The goal of integrative medicine, on the other hand, is to support a person’s health and vitality while reducing the disease. Conventional treatments can be complemented by nutrients to boost the immune system, modulate hormones, usher the toxins out of the body and much more. In some cases, nutrients have shown promise in preventing and controlling prostate cancer.
The Power of Nutrients
Studies have shown that combining nutrients that have different mechanisms of action in effective amounts attacks the cancer from all sides at once. In addition to their anticancer properties, many nutrients have specific health-promoting properties. These nutrients can be categorized according to their beneficial principles:
Prevention of cancer metastasis
Detoxification and liver support
By selecting nutrients which have multiple mechanisms of action, we create a program which simultaneously impacts the cancer cells from a number of angles and supports the patient’s immune response, creating an beneficial additive effect.
One nutrient with multiple beneficial properties is Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP). For this reason, it is one of the foundational supplements we incorporate for treatment of prostate cancer at our clinic. Research both in vitro and in vivo has shown that a specific Modified Citrus Pectin product (PectaSol-C® MCP) administered in dosages of 5 grams three times daily following prostatectomy, radiation or cryosurgery can increase the rate of prostate specific antigen (PSA) doubling in men with prostate cancer, slowing disease progression.
Earlier research at Wayne State University demonstrated that MCP, when given orally, had an inhibitory effect on carbohydrate-mediated tumor growth, angiogenesis and metastasis in vivo, and showed a dose-dependent inhibition of tumor angiogenesis on breast and colon cancer cell cultures using human umbilical vein endothelial cells in vitro.
All human studies to date have administered this MCP at dosages of 5 grams three times daily on an empty stomach, the recommended dose we use for active cancers. Before performing a biopsy, this dosage is used one week prior to the procedure and two weeks after. For cancer prevention we recommend 5 grams of MCP on a daily basis.
Another cornerstone nutrient we incorporate into prostate treatments is the use of medicinal mushrooms. Extensive research has shown that specific mushrooms have anticancer effects, immunomodulatory properties and support healthy digestive function. A unique formula I developed is MycoPhyto Complex®. It consists of six varieties of medicinal mushrooms grown on cancer–fighting, immune-enhancing herbs.
Potential Toxic Exposures and Body Burden:
In the initial interview, careful analysis of a patient’s history and laboratory tests helps evaluate their potential toxicities. Addressing toxicity is a fundamental part of an effective approach to treatment of cancer, and can be done with MCP, which has significant heavy metal chelating effects without the harsh side effects of traditional synthetic chelators.
I recently published a Five Case Study report, which describes a significant toxic burden in a patient with unusually aggressive prostate cancer. This 59-year old with a suspected history of metal toxicity had a highly-elevated lead level in his body. He began a combined treatment regimen using hormonal therapy, intravenous and oral nutrient treatments, including Modified Citrus Pectin combined with alginates (PectaSol® Chelation ComplexTM at 3 capsules twice daily on an empty stomach). After three months, his lead level decreased by 49 percent, with excellent response to hormone therapy and a resolution of his bone metastasis. This represents remarkable success for a patient with aggressive disease.
Combining Selected Nutrients:
There are a number of other nutrients that have extensive research demonstrating value in an integrative approach to treating prostate cancer. We tailor each patient’s program to work with their use of conventional therapy approaches. Prior to a surgical intervention, the goal is to shrink the prostate, lower tumor volume, reduce inflammation and protect tissue integrity.
To this end, we select from:
Hormone modulators can induce unique responses including growth inhibition, apoptosis and antiangiogenic activities in multiple prostate cancer cell lines. For example, the indole-3-carbinol’s (I3C) active metabolite diindolylmethane (DIM), a phytochemical derivative from cruciferous vegetables, has been associated with the anticancer activities of vegetable consumption.
Mineral supplements such as zinc inhibit the growth of lung and prostate cancer cells grown in xenograft mice models.
The herbal saw palmetto with its liposterolic component has been shown to significantly reduce the concentration of 5alpha-dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the prostate, resulting in a significant increase in apoptosis and decrease in pathological tumor grade and frank tumor incidence.
Quercetin has an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory function, and prevents cancer. Quercitin inhibits the growth of certain malignant cells in vitro.
Prospective and retrospective epidemiological studies indicating an inverse relationship between lycopene intake and prostate cancer risk have been supported by in vitro and in vivo experiments showing that oral lycopene is bioavailable, accumulates in prostate tissue and is localized to the nucleus of prostate epithelial cells. In addition to antioxidant activity, in vitro experiments indicate that lycopene can induce apoptosis and antiproliferation in cancer cells, anti-metastatic activity and the upregulation of the antioxidant response element leading to the synthesis of cytoprotective enzymes.
Preclinical data have shown that curcumin, the major active constituent of the dietary spice turmeric, can both inhibit the formation of tumors in animal models of carcinogenesis and act on a variety of molecular targets involved in cancer development. Due to the poor water solubility of curcumin, a more bioenhanced preparation of this extract is recommended for best absorption into the body.
Another example in the selective use of supplements in an integrative approach is the use of vitamin D. Because of its mechanism as a differentiating agent, it should not be used during radiation. However, its use would be highly indicated if this conventional treatment were not being utilized. Baseline 25 OH vitamin D levels should be obtained and monitored during vitamin D therapy.
Combinations of the above compounds into single or a few formulations increases their effect and facilitates patient compliance.
When evaluating prostate cancer patients, another important consideration is how well they take care of themselves and how motivated they are to take an active role in their health. This helps to devise a realistic program for them and gives us an idea of their motivation to comply with a meaningful regimen of supplements and other therapies. In patient-driven medicine, the reality of the patient’s situation determines the treatment plan, rather than a practitioner-imposed plan that may be unrealistic for the particular individual.
Combining a number of beneficial therapeutic principles and modalities, such as the use of intravenous therapies, detoxification regimens, trigger point injections, acupuncture, dietary modification and counseling, in addition to a targeted supplement regimen, can enhance and support various conventional therapies.
The use of natural, safe compounds (with no side effects), which improve not only prostate health but the health and balance of many organs and systems, will be of benefit to every patient. This type of therapy may delay the need for invasive approaches in some men, augment a watchful waiting approach for others and reduce side effects for those choosing to undergo conventional treatments.
The basis of our approach is providing the body, mind and spirit with nourishment. Each program is continually adjusted in the process of integrating with other treatment modalities. We provide respectful, informed guidance to the individual as they navigate an integrative approach to their health situation.
About the Author
Dr. Isaac Eliaz is a medical doctor and licensed acupuncturist with extensive training in complementary modalities. For the past 20 years, his medical practice has centered on the integrative treatment of cancer. He has been involved in numerous research studies investigating the effects of nutritional supplements on cancer and has been granted two patents on his discoveries. He founded the Amitabha Medical Clinic and Healing Center in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information about integrative approaches to chronic illness, please click here: Dr.Eliaz or for a free downloadable report by Dr. Eliaz on prostate cancer go to Beat Prostate Cancer with Nature’s Help
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