Sunday, June 17, 2018

Chemotherapy and Breast Cancer: The Years of Unnecessary Overuse

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Chemotherapy and Breast Cancer: The Years of Unnecessary Overuse

News sources were abuzz last week with a shocking health discovery: perhaps chemotherapy for early stage breast cancer can be avoided. As CTV reported, about 70 per cent of women who would normally be advised to undergo chemotherapy actually do not need it. While this was only applicable to women who had hormonally-fueled cancer that had not spread to the lymph nodes, this news could be life-changing for a large percentage of the breast cancer community. Interestingly, 94 per cent of both groups (those who did and did not choose chemotherapy) were still alive after 9 years, and 84 per cent of those who were still alive did not have any signs of cancer, which seems to further indicate that there is no significant advantage to chemotherapy treatment for certain types of cancer.

There is an added twist to this story, though. The test that was used in this study, OncotypeDX, was being investigated as a possibility for cancer patients in BC 4 years ago. In fact, many women who paid to undergo the testing decided to opt out of chemotherapy after receiving their results. Especially with the constant push for cancer research funding, one would think that any new cancer treatment development would be quickly broadcasted, so that those who donate to the cause would feel a sense of confidence that their funds are making a difference. However, this is not necessarily the case.

Oncologist Dr. David Chan wrote an article for Slate in which he suggested that for all the money people donate toward cancer research, the actual progress has been disappointing. Dr. Margaret Cuomo took this sentiment even further, stating that instead of funnelling so much money towards small advances like drugs, more money should be sent to research for cancer prevention. Factors like aging, obesity, and smoking are known to be contributors towards cancer, but those topics are not flashy; nobody wants to think about doing the hard, unglamorous work of prevention. A quick fix to a problem is usually more attractive than the thought of taking responsibility for the choices that led to that problem in the first place.

Just how big is this problem? Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, yet around a third of those deaths can be attributed to the 5 leading behavioural and dietary risks: high BMI, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, and alcohol use. Dr. Cuomo had another interesting observation: “As recently as March 2012, public health experts told us that we could prevent more than half the cancers that occur in the United States today if we applied the knowledge we already have.” Yet, after Richard Nixon declared his war on cancer, we have spent hundreds of billions of dollars, only to have some experts now resigning themselves to treating cancer as the new normal. Dr. Harold Varmus went so far as to say, “We have many, many patients with lethal cancers who are actually feeling pretty good and are working full time and enjoying their families. As long as their symptoms can be kept under control by radiotherapy and drugs that control symptoms and other modalities, we’re doing right by our patients.” Is mere symptom control really the optimal outcome doctors want for their patients?

The other interesting aspect of Dr. Varmus’ quote is the specified treatment methods that are preferred: “chemotherapy and drugs.” In 2015, the market for cancer drugs had reached $100 billion, and was projected to reach $147 billion by 2018. Cancer research and treatment has become, in a sense, its own industry. Donating to the cancer cause is not only seen as socially conscientious, it is also a perfect opportunity for retailers to leverage extra profits from “pink ribbon” branded merchandise. There is also the issue of nonprofits; while some are begun by well-intentioned people (usually the families of survivors), others are run by unscrupulous people looking to make a quick buck. Ideally, cancer charities would make their financial records available to the public for transparency, but many, including the Breast Cancer Society, do not.

Despite the money poured into research over all these years, millions have died while following their doctors’ orders for chemotherapy, and the few who did not were undoubtedly ridiculed and dismissed as signing their own death warrants. Yet, it is now coming to light that chemotherapy may have been unnecessary all along. If this is the case, perhaps other treatment modalities should be given more consideration, as well. Naturopaths can offer natural remedies to combat the side effects of traditional cancer treatment. Or, better yet, some naturopathic products have been found to help in the treatment of cancer itself. Echinacea, garlic, turmeric, burdock, carotenoids, green tea, ginseng, black cohosh, flax seed, and Vitamin D have all shown some promise in cancer treatment.

Thymus Gland and Glycine have also shown promise with our own customers. One such testimonial is below:

“I have a rare autoimmune blood disorder (Evans Syndrome) that is manifested with chronic low platelet levels, crises of platelet crashes, or low hemoglobin or neutrophil levels, either sequentially or in a duet. Many doctors and hematologists have never heard of nor treated it, so they guess about the treatment based upon the current crisis. High dose prednisone and other steroids gave only slow remission that came back in a short time span after ceasing the steroid treatment. A splenectomy has been suggested, but my spleen is working perfectly, and I found that it doesn’t help for Evans Syndrome. One month of remission is not a permanent solution. In the past, I was originally treated with high dose prednisone. It brought the blood levels back up for a short while, but it caused severe phlebitis in my leg and torso veins. Osteonecrosis of the top of my tibiae has left me limping in pain. Calcium ripped out of my bones by high dose prednisone has been deposited in my arteries and heart, creating angina and 3x 80% blockages. Low platelet levels also seemed to interfere with my sleep. Chemotherapy would work for about 22 months when I was able to obtain it. It is not provided by the provincial government nor my health insurance because it is so expensive, and the treatment is “OFF LABEL” $24,000 per session, and I cannot afford this. Enter Doctor's Choice and Eldon Dahl… His suggestion of trying Thymus Gland and L-Glycine three months ago has helped my platelet levels climb up to normal levels of around 183 g/dL, and my hemoglobin and neutrophils have been stabilized at normal levels for about 2 months. With higher platelets, I seem to be able to sleep better, and I have had to reduce my warfarin intake by 30% to maintain a 2-3 INR. My personal care physician says except for the damage done by the prednisone and needing to lose some pounds, I am now normal for a male my age. My quality of life has greatly improved. Thank you.”

The founder and CEO of Life Choice has also designed a natural cancer treatment. Because it is a naturopathic approach, though, funding is not available for clinical trials, in spite of having a cancer clinic willing to do the trials. It’s about time that naturopathic medicine gets the necessary funding in naturally treating disease conditions.

If you would like to donate to this research or any other research Life Choice / Doctors Choice is undertaking, there is a donation link at our Doctor’s Choice page here.

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Friday, June 8, 2018

Most Calcium Supplements Are Contributing to Atherosclerosis: This Newsletter Could Help Save Your Life

It might seem a bit absurd that a company specializing in the research, development, and production of natural supplements would issue such a dire warning about calcium supplements.  Calcium from food is not associated with atherosclerosis risk, but most forms of calcium in supplements are, because they are derived from calcium salts. You need to be made aware of those health risks.

The term “atherosclerosis” simply means hardening of the arteries. What many people may not realize, though, is that this process actually starts in childhood. With time, the condition worsens, as plaque composed of fatty cells (cholesterol), calcium, and other waste products builds within an artery. As the artery becomes more clogged, the opening for blood to pass through becomes narrower. There is also a risk of a clot breaking off from one artery, travelling to the narrowed artery, and causing a heart attack or stroke. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and in truth we are only as healthy as our arteries.

In 2016, the Journal of the American Heart Association published a 10-year study examining the association between calcium intake (from food and supplements) and atherosclerosis. They found that those who used calcium supplements had a 22% higher risk of developing coronary artery calcification versus those who did not. However, the highest total calcium intake quintile, when compared to the lowest, had a decreased risk of incident coronary artery calcification. This begs the question, which is correct? Is calcium helpful or harmful?

The answer is both, and the major qualifier is the type of calcium. There are 8 common types of calcium used in supplements; it is helpful to be aware of the differences.
  1. Calcium Carbonate: One of the cheapest and most prevalent forms of calcium, this alkaline-based compound is found in rocks, limestone, shells of marine animals, pearls, eggshells and snails. Although it has one of the highest concentrations of elemental calcium, it is low in bioavailability, which means it is difficult for the body to use (and carries more risk of accumulating rather than absorbing).
  2. Calcium Citrate: This version of calcium is acidic-based. While it is a bit easier on the stomach, and easier for the body to absorb, it is still low in bioavailability and also low in elemental calcium.
  3. Oyster Shell Calcium: While this form may seem the closest to nature, it is also the most difficult to quality control, and can be contaminated with lead toxins.
  4. Calcium Gluconate: The bioavailability of this form is uncertain, and the actual calcium concentration is low—meaning large doses would be required to even attempt to reach calcium requirements.
  5. Calcium Lactate: Found in products such as aged cheese and baking powder, this form of calcium can be absorbed by the body in various pHs, giving it a medium bioavailability.
  6. Calcium Phosphate: This form of calcium usually comes from cow’s milk; however, supplemental forms are not readily bioavailable.
  7. Calcium Citrate Malate: This water-soluble form of calcium is created by mixing the calcium salt in citric and malic acid forms. It is more bioavailable than the other forms previously listed.
  8. Calcium Orotate: The most effective form of calcium, calcium orotate is created through the mineral salts of orotic acid. Orotates create DNA and RNA, and are capable of penetrating cell membranes, for optimal bioavailability.
While orotates are the best source of calcium, do not let this information scare you away from all other calcium sources. Especially when a good calcium source is combined with a calcium manager, such as Vitamin D, calcium can even be helpful in cancer prevention. In 2008, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute concluded that because of the preclinical data showing the effects of Vitamin D in breast cancer reduction, further studies on Vitamin D and calcium are warranted. Another study observed that the mortality rates for colon cancer in the US directly correlated with populations that were exposed to the least amount of sunlight.

Calcium managers like Vitamin D are crucial to receive calcium’s full benefit, because calcium managers are co-nutrients that aid building bones. Aside from Vitamin D, perhaps the best-known calcium managers are magnesium and boron. In fact, the journal Bone Research released an article revealing that one of the primary reasons for calcium decline with age is an inadequate level of Vitamin D. Even calcium plus Vitamin D may not be enough, though. The secret to keeping bones strong and arteries clear is Vitamin K2, Vitamin D and magnesium. Vitamin K2 supplementation has been correlated with prevention and reversal of arterial calcifications, while magnesium not only preserves bone structure, but also triggers Vitamin D to absorb calcium.

We must set the record straight: calcium is good to take on a daily basis, but it must first be in an absorbable form, and secondly, it must be taken in conjunction with equal parts of highly absorbable magnesium, like our orotate and Vitamin D and K2-MK7 and trace minerals. Vitamin K2 helps to channel calcium into the bones, and maybe just as importantly, Vitamin K2 helps keep calcium from depositing into the artery wall where it is not beneficial. Without Vitamin K2, the body cannot direct calcium to the bones where it’s needed; instead, the calcium resides in soft tissue (like the arteries)—leading to a combination of osteoporosis and atherosclerosis, or the dreaded “calcium paradox.” A Vitamin K2 deficiency is a risk (in the form of cancer and diabetes, among other ailments), but with K2 these conditions improve.

If you already have high arterial calcium levels, a good detox could be in order. We would suggest the use of chelation therapy. As recently revealed in a 14-year study, chelation lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and heart-related diabetes. For those preferring an easy-to-take oral form, Life Choice has developed an oral chelation therapy called CLAW-OCHMB.

As we have seen, the form in which supplements are taken is as important as the form in which your food is consumed. If you eat a McDonald’s diet, don’t be surprised if you don’t qualify for the next Olympics. In all seriousness, as Hypocrites said 2,000 years ago, “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.”

And today, when food is not the same food as it was before, even when organically grown, the need for supplementing becomes necessary. For this, make sure it is produced like medicine—using the same pharmaceutical standards: USP pharmaceutical grade and in the purest possible state. Life Choice Opti-Cal/Mag Complex with Vitamin K2 and  supplements would be a good choi