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Nutrition and cancer

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Nutrition and cancer
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Is the cure for oral cancer sitting in your refrigerator? Probably not. However, the odds are that some of the most effective weapons to help prevent cancer (or its recurrence, if you're a cancer survivor) are as close as your kitchen. Oral Cancer Support Forum Donations Support OCF Memberships Corporate Partners Oral cancer in the news Oral cancer facts Diagnosis Treatment Restoration / Rehabilitation Dental Issues Emotional aspects OCF in the news Oral cancer events The Tobacco Connection The HPV Connection People Store

Nobody has all the answers of course. It is very easy to become frustrated after hearing yet another news report about a particular food or substance that causes or prevents cancer; then months later, hearing about the same substance doing exactly the opposite from a different researcher. At times, it's hard to know what to believe. In spite of this, there are many promising possibilities that merit closer attention. In the battle against cancer, anything that we can do to optimize the strength and effectiveness of our immune system, and provide our own defenses with the tools they need to protect us, is important. Perhaps important enough to stack the odds in our favor. A rapidly growing number of published studies show that certain groups of food components seem to help prevent cancer and sometimes even assist the body in fighting the disease if you already have cancer. These components are what researchers call chemo-protective agents, including a group commonly known as anti-oxidants; they appear to protect the body from the effects of carcinogenic (cancer-causing) elements. Two examples are vitamins C and E, each known to have anti-oxidant properties. It's believed that they work by preventing damage at the DNA level. If the DNA is already damaged, they may even help in its repair. Remember that damage to the structure of DNA is the precursor to cells transforming from normal to malignant.

oralcancerfoundation. Fruits and vegetables are also rich in a newly explored class of compounds known as phytochemicals (phyto is Latin for plant) thought to have important. In any discussion of the cancer-fighting potential of a healthy diet. including what we know about foods that help prevent cancer. Beta Carotene. according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).9/10/13 Nutrition and cancer Products Other Resources Grants / Jobs Research / Clinical trials Multimedia Volunteer to Help Media/Press Kit About us Newsletter Search Site Map More about anti-oxidants It is not difficult to find good sources of anti-oxidants. and almost all are naturally low in fat and high in fiber. a substance which gives some vegetables their color like carrots and peppers. rather than any one particular food or group of foods. Animal studies have shown that both fat itself and excess calories likely play a role as cancer promoters. Most all fruits and vegetables are important sources of vitamins and other chemo-preventative elements. The ACS has recently published a set of nutritional guidelines for cancer patients. A diet that incorporates a high level of many common fruits and vegetables can be rich in preventative agents including antioxidants. it may improve immune responses in the body by stimulating a molecule that helps the immune system target and destroy cancer cells. not only through a decrease in calories consumed. More about phytonutrients Other anti-oxidants. such as leafy green vegetables. When people consume more www. which strengthens the body and promotes better utilization of any digested nutrients. which are not vitamins. The new guidelines also emphasize the need to limit or control obesity. or bell peppers).When ingested in a natural state (in a beta-carotene rich food. are also found in fruits and vegetables and appear to have powerful cancer-fighting properties. and which the body converts into vitamin A. it is important to remember that many different foods contain beneficial elements. healthful carrots. is one of these. in fact they probably are sitting in your refrigerator right now.htm 2/6 . but also through exercise. The new ACS guidelines emphasize the need to eat a varied diet.

women who took only supplements of these same elements did not. However. that those individuals who eat a balanced diet in lieu of the "quick fix" of popping a few vitamin capsules. which increases the risk that something can go awry. We are discovering many more of these types of agents as research progresses. Unfortunately. it is now believed that that ingredient needs to be consumed in concert with the other and often other components of the food. resulting in cells with damaged or incorrect DNA. the body's natural immune response has been found to be heavily depressed in selenium-deficient animals. The exact mechanism by which this synergistic benefit takes place is still under study. Is it perhaps possible. Less traditional elements that have shown promise in the laboratory include the mineral selenium. such as fiber. that may not help as much as you might think.9/10/13 Nutrition and cancer calories than necessary to maintain optimum health. For example. is that we are still identifying the numerous variables that provide the benefits which we seek. one study has shown that although pre-menopausal women who ate foods rich in vitamin A and Carotenes appeared to have a reduced risk of breast cancer. A depressed or incompetent immune system is incapable of identifying and www. There are potentially beneficial chemicals in foods that are not exactly nutrients as science understands them.oralcancerfoundation. In fact. phytochemicals. not normally classified as a nutrient. Other factors may influence a studies outcome other than what is included in the guidelines for the study. a study might identify a particular active ingredient in a food which produces the beneficial results. not only does the compound betaglycyrrhetinic acid give licorice its distinctive taste. bioflavenoids (taste compounds). This is about the point where most people start thinking about taking vitamin supplements as an alternative to planning out a specific. healthy diet. it stimulates their metabolic overdrive into making cells divide faster. For instance. For instance.htm 3/6 . The concept of nutrient synergy has led researchers to investigate other types of compounds found in foods. also contributed to the positive outcome. to be effective. even though it's not a nutrient in the standard sense. and that other factors included in that healthier lifestyle. but it has also been shown to be a potent chemo-preventive agent in laboratory animals. Selenium appears to work in conjunction with vitamin E to shield host cells from damage. and the cell compound ubiquinone. in general have a higher awareness of living a healthy lifestyle. What this all means.

Although it exists naturally in the body. based on a chemical found in soybeans that prevents the enzyme chymotrypsin from breaking down proteins in the body. Much research remains to ultimately determine its true benefits. You can overdose www. The mechanism by which it does this is not completely clear. Vitamin A and its retinoids are known to have chemo-protective effects. salmon. But this process appears to have definite chemo-preventative properties. Researchers have also found that high levels of soybean consumption are associated with lowered rates of many types of cancers. and is currently under investigation. mackerel. and including those found in apples. Laboratory and animal studies have even indicated that some of the compounds in green tea might have the capacity to selectively destroy cancer cells (black tea does not appear to do the same). are now being studied for possible cancer-fighting properties. Ubiquinone. people who ate bioflavonoid-rich foods had a 20% lower risk for cancer. a fat-soluble vitamin-like compound that assists in generating energy within our cells.htm 4/6 . according to a UC Irvine College of Medicine clinical study. tea. The Bowman-Birk component is a protease inhibitor. it can also be supplemented by eating beef. But if you high dose yourself with vitamin A in an isolated form such as a supplement capsule. Bioflavonoids. A chemical derived from soybeans has been found to shrink abnormal growths that lead to oral cancer. There are real dangers in this approach. sardines. you run the risk of developing a dangerously toxic level of it in your body. pork. onions. anchovies. In one 24-year study. the safe and logical approach is to eat whole foods that are rich in chemoprotective nutrients and not try to high-dose yourself with an individual component that a current study reports to have beneficial properties. Given all this. according to some early tests. and red wine.oralcancerfoundation. is potentially a highly effective anti-oxidant.9/10/13 Nutrition and cancer destroying the constant assaults that we are exposed to including the precursors to developing cancer.

and a proper diet rich in nutrients is needed to rebuild cells and fortify the body during treatments.and the spinach is more likely to provide the benefit you're looking for. To accomplish this. without interfering with the treatment itself. Vitamin E's powerful antioxident properties may help to decrease the toxicity of certain chemotherapy drugs such as Adriamycin. the results may not correctly reflect the effects of the same nutrients on humans. or only reflect short-term eating given all these variables. and checking with a medical professional before you engage in any particular dietary plan. it is never wrong to eat plenty of fresh fruits. researchers are presenting some encouraging news. such surveys may be flawed. These are the primary sources of the nutritious elements your body needs to maintain a healthy and competent immune system. Radiation and chemotherapy take a severe toll. Radiation and chemotherapy cause significant collateral damage to the body overall while they are attacking the cancer itself. your primary defense against cancer and other illnesses. Having considered all of this. which contribute to the studies positive or negative outcome. a good diet is even more important for those undergoing treatment for cancer. carries with its use a potential toxicity to the heart. but they occur often enough to consider weighing what you hear on the news carefully. one thing is for certain. While these yield new information. and the seemingly infinite number of possible combinations of synergistic effects. Participants in studies often "police" and keep track of their own dietary habits and as a result. which while an important anti-cancer drug. Vitamin E has shown some capacity to decrease the harmful effects of this treatment.oralcancerfoundation. Even here. A published study might focus on a segment of the population given a particular nutrient. Other studies are done in the laboratory with animals. www. but may not consider other lifestyle or genetic factors. Even though many of these individual substances may help prevent occurrence or reccurrence of cancer. For example. the benefits of any specific type of diet are very difficult to prove. and whole grains.htm 5/6 . More about diet during cancer treatments In the end. vegetables. These points are not the norm. the body must have the nutritional building blocks to handle the task. There is an enormous amount of cellular repair necessary. but you can't overdose on spinach .9/10/13 Nutrition and cancer on Vitamin A.

| Read disclaimer related to content.9/10/13 Nutrition and cancer The best way to cure cancer.Frank L. is to prevent cancer. Meyskens. M." . Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention Home Survivor / Patient forum Oral cancer in the news Donations / Memberships Newsletter Search Site Map C ontents of this site C opyright Jr. www. maybe the cure for cancer is sitting in your refrigerator..htm 6/6 .D. director of UC Irvine's Chao Family Clinical Cancer Research Center From that perspective. OC F Inc..oralcancerfoundation.