Integrative medicine for cancer as supplements prescriptions is called “Complimentary or Adjunctive”, Dr. Mark Stenlger and Dr. Paul Anderson, oncologists and naturopaths, the authors of “Outside The Box Cancer Therapies” care to precise this because this type of therapy cannot be considered as primary therapy for cancer, but an additional way to recover and to deal with the related side effects of primary therapies as chemo and radiations.
The natural elements and supplements mentioned in this book are a variety and with the specific dose recommended, molecular and biochemical mechanisms of action, benefits and eventual side effects. I will mention some, the most common and the related benefits and side effects.
Boswellia Serrata, or Indian Frankincense, popular anti-inflammatory with a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine; in vitro studies have shown anti-cancer properties, the mechanism is to inhibit the pathway of inflammation though inflammatory factors like the cytokines, for example. Several studies of cases of cancer have reported good results at certain doses; it seems well tolerated with occasional digestive issues and mild blood thinning effects.
Artemisinin or Wormwood present in complexes for gut health to get rid of parasites, this herb seems to be a potential treatment for cancer, in multiple cell line has shown tumor killing properties. Recommendations for safety are for the oral form not to be taken with ulcers.
Astragalus with long history of use in traditional Chinese herbal medicine and popular in the West medicine as well as immune system support ailment; this herb contains compounds as polysaccharides, saponins and flavonoids, all with immune enhancing, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer effects. Very high doses may cause indigestion, mild effect on blood thinning and blood pressure lowering.
Ginseng, Panax ginseng, which is the Asian ginseng, the American ginseng is known as Panax quinquefolius, normally used to treat stress and fatigue, different studies have demonstrated anticancer properties and reduction of side effects of conventional oncological therapies.
Both ginsengs are well tolerated, American ginseng can lower sugar levels in people with diabetes.
Glutathione, the best body’s antioxidant composed by the amino acids cysteine, glutamine and glycine and found in fruits and vegetables. In integrative oncology is used to recover from side effects of chemo therapy and radiation, but is also used in preventive programs; it has a variety of functions and benefits, and as more times mentioned as detoxifier, it removes environmental toxins and carcinogens, there are number of studies in regard showing the improvement of body’s functions in many cases. It is well tolerated but its use is controversial.
Resveratrol, natural compound in fruits as grape and berries, typical antioxidant for protection from free radicals, but it is also used in prevention and treatment of cancer by inhibiting cells proliferation and blocking the estrogen effects. Not known side effect except that at very high dose can upset digestive tract.
Maitake mushroom, Grifola Frondosa, pretty used in Japanese and Chinese medicine for a variety of health conditions, extracts are used as immune system enhancement. Number of studies in regard show positive benefits and cancer regression in many cases of different type of cancers, or of reducing the adverse reactions from therapies. Maitake mushrooms are very safe, small percentage has experienced loose stool and those on immunosuppressive drugs should use only with consent of a physician, some interactions with coumadin have been reported in one case, but there are not significant anticoagulant effects.
Green Tea, made from leaves of Camellia Sinensis is available in different forms, besides the variety of conditions where is used is also used for cancer prevention and treatment, the compounds in green tea responsible of all its properties and benefits are called polyphenols, so as those in oil of olive, these are EGCG and ECG with powerful antioxidant properties, they inhibit angiogenesis, blood flow to tumors and tumor cell invasiveness. No significant side effects documented.
Turmeric, curcuma longa, the yellow spice typical of Indian cuisine and very common nutritional supplement, member of the ginger family, recognized healing agent in Ayurvedic and Chines medicine and very much used in US and around the world now as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Studies in vitro have shown its anti-inflammatory and antiproliferative and anticancer properties. Side effects are minimal and is well tolerated also at high doses, but lower doses are necessary with patients on anticoagulant therapy.
Licorice Root, Glycyrrhizin, an herb commonly used in all integrative and naturopathic medicines for a variety of conditions, as immune-enhancer and for anticancer properties, reduces inflammation, induces cell apoptosis and inhibits cells proliferation. It is generally well tolerated, at high doses can cause high blood pressure, water retention and potassium imbalance, for digestive problems is used the deglycyrrhizinated form, DGL, which has been removed of the part causing the elevation of blood pressure and cause of electrolytic imbalance.
Quercetin, member of flavonoids, primary sources are fruits and vegetables, mainly citrus fruits, apples, onions, parsley, sage, tea, red wine, olive oil, grapes, and dark berries. It is mainly used for treatment of allergies and as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant and has anti-cancer properties as well. It is well tolerated but should be used with caution if taking quinolone antibiotics, anticoagulant, and possibly some chemo-therapy medications.
Fish Oil, Benefits from omega-3 fatty acids from purified fish oil are very well known, especially as remedy for chronic inflammation which is a risk factor for cancer; there are variety of studies that demonstrate its properties on reducing inflammatory markers and effectiveness of chemotherapy agents. Fish oil has anticoagulant properties and may cause digestive upset.
Glutamine, it is mainly used for digestive tract and muscle recovery and wound healing and to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy. Some research has demonstrated reduction of inflammation of mouth and throat and of lung cancer, and there have been more studies of other type of cancer with positive results. Glutamine is well tolerated, but the doctors suggest always to consult own physician with active cancer.
Vitamin C, an essential nutrient that the body does not produce for must be introduced with diet or supplementation. Very well known its function and benefits for the immune system in fighting infection and protecting us from them, it is mainly as an antioxidant with the purpose to protect from oxidative damage; for cancer therapy is used through injection. Data from studies after diet and supplementation has shown modest reduction risk of colon cancer. Excessive use can cause diarrhea and digestive upset.
Aloe Vera, Also very common from time, it is a plant used in many forms and for many conditions, as purifier, for digestive issues, skin relief, infections, wounds and also for immune support, cancer and cancer side effects thanks to the presence of a substance with immune modulating effects and that can inhibits cancer proliferation. Variety of studies also in this case. The commercial product has the bitter part with laxative properties removed and is safe at regular doses.
The list continues with more of the common supplements basically used with any general problem like Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes, Vitamin D, Garlic, Resveratrol, Milk Thistle, Melatonin, CoQ10 whose benefits are well known but they are also used as adjuvants during cancer therapies, or in preventive therapy.
The administration of therapies varies, it can be oral, sublingual, inhaled and injected, these last one can happen in different ways.
The benefits of injection are bypassing the digestive system issues and better absorbance.
Oxidative Therapies uses antioxidants to stimulate body processes for fighting cancer and tissues healing.
The most popular and controversial is the IV therapy of high doses of vitamin C, very common in integrative oncology, and this therapy has potential benefits, anti-inflammatory and weakening of cancer cells. Recent founds have shown that intravenous therapy of vitamin C can alleviate a variety of cancer and chemotherapy related symptoms. The major of these studies were performed at the Bastyr University Research Center and Dr. Anderson was the chief of IV services at that time.
Other elements used are Hydrogen Peroxide and Ozone.
Hydrogen Peroxide, H202, must be injected under high controlled conditions, a sterile low concentration of H2O2, free of preservative and stabilizers is added to a saline bag and slowly infused, its function is to stimulate the immune system to fight cancer through the production of tiny chemical messengers.
Ozone, is naturally in the air, is instable and has the ability to donate an oxygen molecule to become O2, as H2O2 its reactivity provides benefits in fighting cancer and the same prudence and specialization used for the injection of H2O2 it is necessary for the injection of ozone. Studies have shown positive benefits with no side effects at therapeutic doses.
These are the most used therapies but there are more besides hydration therapies with nutrients to support the patients after treatments.
I chose to partially review this book because it seemed to me well done and full of details that I could not report for obvious reasons. I have listened Dr. Stengler in summits and he sounds a professional to trust and of experience and an active researcher.
Thanks for reading