June 27, 2016

375 Vitamin C & Cancer [27 June 2016]

While looking for a new topic for this week, I discovered that I have not yet written on vitamin C and cancer. Three decades after the publication of Linus Pauling’s 1979 book “Vitamin C and Cancer” medical research is finally taking a serious look at vitamin C as a possible cancer treatment.

A study published in November 2015 in the prestigious journal Science by a team of researchers including scientists from Harvard Medical School and Johns Hopkins Cancer Center, found that high doses of vitamin C impaired the growth of two specific colorectal cancers in cultured cells and in mice. Interestingly they discovered that the effect was not from vitamin C’s role as an antioxidant, as had always been assumed, but rather as an oxidant. Vitamin C enters cancer cells in its oxidized form called dehydroascorbic acid (DHA) (not to be confused with the omega 3 fatty acid DHA) via a glucose transporter called GLUT1 which cancer cells have in abundance. Once inside DHA is converted back to ascorbic acid by the cell’s antioxidants. If sufficient DHA (vitamin C) enters the cancer cell, the antioxidants are depleted and the cell dies from oxidative stress.

Other studies have confirmed that high dose intravenous vitamin C (IVC) is selectively cytotoxic to cancer cells, meaning that it kills the cancer cells but does not harm normal cells. A small human trial from the U. Kansas Medical Center published in 2014 combined IVC with conventional chemotherapy drugs in women with stage 3 or stage 4 ovarian cancer. Compared to the control group (chemo only), the vitamin C group had not only better results but reduced toxic side effects from the chemo.

The U. Kansas researchers described IVC’s safety profile as “outstanding”. One of them wrote:
“we now have a better understanding of vitamin C’s anti-cancer action, plus a clear safety profile…our data provide strong evidence to justify larger and robust clinical trials to definitively examine the benefit of adding vitamin C to conventional chemotherapy.”
Funding for such trials will have to come from government or foundation sources as pharmaceutical companies are not likely to spend that much on a therapy which cannot be patented.

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

June 20, 2016

374 Vitamin D & Heart Disease [20 June 2016]

I have previously written about vitamin D and cancer, MS, Alzheimer’s, fetal brain development, autism, preventing fractures, and preventing falls in elderly. Studies on vitamin D in preventing heart disease have been equivocal (inconclusive or conflicting) with some studies showing benefit and others not.

In January 2014 I wrote several columns on the importance of correct study methodologies for nutrients, which are different than for drugs for a number of reasons. In his blog Dr. Cannell of the Vitamin D Council has explained the failures to find benefit with many vitamin D studies as due to poor study design. In 2005 Cannell and colleagues published a list of guidelines for vitamin D studies in order to obtain meaningful results.

The guidelines included:
• use the D3 form with daily dose of 3,000 – 10,000 IU
• ensure that blood levels reach 40-65 ng/ml in the test group, and
• run the study for at least 5 – 9 months.
Additional guidelines mentioned in his blog post:
• use subjects that are D deficient for both test and placebo groups
• test blood levels before, during, and at the end of the study
• use objective measurements of improvement.

So what happens when researchers follow these guidelines? In a June 2016 blog post Dr Cannell reported on a study by the Leeds Institute in England, published March 24 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, which followed their guidelines. What did they learn?

Chronic Heart Failure (CHF) is a common heart condition with a 50% five-year mortality rate. Approximately 90% of patients with CHF are vitamin D deficient. The randomized controlled study divided 223 subjects with CHF who were already on “optimal standard treatment” into a test group given 4,000 IU daily and a placebo group. The average vitamin D levels at the beginning was 10 ng/ml; the treatment group increased to an average of 46 ng/ml during the study. Small but significant improvements in cardiac function were measured in the test group for heart size and blood volume pumped by the left ventricle. The authors concluded:
“We have demonstrated that high-dose vitamin D3 supplementation is safe, well-tolerated, and associated with a clinically relevant improvement in cardiac function in CHF patients …”
For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

June 13, 2016

373 Tendon Strain Therapy [13 June 2016]

I attended a three day massage workshop last weekend which I expect will change the way I work on soft tissue pain. The instructor, Bob Lidington, PhD (Physiology) of Saskatoon, has been using the Cyriax method of tendon strain and ligament sprain therapy for many years now with amazing results. He can’t keep up with the demand for this therapy and wants to retire sometime, so has agreed to his clients’ requests to educate more massage therapists about this method.

Tendons and ligaments are subject to sudden trauma by falls, sudden pulls, or heavy lifting. In the repair process, which can take up to a year, the collagen in the injured tendons and ligaments is replaced and built up with extra collagen resulting in a thickening of the tissue. The muscle attached to the injured tendon often develops a chronic contracture (muscle “knot”) causing chronic pain and reduced range of motion. Trigger points and headaches are other common effects of tendon strains.

Tension and pain from a lifetime accumulation of injuries become a permanent part of your life. Standard massage and other forms of treatments may provide temporary relief but as long as the sprain or strain is not resolved, the tension and pain keep coming back. Does that sound familiar to you?

With a quick assessment, the injury site can be located and treated. Result – the pain is gone, immediately and permanently. The treatment takes only a few minutes depending on the age and number of the injuries. The technique used is deep transverse (or cross fiber) friction at a precise location and at an appropriate depth. Treatment can be uncomfortable but is always within pain tolerance. Residual tenderness from the treatment may last a day or two. Tendon strain therapy does not require any lubricant (lotion or oils) and can be done through light clothing.

The workshop showed how to apply Tendon Strain Therapy to any part of the body that shows tendon strain or ligament sprain injury – neck, shoulders, arms, back, hips, legs and feet. If you suffer pain or restriction of movement in any of these areas as a result of an old (or recent) injury, tendon strain therapy might be the answer you’ve been looking for.

For a technical description of the technique see Cyriax's Friction Massage: a Review, 1982

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

June 6, 2016

372 Cleaning Product Ingredients [6 June 2016]

Manufacturers of cleaning products warn consumers of risks of acute exposure to their products with hazard signs like “corrosive” or “poison”. But they are not required to inform us about the health hazards of long term exposure to the ingredients in their products (davidsuzuki.org). They are not even required to list all the ingredients! When we use the products, we breathe in the fumes and absorb the chemicals through our skin. So it’s up to each of us to learn about these ingredients and their risks and to avoid them wherever possible.

Here are some of the ingredients we should try to avoid:
• Ammonia is often used in glass cleaners. It has very irritating fumes which can harm the respiratory tract.
• Chlorine bleach fumes are very irritating to the eyes and respiratory tract and produces a very poisonous gas when mixed with ammonia.
• Synthetic dyes add color but do nothing for the cleaning action. Dyes are possible carcinogens and may contain toxic metals.
• Synthetic fragrances, which include phthalates, can be irritants, trigger allergies, interfere with hormones, and are harmful to the environment. They abound in air fresheners but can be found in almost any cleaning product.
• Volatile Organic Compounds (solvents like benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and formaldehyde) are toxic and increase cancer risk.
• Sulfuric Acid commonly found in toilet bowl cleaners is extremely corrosive
• Sulfates, including sodium laurel sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), are foaming agents found in shampoos and some cleaning products and are known irritants and suspected carcinogens.

Why store and use poisons in your home when there are safe natural products that work well and may cost less? Ask me about my new line of natural cleaning products for bathroom, kitchen & laundry using safe natural ingredients and scented with essential oils. They are super concentrated so can even save you money. And they are not tested on animals!

A good source for more information is davidsuzuki.org and healthyenvironmentforkids.ca.

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.