Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Natural Treatment for non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma & Cancer in General

There really is no quick fix for cancer (or quick way to write or read this article).  A diagnosis of cancer should be a wake-up call that the body is in desparate need of some TLC to give it a fighting chance, not a call for the equivalent of grenades and A-bombs being thrown at it as is the case with medical treatment.  My choice for alternative treatment is based on the GAPS protocol as founded by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride and I highly recommend her GAPS book.

Since conventional medicine has the acronym CHOP (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine and prednisolone) for the primary treatment of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, I think it only fitting and helpful that this alternative treatment should have one too and I call it PACT (Phagocytes, Anti-toxins, Cholesterol, and Teamwork).  If you make a pact with yourself and your loved ones and take PACT into consideration, you’ll improve your health and even beat cancer for good.  It’s only natural.

Phagocytes

In my last article I showed that CHOP drugs destroy and inhibit white blood cells.  So why is this so important?  The photo shows how magic nature is and depicts a single neutrophil (yellow), engulfing anthrax bacteria (orange).  Neutrophil granulocytes are the most abundant type of white blood cells in our immune system and they deal with immediate harm from infection and all sorts of harmful things including viruses and parasitic worms.  They are also called phagocytes and macrophages because as shown in the photo, they ingest harmful particles, bacteria, and dead or dying cells (called phagocytosing).  Without phagocytes, any cancer cells that are killed by the CHOP drugs would not be removed from the area and inflammation would linger because of this.

Building Up White Blood Cells

Besides avoiding the weakening or destruction of white blood cells, what the cancer patient should be doing is building them up.  Other than fermented cod liver oil and Bio-Kult probiotic capsules, organic whole foods is what I prescribe to do this.  I do not endorse taking supplements because most on the market today are synthetic and may be made with the use of genetic modification and nanotechnology which I believe are dangerous.

Someone needs to cook and it is best if it’s you or someone in your household.  And it’s best if you use fresh, organic, whole foods.  The basic recipes in both of Dr Campbell-McBride’s books as mentioned in this article are a great way to get started.  Although all vitamins and nutrients are important, here is a run-down on some that are of particular importance for building up the immune system’s white blood cell soldiers and the foods that contain them.

Vitamin C

We all know that an orange is high in Vitamin C and lots of fruit and vegetables are good sources and good for us.  But did you know that sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) is an excellent source of Vitamin C as well as various cancer fighting compounds including isothiocyanate and sulphoraphane?[7][8][9][10][11][12][13]

Broccoli and Brussels sprouts are other vegetables of significance for Vitamin C and anticancer compounds.  Steaming rather than boiling helps to safeguard the anticancer compounds.  Broccoli can be baked and also put in homemade soups.  Remember that it’s important not to overcook the Brussels sprouts to keep a good flavor (generally 6-7 minutes only).

Vitamin D

With the skin cancer scare mongers out in full force promoting sunscreen, which by the way invariably has carcinogenic chemicals in it (Cancer Research UK, the Department of Health and the NHS), deficiency in vitamin D has become an issue for many people today.  One result of this shady lifestyle is that poor immunity and susceptibility to infections is increased.  In addition, the ability of the body to produce vitamin D from the sun diminishes with age.

Good food sources of vitamin D are cod liver oil, liver and egg yolks.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble anti-oxidant.  It can be found in seeds, vegetables, grains, and oils such as cold-pressed olive oil.

Vitamin A

I previously wrote an article on vitamin A of which the last two paragraphs are of particular relevance and the richest sources include liver, fish, egg yolks and butter.

Protein

You need to ensure you keep up this basic building block by eating meat, fish, and especially eggs which are easy to digest.  It’s a popular saying that if you want to build up your strength, eat steak and eggs.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Found especially in fatty fish and cod liver oil.

Zinc

Foods rich in zinc include oysters, crab, beef, turkey and beans.

Onions and Garlic

Well-known for their antiseptic properties, onions and garlic should be included in as many meals as possible.  The garlic is best raw.

Shitake Mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms have been shown to have antitumor effects.  They are an edible fungus and strengthen the immune system.  They are available in popular supermarkets and can be used in soups and many other dishes.

Another benefit is that mushrooms may contain high amounts of vitamin D after exposure to sunlight.

Raw Organic Honey

Add a little nutritious sweetness to your menu!  Raw Organic Honey from The Magic of Spain will do the trick.  It acts like an antiseptic and is packed with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants and enzymes. Honey can be used in many dishes and drinks, and the set ones can be eaten straight out of the jar!  It is nature’s candy and the best.

In Summary: eat lots of organic meat, eggs, fish, poultry, fermented milk products, nuts, seeds, fresh raw, cooked and fermented vegetables, fruit, and throw in a little honey to replace sugar and artificial sweeteners.

Besides putting good things in the body, we need to avoid the bad things and that brings me to the next consideration.

Anti-Toxins

A key aspect of the GAPS protocol is that it endeavours to remove toxins from the body and avoid exposure to toxins that would damage the body.  CHOP drugs are toxins and ideally should be discontinued.  But if the patient is in an advanced stage of an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and believes that chemotherapy is necessary to save their life, eliminating as many other toxins from the diet and lifestyle will still improve recovery prospects.

Avoid Certain Foods Which Can Be Toxic To The Body

The GAPS protocol includes identifying foods and substances that adversely affect white blood cells and avoiding them.  Trans fats and many vegetable oils such as margarine, and substances used in processed foods, such as food additives should be avoided.

Avoid Toxic Chemicals

Toxic chemicals in cleaning and other widely used products adversely affect white blood cells.  A good book for general coverage of this topic is What’s in this Stuff?  Becoming aware of the manmade things in our environment that are harmful to health and making changes to avoid them or at least minimise exposure is an ongoing challenge that is well worth the effort.

No Caffeine or Alcohol

I agree with the camp that caffeine and alcohol should be completely eliminated while dealing with an illness such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, if not permanently.  Some people just can’t handle these substances, and from my experience, like with caffeine and sugar and starch, it’s more people than would at first meet the eye.

Avoid Dental Work while you are dealing with a disease as it can be a source of harmful bacteria.

Avoid All Drugs

Drugs are often taken for pain and I would recommend learning pain management.  Even beginners can curb pain with meditation and this is my method of choice.

As for other drugs, it is a personal matter and depends on the circumstances, but the less the better is the only advice I can give here.

Cholesterol

The claim that cholesterol is bad for us only dates back to the 1950’s in the US, whereas the claim that cod liver oil is good for boosting the immune system is a very old tradition in many cultures around the world.  It just so happens that cod liver oil is the richest source of cholesterol after caviar.

This is a topic for an article in itself and I will only cover a few points here.  Please refer to Dr Campbell-McBride’s book called Put Your Heart in Your Mouth (2007) which has many scientific references and a comprehensive explanation of why a low cholesterol diet NOT high is unhealthy.

I was recently told by a dietician that there are different types of cholesterol and I would like to clear this up.  There is only one type of cholesterol which is packaged in three different complexes for transport in the body, not different ones depending on the food source.  All foods containing cholesterol are good for health because then the liver doesn’t have to make it and so eases the liver’s workload.

“Cholesterol is essential for our immune system to function properly” (Campbell-McBride (2007) p 29).

Cholesterol contributes to cell health by making the walls firm.

Remember in my last article I pointed out that cells talk to one another.  It’s the cholesterol and saturated fat that enable them to do this.

Bile is central to the digestion of fats and fat-soluble vitamins and is made out of cholesterol.  Vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin K and vitamin E are all fat-soluble vitamins.

Besides cod liver oil, cream, butter, and eggs, and animal fat or chicken skin or fatty fish should be part of the daily diet.

TEAMWORK

If you look at today’s job advertisements, a common requirement is that the person be able to work as part of a team.  Well, the jobs in the body require teamwork too.  It’s a shortcoming of modern medicine that it acts as if it was in a vacuum (or a laboratory test tube), and this is why drugs have lots of side-effects.

There are so many team members that I couldn’t possibly name them all, but I’ll name a few who mostly work in the digestive tract to give you an idea.  Let’s meet the team!

Bacillus subtilis or soil bacteria

Bifodobateria (B.) bifidum, B. breve, B. longum, B. infantis, B. longum

Lactobacilli (L.) acidophilus, L. bulgaricuc, L. rhamnosus, L. plantarum, L. salivarius, L. reuteri, L. johnsonii, L. casei, L. delbrueskii, L. rhamnous, L. helveticu, L. lactis

Saccharomyces boulardii

Escherihchia coli (E. coli) as shown in photo: probably best known as a food poison, but most strains are beneficial and produce vitamin K-2 (with a link to being anticancer, see Wiki footnote [93] and footnotes [94] and [95]).

Enterococcus faecium or Streptococcus faecalis

The gut flora of the digestive tract is comprised of a vast number of microorganisms such as the team members mentioned above which perform many functions including up to 85% of the regulation of the immune system.

Just as spraying agricultural fields with toxic chemicals can kill the microbes and bacteria in the soil, so it is with dousing the body with chemicals, both in drugs, food and drink.  Antibiotics are one of the most effective ways to do this, but they can be damaged by other toxic substances too.  They can also be starved simply by not feeding them what they need to eat: nutrient-dense organic whole foods.

The GAPS protocol is full of probiotic foods that encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut and thereby improves the immune system.  Soured (fermented) milk products such as yogurt, cheese, and kefir are to be taken daily.  I also strongly encourage fermented vegetables as well as fermented fish. 

Please note, however, that these foods may cause temporary adverse reactions depending on the condition of the digestive system.  These are referred to as die-off symptoms and can include tiredness, change in bowel, headache and feeling off-colour.  These symptoms can be managed by introducing probiotic foods a little at a time as and when they are well-tolerated.  They are delicious, and after awhile, you may find you develop a real liking for them as I did.

Another way to support the team is to starve the invaders by not feeding them what they like to eat: starch and sugar.

Without a properly functioning digestive system, how do we expect the phagocytes to get the nutrients they need to multiply, be strong and repair the cancer?  I often use a two-pronged analysis and this calls for one too.  The first prong is that when the cells of the gut lining get damaged (as the CHOP drugs will do), it causes what is called a leaky gut.  This means that things that would normally be barred from getting into the bloodstream, all of a sudden find free passage.  This would include harmful bacteria, viruses and other disease causing microorganisms.

The second prong is when the beneficial bacteria are compromised and the diet primarily feeds the harmful bacteria (who love sugar and starches as much as many people), the harmful bacteria multiply and spread.  With more of them in the digestive tract, when the gut becomes leaky, they of course find their way into the blood stream.  If there are too many of them and/or too little phagocytes or weakened ones (as CHOP drugs cause) to deal with them, the harmful microbes and other toxins travel around the body and attack weak areas causing damage, infection, and inflammation.

To conclude, I would like to add that there are also many team members in society.  Again, I can't name them all, but they include the farmers who produce the organic foods, all those involved in selling these foods, consultant/coaches such as me, doctors and other health practitioners who speacilise in GAPS, physiotherapists, detox specialists, your loved ones, yoga teachers, Pilates teachers, cooking instructors specialising in GAPS cooking such as me, and people who share helpful information in books and on the Internet. Reach out and get as much help as you can.

Final Comments

I hope this article has given you an idea of how important the immune system is, how important nutrient-dense organic foods including foods high in cholesterol are, how important a properly functioning digestive system is, and why the antineoplastic drugs are actually extremely harmful to your health.

In addition to the above, lots of sleep, rest, and relaxation are absolutely necessary.  Sleep is when the body does most of it's repair work.  Avoid stress so that the adrenal glands are not activated (the opposite effect of taking Prednisolone).

Exercise to keep your circulation moving.  Good circulation is another key to health.  When you are dealing with lymphoma, you want to get the phagocytes to do their work on the cancerous cells.  Strengthening the heart (opposite effect of taking Doxorubicin) so that it can pump the blood around your body more effectively will help with this process.  So some moderate aerobic exercise would be helpful (daily brisk walk if possible) as well as stretching such as in Hatha yoga.

Remember to keep hydrated.  Have a glass of water with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice first thing in the morning and in between meals.  Or add some whey or fermented vegetable juice to water. Or have a cup of fresh herbal or ginger tea.  Homemade stock with meals helps stimulate digestion.

Take hot baths to detox.  Epsom salts are particularly good but should not be taken more than three times a week.  Apple cider vinegar and baking soda are alkalising baths.  Freshly pressed juices are also good for detoxing.

Get fresh air and sunlight (sunshine if possible) daily.

Finally, keep a positive frame of mind.

These are the types of things doctors used to tell us to do in order to get well until they ran out of time and got pressurised by pharmaceutical companies to push drugs.  Doctors know that it is only the body that can heal itself, and the well-known quip “take two aspirin and call me in the morning” is based on this fact.  What I’ve tried to do in this article is give an overview of how you can empower your body to do what it is designed to do naturally, keep itself healthy, including beating non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Photo 1 credit:  Scanning electron micrograph of a neutrophil phagocytosing anthrax bacilli (orange)

Photo 2 credit: Shiitake

Photo 3 credit: Scanning electron micrograph of Escherichia coli, grown in culture and adhered to a cover slip. Credit: Rocky Mountain Laboratories (Click link to see enlarged photo which is impressive).