In our modern culture, it is known that one in two adults will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. That does not bode well for our children. We need to pay attention to this frightening statistic and make an action plan to prevent cancer.
Basic Actions to Improve Health and Prevent Cancer
- Stop eating processed and packaged foods and eat real whole foods (receive my Getting Started Series for your real food journey here)
- Remove rancid vegetables oils and eat good fats
- Remove sugar from your diet
- Have a moderate exercise plan that you are consistent with – breaking a sweat has been shown to reduce BPA levels in the body
- Remove commercial cleaning and personal care products from your home (replace with simple non-toxic personal care products)
- Eat organially grown foods
- Drink green tea
- Eat fermented foods
- Eat organ meats
- Take probiotics
Aside from these basic actions that we all should pay attention to in order to prevent cancer we can take a few other actions at home. There are many other things to do to improve health but these two common vitamins are easy to implement and have a lot of research behind them.
Vitamin C for Cancer Prevention
Vitamin C – also know as ascorbic acid or ascorbate – is perhaps the most popular supplement in this country. The RDA for vitamin C is pathetically low and will only just keep you from having the deficiency disease scury.
Humans, primates, fruit bats and guinea pigs are the only mammals who cannot manufacture their own vitamin C. Therefore, vitamin C is essential to humans (and animals) and must be obtained through diet.
Vitamin C deficiency, called scurvy, presents with symptoms and signs such as, bleeding gums, poor wound healing, extensive bruising, susceptibility to infection and depression. These are all sue to the deficiency of collagen production when vitamin C is low.
These days, not many people have a frank vitamin C deficiency, although, if you smoke, you may have one because smoking breaks down the vitamin C in the body – affecting collagen tissue needed in wound healing and gum repair. This is one of the negative effects of smoking on the gum tissue in the mouth, causing bleeding gums, gingivitis and periodontitis.
At high quantities vitamin C has antimicrobial, antiviral, antihistamine and antibiotic properties. Some of the benefits include increased collagen production, strong antioxidant, aid with utilization of other nutrients and increased immune function.
High dose vitamin C does have some controversy. There are studies in the literature that indicate that high doses of vitamin C can cause calcium oxalate kidney stones. However, this study and numerous studies have demonstrated that even in persons with severe kidney disease or gout, not on hemodialysis or suffering from recurrent kidney stones – high dose vitamin C does not cause kidney stones.
Food sources of vitamin C include; citrus fruits, vegetables and fermented vegetables. The Germans stored sauerkraut on their ships to provide vitamin C in their diet. Of course, the English stored limes for this reason as well.
Be aware that exposure to air degrades vitamin C. Freshly sliced cucumbers if left standing lose 41% of vitamin C content within the first 3 hours. Sliced cantaloupe loses 35% of vitamin C in less than 24 hours if left uncovered. Try to eat fruit and vegetables as soon as you cut them.
Vitamin C Flush
The Vitamin C Flush is used as a cleansing tool and also to determine the appropriate level of vitamin C a person can tolerate. For each person it is different and can be different at various times – for instance, if one is sick, the vitamin C requirement will be higher.
Essentially you are taking a dose of 1.5 grams of fully reduced, buffered mineral l-ascorbate powder (like this one), every 15 minutes until you reach bowel tolerance. That means that your bowels start to move at that point. You will be recording how many grams it took to get to that point. Your true dose is 3/4 of the amount it took to get to bowel tolerance. Follow these directions.
Vit C administration of up to 10 grams a day (and higher) has not shown any effect on urinary oxalate levels. Many functional medicine doctors use the vitamin C flush without any reported problems. However, be sure to discuss this procedure with your personal health care provider before attempting to do it at home. See my disclaimer here.
IV Vitamin C for Cancer
Linus Pauling and Ewan Cameron preformed many research studies showing the benefits of high dose vitamin C for cancer patients. In this study reported in the Proceedings of the national Academy of Science USA in 1976, they treated terminally ill cancer patients with 10 gms of ascorbic acid a day. Of 100 terminally ill patients 16 survived 1 year, compared to 3 out of 1000 in the control group.
Cameron then repeated this work and found similar results. You would think this would make the evening news. Vitamin C can be very powerful.
Vitamin C is critical for proper immune function whether it be to recover from infections, eliminate toxins and or support healthy cell function.
Vitamin C Strengthens the Immune System in Many Ways
- It increases natural killer cell activity
- It supports B and T lymphocytes in their various functions
- It supports prostaglandin formation
- It support phagocytes and macrophages in their clean up functions
Vitamin D for Cancer
Vitamin D is protective against certain types of cancer including melanoma. This study published in the European Journal of Cancer found that melanoma patients who exposed themselves to sunlight had a better survival rate than patients who did not. They found that intermittent sun exposure was inversely associated with the risk of death in melanoma.
Interesting. Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer yet sun exposure seemed to help. Just the opposite of what we are being told.
Importance of Vitamin D for Overall Health
Healthy vitamin D levels are needed for optimal cardiovascular health, immune system health and blood sugar regulation as well as bone, teeth and skin health and so many other benefits.
Vitamin D works in conjunction with vitamin K2 for healthy bones and teeth.
A recent study published in Journal of Cardiovascular Translational Research in April 2013, found that vitamin D protects the endothelial cells (the cells that line the blood vessels) from oxidative stress. This is just another study in the cannon of studies that finds vitamin D protective from the many diseases of inflammation.
Additionally, this recently published study in the United European Gastroenterology Journal found that vitamin D supplementation reduced intestinal permeability (leaky gut) in patients with Crohn’s disease. They also found that the supplementation extended periods of remission.
Crohn’s disease is an autoimmune diseases whereby the immune system may over-react to food, bacteria and other substances, causing an explosion of inflammatory chemicals that cause damage to the intestinal tissues. Severe inflammation is the issue here and vitamin D seems to help alleviate the root cause – leaky gut.
In functional medicine we go straight to the root cause of the problem. We are finding that inflammation is one of the most basic root causes. All of the actions listed above address the problem of inflammation in the body and can be seen as preventative actions against cancer.
Have you had cancer or had someone close to you with cancer?