A Clinician’s Perspective on the Use of ‘Antioxidant’ Dietary Supplements During Chemotherapy: Exploring the ‘Body of Evidence’ in Favor of Supporting the Health of Breast Cancer Patients

Commentary on the Widely Disseminated Article entitled “Dietary Supplement Use During Chemotherapy and Survival Outcomes of Patients with Breast Cancer Enrolled in a Cooperative Group Clinical Trial (SWOG SO221)” Published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, December 2019

The DELCaP study, recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology evaluating the use of dietary supplements during chemotherapy, has alarmed many patients and raised troubling questions for health practitioners.

The purpose of the study was to evaluate associations between ‘antioxidant’ supplement use and breast cancer outcomes in light of the widespread use of supplements during cancer therapies and the ongoing debate over concerns that antioxidants could reduce the cytotoxic effects of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated by chemotherapy agents. The authors claim that the use of dietary supplements before and during chemotherapy is associated with an increased risk of recurrence and, to a lesser extent, death.1 

Continue reading “A Clinician’s Perspective on the Use of ‘Antioxidant’ Dietary Supplements During Chemotherapy: Exploring the ‘Body of Evidence’ in Favor of Supporting the Health of Breast Cancer Patients”

Glyphosate, Not Gluten, Is the True Villain

‘There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.’
~Sherlock Holmes 

Over the past 30 years, gluten has become the number one villain among foods. At one time, an allergy to gluten was rarely seen. Today, almost 3 million people in the United States have celiac disease, a serious immune reaction to the protein in wheat, barley, and rye. Another 18 million people are thought to suffer from non-celiac gluten sensitivity, which causes symptoms similar to celiac disease (including diarrhea, fatigue, and nausea) but does not damage the lining of the small intestine.

Continue reading “Glyphosate, Not Gluten, Is the True Villain”

Thriving in The Face of a Cancer Diagnosis

“Success is never final, and failure is never fatal”
-John Wooden

If you have recently been diagnosed with advanced cancer or another serious life-threatening disease, remember that everything you might think about it—positive or negative—is merely an interpretation. You are the one who decides how you will relate to the diagnosis.

My advice, based on my three decades of working with people with serious illness, is simple. Do not limit yourself by assuming that you or anyone else knows what the outcome will be. The truth is that no one knows. Surrender to the unknown and focus your attention on living your best life.

It is blessedly freeing to accept what is in this moment, without projecting into the future. Use your mind and heart to seek out and consult with trained, experienced, well-respected professionals whom you trust. And use the power of prayer to help guide you.

Love is the Virtue of the Heart
Continue reading “Thriving in The Face of a Cancer Diagnosis”

Enhancing Cellular Defense Mechanisms with Adaptogens

Enhancing Cellular Defense Mechanisms with Adaptogens

Aging is associated with a decrease in adaptive abilities along with increased vulnerability to stress. At the same time, aging is a complex process involving a persistent activation of some stress response systems, often involving transcriptional reprogramming, and the activation of vitagenes, which can be consider a ‘geroprotective’ adaptation.13   Environmental stressors induce specific and predictable epigenetic changes that can eventually result in an adaptive response to the stimulus. It seems likely that mild stress-induced hormetic response involves mechanisms similar to those that underlie developmental epigenetic adaptations.

The illustration below shows the involvement of hormesis in the epigenetic processes that determine age-related disorders and longevity.14

adaptogens

Dose–response curve depicting the quantitative features of hormesis

Hormesis is a biological phenomenon whereby a beneficial effect (improved health, stress tolerance, growth or longevity) results from exposure to low doses of an agent that is otherwise toxic or lethal when given at higher doses. Continue reading “Enhancing Cellular Defense Mechanisms with Adaptogens”

Improve Your Health With Black Pepper

Although it’s often said, “You are what you eat,” it’s more accurate to say, “You are what you absorb.” You may be eating a perfect diet and taking handfuls of supplements, but if you aren’t absorbing what you’re consuming, your body won’t have the raw materials needed for energy, maintenance, and repair. Without proper absorption and assimilation of nutrients, health problems inevitably arise.

One of my favorite botanicals for improving digestion and absorption is black pepper (Piper nigrum), which is the dried fruit of a flowering tropical vine. I find it interesting that black pepper plays such a prominent role in our cuisine, and that so many of us enjoy grinding fresh black pepper onto our food at the table. Along with adding flavor to our plate, we’re taking advantage (perhaps intuitively) of the health promoting benefits of this ancient spice, which include the ability to enhance the absorption of many of the medicinal nutrients in food. Although black pepper is well established in Western cuisine, the use of the spice originates in south India, where it has been appreciated for thousands of years not only for its culinary appeal, but also for its myriad health benefits.

Continue reading “Improve Your Health With Black Pepper”

Does Surgery Spread Cancer?

When someone is confronted with a diagnosis of cancer, in the vast majority of cases doctors recommend surgery—often, as quickly as possible. The goal is to remove the cancer, with the hope that the person can go on to live a normal, cancer-free life. But unfortunately, the reality is often otherwise. For far too many people, cancer recurs; either at the primary site, or the cancer metastasizes, arising at sites distant from where the cancer originated, often in life-threatening areas, such as the lung, liver, brain, or bone.

Continue reading “Does Surgery Spread Cancer?”