John Boik - Natural Compounds in Cancer Therapy

Changing your diet to beat cancer

The Truth about bioactive compounds and supplements

The gremlins are out in force again. You remember the gremlins - they’re the terrorists that gave that loveable Mugwai a tough time. One moment there’s a calm Mugwai - a few drops of water later and he’s surrounded by a thousand screaming hell raisers bent on causing the downfall of civilisation. (Updated from 2004 article by Chris Woollams)

Well, that was the story according to Spielberg.

But, it seems, gremlins are not just a figment of a film director’s imagination.

Take the article printed in the British Journal of Cancer (2004, 90, 408-413). A simple story really. A team of scientists set out to find out how many patients take supplements, and which ones.

Open quotesThe report should have taken about half a pageClose quotes

The research basically concluded that of 318 patients studies 51.6 per cent took supplements and of these 47.6 took a mixture of supplements and herbal remedies.

Supplement report - a figment of the imagination

The report should have taken about half a page. Instead, it went on for six pages and was entitled ’Potential health risks of complementary alternative medicines in cancer patients’.

The initial summary of the paper started, "Many cancer patients use complementary alternative medicines, but may not be aware of the potential risks". Not in the least bit contentious that statement then!! So natural supplements back in 2004 were now being described as medicines and you can see the first drops of water hitting our Mugwai. We know what’s coming don’t we?

The report included non-sensical gems such as:

"Unconventional cancer therapies such as Laetrile, Essiac and Coenzyme Q10 may not be effective." (Nor may be Temozolomide in brain cancer cure.)

"Supplements may be associated with adverse events including bleeding and liver failure." (No mention was made of which supplements.)

"Or fail to work, for example, high dose vitamin C (Cregan et al 1979)." The 2012 research of The University of Kansas, then that of Iowa Medical School (2017) seems to prove that comment utterly wrong.

Open quotesThere have been more than twenty reviews in the last few years of the proven anti-cancer activity of beta-caroteneClose quotes

There was not one serious mention of a benefit of any herb or supplement backed by research. As readers of icon know, I write a monthly review of a vitamin or mineral and include numerous references to scientific papers. Yet again (yawn!)  this BJC report quoted the lone research study "beta-carotene taken by smokers/asbestos breathers increases risk of lung cancer" and extrapolated it to all supplements. As readers of my review on beta-carotene will know, there have been more than twenty reviews in the last few years of the proven anti-cancer activity of beta-carotene. For curcumin it must be well over a hundred - an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory with strong anti-cancer properties. About 20 US medical schools use it along with their other treatments (usually for Colorectal Cancer). Melatonin supplementation is even recommended by Sloane Kettering in New York - it corrects cancer cells and even helps drugs perform better.

Personally, I regard the piece in the British Journal of Cancer as hopelessly misleading and unhelpful to everyone with cancer. However, a famous ’complementary expert’ whoever he was, disagrees and was quoted in many newspapers warning of the dangers of CAMs. And this little episode in 2004, has been repeated several times since. It’s a dangerous and misleading game! Let me explain.

Skeptic Propaganda ignores the research

The ’expert’ is a ’skeptic’. In the UK, these usually have connections (directly or indirectly) to a ’charity’ called ’Sense about Science’. You will not be surprised to know that this ’charity’ has frequently received donations from Big Pharma. Once, shortly before a number of people (myself included) were criticised for their view on sugar and its links to cancer, they received a donation from Coca Cola. What an astonishing co-incidence?

But then this skeptic ’Complementary and Alternative’ expert has also co-produced a report on websites and has concluded that they can be very misleading; although he did approve of ’Quackwatch’ from the USA. Since the advent of the National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicines in the USA, gremlins intent on causing subjective havoc have been driven underground - on to the net. Quackwatch is one of those; its nadir coming when it rubbished the effectiveness of acupuncture. Research has now shown how acupuncture works - one study even highlighting the very insertion point for inflammation control. 

Natural Compounds in Cancer Therapy

Much more worrying is that any doctor, scientist or skeptic gremlin wishing to be thoroughly informed could have read all about bioactive natural compounds in copious detail since March 2001. It was then that John Boik launched his book, "Natural Compounds in Cancer Therapy".

Now, John Boik knows a thing or two about such natural compounds. He was a Co-investigator of Research Projects at the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas. We are talking top-drawer cancer centre now. And he is on the Editorial Review Board for the journal Alternative Medicine Review. An acupuncturist, Boik has studied everything from herbs to oriental medicine.

Open quotesWorse is the level of skeptic disinformation on natural compoundsClose quotes

And this book is no ordinary book. It contains over 4000 references to published scientific reviews - ’clinical reviews and basic science’. It covers pretty well all the actions of all the natural compounds and is thoroughly referenced; it is often described as the ultimate reference guide. So, the gremlins have little excuse for bad behaviour.

He makes a number of points. For example, that misinformation abounds in health treatment and cancer, but worse is the level of disinformation on natural compounds.

So he has recorded hundreds of pre-clinical studies demonstrating the potential of natural compounds.

But probably his most crucial point for cancer patients is his view that it is very unlikely that there can ever be a single ’magic bullet’ cancer cure. Where natural compounds are concerned, he believes you have to look for a combination of compounds, just as we would eat in nature.

The logic is simple. Cancer is not about just one event. It is about a number of changes inside a cell, cancer cell formation, rapid division, growing a blood vessel supply (angiogenesis), metastasis etc. And in nature we would eat a variety of products, some of which might help protect us against each eventuality.

He divides such natural compounds into ’direct activity’ (can work directly against cancer cells), ’indirect acting’ (which help to create an environment in and around cancer cells) and ’immune system stimulants’ (affecting the quantity and quality of the immune system).

He lists forty or so compounds divided into a number of groups - the aim being to select an item from each group to help achieve a certain desired effect in the anti-cancer process. It is a classic reference work for patients and medical professionals.

Open quotesCancer patients deserve to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truthClose quotes

He includes flavonoids like quercetin and genistein, curcumin, omega 3 fatty acids from fish oils, garlic, limonene resveratrol, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, grape seed extract, vitamin C, bromelain, astragalus, shiitake, ginseng, glutamine, melatonin - in fact, virtually all the regulars we cover in icon month in, month out.

So there we have it. Natural compounds can and do target every part of the cancer process, whether it is their ability to metastasise or their ability to hide from the immune system.

And if it’s good enough for the MD Anderson Cancer Institute, it is certainly good enough for icon. So gremlins beware. We are  simply not going to sit back and let you terrorise our backyard with rubbish!

We cover many such bioactive compounds in our own best selling book ’The Rainbow Diet’. You can eat the foods and/or buy the supplements.

We cover the National Cancer Institute which has Dr. Young S. Kim and she has told us that poor diets see cancer recurrence, but good diets prevent stem cell regrowth.

Or the American Cancer Society, who told us in 2012 that complementary therapies like Diet and Exercise increased survival and can even prevent a cancer returning.

In 2017, the American Cancer Society went further. A seven year study on patients with stage three colorectal cancer showed that diet and lifestyle changes alone could increase survival times by 31 per cent; and reduce death rates by 42 per cent.

Go To: Diet and Lifestyle changes improve survival

Supplement information - you will find endless research studies on this site, and on GreenMedInfo.

Go To: Vitamin D supplementation increases breast cancer and colorectal cancer survival

What a contrast to the 2017 review of The Government Drugs fund report, where four out of every five drugs were dropped from the list by the NHS because ’they just didn’t work’. I can see why Big Pharma need the skeptics and their propaganda, can’t you?

The Truth about cancer and supplements

Cancer patients deserve to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. And that’s why we formed CANCERactive.

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