contained nutrients that were not optimal in quality, such as synthetic vitamin E instead of the natural form,if it contained very low levels of vitamin C,if it did not include nutrients such as inositol, choline, alpha lipoic acid, quercetin, flavonoids, n-acetyl L-cysteine, coenzymeQ10, beta-carotene instead of vitamin A, optimal levels of Folic Acid ……..then one would expect the outcome the study announced. Too many IFS! There was no apparent baseline for either levels or quality of nutrients.
Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs for the Natural Products Association, a non-profit organization, had a few interesting comments on the study.
Fabricant said it is “unprincipled” that the authors arbitrarily lumped supplement types into generalized categories that do not represent nutrient intake accurately. And when coupled with the fact that nutrient intake through the diet was not accounted for, Fabricant explained, the study has no means of establishing a baseline for which to draw any comparisons or eliminate bias.

He further stated: “ Taken as whole, the research on dietary supplements in the prevention of chronic diseases, is strong and consistent. To suggest that taking vitamins and minerals with a demonstrated health benefit is unnecessary sends the wrong public health message.”

There are literally thousands of research studies which have shown the benefits of many nutrients, from food and/or supplements. To ignore such a large body of research and depend solely upon our food supply to provide the level of nutrition that can keep us healthy makes absolutely no sense.

We can trust in the science and integrity of a company like Usana; the longer we maintain the health of our cells on a regular basis, the greater the benefit as we age.

In health,

Joan E. Baumann

Thank you Joan for this excellent replay to a headline which received too much press. We must realize that there are many companies who want to keep these sorts of headlines in front of the public. There are thousands of medical studies which show that optimal levels of high quality nutritional supplements can have a tremendous impact on preventing or reversing almost every degenerative disease. If this were brought to the public’s attention it could cost big pharmaceutical companies billions and billions of dollars. Yet headlines such as this help insure big pharma’s monoply of our medical system.
NutriSearch has evaluated over 1,500 different multivitamins available in the US and Canada. Usana Health Sciences has received their top rating for for the past 9 years.