Monthly Archives: November 2018

Are You DEAD Certain You are Free of Cancer?

References: Cancer Free

You had a breast lump and your surgeon did a lumpectomy. Your oncologist gave you six months of chemo and you lost your hair. Folks from church brought over casseroles and you wore a scarf for 4 months while your hair grew back. Are you cancer free? Are you safe? You had a mass in your ovary and had a hysterectomy? You had a melanoma on your thigh and had a 2-inch margin incision. Are you safe? You had your prostate taken out. Are you safe? Your PSA is 0.05. Is that good enough? Are you safe? What’s it worth to you?
Here is the dilemma. There are huge numbers of us living with this awful uncertainty and the answer isn’t as clear as we would like. We all hear about cancers coming back. You get emails from dear friends with comments like, “They found a hot spot on my PET scan in my pelvis”. “The CT of my lung showed a mass.” My sore elbow has a hole in the bone and the doctor wants a biopsy.”
Here are some facts about how cancer behaves. First of all, visible cancer by eyeball techniques is a centimeter or so in size. That comes to about 1 billion cells. One billion is about 30 generations or 30 doublings of cells. Each generation takes about 3-6 months, so you have a 7-15 year time frame for that to have happened. You can’t “see” generation 25 and earlier. They are too little by eyeball techniques.

Most chemotherapies will kill the 90% of rapidly dividing cells of a cancer, but not the slow-growing cancer stem cells that learn from each sequence of chemo to be resistant. So, chemo doesn’t really work on most solid tumors and has the price of making you feel sick, reducing your remaining quality of life with all its side effects. You die when the total mass of cancer is about a kilogram.
Cancer cells have some vulnerabilities. First of all, all cancers have broken mitochondrial membranes as their core defect. They have lost the ordered structure of their “energy factories” with their membranes effectively looking like curdled milk instead of orderly sequenced proteins. They can only burn glucose by making lactate, and the acidic quality of lactate drives the growth of high flow blood vessels. They need acid to encourage blood flow. All this translates into needing lots of glucose, being unable to burn fat, and hating alkaline foods. (Vegetables.)
More intriguing, cancer cells hide from the immune system by coating themselves with a bunch of novel proteins that have no business being on the surface of the cancer cell. And they generate all sorts of genetic defects we are learning how to interpret. Their DNA markers on histone proteins get characteristic patterns that reflect these changes. These “methylation” defects can be identified.
Finally, cancer cells don’t hold together as healthy tissues do. They break loose and spread like Viking raiders, spreading mayhem and carnage. Now, single cells aren’t able to establish a colony but bundles of cells can. We all have a certain level of “circulating cancer cells”. Yes. All of us. All the time. (Terrifying, isn’t it?) But folks with active cancers have more. If you have 20 cells make a colony, how long will that colony have to grow before it is visible? (Answer, 26 generations or 7-13 years).

Would you like to know that? Can you imagine counting your circulating cancer cells, then changing your diet, getting more IV Vitamin C, adding IV Ozone, taking more curcumin, adding tetrathiolmolybdate, eating a pure ketogenic diet, doing some fast mimicking…….then recount your circulating cancer cells. What would you think if your CTCs went down when you did that? Would you feel encouraged?

Your nascent cancer is vulnerable to lifestyle manipulations when it is in its first 15 generations, less so in the last 15. Can you imagine a sure and steady hand to help you through that frightening thicket of fear and uncertainty?

Next three-four weeks, we are going to explore the new and emerging tools of cancer biology testing to look at tests that help you do just that. Read the next four for five weeks of blogs and learn this material. Get good at it. Show these blogs to your oncologist. Read the book Cancer Free. Celebrate your life.

WWW: What will work for me. Well, I’m a cancer survivor times two. I’ve had two types of minor skin cancer but I had a lung APUDoma (rare endocrine tumor of the lung) that surgery fixed. But I had to wait for 10 years to be sure I was cancer free and never knew for sure. I’ve lived with that uncertainty all through my forties. Not so fun. I’m doing these tests because I’m running them all on myself just for starters. Join me. Want to know if you are cancer free?

Pop Quiz

  1.  A typical 1 cm cancer has been around for how long?                     Answer : At least 7-10 years
  2. Why?                                                                                                          Answer: because a cancer you can detect on exam or x-ray ( 1 cm) is about a billion cells big, which is 2 to the 30th power, or 30 doublings. Each doubling takes 3-6 months.
  3. Chemotherapy for most solid cancers fails in what fashion and why? Answer: It appears to succeed as it shrinks the cancer to so small you can’t see it anymore. But that is only killing the rapidly dividing cells (90%) but not the stem cells which subsequently learn from the chemotherapy how to be resistant to it. 10-15 doublings, generations, later, the cancer is back, meaner and more resistant than ever.
  4. Would you do something different if you knew you had cancer still inside you? Answer: It’s your life, your choice, but lifestyle changes are more likely to be effective when the cancer colony is tiny than when it’s big.
  5. Can you think of one test you just read about that will give you a measure of your cancer, and the effectiveness of your lifestyle changes?                                    Answer; Circulating cancer cells, for one.

Vitamin D and the Risk of Cancer – “Disappoints” 

Vitamin D and the Risk of Cancer – “Disappoints” 

References: NEJMScienceAJCNPLOSVitamin D Council,

It was all over the news last week, “Vitamin D Doesn’t Help Reduce Your Risk of Cancer”. Published in the prestigious New England Journal, (lead article, no less) this smacks of credibility. It was randomized with 25,871 Americans from all over the country and intentionally designed to include 20 percent African-Americans. Folks were given 2,000 IU of Vitamin D or placebo for a median range of 5.6 years. The results were “disappointing” in that there was no statistical reduction in cancer.
What’s my take on this? Wow, there are so many flaws, I’m just stunned that this made it into the NEJM. This reflects all the classical problems of nutritional research. Let me give it a try to see if I can convince you with a reasonable argument.
First, cancer is not a 5 year disease. It is a 15-20 year disease. Here is why. A 1 cm nodule, big enough to be seen on an x-ray is about 1 billion cells. That is about 2 to the 30th power, or 30 generations, or 30 doublings. If a doubling takes 6 months, you have 15 years for that cancer to grow from one cell to its current size. The time you want to be affecting cells is at the very beginning of their life. Vitamin D’s core function is to tell immature cells to mature. A mature cell is programmed to die at the end of its “time”. Cancer cells don’t grow wildly as much as they don’t die. A five year study is way too short. And if I were to do the study, I would first do the new generation blood testing studies that can show cancer cells circulating 5-7 years before clinically apparent. We’ll talk about those next week.
The key problem with this study is then that the cancers that do show up in 5 years will already be 10 years down the road from getting started and no longer modulated by vitamin D levels. As cancers progress from generation 1 to generation 30, they add more mutations to allow them to grow with their primary genetic defect in their mitochondria. They are now autonomous and on the road to aggressive disease. Any study that looks at generation 22-30 is looking at inevitable disease. Vitamin D is going to work at generation 1-10.

Second problem. Way too low a dose. We know that you have Toll Receptor Proteins that are sensitive to Vitamin D and they are not activated until your D level is 32. Since that research study by Liu in Science came out there has been an explosion of research all linking low Vitamin D to a sluggish immune response to TB and just about everything else. You need enough Vitamin D to fight cancer, or anything else. 2,000 IU of Vitamin D will get you to a blood level of 30. Just. We’ve shown that with a study in Antarctica over winter where you get NO Vitamin D for 6 months, guaranteed. Worse, African Americans have pigment which keeps Vitamin D out. They start with levels of 5.5 ng – 15 ng, whereas Caucasians start with 20. This study didn’t get blood levels. Arrghhh. Two thousand units of D is what a healthy young Caucasian will make in 2 minutes of sun exposure in June. Get their blood level to 50, for goodness sakes! And go read Garland’s study in PLOS1, that showed a 67% reduction in cancer when your blood level gets closer to 50 than 20. This study likely had folks D levels around 25, way, way, way too low. If you look at folks who live on the Equator in Africa, the Masai and the Hadzabe, both who are very dark skinned, wear very little clothing and have abundant sunshine, you find a D level of 45-55 range. That’s what we should aim for. And by the way, they have very little cancer.
I can go on….finally. Any new dose of D takes about a year to reach a new homeostasis without a starting loading dose. This wasn’t a four-year study at a stable dose, it was a three-year study. Your body thinks of D’s “volume of distribution” of D as about 1,000 gallons, not the 20 gallons you think of yourself representing. That is because D dissolves into fat.
And D isn’t a vitamin in isolation. It is critically linked to K2. You can’t do foods in isolation. You need ecosystems……I can rant on and on. But this study doesn’t help me much. It just gets me steamed up.

WWW: What will work for me. Just out of pique, I went and took my monthly dose of 100,000 a few days early. My blood level runs around 50 ish when I take 100,000 a month. But the war on cancer is just getting wound up. I want to learn all the technology of advance warnings on cancer and show that lifestyle can reduce your risk when we catch those early cancer cells when they are still capable of being modulated.

Pop Quiz

  1. Cancer cells that you find by physical exam are usually at least 1 cm in size. How many cells does that represent?                                                                Answer: about a billion, which is 30 generations of cancer cells, which is about 7-15 years of disease.
  2. Humans have toll receptor proteins on immune cells regulated by Vitamin D. They are activated by what level of D? n                                                Answer: above 32
  3. Two thousand units of D is the equivalent of how much sunshine in a middle European young person?                                                                           Answer: 2 minutes. (Africans need 12 minutes to get the same amount. Arabs and South Asians need about 6 minutes to make that much D. Finns, Russians and Celts need less than a minute, and then they burn.
  4. A study of Vitamin D and cancer should run for how long? Answer: At least 15 years and then you are just getting started. And throw in some K2 while you are at it.
  5. It’s possible to weed out folks who might be getting cancer in the next 7 years by what?            Answer: read next week. The science of circulating cancer cells is coming soon.

 

Flavor : The Nutritional Genius Inside You

Flavor : The Nutritional Genius Inside You

References: CMAJThe Dorrito Effect,

Last week you learned that flavor has been hijacked by our food industry to get you to buy more, eat more and get fat. The wonders of flavor have been circumvented for profit, and we are all vulnerable to its manipulation. But let’s step back and ask, what was all that flavor put there for?

To teach you what you need. Your body has the ability to sense what it needs, and when it gets it you perceive a feeling of satisfaction and desire for more. You identify where that satisfied need came from by its flavor. How can you prove that proposition?

Flavor is a chemical language. It is nature’s mother tongue of nutrition. Any one Secondary Chemical (plants are stuffed with these: that’s why every plant has hundreds, if not thousands of so-called “secondary” chemicals that appear to play no metabolic part in their own life.) means different things to different creatures. To a human, it might be bitter and awful. A deer might find it tasty. A wasp might sense it as the indication that a caterpillar is eating that leaf, and it can lay an egg in that caterpillar. If the wasp can kill the caterpillar, the plant isn’t eaten. The web of interactions between plants and the creatures that eat them is beyond imagination in complexity. And the result comes down to one word: flavor, and flavor comes down to emotions and feelings. The chemical messages of plants (food) turns into feelings and preferences, emotions, in animals.

How accurate are those feelings? Well, let’s go back to 1929 and a pediatrician in Chicago, Clara Davis, who recruited 15 mothers and widows who were so poor they could not feed their children. She would provide their food, provided they allowed the children to make their own choices from whatever they wanted. The study lasted for over 6 years. The list of foods is pretty unusual: water, potatoes, cornmeal, barley, beef, lamb, bone jelly, carrots, turnips, haddock, peaches, apples, fish, orange juice, bananas, brains, milk, and cabbage. They were virtually all malnourished and sickly when they started. Guess what happened! For starters, the child with rickets gulped down cod liver oil (a rich source of Vitamin D) for a month, then never touched it again. All the children tried every food and would vary what they would eat from time to time. But their health improved. They gained weight and they flourished. Flourished. Outside observers noted that they appeared to be better than any other group of growing children.

Or, let’s go further back to June 10, 1741, when the British warship Centurion landed on an island in the South Pacific with over 200 men having died of a mysterious malady over the prior two months. Their gums were bleeding and old fractures reoccurring and old wounds breaking open (all signs of scurvy). Upon landing, they gorged on purslane, moss, watercress, sorrel (all rich sources of Vitamin C.) The historian recorded “they longed for all vegetation”. They had feelings for the food that would cure them. They were described as having “scorbutic nostalgia” and being overcome with “incentive salience”. They longed for vegetables. Long before any doctor described citrus foods curing scurvy, the men’s feeling were shouting out for relief. Their bodies told them.
We humans have language to express ourselves. But the rest of nature has to go on emotions and feelings. Instinct! And nature has worked out the driver’s manual through the interactions between plants secondary chemicals and animals feelings. Flavor drives that bus.
That’s what flavor is about, Nature has crafted the most ingenious method of us detecting and knowing what we need. Our feelings, our instinct, our intuition is all deep within our subconscious minds but it drives our desire for food.
Now, that’s been hijacked by our food industry. Your flavor monitoring messages are all being manipulated for industrial profit. It’s no surprise that reading my local paper about my local high school, I see that the school lunch program has given up trying to meet Federal nutrition guidelines to help deal with obesity. All the kids refused to eat it, leaving campus for local fast food. The kitchen gave in, raised their prices and simply made more pizza. They simply let go of well-intentioned Federal money and let the kids have their artificial flavors.

www. What will work for me. This concept is way too important not to master. It appears to be the puppeteer’s strings that we have attached to us. Our feelings are so subtle and so easily overpowered by a single shake of “spice” or “natural flavorings”, it’s no wonder we all are overweight. How to overcome it? Beats me. My conscious brain just can’t win when I get to an Indian buffet.

Pop Quiz

  1. What is a key symptom of scurvy?                                     Answer: “Scorbutic nostalgia: longing for Vitamin C containing foods.
  2. What is one way to get a kid to guzzle cod liver oil?        Answer; Let him/her get rickets first. (Better program: give them sunshine in the summer and Vitamin D in the winter: minimum of 2000 IU a day and never get rickets.)
  3. Given completely natural foods with no flavorings, children will eat nothing but sugar and hot dogs? T or F                                                                     Answer: False. They will eat a balanced diet and get the nutrition they need provided they have whole foods and don’t have a choice of our Fast Food Nation (FFN).
  4. Given access to modern manufactured food, what will you do?       Answer: Get fat and eat too much.
  5. What does “incentive salience” mean?                             Answer: I haven’t a clue but I think it’s what British food historians used to describe sailors longing for what was most important in food. I would like to hear your interpretation. It’s in the book the Dorrito Effect 5 times. “A Frankenstein” state of wanting.

 

The Trouble With Flavor

The Trouble with Flavor

References: Yale Food Addiction ScaleThe Dorrito EffectEur Eat Dis Review,

If I were to ask you a delicate question…bear with me…..why do you have sex? Is it procreate and have children? Or do you have this deep urge to seek intimacy with someone you really like and just have fun with them? Of course, it’s fun and satisfying and connecting. Oh yeah, and you had one kid while you were at it. Now, extend that analogy to food. Why do you eat your food? Is it to get enough Vitamin A and B1, iron, and protein? Do you sit down at the table and ask, “What calories do I need today?” Come on…… you open the fridge and say, “What looks good to me?”. Do you look at the table in front of you and reach for what looks tasty?   Yup!  that’s it.  Sex and food are both deeply primal functions that we have to have to survive. And both derive their power from the satisfaction of those drives, and the pleasure they invoke. Pleasure. With food, that’s all about flavor.
Here’s the problem. As brilliantly explained by the author Mark Schatzker in his book, The Dorrito Effect, The Surprising New Truth about Food and Flavor, it’s all about flavor. We humans evolved to have specific flavors on our tongues and in our noses that represented rare and very valuable foods. It was greatly to our advantage to stuff ourselves silly when fruit season came around so that we put on weight and stored enough calories to make it through the next lean period, whether it be dry in Africa or cold in Asia. Hence, sweet is smack dab in the middle of your tongue. Along with about 5 or 6 others on your tongue. Then there is your nose, with 50,000 different flavors and trillions of combinations.
You are hard-wired to seek some flavors. In fact, good science shows it is the anticipation that drives your behavior more than the flavor. That is all about prior exposure, memory, and emotion. It’s that interplay of emotion, happiness, pleasure, memory, all hardwired to get you to eat abundantly when you find those flavors. Guess what the food industry has found out! Yup. Exactly what those flavors, memories, feelings and vulnerabilities are. Much of the drive to discover those flavors has been the inadvertant “blanding” of food. What used to be tasty chicken is now blah tasting white meat. What used to be delicious……name almost any food and its flavor has declined with industrial farming, yield improvements, genetic manipulation and long-distance shipping, storage, and mass marketing. Getting a chicken to grow to maturity in just 6 weeks, with just 4 pounds of food, with giant breasts,,,,has resulted in a very bland chicken.
No problem! We can fix bland food by adding more flavor to it of a very specific nature…and you will obediently eat it. Not one serving, but two or three.

This book is exceedingly insightful into the battle for your taste. This is a battle not of your conscious brain but of your very primal, survival-based brain stem. It tiptoes along the edge of creating out of control eating. Addiction? In fact, the Yale Food Addiction Scale was recently developed because so many of us are showing eating behaviors that look a lot like drug addiction. Take the test yourself. You may not be totally addicted, yet. You can’t chose not to eat, thus avoiding the addictive exposure to flavors. But if you can’t lose weight and feel utterly stuck, you might want to consider thinking how you can insert your conscious, rational, logical forebrain into the discussion and avoid the overwhelming power of flavor. Start with sweet. Avoiding sugar means you don’t purchase 80% of American food products that have sugar added to them. Consider peanut butter.
Next week gets even more interesting. Flavor is very, very important.
WWW. What will work for me. I can’t have ice cream in the house. It took me about a year to wean myself off it. The only way I can escape is to not purchase it. I haven’t succeeded with Indian All-You-Can-Eat Buffets yet. Fortunately, they are remote and not so easily brought home. And if I give in and have one heaping tablespoon of peanut butter….well, odds are, I have more.

Pop Quiz

  1. The flavor sweet was present through most of human history when?         Answer: With ripe plants that show up briefly at the end of the growing season, right before the starvation season.
  2. Where does sweet flavor fit?                                                                                Answer: Right in the middle of our tongues. Front and center.
  3. What is the most important driver of flavor choices?                                      Answer: The anticipation based on prior memory and feelings.
  4. What percent of food in America have some sugar in them?                        Answer: 80
  5. How much you eat may be based most on what feature of food?               Answer: It’s flavor.