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Taking the Right Natural Products to Prevent Cancer

In this age of processed foods and fast-paced, stress ful lifestyles, it can be very hard if not actually impossible--for you to nourish your body completely through diet alone. That's especially true if you want to give yourself the best chance to prevent cancer and other chronic diseases. If you're like most people, you may need a little help in the form of nutritional supplements.

The recommendations we offer here are supplementary measures. Vitamin and mineral supplements by themselves cannot provide all the benefits you seek. In fact, taking certain supplements without the support of a diet rich in phytochemicals may actually pose some serious risks. Supplements are of greatest value when used as part of a healthpromoting diet and lifestyle.

Key Dietary Supplements for Preventing Cancer

We offer five key dietary supplement recommendations to significantly reduce the risk of cancer:

  • Use a high-potency multiple vitamin and mineral, especially one that provides sufficient levels of antioxidant nutrients.
  • Take an appropriate herbal extract rich in flavonoids.
  • Consume green drinks regularly (see page 63).
  • Take probiotics.
  • Take fish oil supplements.

these dietary supplements are an important part of the Daily Plan for Preventing Cancer given in Appendix A. Here's a closer look at these recommendations.

1. Use a high-potency multiple vitamin and mineral, especially one that provides sufficient levels of antioxidant nutrients

Your body needs essential vitamins and minerals--each in the right amount-for your tissues to do their jobs. Every one of your billions of cells must have these ingredients to maintain the strength and integrity of their delicate membranes and other vital structures.

One of the most crucial functions of your cells is to produce hundreds of different enzymes-molecules that trigger and control chemical reactions. Among other tasks, enzymes are in charge of repairing damage to cells. For example, DNA is fragile and can become "chipped" when it reproduces or if it gets bombarded by a toxic molecule. Such damage can cause cells to mutate. One possible result: cells that grow out of control cancer.

Normally enzymes rush to the scene and restore DNA to its original form. But if your cell's enzyme-manufacturing system isn't up to parfor example, because your body lacks one or more of the key nutrients--you are far more vulnerable to cell malfunction. Cancer is one possible result. Other consequences include accelerated aging and chronic diseases other than cancer.

Most enzymes in the body have both a vitamin portion and mineral portion. That's why we recommend taking a high quality product one that provides adequate levels of all (or most) of these essential vitamin and minerals. See page 286 in Appendix A for the proper dosage.

Read labels carefully to find multiple vicamin/mineral formules that contain doses in the right ranges. Be aware that you will not find a formula that provides all these nutrients at these levels in one single pill_it would simply be too big. Usually, you'll need to take at least three to six rablets per day to meet these levels. While many ane a day supplements provide good levels of vitamins, they tend to be invofficient in the amount of some of the minerals they provide. Your body needs the minerals as much as the vitamins remember the two work hand in hand.

THE IMPORTANCE OF ANTIOXIDANT NUTRIENTS

There are three main points to keep in mind when discussing antioxidants.

  • The antioxidant system of the body relies on a complex interplay of many different dietary antioxidants.
  • Taking any single antioxidant nutrient is not enough. Tocal pro tection requires a strategic, comprehensive supplement program.
  • Although dietary supplements are important, they cannot replace the importance of consuming a diet rich in antioxidants.

Clinical trials utilizing antioxidant vitamins have produced inconsistent results. While the scientific research is quite clear that diets high in antioxidants are protective against many cancers, the evidence is not as solid with antioxidant supplements. Several explanations have been offered, including the focus on a single antioxidant rather than a more complete formulation; inadequate dosages and failure to address confounding dietary and lifestyle habits (antioxidant supplements are likely to offer less benefit to people who do not consume adequate levels of phytochemicals or who engage in harmful habits such as smoking or drinking excessively).

THE PROBLEM OF SINGLE-NUTRIENT ASSESSMENT

A shortcoming of many dietary studies is that researchers often focus on the effects of just one factor. In a way, this is like judging an entire symphony by listening to a single trombone. Such research has its value, but it's not complete and often raises more questions than it answers. It seems that many researchers become too focused on the tree instead of looking at the forest, because they fail to understand the importance of the way individual antioxidants interact within the entire antioxidant system of the human body to produce their anticancer benefits.

Another issue is that not all antioxidants are created equal. When it comes to mopping up free radicals, each may have a somewhat different (and usually very narrow) range of activity. Most, in fact, only do one or two things, but they do those things very well. For example, betacarotene is an effective quencher of a free radical known as singlet oxy gen, but it is virtually powerless against the dozens of other types of free radicals. As a result, it has a very narrow range of benefit and is very susceptible to being damaged itself without additional support.

Most antioxidant require some sort of "partner" antioxidant that allows them to work more efficiently.And scientists have discovered that beta-carotene itself can become damaged if it's used alone (that is, with out its partner antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium). Damaged beta-carotene is extremely toxic to the liver, the lining of the arteries, and the lungs. This fact may explain some of the disappointing results from recent beta-carotene studies. These studies showed that synthetic beta-carotene supplements, given alone, actually increase the risk of cancer in smokers. In contrast, when beta-carotene is given along with vitamin E and selenium, it may reduce cancer deaths (by a significant 13 percent in one study).

Similarly, selenium functions primarily as a component of the antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase. This enzyme works closely with vitamin E to prevent free radical damage to cell membranes. We believe that some of the studies looking only at vitamin E's ability to reduce cancer and heart disease were faulty because they failed to factor in the critical partnership between selenium and vitamin E.

MULTINUTRIENT SUPPLEMENTATION IS THE BEST APPROACH

Mounting scientific evidence confirms that a combination of antioxidants will provide greater protection than any single nutritional antioxidant. To illustrate this fact, let's take a look at a double-blind trial using a combination of vitamins and minerals with the goal of reducing recurrence of bladder cancer. Although the combination still provided less than the ideal supplement program that we recommend, impressive results were achieved. The 65 patients who had undergone surgical removal of the bladder cancer were randomized to receive either a multivitamin/zinc supplement with RDA concentrations of all components or the RDA multivitamin/zinc supplement plus 40,000 IU Vitamin A acetate, 100 mg vitamin B, 2000 mg vitamin C, 400 IU vitamin E, and 90 mg zinc per day. During five years of supplementation, tumor recurrence was seen in 80 percent of the RDA vitamin-supplemented group, but in only 40 percent of those receiving the megadose vitamin therapy. The probability of this occurring by chance was extremely small (P = 0.0011).

This study provide two very important points. First' the RDA is simply less than ideal in preventing cancer. Second' supplementation of antioxidant and supportive nutrient as a group is more effective than any single antioxidant.

VITAMIN C

Vitamin C is the first and most effective line of antioxidant defense. It's a water-soluble vitamin. That means it dissolves in water, so it does its work in the body's aqueous (watery) environments. both outside and inside cells. Its primary antioxidant partners are vitamin E, selenium, and beta-carotene. These antioxidants are fat-soluble: they dissolve in fat and thus work in other types of cells than vitamin C. Vitamin C is also responsible for regenerating damaged (oxidized) vita min E in the body.

Vitamin C has several actions that may offer protection against cancer. It protects cellular structures, including DNA, from damage. Vitamin C also helps the body deal with environmental pollution and toxichemicals, enhances immune function, and inhibits the formation of cancer-causing compounds such as nitrosamines.

A high vitamin C intake has been shown to reduce the risk for virtually all form of cancer including leukemia, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and cancers of the bladder, breast, cervix colorectum, esophagus,lung,pancreas,prostate,salivary glands, stomach. Most of this evidence is based on a high vitamin C intake from foods that are also rich in carotene and other nutrient that protect against cancer, but a few of the studies also looked at the benefits of supplementation by itself.

The use of vitamin C supplementation in the treatment of cancer is discussed in Chapter 7. Popularized by two-time Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling, vitamin C as a cancer treatment has shown both positive and no effect in clinical trials.

VITAMIN E

Vitamin E. also known as alpha-tocopherol, is the most important fat-soluble antioxidant in the human body. Without vitamin E to defend them, your cells especially their delicate membraneswould suffer severe damage.

As is the case with other dietary antioxidants, population studies (studies conducted on large groups who have certain traits in common) have shown that a high vitamin E intake appears to offer significant protection against cancer. More than a dozen such studies have shown that low levels of vitamin E (especially when selenium levels are also low) are associated with an increased risk of certain types of cancer, particularly colon, prostate, breast, and lung cancers. In contrast, higher levels of vitamin E appear to exert considerable immune-enhancing and antitumor effects. Intervention studies (in which patients receive measured doses of vitamin E for treatment or prevention) are now under way to judge vitamin E's effectiveness in preventing breast and prostate cancer.

One of the key anticancer effects of vitamin E may be its positive impact on the immune system. As we age, immune function tends to decline, in part because of the buildup of free radical damage to the membranes of white blood cells, particularly the type known as T cells. Age-related impairment of T cell function appears to be a factor in many diseases of the elderly, including cancer, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, and infections. Much of the age-related decline in immune function may be related to nutritional factors, including low vitamin E levels. In recent years, several studies have shown that antioxidants (including vitamin E at daily doses berween 400 to 800 IU) are crucial for preserving T cell function and thus for keeping the immune system humming.

Be sure that the vitamin E that you take is a natural form. Such forms are designated d., as in d-alpha-tocopherol, while synthetic forms are dil-, as in dl-alpha-tocopherol (The letters and / indicate mirror images of the vitamin E molecule.) The human body recognizes and responds only to the d-form, and several studies indicate that natural forms of vitamin E exert far greater anticancer effects, 19.26 The di form may actually prevent the d-form from entering cell membranes. But you don't need to be a biochemist to take our advice: Use the natural form.

SELENIUM

Selenium, a trace mineral, is a vital ingredient of the antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase. This enzyme works closely with vitamin E and vitamin C to prevent free radical damage to cell membranes. Selenium supports all components of the immune system. It stimulates white blood cell and thymus function. Selenium deficiency lowers resistance to infection because it impairs the ability of white blood cells and the thymus to fight off invading bacteria and viruses. Low levels of selenium have been linked to a higher risk for virrually all cancers. In contrast, selenium supplementation offers signiticant protection against several cancers, especially cancers of the lung! colon, prostate, stomach, esophagus, and liver, and it is associated with a 50 percent decreased risk of mortality from cancer.

You don't have to have a selenium deficiency to benefit from this important nutrient. One study found that people who had normal selenium concentrations but who took selenium supplements showed a 118 percent increase in the ability of lymphocytes to kill tumor cells. There was also an 82 percent increase in the activity of natural killer cells, so called because of their ability to destroy cancer cells and microorganisms. These benefits were apparently due to the fact that selenium stimulates cells to produce a powerful immune compound called interleukin-2.

Selenium is available in various forms. Inorganic salts such as sodium selenite are less effectively absorbed and are not as biologically active as organic forms. For those reasons, we recommend use of a selenium supplement in the form of either selenomethionine or high-seleniumcontent yeast.

The human body requires just a small amount of selenitimo (100 to 200 mcg per day is enough). Don't overdo it: doses of 900 mcg taken over a long time can be toxic. Signs and symptoms of selenium toxicity include depression, nervousness, emotional instability,nausea and vomiting, a garlic odor of the breath and sweat, and, in extreme cases, loss of hair and fingernails.

CAROTENES

In the last chapter we told you about the benefit of "rainbow diet".Pigments known as carotenes are the "warm" colors of thar rainbow, responsible for giving foods their red, orange, and yellow hues. All organisms, whether plant or microbe, that survive through photosynthesis-converting sunlight into energy contain carotenes Carotenes are fat-soluble and are important for preserving the integrity of cell membranes. Without protection from carotenes, the organism would be destroyed by the oxidative damage that results during the process of photosynthesis.

In humans, carotenes act as antioxidants. Our bodies also convert certain carotenes into vitamin A. These forms of carotene are known as provitamins. Of the over 600 known carotenes, about 30 to 50 are believed to have some degree of vitamin A activity. The most well known are alpha-carotene and beta-carotene. Carotenes that lack vitamin A activity but that still act as powerful antioxidants are lutein, lycopene, and zeaxanthin (Table 3-1) .

A number of studies have concluded that the higher the intake of dietary carotenes, the lower the rate of lung, skin, uterine cervix, and gastrointestinal tract cancers. But can taking supplements (especially beta-carotene supplements) reduce the risk of cancer? Not apparently, if the beta-carotene is in a synthetic form and if it is given without other supportive antioxidants. The negative effects from trials featuring synthetic all-trans-beta-carotene in smokers were discussed above. these studies may have failed to show benefit because the patients were not also given adequate doses of supportive antioxidants, or their failure to show benefit may have been due to the fact that they used the synthetic form of beta-carotene.

Most multiple-vitamin products supply 5000 to 15,000 IU of betacarotene. If you are consuming a rainbow assortment of carotene-rich foods each day, it is unlikely that you really need to take supplemental

carotenes,vitamin A Activity, and food sources
carotene vitamin A Activity(%) food sources
beta-carotene 100 Green plants, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash spinach, apricots, green peppers
Cryptoxanthin 50-60 Corn, green peppers, persimmons, papayas, lemons, oranges,prunes.apples, apricots paprika, poultry
Alpha-carotene 50-54 Green plants, carrots, squash,corn, watermelons, green peppers, potatoes apples, peaches
Gamma-carotene 42-50 Carrots, sweet potatoes, corn, tomatoes watermelons, apricots
Beta-zacarotene 20-40 20-40 Corn, tomatoes, yeast, cherries
Lycopene 0 Tomatoes, carrots, green peppers, apricots pink grapefruit
0
Zeaxanthin 0 Spinach, paprika, corn, fruits
Lutein 0 Green plants, corn, potatoes, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, fruits
Canthaxanthin 0 Mushrooms, trout, crustaceans
crocetin 0 Saffron
Capsanthin 0 Red peppers, paprika
Table 3-1. Carotenes, Vitamin A Activity, and Food Sources VITAMINA CAROTENE ACTIVITY (5) FOOD SOURCES Beta-carotene 100 Green plants, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash spinach, apricots, green peppers Cryptoxanthin 50-60 Corn, green peppers, persimmons, papayas, lemons, oranges,prunes.apples, apricots paprika, poultry Alpha carotene 50-54 Green plants, carrots, squash,corn, watermelons, green peppers, potatoes apples, peaches Gamma-carotene 42-50 Carrots, sweet potatoes, corn, tomatoes watermelons, apricots Beta-zacarotene 20-40 Corn, tomatoes, yeast, cherries Lycopene Tomatoes, carrots, green peppers, apricots pink grapefruit Spinach, paprika, corn, fruits Green plants, corn, potatoes, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, fruits Canthaxanthin Mushrooms, trout, crustaceans Crocetin Saffron Capsanthin Red peppers, paprika Zeaxanthin Lutein Oo ooo 0

carotenes for prevention. If you do elect to use additional amounts of carotenes, we recommend using natural mixed carotenes such as palm oil carotene products, mixed carotenes from an alga called Dunaliella. carrot oil, and the various "green drinks" on the market, such as dehydrated barley greens or wheat grass. Of these, palm oil appears to be the best, because its carotene complex closely mirrors that found in highcarotene foods. Palm oil carotenes are about 4 to 10 times better absorbed than synthetic all-trans-beta-carotene.

HIGHLIGHT: CAROTENES IN SKIN CANCER PREVENTION

A diet high in carotenes is very important in protecting against skin cancerthe most commonly occurring cancer in the United States. There are three types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma (together referred to as nonmelanoma skin cancer), and melanoma. The outer layer of the skin is made up of squamous cells. Basalcells are found below the squamous cells. Melanoma develops from melanocytes pigment-producing cells located in the deepest layer of the skin.

Keys to reducing the risk of skin cancer

  • Reduce exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation Ultraviolet radia tion is invisible high-energy ruys that come from the sun and from artificial sources such as tanning booths and sunlamps. Wear pro tective clothing when exposed to sunlight, and adequate amounts of sufficiently protective sunscreen
  • Reduce exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation Ultraviolet radia tion is invisible high-energy ruys that come from the sun and from artificial sources such as tanning booths and sunlamps. Wear pro tective clothing when exposed to sunlight, and adequate amounts of sufficiently protective sunscreen
FOLIC ACID

Folic acid is a member of the B vitamin family that plays a vital role in many body processes including the formation of normal DNA. A deficiency of folic acid is thought to contribute to cancer by leading to DNA abnormalities, inappropriate activation of proto-oncogenes, and induction of the transformation of normal cells into cancerous ones.

Folic acid functions along with vitamin B12 and B6 and a form of the amino acid methionine known as SAM (S-adenosyl-methionine) in reducing body concentrations of a damaging compound known as how mocysteine an intermediate in the conversion of the amino acid methionine to cysteine. If a person is relatively deficient in folic acid, there will be an increase in homocysteine. This compound has been implicated in a variety of conditions, including atherosclerosis and osteoporosis. There is emerging evidence that elevated homocysteine levels or low folic acid status also plays a role in many cancers, particularly cervical, colon, lung, and breast cancers. Long-term folic acid supplementation has been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer by 75 percent" and may produce equally impressive results for other cancers.

VITAMIN D

Since vitamin D can be produced in our bodies by the action of sunlight on the skin, many experts consider it more of a hormone than a vitamin. Nonetheless, by current definitions vitamin D is both a vitamin and a hormone. Vitamin D is best known for its ability to stimulate the absorption of calcium, but it is also showing great promise in the prevention of cancer via additional mechanismus. There is emerging evidence that vitamin D levels are very important in fighting against the development of colon, breast, and prostate cancers.

Colon, breast, and prostate cancer rates are generally higher in regions where winter sunlight is reduced because of a combination of high or moderately high latitude, high-sulfur-content air pollution (acid hare), higher than-average stratospheric ozone thickness, and persistently thick winter cloud cover. Experimental studies have shown that vitamin D interacts with the hormonal system of the body in the control of cancer development and proliferation, and apoptosis in colon, breast, and prostate cells.

The RDA for vitamin D is 200 to 400 IU daily. For adults not exposed to sunlight or living in the northern latitudes, a daily intake of 400 to 800 IU seems reasonable. Since vitamin D is far-soluble and can build up in the body, it does have the potential to cause toxicity. Dosages greater than 800 IU per day are certainly not recommended. Toxicity is characterized by increased blood concentrations of calcium (a potential serious situation),excessive accumulation of calcium into internal organs, and kidney stones.

Take an appropriate herbal extract rich in flavonoid

A group of plant pigments known as flavonoids exert antioxidant activity that is generally more potent and effective against a broader range of oxidants than the traditional antioxidant nutrients vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, selenium, and zinc. Besides lending color to fruits and flowers, flavonoids are responsible for many of the medicinal properties of foods, juices, herbs, and bee pollen. More than 8,000 flavonoid compounds have been characterized and classified according to their chemical structure. Flavonoids are sometimes called "nature's biological response modifiers" because of their anti-inflammatory, antiallergic, antiviral, and anticancer properties.

Certain flavonoids have been studied extensively for their anticancer properties. Of these, quercetin and green tea extract are among our key recommendations for fighting existing cancer.

Flavonoids are sometimes considered "semi-essential" nutrients, but in our view they are as important to human nutrition as the so-called essential nutrients. Because they have a broader range of antioxidant activity as well as other important anticancer effects, we recommend takng flavonoid-rich extract or supplemental doses of specific flavonoid. Doing so will provide extra insurance that your body can mop up any type of free radical or oxidant that escapes the other protective Systems.

Because certain flavonoids concentrate in specific tissues, it is possible to take flavonoids that target specific conditions. For example,one of the most beneficial group of tissue-specific plant flavonoids is it proanthocyanidins (also referred to as procyanidins). These molecules are found in high concentrations (up to 95 percent) in grape seed and pine bark extracts. We recommend grape seed extract for most people under the age of 50 for general antioxidant support, as it appears to be especially useful in protecting against heart disease. For those over 50. Ginko biloba extract is generally the best choice. If there is a strong family history of cancer, however, the best choice is clearly green tea extract (see page 63). In Appendix A you can identify which flavonoid or flavonoid rich extract is most appropriate for you, and take it according to the recommended dosage. There is tremendous overlap among the mechanisms of action and the benefits of flavonoid-rich extracts, so the key point here is to take the one that is most specific to your personal needs.

In one of the more interesting human studies of flavonoids in cancer, Ginkgo biloba extract was shown to reduce the levels of substances known as clastogenic factors in Chernobyl accident workers. Clastogenic factors are found in the blood of persons irradiated accidentally or therapeutically and are associated with increased tendency to form cancers. In the study, 30 workers with elevated clastogenic factors were treated with Ginkgo biloba extract at a daily dose of one 40 mg tablet three times daily for 2 months. The clastogenic activity of the plasma was reduced to normal levels within the time span of the study. A 1-year follow-up showed that the benefit of the treatment persisted for at least 7 months. One-third of the workers again had clastogenic factors after 1 year, demonstrating that the process that produced clastogenic factors continued. Although this observation that Ginkgo biloba extract did not have to be given continuously is encouraging, we believe that continued use offers the greatest benefit. Given the ever-increasing radiation load associated with modern living, it certainly seems important to protect against this cancer-causing potential by taking a flavonoid-rich extract like Ginkgo biloba extract or any of the other extracts listed on page 287.

3. Consume green drinks regularly

The term green drinks refers to green tea and a number of commercially available products containing dehydrated barley grass, wheat grass, or algae sources such as chlorella or spirulina. Such formulas are rehydrated by mixing with water or juice. Some of the more popular brands are Enriching Greens, Green Magma, Kyo-Green, Greens +, Barlean's Greens, and ProGreens. These products packed full of phytochemicals, especially carotenes and chlorophyll are more convenient than trying to sprout and grow your own source of greens. An added advantage is that they tend to taste better than, for example, straight wheat grass juice.

Green foods such as young barley grass, wheat grass, spirulina, and chlorella are exceptionally high in nutritional value. Using any of the popular brands listed above results in a more concentrated and convenient source of phytochemicals than eating two cups of a well-rounded salad. We recommend drinking one to two servings daily in addition to eating a diet rich in phytochemicals. Try to consume these drinks 20 minutes before or two hours following a meal.

The green foods are particularly rich in natural fat-soluble chlorophyll the green pigment that converts sunlight to chemical energy in plants, algae, and some microorganisms. Like the other plant pigments. chlorophyll also possesses significant antioxidant and anticancer effects. It has been suggested that chlorophyll be added to certain beverages,

Warning

Green tea, other green drinks, and some other natural products (see page 274) can interfere with the blood thinner coumadin Warfarin). This drug blocks blood clotting in part by interfering with the actions of vitamin K. Since green drinks are a good source of vitamin K, they may reduce the effectiveness of coumadin. However, coumadin can effectively be used even if you drink green tea, as long as the quantities you drink remain constant from day to day. The standard blood tests done when you are taking coumadin will show any effects from the extra vitamin K contained in green tea or other green drinks, and your doctor in simply adjust the coumadin dose to compensate.

foods, chewing tobacco, and tobacco snuff to reduce cancer risk. A better recommendation would be to include green drinks and fresh green vegetable juices regularly in the diet.

Both green tea and black tea are derived from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. Of the nearly 2.5 million tons of dried tea produced each year, only 20 percent is green tea. In other words, four times as much black tea is produced and consumed than green tea. But green tea is healthier for you, because it contains compounds called polyphenols that have high levels of therapeutic activity, including anticancer activity.

The difference between green and black reas results from the manufacturing process. To produce black tea, the leaves are allowed to oxidize. During oxidation, enzymes present in the tea convert polyphenols into substances with much less biological activity. In contrast, green tea is produced by lightly steaming the fresh-cur leaf. Steaming prevents the enzymes from converting polyphenols, so oxidation does not take place.

The major polyphenols in green tea are flavonoids, the most active of which is epigallocatechin gallate. In addition to serving as antioxidants, green tea polyphenols may increase the activity of antioxidant enzymes in the small intestine, liver, and lungs. A number of experiments conducted in test tube and animal cancer models have shown that green tea polyphenols inhibit cancer by blocking the formation of cancer-causing compounds such as nitrosamines, suppressing the activation of carcinogens, and detoxifying or trapping cancer-causing agents. The forms of cancer that appear to be best prevented by green tea are cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, including cancers of the stomach, small intestine, pancreas, and colon: lung cancer; estrogen-related cancers, including most breast cancers: and prostate cancer.Although important in fighting all these cancers, it is especially important in preventing breast and prostate cancers.

Green tea can be consumed as a beverage made from either loose green tea leaves or tea bags. Green tea extracts concentrated to contain 70 to 99 percent polyphenol content are available commercially in capsules or tablets.

Studies have suggested that cancer rates are lower in Japan in part because people there typically drink about three cups of green tea daily. At this rate they consume about 3 g of soluble components, which yields a daily dose of roughly 240 to 320 mg of polyphenols. To achieve the same degree of protection from pills containing green tea extract standardized for 80 percent total polyphenol content would incan taking a daily dose of 300 to 400 mg.

Some green teas contain caffeine. Drinking three cups provides about the same dose of caffeine as one cup of coffee. Drinking green tea or taking caffeine-containing extract may be overstimulating, leading to such symptoms as nervousness, anxiety, insomnia, and irritability. For tunately, decatfeinated green teas and decaffeinated green tea extracts are now widely available. If you have a family or personal history of cancer, then we recommend using green tea extract as your "issue-specific" flavonoid. If not, then we simply recommend the regular consumption of green tea.

4. Take probiotics

The term probiotics literally means "for life." Probiotics are friendly microflora (bacteria and other organisms) that are vital to our health. Normally at least 400 different species of these little critters colonize the human gastrointestinal tract. The most important healthful bacteria are Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum.

Probiotics play a vital role in determining how we absorb the nutrients from the food we eat. They are also involved in maintaining immune system function, regulating cholesterol metabolism, and processing toxin loads. They may hold the key to preventing many forms of cancer, both within the intestinal tract and in other tissues, such as breast, lung, and prostate cancers.

Several studies have suggested that the consumption of high levels of cultured milk products, such as yogurt and buttermilk, may reduce the risk of colon cancer. That's because these products contain high levels of lactobacilli. The beneficial effects of lactobacilli extend well beyond the colon, however. Various probiotic species have demonstrated immune-enhancing and antitumor effects, but they also play a critical role in the detoxification of many cancer-causing substances including hormones, mear carcinogens, and environmental toxins.

One of the key ways in which the body gets rid of "bad" substances, such as excess estrogen and fat-soluble toxins, is by attaching them to a molecule called glucuronic acid and then excreting this complex in the bile. But the bond between the "bad" molecule and its escort can be broken by glucuronidase, an enzyme secreted by certain types of undesirable bacteria in the intestinal tract. Excess glucuronidase activi means more of the "bad" molecules are present in the body. This in rum, is associated with an increased cancer risk, particularly the risk of estrogen-dependent breast cancer. Glucuronidase activity is higher in people who eat a diet high in far and low in fiber. The level of plu curonidase activity may be one of the key underlying factors explaining why certain dietary factors cause breast cancer and why other dietary factors are preventive.

The activity of harmful bacterial enzymes can be reduced by making sure your digestive system maintains the proper balance of bacterial fora. One way to do so is by caring foods known to reduce glucuronidase activity, including onions and garlic, and foods that are high in glucuronic acid, such as apples, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage. and lettuce. Another strategy is to supplement the diet with the "friendly bacteria Lactobacillus acidophile and Bifidobacterium bifidum.

There is clinical evidence of a significant protective effect against cancer with probiotic supplementation. In a double-blind trial conducted in 138 patients surgically treated for bladder cancer patients were divided into three groups: (A) those with multiple primary tu mors, (B) those with recurrent single tumors, and (C) those with recurrent multiple tumors. In each of these groups, patients were randomly allocated to receive an oral lactobacillus preparation or placebo. The lactobacillus preparation was better than the placebo in preventing cancer recurrences in groups A and B. No significant effect was noted in group C, however.

Lactobacillus preparations are available in powder, liquid, capsule, and tablet forms. Proper manufacturing, packaging, and storing of the product are necessary to ensure viability, the right amount of moisture, and freedom from contamination. We prefer products that have been "enteric-coated to prevent the capsule from breaking down in the stomach, thereby increasing the delivery of the organisms to the small and large intestines. Examples of enteric-coated products are Protec (Natural Factors), Jarro Dophilus EPS (Jarrow), and PrimaDophilus (Nature's Way).

The dosage is based on the number of live organisms. The ingestion of 4 to 10 billion viable lactobacillus and bifidobacteria cells daily is a sufficient dosage for most people. Amounts exceeding this may induce mild gastrointestinal disturbances, while smaller amounts may not be able to colonize the gastrointestinal tract.

A new probiotic product called innersync Plus may prove even more beneficial than other probiotics. Rather than supply only lactobacillus or bifidobacteria, Innersync Plus also provides the bacterium Propionibacter freudenrichiihistorically used in the production of Emmenshal Swiss cheese. This bacteria has been shown to dramatically increase the growth of the beneficial bacteria like lactobacillus or bifidobacteria in human studies while exerting some beneficial actions of its own, including enhanced immune function and protection against colon cancer.The dosage for Innersync Plus is one to two capsules (i.e., 5 to 10 billion organisms) daily-equal to approximately 100 to 200 g (3.5 to 7 oz) of Emmenthal Swiss cheese, but without the far and calories.

5. Take fish oil supplements

The benefits of the omega-3 oils from fish oils were described on page (40). Adding a fish oil supplement to your daily routine provides extra insurance that you are getting sufficient levels of these important oils. Take enough capsules to provide 120 to 360 mg of EPA and 80 to 240 mg of DHA daily. We prefer the fish oils to flaxseed oil, because although the body can convert alpha-linolenic acid from flaxseed oil into the more potent molecules of EPA and DHA, it is much more efficient to use fish oils. All told, about sixty different health conditions have been benefited by fish oil supplementation, including cancer, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases, psoriasis, eczema, asthma, attention deficit disorder, and depression.

When selecting a fish oil supplement, it is essential to use a brand that you trust. Quality control is an absolute must to ensure the product is free from heavy metals like lead and mercury, pesticides, damaged fats (lipid peroxides), and other contaminants. Three brands of fish oil products that we recommend are Natural Factors, Enzymatic Therapy, and Nordic Naturals. All three are widely available at your local health food store.