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 Nutritional Programs: Nutritional Program for Cancer Prevention 

Vitamin E functions best with adequate levels of selenium as selenomethionine, and vice versa, as antioxidants and cell membrane protectors. Vitamin E is found naturally in vegetable oils and nuts and seeds, with a little in the germ of whole grains such as wheat and rice. It reduces carcinogen production and strengthens immune cells and cell membranes against the penetration of viruses and toxic chemicals.

Selenium helps regulate the glutathione peroxidase enzyme, a strong antioxidant enzyme. Low selenium levels in the soil and in our body are clearly associated with increased rates of leukemia and cancers of the breast, lungs, colon, rectum, prostate, ovary, skin, and pancreas. If soils are low in this mineral, the foods grown in them will not contain much selenium. It is wise to increase selenium-rich foods, such as the whole grains and legumes or brewer’s yeast, if tolerated, as well as to take a supplemental 100 mcg. per day to be safe. High copper levels can reduce selenium absorption and utilization as well.

Zinc is another important mineral. It is an immune supporter and is important to the formation and function of many enzymes that work on detoxifying chemicals. Low levels of zinc in the body have been associated with higher rates of prostate, bronchial, esophageal, and colon cancers. Low levels of molybdenum in the soil have also been shown to be associated with increased levels of esophageal cancer. Calcium protects against colon cancer by protecting and correcting irregular cells in the colon. Other minerals that may have anticancer qualities include iron and iodine.

Fiber is another important anticancer substance and is a part of many foods which can also be taken as a supplement, such as psyllium seed husks or the bran of wheat or oats. Adequate dietary fiber improves intestinal transit time and binds carcinogens, thus reducing exposure to them. A high-fiber diet clearly reduces the incidence of colon cancer and diverticular disease (and may lower blood cholesterol), whereas a high-fat, low-fiber diet increases the risk of colon, breast, and other cancers.

Lactobacillus acidophilus is, I believe, a useful anticancer agent, mainly to prevent colon cancer. Lactobacilli cultures in the colon decrease other bacteria that can change bile salts into irritating carcinogens, as well as reduce yeast overgrowth and inflammation that result from these organisms, which also contribute to allergies and immune suppression.

A few other immune-supporting nutrients include gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), extracted from evening primrose oil or other sources; GLA helps increase certain prostaglandins that support lymphocyte immune activity, and there is some indication that it has an anticancer effect. More research is also needed on the anti- or procancer effects of L-arginine, a semiessential amino acid. L-carnitine may also be helpful for improving fat utilization, as poor fat metabolism and free-radical fat molecules can cause cellular and tissue irritation. Organic germanium may also be effective in cancer prevention, although it is more clearly useful in cancer treatment.

BHA and BHT are antioxidant food chemicals (preservatives) that some researchers feel have potential to lower chemically induced cancers; other authorities believe these chemicals are too toxic to use as supplements. I prefer the natural antioxidant nutrients that are commonly found in foods.

Garlic and echinacea are thought to help support immune function, and thus may play a role in preventing cancer. Aside from garlic, no herbs have been studied well enough to determine their possible cancer preventive effects. (There may be some herbs, both Western and Eastern, that have anticancer effects; these will be discussed more in Staying Healthy with Modern Medicine, my next book, which will include cancer therapy. Among those that may have properties effective in preventing cancer development are intestinal detoxicants, such as the algins and kelps; herbal blood cleansers (alteratives) such as chapparal, cayenne pepper, burdock and yellow dock roots, and blue flag root; colon cleansers such as rhubarb root and black walnut; diuretics and kidney cleansers such as cleavers, uva ursi and dandelion; lymph cleansers such as echinacea; and nutritives, such as alfalfa.

The following program is particularly geared to protect those with added cancer risks, although it may also be used periodically, for a month or two several times yearly, for the average individual. With aging, or during times of stress or emotional traumas, this program may also be helpful. The following values can include nutrients in the diet and/or additional supplements.

Cancer Prevention Nutrient Program

Water 2 qt.
Protein50–75 g.
Fats40–65 g.
Fiber15–30 g.

Vitamin A5,000–10,000 IUs Iodine150–200 mcg.
Beta-carotene15,000–30,000 IUs Iron 10–20 mg.
Vitamin D400 IUs Magnesium300–600 mg.
Vitamin E400–800 IUs Manganese5–10 mg.
Vitamin K150–300 mcg. Molybdenum250–500 mcg.
Thiamine (B1)50–100 mg. Potassium300–600 mg.
Riboflavin (B2)25–75 mg. Selenium, preferably200–300 mcg.
Riboflavin-5-phosphate25–50 mg. as selenomethionine
Niacinamide (B3) 50–100 mg. Silicon100–200 mg.
Niacin (B3)50 mg. Vanadium150–300 mcg.
Pantothenic acid (B5) 250–500 mg. Zinc30–60 mg.
Pyridoxine (B6) 50–100 mg.
Pyridoxal-5-phosphate25–50 mg. Lactobacillus1–2 billion organisms
Cobalamin (B12)100 mcg. Garlic oil or powder2–3 capsules
Folic acid800 mcg. Essential fatty acids,2–4 capsules
Biotin500 mcg. or Flaxseed oil1–2 teaspoons
Vitamin C3–6 g. Gamma-linolenic acid4 capsules
Bioflavonoids250–500 mg. or 200–300 mg.
L-amino acids1,000 mg.
Calcium 850–1,200 mg. L-cysteine250 mg.
Chromium200–400 mcg. L-carnitine500 mg.
Copper2–3 mg.

(Excerpted from Staying Healthy with Nutrition ISBN: 1587611791)
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 About The Author
Elson Haas MDElson M. Haas, MD is founder & Director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin (since 1984), an Integrated Health Care Facility in San Rafael, CA and author of many books on Health and Nutrition, including ...more
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