The tumour, whether benign or malignant is not the disease but an indication of an underlying Pattern of Disharmony that can be addressed through adequate nutrition and appropriate lifestyle advice. From a naturopathic perspective the causes of cancer are multifactorial. The pathophysiology of cancer is due to a combination of free radicals, toxins, ageing & chronic inflammation causing damage to cells, leading to genetic mutation, cell death and resultant hyperproliferation of the cell and angionenesis (the formation of new blood vessels to the blood thirsty tumour). Cancer is also caused by imbalances on a spiritual, emotional, mental and physical plane. From a naturopathic perspective there is a plethora of dietary, lifestyle, supplement and herbal medicine advice that will address the causes of a tumour, alleviate the symptoms and halt or reverse the progression of the disease. See Cancer Support
What is cancer?
Cancer comes in many shapes and sizes, and how it affects the body varies greatly. Cancer is a term used to describe a group of illnesses all having certain common characteristics. These characteristics include an over-growth of cells that forms a tumour.
There are over 200 different types of cancer, each with a specific name, treatment and chance of being cured.
The most common cancer types in Ireland: skin cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer and bowel cancer.
What all cancers have in common is the lack of normal cell growth, which can result in serious health problems.
What does a tumour do?
Tumours cause medical problems in two ways:
1. directly, by pressing on and damaging nearby organs,
2.or indirectly, by breaking off and invading other distant tissues and organs.
How cells work
To better understand what cancer is and how it occurs, learn more about how cells grow and reproduce normally.
Normal cell organisation
Cell multiplication is normal. We all start life as just one single cell, the ovum, which is fertilized by sperm and begins to multiply, producing more cells. These cells grow and mature to become nerve cells, muscle, blood cells or connective tissue (e.g., skin).
Groups of these different types of cells then come together to form our organs (eyes, ears, legs, lungs, skin, etc). Each of our organs is made up of many different types of cells and each cell has a particular function within that organ; the cells work in co-operation with each other to make the organ work effectively.
In the heart, for example, specific cells called cardiac muscle-cells pump blood. However, nerve cells are also located in the heart. These cardiac nerve cells are needed to conduct the electrical signals to produce each contraction. Therefore, many different types of cells must work in co-operation with each other in order for an organ to work effectively.
Normal cell growth and repair
Occasionally, cells within an organ die off or wear out and new cells then replace them. This growth of new cells is a highly complex and tightly regulated process.
With cancer, for one reason or another, the growth of new cells becomes faulty. When a cancer cell begins to grow, rather than just replacing the cells that have been damaged or lost, it multiplies out of control, taking over the organ. In some cases the cancer cell grows so much it forms a mass of cells called a tumour. This tumour can cause health problems by blocking internal ducts, or by pressing against other organs, preventing them from working properly.
Tumours can be either benign or malignant:
Benign tumours can cause problems in the organ where they occur, but do not spread. These tumours may be removed surgically or treated with drugs and/or radiation to reduce their size, which usually cures the disease.
Malignant tumours can spread cells from the original tumour, can sometimes spread from the original site. This spread happens in three ways:
By direct extension, where the cells literally grow into nearby organs.
By the lymphatic system, where cells from the original tumour break off and enter the lymph canals.
By the blood stream.
Once the cancer spreads, the cells migrate to many other distant sites and organs in the body. Multiple growths may occur, affecting many parts of the body, eventually causing multiple organs to fail. These growths are known as secondary cancers or metastasis.
Organs or parts of the body that have a rich blood or lymph supply are the most likely places where malignant growths appear. These organs include the lungs, the liver, bone marrow and lymph nodes.
Types of cancer
Carcinomas are malignant tumours that arise from cells lining the surfaces of the body. For example, a cancer of the lining of the stomach is termed a carcinoma, as is cancer arising from cells lining the breast ducts. These are often just called cancers.
Sarcomas are malignant tumours that arise out of cells in the supporting structures of the body (e.g. bone, muscle and cartilage).
Leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma
Leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma are all malignancies that arise from blood cells or from cells that go to make up blood. These cancers are also known as haematological malignancies.
What causes cancer?
From a western medical perspective, many things, including genes and a number of external factors, can cause cancer.
Cancer is a disorder that can occur inside any cell in our body. It is a mistake in the DNA (the genetic codes of our cells) that causes the cell to grow without control.
While cancer is a mistake at the genetic level of the cell, in up to 90% of cases this genetic mistake is not one that has been inherited; it is mostly the exposure to one or more carcinogens during our lifetime that causes cancer to occur. Our inherited genes still play a small role in how likely we are to develop cancer if we are exposed to one or more carcinogens. So the development of cancer is dependent on both exposure to one or more carcinogens and our genetic predisposition.
Carcinogens (cancer promoting factors)
Carcinogens are factors, which cause the DNA inside a cell to become altered, or ‘mutated’. However, in order for a mutation to cause cancer, the mutation must cause the cell to do two things:
1. to grow without control
2. to become immortal, which means the cell doesn't die when it's supposed to
Carcinogens can be physical, chemical or biological.
Physical mutation of DNA can be caused by ionising radiation, ultraviolet radiation and by mineral fibres. These three mutagens act in very different ways.
1. Ionising radiation literally punches holes in the DNA, breaking the correct genetic sequence. Ionising radiation can come from directly from X-rays and solar radiation (cosmic rays) and indirectly from radon gas.
2. Ultraviolet radiation, which comes from the sun, causes mutations by causing certain portions of DNA to remain bound together (even when they shouldn’t). This causes mutations by causing misreading of the DNA.
3. Certain natural mineral fibres like asbestos, because of their size, can cause damage directly to DNA resulting in carcinogenic mutations.
In the case of chemical mutagens, mutation is caused by foreign molecules binding to a cell’s DNA, causing it to be ‘misread’. Examples of chemical mutagens are benzopyrene (found in cigarette smoke), vinyl chloride (found in the plastics industry), aflatoxin (found in certain moulds) and hetrocyclic amines (found in over-cooked foods) endocrine disrupting pastics such as BPA found in water bottles. Plastic is ubiquitous in our environment. We are drinking it in our water and breathing it in our atmosphere.
Biological mutagens may be viral or bacterial.Viral mutagens may use a number of different complex mechanisms to cause a cell to become cancerous. Viruses that can be a risk factor for different cancers include the human papilloma virus (implicated in cervical cancer), the human T-cell lymphyocytic virus (implicated in lymphoma), and the hepatitis B virus (implicated in liver cancer). One known bacterial mutagen is helicobacter pylori (implicated in stomach cancer).
In the development of cancer there is a lack of cell differentiation due to immune weakness. Nutritional deficiencies may contribute to immune weakness, resulting in the immune system not being able to identify and destroy unhealthy cells. Many nutrients are involved in maintaining a healthy immune system.
Naturopathic causes of Cancer
From a naturopathic perspective the causes of cancer are more than just genetic and exposure to physical, mutagenic or biological mutagens.
Cancer is caused by immune system dysfunction due to;
Suppression of the Vital force
When babies are only weeks old they are given panadol to suppress a fever. Why? Fevers are not dangerous. They are an expression of a healthy immune system and a strong Vital Force. From my experience there is one common thread in all my patients with cancer, chronic degenerative disease and autoimmune disease, this is that they do not get fevers. Patients with cancer need to retrain their immune systems in the way of promoting a natural fever response.
A Fever is a natural response of a healthy immune system. A fever inhibits toxins and clears waste from the tissues, lymph and blood, on which bacteria feed and multiply. Killer T-cells are increased, as are neutrophils and macrophages, which are the white blood cells responsible for destroying invaders. Fever IS NOT DANGEROUS unless the temperature is over 101°F (38.3°C) in an infant, 103°F (39.4°C) in a child or 104°F (40°C) in an adult. During a fever of 38-40 degrees Celsius our immune system is down regulated. Essentially this means the immune system is disciplined so that it learns not to overreact and attack itself causing autoimmune disease. Please see also Naturopathic Causes and Treatment of Autoimmune Disease.
I use YEP (yarrow, elderflower and peppermint) tea, a blend of what is called diaphoretic herbs, which promote sweating to lower temperature. These herbs are also amphoteric, meaning that they can lower body temperature if it is too high, or actually work to raise body temperature in a low grade fever ie. 37 degrees Celsius. By dilating the peripheral blood vessels, these herbs also naturally lower blood pressure.
Basically to manage a fever, if the patient feels cold the temperature is on the way up, if they are sweating the fever has broken and the temperature is on the way down. So if your baby is 38 and dry and shivering then put them in a tepid bath and use Yep tea. I also use acupuncture and homeopathics to lower body temperature instantly.
From a naturopathic perspective, if you don't throw a good fever , your Vital Force is weak. Try an Epsom Salt Detox next time you have a cold or flu. Add 1 kg of Epsom salts to a very hot bath. Do not submerse your head. Get out and wrap yourself in a sheet. Get into bed. Cover yourself with bed clothes. You will sweat and stain the sheet like the shroud of Turin! As your skin is the biggest eliminatory organ you are sweating out toxins. This is not for the faint hearted. Drink plenty of water.
I understand that this really challenges some peoples' beliefs, but what I am saying is ditch the panadol, ditch the vaccines etc. and go back to old school medicine your grandmother would have told you.
Vaccinosis is a homeopathic term that describes the damaging effects of vaccinations to our Vital Force. Without getting into the whole Bill Gates/ Bono argument how vaccines are going to save the African babies, firstly, vaccines contain mercury, aluminium and formaldehyde, all known neurotoxins, and secondly, vaccines prevent us from getting diseases we are meant to get. A neurotoxin is a toxin that causes death to brain cells. Formaldehyde is also a known carcinogen and is one of the most dangerous toxins known to man. Injecting these neurotoxins into tiny babies can and does have serious long-term health consequences. Surely we all remember when we were kids no one had autism or ADD or aspergers. Nowadays it seems abnormal not to have a child diagnosed with an "ism". In the 1970s the number of vaccinations received were substantially less than now. More vaccines mean more neurotoxins. Sadly, we live in a world where DDT in found in Antarctica, it is impossible to avoid all neurotoxins. We can say no to the ones we choose to say no to.
Nowadays also, the proposed vaccination schedule includes vaccinating our newborns against hepatitis B, a sexually transmitted disease! As new born babies are not sexually active or IV drug users for that matter, by the time they are likely to become sexually active, the vaccine's effect has worn out. Why? As Einstein said, fear, greed and stupidity are the three forces that rule the world. Iatrogenic disorders (a doctor-, drug-, vaccine-, surgery- or other medical treatment-caused disorder) are currently the third leading cause of death in the US.
It is in fact because vaccinations prevent disease that is the reason why they are so damaging to the Vital Force. Believe it or not, we are meant to get small illnesses to prevent larger ones. Historically children are meant to get childhood diseases. The common childhood diseases are:
- Scarlet fever
- Duke's disease
- Erythema infectiosum (Slap Face)
- Roseola infantum (Three Day Fever)
- Chicken pox
- Whooping cough
If children are vaccinated against natural and necessary childhood diseases, their immune systems remain immature and are unable to protect the body against cancer cells and to prevent autoimmune disease. The best protection against the serious potential side effects of childhood diseases such as measles and chicken pox is natural vaginal delivery, breastfeeding, clean air, clean unpolluted water, whole foods, exercise, rest, love and herbal medicine.
MHC - Major Histocompatability Complex Dysfunction (AKA Hygiene Hypothesis and Molecular Mimicry)
In medicine, the hygiene hypothesis is a hypothesis that states that a lack of early childhood exposure to infectious agents, symbiotic microorganisms (e.g., gut flora or probiotics), and parasites increases susceptibility to allergic diseases by suppressing natural development of the immune system. Other diseases, such as the rise of autoimmune diseases and acute lymphoblastic leukemia in young people in the developed world, have also been linked to the hygiene hypothesis.
There is some evidence that autism is caused by an immune disease; one study suggests implicates the hygiene hypothesis as a cause of autism. Because of the increased use of antibiotics, antipyretics (paracetamol, ibuprofen), and vaccines against childhood diseases, children with modern medical care are less likely to experience a high fever. According to some medical papers, high fever prevents cancer.
Thomas Jessy. Immunity over inability: The spontaneous regression of cancer. J Nat Sci Biol Med. 2011 Jan-Jun; 2(1): 43–49.
Ralf Kleef* and E. Dieter Hager., Fever, Pyrogens and Cancer
This is a subject that immunologists worldwide lecture on but unfortunately, this information does not filter down to the general public. The advice would be, have a baby naturally, breastfeed, don't overuse and abuse paracetamol, antibiotics and decrease the vaccine schedule. Lett your kids play in the dirt, ditch the antibacterials, send your kids to chicken pox parties but instead, the new reality is terrified mothers take their kids to "peanut butter parties" in parks near Emergency Departments of hospitals.
Nutritional deficiencies and cancer due to immune system dysfunction
Deficiency of Selenium
Selenium forms part of our endogenous antioxidants glutathione peroxidase and thioredoxin reductase. Our body makes these antioxidants to prevent genetic mutation caused by toxins. Other endogenous antioxidants are superoxide dismutase, glutathione s transferase and catalase. We don't make these out of thin air. We need vitamins and minerals for all of these. Selenium is also used for three known deiodinase enzymes (which convert one thyroid hormone to another), therefore important for thyroid health also. Brazil nuts are the biggest natural source but if you have cancer or even a strong family history of cancer, then a supplement is recommended. Safe during chemotherapy. I use the herb Astragalus in my Cancer Support as it is rich in selenium and boosts white blood cells.
Very important for proper cell differentiation (ie helping the body to recognise it's own cells from cancer cells or foreign cells)
Folic Acid / Vitamin B12
Involved in DNA/RNA, important for cell increased turnover and proper cell differentiation.
Ascorbate is an antioxidant, since it protects the body against oxidative stress, and is a cofactor in several vital enzymatic reactions.
Vit E is the most important lipid-soluble antioxidant. Prevents lipid peroxidation. Protects selenium.
Zinc salts are effective against pathogens in direct application. Antimicrobial action of the zinc ions in the GI tract protect against gastroenteritis, or to absorption of the zinc and re-release from immune cells all granulocytes secrete zinc including neutrophil granulocytes, eosinophil granulocytes and basophil granulocytes. In clinical trials, both zinc gluconate and zinc gluconate glycine (the formulation used in lozenges) have been shown to shorten the duration of symptoms of the common cold.
Free Radical Exposure
A free radical is a molecule with an unpaired electron that roams around in the cardiovascular system stealing electrons from healthy cells and causing them to die. This is called necrosis. Antioxidants provide the missing electron and neutralise the free radicals. Free radicals are either;
- Exogenous/external ( Exogenous/external free radicals are called xenobiotics)
- Endogenous/internal (Endogenous/internal free radicals are called toxins or xenobiotics)
A xenobiotic is a chemical found in us which is not normally produced or present in much higher concentrations than are usual. Examples:
- Drugs such as antibiotics, OCP, paracetamol, recreational drugs.
- Pollutants such as dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls PCPs, DDT, fluoride, chlorine.
- Synthetic oestrogens such as BPA in plastic bottles.
Apoptosis is a natural immune system response described as programmed cell death and is useful in controlling pre-cancerous and cancerous cells from getting out of hand.
Xenobiotics (free radicals) induce apoptosis at lower doses and necrosis at higher doses. Necrosis or cell death is not reversible and is negative, whilst apoptosis on the other hand is positive. I call this my baseline toxicity theory which literally means that a few toxins are actually good for you and stimulate your immune system to kill cancer cells. The sun's radiation increases longevity in small amounts by stimulation the Sir 2 gene. Good nutrition is not about being anal. It is OK to BBQ occasionally, fry with oil and have a daily glass of red wine or a hot toddy in winter. You will do yourself far more of a disservice by following strict dietary regimes. In fact, from a metaphysical perspective, being rigid in the mind causes physical rigidities such as tumours. Detoxing at least once a year does have many health benefits though, I just don't like to see people becoming obsessed that their bodies are toxic cesspits and addicted to lunchtime colonics :)
Toxins are not only from external sources. Toxins are produced internally by the liver during detoxification. Huge amounts of toxins are generated during exercise. Exercise is actually called hermetic which means "to excite" and also stimulates sir 2 the longevity gene. Toxins actually stimulate our liver to turn up detoxification processes. This again demonstrates my baseline toxicity theory which refers to the benefit of small amounts of toxins to exercise our immune systems.
Too many endogenous toxins, however, can cause genetic mutation. Regular juice fasting is the method I prescribe for therapeutic detoxification method. See Detox.
Heavy Metal Toxicity
Food Sources of Heavy Metals
- Food grown near highways or industrial plants may contain toxic minerals.
- Sprays and insecticides still often contain lead, arsenic, mercury and other toxic minerals.
- Pesticides used on fruits, vegetables and many other foods may contain arsenic, lead, copper, mercury and other toxic minerals.
- Refining food often contaminates the food with aluminium. Food refining removes the protective zinc, chromium and manganese from food and can leave the toxic minerals in, such as cadmium.
- Fish. Mercury is found in all fish today, even the small fish, which used to be safe, are not any more in large amounts ie more than 5 times per week. However large fish concentrate mercury a million times or more than small fish. Everyone should avoid all shark, king mackerel and other large fish. Tinned tuna has less mercury than fresh tuna. Tinned salmon, herring and sardines have the least.
- Shellfish and bottom feeders, in particular, contain excessive cadmium, mercury and other toxic minerals.
- Table salt has aluminium added as an anti-caking agent. Drinks in aluminium cans or tetra packs lined with aluminium may contain elevated levels of aluminium.
- "Drinking Water" is the main source of toxic minerals. Aluminium, copper, toxic chloride and fluoride are added to public water supplies. Aluminium allows dirt to settle out of the water, while copper kills algae that grow in reservoirs. Chlorine is used to disinfect water. Wells and river water may also contain some lead, arsenic and other undesirable minerals. Galvanized and black plastic pipes can be a source of cadmium. Lead-soldered pipes and copper pipes may increase these minerals in the drinking water if the water is soft. Good quality spring water is the best way to avoid the most common source of toxic minerals and at the same time obtain vital minerals. I do not recommend demineralised dead water produced by reverse osmosis. Please see also The Real Story Behind Reverse Osmosis.
It is not just that fluoride itself is so damaging to health, but the fact that fluorosillic acid (the source of Irish fluoride in water) also contains mercury, aluminium and lead, that is an even greater concern. Please see also Flouride- Medicating the Masses. It is essential to remove contaminants from your "drinking" water. Flouride removal is difficult and that is why we specialise in this. Please see also Eco Water Filters.
Other Sources of Toxic Minerals
- Cigarette smoke is high in cadmium and arsenic.
- Medications often contain toxic minerals. Cipro (fluoroquinolones) and Prozac (fluoxetine) are fluoride-containing chemicals. Thimerisol, a mercury-containing preservative, is used in some vaccines, including all flu shots. Thiazide diuretics contain mercury. Antacids are very high in aluminium.
Direct Skin Contact
- Almost all antiperspirants, many cosmetics contain aluminium and most make up contains toxic minerals such as lead, and cadmium. Some hair dyes contain lead.
- Dental amalgams contain mercury, nickel, silver and other toxic minerals. Dental bridges and other appliances often contain nickel.
- Prostheses and pins used to hold bones together may contain nickel and other toxic minerals.
- Copper intra-uterine devices release copper into the body.
- Household lawn and garden chemicals may contain lead, arsenic and other toxic minerals.
- Mercury treated seeds and arsenic-treated wood are other common sources of toxic minerals.
Among the most common are plumbers, electricians, mechanics, printers, ironworkers, office workers, other building trades and many other occupations. Workers need to wear gloves, masks and take other precautions when handling inks, minerals and other toxic materials.
Deficiency of minerals required to chelate heavy metals
Zinc, calcium, magnesium and selenium are antagonistic in the body to heavy metals and are the most important minerals to prevent heavy metal toxicity. Smokers have high cadmium levels and therefore low zinc. Please see also Heavy Metal and Plastic Detox.
Tyrosine Kinase Receptor Inhibitors (TKI)
Tyrosine Kinase Receptor Inhibitors (TKI) are drugs that inhibit RTKs, the enzymes involved in turning on signal transduction in tumour formation. A tyrosine kinase is an enzyme that can transfer a phosphate group from ATP to a protein in a cell. It functions as an "on" or "off" switch in many cellular functions. Phosphorylation of proteins by kinases is an important mechanism in communicating signals within a cell (signal transduction) and regulating cellular activity, such as cell division.
Protein kinases can become mutated, stuck in the "on" position, and cause unregulated growth of the cell, which is a necessary step for the development of cancer, therefore, kinase inhibitors are often effective cancer treatments. TKIs are typically used as anti-cancer drugs. It is estimated that about 30% of the current effort of the pharmaceutical industry is devoted to the development of protein kinase inhibitors, especially tyrphostins/TKIs.
Again all drugs have side effects, although these are far less damaging than chemotherapy and radiotherapy and are a very positive advance. There are however many natural alternatives to TKIs that we can incorporate into our diets every day to reduce or treat cancer.
Receptor Tyrosine Kinases (RTK) - regulate normal cell processes and have a critical role in the development and progression of many types of cancer.
RTK signaling pathways
- Increases hyperproliferation
- Decreases apoptosis
- Increases angiogenesis
- Applies to all inflammatory diseases (RA, Chrons, AI disease and cancer)
Natural Alternatives to TKIs
These are known as Anticancer Foods or Antiangiogenic Foods
When we say a food is anticancer, what this actually means is that it is a natural Tyrosine Kinase Receptor Inhibitor (TKI), therefore prevents angiogenesis and the formation of new blood vessels to feed a tumour.
Compounds that are Natural Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors
Catechins - in green tea
Genestin - in soya (esp leukemic cells and breast cancer cells).
Diadzein - in soya
Apeginin - in chamomile
Curcumin - in turmeric
Epigallocatechin galate - in green tea.
Hypericin - St John’s Wort
Chamomile and Turmeric are in my Cancer Support herbal tincture. You can eat tofu and drink green tea.
Other Natural TKI Anticancer compounds in foods and herbs
- Genistein in soy, produces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis
- Catechins, the main compounds of green tea leaves, have been identified as potent natural inhibitors of several RTKs.
- Artemisia annua (Chinese wormwood)
- Viscum album (European mistletoe)
- Curcuma longa (curcumin)
- Scutellaria baicalensis (Chinese skullcap)
- Resveratrol and proanthocyanidin (grape seed extract, red wine)
- Magnolia officinalis (Chinese magnolia tree)
- Camellia sinensis (green tea)
- Ginkgo biloba
- Poria cocos/Fu Ling
- Zingiber officinalis (ginger)
- Panax ginseng
- Rabdosia rubescens hora/Dong Ling Cao and Chinese destagnation herbs.
My Cancer Support herbal formula contains the natural TKIs, wormwood, mistletoe, turmeric, Chinese scullcap and ginger.
Excess Insulin-Like Growth Factor (IGF) activity
IGF is a polypeptide hormone which is naturally in cow’s milk and breast milk. It is anabolic and is implicated for breast / endometrial / ovarian / prostate / hormone linked cancers. It's a potent activator of Receptor Tyrosine Kinase (RTK) signaling pathways. These are enzymes responsible for the production of new blood vessels required by a growing tumour. (Angiogenesis). IGF-1 plays a role in cell proliferation and apoptosis and is mitogenic. It binds specifically to IGF-1 receptor, which is an RTK.
Natural IGF Inhibitors
Tomatoes, soya polyphenols, vegan diet (due to its low protein content). If you have cancer avoid milk as it increases ILGF. Barley is highest in chromium which lowers blood sugar, therefore, lower both insulin and ILGF. Food that have a low GI, basically whole grains and legumes, also lower ILGF.
Cox and Lox (and fox in sox) and inflammation and cancer
Cox (cyclooxygenase) and Lox (lipoxygenase) are two enzymes involved in inflammation in the body. COX2 is overexpressed in cancer, this has been learned from long-term studies of NSAIDs. Both Cox and Lox are said to be overexpressed in tumours.
Excess inflammation is implicated in the formation of cancer as it causes cell damage and genetic mutation thus increases the chance of cancer formation. Cox and Lox are also employed by oncogenes such as HER2. Following an anti-inflammatory diet that includes liberal amounts of compounds that naturally inhibit Cox and Lox, will decrease inflammation and cancer formation.
Very basically, reduce arachidonic acid containing foods such as red meats and dairy, increase Omega 3 containing foods such as fish and flax and eat lots of garlic, ginger, onions and turmeric.
Natural Cox & Lox inhibitors
Cox 2 inhibitors
- Apigenin tea, numerous sources <40 uM Baical Skullcap Root, (huangqin)
- Berberine phellodendron (huangbai)
- Curcumin turmeric (jianghuang)
- Eicosapentaenoic acid garlic (dasuan)
- Evodiamine and evodol evodia (wuzhuyu)
- Oleanolic acid numerous rosemary
- Quercetin numerous
- Resveratrol hu-chang (huzhang)
- Rutaecarpine evodia (wuzhuyu)
- Ursolic acid ligustrum (nuzhenzi) rosemary
Lox 2 inhibitors
- Allicin garlic (dasuan)
- Berbamine hu-chang (huzhang)
- Berberine coptis (huanglian), phellodendron (haungbai)
- Boswellic acid frankincense (ruxiang)
- Caffeic acid taraxacum/dandylion (pugongying)
- Epicatechin tea
- Epicatechin-gallate tea
- Epigallocatechin tea
- Fisetin chih-shih (zhishi)
- Flavone numerous
- Galangin galanga (liangjiang)
- Morin morus (sangbaipi)
- Quercetin numerous
- Theaflavin digallate tea
- Ursolic acid ligustrum (nuzhenzi)
I use the berberine containing herb Barberry, and Baical Skullcap Root, Rosemary and Turmeric, as natural Cox and Lox inhibitors in my Cancer Support herbal tincture.
Tumor necrosis factor-alpha is a cytokine involved in systemic inflammation and is a member of a group of cytokines that all stimulate the acute phase reaction. TNF causes apoptotic cell death, cellular proliferation, differentiation, inflammation, tumourigenesis, and viral replication. Its primary role is in the regulation of immune cells. Dysregulation and, in particular, overproduction of TNF have been implicated in a variety of human diseases, as well as cancer.
Natural TNF Inhibitors:
- Curcumin (in turmeric)
- Catechins (in green tea)
- Aucubin (in plantain)
IL6 is also high in patients with cancer and involved in tumourigenesis. (Interleukin 6) is an interleukin, acts as both a pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokine. It is secreted by T cells and macrophages to stimulate the immune response to trauma, especially burns or other tissue damage leading to inflammation. IL-6 is also a "myokine," a cytokine produced from muscle, and is elevated in response to muscle contraction and in exercise. Additionally, osteoblasts secrete IL-6 to stimulate osteoclast formation. Smooth muscle cells in the tunica media of many blood vessels also produce IL-6 as a pro-inflammatory cytokine. IL-6's role as an anti-inflammatory cytokine is mediated through its inhibitory effects on TNF-alpha and IL-1, and activation of IL-1ra and IL-10. Mediates fever and acute phase response.
Natural IL6 inhibitors
Aucubin - in plantain
Aucubin has the following properties: sedative, anaesthetic, alterative, antiseptic, anti-viral, anti-toxic, antihistaminic, anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, anti-tumour, anti-cancer, anti-carcinogenic, diuretic, expectorant, hypotensive, organoleptic (odour, taste) Aucubin has been shown to have potent liver protecting properties. Both aucubin and a haemolytic saponin from Plantain leaves have been shown to be active against Staphylococcus aureus. In one study aucubin was found to suppress hepatitis B viral DNA replication. It also inhibits IL6 and TNF-ά.
I use Plantain in my Cancer Support as a natural IL6 inhibitor and a TNF alpha inhibitor.
Oestrogen inhibits IL6 so in women, having healthy adrenals is another aspect to preventing cancer. Please see also Naturopathic Causes & Treatment of Adrenal Exhaustion '21st Century Syndrome'.
Hormone Dependent Cancers
Hormone dependent cancers such as breast, endometrial, ovarian, prostate all have a similar naturopathic pathogenesis or causes. These are;
- Xenoestrogen excess. Please see also Oestrogen Dominance in Breast & Prostate Cancer.
- Excess betaglucuronidasde and aromatase activity.
- Deficiency of SHBG.
- Poor enterohepatic circulation.
Xenoestrogen excess is also known as Oestrogen Dominance
Xenoestrogens are found in large amounts in chicken, pork, plastic bottles. Please see also Is Your Plastic Drinking Bottle or Water Filter Safe? and The Dangers of Burning Plastic. Lamb is the cleanest meat. Avoid plastic bottles and water filters. We recommend the Eco Water Filter.
Aluminium deodorants are extremely oestrogen mimetic and promote breast cancer. Think about inadvertently spraying this toxin directly on your breast tissue.
Excess Beta-glucuronidase and Aromatase activity
Oestrogens are reconjugated to strong oestrogen via two enzymes, beta-glucuronidase and aromatase. Beta-glucuronidase converts weak oestrogen to cancer-causing oestrogen in the bowel. Aromatase converts weak oestrogen to cancer-causing oestrogen in the fat cells. This is why being overweight has repeatedly been shown to be a cause of cancer.
For a full explanation of beta-glucuronidase and aromatase activity and the involvement in cancer, please see also Natural Alternatives to Tamoxifen for Breast Cancer.
Deficiency of SHBG
Sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) is a glycoprotein that binds to sex hormones, specifically testosterone and oestradiol. Other steroid hormones such as progesterone, cortisol, and other corticosteroids are bound by transcortin. Conditions with low SHBG include polycystic ovary syndrome and diabetes. There has recently been research to link high SHBG levels with breast and testicular cancer as well. A low fat high fibre diet with regular exercise naturally increase SHBG and decreases the risk of hormone dependant cancers.
TymchukCN,etal., Effects of diet and exercise on insulin, sex hormone-binding globulin, and prostate-specificantigen. Nutr Cancer 1998;31(2):127-31.
Increase isoflavones found naturally in soy products such as tofu and tempeh, chickpeas and kudzu root. Isoflavones are phytoestrogenic therefore protect the body from the negative effects of oestrogen excess. They also increase SHBG. Brassicacaea family vegetables such as brocolli, cauliflower, cabbage, curly kale, pakchoi ect., also increase SHBG thereby improving the removal of excess hormones form circulation. Nettle root also normalises SHBG. Exercise and fibre also increase SHBG.
HER2 is a term used in the diagnosis of breast cancers and is an indicator that your cancer is more virulent. HER2 is member of the ErbB protein family, more commonly known as the epidermal growth factor receptor family. It is a cell membrane surface-bound receptor tyrosine kinase and is normally involved in the signal transduction pathways leading to cell growth and differentiation. It is an oncogene. An oncogene turns on cancer.
It works in combination with ILGF. Basically IGF + HER2 => Increases RTKs / employs COX2 => angiogenesis (a step in transition of tumour from dormant to malignant)
IGF -> RTK -> Her2 (oncogene) /+Cox2 -> cancer
Mitogenic acid of insulin and IGF works with tyrosine kinase.
Suppression of spiritual/mental/emotional or physical aspects
Basically either in a parent/child or lover's relationship, suppression of ones' beliefs can lead to a poor sense of self and from a metaphysical and homeopathic perspective, this can manifest in an immune system that is unable to recognise healthy cells from unhealthy cells. This is called poor cell differentiation. It is important to speak your mind and get it off your chest. The cancer miasm in homeopathy has a mental/emotional picture of a person who has a poor sense of self.
Suppression of physical symptoms by the use of paracetamol, antibiotics and steroids will seriously damage your Vital Force. Eventually, the weakened Vital Force will no longer be able to express itself through the healthy expression of a fever. This is common in persons who have supposedly "grown out of" asthma or allergies. Did they really grow out of it or has the body just given up trying to display symptoms due to the abuse of western allopathic drugs? In my clinic, on the path to recovery, I see patients regain an ability to throw a good fever and to feel better after an acute illness, when they stop using western medical drugs to suppress symptoms and start boosting their natural immunity as nature intended.
Black Bile / Poor Bowel Function / Poor enterohepatic clearance / Bowel toxicity
The term black bile comes from the old medical belief of what is known as the four basic bodily liquids or four humours and that disease is caused by an imbalance in the humours. Personality types were similarly determined by the dominant humour in a particular person. According to the ancient Greek father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, a person whose constitution tended to have a preponderance of black bile had a melancholic disposition. An excess of black bile is also an old school naturopathic cause of cancer.
From a western pathophysiological perspective, this old school naturopathic philosophy can be explained as bile is converted to apcholic acid (carcinogen) & fecapentanes (carcinogenic) in the bowel in constipation. In constipation these bile acids are reabsorbed. Fibre and acidophilus will prevent bile from being converted to these carcinogens and keeping regular will prevent bile acids being reabsorbed.
Lymphatic congestion is an old school naturopathic term much like black bile. It is indicated by what we call schrophula nodosa or a lymphatic rosary in iridology. Herbal medicine and exercise clean the lymph. A diet high in fats, especially trans fats or hydrogenated fats blocks the lymphatic system. There are herbs specific to assist with lymphatic cleansing called lymphatic alteratives. I include these in my Cancer Support.
Poor Enterohepatic Circulation
In layman terms this is a sluggish liver and poor bowl flora, as hormones are fatty substances they need a healthy bile flow to break them down and healthy bowel flora to remove them from the bowel.
Please see also The Sluggish Liver Explained.
Diet to treat and prevent cancer
These foods are not contraindicated or dangerous in breast cancer if they are eaten in their natural form. Avoid at all costs soy supplements or soy protein isolate or GM soy. Sometimes websites advise you to avoid phytoestrogens in hormone dependent cancers including breast and prostate but this advice is WRONG. All epidemiological evidence supports the use of phytoestrogens to reduce risk of hormone dependent cancers and advising people to avoid these foods is quite frankly detrimental. soy contains genestein and diadzein to potent natural TKIs. For a full explanation please read also Oestrogen Dominance in Breast & Prostate Cancer.
Food sources of Oestrogenically active compounds
Resorcyclic acid lactones
Natural Aromatase inhibitors Like Aromadex
These compounds, found in cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collards and broccoli, help to transform dangerous oestrogen into more benign forms, as recognised by the National Cancer Institute. They have also been shown to stop the growth of breast-cancer cells by inhibiting the action of a specific enzyme.
Found in the herb Passiflora incarnata, the flavone chrysin is a potent natural aromatase inhibitor. I use passionflower in my Cancer Support tincture.
Found in most species of Chamomile, the flavone apigenin is also a safe and effective aromatase inhibitor, with an inhibitory effectiveness about equal to chrysin. My Cancer Support herbal formula contains both Chamomile and Passionflower as natural aromatse inhibitors.
Genstein and Diadzein
The isoflavones in soy, most notably genistein and diadzein were shown in studies to be potent aromatase inhibitors.
Lose excess weight!
If ever there was a reason this is it, health not vanity.
Natural Betaglucaronidase inhibitors
Excess Betaglucuronidase Activity - bowel enzyme that reconjugates oestrogen into strong oestrogen.
Calcium D-glucarate is the calcium salt of D-glucaric acid, a natural substance found in many fruits and vegetables. Calcium D-glucarate has been shown to inhibit beta-glucuronidase, an enzyme found in certain bacteria that reside in the gut. Betaglucaronidase recongugates weak oestrogens into harmful cancer promoting oestrogen. Foods high in glucaric acid (a form of calcium D-glucarate) include apples, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage and bean sprouts.
An extract from scutellaria root and/or schizonepeta herb, or a Chinese medicine containing scutellaria root and/or schizonepeta herb also acts as a natural betaglucaronidase inhibitor. This herb is also in my Cancer Support.
Western Medicine Drugs and Actions
- Tamoxifen - oestrogen blocker
Western Medical Managment
- Aromadex - aromatase inhibitor
- Herceptin - HER2 blocker
Phytoestrogens act as natural tamoxifen blocking oestrogen receptors
Phytoestrogens are xenoestrogens (means foreign substances) that unlike the xenoestrogens that are found in plastic, these natural xenoestrogens are not generated within the endocrine system but consumed by eating phytoestrogonic plants. Dietary oestrogens are a diverse group of naturally occurring nonsteroidal plant compounds that, because of their structural similarity with oestradiol (17-β-oestradiol), have the ability to either mimic oestrogen in cases of oestrogen deficiency or display antioestrogenic effects in the case of oestrogen excess. This regualtory ability to either tonify in deficiency or reduce in excess is known as amphoteric. The similarities, at molecular level, of oestrogens and phytoestrogens allow them to mildly mimic and sometimes act as antagonists of oestrogen.
Researchers are exploring the nutritional role of these substances in the regulation of cholesterol, and the maintenance of proper bone density post-menopause. Evidence is accruing that phytoestrogens may have protective action against diverse health disorders, such as prostate, breast, bowel, and other cancers, cardiovascular disease, brain function disorders, menopause and osteoporosis.
Anti-Cancer Nutritional Information
Anti-tumour, lower cholesterol
Anti-oxidant, anti-cancer enhance immunity
Dark green and deep orange vegetables
Anti-tumour, enhance immunity
Carrots, celery, beetroot
Block reaction of cancer causing compounds within cells
Cabbage family, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, broccoli
All berries and cherries, citrus, tomatoes, broccoli
Glucosinolates and Indoles
Stimulates enzymes that detoxify cancer causing compounds
Cabbage, Brussel sprouts, kale, radishes, mustard greens
Isothyocyanates and Thyocyanates
Inhibit damage to genetic material
Limonoids / limonenes
Cytotoxic, Protect against cancer
Citrus, grapefruit, lemons
Celery, carrots, parsley
Blocks production of cancer causing compounds, lower cholesterol
Soy products, whole grains cabbage.
Inhibit proteinases therefore oncogenes. An oncogene is a gene in a virus that makes cells become malignant.
Nuts and seeds, not peanuts as they are high in alfotoxin, soybean products
Carrots, goji berries, red and yellow peppers, pumpkin, squash, turnip, spinach
Phenols, indoles, isothyocyanates and sulphur
Antioxidant Induce production of detoxifying enzymes Block chemical effects of cancer causing compounds Enhance detoxification Enhance the immune system
Cruciferous vegetables Cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprout
Anticancer Herbal Medicine
I have formulated Cancer Support to specifically;
- Prevent free radical formation
- Act as a natural RTK inhibitor
- Lower TNFalpha and IL6
- Inhibit Cox and Lox
- Inhibits betaglucarodnidase and aromatase
- Clean the lymphatic system
- Improve enterohepatic circulation
- Tonify the nervous system to help you cope in times of stress
Example of a therapeutic anti-cancer diet
Porridge made from - Oat flakes - Barley flakes (good for balancing blood sugar and reding ILGF) - Quinoa flakes - Millet flakes with organic soya milk.
or Scrambled egg (organic) with parsley on a bed of spinach with smoked salmon (smoked salmon better than rashers at weekend).
or Fried egg with onion, mushroom and tomato. Chamomile and passionflower tea .
Spinach, onion and tomato omelette.
Red root soup - Parsnip, beetroot and carrot soup
Beetroot - Contains betacyanin a powerful antioxidant. Increases the activity of glutathione peroxidase and glutathione-S-transferase two antioxidant enzymes that protect liver cells against free radical damage. Increase in their number of colonic CD8 cells, special immune cells responsible for eliminating abnormal cells. Protects against cancer-causing nitrosamines which result from sodium nitrate, a preservative found in processed meats like salami, hot dogs, pepperoni, ham, bacon and SPAM. Contains betaine that lower inflammatory markers. Betaine is derived from choline found in egg yolk and soybeans. Phosphatidylcholines make up cell membranes.
Beetroot also contains betaine.
- C-reactive protein
- tumour necrosis factor alpha
These inflammatory cytokines are linked to heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, cognitive decline and Alzheimer's and type-2 diabetes
Tabouleh- parsley, mint, tomatoes and soaked bulgur wheat with a lemon juice and olive oil and garlic dressing.
3 bean salad - Using pinto bean, berlotti beans chick pea and kidney bean etc with grated beetroot, artichoke hearts and bitter greens such as cos, endive, radicchio, mustard and chicory. Dress with olive oil and lemon juice.
Stir fry - In olive oil or coconut oil, fry ginger, onion, garlic, red cabbage, carrot, broccoli, then mange tout, baby corn, sprouts, mushrooms, spinach, pak choi, etc. Add water to steam and flavour with a drizzle of soy sauce or oyster sauce and sesame oil. Serve on brown rice.
Tofu salad - Crumble tofu with grated beetroot and carrots and raisins and honey and lemon dressing.
"Seamus" tea - Earl grey tea simmered with grated ginger, sweetened with honey.
Slippery elm tea (increases SHBG) - Tsp of slippery elm powder with 1/2 hot water and mix to a paste, add 1/2 soya milk and honey to taste.
Chicken, chickpea and fennel curry with tofu added. Fry onions, garlic and ginger and chicken in coconut oil. Add 2 tsp coriander and 1 each of turmeric and cumin. Add 1 tin of chickpeas or soaked and cooked chickpeas; add 1 tin of coconut milk. Serve with brown rice cooked in turmeric and a few cardamom pods. Chickpeas are the second highest source of phytoestrogens.
Spaghetti Bolognese - Fry in a little olive oil, 2 onions, 8 cloves garlic, add and fry organic cows mince. Add 12 ripe tomatoes or a tin of tomatoes, thyme, bay leaf, artichoke hearts, capers, olives and a little red wine and balsamic vinegar. Simmer for an hour. Have less spaghetti and more sauce.
Chilli - Fry onions and garlic, add organic cows mince or "soy mince", then kidney beans, tin tomatoes, 2 tsp each of cumin and 1 each of coriander and turmeric and a pinch of cayenne. Serve with brown rice, with corn chips and a selection of chopped lettuce, grated goats cheese, peppers, raw red onion and diced cucumber and guacamole.
Guacamole - Blend 2 avocadoes, lemon juice, garlic, onion and olive oil.
Slow cooked black turtle bean stew with thyme, bay leaf, red wine, peppers, carrots, celery, garlic, onion and fresh tomatoes.
Steamed or grilled fish with potato and broccoli and carrots or roast mixed veg of red onion, garlic, butternut squash, carrot, parsnip and peppers.
Dahl of mung beans (soaked and cooked). Fry garlic, onion, ginger with coriander, cumin, turmeric (ratio 2:1:1) or garam masala. Add cinnamon stick, tin tomatoes and cayenne pepper. Serve on brown rice or quinoa.
Boiled bone broth - Chicken carcass with celery, carrots, onion, soup mix. Remember to include brassicas and broccoli sprouts.
Mackerel, sardines, herring on rye crackers with tahini
Stewed apples and pears.
Hummus or beetroot dip - as hummus but replace chick peas with beetroot.
Organic chocolate, berries with yoghurt, stewed fruit, stewed rhubarb, or with a crumble with an oat topping or a barley flake topping.
Herbal Teas - Liquorice tea, green tea, Chamomile and passionflower tea.
Cancer starving diet
Fasting is a useful therapeutic tool prescribed by naturopaths and nutritionists for cancer. Fasting improves how cells respond to stress, how they break down (autophagy), induces apoptosis (programmed cell death ie in cancer cells), and alters hormonal balance. Autophagy, in particular, is quality control inside cells. It is essential to maintain cellular homeostasis and to improve how the cell responds to stress. Autophagic activity declines with age, therefore fasting is anti-ageing. In relation to heavy metal accumulation, CR/fasting enhances Phase II Detoxification thus will assist in the elimination of heavy metals.
My preferred take on fasting is a vegan/vegetarian based keto diet
Fasting is a difficult and anti-social experience and difficult to achieve in a modern working day, however, so my approach is to mimic fasting to achieve all the benefits of fasting without the pitfalls. This is why I prescribe a ketosis diet as opposed to a fasting diet. This diet is a carbohydrate restrictive, high good fat, high healthy protein (including veg/vegan based protein) diet. Ketosis is a perfectly normal metabolic process. When we are unable to use carbohydrates as fuel for cells to burn for energy, fats are used instead. Ketones are produced as part of this process. In fact, ketones are the preferred source of fuel for our bodies. This diet can be adjusted and made suitable for vegetarians/vegans.
Benefits of a Keto Diet
Lowers cholesterol: Both LDL & triglyceride levels
Induce Rapid Weight Loss: Promotes fat burning
Lowers Blood Sugar: Studies show a ketosis diet can eliminate type 2 diabetes
Improves Energy: Fats are our most efficient fuel
Suppresses Hunger: High fats diets increase satiety
Starve Cancer Cells: Cancer cells need glucose for fuel. Only healthy cells can live on ketones. Studies indicate a ketosis diet is a therapeutic aid in cancer.
Treats neurodegenerative disease: Ketosis is being prescribed as a neuroprotective agent & therapeutic treatment in traumatic head injury, neurological disease including Alzheimer's & epilepsy, ALS, MS etc
Extends Life: The benefits of Calorie restriction/Keto diet are scientific fact. A Ketosis diet simulates the Calorie Restrictive Diet that scientists have touted for the main reason behind Okinawan longevity. Like CR, Ketosis also activates telomerase the anti-ageing enzyme. Calorie restriction increases telomerase activity and enhances autophagy (breakdown of dead cells). CR improves how cells respond to stress, how they break down (autophagy), induces apoptosis (programmed cell death ie in cancer cells), and alters hormonal balance. Autophagy in particular, is quality control inside cells. It is essential for the maintenance of cellular homeostasis and for the orchestration of an efficient cellular response to stress. Autophagic activity declines with age, and this contributes to the ageing process.
Please consult a naturopath or your doctor before taking natural remedies if you are on medication or if symptoms persist.
Carina Harkin BHSc.Nat.BHSc.Hom.BHSc.Acu.
Cert IV TAE. ARCHTI mem.