Micronutrients and Phytonutrients in Cancer
February is national cancer prevention month. The “War on Cancer” declared by U.S. President Nixon more than 5 decades ago is still going on and cancer remains the second leading cause of death worldwide. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Cancer Research has projected that cancer diagnosis will increase by 75%-90% by the year 2030. While we understand more about cancer development and progression, the treatment has not changed much from the standard trio-surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Many of the chemotherapy drugs are labeled as carcinogens, yet they are still the mainstay of the treatment. Each of the current treatments is associated with inherent health risks and side effects, however, all remain a part of standard cancer therapy. Chemotherapy drugs kill the rapidly growing cells, and therefore they attack not only cancer cells but also healthy cells in the body (i.e., hair follicles, blood cells, intestinal lining cells). Due to such indiscriminate killing of all cells, the chemotherapy drugs cause widespread damage to the body. When a cell dies as a result of chemotherapy, its remains, called the cell debris, can be dangerous too. They can induce inflammation, which in turn can trigger other cancers and health problems. In one of the studies conducted at the Dr. Rath Research Institute, one group of mice was exposed to the breast cancer cells together with debris generated by the chemotherapy drug, docetaxel, and another group of mice was exposed only to breast cancer cells. The results indicated that the group of mice that was given the cancer cell debris after docetaxel showed significantly more pronounced tumor growth and aggravated inflammatory markers (TNF-alpha, IL-1) than the mice that were exposed only to breast cancer cells.
The Dr. Rath Research Institute has pioneered new ways to understand and combat cancer. In our research, we focus on curbing the spread of cancer (metastasis). It is the metastasis, and not the primary tumor, which is responsible for more than 90% of cancer deaths. Our approach centers on the importance of healthy and strong connective tissue in curbing the aggressiveness of cancer by forming a natural barrier, which prevents the malignant cells from spreading in the body. The main culprits of connective tissue destruction are enzymes secreted by cancer cells called MMPs (matrix metalloproteinases). Our research showed that blocking the MMP enzymes by essential nutrients and phytonutrients has a significant impact on strengthening and increasing the integrity of connective tissue which is important in curbing the spread of cancer cells.
We have shown that a synergistic combination of specific nutrients (vitamin C, lysine, proline, green tea extract, and others) can simultaneously affect key mechanisms of cancer by: reducing cancer cell growth, inducing natural death of cancer cells (apoptosis), curtailing invasion and metastasis of cancer, and decreasing growth of the blood vessels feeding the tumor (angiogenesis). Our research scientists have confirmed the efficacy of this nutrient combination in over 60 types of cancer cells. We have obtained similar results using a combination of phytonutrients (green tea extract, curcumin, resveratrol, quercetin, and a mixture of extracts from cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, and broccoli) in multiple cancer cell lines as well.
Our scientific results indicate that vitamin C in combination with other natural compounds has a real potential in natural defense against cancer.