December 23, 2008 2 Comments
- Grandmother (breast cancer) – passed in 1972
- Two aunts (breast cancer) – recent, both in five year period
- Daughter (non-metastatic Ewing’s sarcoma)
It is my daughter that first got me interested in cancer and during her treatment I found how woefully ignorant most doctors are of nutrition. In fact, talking to Tiffany’s cousin, I found he only had 8 hours of nutrition during his entire medical school career (that is 8 real hours, not 8 semester hours). Unfortunately, this is typical.
During Miranda’s treatment, we found that supplementing with L-Glutamine reduced mucositis symptoms tremendously. We also found that she stopped getting C-Diff infections when supplemented with probiotics. And we found that supplementing with certain minerals reversed what the rnal specialists told us was permanent kidney damage. Realize that a study of one is not scientifically conclusive and that the kidney diagnosis may have been incorrect, but it is still evident that the supplementation we fought for did wonders for our daughter. This is why I am very interested in nutrition in disease management and prevention.
What is interesting is going back and looking at just one active ingredient over history. In particular tracing back Diallyl Trisulfide (DATS), an active ingredient in garlic. It is of interest now as DATS is especially good at causing apoptosis (cell death) in glioblastoma cells. The way it works in cancer is very complex, but one interesting aspect is DATS causes cancer cells, or at least certain cancer cells, to be starved of Glutathione (GSH). Without GSH, the cell seems incapable of sustaining its "immortality" and the tumor dies.
The studies I am currently looking at are from the 1980s. With hindsight (which is 20-20), it seems someone should have noticed this before. But, I do realize that cancer was more mysterious then, doctors are trained to trust drugs, and a variety of other reasons "blinded" us to something so simple for such a long time. I also realize getting grant money is hard, especially for something that, scientifically speaking, is considered more of a "whim" than a theory.
It boils down to this. garlic, or rather one or more of its active ingredients, causes GSH (Glutathione) starvation in certain types of cells. Conversely (perhaps paradoxically) garlic has been shown to increase GSH levels in the body. GSH, or Glutathione, is a molecule made up of three key amino acids. One of its primary "symptoms" is a charged immune system, which is a good thing. In general, raised GSH levels are good, as high levels have been shown to help detoxify the body and help in a variety of disease conditions, including cancer, allergies, alzheimers, diabetes, etc.
I would not state that garlic, by itself is a cure. In fact, I am suggesting that it is one component in a diet that can be used to complement conventional treatment for disease. I also believe that is is a decent component to avoiding disease. In that area, I would also include:
- Increase in physical activity (exercise)
- Healthy weight maintenance
- Diet rich in fruits and veggies, lower in meat products
- Diet with meat that is more balanced in essential oils (omega-6 and omega-3) – free range is generally better if you know that it is truly "ranged"
There are others, but this is a good start. Would I replace conventional medical treatment for these options alone? No. Perhaps one day, but not today. But, think if we spent as much research dollars on nutritional elements as we do drugs? That would be powerful. And, despite medical poo pooing of the idea, I think nutrition could be the key, or at least part of the key, to curing cancer and other diseases. Of course, we have to either shift our priorities or figure out how to make money off it, right?
Peace and Grace,