Being diagnosed with cancer regardless of age can be a big blow. The thought of what if, has suddenly turned to the question of “what now?” The news of bewildering medical options could jump start a major panic attack leading to more hormonal chaos thereby promoting this disease. But, as you may have heard before, but Ill remind you again, “It’s not whether you get knocked down, that is important as such, its whether or not you get back up”. Conflicting views and opinions between alternate and traditional practitioners once again seems apparent. But there is one thing that is certain, eating more fruits and vegetables, avoiding animal fat and replacing animal products with plant based foods appear to have a protective effect in both prevention and in treatment. Here are some starting points with their respective reasoning’s behind the methodology.
You can’t change the fact that you have cancer. What you can change is how you live the rest of your life .
Garlic (allium sativum)
Garlic has acquired a reputation in different traditions as a prophylactic as well as a therapeutic medicinal plant. Garlic components have been found to block carcinogens binding to DNA, enhancing degradation of carcinogens. Garlic has anti-oxidative and free radical scavenging properties. Garlic regulates cell proliferation by increasing cell apoptosis and immune responses. Garlic synergizes the effect of Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) a breast cancer suppressor and antagonizes the effect of linoleic acid, a breast cancer enhancer.
Garlic contains a stable oil soluble Sulphur rich compound called, ajoene. This compound has been found to induce apoptosis in leukemia. As well as a great enhancer to the process of detoxification, excretion and the protection of DNA. garlic has been found to inhibit both activation and progression of cancer.
Plant based foods contain naturally occurring compounds called phytonutrients which are beneficial to immune function. Bright colored berries just so happens to be on the list are particularly rich in powerful antioxidants, meaning they can halt a naturally occurring process in that otherwise creates free radical damage within cells. Anthocynanins the compounds that give blueberries their “superfood” status may also help keep cancers from growing or spreading. Use a handful of blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, or any other favorite berries in smoothies, on salads or combined with a few walnuts, pepitas as a snack.
Three fatty acids compose the omega-3 family: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Include omega-3 fatty acids either through foods or supplements. Foods that are rich in this healthy type of fat include walnuts, freshly ground flaxseed, and cold-water, oily fish such as Alaskan salmon and sardines. EPA/DHA a component of fish oil has been shown to inhibit angiogenesis. EPA serves as a functional antagonist to arachidonic acid, modulating the inflammatory messages that promote cancer cell invasiveness. It may counter the anti-inflammatory effects of omeg-3 fatty acid supplementation. Omega 3s can alter hormone synthesis and is supportive to the immune system. Recent studies have expanded our understanding of the mechanisms by which ω-3 PUFAs may protect against breast cancer. The body cannot make these fatty acids and must obtain them from food sources or from supplements.). ALA is found in English walnuts, in some types of bean including lima beans.
Tea contains antioxidants called catechins, which may help prevent cancer in a variety of ways, including keeping free radicals from damaging cells. The health benefits of green tea are due to the presence of a group of plant flavonoids called catechins. Of particular interest to researchers is epigallocatechin-3-O-gallate (EGCG), the primary catechin in green tea. Lab studies have found that catechins in tea can shrink tumors and reduce tumor cell growth. Some studies in humans have also linked drinking tea to a lower risk of cancer. Both green and black teas contain catechins. There is a lower incidence of thyroid cancer in Asian women which has been attributed to their consumption of green tea. It is recommended that you consume <3 cups/d to get those beneficial antioxidants found in green tea.
Curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric. It is a potent anti–inflammatory, cancer preventative molecule. It exerts potent anti-inflammatory and protective effects in cancer progression. However, curcumin has additional anti-cancer effects that are independent of its anti-inflammatory effects and thus is a heavily researched molecule for both cancer prevention and treatment. A bright orange Indian spice, contain curcuminoids the active ingredient in Curcumin exerts anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects by inhibiting tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha). Black pepper enhances absorption
Leafy Green Vegetables
Where do we start on the amazing health benefits of the vitamin B group? The vitamin B group are water soluble which means the body does not store them so that is why it is essential that we consume them every day. The B vitamins, help convert the carbs in food to glucose. The body then uses it as fuel to produce energy. If you are feeling fatigued there it is usually because you are vitamin B deficient, particularly in pantothenic acid , B5. B vitamins are water soluble, Leafy green vegetables like spinach and lettuce are good sources of the antioxidants beta-carotene and lutein.
You’ll also find these nutrients in vegetables that are more traditionally eaten cooked, like collard greens, mustard greens, and kale. Interestingly enough, the bitter taste of these foods indicates a high level of calcium which is also on the order as a protective agent for thyroid cancer.
The skin of red grapes is a particularly rich source of an antioxidant called resveratrol. Resveratrol is a phenolic compound that contributes to the antioxidant potential of red grapes. Red wine contains resveratrol too however not quite sure if you should drink too much.
Being mindful that before you self-medicate and rush out to purchase a supplement it is always wise to check if that nutrient interferes with your current medication. The last thing you need is any sort of reaction. The medication roles normally, is to duplicate the thyroid glands role in monitoring your metabolism. Some herbs will do the same thing. A double whammy could not only be harmful but dangerous causing an unwanted effect.
Vitamin D and Calcium
Most of the literature reviewed agrees that supplementing with both calcium and vitamin D would be beneficial following a total thyroidectomy. A loss of calcium, hypocalcaemia, occurs in 1 to 2 percent. Of people following thyroid removal. It has been suggested from reliable research that taking 3g orally of calcium and 1 g of vitamin D per day may prevent symptomatic hypocalcaemia.
Research presented in 2008 found that taking at least 1 g vitamin C daily may t help the body absorb synthetic thyroid hormones after a thyroidectomy. Vitamin c can be found in so many fruit and vegetables with some of the best sources being red and yellow peppers ,gauvas, kale , green leafy vegetables, broccoli, kiwi fruit and strawberries.
Vitamin A Deficiency has been associated with iodine deficiency. Vitamin A is is involved multiple roles regards to the healthy function of the thyroid including the uptake of iodine by the thyroid. Modulation of the thyroid hormone metabolism and the production of TSH by the pituitary gland. People with hypothyroidism have a reduced ability to convert beta-carotene into vitamin A. vitamin A deficiency could limit the body’s ability to produce thyroid stimulating hormones (TSH) after a partial thyroidectomy. Vitamin A foods include; Sweet potato, carrots, kale, green leafy vegetables, butternut pumpkin, squash and apricots.
B12 is required for energy release in food and is involved in DNA synthesis. People without a thyroid gland might have low levels of vitamin B-12. B vitamins function as coenzymes within the body where they are required for energy production especially in the power plants of the cell, called the mitochondria. Several studies found that an underactive thyroid impairs the body’s ability to absorb B12. It is recommended that you take B12 with B6 and folic acid.
B12 folic acid and B6 foods; liver, oil fish, seafood’s including crustaceans, Beef, Swiss cheese and eggs.
There are eight different types of Vitamin E in the form of mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols. Vitamin E is considered a fat soluble antioxidant and all types are found in our daily diet, in varying degrees. The most famous type is the alpha tocopherol, this is due to its ability to help prevent free radical damage. However since this type has been given more notoriety science has an increase interest in the potential health benefits associated with his lessor studied member of this family , especially the tocotrienols. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant. Because it is fat soluble, we see it offer protection against damage to the fats that line the outside of every cell of our body. When the fats in our membranes become damaged, important cell functions become compromised.
Vit E foods; Almonds, raw seeds, Swiss chard, spinach, turnip greens, kale, olives and avocados plant oils, wheat germ and hazelnuts.
Avoid harmful radiation, UV light, and environmental toxins. Stay active with long walks to reduce glucose and inflammation. Resistance training, Stretching and yoga is highly recommended.
Whilst this is invaluable general advice every one is different ( don’t we know it!) so for more individualized treatment with nutrition and lifestyle guidance. Please contact Caroline via facebook symbiosiswellbeing for a one on one consultation. In the meantime if you can do one thing good for you have a green smoothie everyday!!!
1Eur J Cancer Prev. 2013 Mar;22(2):158-68. doi: 10.1097/CEJ.0b013e32835849b0.Vitamin and mineral supplements and 2 thyroid cancer: a systematic review.Zhang LR1, Sawka AM, Adams L, Hatfield N, Hung RJ.
2Thyroid Cancer and Dietary Supplements ; By Connie Brichford | Medically reviewed by Cynthia Haines, MD http://www.cancercenter.com/thyroid-cancer/nutrition-therapy/ 4“The Journal of Nutrition”; Effect of Hypothyroidism on Methylmalonate Excretion and Hepatic Vitamin B-12 Levels in Rats; E.L. Stokstad, et al.; December 1988
5 “Acta Medica Austriaca”; Beta-Carotene, Vitamin A and Carrier Proteins in Thyroid Diseases; Aktuna D, et al.; 1993
6"Surgery"; Is Routine Supplementation Therapy (Calcium and Vitamin D) Useful After Total Thyroidectomy?; Rocco Bellantone, et al.; April 2002 7 Cleveland Clinic; Hypocalcemia; Mario Skugor 7The Endocrine Society: Research Summaries 8 http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03194/Thyroid-Cancer-Dr-Weil.htm
9 http://www.cancer.org/cancer/thyroidcancer http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/
Caroline is a clinical Nutritionist practicing on a consultation basis. Caroline's experience encompasses research and writing on disease prevention with natural herbs, spices, foods and supplementation. Caroline practices holistic nutritional medicine that combines the three elements of being human. Those being, the physical , emotional and the mental components that make us who we are. All of these criterior is fueled by the fundamental of all health, food .