Archive for November, 2014


Sweet Potato Kills Leukemia Cells and Fights Multiple Cancers: You may now want to indulge in extra sweet potato. Researchers have discovered that a simple hot water extract of baked sweet potato killed up to 65% of human leukemia cells in vitro. This follows other studies showing that this amazing vegetable also kills lymphoma and liver cancer cells.

But sweet potato’s health benefits are not limited to lab studies. A study from Japan showed premenopausal women eating sweet potato (or potatoes) more than three times weekly had 30% less breast cancer risk. In other studies, sweet potato was associated (along with other foods) with reducing risk of kidney cancer by 56% and gallbladder cancer by 67%. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of antioxidants like beta-carotene, vitamin C, and manganese, along with B vitamins and the alkalizing mineral potassium.

Not only do they have a low glycemic index, but they’ve even been shown in a clinical trial to help reduce blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity in adults with type II diabetes! It may even help with weight loss: a new study has just shown that sweet potato actually reduces appetite and food intake (in mice)!

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Pumpkin—The New Superfood For Breast Cancer: Pumpkin is a rich source of cucurbitacin E, a unique and powerful anticancer compound which researchers have just discovered is highly toxic to triple negative breast cancer cells in vitro. In fact, cucurbitacin E killed up to 85% of these highly aggressive breast cancer cells by triggering programmed cell death.

This is not actually surprising, as several studies have already shown pumpkin to reduce breast cancer risk in women. And it doesn’t take much. One study out of Japan showed that eating at least three servings of pumpkin per week reduced breast cancer risk by 25% for premenopausal women and 34% for postmenopausal women.

Another study showed that three servings weekly reduced women’s breast cancer risk by 22%–and also reduced lung cancer risk by up to 41%! Cucurbitacin E has shown activity against several other cancers, such as ovarian, skin, prostate, pancreatic and colon. Beyond cucurbitacin, this super-vegetable is a very healthy source of several vitamins, minerals (such as potassium), alpha carotene, beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.

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Pecans—The New Superfood Against Cancer: In this study, extracts of pecan nuts were shown to kill colon cancer cells (up to 90%) and liver cancer cells (up to 70%) more powerfully than any other nut tested, except for walnuts.

We already know that eating nuts is highly protective against cancer and heart disease: just three servings of nuts weekly may cut your risk of cancer death by 40%, and risk of fatal heart disease by a stunning 60% (1 serving = 1 ounce, or 28 grams). But pecans are special because they contain more cancer-fighting antioxidants than almost any other nut: in fact, a single serving of pecans delivers the same antioxidant power as 2,104 mg of vitamin C (yes, over two-thousand mg of vitamin C)!

And the health benefits of pecans don’t stop there: a recent clinical trial showed that adults consuming 68 grams daily of pecans actually saw their total cholesterol and harmful LDL cholesterol significantly decrease after 8 weeks! And another study showed that eating nuts helped overweight women lose weight, decrease hip size, lower their cholesterol and blood sugar, and even lower their blood pressure!

Bottom line: do enjoy a slice of pecan pie this Thanksgiving, but also try to make pecans (and nuts in general), part of a healthy, balanced diet which includes plenty of vegetables, fruit, herbs, and spices.



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So. There’s a new study comparing the effectiveness of curcumin to chemo drug 5-FU, on colorectal cancer cells.

Curcumin is the active ingredient in Turmeric, one of the top 4 anti-cancer spices that I consumed copious amounts of in 2004, and still consume copious amounts of today.

5-FU, perhaps the most ironically named of all chemo drugs (also known as “5 Feet Under”), is used to treat anal, breast, colorectal, esophageal, pancreatic, stomach and skin cancers (especially head and neck). It was patented in 1957 and is still one the most commonly used cancer drugs today. If that doesn’t send up a red flag about the progress of cancer treatment, your flag pole is broken.

Repeat. One of the most commonly used chemo drugs is almost 60 years old.

Communication between cancer cells and normal cells is a key factor in how cancer progresses. This “signaling” increases the survival, proliferation, and malignant behavior of tumor cells and their ability to resist chemotherapy drugs. In this study, researchers investigated the role of signaling between colon cancer cells and normal cells and how chemotherapy drugs and BCM-95 Curcumin affect that communication.

Additionally, the researchers examined the impact of the treatments on cancer stem cell markers. Cancer stem cells are responsible for developing resistance to chemotherapy and the recurrence of cancer after treatment.

The study used a 3D tumor culture, which more closely replicates how tumors act in the body than other conventional in vitro cell culture models. The culture was treated with either 5‑Fluorouracil (5-FU), which is a common chemotherapeutic agent used for colorectal cancer, BCM-95 Curcumin, or a combination of 5-FU and BCM-95 Curcumin.

Surprise! 5-FU makes cancer stem cells more aggressive

One startling finding of this study was that treatment with 5-FU actually promoted the growth of cancer stem cells, which is the most plausible explanation for why colon cancer usually comes back.

According to Ajay Goel, Ph.D., one of the study’s authors,”Colorectal cancer is especially devastating because of its high recurrence rate. Cancer stem cells exist in very small numbers in a tumor and can hide from chemotherapy… They survive (treatment) and cause cancer to reoccur, sometimes years later. I believe cancer stem cells are the main reason why we can’t stop cancer.”

“Our recent studies on curcumin continue to reveal its unique potential as a therapeutic strategy in the fight against cancer,” continued Dr. Goel. “In this study, treatment with curcumin impeded cancer growth and proliferation by inhibiting signaling proteins and blocking tumor cell promotion. The beauty of curcumin is its ability to balance gene expression and positively influence anticancer pathways.”

Translation: Curcumin slows down and/or stops colon cancer growth and spread. It turns on cancer preventing genes and turns off cancer promoting genes. Friends, this is straight from a very influential and well respected cancer researcher. See his bio at the end of the post.

In the following graph from the study, the grey bars represent the number of cancer cells. The black bars represent the number of CD133 cancer stem cells. As you can see, 5-FU reduced the overall number of cancer cells ~5% more than curcumin, however curcumin dramatically reduced the number of CD133 cancer stem cells compared to 5-FU, which actually caused the cancer stem cells to increase, compared to the untreated cancer cells in the two control groups.

Curcumin vs 5-FU


Friends, this graph perfectly demonstrates what is happening in the bodies of thousands of cancer patients. Chemo treatments will shrink the size of a tumor by 50% or more, and this is celebrated as a terrific progress. But meanwhile, the cancer stem cells (the real troublemakers) are multiplying. And soon after chemotherapy treatment is finished, more aggressive chemo-resistant tumors form in new parts of the body.

In this study, cancer growth was inhibited most when the curcumin was used as a pretreatment before chemotherapy. The addition of curcumin sensitized the cancer stem cells to chemotherapy treatment and reduced the amount of 5‑FU needed to inhibit cancer cell growth, but as you can see in the graph, the reduction in cancer stem cells by 5-FU with curcumin was only slightly better (a few percentage points more) than curcumin alone.

And remember, 5-FU was also found to make cancer stem cells more aggressive, which means those 5-FU treated cancer stem cells could become a much more serious problem down the road when compared to the Curcumin treated stem cells.

It is important to note that the form of curcumin used in the study, BCM-95 Curcumin, has unique specifications, including high absorption and inclusion of turmeric essential oil, which is not found in standard curcumin.

Therefore, these specific results may not apply to other forms of curcumin.

The author of this study is Ajay Goel, Ph.D., Director of Epigenetics and Cancer Prevention at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, TX. He has spent more than 20 years researching cancer and has been the lead author or contributor to over 150 scientific articles published in peer reviewed international journals and several book chapters. He is currently researching the prevention of gastrointestinal cancers using integrative and alternative approaches, including botanical products. Two of the primary botanicals he is investigating are curcumin (from turmeric) and boswellia.

Dr. Goel is also a member of the American Association for Cancer Research and the American Gastroenterology Association and is on the international editorial boards of Gastroenterology, Clinical Cancer Research, PLoS One, Digestive Diseases and Sciences andWorld Journal of Gastrointestinal Oncology. He also performs peer-reviewing activities for almost 75 scientific journals, as well as serves on various grant funding committees of the National Institutes of Health.

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Foods to Boost Prostate Health

Guys, we all know that you put off getting your prostate checked as long as you can, but what about adding some healthy prostate-friendly foods to your diet? Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men worldwide and affects one in six males in the United States. It is believed that the high-fat, high-sugar Western diet may contribute to increased rates of prostate cancer. So while you will have to see a doctor eventually, start by trying these six super foods to help boost your prostate health. No urologist necessary.


Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant found in tomatoes, may be beneficial in the prevention of prostate cancer and reducing tumor growth among men with prostate cancer. In a review of 21 studies, researchers found that men who ate a lot of raw tomato and cooked tomato products were less likely to develop prostate cancer compared with men who rarely ate such foods. Because lycopene is tightly bound to cell walls, our bodies have a difficult time extracting it from raw tomatoes. Therefore, cooked or pureed tomato products such as tomato paste, spaghetti sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato juice and ketchup may be better options.


Several studies have demonstrated a lower chance of developing prostate cancer among men who eat large amounts of broccoli or other cruciferous vegetables. In one Canadian study, investigators found that eating greater amounts of such vegetables, particularly broccoli and cauliflower, was associated with a decreased risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Although the reasons as to why are still unclear, some researchers propose that one of the phytochemicals found in these vegetables, called sulforaphane, selectively targets and kills cancer cells while leaving normal prostate cells healthy and unaffected.

Green Tea

Green tea is a large component of the Asian diet and has been consumed for thousands of years. Whether or not green tea is the reason why prostate cancer rates in Asia are so much lower than in America remains unclear. Yet, the components of green tea such as catechin, EGCG and epicatechin are all being studied for their effects on health. There is now some evidence to support that these polyphenolic compounds found in green tea may prevent the development of prostate cancer.

In the Japan Public Health Center study of 49,920 men, researchers found a 48 percent decreased risk of advanced prostate cancer among men who consumed greater than 5 cups of green tea per day.

Legumes and Soybeans

Legumes such as beans, peanuts and lentils all contain biologically active plant compounds known as phytoestrogens. Isoflavones, a phytoestrogen, may contain cancer-fighting properties, which suppress tumor growth in prostate cancer cells.

Two review papers found a 30 percent reduced risk of developing prostate cancer among men with high soy consumption. In a double-blind randomized control trial among men with prostate cancer, those placed on a high soy diet, versus a diet composed mostly of wheat, showed a 12 percent decrease in prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood levels as compared with a 40 percent increase on the wheat diet. Such decreases in PSA signal that the cancer is not progressing.

Pomegranate Juice

Much like red wine or green tea, pomegranate is a rich source of antioxidants and has been touted as a miracle fruit in preventing chronic diseases related to oxidative stress. In a small study of 46 men, investigators found that drinking 8 ounces of pomegranate juice delayed the rise in PSA levels and increased the “doubling time” from 15 months to 54 months. The goal is to keep the “doubling time” as long as possible, indicating a slower tumor growth and cancer progression. Authors propose that the antioxidants, called ellagitannins, that are abundant in pomegranate, may work by a “seek and destroy” method, exclusively targeting the prostate cancer cells and not the healthy cells.


Polyunsaturated fats, like omega-3s and omega-6s, are essential fatty acids found exclusively in the diet and not synthesized by the body. The traditional Western diet has lot of omega-6 fatty acids, but minimal omega-3s. Having a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids may help prevent the development and progression of prostate cancer. In a study of 6,272 Swedish men followed over 30 years, researchers reported that those men who ate no fish were two to three times more likely to develop prostate cancer than men who consumed large amounts of fish in their diet. To increase your omega-3 intake, try eating fatty fish found in cold waters such as salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines or trout.


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The longer someone talks over the phone – in terms of hours and years – the more likely is he/she to develop glioma, a deadly form of BRAIN CANCER, says a new study.


Brain tumour rates were three times more among people, who spoke on CELL or CORDLESS PHONES after more than 25 years than those who did not use them, the findings showed.

“The risk is three times higher after 25 years of use. We can see this clearly,” Lennart Hardell, lead researcher and oncologist from University Hospital in Orebro in Sweden was quoted by Daily Mail as saying.

Swedes who talked on CELL PHONES for over 25 years had three times the risk of one type of brain cancer, compared with people who used those phones for under a year.

For the study, Lennart Hardell and his colleague Michael Carlberg matched 1,380 patients with malignant brain tumours to people without such tumours.

They also compared their phone use.

People who reported using cordless or mobile phones for 20 to 25 years had higher risk of being diagnosed with glioma as compared with those who reported using them for less than a year, the study found.

However, no link was found between WIRELESS PHONES and malignant brain tumours besides glioma, pointed out the study.

A World Health Organization (WHO) panel of 31 scientists from 14 countries classified mobile phones as ‘possibly carcinogenic’ in 2011.

The study appeared in the journal Pathophysiology.


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