Cancer prevention is just as important as cancer treatment. Perhaps you have a family history, maybe you have a long term exposure to a known carcinogen, or you’ve done genetic testing to determine risk, maybe you are just wondering if you will randomly be diagnosed with this terrible disease next year, or the year after that. We are not destined to get cancer. We can drastically increase the odds of getting cancer based on nutrition and lifestyle choices.
What do I recommend? Although the exact details depend on the patient and the type of cancer, many recommendations are similar.
1) VITAMIN D. What can’t I say about this vitamin? Recent studies have shown a 50% decrease in certain cancers (like breast cancer) when a blood level of 50 ng/ml were maintained. It is impossible to guess your level of vitamin D so get it checked! How much should be taken, for most people in my area of the world in Canada I recommend a minimum of 2000 iu per day. To get to where they need to be, they may need 4000 or 10,000 or more. Some feel this is overdosing but sunbathing for 30 minutes gives you more than this.
2)FISH OIL. Just as above, high quality fish oil (EPA / DHA) that gives you omega-3 daily not only helps to prevent cancer but has been shown to increase weight gain in cancer patients and improve outcomes. Patients typically take 4-12g daily.
3)METABOLIC CLEANSE. Whether or not you agree with the concept of a cleanse, your body needs all of the ability it can muster to fight off or prevent cancer. GI/liver/kidney detox will open up your body to operating at fuller capacity. There are various cleanses available. Some gear towards the stress and damage of the mitochondria that produce the energy in your cells. Feeding the body the right energy from sources like Coconut oil can benefit. Along the mitochondrial lines, glutathione is a key supplement for energy production although its oral absorption is poor; IV is better but it still needs to be broken down into its constituents and reassembled in the cell. Eating Cysteine rich foods, taking SAMe, N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), whey protein, alpha lipoic acid, milk thistle and melatonin can all replenish glutathione levels and are all good supplements especially in the cancer patient experiencing side effects from their chemotherapy. L-Carnitine and acetyl-L-Carnitine help the mitochondria transport fatty acids like the ones in Coconut oil.
4)Vitamin E. Although I often recommend supplements for various conditions, I tend to lean towards dietary sources of this vitamin. Because of the different isomers vitamin E comes in, it gives a better spread when eaten unless your supplement contains them all. It also have the effect of reducing tumor growth.
5)Green Tea/EGCG-This is another supplement that shows promise in various types of cancer and cancer prevention and has a good safety profile.
6)Overall Diet- Most of us would not be surprised with the following suggestions. Obesity increased inflammation and increases the risk of several types of cancer. Maintaining a proper BMI and a fat percent under 25% are recommended. As studies emerge, the consumption of red meat (especially well cooked at high temps) appears to be associated with increased rates of some cancers. Processed meat consumption is also not great for cancer prognosis. Increased fiber decreases the risk of several cancers. Whole food consumption from fruits and vegetables is shown to reduce the risk of cancer. We understand that eating this is difficult for many people big and small, so recently we began recommending Juice Plus+ brand of whole food supplements to ensure our patients were getting their intake of fruits and vegetables.
There are many other recommendations, involving vitamin C, zinc, selenium, probiotics, vitamin A, magnesium and others that we like to tailor to each individual and their prevention and complimentary treatment regimens.
Gaby, Alan,R MD, Nutritional Medicine., Fritz Perlberg Publishing 2011