Recent Highlights In Health Research

To enhance my work as a clinician, I spend an average of two hours every day researching and compiling data in the fields of health, nutrition, botanical medicine, dietary supplements, and conventional medicine. This includes evaluating studies on innovative pharmaceutical drug therapies, particularly in the realm of oncology.

From time to time, I’ll be sharing a few of the week’s highlights with you. I hope you will find these interesting, and perhaps the information will be beneficial for you or someone you know.

Painted Hills - health research

• Cancer Risks Double When Two Carcinogens Are Combined

I’ve long suspected (as have many others) that the carcinogens that our government has deemed “safe” at low levels may not be safe at all when they are combined with other carcinogenic substances. Although little research has been done in this arena, a recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal The Prostate confirms the dangers of combined carcinogens. Scientists at Texas Tech University evaluated estrogen and arsenic at levels that are considered “safe” amounts of each for human consumption. But they found that even low doses of these chemicals together could trigger the development of prostate cancer. In fact, the combination of the two chemicals was almost twice as likely to cause prostate cancer.

(J. Treas, et al. Chronic exposure to arsenic, estrogen, and their combination causes increased growth and transformation in human prostate epithelial cells potentially by hypermethylation-mediated silencing of MLH1. The Prostate, 2013; DOI: 10.1002/pros.22701.)

The role of genetics in cancer is making headlines; especially with the recent choice of Angelina Jolie to undergo a double mastectomy after learning that she has a BRAC mutation, which is associated with an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer. However, it’s important to understand that only about 5-10 percent of cancers are genetically based. The majority of cancers are caused by environmental influences; even those associated with genetic mutations such as the BRAC 1 and 2 are influenced positively or negatively by diet and lifestyle.

I recommend doing everything possible to avoid exposure to carcinogens. However, we cannot avoid them completely. Therefore, in addition to eating a healthful, balanced, clean diet (see, I recommend protective dietary supplements that include isothiocyanates together with phenolic compounds, which act as potent inducers of carcinogen-detoxifying enzymes in the liver and kidneys.

(Nutr Cancer. 2006;54(2):223-31; Curr Drug Metab. 2004 Apr;5(2):193-201; Forum Nutr. 2009;61:170-81. doi: 10.1159/000212749. Epub 2009 Apr 7.)


• Specific Fish Oils May Protect Against Breast Cancer

I’m convinced of the many health benefits of omega-3 fish oils; for that reason, I frequently eat wild-caught salmon, sardines, and other cold-water fish and I take a dietary supplement that contains the highest-quality fish oil, combined with super concentrated Siberian sea buckthorn oil and Siberian pine seed oil. (My wife Jen does the same.) This formula not only provides an abundance of EPA (>1000 mg,) and DHA (>750 mg), but Omega 7’s and 9’s, pinolenic acid; some unique omega 3 fatty acids, an array of phytonutrients including carotenoids, tocopherols, tocotrienols and sterols. In a recent analysis of 21 studies encompassing more than 800,000 participants from Asia, Europe, and the U.S., researchers determined that people who consume higher levels of dietary marine n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have a 14% lower risk for breast cancer than those who consume less. The authors noted that fish (especially salmon, tuna, and sardines) are the most abundant source of marine n-3 PUFAs; fish oil supplements were also considered as sources of these marine fatty acids. In their study, the researchers cite various lab studies suggesting that n-3 PUFAs are the most promising subtypes of dietary fat “to inhibit or curtail carcinogenesis and reduce risk.” It’s important to note that the researchers also determined that alpha linoleic acid (the plant-based source of omega-3 PUFAs) does not provide the same protection

(Zheng, et al. Intake of fish and marine n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and risk of breast cancer: meta-analysis of data from 21 independent prospective cohort studies; BMJ 2013;346:f3706.)


• Nicotine Is Not The Sole Contributor To Smoking-Induced Lung Cancer

I don’t think anyone questions that smoking tobacco is a primary cause of lung cancer. But while most people believe that nicotine in tobacco is the only (or primary) carcinogen, the truth is that tobacco smoke contains more than 5000 chemical compounds. Of these, at least 60 are known to have carcinogenic potential, including toxic substances such as arsenic, benzene, cadmium, and vinyl chloride. In addition to the known carcinogens, the metabolites formed from smoking (including N-nitrosamines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) significantly contribute to activating multiple pathways in which lung cells are transformed and cancer is initiated.

(Tonini G, et al. New molecular insights in tobacco-induced lung cancer; Future Oncology (London; England) 9 (5), 649-55 May 2013.)


• The FDA’s Fast-Track Approval Of Merck’s HPV Vaccine Gardasil —Doing More Harm Than Good

In 2006, the drug company Merck received Fast Track approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Gardasil, their vaccine against the human papilloma virus (HPV). But their aggressive marketing campaign, along with divided public opinion as to the necessity and safety of vaccines, has drawn a backlash of criticism.

The numbers speak to the problems inherent in this vaccine: As of September 2012, more than 21,000 adverse reactions had been reported, including 78 deaths and more than 600 cases of permanent disability. Compared with all other vaccines, Gardasil was associated with more than 60 percent of all serious adverse reactions in females younger than 30 years old.

I find this reprehensible. Gardasil has not been demonstrated to be safer or more effective than Pap screenings combined with (when necessary) accepted treatments for abnormal cervical tissue such as loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP). Pap screenings have greatly reduced mortality from cervical cancer in developed countries such as the U.S., and it is highly doubtful that Gardasil provides any further benefit. 

To further reduce the incidence of cervical cancer, our focus should be on targeting other risk factors of the disease, such as smoking; use of oral contraceptives; multiple sexual partners; suboptimal hygiene, nutrition, and health status; and genetic mutations (MTHFR SNP’s, etc.). The use of a modest botanical and nutritional supplement program can also help immensely, including protective compounds such as isothiocyanates and DIM (diindolylmethane); Naturized “GROW” B vitamins, selenium, and zinc; carotenoids; and phenolic compounds including ellagic acid, resveratrol, curcuminoids (turmeric), and catechins (green tea).

Vaccine mandates supported solely by vaccine manufacturer’s data do little to instill public confidence in vaccination programs. Physicians and other medical authorities need to adopt a more rigorous evidence-based medicine approach in order to give a balanced and objective evaluation of vaccine risks and benefits to their patients,” (Lucija Tomljenovic and Christopher A. Shaw, Too Fast or Not Too Fast:

The FDA’s Approval of Merck’s HPV Vaccine Gardasil, Conflicts of interest in the practice of medicine, Fall 2012).

*Image courtesy of Laurel and Eric at

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8 Replies to “Recent Highlights In Health Research”

  1. Thank you for this Donnie. I appreciate the work you do in this area and hope that you may be interested in doing some on line clinical seminars on cancer.
    Rosari Kingston
    Irish Institute of Medical Herbalists

  2. I find it very difficult to understand why physicians are recommending bilateral mastectomies and total colectomies for persons with the respective gene. I agree with your approach of diet, life style changes, and supplements to prevent the cancers our genes have predisposed us to. In my opinion there are no guarantees that even with removal of the potential cancerous tissue, that cancer won’t occur somewhere else. If the cancer should occur in another area of the body, we need those vital organs to help process the chemotherapy etc.

  3. Hi Donnie, I can’t seem to find this brand name anywhere on web searches yet it’s trade marked. If this is a label you support where can I find this? It’s the Naturized “GROW” B vitamins that you referred to. Also do you think eating a few Brazil nuts daily can supply enough selenium without supplementation? Thanks for all that you do.

    1. Hi Terry – It is our (Natura) branding of the food grown nutrients found in Nutri-One, Cell Guardian, IG sensitizer etc. They are made by the GROW company and are the only general vitamin and mineral supplements I use or endorse.


    1. Hi Gwen, I agree with 90% of what is said in this article. I do believe and science backs it up that very high-quality fish oils are a good supplement to the diet. Just like all supplements most fish oils are not high quality and are often rancid. I only trust our Beyond Essential Fats formula ( Please see your email for monographs and more information about this formula. Donnie

  4. Hi Donnie, I have heard you speak a couple of times at the SW Botanical Conference in Tempe, and have also heard your colleagues Jason Miller and Chanchal Cabrara speak on cancer. I bought your book several years ago at the conference and I agree wholeheartedly with your approach. I knew that if I ever had my cancer recur, I would certainly touch bases with one of you. Now my sister has metastatic breast cancer, and I am gathering her reports to send to you with your patient intake form. Meanwhile, we will be reviewing your book. Is there anything significant you would change in your book, now that it is 14 years since publishing, and how could I access those updates? Thanks!

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