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Vitamin C research booming, 'emerging evidence' promising - ThePress
April 12, 2019 04:02 PM
Researchers from around the world will convene in Australia, sharing the newest research on Vitamin C. Controversy precedes the gathering, with opposing claims on vitamin C’s effectiveness in treating cancer. This debate harkens back to research conducted in the 1970’s, but the results of recent trial might sway naysayers; it reported an 80% mortality reduction rate for those suffering from sepsis. Supporters from University of Otago claim that vitamin C’s hype has been largely ignored in the past, but more and more studies garner its support. Opposition from the same school submit the gathering evidence is substantial, but more research must be conducted.
"Alongside traditional treatments, patients with septic shock are being given intravenous doses of vitamin C, totalling about 7g a day."
Read more: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/110559685/vitamin-c-research-booming-emerging-evidence-promising
Even the World Anti-Doping Agency has warmed to CBDs
February 18, 2018 03:59 PM
Many government and regulatory agencies around the world are warming up to the important medical benefits of cannabidiol, an oil compound derived from medicinal marijuana. But, even more surprisingly, one of the most strict anti-substance-use agencies in the world is turning its interest to the idea as well. The World Anti-Doping Agency, the arbiter of doping in sport and one of the strictest regulatory bodies around, has been taking testimonials from athletes regarding the potential usefulness of this substance.
"Thanks to the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) decision in September of last year, CBD is no longer a prohibited substance as of this year."
Read more: https://www.inlander.com/spokane/even-the-world-anti-doping-agency-has-warmed-to-cbds/Content?oid=8135746
France is "decriminalizing" cannabis nationwide
June 11, 2017 11:14 AM
France appears poised to change the way it punishes cannabis users. While it seems France will continue levying fines against citizens found guilty of cannabis use, the prison elements will likely be removed soon. There are several reasons supporters of the change tout in their advocacy for the change. One, cannabis use is widespread among the populace. Two, many citizens feel the government should not mandate what they do or not do with their bodies. Three, cannabis has the potential to provide several medicinal benefits and research into these benefits would be aided by the move to destigmatize its use by removing the criminal aspect. Four, cannabis use has a low potential for abuse. And finally, it has been estimated a cannabis arrest consumed up to six hours of police office and magistrate time. By removing the criminal aspect of cannabis use, it would free the country's law enforcement to pursue other matters of greater risk to the populace.
Read more: France is "decriminalizing" cannabis nationwide
CBD bill appears headed for passage
March 08, 2017 05:59 PM
My Racine County reports that the State Assembly Bill 49 will soon be coming to vote. Passage of this bill will permit the use of CBD oils for medical applications. Supporters of the bill in the state legislature have built a version that will likely be successful. It now appears that the bill will be passed, in which case it would be ready for the governor to sign. The families who have supported the bill in order to help minors with seizures and other disorders are hopeful about what this will mean for those that are sick and can benefit from use of the oil.
Read more: CBD bill appears headed for passage
Can CBD Help you Lose Weight?
February 25, 2017 10:59 AM
CBD has been in the headlines and in the spotlight for those battling many different health ailments. Many supporters say that it works better at treating common and uncommon health problems that might affect you. Now, new research is available, suggesting that weight loss is another problem that CBD can help. Learn the facts here.
"Most of the four million medical marijuana patients in the U.S. get their license recommendations from a doctor they never see again."
Possible new head of the FDA is a supporter of medical marijuana … Could Trump's FDA finally stop suppressing cannabis?
February 04, 2017 12:59 PM
Back on November 8th 2016 there was much celebration among the marijuana community. There were four more states that legalized adult use cannabis and several, including Florida, that legalized medical marijuana. However, there was still a lump in the back of many of our throats. Sessions has a long standing anti-drug stance and has made some strong comments against cannabis legalization. Recently the Trump administration has made a surprising announcement when they confirmed previous reports that Jim O'Neil is being considered to lead the Food and Drug Administration.
"For decades, cannabis advocates have pushed for universal legalization of medical marijuana. Citing scientific study after scientific study, they have forcefully (and truthfully) argued that legalization would provide much needed relief to millions of people suffering from a host of medical ailments."
Change likely to make CDB oil accessible
January 25, 2017 10:59 AM
Due to the efforts of one parent with a child that suffered from seizures, cannabis treatment for the disorder may be likely in the future. Sally Schaeffer helped pass Lydia’s Law in 2014, which hopes to allow research on the use of the drug. However, wording in the law has forced doctors to apply for an FDA investigational license. An alteration to the law next week is hoping to change that. The bill will hopefully at least allow people in Wisconsin to legally own the oil. The government is trying to get it legalized at a national level as well.
"After two years of a stalemate in the state government, a bill legalizing the use of cannabidiol as seizure treatment may finally become useful."
May 17, 2008 10:17 AM
Recently, the Natural Products Association has experienced a flurry of activity on the legislative front. One month ago, Natural Products Association members went to Washington, D.C. to meet with their representatives and discuss legislation important to the association and the industry. Many who could not visit Washington in person were part of our "virtual march" on Washington that delivered e-mails, petitions, and videos to Congress on the importance of natural products. Natural Products Day was a great success, boasting higher than ever attendance at our evening Congressional reception, and resulting in additional co-sponsors for S. 771, the Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act sponsored by Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). The bill now boasts co-sponsorship of more than a quarter of the Senate. Its companion bill in the House of Representatives, H.R. 1363, sponsored by Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), has gained an additional five co-sponsors as the result of Natural Products Day meetings and now has 140 co-sponsors. These bills continue to build momentum, thanks to your support.
More recently, the Natural Products Association urged supporters to contact their legislators to include an amendment to the "Farm Bill" allowing food stamp recipients to purchase dietary supplements. This provision was similar to free-standing bills that have been introduced in the current and previous Congresses by Sens. Harkin and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and have earned the association's support. Although the amendment advanced further than other versions in previous sessions, it did not make the final Farm Bill, which was reported out of conference today. The good news is that the Farm Bill did contain significant increases in nutrition programs and increased funding for organic farming, another supported goal of the Natural Products Association. Because of the strong effort of our supporters on the amendment's behalf, the bill was placed on Congress's radar screens and has greatly improved the chances as stand-alone legislation, S. 770, the Food Stamp Vitamin and Mineral Improvement Act, of seeing passage. We will continue to ask for support on this important bill as this legislative session progresses.
In addition, the Natural Products Association has been leading the fight to protect Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and to keep this important, safe, and effective supplement available to elderly consumers. The same players behind S. 762, which would wrongly classify DHEA as an anabolic steroid, proposed S. 2470 in late 2007 as a misplaced reaction the release of the Mitchell Report, which chronicled the abuse of steroids by professional baseball players. Although DHEA has no performance enhancing attributes, this bill was proposed to limit the access of minors to DHEA. The Natural Products Association and its supporters have worked hard to inform Congress of the benefits of DHEA, and that it is not an anabolic steroid and should not be classified as one. We have been able so far to prevent any movement on the bill, but the association continues to monitor its progress and make sure that this supplement remains accessible to the seniors who need it most.
Thanks to your help, the Natural Products Association continues to have an active presence on Capitol Hill that is felt by legislators. We could not do it without the help of you, our supporters, who know how important it is to stand up for natural products. The impact of your messages to legislators continues to help the Natural Products Association to ensure all natural products - from natural and organic foods to dietary supplements and health and beauty aids - are accessible to Americans. With your continued support we will continue to be known as a vocal group with a wide base of support through the rest of this legislative session and beyond.
To get involved, please visit our action center at www.capwiz.com/nnfa/issues/
The Growing Organic Market Place
June 26, 2007 01:51 PM
It probably doesn’t come as much of a shock that the market for organic produce is growing—estimated by various sources at about 20 percent a year. What may be surprising is that the organic food market, which generated about $13.8 billion last year, represents only about 2.5 percent of the total U.S. food consumption.
While those of us involved in the natural products industry or natural healthcare take for granted the advantages of organic products over “traditional” ones, there is a pressing need to mobilize resources in order to meet the consumer demand for pesticide-free foods.
Currently, only 0.2 percent of the U.S. farmland is organic. The other 99.8 percent produces food utilizing the high-production, low-nutrient and flavor lacking industrial chemical methods we grew up with—the same tradition that drove consumers to seek out organic produce in the first place. The picture isn’t any better in Canada, according to the Canadian Organic Growers Association, where only 1 percent of the food grown there is organic.
This of course raises the question as to how we are going to satisfy this increasing consumer demand. In a word: imports. We already import more than 10 percent of the organic food we eat. But perhaps the figure of greater interest is that we consume 42 percent of the worldwide organic food supply, leaving only 58% for world’s non-U.S. residents.
In this enlightened era in which we understand the downside of processed foods, chemical residue and the portent of global warming, it’s hard to understand why we don’t muster our great resources and legendary spirit to launch a program to address these issues—like JFK’s Apollo Project, which put a man on the moon in under a decade using computers less powerful than are commonly found on our desktops today.
While we ponder the question, there are people of good will and strong conviction who are working, albeit with limited resources, to do something about it. one group is working on remineralizing the earth. We are proud to be supporters and friends and we think you will find their concept as exciting as we do. -Peter Gillham – editor.
Barking Up The Wrong Tree – Dietary Supplements are targeted while foods sicken millions.
November 09, 2006 11:54 AM
The FDA and our enemies in Congress want you to believe that non-causal Adverse Event Reporting (AER, as presented in the S.3546 bill in Senate and the HR.6168 now in the House of Representatives) for supplements should be implemented to protect our health. The latest nationwide E.coli outbreak casts a shadow of doubt on S.3546/HR.6168 supporters’ motives, however-because these bills are treating safe, natural supplements as dangerous threats while foods wreak havoc on our nation’s health.
By the time this issue went to press, 187 people had been sickened and as many as three people had died from toxic E.coli bacteria found in contaminated bags of spinach. Tragically, this is nothing new; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that food borne disease cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths in the United Stages each year. More than 200 known diseases are transmitted through bad food.
Despite these staggering figures, there is no adverse event reporting system in place for foods. So if our enemies in Congress truly want to protect us, why are they pursuing non causal AER for safe, natural dietary supplements and not foods? The unfortunate answer is that non-causal AER supporters are either ignorant or in pursuit to non-disclosed political agendas. The latter is extremely disturbing especially when these self serving political agendas, promoted in the name of “protecting health,” will actually harm public health by taking away our supplements.
Not only are AER supporters barking up the wrong tree, but the AER bills that they have constructed are totally destructive. S.3546/HR.6168 is based on association and not causation. That’s right—S.3546/HR.6168 disregard what actually caused an adverse event, and instead use “guilt by association.” These poorly constructed bills are impotent when it comes to protecting people, but nonetheless are poised to devastate the nutritional supplements industry. If passed, S.3546/HR.6168 will unleash a barrage of frivolous lawsuits that will make trial lawyers rich while bankrupting the entire nutritional supplement industry and taking away our vitamins forever.
It is hard to imagine why some elected officials, the FDA and certain nutritional supplement industry groups are channeling so much money and energy into AER for harmless supplements while potentially deadly pathogens are tainting our food supply and sickening millions. If our elected officials truly wish to help the American people and protect public health, they should leave safe, natural dietary supplements alone and focus their AER efforts on foods—but only if they take the time to draft an intelligent, functional AER bill that is based causality.
Don’t Give Up the Fight
Adverse events with supplements are practically nonexistent. Adverse events with food are abundant. Elected officials who support S.3546/HR.6168 and the non-causal AER they espouse are clearly misguided, with an imbecile’s grasp on prioritization. If you agree that non-causal AER for supplements is an unwarranted waste of time and will destroy the industry by guilt by association, then please voice your opinion, before it’s too late!
Please call and fax Joe Barton, Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and other key AER players at the following numbers (fax numbers second): Barton at 202-225-2002, 202-225-3052; Chairman of the Judiciary Committee F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. at 202-225-5101,202-225-3190; House Majority Leader John Boehner at 202-225-6205, 202-225-0704; Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert at 202-225-2976,202-225-0697; and Congressman Nathan Deal a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, at 202-225-5211, 202-225-8272.
Don’t let self-serving political skullduggery take your vitamins and supplements away from you! Visit www.NHA2006.com and take advantage of online tools that allow you to easily send faxes to Congress. Please do not delay—without swift and decisive action, we may all lose our health freedom forever!
*This editorial is a public service announcement sponsored by the Nutritional Health Alliance (NHA).
Phosphatidyl Serine - HEALTHY COGNITION BRAIN FUNCTION
December 21, 2005 11:04 AM
“To the dull mind, nature is leaden. To the illumined mind, the whole world burns and sparkles with light.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
From the moment we rise to the moment we rest, our brain is in a decision-making frenzy. When we’re thirsty, our brain tells us that we need water. When we’re hungry, it reminds us that we have a refrigerator full of food. When we’re tired, it lets us know that we need to sleep, and so on. But despite the thousands of decisions we make everyday, our brain still hasn’t figured out a way to let us know what it needs to func¬tion.
Though ironic, this raises a very serious issue. The human brain, like every other organ in the body, demands nutrition - period. Unfortunately, it leaves that up to us to figure out. Thanks to notable advance¬ments in research, we’re finally learning which nutri¬ents are most important for optimal brain function. Phosphatidyl Serine (PS) is a perfect example. This naturally occurring phospholipid has been the subject of numerous studies regarding its ability to boost cognitive function and delay (or potentially reverse) memory deterioration, and suggests that PS may be able to increase the effectiveness of neural transmissions. Interestingly, PS accounts for roughly 15% of the brain’s phospholipid supply. This is enor¬mous because phospholipids play a significant role in the billions of neurotransmissions that take place every second. Yes, billions.
Brain cells are constantly communicating with one another, and send astonishing amounts of impulses throughout the nervous system. This is accomplished via neurotransmitters - chemical messengers that send and receive impulses over the synapses of the brain and throughout the body. Mentally, we’re function¬ing at our best when these cells are well nourished. We can think more clearly, recall memories with ease and operate with greater efficiency. However, a de¬ficiency in neural-nutrients can prevent these mind messengers from functioning as they should. For¬tunately, PS has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier to deliver critical nutrients and remove mind-slowing waste.
Consider this. The brain functions in the same man¬ner that a major airport does around the holidays. There are millions of actions taking place. Impulses departing, nutrients arriving, endless communication, the occasional problem and more reactions than any¬one could possibly count. There’s confusion, delay and emotion, not to mention the endless series of transmissions that take place every second. Imagine PS as that ultra-motivated employee who shows up to work everyday anxious to expedite everything in sight. It helps neural travelers get to and from their respec¬tive gates, ensures that they have everything they need, simplifies processes that could result in breakdown, and clears isles that are cluttered with junk. Simply stated, PS is the brain’s overachieving go-getter.
PS can help us think more clearly.
It’s 3:06 in the afternoon and you’re scrambling to get to a meeting that you’re already late for. That fluster could be the result of poor neurotransmission caused by a deficiency in essential nutrients like PS. Moreover, these innocent brain-bursts can exhaust our PS reserves, leaving us somewhere hovering be¬tween frantic and sluggish. Every impulse, thought, action, reaction, movement, emotion and desire is the end result of neurotransmitters in action. PS is a major supporter of these actions. Therefore, as we increase the amount of PS in our system, we gain the ability to think and act with greater ease.
PS can reduce the adverse impacts of stress on our body and mind.
What do we do when we’re down in the dumps? While plopping down on the sofa with a snack might be an easy solution, it comes with a price. Not only does stress interfere with mood, but it can also inspire inactivity, over-eating and sluggishness. This is due largely in part to cortisol - a catabolic hormone released by the adrenal glands in response to emotional stress. Studies done to determine the effectiveness of PS on cortisol suppression have shown that it works by suppressing the hormones that produce cortisol. As a result, supplementing with PS may be able to help reduce the amount of stress related hormones that ultimately leave us singing the blues.
PS can expedite post workout recovery time.
Endurance athletes who carefully monitor their body’s response levels are increasingly turning to PS. Immediately following strenuous activity, the body responds by releasing adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) – a hormone that discourages testosterone and encourages cortisol. By limiting ACTH pro¬duction, PS reduces the amount of muscle tissue breakdown that occurs during exercise. A common misconception is that muscles grow during exercise - wrong. In fact, muscles are torn down during ex¬ercise and grow in-between workouts – hence the term recovery. During recovery, PS helps prevent the activity of growth-inhibiting hormones. This helps athletes recover faster so their gains are realized more quickly.
In short, Phosphatidyl Serine appears to be a completely safe and beneficial dietary supple¬ment that can offer a wide range of physical and mental health benefits. NOW® Phosphatidyl Serine is derived from soy leci¬thin, and includes Choline and Inositol – two metabolites that work synergistically to help in¬crease circulation and cognitive response.
Cancer at the Millenium - the war on cancer entering its third decade...
June 13, 2005 10:23 AM
Cancer at the Millenium by Harriet Brown Energy Times, May 1, 1999
With the war on cancer entering its third decade, the necessity grows clearer for medical science to engage the enemy on several fronts. Until recently, high-tech medical weapons like vaccines and gene therapy, inspired by a flood of insights into the molecular basis of cancer, garnered most of the hope, hype, headlines and research money. The science was sexy and the prospect of a "cure" dramatic. But, today, advocates of prevention receive equal, if not greater, attention.
Improving our diets and prudently supplementing with vitamins and minerals, can deliver a major preventive impact. Contentious experts concede that at least a third (and probably more) of all cancers can be blamed on a combination of eating too much of the wrong foods and not enough of the right ones.
The Dietary Difference
Though cancer can progress rapidly once it leaps past its inception, it develops over many years and in several stages. Beneficial compounds in food and supplements may intervene along a line that runs from initial exposure to carcinogens to the final step into outright malignancy. Nutrients may: - counteract environmental poisons and the toxic byproducts of liver metabolism
The Big Picture The dietary guidelines advocated by the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute (which generally coincide with those of most health organizations) may sound familiar: Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Get lots of fiber. Limit fat, especially animal fat. Go easy on meat and avoid the cured variety (they contain nitrites). If you drink alcohol, do it in moderation. Watch your total calories, and your weight. Pretty straightforward stuff.
Carotenoids, as their name suggests, are orange and red pigments in fruits and vegetables, most notably carrots and tomatoes, although they're also in everything from sweet potatoes to spinach and brussels sprouts (in the latter their distinctive color is masked by green chlorophyll).
Lycopene, a carotenoid found primarily in tomatoes, displays double the free radical-fighting activity of beta carotene, the most widely studied carotenoid. Of 72 studies looking at consumption of tomatoes or tomato-based products reviewed in the February 1999 Journal of the National Cancer Institute, almost half showed a significant reduction in one or more of a variety of cancers.
Research shows that lycopene may be best at lowering a man's risk of prostate cancer. A 1995 Harvard Medical School study (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1995; 87: 1767-76) queried nearly 48,000 male health-care professionals about their consumption of fruits and vegetables. The only foods that reduced their risk of prostate cancer were, apparently, tomato sauce, tomatoes, pizza (tomato paste). For those who ate ten servings a week, risk dropped 45 percent; with four to seven servings, 20 percent. In animal studies lycopene decreased the number and size of mammary tumors (Eleventh International Symposium on Carotenoids, 1996).
Tomatoes are one of the richest sources of lycopene. Cooking tomatoes helps by releasing the lycopene from the plant cell walls. Also, the oil in tomato sauce enhances absorption in the stomach. Lycopene is also available in supplements.
Wine drinkers rejoiced when resveratrol, a constituent of the skin of red grapes, was found to protect their hearts (by blocking oxidation of LDL cholesterol and discouraging blood clotting). Now they have another reason to toast this potent antioxidant. When researcher John Pezzuto at the University of Illinois at Chicago screened about 1,000 plants for anticancer activity, he came up with one whose active ingredient turned out to be resveratrol. In lab tests it squelched both free radicals and inflammation, two well-known cancer inducers (Science, 6/10/97). In a study with mice, resveratrol reduced the number of skin tumors by up to 98 percent compared to control animals. Because the effective doses were high (Pezzuto estimates a person would have to quaff about five gallons of wine a day to get the equivalent) and because more than a drink or two a day may raise the risk of breast cancer, researchers don't recommend nondrinkers take up wine. But supplements of synthesized resveratrol (as well as grape juice) may help.
Saturated fat is an authentic dietary villain. Aside from clogging arteries, it's a suspected contributor to several cancers, though the evidence is greater for some cancers (prostate) than for others (breast cancer)
Of the two other main categories of fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, mono seems benign, if not positively protective. For example, in a study of the influence of diet on breast cancer, Greek researchers discovered that women who consumed higher amounts of olive oil (which is mostly mono) were less likely to be afflicted with breast cancer (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1995: 87; 110-116).
When it comes to polyunsaturated fats, however, things get complicated. The fat that predominates in corn, sunflower and other vegetable oils, called omega-6, has long been associated with cancer risk in animal experiments. Likewise the type found in margarines, trans fats, which are partially saturated vegetable oils. On the other hand, the omega-3 fats called EPA and DHA, which are found primarily in deep- and cold-water fish like cod, mackerel, and halibut, protect against both heart disease and cancer. In an epidemiological study covering 24 European countries, British researchers established that mortality rates for colon and breast cancers declined as fish and fish oil consumption rose (British Journal of Cancer 1996: 74; 159-64). And Finnish scientists discovered that the breast tissue of women who had breast cancer contained significantly less DHA and EPA than the breasts of healthy women (Nutrition and Cancer 1995: 24; 151-160).
Experts believe the omega-3s' anticancer effect derives from its ability to tamp down the prostaglandins that stimulate inflammation. Chronic inflammation unleashes a steady stream of free radicals, which can damage DNA and thereby trigger cancer. Omega-3s also help the liver detoxify potentially harmful substances.
Fortunately for the fish-phobic, nonmarine sources of omega-3 fats include flaxseed and hemp oils.
Minerals to Lower Cancer Risk
n Calcium: possibly protective against colon cancer. In a recent trial (New England Journal of Medicine, 1/14/99) researchers gave people with a history of precancerous colon polyps either two 600 mg calcium tablets a day or a placebo for nine months and found fewer polyps. n Selenium: powerful antioxidant and supporter of immunity. Researchers find that cancer rates in various regions is lowered when soil and vegetables contain more selenium
In a selenium-depleted area in China afflicted with one of the highest incidences of stomach and esophageal cancer mortality in the world, scientists asked different groups to take various combinations of nutrients. After five years they found a significant reduction in the cancer rate among those who had gotten supplements of selenium, vitamin E and beta carotene (Biological Trace Element Research 1985; 7: 21-29). In the U.S. researchers studying the potential effectiveness of selenium supplementation for preventing nonmelanoma skin cancers came up with a surprise. The 200 mcg a day the subjects received for an average of 4.5 years had no impact on skin cancer but did significantly cut the rates of lung, colorectal and prostate cancers (Journal of the American Medical Association, 12/25/96).
More recently Harvard researchers determined that men with prostate cancer had much lower levels of selenium in their toenails (a measure of consumption) than healthy men (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 8/119/98).
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and kale, have long been singled out for their association with protection against cancer. In a 1996 survey of 94 population studies and clinical trials focusing on consumption of cruciferous vegetables, 67 percent showed a reduced risk, the strongest link being with lung, stomach, colon and rectal cancers (Cancer Epidemiological Biomarkers 1996; 5: 733-748).
Scientists at Johns Hopkins showed that sulforaphane, from these plants, stimulates enzymes that help detoxify carcinogens generated in the liver. When they injected rats with a cancer-causing chemical, only 26 percent of the rodents pretreated with sulforaphane developed mammary cancer, compared to 68 percent of controls. Even animals who did come down with cancer had tumors that appeared later and smaller.
Other researchers have focused on a cruciferous-vegetable compound called indole-3-carbinol, which has proved especially effective against breast cancer cells. Recently, scientists at the University of California at Berkeley found that indole-3-carbinol, rather than acting as an anti-estrogen, (as had been thought), actually stops breast cancer cells by turning off a protein critical to their replication (Jrnal of Bio Chem, 2/13/98). Consequently, when treating certain forms of cancer, some doctors have paired indole-3-carbinol with the chemotherapy drug tamoxifen - which counteracts estrogen - and found that the combination has proven more potent than either separately.
Several decades ago British physician Denis Burkitt proposed that the low incidence of colon cancer among native peoples in South Africa was attributable to the fact that their diet was rich in fiber. The fiber, it was hypothesized, bulked up the stool, speeding its passage through the bowel and reducing the time carcinogens contact its lining; it also helped neutralize cancer-promoting bile acids.
This concept has been backed up by numerous studies. Recently, Harvard researchers sprinkled cold water on this idea, finding that an examination of the eating habits of more than 80,000 female nurses, could find no protective effect against colon cancer or precancerous polyps from consuming fiber (NEJM, January 21, 1999). Most experts' take on this apparent refutation: Maybe the "high fiber" intake in this case wasn't high enough, and this is just one study among many.
Fighting Breast Cancer
Fiber has also been linked to reduced rates of breast cancer. At first it was thought that if fat was a breast-cancer culprit, fiber might just be a marker for a low-fat diet. But a look at Finland undermined that idea: Finnish women eat both a lot of fat and a lot of fiber, and their breast cancer rate ranks much below that in the U.S., (where we eat gobs of fat and little roughage).
Fiber helps take estrogen out of circulation as it passes through the liver, while the isoflavones in many high-fiber plants and vegetables are themselves weak estrogens, which compete for slots on breast tissue's estrogen receptors. The special fiber in flaxseed oil called lignans act against estrogen in two ways: by binding its receptors and by inhibiting the enzyme that converts other hormones into estrogen.
Fiber comes in two basic forms, insoluble (e.g., wheat bran, celery, the skins of fruits and vegetables) and soluble (e.g., oat bran, citrus fruits, beans). Until a few years ago, scientists believed that cancer protection came mainly from insoluble fiber, but that thinking has turned around.
A soluble fiber called citrus pectin has been shown to halt the tendency of prostate, lung, breast and skin cancers to metastasize, or spread (e.g., Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1995; 87: 3448-353). Typically cancer turns deadly only when it gets into the bloodstream and invades new territory. Modified citrus pectin appears to stop this aggression by preventing cancer cells from attaching to healthy tissue.
While the name inositol hexaphosphate (IP6) sounds like a mouthful, many of us consume mouthfuls of this natural substance every day - in foods like corn, rice, whole-grain cereals, oats and wheat.
But now scientists have isolated IP-6 and found that this powerful antioxidant can slow the destructive cellular processes that lead to tumors. In a study published in Anti-Cancer Research (Nov/Dec 1998), scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine demonstrated that IP-6 could shrink liver tumors in laboratory animals.
The researchers believe that IP-6 can help prevent cancer and also be useful in lowering the risk of health problems like kidney stones and heart disease. Research like this continues to expand our knowledge of how to lower the risk of cancer. In the next millennium, with more and more information making its way into the media and onto websites, our power and the responsibility to reduce our risk of cancer will continue to grow and offer new possibilities.