Vitamins Kill Prostate Cancer Cells In Mice

Kathy Woodyard Bart Breast Cancer Network

Note: The information on this website is not a substitute for the advice of & treatment by a qualified professional.

Respected cancer journals are publishing articles that identify safer and more effective chemotherapy drugs regimens, yet only a few medical institutions in the United States are incorporating these synergistic methods into clinical practice. Cancer patients for the most part are suffering through brutal chemotherapy regimens that have long ago proven themselves to be ineffective.

The Foundation’s chemotherapy protocol provides concise information about reducing some of the side effects of cytotoxic chemotherapy and utilizing other drugs to enhance the cancer-cell killing effects of these drugs.

(After reading this protocol, it is important that chemotherapy patients refer to the Cancer (Adjuvant) Treatment Protocol for additional information about enhancing the efficacy of chemotherapy drug therapies.)

How Does Chemotherapy Work?

According to the National Cancer Institute, normal cells grow and die in a controlled way through a process called apoptosis. Cancer cells keep dividing and forming more cells without a control mechanism. Anti-cancer drugs destroy cancer cells by stopping them from growing or multiplying at one or more points in their growth cycle. Chemotherapy may consist of one or several cytotoxic drugs, depending on the type of cancer being treated.

In addition to chemotherapy, other methods sometimes are used to treat cancer. For example, your doctor may recommend that you have surgery to remove a tumor or to relieve certain symptoms that may be caused by your cancer. You also may receive radiation therapy to treat your cancer or its symptoms. Sometimes, your doctor may suggest a combination of chemotherapy, surgery, and/or radiation therapy.

The goal of chemotherapy is to shrink primary tumors, slow the tumor growth, and to kill cancer cells that may have spread (metastasized) to other parts of the body from the original tumor. Chemotherapy kills both cancer and healthy cells. The goal is to minimize damage to normal cells and to enhance the cytotoxic effect to cancer cells.

An Integrated Approach
Nutrients and hormone therapies can be used to mitigate the toxicity of chemotherapy. The use of chemotherapy can cause health problems over and above those of the cancer itself such as severe heart muscle damage, gastro-intestinal damage, anemia, nausea, and lethal suppression of immune function.

Bolstering the immune system may help alleviate or lower the severity of the complications associated with chemotherapy. If possible these methods should be undertaken several days or even weeks before any planned chemotherapy is begun and continued well after the chemotherapy has completed.

Benefits of Vitamins E, C, and N-Acetyl-Cysteine
Vitamins E and C, and N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) may protect against heart muscle toxicity for cancer patients undergoing high doses of chemotherapy. A controlled study examined the effects of these nutrients on cardiac function on a group of chemotherapy and radiation patients. One group was given vitamin-c , E, and NAC supplements while the other group was not supplemented. In the group not supplemented, left ventricle function was reduced in 46% of the chemotherapy patients compared to those who took the supplements. Further, none of the patients from the supplement group showed a significant fall in overall ejection fraction, but 29% of the nonsupplement group showed reduced ejection fraction.

Vitamin-C may be used to potentiate the effects of chemotherapy. Patients report improved appetite while taking vitamin-c as well as a reduced need for pain killers.

Vitamin E has been shown to protect against cardiomyopathies induced by chemotherapy. Vitamin E has also been used in combination with vitamin A and coenzyme Q10 to reduce the side effects of the chemotherapy drug Adriamycin. Vitamin E is also complementary to chemotherapy by boosting the effectiveness of the drugs. The dry powder succinate form of vitamin E appears to be most beneficial to cancer patients. The more common acetate form has shown to be ineffective in slowing cancer cell growth in some studies, whereas, natural dry powder vitamin E succinate has shown efficacy.

Benefits of Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 is used with vitamin E to protect patients from chemotherapy induced cardiomyopathies. Coenzyme Q10 is nontoxic at even high dosages and has been shown to prevent liver damage from the drugs Mitomycin C and 5-FU (5-fluorouracil). Adriamycin-induced cardiomyopathies have been prevented by the concomitant supplementation with CoQ10.

Benefits of Selenium
Selenium has been used in combination with vitamin A and vitamin E to reduce the toxicity of chemotherapy drugs, particularly Adriamycin. The synergistic effect of vitamin E and selenium together to enhance the immune system is greater than either alone.

Benefits of Whey Protein
Glutathione balance is very important for the cancer patient. Glutathione is an antioxidant that protects cells from toxic compounds. Unfortunately, it is believed that glutathione actually benefits cancer cells at the expense of normal adjacent cells. A group of researchers showed that, “Tumor cell glutathione concentration may be among the determinants of the cytotoxicity of many chemotherapeutic agents and of radiation, and an increase in glutathione concentration in cancer cells appears to be at least one of the mechanisms of acquired drug resistance to chemotherapy.”

Whey proteins used in combination with glutathione appear to reduce the concentrations of glutathione in cancer cells thereby making them more vulnerable to chemotherapy while maintaining or even increasing glutathione levels in normal healthy cells. Researchers found that cancer cells had reduced glutathione levels in the presence of whey protein while at the same time normal cells had increased levels of glutathione levels with increased cellular growth of healthy cells. The study concluded, “Selective depletion of tumor cell glutathione may, in fact, render cancer cells more vulnerable to the action of chemotherapy and eventually protect normal tissue against the deleterious effects of chemotherapy.”

Glutathione production in cancer and healthy cells is negatively inhibited by its own synthesis. Since glutathione levels are higher in cancer cells it is believed that cancer cells would reach a level of negative-feedback inhibition for glutathione production more easily than normal cells. Chemotherapy patients should consider taking 30 to 60 grams per day of whey protein concentrate 10 days before initiation of chemotherapy, during the chemotherapy, and at least 10 days after the chemotherapy session is completed.

Note: If blood testing shows that chemotherapy has suppressed the immune system, patients should insist that their oncologists use the appropriate immune restoration drug(s) as outlined in the Cancer Treatment Protocol.

Research using whey protein concentrate has led researchers to a discovery regarding the relationship between cancerous cells, glutathione, and whey protein concentrate. As mentioned above it was found that whey protein concentrate selectively depletes cancer cells of their glutathione, thus making them more susceptible to cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy.

This difference in glutathione status between normal cells and cancer cells is believed to be an important factor in cancer cells’ resistance to chemotherapy. As the researchers put it, “Tumor cell glutathione concentration may be among the determinants of the cytotoxicity [poisonous to cells] of many chemotherapeutic agents and of radiation, and an increase in glutathione concentration appears to be at least one of the mechanisms of acquired drug resistance to chemotherapy.”

Benefits of EPA Fish Oil (Omega-3 d-Alpha Tocopherol)
Fish oil may enhance the effectiveness of cancer chemotherapy drugs. A study compared different fatty acids on colon cancer cells to see if they could enhance Mitomycin C, a chemotherapy drug. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) concentrated from fish oil was shown to sensitize colon cancer cells to Mitomycin C . It should be noted that fish oil also suppresses the formation of prostaglandin E2, which is involved in the synthesis of COX-2. Colon cancer cells use COX-2 to stimulate propagation.

Anti-Nausea Drugs for Chemotherapy Patients
Nausea is one of the most common and difficult aspects of chemotherapy for cancer patients. Nausea can have secondary effects on a cancer patients by interfering with their eating habits during and immediately after chemotherapy.

Drugs to mitigate chemotherapy-induced nausea include Megace and Zofran. The high cost of Zofran has kept many cancer patients not covered by insurance from obtaining this potentially beneficial drug. If you are receiving chemotherapy and are suffering from nausea, you should be able to demand that any HMO, PPO, or insurance carrier pay for this drug. Zofran can enable a cancer patient to tolerate chemotherapy long enough for it to be possibly effective.

Medical marijuana was approved by referendum in California and Arizona primarily for the beneficial medical use by cancer patients to alleviate nausea following chemotherapy. It is interesting to observe the objections of the federal government regarding the concept of medical marijuana as their ” war on drugs” is brought to bear on an herb. Life Extension Foundation has provided financial help for the legal battle on behalf of the medical rights of those cancer patients in California and Arizona.

Researchers have embarked on evaluating the medical benefits of marijuana and we will follow these studies and report the results to you. One study evaluated glutathione and vitamins C and E for their anti-vomiting activity. Cisplatin-induced vomiting in dogs was significantly reduced by glutathione and vitamins C and E. The anti-vomiting activity of antioxidants was attributed to their ability to react with free radicals generated by cisplatin. Ginger extract has also been shown to be effective in reducing nausea symptoms.

Reprinted from Life Extension Foundation

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