A few weeks ago I started doing research to determine if nutrition was important in the cancer treatment process. Of the three oncologist's we've met, the first one said that it didn't matter what you ate, the second one said that he wasn't trained in nutrition (honest answer) but that it couldn't hurt, and the final one said that no particular diet was "clinically proven" to help. In relation to nutrition "clinically proven" doesn't mean a whole lot because clinical studies are very expensive to administer and are almost always funded by pharmaceutical companies.
While reviewing several cancer-related nutritional sites on the Internet I continued to read that cancer patients should not have sugar because cancer feeds off of sugar. There was no rationale given so I was very curious to know why this was (if it was indeed true). This led to me to conduct more research.
What I found was that back in the 1930's a German biochemist by the name of Dr. Otto Warburg, a cancer researcher, made a couple of discoveries that won him two Nobel Prizes. First, he discovered that the primary cause of cancer was inadequate cell respiration (not enough oxygen in the cells). Through experimentation he determined that cancer can't survive in oxygen-rich cells, it prefers a low oxygen environment. Second, he discovered that cancer thrives on glucose (sugar) fermentation in the body. Hence the saying, "cancer thrives on sugar".
[There are different types of sugar; glucose, fructose, sucrose, etc. Not all sugar is bad for cancer patients, natural sugars found in fruit (fructose) are good for you. Ordinary table sugar (sucrose), comprised of both glucose and fructose, should be avoided.]
After this discovery, the next big question was, what causes cells to not get enough oxygen? Dr. Warburg believed it had to do with certain fatty acids in the body which affected cell structure. He was not able to crack the code but several years later another German biochemist by the name of Dr. Johanna Budwig; who was also a physicist, pharmacologist, and a medical doctor, also believed that fatty acids were the key to adequate cell respiration. She developed techniques to be able to differentiate the different types of fatty acids. Through her research, she determined that particular fatty acids (Omega-6) in a person's diet, especially those that are commercially processed, over time strip human cells of electrons that are vital to cellular health and respiration. Examples of foods that are high in Omega-6 include corn oil, peanut oil, beef, pork, chicken, dairy, etc.
She determined that another group of fatty acids (Omega-3) were rich in electrons, promoted cell respiration, and were essential to human health. Examples of foods that are high in Omega-3 include flaxseed, flax oil, salmon (wild caught, not farm-raised), tunafish (not canned), mackerel, sardines, walnuts, among others. Dr. Budwig also determined that the average German diet (similar to Americans) was very high in Omega-6 and low in Omega-3, mostly due to commercially processed oils and foods.
[As a side note, I've found quoted several times that the average American diet has a dietary intake ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 between 20:1 to 50:1. The ratio should be no higher than 5:1, ideally 1:1. With the low amount of Omega-3 that most Americans consume coupled with high sugar intake, it's no wonder that our cancer rates are so high. Our second oncologist said that 1 out of every 2 American men and 1 out of every 3 American women will get some type of cancer.]
The richest plant-based source of Omega-3 was found in Flaxseed Oil. However, Dr. Budwig determined that in order to make the oil water-soluble in the human body (and easily digestable) that it needed to bind with a sulfurated protein, like cottage cheese or yogurt.
Next, Dr. Budwig began working with terminally ill cancer patients who were told to "go home and die". She reversed their diets to be high in Omega-3 and low in Omega-6 by incorporating the flax oil and cottage cheese mixture among other healthy foods. Within weeks her patients were feeling much better and within months their tumors were shrinking. Eventually, their tumors altogether disappeared.
News spread of her discovery (and success) and many of the terminally ill flocked to her for treatment. At some point an effort was underway to discredit her work and she was the subject of several lawsuits (I believe these were brought by the commercial cooking oil producers and pharmaceutical companies). Ultimately, she won all of the suits that were brought against her because her research was sound and could not be disproved. However, I'm sure it hurt "public image". She was nominated seven times for the Nobel Prize but never won.
More info about Dr. Budwig can be found here:
I was so intrigued by this that I wondered if any recent research had been done on the subject of flaxseed oil and cancer. I went to the National Institutes of Health website (www.nih.gov) and did keyword searches through PubMed, which has access to all of the scientific and medical research journals. What I found next was absolutely incredible. Over the past 5+ years, researchers in the United States and Canada have been conducting research on animals, inducing cancer and feeding them various diets. For instance, one study took 30 mice, injected them with breast cancer and allowed the tumors to develop. Then, they took 10 mice and fed them a typical Western diet high in corn oil, another 10 mice were fed a diet high in flaxseed oil, and the other 10 were fed something else (not relevant to my story). After continuing these diets for 60-90 days, the mice were euthanized and dissected to determine what happened to their tumors. In the corn-oil fed mice their tumors stayed about the same or got worse. In the flaxseed-oil fed mice their tumors shrunk 75%. Needless to say, I found this to be most interesting.
There were many other similar studies for various forms of cancer (breast, colon, prostate) as well as studies for arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), arthritis, cholestorol, etc. In all of the studies I read, the animals fed the flaxseed diet always improved significantly or were cured.
After reading all of this, I decided there was an awful lot of evidence pointing to significant health benefits of incorporating more Omega-3 fats into our diets. So, I started Kate (and the family) on a diet that does just that.
From my research, Barleans is the best brand of flaxseed oil (flax oil) and can be purchased at Whole Foods, Wild Oats, local nutrition stores, or online (http://www2.blogger.com/). It is found in the refrigerated section. I think the website also has a store locator. Flaxseed oil is very sensitive to heat and light so it must be refrigerated.
The correct proportion is 1 to 1.5 Tablespoons of Flax Oil to 1/4 cup of organic low-fat cottage cheese or yogurt. These ingredients must be thoroughly mixed in a mixer/blender before anything else is added, you may need to add a little water or milk to help it mix up properly.
There are many things you can do with this initial mixture. For instance, if you like smoothies, you can add berries, juice (100% pure, not from concentrate), honey, etc and mix it up. You should also add ground flaxseed which is recommended due to its high lignan content (not found in the filtered oil) which has anti-cancer properties. Flaxseed can be purchased at similar health food stores (or Dierbergs) and ground in a hand-held coffee grinder (small electric one works best). Only grind what you are going to use because it spoils quickly. Also, store the whole flaxseeds in the freezer.
The recommended daily "maintenance" dose for a otherwise healthy person is 1 Tablespoon of Flax Oil per 100 pounds of body weight.
A few of Dr. Budwig's books have been translated into English and include:
1. "Flaxoil as a True Aid Against Arthritis, Heart Infraction, Cancer, and Other Diseases" - this book is a series of lectures that she gave and explains some of her research
2. "Cancer - The Problem and the Solution" - another book that explains her research
3. "The Oil Protein Diet Cookbook" - recipes using flaxseed oil
Here are some other books on the benefits of flax including "healthy" cookbooks that incorporate flaxseed or other foods high in Omega-3:
4. "The Healing Power of Flax" by Herb Joiner-Bey
5. "The Flax Cookbook" by Elaine Magee
6. "The Amazing Flax Cookbook" by Jane Reinhardt-Martin
7. "The Omega Diet" by Artemis Simopoulos
I realize that I am giving you a lot of information here, but I thought it was so significant that it was worth sharing. Also, after incorporating this into my diet over the past 3 weeks I feel much improved, especially considering the stress that my body is under.
Kate is going to proceed with conventional treatment in addition to the modified diet, combined it's considered an integrative approach. Let's pray they work together to knock-out the cancer.
Saying Bye-Bye to Bon-Bon's,