cancer

Essential oils and Cancer

The studies below found some significant facts regarding health effects of certain food.  This is an attempt by us to interpret the findings so that it could be implemented in everyday health practices.  It has to be understood that good eating habits are necessary for optimal health and that means that a variety of good foods have to be consumed every day.  We do believe that some food has medicinal value and could be used to help in the prevention and support of treatment in certain illnesses.  However, if it is not part of a good nutritious diet, it might lose its value.    Although we do believe in the power of natural food, we absolutely do not claim to cure any disease through the consumption of specific foods.

 

Mark Barton Frank, Qing Yang, Jeanette Osban, Joseph T Azzarello, Marcia R Saban, Ricardo Saban, Richard A Ashley, Jan C Welter, Kar-Ming Fung, Hsueh-Kung Lin. Frankincense oil derived from Boswellia carteri induces tumor cell specific cytotoxicity. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2009 ;9:6. Epub 2009 Mar 18

Mahmoud M Suhail, Weijuan Wu, Amy Cao, Fadee G Mondalek, Kar-Ming Fung, Pin-Tsen Shih, Yu-Ting Fang, Cole Woolley, Gary Young, Hsueh-Kung Lin. Boswellia sacra essential oil induces tumor cell-specific apoptosis and suppresses tumor aggressiveness in cultured human breast cancer cells. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2011 ;11:129. Epub 2011 Dec 15.

 

Both these studies were done in a laboratory setting outside the human body.   It was consistently showed that the essential oil from the Boswellia plant suppressed the development of bladder cancer and breast cancer cells respectively.  It was even showed to be effective in advanced breast cancer.  Future pre-clinical and clinical studies are urgently needed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Boswellia sacra essential oil as a therapeutic agent for treating breast and bladder cancer in humans.

 

 

Yong Seok Park, Joung H Lee, Judy Bondar, Jyoti A Harwalkar, Hasan Safayhi, Mladen Golubic.Cytotoxic action of acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid (AKBA) on meningioma cells.Planta Med. 2002 May;68(5):397-401.

Yong Seok Park, Joung H Lee, Jyoti A Harwalkar, Judy Bondar, Hasan Safayhi, Mladen Golubic.Acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid (AKBA) is cytotoxic for meningioma cells and inhibits phosphorylation of the extracellular-signal regulated kinase 1 and 2. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2002;507:387-93.

 

Both the studies looked at the effect of frankincense, an essential oil from the Boswellia plant, on the development of tumors of the brain meninges.  It was found that it interrupted the signaling for the development of these tumors on cellular level.   Frankincense could thus play a role in the prevention of these tumors, even after the initial formation.

Wake up to the Power of Coffee

The studies below found some significant facts regarding health effects of certain food.  This is an attempt by us to interpret the findings so that it could be implemented in everyday health practices.  It has to be understood that good eating habits are necessary for optimal health and that means that a variety of good foods have to be consumed every day.  We do believe that some food has medicinal value and could be used to help in the prevention and support of treatment in certain illnesses.  However, if it is not part of a good nutritious diet, it might lose its value.    Although we do believe in the power of natural food, we absolutely do not claim to cure any disease through the consumption of specific foods.

 

Susanna C Larsson, Alicja Wolk. Coffee consumption and risk of liver cancer: a meta-analysis. Gastroenterology. 2007 May ;132(5):1740-5. Epub 2007 Mar 24.

This study analyzed the findings of 9 studies done from 1966 to 2007 to see what the link is between coffee consumption and liver cancer.  The researchers found that increasing your coffee consumption with two cups of coffee per day might reduce your risk of liver cancer. 

 

Ming Ding, Shilpa N. Bhupathiraju, Mu ChenRob M. van Dam and Frank B. Hu. Consumption and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and a Dose-Response Meta-analysis.  Diabetes Care. 2014 Feb; 37(2): 569–586.

Published online 2014 Jan 11. doi:  10.2337/dc13-1203

This study re-analyzed the findings of 28 controlled studies to see what the effect of coffee consumption is on the development of type 2 diabetes.  The researchers found that the consumption of both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee seems to protect against the development of type 2 diabetes. The level of protection was even higher if more than one cup of coffee was consumed

 

Brendan J. Guercio, Kaori Sato, Donna Niedzwiecki, Xing Ye, Leonard B. Saltz, Robert J. Mayer, Rex B. Mowat, Renaud Whittom, Alexander Hantel, Al Benson, Daniel Atienza, Michael Messino, Hedy Kindler, Alan Venook, Frank B. Hu, Shuji Ogino, Kana Wu, Walter C. Willett, Edward L. Giovannucci, Jeffrey A. Meyerhardt, and Charles S. Fuchs. Coffee Intake, Recurrence, and Mortality in Stage III Colon Cancer: Results From CALGB 89803 (Alliance)   J Clin Oncol 33.

 

 

This study was done on 953 patients with stage III colon cancer.  The researchers looked at the consumption of coffee, decaffeinated coffee and herbal tea on the recurrence of the cancer.  They found that the consumption of four or more cups of regular coffee significantly reduce cancer recurrence.  Patients who consumed herbal tea or decaffeinated coffee did not show this decrease in recurrence rate. 

From the three studies above it looks as if there is a definite link between the consumption of coffee and the prevention of cancer.  It is not shown in all studies though and therefore we also look at another study:

 

Maurice PA Zeegersa, Frans ES Tanb, R Alexandra Goldbohmc and Piet A van den BrandtaAre Coffee and Tea Consumption associated with urinary tract cancer risk?  A systematic review and meta-analysis. Int. J. Epidemiol. (2001) 30 (2):353-362.doi: 10.1093/ije/30.2.353

This was a review on 34 case control studies and three follow-up studies.  It found that the consumption of coffee is related to the development of urinary tract cancer while the consumption of tea did not have a similar effect.

This is a difficult call to make if there is evidence for and against the risk factors of a certain type of food.  As always, everyone should take responsibility for their own decision with as many facts on the table as possible. 

Turmeric - a wonder food

The studies below found some significant facts regarding health effects of certain food.  This is an attempt by us to interpret the findings so that it could be implemented in everyday health practices.  It has to be understood that good eating habits are necessary for optimal health and that means that a variety of good foods have to be consumed every day.  We do believe that some food has medicinal value and could be used to help in the prevention and support of treatment in certain illnesses.  However, if it is not part of a good nutritious diet, it might lose its value.    Although we do believe in the power of natural food, we absolutely do not claim to cure any disease through the consumption of specific foods.

Yanyan Li, Tao Zhang.  Targeting Cancer Stem Cells by Curcumin and Clinical Applications.  Cancer Lett. 2014 Jan 23. Epub 2014 Jan 23. PMID: 24463298  

Our interpretation:

This is a composite article reviewing all the articles published regarding the ability of curcumin, an ingredient in turmeric, to protect against cancer.  It deals specifically with targeting cancer stem cells which now is believed to not only initiate cancer but also play a role in drug resistant cancers and recurrence of cancer.  Although much research is still needed, this article acknowledges the potential of curcumin to control the renewal of cancer stem cells, and thus the development of cancer as well as recurrence and response to treatment.  Studies were done to test the efficacy of this agent independently as well with traditional cancer therapies.  Numerous studies have shown both turmeric and curcumin to be tolerated very well as food and supplement.  Although only a small portion of ingested curcumin is absorbed, it could be improved multiple times with the simultaneous ingestion of pepper. 

So what does this mean to the nutritionist?  Although not guaranteed to protect from all cancers it could be beneficial to add this spice to your food and drinks.  Turmeric is not an overwhelming spice and blends very well with all curry dishes, tomato and pumpkin based soups and stews.  It also makes a flavorful drink for bedtime when it is mixed into warm milk (of any kind) with honey and ginger. Remember to always add pepper to enhance the absorption of curcumin. 

 

R Thomas, M Williams, H Sharma, A Chaudry, P Bellamy.  A double-blind, placebo-controlled randomised trial evaluating the effect of a polyphenol-rich whole food supplement on PSA progression in men with prostate cancer-the UK NCRN Pomi-T study.  Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2014 Mar 11. Epub 2014 Mar 11. PMID: 24614693

This was a study with very exciting results showing the benefit of consumption of a supplement of nutrients by men with localized prostate cancer.  In this case the supplement included pomegranate, green tea, broccoli and turmeric. None of these men received active medical treatment and they were divided into two groups. One of the groups took a supplement containing the above mentioned nutrients while the other group received an identical placebo.  The efficacy of the experimental supplement was measured in the increase of PSA (prostate-specific antigen) levels from baseline.  PSA is elevated in men with prostate cancer and an increase is thus a measurement of the progression of the disease. 

The amazing results showed an increase of 14.7% PSA in the men on the experimental supplement while the increase in the other group was 78.5%!  The supplement was well tolerated and because the study ran for only six months, the investigators will only claim short term effects.  As a nutritionist, this is only reinforcement of the belief that nutrient rich food will not only have benefits for general health, but will specifically help in the enormous task today to protect against, stop or at least hinder the progression of cancer.