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Holistic Health Notebook: More on cancer and antioxidants

By Staff | Feb 23, 2011

If breast cancer is in your family or your personal history, you won’t want to miss this. Clip it out, show it to your doctor, and do something about it. Yes, it is that important.

A 2011 study published in Cancer Biology & Therapy (2011;11 (4) “Caveolin-1 and mitochondrial SOD2 (MnSOD) function as tumor suppressors in the stromal microenvironment: A new genetically tractable model for human cancer associated fibroblasts”) provides genetic evidence suggesting that antioxidant drugs currently used to treat lung disease, malaria and the common cold help prevent and treat cancers because they fight against mitochondrial oxidative stress, one of the main factors that drive tumor growth. Some individuals have lost the tumor suppressor protein Caveolin-1 (Cav-1) that ramps up oxidative stress in breast tissue, a process that fuels cancer cell growth in most common forms of breast cancer.

Researchers are using this evidence as a reason to create new antioxidant drugs but I’m not sure we need new drugs to accomplish the goal of reducing oxidative damage. We already have lots of antioxidants at our fingertips in the form of nutrition.

For example, N-acetyl cysteine or NAC (the n-acetyl derivative of the amino acid l-cysteine) is a precursor to glutathione, a potent antioxidant. Glutathione cannot cross the cell membrane but NAC crosses the membrane where it is converted to glutathione. NAC or glutathione efficiently reduces damage caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS). NAC can be found in most health food stores.

Dr. Lisanti, professor of cancer biology at Jefferson Medical College, says that “Antioxidants have been associated with cancer reducing effects…but the mechanisms, the genetic evidence has been lacking. This study provides the necessary genetic evidence that reducing oxidative stress in the body will decrease tumor growth.” Currently, doctors discourage the use of antioxidants in cancer treatment because it is commonly thought they reduce the effectiveness of certain chemotherapies. Dr. Lisanti believes we need to take advantage of the powerful antioxidants in the treatment of cancer.

This is why I am so passionate about raw chocolate! It is not frivolous that just because the chocolate tastes good it is an expendable part of my health plan. I take literally tens of thousands of antioxidants daily in raw chocolate (I use a powdered chocolate protein drink for breakfast) just to prevent cancer. Raw chocolate contains a blend of different forms of antioxidants, each of which handles a specific form of free radicals. It is important to take them all. You all know that I am susceptible to cancer (kidney) so I’m not taking any chances. Yes, it is highly pleasurable but the raw chocolate is THE most important supplement I take each day, and now I have scientific evidence that I’m right.

I also take the green, red, and purple pills each day. Overkill? I don’t think so.

Carol is a certified lifestyle educator. She can be reached at the Island Nutrition Center on Sanibel, at 472-4499, or at www.carolsimontacchionline.com.