Volume 11 • Number 2 • February 2010

Until America has learned to love literature not as an amusement, not as a mere doggerel to memorize in college, but for its humanizing and ennobling energy, she will not  have succeeded in that high sense which alone makes a nation out of people; that which raises it from a dead name to a living power”.[1]

The United States is engaged in the process of creating “a more perfect union”. We are not there yet, as suggested by the United States getting ranked 37th in the world on health parameters, despite spending about double what leading nations spend per patient each year.[2] We must work on the economic and political issues that have created this sorry state of affairs; doctors should assume the leadership our citizens have entrusted the profession with. Regrettably, some:

Physicians are falling further into blatant commercialization and politization of medicine [through] government policies and health care businesses pursued in the name of health care.”

“We want to jealously guard our responsibility of first serving each patient, and not allow ourselves to become the voices of commerce.”

“It is time to organize ourselves to speak about what we can do for patients, to let patients speak of what we do for them, to spell out the conditions that allow us to practice medicine, rather than become victims of commercialization in medicine. If we want to be technicians, we need only allow current conditions to go unchallenged. If we want to remain doctors, we will have to act decisively to address the best interest of each patient”.[3]

We need to humanize health care,[4] and stop considering it a business. Literature can help us do that. Hugo Rodier, MD

 

About TIME

Eleven years ago I was rebuffed by medical students in Spain when I tried to share with them the exciting breakthroughs in nutrition science in general, and nutrition and genetic function in particular. Understandably, years of conditioning did not let them consider the possibility that OUR GENES ARE NOT CAST IN STONE. I wonder what they may say now that TIME magazine has made these wonderful and hopeful concepts available to the general public. Its cover issue on January 18th 2010 cleverly says it all: our genes are fluid.

The food we eat and the environment we live in, and even our emotions influence the way our genes are copied into functional messengers. In practical terms, this means that we can change genetic tendencies. If we stop eating processed food, clean up our environment and live simpler lives with less emotional drama and better relationships, we can doge genetic bullets that may hold us captive in fear.

So, if your mom has breast cancer, or your dad died of a heart attack, you have a great chance to change your genetic script and avoid those problems.

The concepts of NUTRIGENETICS, NUTRIGENOMICS and EPIGENETICS will continue to be resisted for a while. Even as more information comes out on these topics, Big Pharma will try to persuade you that the answer lays in developing new and expensive drugs to work on your genes, rather than the simpler and wiser concepts herein outlined. This is why I now present you with the raw evidence from leading journals (I am just a messenger):

Association of Marine Omega-3 Fatty Acid Levels With Telomeric Aging in Patients With Coronary Heart Disease, JAMA 2010; 303: 250 – 257

Omega oils lengthen the tail of chromosomes, thereby increasing lifespan and decreasing the risk of cancer, heart attacks and chronic diseases.  We have already discussed the Nobel Prize in Medicine research on telomeres and longevity.

 Multivitamins, Folate, and Green Vegetables Protect against Gene Promoter Methylation in the Aerodigestive Tract of Smokers, J. Cancer Research 2010;70: 568-574.

Dietary regimens to prevent cancer might be monitored by gauging the methylation status of tumor suppressor genes detected in sputum, which includes exfoliated aerodigestive cells. Logistic regression models were used to identifyassociations between methylation status and 21 dietary variables hypothesized to affect the acquisition of gene methylation. Significant protection against methylation was observed for leafy green vegetables [odds ratio (OR) = 0.83 per 12 monthly servings; 95% confidence interval (95% CI), 0.74–0.93] and folate (OR, 0.84 per 750 µg/d; 95% CI, 0.72–0.99). Protection against gene methylation was also seen with current use of multivitamins (OR, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.40–0.83). This is the first cohort-based study to identify dietary factors associated with reduced promoter methylation in cells exfoliated from the airway epithelium of smokers. Novel interventions to prevent lung cancer should be developed based on the ability of diet and dietary supplements to affect reprogramming of the epigenome”.

OK, calm down. I only wish to give you a flavor of the exciting research that is being ignored by “mainstream” practices. That mouthful means that our genes need plenty of vitamin B to replicate well, especially in smokers who burn up a lot of antioxidants. Eat your veggies! Antioxidants in green tea also counteract the toxic effects of smoking.[5]

Obesity and Breast Cancer, J. Cancer Research 2010 70: 4-7.

AMP kinase, a master regulator of cellular energy metabolism, may provide a key link between obesity-associated inflammation and increased breast cancer risk”.

We have known that obesity, pre diabetes and diabetes increase our risk of cancer since Dr. Warburg won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1931. He determined that “obesity and carbohydrate excess predisposes people to cancer…[This is why] caloric restriction has been shown to lower 60 % for cancers.” (“Cancer’s Sweet Tooth: the Janus effect of glucose metabolism in tumorigenesis.”)[6] Dr. Warburg went on to say that:

 

“The prime cause of cancer is the replacement of the respiration of oxygen in normal body cells by a fermentation of sugar. All normal body cells meet their energy needs by respiration of oxygen, whereas cancer cells meet their energy needs in great part by fermentation. All normal body cells are thus obligate aerobes, whereas cancer cells are partial anaerobes… Oxygen is dethroned in the cancer cells and replaced by an energy-yielding reaction of the lowest living   forms, a fermentation of sugar.”[7]

It’s shocking to contemplate that obesity causes 100K cancers each year.[8]

Insulin-Like Growth Factor-I Regulates the Liver Microenvironment in Obese Mice and Promotes Liver Metastasis, J. Cancer Research 2010 70: 57-67.

To facilitate liver metastasis, IGF-1 must act beyond the tumor cell to support to obesity-associated inflammatory processes in the tumor microenvironment”.

Translation: IGF-1, which is much like growth hormone, is dysfunctional in obesity; this promotes tumor formation and metastasis.

The Nicotinamide Phosphoribosyltransferase: A Molecular Link between Metabolism, Inflammation, and Cancer, J. Cancer Research 2010;70: 8-11.

NAMPT has properties of a positive biological modifier of NAD-dependent inflammation and cell growth that prompt interest in it as a pharmacological target for cancer treatment”.

Translation: the energy and information found in whole food lowers the inflammation/oxidation caused by processed foods, toxins and stress; said inflammation leads to DNA mutations associated with cancer.

If we are not mindful of these DNA-nutrition issues our risk of cancer will be higher. If we unfortunately develop cancer, we will be offered chemotherapy. But, “therapies that are less effective against cancer stem cells may quicken tumor evolution, increasing tumor heterogeneity and speeding the development of tumor progression and drug resistance”.[9] In other words, the surviving cancer cells may be more aggressive and more resistant to treatment, much like bacteria when antibiotics are overused or misused.

Another problem with chemotherapy in particular and pharmaceuticals in general are the steep prices. They have increased 9.3% in 2009 but inflation at the same time was down 0.3%. “It is hard to escape the conclusion that the industry is positioning the pricing of its products for enactment of the new health reform legislation”.[10]

 

Hiroshima revisited

We have been told that radiologic studies are fairly safe. True, but not when it comes to CT scans; they have been shown to impart the same risk of developing cancer that survivors of Hiroshima’s atomic bomb have shown.[11] A CT may expose you to the same radiation seen with 30 to 442 chest radiographs, depending on the settings at a given clinic.[12]

We estimated that approximately 29, 000 future cancers could be related to CT scans performed in the US in 2007. The largest contributions were from scans of the abdomen, pelvis, chest, and head, as well as from chest CT angiography. One-third of the projected cancers were due to scans performed at the ages of 35 to 54 years compared with 15% due to scans performed at ages younger than 18 years, and 66% were in females”.[13]

 

Processed foods lacking the good energy and information necessary to repair the DNA damage caused by radiation, (which is totally dependent on our genetic susceptibility-remember epigenetics?)[18] stress and toxins in the environment set the stage for cancer to develop. It doesn’t help that commercially prepared foods misrepresent the contents of their meals; fast food restaurants list calories 18% lower than real content.[14] They probably cheat on the nutritional content, too.

Coping with cancer risks

Radiation, processed foods lacking good energy and information, stress and toxins in the environment trigger DNA mutations that set the stage for cancer to develop. It doesn’t help that commercially prepared foods misrepresent the contents of their meals; fast food restaurants list calories 18% lower than real content.[15] They probably cheat on the nutritional content, too.

As we have already documented, we can prevent 2/3 of cancers just by eating better diets.[16] But, we also need to maximize the role of our gut in metabolizing the food we eat. After all, 60% of the immune system is found there, and that is where we detoxify. It sounds too simple, doesn’t? But, the Occam’s razor principle dictates that it be so. It boils down to avoiding toxins, maximizing the role of bacteria in the gut,[17] and nourishing relationships; this is how we may even negate the role of genetics in cancer.

I wish you better books, better diets and better relationships for 2010.

 


[1] From the book of the month, “The Dante Club” by Matthew Pearl.

[2]Ranking 37th: measuring the performance o the U.S. health care system”,

New England J. of Medicine 2010;362:98

[3]Are We Losing Touch in Medicine?”Utah Medical Association bulletin, November 2005

[4]The Medical Humanities, for Lack of a Better Term,” New England J. of Medicine 2005;353:1009

 [5] Chung Shan Medical University, China. Salt Lake Tribune, January 15th 2010

[6] J. Lancet 2006;367:618

[7] Book “Murder by Infection,” by Mullins; page 351

[8] American Institute for Cancer Research, November 6th 2009

[9]Cancer Stem Cell Tumor Model Reveals Invasive Morphology and Increased Phenotypical Heterogeneity”,
J. Cancer Research 2010;70: 46-56.

[10]Price Hikes Probed”, JAMA 2010;303:125

[11] J. Radiology 2004;232:735

[12]Cancer Risks and Radiation Exposure From Computed Tomographic Scans: How Can We Be Sure That

the Benefits Outweigh the Risks?” J. Archives of Internal Medicine 2009;169:2049             

[13]Projected Cancer Risks From Computed Tomographic Scans Performed in the United States in 2007”,
J. Archives of Internal Medicine 2009;169(22):2071

[14]The Accuracy of Stated Energy Contents of Reduced-Energy, Commercially Prepared Foods”,
              Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2010;110:116

[15]The Accuracy of Stated Energy Contents of Reduced-Energy, Commercially Prepared Foods”,
              Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2010;110:116

[16]Apoptosis by Dietary Factors,” J. Carcinogenesis 2007;28:233

[17] J. Gut 2010;59:88

[18] J. of the American College of Radiology February 2010

 

Hugo Rodier, MD is an integrative physician based in Draper, Utah who specializes in healing chronic disease at the cellular level by blending proper nutrition, lifestyle changes, & allopathic practices when necessary.

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