Living Well Blog: Saratoga's Holistic Health Forum

Lifestyle and Food: Powerful "Drugs" for Cancer Prevention and Health

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By Sarah A LoBisco, ND

Here's the continuation of my homepage blog on the power of Nurture over Nature!

Curcumin for Cancer Prevention & Cardiovascular Health
If America doesn't start spicing up soon, we are losing out on our health!

Including Curcumin in our diet will have a positive effect on how our genes affect our health. Specifically, this Indian spice works at the cellular level by regulating signals related to inflammation and cellular programming for death (AKA CANCER CELLS)!

Curcumin seems to down-regulate expression of Stat3 and phospho-Stat3 proteins, as well as genes that encode anti-apoptotic signals. In other words, it inhibits cellular signals that under ordinary circumstances prevent malignant cells from going into apoptosis. It also suppresses the binding of NF-KB, a strong inflammatory signal, in two of the three peripheral blood samples. Dr. Zhang said the current data rightfully raise hope that curcumin could play a role in treatment of CTCL, Sezary syndrome, and other hematologic malignancies.

Researchers at the Martin Luther University, Halle-Wittenberg, Germany, believe they have discovered mechanisms by which turmeric exerts its cholesterol-lowering effect. Norbert Nass, MD, and his team looked at the impact of curcumin at doses ranging from 2-50 micromoles on gene expression in human hepatic cells. They found that once the dose exceeds 10 micromoles, curcumin exposure induces an up to seven-fold increase in expression of LDL-receptor mRNA, which, from a functional viewpoint, means a marked increase in hepatic uptake of LDL. The greater the hepatic uptake, the lower the circulating levels of LDL will be, thus reducing potential for atherosclerotic buildup.

Source: Peschel D, Koerting R, Nass N. J Nutr Biochem. 2007; 18 (2): 113-119.
Excerpted from Holistic Primary Care: A Golden Wonder: Turmeric Compounds Trigger Apoptosis in Lymphoma, Lower LDL Cholesterol. By Erik L. Goldman | Editor-in-Chief - Vol. 8, No. 1. Spring, 2007

Ginger and Prostate Cancer (Br J of Nutriton)

Another spice with cancer-punch-out- power:

It is appreciated far and wide that increased and regular consumption of fruits and vegetables is linked with noteworthy anticancer benefits. Extensively consumed as a spice in foods and beverages worldwide, ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) is an excellent source of several bioactive phenolics, including non-volatile pungent compounds such as gingerols, paradols, shogaols and gingerones. Ginger has been known to display anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiproliferative activities, indicating its promising role as a chemopreventive agent. Here, we show that whole ginger extract (GE) exerts significant growth-inhibitory and death-inductory effects in a spectrum of prostate cancer cells. Comprehensive studies have confirmed that GE perturbed cell-cycle progression, impaired reproductive capacity, modulated cell-cycle and apoptosis regulatory molecules and induced a caspase-driven, mitochondrially mediated apoptosis in human prostate cancer cells. Remarkably, daily oral feeding of 100 mg/kg body weight of GE inhibited growth and progression of PC-3 xenografts by approximately 56 % in nude mice, as shown by measurements of tumour volume. Tumour tissue from GE-treated mice showed reduced proliferation index and widespread apoptosis compared with controls, as determined by immunoblotting and immunohistochemical methods. Most importantly, GE did not exert any detectable toxicity in normal, rapidly dividing tissues such as gut and bone marrow. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report to demonstrate the in vitro and in vivo anticancer activity of whole GE for the management of prostate cancer.

Source: Karna P, Chagani S, Gundala SR, Rida PC, Asif G, Sharma V, Gupta MV, Aneja R. Benefits of whole ginger extract in prostate cancer (abstract). Br J Nutr. 2012 Feb;107(4):473-84. Epub 2011 Aug 18. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21849094

Death by Skin
Showing how our choices in beauty affect our risk for diseases: 

  • Recent research found higher concentrations of parabens in the upper quadrants of the breast and axillary area, where antiperspirants are usually applied, suggesting they may contribute to the development of breast cancer. One or more paraben esters were detected in 99 percent of the tissue samples collected from mastectomies. In 60 percent of the samples, all five paraben esters were present
  • Overall, topical application of personal care products containing parabens appear to be the greatest source of exposure to these estrogen-mimicking chemicals, far surpassing the risk of the aluminum in antiperspirants
  • Aluminum chloride--the active ingredient in antiperspirants--has been found to act similarly to the way oncogenes work to provide molecular transformations in cancer cells. Like parabens, aluminum salts also mimic estrogen, and bioaccumulate in breast tissue, which can raise your breast cancer risk
  • Despite the fact that parabens are used in such a wide variety of products, their safety is primarily based on a rat study from 1956, as modern toxicology studies are lacking, and not a single study on the chemicals' carcinogenity follow acceptable regulatory standard carcinogenity study protocols, according to a recent review
  • Estrogens, whether synthetic or natural are a primary risk factor for breast cancer. Approximately 20 different studies have established that parabens have estrogenic activity, which makes them relevant when it comes to estrogen-sensitive cancers. A common excuse used to defend the absence of toxicological studies is that parabens are weak in terms of potency. For example, propylparaben and butylparaben are approximately 30,000 and 10,000 less potent than estradiol, respectively.
"However, estradiol occurs in breast tissue in the pictogram per gram of tissue range... but the results reported by Barr et.al. [the featured study] show tissue concentrations of parabens, in the worst cases, in the microgram per gram of breast tissue range, which is one million-fold higher than that of estradiol. Clearly, the magnitude of exposure would seem to more than compensate for the reduction in potency," Harvey and Everett write.
But that's not all. A 2011 study reported that methylparaben promotes cell cycling and makes human breast cells more resistant to apoptosis, which, according to the authors can provide the molecular basis for malignant tumor proliferation. Harvey and Everett also cite another study from 2007, which found that propylparaben and butylparaben cause detectable DNA damage.

Source: Dr. Mercola. May 24, 2012. 99% of Breast Cancer Tissue Contained This Everyday Chemical (NOT Aluminum). http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/05/24/parabens-on-risk-of-breast-cancer.aspx?e_cid=20120524_DNL_art_1

Read more at: www.dr-lobisco.com


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Reisa Mehlman

As a New York State Licensed Aesthetician, New York State Licensed Nail Specialist, and the Director of Living Well Healing Arts Center & Spa, Reisa combines her love of spa services and healing arts to achieve optimum skin and nail health, create greater overall wellness and bring forth our optimal, individual beauty.

"I believe that the day spa should be an instant getaway; a place that is quiet without being stuffy, relaxed, elegant and yet entirely comfy. You should feel warm and welcome, surrounded by people who care about you and what they are doing. This is the environment we strive to create at Living Well Healing Arts Center & Spa. Here, you are never just the "next" number; we allow ample time for your services, offer a flexible schedule and can be reached after hours. After all, to me, spa craft is not really a business, it's a lifestyle." Read more...


Dr. Sarah Lobisco

Whether the goal is to lessen pain, find an alternative to pharmaceuticals, or improve your quality of life, Dr. LoBisco's Naturopathic Medicine lets you get the best of both worlds conventional medicine, combined with safe and proven complementary therapies.

Dr. Sarah LoBisco has been involved in wellness for over 8 years. Her experience includes mentoring with holistic practices throughout New York, Vermont, and Connecticut. Read more...