My previous posts have focused on the type of foods that you should eat (i.e. primarily a plant-based diet with lots of juicing), those that you need to avoid (e.g. meat, dairy, processed foods high in sugar, artificial sweeteners like aspartame) and special protocols (e.g. the Bicarbonate of Soda Therapy) which all help in the prevention and healing of cancer. In today’s post, I want to talk about my top 10 supplements which also play a vital role in the fight against cancer. These will include chemical compounds like curcumin found in the turmeric root, plant extracts like wheatgrass and milk thistle, microalgae like chlorella and spirulina and, of course, essential nutrients which are required for normal physiological functions but can’t be synthesised in the body either at all or in sufficient quantities. Essential nutrients are comprised of fifteen minerals including magnesium, potassium and iodine, thirteen vitamins including vitamin C as well as vitamin B17-laetrile (which is not technically a vitamin), nine amino acids and two fatty acids. So, in no order of importance, let’s talk curcumin.
- Turmeric is derived from the curcuma longa plant, belongs to the ginger family, and is native to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. It’s principal active ingredient, curcumin, is believed to have powerful medicinal properties and so has been used in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines for thousands of years. In the Ayurvedic tradition, turmeric is used to protect the liver against toxins (particularly heavy metals like lead). A healthy liver is a critical line of defence against cancer which is why many protocols, like the Gerson Therapy, begin with a liver detox to cleanse the body of poisons so it can recognise and kill cancer cells. The prestigious Mayo Clinic in the United States had this to say about it: “Curcumin is thought to have antioxidant properties, which means it may decrease swelling and inflammation. It’s being explored as a cancer treatment in part because inflammation appears to play a role in cancer. Laboratory and animal research suggests that curcumin may prevent cancer, slow the spread of cancer, make chemotherapy more effective and protect healthy cells from damage by radiation therapy”. Black pepper, or bioperine, is a great way to increase turmeric’s bioavailability. By adding ⅛-¼ teaspoon of black pepper to turmeric, absorption is helped by up to 2,000%. Some producers of organic turmeric capsules like Superfood Harvest, recognise the importance of black pepper in curcumin absorption and so include it in the mix. I take two teaspoons of turmeric and bioperine powder in a non-dairy beverage each day. You can get the capsules by clicking on the image.
- Wheatgrass is considered a “superfood” in that it contains high concentrations of nutrients to protect and repair damage to your cells. It also has some powerful anti-cancer substances including abscisic acid which inhibits the growth of cancer cells and so functions as an immune agent against the disease. Wheatgrass contains 12 other vitamins (including B12, C, E, H, K, many of which are antioxidants), over 90 different minerals (including calcium, potassium and magnesium which are very alkalising to the body, selenium known as a powerful immune-builder and iron which is essential for blood formation), all 20 amino acids (including lysine which supports the immune system), over 30 enzymes (some of which are powerful antioxidants) and, most importantly, chlorophyll, which plays a vital role in the fight against cancer by increasing haemoglobin production enabling more oxygen to get to the whole body. You can get wheatgrass shots in many health food stores but for longer-term usage you can take it in tablet form or as a powder concentrate. I take two heaped teaspoons of the organic powder concentrate every day mixed with half a cup of water.
- Milk Thistle is considered one of the most powerful detoxifying herbs in nature, helping to eliminate build-up in the liver of heavy metals, prescription medications, environmental pollutants and alcohol, as well as reducing the negative effects on the liver after chemotherapy and radiation. The medicinal compound in the milk thistle plant is silymarin, an extract of the seeds, which is an antioxidant that protects against cell damage. According to Cancer Research UK, researchers have tested silymarin and its most active compound, silybin, in the laboratory in cancer cells and found that silybin may help certain chemotherapy drugs work better against ovarian cancer and breast cancer cells, might directly destroy prostate, breast, and cervical cancer cells, and may slow down prostate cancer cell growth. I take two milk thistle tablets daily, one in the morning and the other at night.
- Chlorella is a freshwater green alga and an excellent source of food as it’s extremely high in protein, essential fatty acids like omega-3, fibre, vitamins and minerals. In terms of minerals, chlorella contains high concentrations of iron, zinc, potassium and calcium, as well as an abundance of chlorophyll, containing magnesium, which massively increases cellular oxygenation and so creates an environment where cancer cells find it extremely difficult to develop. As far as vitamins are concerned, chlorella contains the eight B-complex vitamins, as well as vitamin C and beta carotene (which breaks down in the body to vitamin A), both of which are powerful antioxidants that block the action of free radicals (i.e. unstable molecules that can damage cells). A clinical trial conducted in Korea found that the group who received chlorella; increased their natural killer cell activity; produced interferons which boost the immune system response and reduce the growth of cancer cells; and generated interleukins which regulate cell growth and are particularly important in stimulating immune system reaction to inflammation and the development of the Th-1 cell response to defend against intracellular viral and bacterial pathogens.
- Spirulina is also an edible alga known for its distinctive bluish colour and, like chlorella, detoxifies the body of heavy metals in particular. Spirulina contains all eight essential amino acids and 10 other non-essential amino acids, antioxidants beta carotene and zeaxanthin, B complex vitamins; the minerals iron, selenium, magnesium and manganese, the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid, pathogen-targeting proteins, and probiotic bacteria which all combine to provide tremendous therapeutic benefits and make it almost unmatched in its ability to boost the immune system. A healthy immune system is a critical line of defence against cancer. I take two spirulina tablets daily, one in the morning and the other at night.
- Magnesium is a critical element for healthy oxygenated blood, cell proliferation, DNA replication and repair, inflammation control, detoxification and vitamin D synthesis, the latter of which is critical in the prevention and treatment of cancer. Magnesium deficiency increases the permeability of cell membranes which then allows viruses, fungi and heavy metals like aluminium, mercury, lead, and cadmium to enter the cells, potentially triggering carcinogenesis (i.e. cancer formation). Low magnesium levels also inhibit the synthesis of the master antioxidant, glutathione, which then allows an increase of free radicals. High magnesium foods include leafy green vegetables (e.g. spinach, kale, collard greens, bok choy, broccoli and Swiss chard), nuts and seeds, fish, beans, avocados, figs, bananas and cacao, but there are, of course, supplements which you can take in the form of tablets, capsules and powder. I take one magnesium tablet each day in the evening.
- Potassium is an essential mineral which plays a vital role in liver detoxification. A healthy liver removes impurities and toxins from the body and so strengthens the immune system; a vital defence against cancer. Nerves, muscles and the heart also require carefully maintained blood potassium levels in order to function properly. In the UK, a healthy blood potassium level is 3.5-5.0 mmol/L, 5.1-6.0 is termed mild hyperkalemia (the medical name for elevated potassium in the blood) and is usually treated by reducing high potassium foods in the diet, 6.1-7.0 is the moderate range, and above 7.0 is severe and life threatening. It is clearly important to keep your potassium level in the 3.5-5.0 mmol/L range but equally as important not to become potassium deficient as pioneering natural medicine advocate, Max Gerson, discovered in his research on cancer and the metabolism in the 1950s. He found that a large percentage of his cancer patients were severely deficient in potassium which led him and others to explore the potassium-sodium balance. When cells become stressed due to toxicity, they lose potassium and take in more sodium which leads to swelling (edema) as the cells try to dilute the sodium by retaining too much water. The cells then lose the ability to generate energy in a healthy way and become vulnerable to mutation … and cancer. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of potassium for adults is 4,700mg, providing you don’t have high levels of potassium in your kidneys in which case your intake of this key mineral should be more moderate. High potassium foods are sweet potatoes, dried prunes, lima beans, bananas, spinach and beet greens but if you can’t eat those foods for whatever reason, Best Natural’s Potassium Gluconate tablets contain 99mg of active potassium (below the FDAs over-the-counter limit of 100mg) and no sodium. Either potassium chloride or potassium gluconate will raise your blood potassium level if it’s lower than 3.5 but it’s extremely important that you consult with your doctor before taking this supplement to ensure you don’t raise your blood potassium to a dangerously high level. My most recent blood potassium reading in July 2018 was 4.3 mmol/L, which is mid-range healthy, and so I take two potassium tablets daily, one in the morning and the other at night merely to ensure my blood potassium is at the right level.
- Iodine is an essential mineral which is critical for the thyroid gland to produce hormones that contribute to a healthy oxygen-respirating metabolism rather than an unhealthy sugar-fermenting metabolism which feeds cancer. Iodine is also vital for an effective immune system with its powerful anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, anti-viral and anti-cancer properties. As the iodine added to table salt in the form of sodium iodide is not very bio-available for the body and because poor farming techniques have depleted iodine in the soil which means that the iodine level in our vegetables is also inadequate, supplements are needed. The RDA for US adults is 150mcg (micrograms) although the National Institutes of Health raises the upper level of iodine intake to 1,100mcg per day. However, Dr. Joseph Mercola points out that the Japanese consume an average of 13,800mcg per day and have the lowest rates of cancer in the world. The foods highest in iodine include cow’s milk, cod and other seafood, as well as eggs and, if on a vegan diet, navy beans and baked potato with the skin on. However, if you’re unable to get hold of these foods or your diet prevents you from doing so, you’ll need an iodine supplement. Perhaps the best option is nascent (or atomic) iodine sold in its liquid form as it’s a purer form of the element, and provides the body with a more easily absorbed and bio-available form of iodine. The body uses 98% of the liquid extract vs. only 39%-53% in tablet and capsule form. Also, 87% of the liquid extract is absorbed into the body in just the first 20-30 seconds whereas iodine in capsule form has to travel through the stomach and liver before becoming available to the body. Kelp (a seaweed) is also a great source of iodine and contains as much as four times the RDA. Sea kelp is a natural source of vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D and E, as well as other minerals including zinc, magnesium, iron, potassium and calcium. In fact, it contains the highest natural concentration of calcium of any food – 10 times more than milk.
- Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that has the power to boost immune function, increase resistance to infection, help the body heal from injuries or surgery, and protect against a wide range of diseases. When administered in very high doses by intravenous (IV) infusions, vitamin C has demonstrated the ability to kill cancer cells. Although getting IV infusions of vitamin C can be quite challenging, there are plenty of clinics where you can get it. This method is far more powerful than oral ingestion as 10g of IV vitamin C raises blood levels 25 times higher than the same dose taken orally, and this increases up to 70 times as doses get larger. Unlike virtually all chemotherapy drugs which destroy healthy cells as well as cancer cells, vitamin C is non toxic to healthy cells, however high the concentration. If you can’t or don’t want to get vitamin C IV therapy, then you’re left with a dietary intervention and/or high strength vitamin C tablets. I take 1 x 1000mg vitamin C tablet in the morning and one in the evening, and consume plenty of high vitamin C foods like chili peppers, red and green peppers, strawberries, and citrus fruits including oranges and lemon juice. I would, however, definitely opt for IV vitamin C therapy should my cancer return.
- Vitamin B-17 (laetrile) is the name given to the chemical compound, amygdalin, and was named vitamin B-17 by bio-chemist Dr Ernst Krebs in 1952. It’s found most notably in the pits of apricots and in bitter almonds. Vitamin B-17 is a molecule comprising two parts glucose, one part benzaldahyde and one part hydrogen cyanide (non-toxic in B-17). Normal healthy cells contain an enzyme called rhodanese which isn’t found in cancer cells so when the glucose delivers B-17 to the cancer cells, there is no rhodanese to neutralize the hydrogen cyanide. The cancer cells have a unique enzyme called beta-glucosidase which acts as an ‘unlocking enzyme’, releasing B-17’s benzaldahyde and hydrogen cyanide, which then kills cancer cells. You should start with 1-2 kernels per 10lbs of body weight per day and introduce them to your system gradually, perhaps with 5-10 on the first day and then increase consumption when you’re ready to do so. If your body tolerates them well (eating with meals will help), you can eat larger amounts, but you should monitor your body’s reaction carefully so as not to overdo it. I eat 10 apricot kernels in the morning and 10 in the evening in my attempt to prevent cancer recurrence.
OK. That’s my top 10 supplements, almost all of which I take now with the exception of chlorella (spirulina does more or less the same job) and nascent iodine which I am convinced about and hold ‘in reserve’ should my cancer return.