Garlic and Brain Cancer, part 2

I have been doing some research on cancer lately (see last post here) due to my father-in-law being diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme. It is not our first bout with cancer:
  • 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:

  1. Increase in physical activity (exercise)
  2. Healthy weight maintenance
  3. Diet rich in fruits and veggies, lower in meat products
  4. 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,


2 Responses to Garlic and Brain Cancer, part 2

  1. Lim says:

    Yes,I do agree garlic is a good health food. But does it interfere with the bleeding process? My husband is going for craniotomy and gliadel wafer implant soon. He had a recurrent glioblastoma. Is it safe for him to take garlic pills? pls advise.

  2. Gregory says:

    First, I am not a doctor, just someone who has done a lot of research due to cancer in my own family (two aunts, daughter and father in law). For this reason, I cannot give firm advise on which path to take. Second, I would personally be extremely wary of radical diet changes prior to an operation. Moving more to organics and less meat might not hurt, but heavy dosing of garlic or garlic pills I would not advise without a competent medical opinion.Garlic is anti-inflammatory, which means it can lead to more bleeding. Bearing this in mind, I would definitely talk this over with the surgeon prior to heavy dosing before an operation. The same can be said of heavy dosing with other anti-inflammatory foods like omega 3 oils. Since they are going to operate, if it were me, I would be wary of heavy dosing of any anti-inflammatory foods prior to the operation and for a period afterward.In addition, if you do head towards garlic, I would personally use garlic rather than garlic pills. I say this as I am not sure what happens to the active ingredients when they are put in pill form. From the research, the best way is to cut open the garlic (mince, crush, etc) and let it sit before cooking or eating. One way I love to eat garlic is oven roasted with olive oil. It is very tasty and not too garlicy (actual a bit sweet this way).The evidence that garlic kills glio is there. It is in vitro, or in a testtube, however. It is not know if the chemicals will cross the blood brain barrier. I am not confident the research will be done any time soon, either. If the chemicals do cross the blood brain barrier, however, garlic is a good thing to eat. But I would not personally risk it right before an operation without consulting with a doctor who has a stake in bleeding, like a surgeon. I know this might sound like a broken record, but your husband has to get through the operation before changing his body’s response mechanism. After he has healed from the operation, you can go more radical.If I were to recommend anything specific, it would be more research. There is a book out called anti-cancer, written by a doctor that is a long term survivor with brain cancer. I am not sure what form he had/has, as I don’t believe he ever states it in the book. His advice is largely this: remove toxins, eat organic and less meat, focus on anti-cancer foods, etc. If you want one more radical, Michael Gearin-Tosh wrote a book called Living Proof. His form of cancer was multiple myeloma, which is normally fatal within two years. He died 11 years after diagnosis, but of infection, not cancer. He avoided conventional treatment and went extremely radical on diet, including coffee enemas. I am not sure I buy in on all he has written, but the common aspects: reduce carcinogens, go to a diet primarily of fruits and veggies, is compelling. In fact, most of the books I have read from long term survivors suggest these things.I pray the gliadel wafer works for your husband. It is showing a lot of promise. After he is well enough, you can start looking at moving to a better anti-inflammatory/pro-inflammatory body and other dietary changes. Once again, if it were me, I would not overdo it prior to surgery, especially not without consulting with the surgeon and possibly oncologist.Peace and Grace,Greg

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: