User's Guide to Natural Remedies for Cancer Prevention & Control

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Covering a wide range of popular alternative medicine and health issues, User's Guides are written by leading experts and science writers and are designed to answer the consumer's basic questions about disease, conventional and alternative therapies, and individual dietary supplements.

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1. Orthomolecular Medicine’s Foundations in Research

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CHAPTER 1

ORTHOMOLECULAR MEDICINE’S FOUNDATIONS IN RESEARCH

Orthomolecular medicine was developed by a number of leading researchers studying the relationship of health and disease with nutrition. Many of these researchers are well-known scientists who are recognized and well respected in other specific areas of science, and all believed in the validity of this area of medical research. A brief review of these pioneers and their research will help in understanding the plausibility of orthomolecular medicine.

Dr. Irwin Stone and Early Evidence of High-Dosage Treatment Benefits

Soon after pure vitamin C became available, physicians explored its therapeutic value for a large number of diseases. A few clinical studies showed that adding this vitamin to the treatment of cancer cases improved the patient’s prognosis. Dr. Fred Klenner started using huge doses of vitamin C about fifty years ago, and reported that in some cases the results were quite remarkable. These early studies were reviewed by Irwin Stone in his 1972 book, The Healing Factor.

 

2. The Start of Orthomolecular Medicine

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CHAPTER 2

THE START OF ORTHOMOLECULAR MEDICINE

Leading gas companies here (New York) say the Edison’s invention has no appreciable effect on gas stocks in this city, and if there is anything of practical value in it, a slight reduction in price may be caused, but it cannot supersede gas for general lighting purposes. They say they have been kept well informed concerning all the recent discoveries in electricity both here and in Europe, and are very skeptical about the promised electrical millennium which is to abolish gas.

—December 24, 1879, from the Globe and Mail (Toronto, October 21, 2003)

It is unfortunately the case that traditional medicine follows other branches of science and invention in ignoring or scorning many important discoveries until long after their initial introduction. In 1968, Linus Pauling published his paper, “Orthomolecular Psychiatry, in Science,” and provided a scientific, theoretical, and practical basis for the concepts of orthomolecular medicine. He defined orthomolecular medicine “for the preservation of good health and the treatment of disease by varying the concentrations in the body of substances that are normally present in the body and are required for health.” This definition referred to a new concept, or paradigm, in medicine with respect to the use of supplements for treating disease. The older and still highly respected paradigm is called “vitamins as prevention.” This concept supports the use of very small doses of a few vitamins needed to prevent the occurrence of a few deficiency diseases such as pellagra. With the vitamins-as-prevention paradigm, vitamin supplements are not needed except for preventing these diseases, and megadoses are never required.

 

3. Nutrition, Diet, and Vitamins in the Orthomolecular Program

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CHAPTER 3

NUTRITION, DIET, AND VITAMINS IN THE ORTHOMOLECULAR PROGRAM

Orthomolecular medicine is often labeled as an alternative or complementary medical practice by traditional practitioners. Such labeling attempts to ignore the fact that orthomolecular medicine was established by respected, experienced research scientists, and is recognized and practiced by many medical doctors who have seen the value of its theories. Orthomolecular medicine does not undermine current medical practices; it provides additional preventive and treatment options to patients based on sound nutritional and biological principles. The basis of these principles is founded on nutrition, diet, and the positive intake of supplements that can assist the body in fighting disease. This chapter describes the importance of these nutritional elements, and how vitamins and minerals can help combat diseases such as cancer.

The Importance of Nutrition and Diet

All organisms live in a very intimate relationship with their environment. The external environment provides the food supply and nutrients essential for life, directly influencing the organism’s internal environment and health. This is a complex interrelationship that is subject to continual fluctuations. Over evolutionary time, all species have had to adapt their internal systems to survive these external changes and maintain health. Of all the external influences, there is nothing more important than good nutrition.

 

4. Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)

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CHAPTER 4

VITAMIN C (ASCORBIC ACID)

Vitamin C is probably the most widely taken vitamin supplement in the world. It is available as vitamin C (hydrogen ascorbate) and also as a mineral salt with sodium, or calcium or potassium. It can be taken by mouth or by intravenous injection using sodium ascorbate. It is present in fruits and vegetables in very small amounts. Citrus fruits are among the better sources, but the amount of vitamin C present will vary, depending upon the way the fruit is handled between the orchard and the table. Even the most favorable vitamin C—rich diet will not provide optimum health for most people.

The Safety of Vitamin C Supplementation

S. Lawson (2003) wrote a complete account of vitamin C’s safety. Vitamin C is safe—it is less toxic than every over-the-counter drug freely available—but there is nothing that is absolutely 100 percent safe, not even drinking water. The safety of any substance must be determined by comparing it against something that everyone recognizes as safe. The acid test of safety is the body count—how many deaths are caused by the substance? Dangerous drugs do kill. Vitamins do not. There have been no deaths reported for vitamin C and no toxicity data on humans. If one could engage in a duel using chemicals as the weapon, and I were to fight such a duel, I would have a bowl of vitamin C in front of me and would take one level teaspoon every few minutes. My opponent would have a bowl of ordinary table salt in front of him, and would match me spoon by spoon. The salt will kill him. The vitamin C will not kill me.

 

5. Vitamin B3

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CHAPTER 5

VITAMIN B3

Vitamin B3 is the anti-pellagra vitamin. Adding niacinamide to flour almost eradicated pellagra, a disease that was a major scourge in the Southeast United States until the cause of pellagra was discovered. There are several forms of vitamin B3. All are equivalent as vitamins, but there are differences as well. Niacinamide (also known as nicotinamide) is the one most commonly added to multivitamin preparations because it does not cause vasodilatation or flushing. It has no effect on blood lipid levels, and has not been tested for any protective effect against vascular disease. Niacin (also known as nicotinic acid) acts as a vasodilator when it is first taken. It is the gold standard for lowering cholesterol, triglycerides, and lipoprotein A, and for elevating high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. It also decreases deaths in patients who have already had one coronary. It is available in no-flush forms, which have to be carefully formulated. Inositol niacinate is a combination of two vitamins, inositol and niacin. The niacin is released from this compound so slowly that it does not cause flushing. It also has an effect on lipids, but it is not as effective as niacin. All the forms are equally therapeutic for the arthritides (inflammations of the joints), for healing, and for cancer. When I think circulation should be improved, I prefer niacin as a vasodilator. For my cancer-treatment program, I use 300 mg to 3 grams daily.

 

6. Vitamin E

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CHAPTER 6

VITAMIN E

Vitamin E includes the tocopherols, of which d-alpha tocopherol succinate has the most anticancer properties. It is the major lipid-soluble antioxidant, protecting the polyunsaturated fatty acids in membranes against peroxidation—the process by which fatty acids are oxidized through the action of an enzyme called peroxidase. The usual intake is about 12 IU (international units) daily. I have patients who take 800 IU daily. Vitamin E destroys nitrites, which have been shown to increase the incidence of cancer. It protects the red blood cells in lungs against the toxic effect of ozone, and from hydroxyl radical toxicity. K.N. Prasad (1999) reported that alpha tocopherol succinate induced differentiation in melanoma cells and inhibited the growth of neuroblastoma, rat glioma, and human prostate and melanoma cells.

Differentiation

The process of changes by which cells become specialized in form and function. It is the degree to which a tumor resembles normal tissue. Well-differentiated tumors resemble normal tissue; the closer the resemblance, the better the prognosis.

 

7. The Carotenoids and Vitamin A

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CHAPTER 7

THE CAROTENOIDS AND VITAMIN A

Most studies regarding the carotenoid beta-carotene and cancer found a relationship between the two. The Finnish Antioxidant and Lung Cancer Study appeared to show an increase in the incidence of lung cancer when low levels of beta-carotene were present. But interestingly, this is not what the dozens of authors of this study concluded. They found that beta-carotene did not decrease the incidence of lung cancer; on the contrary, there was a statistically insignificant increase among the beta-carotene group. It is, therefore, very important to know exactly the method used in this study.

The study used a large population of male smokers ages fifty to sixty-nine who were followed for five to eight years. One group was given the synthetic dl-alpha tocopherol. Another group was given 20 mg of beta-carotene, a third (control) group was on placebo, and the fourth group received both antioxidants. All the subjects had smoked five or more cigarettes daily for over thirty-five years. However, the beta-carotene group smoked one year more than the control group. How significant is one more year of heavy smoking for increasing the number of advanced lung cancers? The authors do not discuss this.

 

8. Folic Acid (Folate)

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CHAPTER 8

FOLIC ACID (FOLATE)

Folic acid was one of the less interesting vitamins until Dr. Smithells in Scotland showed that giving pregnant women folic acid at the beginning of their pregnancy substantially decreased the incidence of neural tube defects (NTD). The possibility that folic acid was involved in these defects was first suggested in 1964. Dr. R.W. Smithells showed that giving pregnant women extra folic acid decreased the incidence of NTDs in 1989. Before that, he had measured the red blood cell folate and white blood cell vitamin C levels of mothers who had babies with NTDs, and found that they were low in both nutrients. It was thus known since 1989 that a multivitamin preparation containing folic acid would decrease the number of babies with neural tube defects. This finding should have been greeted with enthusiasm, but it was not.

The objection to Smithells’ work arose from the pervasive belief that folic acid was dangerous if patients had pernicious anemia. This is why higher dose folic acid pills must be given as prescriptions. Hunter wrote:

 

9. Vitamin D

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CHAPTER 9

VITAMIN D

Without enough vitamin D3 (the biologically active form of vitamin D), we get rickets. But rickets should have disappeared long ago. We know that this vitamin is made in the skin on exposure to ultraviolet light, and that it is readily available in fish liver oils, particularly in halibut liver oil and in smaller concentrations in cod liver oil. Cod liver oil given to children, in spite of its bad taste, was a special spring event for many families. This seems to have vanished as a spring habit, but many of my patients still remember how their mothers forced them to take the foul-tasting substance.

Rickets

A nutritional disease caused by not getting enough vitamin D. This interferes with the ability of the body to absorb calcium and causes softening and deformation of the bones.

Rickets was caused by ignorance then, and it’s coming back again, due to ignorance of a different kind. This time, it is an iatrogenic disease caused by advice from the medical profession, especially by dermatologists. They have become extremely fearful of ultraviolet radiation as a cause of skin cancer, specifically the melanomas. This fear, and their advice to stay out of the sun, to use sun screens, and to keep their children covered at all times has had the unintended consequence that rickets is once more becoming a public health problem. Canadian doctors are seeing more cases of childhood rickets, and apparently this number is increasing each year. In the past two years, there have been eighty-four reported cases of rickets in Canada. Three generations ago this disease was so rare that rickets was considered a medical curiosity. Once considered an old disease of the nineteenth century, when children were malnourished or forced to work in dark mines and factories, rickets is again being seen in Great Britain, the United States, Australia, and Canada. Canadian pediatricians are recommending that vitamin D supplements be used in addition to what is present in breast milk and in other foods. Perhaps the pediatricians should talk more to the dermatologists.

 

10. Essential Fatty Acids

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CHAPTER 10

ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS

The connection between essential fatty acids and cancer has been described in a huge number of published studies. One of the leaders in this field, Dr. David Horrobin, was also a leader in having evening primrose oil, and later fish oils, examined clinically both for prevention and treatment of cancer. I did not add essential oils to my program for many years except for flaxseed oil, following the work of Dr. Johanna Budwig, in Europe, who considered it a major part of her treatment for cancer.

Essential Fatty Acids and Cancer

The relationship between essential fatty acids and cancer is not clear because there are so many essential fatty acids. The two main series are the omega-6 and omega-3 series. While some of these fatty acids appear to be beneficial, some may not be. The saturated fats, which have suffered a bad reputation, are coming back in for consideration and may also play a major role. Studies on prevention in animals or in vitro studies suggest that the essential fatty acids do play a role in cancer. In one double-blind clinical study, ten patients with sporadic colorectal polyps were given fish oil. The results indicated that fish oil could protect against the development of colon cancer. And fish oil could also help deal with cachexia—the severe terminal weight loss in some cancer patients. At the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, two groups of pancreatic cancers were studied. The one group was given a high-calorie/high-protein diet, and the second group a high-calorie/high-protein liquid diet supplemented with omega-3 essential fatty acids and vitamins E and C. Before the study, these patients were losing an average of 6.6 pounds each month. All of the patients stopped losing weight, but the patients who consumed most of their drink gained the most, and these patients were only in the group receiving the supplements. Not all the credit can be given to the essential fatty acids, however, since the patients were also given vitamin E and vitamin C.

 

11. Selenium

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CHAPTER 11

SELENIUM

It is difficult to establish strong correlations between any diseases and any one nutrient when a large number of nutrient factors are involved. H.D. Foster (1992) in his excellent review concluded that the evidence for a negative correlation between selenium intake and the incidence of cancer was strong. In one twenty-seven-country survey, breast cancer mortality correlated strongly and negatively with dietary selenium. However, case control studies yield conflicting data. Some workers find no difference in blood selenium levels between breast cancer cases and controls, while others find they are low in the cancer cases. Prospective studies also yield mixed data. One study on 4,480 subjects, of whom 111 developed cancer, showed a significant but small decrease in selenium in the patients who developed cancer.

More recent reviews confirmed Foster’s conclusion. A study by Cornell University and University of Arizona showed that patients taking selenium had a 41 percent less chance of getting cancer compared with those taking a placebo. The treated group experienced 18 percent less mortality. Wahrendorf, Munoz, and Lu (1988) supplemented the diet of people living in a high-risk area in China for esophageal cancer. They found that at the end of the trial, individuals who showed large increases in retinol, riboflavin, and zinc blood levels were more likely to have normal esophagus tissues when they were microscopically studied. Yu, Mao, Xiao, et al. (1990) gave 300 micrograms of selenium to forty healthy miners in a double-blind experiment to test its safety. They concluded that this use of selenium was safe and effective in humans with low selenium status, and that selenium protected lymphocytes against DNA damage. Cancer Research announced on June 15, 2003, that some genes were related to incidence of breast cancer and that these genes were less responsive to selenium stimulation. Over a hundred animal and dozens of epidemiological studies linked high selenium state with decreased risk of cancer. On February 21, 2003, the Food and Drug Administration announced the validity of two health claims: (1) selenium may reduce the risk of certain cancers, and (2) selenium may produce anti-carcinogenic effects in the body.

 

12. Zinc and Copper

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CHAPTER 12

ZINC AND COPPER

Zinc deficiency induces immunosuppression. Thymus-dependent acquired immunity—that is, immunity that is not provided automatically by the body, but develops by being exposed to a particular disease—is most severely affected. Zinc plays a large number of roles in the defense responses of the body. These are: 1) it contributes to plasma’s ability to resist attack, 2) it is important to the cell’s ability to bind to and utilize enzymes and nutrients, 3) in high concentration, it inhibits the function of phagocytes, small white blood cells that fight infections and protect the body from diseases it has been exposed to, 4) low body stores of zinc are associated with dysfunction of T cells, 5) the synthesis of nucleic acid and protein, two critical substances for the body, is dependent on zinc, and 6) zinc plays a key role in metalloenzyme function (enzymes that contain a metal ion). These roles may explain some of the anticarcinogenic effects of zinc.

Phagocytes

Cells that engulf and destroy particles such as bacteria, protozoa, and other organisms, aged red blood cells, and cellular debris.

 

13. The Therapeutic Program

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CHAPTER 13

THE THERAPEUTIC PROGRAM

We can no longer ignore the extensive data that is already available in the medical literature regarding the orthomolecular therapy and the value of vitamins in cancer treatment. This data contains conclusions of independent physicians with no ties to the drug industry. They have not sought fame and fortune by their studies, and their only goal was to improve the results of treatment for their patients. They did not have the support of the medical research establishment, or the large grants needed by institutions before they perform clinical studies. They didn’t do prospective randomized controlled experiments because they didn’t have the resources, financial or otherwise. But their clinical data is every bit as strong, perhaps much stronger, than the data accepted by the medical community from the early noncontrolled studies on the modern tranquilizers when they first came into use between 1950 and 1960. By the end of 1960, we knew that these powerful drugs were active. The controlled experiments that followed simply confirmed what was already general knowledge. Why were these uncontrolled studies accepted while the studies on vitamins are ignored? The difference is that the drug companies poured millions into promoting their patented tranquilizer compounds, and no one is doing the same for orthomolecular treatment of cancer, because vitamins can’t be patented.

 

14. Clinical Results of Orthomolecular Treatment

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CHAPTER 14

CLINICAL RESULTS OF ORTHOMOLECULAR TREATMENT

In this chapter, I will describe the outcome of treatment of a few of the more important types of cancer and a few case histories from each group to illustrate the outcome of treatment. We have to take into account that the patients who came to see me were self-selected and very highly motivated when we consider the results of the treatment. They had to be motivated, to escape from the box of only standard treatment from practitioners who are members of the chemotherapy and radiation faith. It took exceptional courage and determination to face their doctors and their oncologists and arrange to be referred.

Most of the patients were terminal, or they had been informed that there was nothing more that could be done and that there was no hope except for palliative treatment. This removal of hope prompted the break from classical medicine. These results experienced by these patients cannot be compared with the whole universe of cancer patients with similar types of tumors. They can be compared to my patients who could not follow my program for at least two months. I had concluded that a fair test of the program would demand at least two months of treatment, in the same way that one chemotherapy session would not be considered a fair test of chemotherapy if eight treatments were required. The patients who did break out of the box of traditional medicine’s prognosis for them were rewarded by a positive attitude, by support, by attention to diet, by the use of nutrients, and by an improved quality of life.

 

14. Clinical Results of Orthomolecular Treatment

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CHAPTER 14

CLINICAL RESULTS OF ORTHOMOLECULAR TREATMENT

In this chapter, I will describe the outcome of treatment of a few of the more important types of cancer and a few case histories from each group to illustrate the outcome of treatment. We have to take into account that the patients who came to see me were self-selected and very highly motivated when we consider the results of the treatment. They had to be motivated, to escape from the box of only standard treatment from practitioners who are members of the chemotherapy and radiation faith. It took exceptional courage and determination to face their doctors and their oncologists and arrange to be referred.

Most of the patients were terminal, or they had been informed that there was nothing more that could be done and that there was no hope except for palliative treatment. This removal of hope prompted the break from classical medicine. These results experienced by these patients cannot be compared with the whole universe of cancer patients with similar types of tumors. They can be compared to my patients who could not follow my program for at least two months. I had concluded that a fair test of the program would demand at least two months of treatment, in the same way that one chemotherapy session would not be considered a fair test of chemotherapy if eight treatments were required. The patients who did break out of the box of traditional medicine’s prognosis for them were rewarded by a positive attitude, by support, by attention to diet, by the use of nutrients, and by an improved quality of life.

 

15. Cancer and Schizophrenia

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CHAPTER 15

CANCER AND SCHIZOPHRENIA

I have been working with the hypothesis that adrenochrome is involved as one of the main factors in the cause of schizophrenia since 1952. Adrenochrome is an oxidation product of adrenaline (epinephrine). All of the catecholamines can be oxidized in the same way, dopamine into dopachrome, for example. I described this hypothesis and the hallucinogenic properties of adrenochrome in The Hallucinogens, which I wrote with Dr. Humphry Osmond.

Catecholamines

Brain chemicals that act as communication carriers between nerves. These include dopamine, epinephrine (adrenaline), and norepinephrine (noradrenaline).

Adrenochrome is also toxic to mitosis, the process of cell division, so it appeared plausible that there would be a natural antagonism between cancer and schizophrenia if our hypothesis was correct. Since cancer is the result of uncontrolled cell division, it could not coexist with adrenochrome. If a patient made too much adrenochrome due to extreme amounts of adrenaline oxidation, he could develop schizophrenia but not cancer, because the adrenochrome would inhibit cell division. If a patient did not make enough adrenochrome, he could get cancer but not schizophrenia, because there would not be enough adrenochrome present to exert its hallucinogenic properties.

 

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