|Issue #136 Jan. 2014|
Welcome to this issue of Naturopathic News, issue #136. It's my mission to help you find optimal solutions to health problems. This newsletter is one way to do that. The more educated you are about your health options the better able you will be to take control of your health. If you would like to stop receiving my newsletter please send me an email and let me know. If you have a friend or family member who you think would appreciate the information provided, send me their email address.
2014 Master Class Series
PREVENTING CANCER MASTER CLASS
Sat. March 29, 2014 9-4pm
Williamsport; seating is limited
Why A Class on Cancer Prevention?
In many important ways, Cancer is a big reason why I do what I do. I trace my interest in health back to 1968 when my dad died of colon cancer. It wasn’t just his death that impacted me, it was how he died. During care he was given Cobalt-60 treatments. Cobalt-60 may be familiar to you as the radioactive isoptope that was recently stolen in Mexico.
Direct exposure to Cobalt-60 was an accepted treatment for colon cancer in the 1960s. What I most remember about my dad’s Cobalt-60 treatments is the transformation that occurred from start to finish. Seared into my memory is the burned, hollowed husk of a man that was the result of this ‘standard of care’. This experience had such an effect on my 15 year old psyche that I delved into 2 connected topics—radiation (environment) and health alternatives. I was convinced that there had to be a different way, another approach to help people heal. 45 years later, the intersection of health and environment still drives my efforts to help my patients heal.
Forty two years ago Richard Nixon signed the National Cancer Act vowing to fight a national “War on Cancer”. Since then the US has spent over $100 billion on cancer research. At that time cancer was the #2 cause of death in the US. In 2005 it became the top killer of Americans under the age of 85. A report issued by the American Cancer Society in January of 2004 found that 156 Americans PER HOUR were diagnosed with cancer and more than a half-million people were predicted to die from it by the end of that year.
Dr. Samuel Epstein, president of the American Cancer Coalition, points out that global cancer rates have doubled in the last 30 years. The “war on cancer strategy” completely ignores (and almost always denies) the link between cancer and toxic exposures to environmental chemicals, pesticides/herbicides, DNA altering substances like GMOs, cancer causing medical treatments (radiation) drugs, and industrial pollution.
What stands out about these risk factors is that they are all preventable. You can choose to eat organic foods thereby greatly reducing your exposure to pesticides, herbicides, and GMOs. It is possible to create a ‘cancer prevention lifestyle’ that focuses on maintaining a healthy internal and external environment.
Cancer researchers have found that cancer is an environmental disease with 90-95% of cases attributed to environmental factors. Environmental in this instance meaning any cause that is not inherited.
"Cancer is a preventable disease that requires major lifestyle changes". Pharm. Res. 25 (9): 2097–116.
REDUCING ENVIRONMENTAL CANCER RISK
Environmentally caused cancers are 'grossly underestimated' and 'needlessly devastate American lives.'
In May 2010 the President's Cancer Panel on Thursday reported that "the true burden of environmentally induced cancers has been grossly underestimated" and strongly urged action to reduce people's widespread exposure to carcinogens.
The panel advised President Obama "to use the power of your office to remove the carcinogens and other toxins from our food, water, and air that needlessly increase health care costs, cripple our nation's productivity, and devastate American lives."
The 240-page report by the President's Cancer Panel is the first to focus on environmental causes of cancer. The panel, created by an act of Congress in 1971, is charged with monitoring the multi-billion-dollar National Cancer Program and reports directly to the President every year.
“The grievous harm from this group of carcinogens has not been addressed adequately by the National Cancer Program," the panel said in its letter to Obama that precedes the report. "The American people – even before they are born – are bombarded continually with myriad combinations of these dangerous exposures."
The panel, appointed by President Bush, told President Obama that the federal government is missing the chance to protect people from cancer by reducing their exposure to carcinogens. In its letter, the panel singled out bisphenol A, a chemical used in polycarbonate plastic and can linings that is unregulated in the United States, as well as radon, formaldehyde and benzene.
Richard Clapp, a professor of environmental health at Boston University's School of Public Health and one of the nation's leading cancer epidemiologists, called the report "a call to action." Environmental and occupational exposures contribute to "tens of thousands of cancer cases a year," Clapp said. "If we had any calamity that produced tens of thousands of deaths or serious diseases, that’s a national emergency in my view.”
The two-member panel – Dr. LaSalle D. Lefall, Jr., a professor of surgery at Howard University and Margaret Kripke, a professor at University of Texas' M.D. Anderson Cancer Center – was appointed by President Bush to three-year terms.
Lefall and Kripke concluded that action is necessary to reduce exposures, even though in many cases there is scientific uncertainty about whether certain chemicals cause cancer. That philosophy, called the precautionary principle, is highly controversial among scientists, regulators and industry.
"The increasing number of known or suspected environmental carcinogens compels us to action, even though we may currently lack irrefutable proof of harm," Lefall, who is chair of the panel, said in a statement.
The two panelists met with nearly 50 medical experts in late 2008 and early 2009 before writing their report to the president. The report recommends raising consumer awareness of the risks posed by chemicals in food, air, water and consumer products, bolstering research of the health effects and tightening regulation of chemicals that might cause cancer or other diseases.
They also urged doctors to use caution in prescribing CT scans and other medical imaging tests that expose patients to large amounts of radiation. In 2007, 69 million CT scans were performed, compared with 18 million in 1993. Patients who have a chest CT scan receive a dose of radiation in the same range as survivors of the Hiroshima atomic bomb attacks who were less than half a mile from ground zero, the report says.
The panel also criticized the U.S. military, saying that "it is a major source of toxic occupational and environmental exposures that can increase cancer risk." Examples cited include Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, where carcinogenic solvents contaminate drinking water, and Vietnam veterans with increased lymphomas, prostate cancer and other cancers from their exposure to the herbicide Agent Orange.
About 41% of all Americans will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime, and about 21% will die from it, according to the National Cancer Institute's SEER Cancer Statistics Review. In 2009 alone, about 1.5 million new cases were diagnosed.
The panel called those estimates "woefully out of date." The panel criticized regulators for using them to set environmental regulations and lambasted the chemical industry for using them "to justify its claims that specific products pose little or no cancer risk."
The report does not try to estimate environmentally induced cancers but said the old estimates, dating back to 1981, fail to take into account many newer discoveries about people's vulnerability to chemicals. Many chemicals interact with each other, intensifying the effect, and some people have a genetic makeup or early life exposure that makes them susceptible to environmental contaminants.
"It is not known exactly what percentage of all cancers either are initiated or promoted by an environmental trigger," the panel said in its report. "Some exposures to an environmental hazard occur as a single acute episode, but most often, individual or multiple harmful exposures take place over a period of weeks, months, year, or a lifetime."
Dr. Ted Schettler, director of the Science and Environmental Health Network, called the report an “integrated and comprehensive critique.” He was glad that the panel underscored that regulatory agencies should reduce exposures even when absolute proof of harm was unavailable. Also, "they recognized that exposures happen in mixtures, not in isolation" and that children are most vulnerable.
“Some people are disproportionately exposed and disproportionately vulnerable," said Schettler, whose group was founded by environmental groups to urge the use of science to address public health issues related to the environment.
Schettler said it "took courage" for the panel to warn physicians about the cancer risk posed by CT scans, particularly for young children. “It’s almost become routine for kids with abdominal pain to get a CT scan" to check for appendicitis, he said. Although the scans may lead to fewer unnecessary surgeries, doctors should consider the high doses of radiation. “I'm very glad this panel took that on," Schettler said.
Another sensitive issue raised in the report was the risk of brain cancer from cell phones. Scientists are divided on whether there is a link. Until more research is conducted, the panel recommended that people reduce their usage by making fewer and shorter calls, using hands-free devices so that the phone is not against the head and refraining from keeping a phone on a belt or in a pocket. Even if cell phones raise the risk of cancer slightly, so many people are exposed that "it could be a large public health burden," Schettler said.
The panel listed a variety of carcinogenic compounds that many people routinely encounter. Included are benzene and other petroleum-based pollutants in vehicle exhaust, arsenic in water supplies, chromium from plating companies, formaldehyde in kitchen cabinets and other plywood, bisphenol A in plastics and canned foods, tetrachloroethylene at dry cleaners, PCBs in fish and other foods and various pesticides.
Chemicals and contaminants might trigger cancer by a variety of means. They can damage DNA, disrupt hormones, inflame tissues, or turn genes on or off.
"Some types of cancer are increasing rapidly," Clapp said, including thyroid, kidney and liver cancers.
DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: One of the most promising developments from this research is the embrace of the precautionary principle. The idea that the burden of proof should be on a chemical maker to prove that their product does not cause cancer, before it is used in the marketplace. Not, as it is currently done, where 1,000s of chemicals are introduced into our environment every year, without being tested. Then, when you get sick or are poisoned by one of these chemicals, you have to prove that chemical X is the culprit.
Here are some of the highlights from the report:
* The Panel was particularly concerned to find that the true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated. With nearly 80,000 chemicals on the market in the United States, many of which are used by millions of Americans in their daily lives and are un- or understudied and largely unregulated, exposure to potential environmental carcinogens is widespread. One such ubiquitous chemical, bisphenol A (BPA), is still found in many consumer, despite the growing link between BPA and several diseases, including various cancers.
* Some scientists maintain that current toxicity testing and exposure limit-setting methods fail to accurately represent the nature of human exposure to potentially harmful chemicals. Current toxicity testing relies heavily on animal studies that utilize doses substantially higher than those likely to be encountered by humans. These data -- and the exposure limits extrapolated from them -- fail to take into account harmful effects that may occur only at very low doses.
* Only a few hundred of the more than 80,000 chemicals in use in the United States have been tested for safety.
* While all Americans now carry many foreign chemicals in their bodies, women often have higher levels of many toxic and hormone-disrupting substances than do men. Some of these chemicals have been found in maternal blood, placental tissue, and breast milk samples from pregnant women and mothers who recently gave birth. Thus, chemical contaminants are being passed on to the next generation, both prenatally and during breastfeeding.
* The entire U.S. population is exposed on a daily basis to numerous agricultural chemicals, some of which also are used in residential and commercial landscaping. Many of these chemicals have known or suspected carcinogenic or endocrine-disrupting properties. Pesticides (insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides) approved for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) contain nearly 900 active ingredients, many of which are toxic.
* Many of the solvents, fillers, and other chemicals listed as inert ingredients on pesticide labels also are toxic, but are not required to be tested for their potential to cause chronic diseases such as cancer. In addition to pesticides, agricultural fertilizers and veterinary pharmaceuticals are major contributors to water pollution, both directly and as a result of chemical processes that form toxic by-products when these substances enter the water supply.
* Americans now are estimated to receive nearly half of their total radiation exposure from medical imaging and other medical sources, compared with only 15% in the early 1980s. The increase in medical radiation has nearly doubled the total average effective radiation dose per individual in the United States. Computed tomography (CT) and nuclear medicine tests alone now contribute 36% of the total radiation exposure and 75% of the medical radiation exposure of the U.S. population.
* Many referring physicians, radiology professionals, and the public are unaware of the radiation dose associated with various tests or the total radiation dose and related increased cancer risk individuals may accumulate over a lifetime. People who receive multiple scans or other tests that require radiation may accumulate doses equal to or exceeding that of Hiroshima atomic bomb survivors.
* Numerous environmental contaminants can cross the placental barrier; to a disturbing extent, babies are born "pre-polluted." There is a critical lack of knowledge and appreciation of environmental threats to children's health and a severe shortage of researchers and clinicians trained in children's environmental health. Childhood cancer is now the leading cause of death for children.
* Single-agent toxicity testing and reliance on animal testing are inadequate to address the backlog of untested chemicals already in use and the plethora of new chemicals introduced every year.
* Many known or suspected carcinogens are completely unregulated. Enforcement of most existing regulations is poor. In virtually all cases, regulations fail to take multiple exposures and exposure interactions into account.
MORE THAN 1 IN 3 COMMON CANCERS COULD BE PREVENTABLE
More than a third of common adult cancers may be preventable in the U.S., and this does not even count cancers that could be prevented by not smoking OR factor in the benefit of optimizing vitamin D levels.
The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and its sister organization, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), estimate that in the U.S. eating a nutritious diet, being physically active, and keeping body fat under control may prevent:
• 38 percent of breast cancers
• 45 percent of colorectal cancers
• 36 percent of lung cancers
• 39 percent of pancreatic cancers
• 47 percent of stomach cancers
• 69 percent of esophageal cancers
• 63 percent of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, or larynx
• 70 percent of endometrial cancers
• 24 percent of kidney cancers
• 21 percent of gallbladder cancers
• 15 percent of liver cancers
• 11 percent of prostate cancers
DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: As previously noted, these are probably underestimates. However, they give you an idea of what the starting point is.
THREE MAJOR STEPS TO REDUCE YOUR CANCER RISK
Number 1: Radically Reduce Your Sugar Intake—Normalizing your insulin levels is one of the most powerful physical actions you can take to lower your risk of cancer. When your body produces too much insulin, for an extended period of time, the normal regulatory mechanisms begin to break down, leading to chronic insulin resistance.
Chronic insulin resistance will cause major damage in your body. Not only leading to diabetes, but also making you more susceptible to infection, heart disease, osteoporosis, and cancer. Look to the molecular and cellular component of disease and you will find insulin resistance playing its part.
Limit your intake of processed foods, grains and sugars/fructose as much as possible to prevent your insulin levels from becoming elevated in the first place.
Number 2: Vitamin D—There's overwhelming evidence pointing to the fact that vitamin D deficiency plays a crucial role in cancer development. Researchers within this field have estimated that about 30% of cancer deaths could be prevented each year simply by optimizing the vitamin D levels in the general population. Contrary to what you’ve heard, even people living in sunny climates such as Arizona and Hawaii do not have optimal Vitamin D levels.
In November 2012 researchers at McGill University discovered how Vitamin D helps to slow the progression of cells of cancer from premalignant to malignant states.
The researchers found that vitamin D helps to inhibit both the production and function of the protein cMYC, which drives cell division and is active at elevated levels in more than half of all cancers.
The research team discovered vitamin D controls both the rate of production and the degradation of cMYC. They also found it strongly stimulates the production of a natural antagonist of cMYC known as MXD1, which shuts down cMYC function.
Nov. 22, 2012 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: In terms of protecting against cancer, vitamin D has been found to offer protection in a number of other ways, including:
Regulating genetic expression
Increasing the self-destruction of mutated cells (which, if allowed to replicate, could lead to cancer)
Reducing the spread and reproduction of cancer cells
Causing cells to become differentiated (cancer cells often lack differentiation)
Reducing the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones, which is a step in the transition of dormant tumors turning cancerous
For other facts about Vitamin D check out my update on facebook.com/NaturalDoc
Number 3: Exercise—When looking at how to reduce their cancer risk many people skip right by exercise. Yet consistent exercise is one of the most beneficial lifestyle changes you can adopt.
One of the main ways exercise lowers your risk for cancer is by reducing elevated insulin levels, which creates a low sugar environment that discourages the growth and spread of cancer cells. For instance, physically active adults experience about half the incidence of colon cancer as their sedentary counterparts, and women who exercise regularly can reduce their breast cancer risk by 20 to 30 percent compared to those who are inactive.
Additionally, exercise improves the circulation of immune cells in your blood. Your immune system, given proper support through nutrition and exercise, defends against many diseases, including cancer.
Though there is much to be said about using exercise as a tool for maximum health benefit, the simplest approach is to JUST DO IT! Almost any form of exercise you do will be better than none at all. Whatever form of exercise you love, from line dancing to swimming, yoga to weight lifting, start today. If you have a serious health condition it may be best to talk to your naturopathic doctor first, but you can still do something. Just keep the following in mind.
The ‘rule of thumb’ I use is simple. If, the day of exercise you feel sore that is fairly normal. If you’re sore the day of, and the next day, you probably exercised too long, or too intensely. We want to ensure that you are getting enough exercise to achieve the benefit, but not too much to cause injury.
If you are able to include a variety of exercise techniques in your routine, all the better. These could include stretching, aerobics, strength training, aerobics, core-building activities, and burst-type exercise.
Here are some pages that are of particular interest:
Store: There are 407 products from Emerson listed on this page. If yours isn’t one of them please let me know and I will add it so you can order online. This is particularly convenient after hours or on the weekend. Of course, you can always order by phone from Emerson at 800-654-4432.
Newsletter: Here you will find all 136 issues of my health newsletter, "Naturopathic News”.
Optimal Health Points: This is my blog that I update periodically. Check out my latest post, “No Deaths From Vitamins, Minerals, Amino Acids Or Herbs”.
Come join my fan page at www.facebook.com/NaturalDoc
Help me bring information, news, and stories about natural medicine to the Facebook community.
For those of you who don’t know, Facebook is a social networking website. Users can add friends and send them messages, and update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves. Additionally, users can join networks organized by city, workplace, and school or college.
Facebook pages help you discover new artists, businesses, and communities as well as those you already love. On my fan page www.facebook.com/NaturalDoc I post discussions that you can join in with and relay breaking health news related to disease prevention, clinical nutrition, and ways to make you healthier.
I’m looking forward to exploring this community with you. See you there!
LET ME HELP YOU MAKE WISE SUPPLEMENT CHOICES
As is often the case, a recent new patient asked if I would review their choice and use of supplements and herbs. Why does this happen so often? For many, taking a vitamin or herb is their introduction to natural medicine. Their desire to be healthier drives them to take supplements and herbs. The death, pain, discomfort, and side effects experienced with over the counter and prescription drugs compel people to look elsewhere. It’s very different with supplements and herbs which, when used correctly, have an incredibly low risk of harm.
Some people take this to an extreme and take every supplement or herb that someone tells them is ‘good for them’. It might be a clerk, an internet ‘expert’ source, or a friend who is marketing the latest or greatest fad. Most of these individuals or companies have no professional training or experience in the medical use of the supplements or herbs that they’re selling. The people they’re selling to come into my office with 5, 10, 15, or more supplements that they’re taking. Sometimes it’s been so long since they started taking them that they don’t remember why they’re doing it. When I ask, they can’t tell me what, if anything, a particular product is doing for them. Yet, they can be quite fearful of stopping any of these items, as if their health would careen off a precipice without them.
Why do I think my approach is any different? Partly, it’s because of my background. I’ve literally been working with nutritional supplements since 1974. That’s 36 years assessing the quality and effectiveness of supplements. Beginning in 1980 I started working with Western and Chinese herbs. The quality of herbs used and how they’re combined together has the greatest effect on the efficacy of the final product. Because I’ve grown, identified, harvested, and produced medicinal herbal products I recognize a good formula when I see one.
Licensed naturopaths like me receive the most extensive academic and clinical training in the use of nutritional supplements and herbal medicines of any professional in the United States. Nothing can substitute for such hands on experience, especially when you see, and are responsible for, the results of your treatments. Very different from the clerk in the store, or coworker who’s part of a MLM scheme.
What I’m offering to is easy access to this experience and training. Both for you and your family. If you have questions about the supplements or herbs you are taking, or are thinking about taking, now is the time to ask. Send me an email with the brand and name of the product you’re taking. Let me know that you want to bring the bottles in at your next visit, so I can see what you’re taking. Start a discussion on my Facebook fan page. Either way I’ll give you honest feedback about what I think is good, or what isn’t. We’ll fine tune what you’re taking to maximize effect and eliminate waste.
Let me hear from you and we’ll get started.
GET YOUR VITAMIN D TEST WITH ZRT LABORATORY
It just happened again the other day. A patient sent me a copy of the Vitamin D test she just had done. With frustrating results. The wrong test was done. After all these years, and all the information available, MDs and laboratories still order the wrong test. What a waste of money and time.
For a long time I looked for a home Vitamin D test. One that would be simple, easy, and accurate to do on your own. I finally found one. ZRT Laboratory in Beaverton OR. ZRT emphasizes research and technological innovation.
Until now, venipuncture blood serum has been the standard medium for testing Vitamin D. ZRT has developed and refined Vitamin D testing in blood spots. A few drops of blood from a quick and nearly painless nick of the finger, placed on a filter paper to dry are all that is needed. The total 25 (OH) Vitamin D is then determined by liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). This method has been shown to be as accurate as the assay standard.
Ordering A Vitamin D Test
ZRT allows anyone to order a Vitamin D test kit for $95 plus shipping and have it sent to their home. ZRT will let me prepay for kits and send them to my office for $55 each, plus $8 shipping. I am charging $65 per kit for patients to cover the total.
If you are interested in getting a Vitamin D test done through my office please prepay so I can order you a kit. Then you can either pick it up at my office or have it shipped to your home. Once you’ve taken the sample and sent it back to ZRT it’s only a matter of time before your results are sent back to me. I can even look at them online before the mail arrives.
If your doctor has refused to order a Vitamin D test or worse, ordered the wrong one, this is the fastest, least expensive, most accurate way to do it ourselves. Once we know what your Vitamin D levels are, the next step is making sure that you achieve optimum levels for prevention of disease and maintenance of health.
I am often asked what supplements I recommend. Many of you have been surprised to discover that I favor food over pills; lifestyle changes over fads. I have been working with nutrition for over 30 years, herbs for over 20 years. Where and when appropriate I recommend them to my patients. I strive to act from knowledge, experience, and research.
Emerson Ecologics (800-654-4432) carries almost all of the nutritional supplements and botanical extracts that I think are useful. Their customer service is excellent and their delivery is reliable (often only 2-3 days to this region). It’s a great way to get physician quality products at reasonable prices.
To offset the cost of shipping, reference my name when you establish your account and receive a 10% discount on every order. At the same time, I receive a percentage of each supplement sale. If you have any questions about these items feel free to email me.
That’s it for this issue of Naturopathic News. If you’ve thought a bit extra or learned something new, then I achieved my goal. As usual, if you have questions or concerns brought up by these subjects, let me know.
Gregory Pais, ND, DHANP
580 E. 3rd. St.
Williamsport PA 17701