Blood Sugar and Weight Loss Support in a Bean?

A friend of mine told me about green coffee bean extract a few weeks ago, and I have finally found a minute to do a little research. My sister who lives in London, and my older brother both have Type II Diabetes.  I am always looking for natural ways one can keep blood sugar levels in line, because sometimes we all cheat on our diets!

I posted the list of Foods that Help Lower Blood Sugar, so add this to them.

I don't subscribe to TV, but I understand Dr. Oz had a show on the benefits of Green Coffee Bean extract. After doing a little digging here's what  found:

Green coffee bean extract is a powerful anti-oxidant

Friday, May 18, 2012 by: Dr. David Jockers

There are two major types of coffee plants; Arabica and Robusta. The highest quality green coffee bean extract comes from the Arabica plant which is higher in the polyphenol anti-oxidants chlorogenic and caffeic acids. The majority of coffee drinkers are missing out on much of the benefits that coffee contains. The deep roasting process significantly reduces the anti-oxidant content.

Additionally, coffee is one of the most widely pesticide/herbicide sprayed crops in the world. Studies have shown over 1000 toxic chemicals in roasted coffee. It is essential to use organic coffee that is free of these dangerous chemicals that mimic hormones, congest our liver, kidneys and bowels and promote cancer growth.

Another powerful carcinogen is produced when high temperature cooking (baking, frying & roasting) damages sugars which then interact with the amino acid asparagine. This chemical reaction creates the potent carcinogen acrylamide. Instant and deeply roasted coffee has been shown to have significantly more acrylamide than brewed coffee.

There are many great health benefits associated with coffee consumption. A recent 2011 study indicated that individuals who consumed the most coffee had the lowest risk of type II diabetes. The researchers found that the chlorogenic acid reduces the release and creation of excess glucose in the body.

Blood sugar balance

Blood sugar balance is an absolutely critical measure of healthy aging in the body. Too much sugar and grains in the diet will lead to blood sugar imbalances. The body then goes through spirals of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia. These blood sugar imbalances cause inflammation in the body that damage hormonal control systems, organs, and immune function.

Glucose overload is another major cause of blood sugar imbalances.  The common sign of this is elevated fasting blood sugar levels. At night, the individual has elevated glucose-6-phosphatase (G6P) enzyme activity that causes an elevated release of blood sugar from the muscle and liver. The body is basically eating these tissues.

The latest evidence shows that healthy fasting blood sugar ranges are between 65-85 mg/DL. Meanwhile, post meal ranges (2 hrs after) should never go above 120 mg/dL. When levels test higher it is a clear indication of oxidative stress damaging cells and tissues of the body.

The major anti-oxidant in green coffee bean extract, chlorogenic acid, has been shown to profoundly inhibit the release of the G6P enzyme which significantly stabilizes blood sugar levels. In one clinical study a dose of 400mg of green coffee bean extract showed a 32% reduction in the post meal blood glucose spike. This translates into someone who would have an extremely dangerous 160mg/dL blood sugar level down to a safe post-meal level of 109mg/dL

Stable blood sugar allows for better energy, mental clarity, hormone function, detoxification capabilities and weight loss. Raw green coffee bean extract along with other superfoods such as cacao and cinnamon all show great results in stabilizing blood sugar and improving overall bodily functions. The combination of these three also synergizes to create even greater effects in the body.

Due to the diuretic effects of caffeine in the coffee it is necessary to consume extra water. The water should ideally be from a natural spring or have gone through a deep filtration process to remove environmental toxins.

Sources: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20171062 http://greencoffeebeanbenefits.com/

And a second reference that states:

There are many reasons you may not be losing weight. If you started lifting weights, then chances are you are building muscle, which would negate any fat loss. This is good because muscle burns more calories than fat, so chances are you’ll see nice weight loss results down the road.

Second, if you do not sleep enough or aren’t eating enough, your body’s metabolism will slow down, negating the powerful weight loss properties of green coffee extract. Women should eat at least 1,200 calories per day and men should eat at least 1,500 calories per day.

Third and finally, the most likely culprit is that you’re still eating too much. Studies have shown that humans tend to under-estimate their caloric intakes by 25-40% on a normal basis. Therefore, you could be eating 300-600 calories more per day then you think you are.

Another likely culprit for overeating is due to emotional eating. Dr. Oz recently tackled this problem that affects a large percentage of the population. You see, when we are sad our dopamine levels are significantly lower. To increase these pleasure chemicals in our body, we eat junk foods, which have chemicals designed to increase these dopamine levels.

To combat this, Dr. Oz recommends taking saffron extract,  a natural extract from a flower grown in tropical regions. Saffron extract replaces the dopamine levels you are lacking, which prevents you from snacking on unhealthy foods.

Source:
WebMD article: Green Coffee Beans May Aid Weight Loss (click on Title).

CAUTION: If you have hypertension, or a medical condition that cautions against the consumption of Caffeine, do not take this product.  Always check with your doctor before starting any Supplement.

~ Be Well!

First CUTC "Fighting Disease With Food" Info Session a Success!

On Sunday, I held the first Cooking Up The Cure (CUTC) informational session : Fighting Disease with Food. A good friend of mine who is a Nutritionist joined me. My acupuncturist kindly offered her lovely office space to me.

Snuggled amid a forest of trees, and furnished with gorgeous Asian furniture, a wood porch runs the length of the back of the building bordering the creek. It was the perfect setting for a relaxed health related talk.

Susan's office
Susan's office
Susan' porch
Susan' porch

I developed a PowerPoint presentation that included recent studies funded by the NIH (National Institutes of Health) which found that certain foods, spices or vitamins are proving to be just as effective (and in one case MORE effective ) as Chemotherapy in the treatment of Cancer, and others that have linked Autism and Depression to low Antioxidant levels.

I talked about Antioxidants, Carotenoids, the Fantastic Foods and Spices and Super Supplements that are being recommended as part of a Complimentary treatment approach to many serious illnesses, and why it's critical to maintain high Antioxidant levels either by eating the MINIMUM 7 - 10 servings of low-sugar fruits and a wide spectrum of colorful vegetables EVERY day, OR by taking a high quality pure Antioxidant Supplement to ensure our body is able to fight back if attacked by disease.

Attendees got their palms scanned by our Biophotonic Scanner, and were either surprised or pleased with their reading. A number of attendants will be taking our Tëgreen* supplement which has the equivalent catechins (the major component of green tea extract, have highly beneficial physiologic effects.) as 7 cups of green tea. • Tegreen 97(R) enhanced insulin sensitivity • Improved glucose-lipid metabolism • Increased fat burning and decreased body fat percentageLowered body weight associated with inhibited angiogenesis.

Learn more:

Study on Tëgreen 97(R)

I baked some Black Bean Dark Chocolate Bars and made a Quinoa Salad which I cooked with Green Tea, as samples of the Anti-Disease Diet. Both were a hit.

Each participant received CUTC Info packets that included the list of Fantastic Foods; a laminated list of Foods and their Antioxidant values; a reusable grocery list to take along when shopping for high antioxidant, vitamin packed foods; several Anti-Cancer recipes, and more.

It was so successful that I am having another one in Berkeley in a couple of weeks, open to a slightly larger audience.  I want to keep it small enough to engage with attendees and have a meaningful discussion.

* For more information on these supplements send me an email. 

Cheers! ♥

Some Good News about Depression and Anti-oxidants!

We've all heard how much money Americans spend on anti-depressants every year, and how much of them wind up in our water supply.

What a boon to the Earth and to humanity for a natural, non-toxic substance to be found just as effective in the treatment of this condition.  The fantastic news is that we may have stumbled on just such a discovery.

It thrills me that the very foods and anti-oxidants we've been talking about here for months are the very same ones that can help re-balance brain chemistry and address the very real symptoms of depression.

After my mother's onset of dementia, I became clinically depressed.  She lived with us, and my children were 10 and 1 at the time.  I worked full-time, so the lovely nanny we hired to care for my 1-year-old watched mom for a few hours, and my sister would come take her for a couple of hours.

Her situation worsened, so that it became a full-time job keeping track of what she was doing.  More than once she would unlock the baby-proofed cabinets and give my 1-year-old spray bottles to play with... glass cleaner, bleach, 409, you name it.  A couple of times he'd run around the house clutching something he found on the floor, and it would be one of her blood thinners that she dropped.  It was also a time when my marriage was a little strained. The stress caused my depression.

I was put on Wellbutrin, which messed with my brain in very unhealthy ways. I couldn't think clearly, I could no longer multitask or plan meals or appointments for the next few days. I got off the meds and tried St. John's Wort. My MD said it was not safe for my son to have Mom live with us, and was causing me too much stress, so my older sister who worked part time and whose children were much older, converted her garage to an apartment for Mom.

Based on my experience I would not recommend prescription drugs to anyone, unless they had exhausted other methods of treatment.

Below is some very good news!

Antioxidants as antidepressants: fact or fiction?

Scapagnini G, Davinelli S, Drago F, De Lorenzo A, Oriani G. 2012, Jun 1st

Source : Department of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Molise, Campobasso, Italy.

Depression is a medical condition with a complex biological pattern of aetiology, involving genetic and epigenetic factors, along with different environmental stressors. Recent evidence suggests that oxidative stress processes might play a relevant role in the pathogenic mechanism(s) underlying many major psychiatric disorders, including depression.

medicines-1756239_1280.jpg

Reactive oxygen and nitrogen species have been shown to modulate levels and activity of noradrenaline (norepinephrine), serotonin, dopamine and glutamate, the principal neurotransmitters involved in the neurobiology of depression. Major depression has been associated with lowered concentrations of several endogenous antioxidant compounds, such as vitamin E, zinc and coenzyme Q10, or enzymes, such as glutathione peroxidase, and with an impairment of the total antioxidant status.

Additionally, curcumin, the yellow pigment of curry, has been shown to strongly interfere with neuronal redox homeostasis in the CNS and to possess antidepressant activity in various animal models of depression, also thanks to its ability to inhibit monoamine oxidases.

There is an urgent need to develop better tolerated and more effective treatments for depressive disorders and several antioxidant treatments appear promising and deserve further study.

~ Hooray! 

May I Introduce You to Vitamin D?

One of the many things I learned after being diagnosed, was the importance of certain vitamins and minerals in cancer inhibition and better prognosis.

Vitamin D3 was one of those.

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is technically not a vitamin. It is the name given to a group of fat-soluble prohormones (substances that are precursors to hormones that usually have little
Coconut Tree Leaves
hormonal activity by themselves).
Two major forms of vitamin D that are important to humans are vitamin D2, or ergocalciferol, and vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol.
Vitamin D2 is made naturally by plants, and vitamin D3 is made naturally by the body when the skin is exposed to ultraviolet radiation (in particular, UVB radiation) in sunlight. Vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 can also be commercially manufactured.
The active form of vitamin D in the body is 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D.
Vitamin D is involved in a number of processes that are essential for good health, including the following:
  • It helps improve muscle strength and immune function.
  • It helps reduce inflammation, (critical for Cancer).
  • It promotes the absorption of calcium from the small intestine.
  • It helps maintain adequate blood levels of the calcium and phosphate needed for bone formation, incorporating minerals to increase strength and density, growth, and repair.
For years, Life Extension has been exploring the potentially devastating consequences of vitamin D deficiency, ranging from cardiovascular disease to cancer. Now in this report, Life Extension magazine examines the link between low levels of plasma vitamin D and autism. At the forefront of this research is Dr. John J. Cannell, executive director of the Vitamin D Council and a forensic psychiatrist at Atascadero State Hospital in California.
Vitamin D3 7000 IU, 60 Capsules (Life Extension)
The stunning findings suggest that rampant vitamin D deficiency is causally related to brain dysfunction, and may be readily preventable by adequate supplementation.
An epidemic of autism appears to be underway in the United States. According to several respected leaders in child and adult nutrition from across the United States, the current meteoric rise in autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) may well be a direct consequence of significant vitamin D deficiencies in pregnant women and their infants.  And evidence points to vitamin D deficiency as the cause of other debilitating brain conditions as well.  This insidious deficiency is readily remedied--yet tragically often missed.  Read More Here...
Most people get the vitamin D they need through sunlight exposure. It can also be obtained through the diet, but very few foods naturally contain vitamin D. Those that do include fatty fish, fish liver oil, and eggs.  Most dietary vitamin D comes from fortified foods, such as milk, juices, yogurt, bread, and breakfast cereals. Vitamin D can also be obtained through dietary supplements.
How Vitamin D Reduces the Risk of Cancer
The mechanisms by which vitamin D reduces the risk of cancer are fairly well understood. They include enhancing calcium absorption (in the case of colorectal cancer) [Lamprecht and Lipkin, 2003], inducing cell differentiation, increasing cancer cell apoptosis or death, reducing metastasis and proliferation, and reducing angiogenesis [van den Bemd and Chang, 2002].
In addition, Vitamin D3 down-regulates parathyroid hormone (PTH) [Chapuy et al., 1987]. IGF-I has been implicated in the pathogenesis of human cancer. Since IGF-I stimulates tumor growth and high quantities are a Whisked eggs...consequence of the standard American diet [Grant, 2002a; 2004], vitamin D can be considered one partial antidote to the American diet.
How Much Vitamin D is needed?
The amount of ingested vitamin D and/or UVB exposure required for optimal protection against cancer is still being determined. Each person responds differently to UVB exposure and oral intake of vitamin D depending on such factors as skin pigmentation, body mass index (vitamin D is fat soluble), age, condition of digestive tract, other dietary factors, etc.
Dietary vitamin D is insufficient alone to significantly reduce the risk of most cancers since the ingested amounts, up to 200 to 400 I.U. per day, are too low [Grant and Garland, in press]. Evidently, 600 to 1000 I.U per day are required to reduce the risk of vitamin-D-sensitive cancers, except possibly prostate cancer, for which population-average values of serum 25(OH)D are associated with the minimum risk [Tuohimaa et al., 2004; Grant, in press].
I had to  take 7500 I.U per day to get my D level up to 60 initially, and now am down to 5000.  So talk to a nutritionist (I have referrals to a Nutritional Oncologist if you need one.)
The current understanding is that serum 25(OH)D levels should be in the 35 to 60 ng/ml  range for cancer prevention and optimal health. The only way to determine one’s 25(OH)D levels is through blood tests, which can be ordered through a physician or nutritionist.
NOTE: Melatonin supplements allow reduced doses of Vitamin D since they produce a 20 to 100-fold INCREASE in the sensitivity of Breast Cancer cells to Vitamin D. This is why periodic blood test to determine Vit. D (25 Hydroxy) level is important.

References:

  1. Chapuy MC, Chapuy P, Meunier PJ. Calcium and vitamin D supplements: effects on calcium metabolism in elderly people. Am J Clin Nutr. 1987;46:324-8.
  2. Devesa SS, Grauman DJ, Blot WJ, Pennello GA, Hoover RN, Fraumeni JF Jr., Atlas of Cancer Mortality in the United States, 1950-1994. NIH Publication No. 99-4564, 1999. website (accessed March 3, 2004).
  3. Doll R, Peto R. The causes of cancer: quantitative estimates of avoidable risks of cancer in the United States today. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1981;66:1191-308.
  4. Garland CF, Garland FC. Do sunlight and vitamin D reduce the likelihood of colon cancer? Int J Epidemiol. 1980;9:227-31.
  5. Garland C, Shekelle RB, Barrett-Connor E, Criqui MH, Rossof AH, Paul O. Dietary vitamin D and calcium and risk of colorectal cancer: a 19-year prospective study in men. Lancet. 1985;1:307-9.
  6. Grant WB. An estimate of premature cancer mortality in the United States due to inadequate doses of solar ultraviolet-B radiation, Cancer, 2002b;94:1867-75.
  7. Grant WB. A multicountry ecologic study of risk and risk reduction factors for prostate cancer mortality. Eur Urol. 2004;45:371-9.
~ Be Well.

When Supplements Become Dangerous

It's important to remember that Supplements are powerful, which is why we take them of course. But what we don't often think about is their potential interaction with prescription medications we are also taking.  Based on the meds I am taking, my MD probably couldn't tell me what Supplements to avoid, unless they were obvious ones. Do your research!

Supplements can increase the effect of some medications or inhibit the effectiveness of others. They may interact in a way that is less than desirable, so it's important to tell you doctor when you are thinking of adding supplements, and if she/he isn't sure about interactions, turn to the a reliable internet source, or better yet, an Anthroposophic or CAM practitioner.

Below is a list of some common Supplements and possible interactions.

Aloe

Aloe Vera

Major interaction: Digoxin (Lanoxin)

When taken by mouth, aloe latex is a type of laxative called a stimulant laxative. Stimulant laxatives can decrease potassium levels in the body. Low potassium levels can increase the risk of side effects of digoxin (Lanoxin).

Taken orally, aloe vera may also interact with blood sugar-lowering medicine used to treat Diabetes.

Bitter Orange

This supplement contains chemicals that can speed heart rate and increase blood pressure to dangerous levels.

  • There have been reports of fainting, heart attack, and stroke in healthy people after taking bitter orange supplements alone or combined with caffeine. People should avoid taking bitter orange supplements if they have a heart condition or high blood pressure, or if they are taking medications (such as MAO inhibitors), caffeine, or other herbs/supplements that speed up the heart rate.
  • Due to lack of safety evidence, pregnant women or nursing mothers should avoid products that contain bitter orange.
  • Bitter orange oil used on the skin may increase the risk of sunburn, particularly in light-skinned people
Gingko Biloba

Ginkgo

Ginkgo biloba interactions include bleeding when combined with Warfarin, raised blood pressure when combined with a Thiazide diuretic and coma when combined with the anti-depressant Trazodone (Desyrel, Oleptro, Beneficat, Deprax, Desirel, Molipaxin, Thombran, Trazorel, Trialodine, Trittico, and Mesyre).

Ginseng

Major Interaction: Warfarin (Coumadin)

Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting

American ginseng has been reported to decrease the effectiveness of Warfarin (Coumadin). Decreasing the effectiveness of warfarin (Coumadin) might increase the risk of clotting. Do not take American ginseng if you take warfarin (Coumadin).

Moderate Interaction: Medications for depression (MAOIs) andAnti-diabetes drugs

American ginseng might stimulate the body. Some medications used for depression can also stimulate the body. Taking American ginseng along with these medications used for depression might cause side effects such as anxiousness, headache, restlessness, and insomnia.  Some of these medications used for depression include phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), and others.

American ginseng might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking American ginseng along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. Medication dose might need to be changed.  Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.

Kava

In March 2002, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an advisory to consumers of the potential risk of severe liver injuryfrom the use of dietary supplements containing kava (also known as kava kava or Piper methysticum). Reports from health authorities in Germany, Switzerland, France, Canada, and the United Kingdom have linked kava use to at least 25 cases of liver toxicity, including hepatitis, cirrhosis, and liver failure, prompting some of these countries to remove kava from the market.

Avoid driving and operating heavy machinery while taking kava because the herb has been reported to cause drowsiness.

Licorice Root

  • People with heart disease or high blood pressure should be cautious about using licorice.
  • When taken in large amounts, licorice can affect the body’s levels of a hormone called cortisol and related steroid drugs, such as prednisone.
  • Pregnant women should avoid using licorice as a supplement or consuming large amounts of licorice as food, as some research suggests it could increase the risk of preterm labor.

Melatonin

Major Interaction:Sedative medications (CNS depressants)

Melatonin might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking melatonin along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness. Some sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others.

Moderate Interaction:

Birth control pills (Contraceptive drugs)

The body makes melatonin. Birth control pills seem to increase how much melatonin the body makes. Taking melatonin along with birth control pills might cause too much melatonin to be in the body. Some birth control pills include ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel (Triphasil), ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone (Ortho-Novum 1/35, Ortho-Novum 7/7/7), and others.

Caffeine

Caffeine might decrease melatonin levels in the body. Taking melatonin along with caffeine might decrease the effectiveness of melatonin supplements.

Fluvoxamine (Luvox)

Taking fluvoxamine (Luvox) can increase the amount of melatonin that the body absorbs. Taking melatonin along with fluvoxamine (Luvox) might increase the effects and side effects of melatonin.

Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)

Melatonin might increase blood sugar. Diabetes medications are used to lower blood sugar. By increasing blood sugar, melatonin might decrease the effectiveness of diabetes medications.  Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.

Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants)

Melatonin might increase the immune system. Taking melatonin along with medications that decrease the immune system might decrease the effectiveness of medications that decrease the immune system.   Some medications that decrease the immune system include azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept)...

Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs)

Melatonin might slow blood clotting. Taking melatonin along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

For Full list Click Here.

St. John's Wort

Photo by Elizabeth J. Czarapata. Click for an enlarged version.
  • Research has shown that St. John’s wort interacts with many medications in ways that can interfere with their intended effects. Examples of medications that can be affected include:
    • Antidepressants
    • Birth control pills
    • Cyclosporine, which prevents the body from rejecting transplanted organs
    • Digoxin, a heart medication
    • Indinavir and possibly other drugs used to control HIV infection
    • Irinotecan and possibly other drugs used to treat cancer
    • Seizure-control drugs, such as phenytoin and phenobarbital
    • Warfarin and related anticoagulants.

Taking St. John’s wort with certain antidepressants may lead to increased serotonin-related side effects, which may be potentially serious.

For more Info Click Here.

Vitamin K

Warfarin (Coumadin) interacts with VITAMIN K: Vitamin K is used by the body to help blood clot. Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. By helping the blood clot, vitamin K might decrease the effectiveness of warfarin (Coumadin). Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin (Coumadin) might need to be changed.

Yohimbe

  • Yohimbe has been associated with high blood pressure, increased heart rate, headache, anxiety, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, tremors, and sleeplessness. Yohimbe can be dangerous if taken in large doses or for long periods of time.
  • People should not combine yohimbe with MAO inhibitors as effects may be additive. Yohimbe should be used with caution when taken with medicines for high blood pressure, tricyclic antidepressants, or phenothiazines (a group of medicines used mostly for mental health conditions such as schizophrenia).
  • People with kidney problems and people with psychiatric conditions should not use yohimbe.
  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take yohimbe.

Zinc

FDA notified consumers and healthcare professionals to discontinue use of three Zicam Nasal Gel/Nasal Swab products sold over-the-counter as cold remedies because they are associated with the loss of sense of smell that may be long-lasting or permanent. The FDA has received more than 130 reports of loss of sense of smell associated with the use of the three Zicam products.  In these reports, many people who experienced a loss of smell said the condition occurred with the first dose; others reported a loss of the sense of smell after multiple uses of the products.

Conversely, if you are taking any of the following drugs, see cautions below.

Aspirin

Aspirin DEPLETES Folic Acid, zinc, potassium, vitamin C and iron. Avoid higher doses of the following if you take Aspirin. Vitamin E,. Bromelain, Garlic, Ginger, Magnesium, Ginkgo, all which act as blood thinners and thus could cause bleeding.

Ativan

Avoid any herbs that act as a sedative, like Kava Kava, Lemon Balm, Calif. Poppy, St. John's Wort or Valerian.  Exception: Melatonin.

Lisinopril

This also DEPLETES Zinc, which could lead to an increase in blood Copper levels and foster cancer angiogenesis and progression. Zinc supplements are encouraged if taking this medicine.

Lovastatin

Statins DEPLETE CoQ10, a nutrient needed for healthy muscle, heart and brain function. AVOID Red Yeast supplements with this drug.

Take Fiber supplements 1 - 2 hours away from this med to avoid reducing its absorption.

Niacin taken in large doses with this drug has been reported to cause potentially serious muscle disorders. Bu taking a low dose (500mg) actually enhances the effectiveness of the Statin drug. IT may also be beneficial to take Vitamin E with this drug to prevent the possibility of oxidative damage to LDL cholesterol.

Nadolol

DEPLETES CoQ10. Supplementation is recommended.

Guaranteed to Raise Your Antioxidant Level

It is rare to find a company that has enough research behind their product that they can offer a money-back guarantee if it does not perform. Depending on the supplement you are taking, it's not always an easy task to discover if you're getting the full benefit from what you're taking.  With Vitamins like D, you can do a blood test, but when your goal is to raise your antioxidant levels, testing how well  you're doing can be costly.

What Depletes Antioxidants Stored in our Body?

Many things contribute to the depletion of antioxidants in our bodies...stress, smoking, lack of good digestion, too much exercise, infection, etc.

Vitamin C fights free radicals in body tissues and blood plasma, while vitamin E protects fat-rich molecules, such as LDL and HDL cholesterol, and fat cells from oxidation. This effort to protect the body results in the depletion of vitamin C and E in body stores.

Our bodies store antioxidants for use when we need them.  If we are not storing enough, we are less likely able to fight off inflammatory diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Eating a balanced diet with 5 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables every day to obtain maximum levels of dietary antioxidants is recommended, but not always achievable.

To boost your vitamin E levels, include whole grains, nuts and seeds, egg yolks and vitamin E- fortified foods in your diet. Consult your doctor about vitamin supplementation.

Choosing an Antioxidant Supplement

Choosing an antioxidant supplement to support your immune system is not a simple matter.  You want to make sure the manufacturer uses pure ingredients from a trusted source, organic when possible, has both their own and third-party research behind the formulas, and is reputable.

There are a handful of companies that meet these criteria, but only one I know of that also offers a money back guarantee.

Lifepak Nano is a proprietary innovation in anti-aging protection with advanced bio-availability and maximum benefits. It is manufactured by NuSkin / Pharmanex, one of the leading anti-aging research companies.

I recently attended a seminar where their lead scientist was speaking, and I was impressed by the research and with the person. I asked the him a few questions I had about ingredients in another of their nutritional products, and found him to be sincere and to the point.

Lifepak Nano is their star supplement, which exhibits rather awesome results.  A number of their customers were in attendance, and the testimonials were notable. A doctor who is part of Integrative Oncology at Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley was there, and said she puts her cancer patients on the supplements right away, and has noted that they weather treatment better than other patients.  She said they have higher energy, and less severe side effects.

I know that is true from my own experience.  Without the supplements I was taking throughout the year, I am sure I would not have been as healthy as I was through Chemo and Radiation.  My skin barely suffered from the latter, although I did peel.

Getting Your Antioxidant Level Assessed

In another post I mentioned that my family and I got tested our antioxidant levels tested with Nuskin's patented BioPhotonic scanner a few weeks ago (as seen on Dr. Oz).  Well, I started my son on their Teen version, and J and my daughter are taking the Lifepak Nano. J can feel a difference taking two packs daily, and as a person who doesn't go to doctors and refuses to take any meds of any kind, that's really saying something.

If you are considering taking a comprehensive Vitamin/Mineral/Flavonoid/Carotenoid supplement, please consider this product.

Here is What I Suggest:

1) Contact me to find out if there is a NuSkin distributor near you where you can get your Antioxidant level checked (usually $5 - $20). You may find that you are doing well with diet alone, and don't have to worry about antioxidants.  In that case a good Vitamin and or Fish Oil supplement may be sufficient (they have several).

2) For access to the NuSkin wholesale pricing, send me a note and I'll give you an ID to log into their preferred customer website. You can browse their site, read about the research and science they are involved in, and place an order; or you can have me walk you through it.

3) If you do the first two things, in 4 - 6 weeks get a second reading of your Antioxidant level, and if you haven't improved notably, the company will refund your investment!

Below are the Benefits of  LifePak Nano per NuSkin's site:

  • Nourishes and protects cells, tissues, and organs in the body with the specific purpose to guard against the ravages of aging each day of your lifespan*
  • Superior bio-availability with CR-6 LipoNutrients™ enhances uptake from the gut into the bloodstream and body for maximum anti-aging benefits*
  • Advanced anti-aging formula helps protect the body with key nutrients such as NanoCoQ10™ and nano carotenoids*
  • Helps maintain normal inflammatory responses in the body*
  • Feeds and helps protect the brain with DHA and EPA*
  • Offers superior DNA protection against damaging free radical attacks by providing the body with important antioxidants and phytonutrients such as alpha-lipoic acid and catechins*
  • Protects cell health with an antioxidant defense network*
  • Helps protect cardiovascular health with a comprehensive blend of omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients
  • Provides comprehensive bone nutrition support*
  • Promotes healthy immune function*
  • Supports normal blood sugar metabolism*
  • Corrects nutritional deficiencies*

 Feel free to contact me with any questions.

~ Be Well!

In the News: Integrative Medicine: Antioxidants and Chemotherapy

Share widely!

Antioxidants and Chemotherapy

By Drs. Kay judge and Maxine Barish-Wreden

Published: Thursday, May. 31, 2012

Inflammation, and the use of antioxidants to put out inflammatory fires, is a hot topic these days. What do we mean by inflammation?

Inflammation is a natural and necessary response in the body whenever we are accosted by harmful germs or when we injure ourselves. When this occurs, our immune system steps in to fight foreign invaders and to bring our body back into balance so that we can heal.

Inflammatory chemicals are produced during this process, which can be harmful to our tissues, but antioxidants in our foods, such as vitamins C and E, help to quell this response and restore order to our tissues.

Inflammation can run amok, however, and cause persistent damage to healthy tissue, especially if we smoke or if we are overweight or obese. Chemotherapy drugs that are used to treat cancer also produce severe inflammation in the body, and this particular inflammatory response helps to kill off cancer cells. But it also harms healthy tissue in the process.

Many oncologists have been fearful of having their patients take any antioxidants during chemotherapy for fear that antioxidants might reduce the effectiveness of the chemo.

In a recent article in the journal Alternative and Complementary Therapies, Dr. Keith Block, a renowned integrative cancer specialist affiliated with the University of Illinois, discussed his review of more than 2,300 studies on the use of antioxidants during chemotherapy, and his report is very reassuring.

In summary, antioxidants often help to reduce side effects from chemotherapy, and this may allow patients to complete their full course of medication without interruption, which itself leads to better outcomes. Certain antioxidants also enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy, reduce long-term toxicity and improve survival.

Not a single study reviewed by Block showed any evidence of antioxidants interfering with the effectiveness of chemotherapy. In fact, a recent article looking at the impact of antioxidants in Chinese women undergoing treatment for invasive breast cancer found that use of antioxidant vitamin supplements in the first six months after diagnosis resulted in a reduced risk of both mortality and cancer recurrence.

Other studies have suggested survival benefit in certain cancers when patients take melatonin, as well as reduced toxicity from chemo with the use of glutathione and coenzyme Q10 among others.

So, if you are affected by cancer, what should you be thinking about to protect yourself during and after chemotherapy? First and foremost, begin by eating a super-healthful, plant-based diet that is loaded with dark-colored fruits and veggies so that you maximize your intake of antioxidants from your food, which is the most powerful way to get them.

You can also consider supplementing your diet with some of the more powerful antioxidants, such as fish oil, coenzyme Q10, vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium, though we recommend that you meet with an integrative cancer specialist first so that you can determine which supplements are ideal for you, given your particular tumor as well as your treatment regimen.

And for those of you who have been affected by cancer, either because you or a loved one have faced this disease, there is a conference coming to Sacramento in September that you should know about. It's titled "Cancer as a Turning Point, From Surviving to Thriving," and it is a gathering of some of the best and most inspiring experts in this business.

Cancer as a Turning Point is sponsored by the non-profit organization Healing Journeys, whose vision is that everyone touched by cancer or any life-altering condition be empowered to move from surviving to thriving. This conference is usually offered in two cities across the country every year.  The conference is free to all attendees, though donations are greatly appreciated to offset the cost, and donations are also tax-deductible. For more information, and to register, go to www.healingjourneys.org.

And for more information on an integrative approach to cancer treatment, look at Block's 2009 book "Life Over Cancer" (Bantam, $28, 608 pages) or Alschuler's gem that she co-wrote with Karolyn Gazella, "The Definitive Guide to Cancer: An Integrative Approach to Prevention, Treatment, and Healing" (Celestial Arts, $25, 496 pages), now in its third edition.

~ Be Well! ♥

For Energy and Cardio Support - L-Carnitine

While I was going through Chemo I was advised to take L-Carnitine starting 2 days after treatment and up until my next treatment to help with low energy and reduce the possibility of neuropathy. I didn't feel overly fatigued, despite a dense dose regimen. Consult a nutritionist before taking this supplement if you are in treatment.

Now L-Carnitine 1000 MG - 100 Tabs

L-Carnitine is a substance that helps the body turn fat into energy. Your body makes it in the liver and kidneys and stores it in the skeletal muscles, heart, brain, and sperm.

Usually, your body can make all the L-carnitine it needs. Some people, however, may not have enough L-carnitine because their bodies cannot make enough or can' t transport it into tissues so it can be used. It has been proposed as a treatment for many conditions because it acts as an antioxidant.

The best food sources of L-carnitine are red meat (especially lamb), poultry and dairy, so individuals eating healthier diets with limited intake of these foods tend to have lower L-carnitine intake. Smaller amounts are found in fish, tempeh, asparagus, avocado and peanut butter. Diet alone can be insufficient to meet L-carnitine needs in states of depletion.

 

EFFECTS OF L-CARNITINE:

  • Lowers total cholesterol and triglycerides, while increasing HDL ("good") cholesterol
  • Inhibits seizures [De Vivo et al., 1998; Igisu et al., 1995]
  • Helps protect the liver in patients taking Accutane and anti-seizure drugs
  • Improves memory, attention and cognitive function; helps protect against brain injury and promote brain repair, particularly in the Acetyl-L-carnitine form [Igisu et al., 1995]
  • L-carnitine inhibits the activity of excess thyroid hormone and reduces symptoms of hyperthyroidism
  • Prevents cardiomyopathy induced by adriamycin (doxorubicin) [Anselmi et al., 1993; De Leonardis et al., 1985; Neri et al., 1983] without interfering with the anticancer efficacy of the drug nor promoting tumor growth [Peluso et al., 200 :347].
  • Human studies have proven carnitine's value in supporting energy production and reducing symptoms in patients with congestive heart failure, diabetes, and lung diseases.
  • Improves athletic performance and exercise tolerance.

POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS: Some people find L-carnitine upsets their stomach. Take with a meal to reduce this side effect.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Use only under a doctor’s supervision if you have kidney disease or are on dialysis.

Astaxanthin - A Gift from the Sea

The great variety of plants, herbs, roots and food which have been discovered to contain powerful plant chemicals is truly astounding. Astaxanthin, a compound found in plants such as algae and animals such as salmon and krill, an ocean dwelling crustacean similar to shrimp, is one of those compounds. It is a member of a group of plant pigments called carotenoids and is therefore related to such compounds as beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene and vitamin A.

These pigments are highly antioxidative and some of them are functionally important in vision and eye health.

Protection from oxidative damage: Due to astaxanthin’s unique structure, it can actually insert itself into a cell membrane where it can then effectively perform its role as protector of that membrane from reactive oxygen species (ROS).

As oxidative damage can be a mechanism for the development of a variety of disease processes, astaxanthin could prove to be useful in many clinical applications.

Endothelial dysfunction is a common aspect of the process that eventually can lead to cardiovascular disease. In models of hypertension in stroke prone laboratory animals, astaxanthin has been shown to not only improve endothelial function but also display antithrombotic and antihypertensive properties, thus decreasing risk factors associated with heart disease pathophysiology. Astaxanthin also improved insulin resistance, the common predecessor or diabetes.

Additionally, in a human study, this red colored, lipid soluble pigment also increased HDL while significantly reducing triglycerides, therefore addressing other risk factors in cardiovascular disease.

Exercise and athletics: Improved sports performance and athletic capacity has been an interesting facet of astaxanthin research. For instance, in competitive cyclists, astaxanthin ingestion was associated with significant improvements in time trials as well as power output.

Muscle endurance and strength also improved with its supplementation.

Oxidative stress can be a significant issue in overweight and obese individuals as they have a higher capacity of generating lipid peroxidation than those of typical body composition. Throw in exercise and the incidence of oxidative damage dramatically increases in this population. Astaxanthin was able to decrease lipid peroxidation and various markers in this vulnerable segment of society.

Boosting immune function: Improved immune function and immune response are also beneficial effects of astaxanthin supplementation where it stimulated cell-mediated and humoral immune function in lab animals, while in another study it modulated inflammatory cytokines, including IL-1β, IL-6, and cyclooxygenase (COX)-2, thus inhibiting colitis and colitis-associated colon carcinogenesis.

Neuroprotection: Finally, astaxanthin has demonstrated possible neuroprotective properties as well suggesting it may be useful in those with potential to develop neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s or dementia.  by Michael Fuhrman D.C.

~~~~~~~~

XanthOmega™

In addition to its rich phospholipids, omega–3s, and astaxanthin, XanthOmega™ also naturally contains several other antioxidants including, canthaxanthin, β–carotene, vitamin E and trans–retinol vitamin A. These antioxidants offer benefits of their own while also protecting this nutrient–dense oil from oxidation.

Designs for Health's XanthOmega™ Krill Oil is made using a unique cold–extraction process that converts it into stable oil. This process protects the lipids from alteration and avoids peroxidation. It is free of heavy metals and organohalide pollutants, making it extremely pure. This product does not cause reflux or regurgitation commonly experienced by those consuming regular fish oil supplements.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Fortified with increased levels of astaxanthin for expanded health benefits

The amount of the powerful antioxidant astaxanthin in XanthOmega™ Krill Oil has been increased from 1.5 mg to 12 mg per serving to help achieve optimal benefits from this potent carotenoid.

What are Krill?  Krill are tiny crustaceans found in the sea and make up the world's largest animal biomass. The oil extracted from krill is rich in the omega–3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.

This updated version is considered to be a virgin krill oil, the purest form available, with higher phospholipid bioavailability, enhancing the absorption of one of krill's shining features, the powerful antioxidant astaxanthin.

In summary, many studies suggest that the benefits of this level of astaxanthin may include:

  1. Powerful antioxidant
  2. Cardiovascular health – helping to promote healthy lipid profiles; potential anti–hypertensive
  3. Sports performance – increasing muscle endurance and reducing exercise–induced muscle damage
  4. Eye support – Reducing eye fatigue and improving visual acuity[5]
  5. Supporting skin health – protecting against UVA–induced aging, as in skin sagging and wrinkles
  6. Anti–inflammatory
  7. Gastric health support – helping to reduce gastric inflammation and reflux symptoms

CAUTION: This product contains Krill Oil. DO NOT take if you are allergic to Shellfish.

How are You Impacting Your Teen's Health?

It is imperative that we pay attention to what our pre-teens and teens are eating.  We are heavily involved in setting the stage for their future health. Here is an excerpt outlining the Nutritional needs of teenagers:

Balanced Diet

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that teenagers have a balanced and varied diet. Eat five fruits and vegetables per day. These can be fresh, frozen, or dried. For energy, eat complex carbohydrate foods, such as brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole grain bread and sweet potatoes. Eat lean meat, poultry, eggs, fish, beans and nuts to boost your daily protein intake. Protein builds and repairs the tissues in your growing body.

Snacking

Snacking on unhealthy foods can lead to unnecessary weight gain. Having breakfast will prevent this. Breakfast gives you the energy you need to start your day and also helps with your memory and concentration. If you get hungry between meals, avoid snacking on chips, chocolates, cookies, cakes and other high-fat or high-sugar foods. These foods contain saturated fat, which can increase the risk of developing heart disease if eaten frequently. Snack on more nutritious foods such as cheese, yogurt and fruit.

Calcium and Iron

The body's demand for calcium is at its highest during adolescence. Calcium is vital in your diet to build strong bones and teeth. A low intake of calcium during this time can lead to osteoporosis later in life. This is a bone disease where the bones become fragile and likely to fracture. From ages 13 to 18, the daily recommended allowance of calcium is 1,300mg, according to the National Institutes of Health. For age 19, the daily recommended allowance of calcium is 1,000mg.  Eat calcium-rich foods such as low-fat dairy foods, green leafy vegetables and fish.

Iron also is an important mineral in a teen's diet, especially for young women. Eat iron-rich food such as meat, poultry, liver, iron-fortified breakfast cereals, green leafy vegetables, pulses, beans and nuts.

___________

Once a week 4-5 of my son's friends come over to participate in a role playing game  called MouseGuard, and I make sure that I prepare  healthy snack items for them.  It's surprising how well they like what I make and comment that at home it's invariably chips, or crackers, or soda, or candy that they snack on.

It takes under 10 minutes to assemble a plate that you can put in the fridge for your teen to find when they get home:

Girls who take Birth Control pills are at risk of Vitamin B depletion, and should supplement with a well rounded B vitamin.  This is not a trivial matter. Please, please try to encourage your children to eat a wide variety of foods.  And if you need tips for picky eaters, DROP ME A NOTE! I can send you list of  Lunch Ideas that are creative and healthy.

"Lifepak Teen" is a good supplement for kids between 9  - 18 and supplies the following vitamins and minerals:

Serving Size: 2 Capsule Servings Per Container: 60

  • Vitamin A   5000 IU
  • Vitamin C (as Calcium Ascorbate)  100 mcg
  • Vitamin D  200 IU
  • Vitamin E  50 IU
  • Vitamin K1  20 mcg
  • Thiamin  1.5 mg
  • Riboflavin  1.7 mg
  • Niacin  20 mg
  • Vitamin B6  5.0 mg
  • Folate  200 mg
  • Vitamin B12  15 mcg
  • Biotin  150 mcg
  • Calcium  250 mg
  • Iron  4.5 mg

Calories  

On average, boys require about 2800 calories per day; and girls, 2200 calories per day. Typically, the ravenous hunger starts to wane once a child has stopped growing, though not always, says the dietitian. “Kids who are big and tall or who participate in physical activity will still need increased amounts of energy into late adolescence.” During middle and late adolescence, girls eat roughly 25 percent fewer calories per day than boys do; consequently, they are more likely to be deficient in vitamins and minerals. Read more here.

Eating Disorders

Here's a little 'literature' on eating disorders that many young people have, which underlines the need for monitoring our teens and what signals they may be responding to:

Also, households where there are high academic expectations are well-known breeding grounds for eating disorders.

Finally, many young women between the ages of 14 and 25 develop an eating disorder when they are not only under stress at school or college but also uncertain of their sexual orientation or sexual attractiveness.

Websites

BAM is a website that is both Fun and Informative, and is recommended by Nutrition.gov as a place designed for kids 9-13 years old:

  • "BAM provides information to help them make healthy lifestyle choices. The site uses games, quizzes, and other interactive features to teach kids about topics such as food and nutrition, physical activity, and general safety."BAM!
  • WebMD
  • HealthyChildren.org

~ Be Well.  ♥

Every Time I Hear About Someone Losing the Fight. . .

Grammy-winning disco legend Donna Summer, who steamed up the charts in the 1970s and 80s with raunchy hits like "Love to Love You Baby" and "Hot Stuff," died Thursday aged 63, her family said.

Known as the Queen of Disco, the singer whose hits also included "I Feel Love" and "She Works Hard for the Money," died in Florida from lung cancer, the TMZ celebrity news website said.

"While we grieve her passing, we are at peace celebrating her extraordinary life and her continued legacy. Words truly can't express how much we appreciate your prayers and love for our family at this sensitive time."

TMZ reported that she had kept her illness quiet, and didn't appear too sick only a couple of weeks ago, citing sources as saying she was focused on trying to finish a new album she had been working on.

It cited sources as saying Summer believed she developed lung cancer after inhaling toxic particles following the September 11, 2001 Al Qaeda attacks in New York.

 *~*~*~*~*

I am shaken when I hear about someone who has succumbed to cancer.  My first thought is 'Were they doing everything they could to heal'?

Statistics mean nothing to me because of this very point.  No one tracks what a cancer patient is doing holistically:

Are they eating the recommended cancer-fighting foods? Are they taking Anti-oxidant and Immune boosting Supplements? Do they walk 5 - 6 times a week? Are they positive and determined to capture good health? Did they surround themselves with cheerleaders and friends who lifted them up? And do they see this as an opportunity to transform into a new person with a deeper appreciation of life and love and what really matters?

Without all that, you can't tell me that 60% of xxx patients live 10 years after recurrence, and that 30% will have no recurrence, and 46 % of breast cancers will appear in the other breast... etc..  (Those are my made-up stats for argument sake). If those stats refer to people who opt to go with Allopathic medicine and nothing else, then they have their place.

Unless people are educated about the CRITICAL importance of adding Complimentary Therapies to whatever treatment plan they chose.  The anti-cancer qualities of some of the spices and foods I've discussed read like super drugs...their benefits and the work they do to unmask cancer cells, deprive them of nutrition, of outright destroy them is Ominous!  But do people, even Celebrities know about them? Not unless they seek out a CAM practitioner.

Several of the western medicine doctors I have worked with in the past 2 years admitted to me hat they only had ONE class in Nutrition during Med School!!!  I knew waayyy more than they did on that topic.  My radiologist asked me for a list of the supplements I was taking, and what the benefit of each one was.  She was the only doc interested enough to begin to explore that area. How sad is that??

Herein lies my passion.. to get the word out, to be a resource for more information, to help others increase their quality of life and God Willing their chances of beating their illness and keeping it at bay through proper nutrition and mind-body support.

Please spread the word!

~ Be Well.

Can Ancient Herbs Treat Cancer?

One of the more expensive supplements I have been advised to take is called BreastDefend from EcoNugenics. It costs about $89 for a 2 month supply.(Trust me that's inexpensive compared to other supplements I take!) BreastDefend

Many of the ingredients in BreastDefend stand on their own and have been highlighted under the Super Supplements heading when you go to Complimentary Therapies on my main page, with the exception of the Scutellaria barbata herb, which is not available to the public as a single supplement.

Formula:

"Using eight clinically tested compounds, this synergistic formula is scientifically proven to promote cellular health, promote healthy hormone modulation, and support healthy immune function.*

The proprietary blend contains the antioxidative flavanoid quercetin, turmeric rhizome extract (BCM-95®; 95% curcumin), Astragalus membranaceus root extract, Scutellaria barbata herb extract, and an advanced formulation of DIM (3,3'- diindolylmethane). DIM, an ingredient found in broccoli, has been researched for its ability to promote cellular health, and support healthy estrogen metabolism. The formula is completed by the addition of three powerful, botanically enhanced medicinal mushrooms for immune support.*"

The only ingredient in this formula that is not available to the general public is the Scutellaria barbata herb extract which is also known as Ban Zhi Lian.

The Chinese herb Ban Zhi Lian may not be in everyone's lexicon, but to the 80 women with stage IV metastatic breast cancer, who are participating in the second phase of the BZL101 clinical trials, it represents hope and life.

According to  TimeHealth:

For Bionovo, the drug discovery and development company in Emeryville, Calif., that's behind BZL101, there's hope. The trial is the first FDA-validated clinical study of a potential cancer drug derived from a Chinese medicinal herb, says Dr. Mary Tagliaferri, a co-founder of the company, former practicing acupuncturist and a breast-cancer survivor. "Sixty-two percent of chemotherapy drugs come from natural products, and plants have been the basis of almost every new class of medication," she says. "It makes sense that these plants can act as anticancer agents."

Cohen's early observations about Ban Zhi Lian may have started out as a hunch, but they may hold up. In 1996, Cohen and Tagliaferri, along with Dr. Debu Tripathy, then a breast cancer specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, co-founded the Complementary and Alternative Medicine program at the university's Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center. Over the next several years, the trio amassed enough evidence about the herb's anticancer properties — in lab tests of animals and breast-cancer cells, BZL101 caused apoptosis or cell death, according to Tagliaferri — to get a green light from the FDA to begin clinical trials."

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration

Soybeans - Friend or Foe?

Soy is one of those "wonder foods" that used to be sold only in health food stores or Asian markets in western countries.

 

 

 

 

In the last several years, soy has been showing up regularly on the shelves of mainstream grocery stores, packaged in an amazing variety of products and flavors. At the same time, a controversy has been brewing – is soy healthy or risky for breast cancer patients and survivors? Do soy foods protect you from cancer, or do they hasten its development?

Soybeans are a great source of the anticancer compounds known as isoflavones.   These isoflavones have powerful antioxidant properties, and may be able to prevent cell damage (oxidation) caused by free radicals.

Soy isoflavones can act like weak estrogens, and may block estrogen receptors, similar to the way that tamoxifen works to prevent a recurrence of estrogen-sensitive breast cancer.

Sounds great, doesn't it?  But there may be a problem of "too much of a good thing."  Just as an excess of natural estrogen may fuel the growth of a breast tumor, too much of the soy isoflavone genistein, in concentrated form in many over-the-counter nutritional supplements, may set the stage for tumor development.

While moderate consumption of soy-based products is very reasonable, some supplements extremely high in phytoestrogens, especially soy-based isoflavone compounds and flaxseed based lignans, have been promoted as "natural" treatments for hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. Very well-designed clinical trials show these supplements are no more effective than placebo (sugar pills) at relieving these symptoms. There is good science to suggest these high dose supplements may have negative health effects.

The Bottom Line on Soy and Breast Cancer

You may get the most benefits from consuming soy isoflavones such as genistein, if the isoflavones come from food (sesame seeds, tofu, legumes)– not from nutritional supplements.

The American Cancer Society says that concentrated extracts of soy isoflavones may encourage tumor growth, and should be avoided. Women in the Japanese study who had the lowest rates of breast cancer had consumed soy from childhood, or at least from pre-puberty. Post-menopausal women should not overdo soy products, because the powerful isoflavones mimic natural estrogen, which fuels 80% of all cases of breast cancer.

References

  1. Barnes, S., et al.  "Soy Isoflavonoids and Cancer Prevention." Advances in Experimental Medicine & Biology  401.  (1996):  87-100.
  2. Barnes, Stephen.  "Anticancer Effects of Genistein."  The Journal of Nutrition  125  (1995):  777S-783S.
  3. Bergan, R., et al.  "Genistein-stimulated Adherence of Prostate Cancer Cells Is Associated with the Binding of Focal Adhesion Kinase to Beta-1-integrin."  Clinical & Experimental Mestastasis  14(4) (1996 Sept.):  389-398.
  4. Messina, M. J., et al.  "Soy Intake and Cancer Risk:  A Review of the In Vitro and in Vivo Data."  Nutrition & Cancer 21(2)  (1994):  113-131.

 

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is the treatment of cancer with drugs that can destroy cancer cells by impeding their growth and reproduction. Though chemotherapy is an effective way to treat many types of cancer, chemotherapy treatment also carries a risk of side effects. Some chemotherapy side effects are mild and treatable, while others can cause serious complications. The drugs used are made to destroy fast-reproducing cells. However, some healthy cells also grow quickly and cancer treatments destroy these cells as well.

The fast-growing, normal cells most likely to be affected by certain treatment drugs are blood-forming cells in the bone marrow, as well as cells in the digestive track, reproductive system, and hair follicles. Thankfully, most normal cells recover quickly when treatment is over. Therefore, most side effects gradually disappear after treatment ends. During the course of your cancer journey, you may experience many, a few, or no side effects.

Some newer anti-cancer treatments — such as Herceptin for breast cancer — may cause heart damage as well, although the effect is often temporary and reversible.

If your doctor is considering using a chemotherapy drug that may affect your heart, you may undergo heart function testing before and during treatment. Be sure to ask questions if you have any misgivings.

Chemotherapy drugs that may cause nausea and vomiting

Certain chemotherapy drugs are more likely than are others to cause nausea and vomiting. Some medications associated with significant risk of these side effects include:

  • Altretamine (Hexalen)
  • Busulfan (Busulfex, Myleran)
  • Carmustine (Bicnu)
  • Cisplatin (Platinol)
  • Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan)
  • Dacarbazine
  • Doxorubicin (Adriamycin)
  • Epirubicin (Ellence)
  • Estramustine (Emcyt)
  • Etoposide
  • Ifosfamide (Ifex)
  • Lomustine (Ceenu)
  • Mechlorethamine (Mustargen)
  • Procarbazine (Matulane)
  • Streptozocin (Zanosar)
  • Temozolomide (Temodar)

You will most likely be given a prescription medication to help with these side effects.  There are also nutritional foods and supplements that can help.  Acupuncture has been known to reduce the occurrence of nausea and vomiting, and is a wonderful complimentary therapy.

Hair  Loss

Chemotherapy may cause hair loss all over your body — not just on your scalp. Sometimes your eyelash, eyebrow, armpit, pubic and other body hair also falls out. Some chemotherapy drugs are more likely than others to cause hair loss, and different doses can cause anything from a mere thinning to complete baldness. Talk to your doctor or nurse about the medication you'll be taking.

I found that a wig helped me through this phase, and I bought eyebrow tattoos online that worked well.  A light eyeliner helped me feel better about losing my eyelashes.  Three weeks after the end of Chemo, my hair began to grow back.

'Chemo Brain'

Chemo brain is a common term used by cancer survivors to describe thinking and memory problems that can occur after cancer treatment. Chemo brain can also be called chemo fog, cognitive changes or cognitive dysfunction.

Signs and symptoms of chemo brain may include:

  • Being unusually disorganized
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty finding the right word
  • Difficulty learning new skills
  • Difficulty multitasking
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling of mental fogginess
  • Short attention span
  • Short-term memory problems
  • Taking longer than usual to complete routine tasks
  • Trouble with verbal memory, such as remembering a conversation
  • Trouble with visual memory, such as recalling an image or list of words

Signs and symptoms of cognitive or memory problems vary from person to person and are typically temporary, often subsiding within two years of completion of cancer treatment.

Again, there are many nutritional supplements and foods that can help you with Chemo Brain.  See my post on Managing Side Effects.

Books:

  1. Questioning Chemotherapy (1996) Equinox Press. ISBN 978-1881025252
  2. Integrative Strategies for Cancer Patients: A Practical Resource for Managing the Side Effects of Cancer Therapy;  Elena J. Ladas , Kara M. Kelly 
  3. Living well with cancer: a nurse tells you everything you need to know about managing the side effects of your treatment; by Katen Moore, Libby Schmais

Quercetin

Quercetin belongs to a group of plant pigments called flavonoids that give many fruits, flowers, and vegetables their color. Fruits and vegetables, particularly citrus fruits, apples, onions, parsley, sage, tea, and red wine, are the primary dietary sources of quercetin. Olive oil, grapes, dark cherries, and dark berries, such as blueberries, blackberries, and bilberries, are also high in flavonoids, including quercetin.

Scientists have long considered quercetin, and other flavonoids, important in cancer prevention. People who eat more fruits and vegetables tend to have lower risk of some types of cancer. And animal and test tube studies suggest that flavonoids do indeed have anti cancer properties.
Quercetin and other flavonoids have been shown in these studies to inhibit the growth of cancer cells from breast, colon, prostate, ovarian, endometrial, and lung tumors.  One study even suggests that quercetin is more effective than reservatrol in terms of inhibiting tumor growth. Another found that frequent intake of quercetin rich foods was associated with lower lung cancer risk.
Recent studies suggest that quercetin may slow the growth of cancer cells and help foster apoptosis, a form of natural cell death that doesn't happen in most cancer cells. Some studies in animals show that quercetin may help protect against certain types of cancer, particularly colon cancer.

In addition to this, preliminary studies have also suggested that quercetin may be effective in protecting against prostatitis (inflamed prostate) and heart disease.

Of course Quercetin is available in higher amounts in supplements than would be found in food. It can be found in capsule or tablet form ranging in doses from 50 milligrams (mg) to 500 mg. There is no recommended standard dose for quercetin so talk to your medical practitioner about dosage.
Read more here.

Four Cornerstones of Healing and Good Health

I can't think of a time when listening to our intuition and participating in our healing is more critical, than after being diagnosed with cancer.

During the first few weeks, while you adjust to the news it is important to choose an ally, someone close to you who is positive and available, to go to appointments with you and take notes, and to be your cheerleader.

Trust me... you will forget much of what is discussed while your mind sifts through a deluge of information and complex emotions.

It is also important to ask questions and go with your intuition when treatment or surgery recommendations are made.  Get a second opinion and research your options... contrary to what you may be told, you have quite a few.

I believe wholeheartedly that our reactions, our actions and our attitude have just as much, if not more, to do with our progression to good health than any other factor.

There are several links and post on this site that address the need to control our mind-body connection in a way that promotes recovery.

Over the past few years I have done considerable research on Complimentary and Alternative Cancer therapies.  My own experience with cancer led me to contact some of the leading respected CAM medical and nutrition practitioners in the country.

I consulted with several on Integrative approaches, since I believe that our body has immense capacity to aid the healing process if we help and allow it to.

'Allow it to' means to have faith in its wisdom, give it the nutrient support it needs to function optimally, enhance its repair processes by remaining positive and focused, listening to its prodding to make necessary changes or its warning about others.

The protocols suggested to me by the 5 CAM practitioners/researchers I had discussion with, had several things in common. Based on these fundamental suggestions, I worked out a diet/nutrition/lifestyle regimen that worked for me.

At first it was challenging to make the changes necessary, but I had the determination and willpower to keep at it until I found a rhythm that worked. Since I am an avid cook and ran a catering service for many years, coming up with recipes that met the nutrition guideline became a happy challenge!

If you go this route, you must believe in your heart that your protocol is as powerful as the medical therapies you may also receive.  In some cases exercise and diet changes offer patients greater benefit than traditional treatment.

If a body is not strong it will struggle to weather the toxic effects of Chemotherapy and Radiation, so it's important to know which supplements and foods will help counteract those effects, before, during and after treatment.

Clinical studies funded by the NIH have demonstrated that some spices, like Cinnamon, can help with Type II Diabetes and actually enhance the benefits of Chemotherapy. And in the case of Cinnamon .. be more powerful in tumor cell death than Chemo drugs!

The four cornerstones of optimal health are:

1. Diet / Nutrition / Lifestyle

2. Stress Reduction

3. Mind-body health

4. Supplements / Homeopathy

Read about each by clicking on the titles.

~ Be Well.