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Some dietary supplements can do serious harm, especially when taken in high doses. A recent study found cancer associated with high doses of the supplement nicotinamide riboside (NR), which is a form of vitamin B3.

Keep in mind that this study was done in vivo and in vitro (in a lab), and also in mice.. and not humans. But the results are concerning.

Swiss and Univ. of Missouri researchers found that high levels of NT could increase the risk of developing triple-negative breast cancer, and also for it to metastasize to the brain. Yikes.

By the way, while NR can be purchased as a supplement, it is normally not found in ordinary multi-vitamins that many take daily. Low levels of NR are found in fruit, vegetables, meat, and milk - it is necessary for health (it increases levels of cellular energy). It's the large amounts found in supplements that the researchers were concerned with and that can be problematic.

Stay tuned for further research...

From Science Daily: Popular dietary supplement increases breast cancer risk, brain metastasis, study suggests

While previous studies have linked commercial dietary supplements like nicotinamide riboside (NR), a form of vitamin B3, to benefits related to cardiovascular, metabolic and neurological health, new research from the University of Missouri has found NR could actually increase the risk of serious disease, such as development of breast cancer and brain metastasis. ...continue reading "A Dietary Supplement That Might Increase Cancer Risk"

Cell tower Credit: Wikipedia

There is increasing concern among scientists and doctors about 4G and 5G cell tower and cell phone radiation. Unfortunately, the cell phone and telecommunication industry, and the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) are fighting tooth and nail to prevent consumers from hearing about the concerns, and preventing the enactment of any safeguards to human health.

All concerns are pooh-poohed and dismissed by the FCC and wireless industry. The FCC is supposed to regulate the industry and protect us, but it hasn't happened. As a recent Propublica report documents:

"Federal law and FCC rules are so aligned with the industry that state and local governments are barred from taking action to block cell towers to protect the health of their citizens, even as companies are explicitly empowered to sue any government that tries to take such an action." (This means that companies such as Verizon have more legal rights than persons in the United States.)

One could say that the FCC is protecting the wireless industry at any cost. By the way, when someone says there is "no evidence" of harm - look at who is paying for or doing the study. Industry wireless/cell phone studies find "no harm", while non-industry studies generally find harm to health. Of course, the wireless industry sponsored research won't find harm - that was the whole point of the "research".

For over a decade concerns have been raised over the carcinogenic (cancer-causing) effects of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) emitted from cellular phones, and 4G and 5G towers. Back in 2011 the World Health Organization already said that based on research, they are "possibly carcinogenic to humans" (cancer causing).

Numerous studies are finding harmful health effects: Increased risk of brain tumors and other cancers (esp. gliomas and salivary gland tumors), effects on memory function and the nervous system, behavioral disorders, and harmful effects to human sperm. One large review/analysis of studies found that: "cellular phone use with cumulative call time greater than 1000 hours (about 17 min per day over a 10 year period) increased the risk of tumors by 60%". 

By the way, more than 20 other countries are listening to the scientific and medical research and have protections for consumers. (Why does it not surprise that once again the US is lagging behind other countries in consumer safeguards?)

Some recommendations: Don't sleep with your cell phone near your head or body. Don't carry (or carry less) your phone in your pants pockets or in your bra (near breasts). Try to keep the phone away from direct contact with your body. Use headsets. Plug in your laptop when using (rather than wireless).

1) Some excerpts of very interesting (and sure to make you angry) piece of investigative journalism from ProPublica: How the FCC Shields Wireless Providers

The wireless industry is rolling out thousands of new transmitters amid a growing body of research that calls cellphone safety into question. Federal regulators say there’s nothing to worry about — even as they rely on standards established in 1996.
...continue reading "Evidence That FCC Is Ignoring Studies Showing Harm From Cell Phones"

We all know that microbes (fungi, viruses, bacteria) live throughout our bodies - this is the human microbiome or microbiota. What is really interesting is that cancer tumors also have microbiomes (tumor microbiome), and these microbial communities are different than that found in healthy people (without tumors).

For a while it has been known that tumors (e.g., breast cancers) have different bacterial species than healthy tissue - the microbiome is different. Several recent studies find that tumors can also contain fungi, and cancers with certain fungal species have worse outcomes than those without the fungi. The mycobiome is the community of fungi that live in or on humans.

Also, the combination of fungal species are different depending on what kind of cancer that a person has. A group of scientists have put together a list (mycobiome atlas) of the distinctive fungi that are found with 35 different cancer tumors. This is exciting because in the future cancers could potentially be found by the microbial (fungi and bacteria) DNA they shed in the blood.

However, no one knows really why the fungi are in the tumors. For example, are they aiding the cancer development? Or is the cancer allowing the fungi to grow? Are the fungi interacting with the immune system? Or??

Several recent articles discuss this exciting new research.

From NY Times: A New Approach to Spotting Tumors: Look for Their Microbes

Look up an image of a tumor on Google, and you’ll probably end up with a brightly colored cluster of cancer cells on a drab background of healthy tissue. But for Lian Narunsky Haziza, a cancer biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, the picture looks very different. A tumor may also contain millions of microbes, representing dozens of species.

Scientists have long known that our bodies are home to microbes, but have tended to treat tumors as if they were sterile. In recent years, however, researchers have laid that notion to rest, demonstrating that tumors are rife with microbes. ...continue reading "Studies Find Fungi In Cancer Tumors"

Once again, bad news about ultra-processed foods. American adults eat so much ultra-processed food that it's now about 57% of their daily calories. It's because these foods are convenient, durable, available everywhere, taste good, and frequently are less expensive than whole foods.

A large study found that eating lots of ultra-processed foods (e.g., prepackaged foods, fast foods) is associated with a higher risk of colon cancer in men. Specifically, a 29% higher risk when compared to men who ate the least ultra-processed foods.

This association was not found in women.

However, when the researchers looked at specific kinds or categories of ultra-processed foods that were eaten, they found differences in colorectal cancer risk. Higher consumption of meat/poultry/seafood based ready-to-eat-products and sugar sweetened beverages (soda!) was associated with a higher colorectal cancer risk in men. Higher consumption of ready-to-eat/heat mixed dishes was associated with colorectal cancer in women.

But interestingly, eating yogurt and dairy based desserts were negatively associated with colorectal cancer risk in women - it's as if they were protective. Perhaps the beneficial microbes in the dairy foods?

Ultra-processed foods are ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat foods made of little or no whole foods. Instead, they are mostly made of substances derived from foods. They typically have many added ingredients such as additives, artificial colors, preservatives, stabilizers, sugars, artificial sweeteners, salt, flavorings, and hydrogenated fats.

Examples are frozen meals, soft drinks, hot dogs, cold cuts, fast food, packaged foods (including cookies and cake), candies, instant soups, and sweet or savory packaged snacks.

Studies also show that ultra-processed foods cause negative or harmful changes in the gut microbiome (microbial community of bacteria, viruses, fungi). Higher consumption is associated with a higher risk of a number of chronic diseases and cancer.

From Science Daily - New study links ultra-processed foods and colorectal cancer in men

For many Americans, the convenience of pre-cooked and instant meals may make it easy to overlook the less-than-ideal nutritional information, but a team led by researchers at Tufts University and Harvard University hope that will change after recently discovering a link between the high consumption of ultra-processed foods and an increased risk of colorectal cancer. ...continue reading "Ultra-Processed Foods and Risk of Colorectal Cancer"

It is very exciting whenever a study has good results in preventing cancer, especially if this is from simply eating certain foods. This recently occurred in a large study of people with a high hereditary susceptibility to certain cancers, called Lynch syndrome.

The study found that just eating some resistant starch (e.g., the amount in a green tipped banana) daily was enough to cut the incidence of upper GI cancers (e.g., pancreatic, bile duct, stomach, and duodenal cancers) by 60% over the next ten years. These are fabulous results.

However, it did not have an effect on the incidence of colorectal cancer and endometrial cancer.

In the well-done study (conducted in England, Wales, and Finland), people were randomly assigned to either a group that ate 30 grams of resistant starch daily or a placebo daily for up to 4 years. Then they were all followed for up to a further 10 years, and a portion up to 20 years. [Note: the researchers said the 30 g daily was equivalent to one slightly green banana]

Resistant starch is a type of dietary fiber found in foods such as slightly green bananas, potatoes, whole grains, beans, chickpeas, lentils, and seeds. Resistant starch is not digested in the small intestine, but is fermented by gut microbes to produce beneficial short-chain fatty acids, such as butyrate, in the colon (large bowel).

Bottom line: Eat a variety of fiber rich foods (whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts) daily, including foods that provide resistant starch. Your gut microbes and health will thank you!

From Science Daily: Cancer study: Major preventive effect from resistant starch in people with Lynch syndrome

A trial in people with high hereditary risk of a wide range of cancers has shown a major preventive effect from resistant starch, found in a wide range of foods such as oats, breakfast cereal, cooked and cooled pasta or rice, peas and beans and slightly green bananas.
...continue reading "Preventing Cancers By Eating Foods Containing Resistant Starch"

More and more research over the past decade has stressed the importance of exercise for our health, but it turns out it is also important in slowing down tumor development. Yes - it actually reduces the growth of cancer.

During a presentation at a 2022 medical conference in Spain, researcher Adrián Castillo García stated that a prescription for exercise (physical activity) should be part of cancer treatment.

Physical exercise also works to make cancer treatments more effective. For example, physical exercise (physical activity), in combination with chemotherapy, reduces the progression of cancer and on tumor volume (doesn't grow as much). Garcia thought that resistance exercise, such as cycling, was especially effective.

Other studies also find that exercise slows down tumor growth (e.g., colon cancer growth in persons with colorectal cancer is reduced by high intensity interval training), and lowers the risk of developing bowel cancer.

Bottom line: View exercise as anti-cancer.

From Medscape: Nutrients and Exercise Affect Tumor Development

Researchers discussed an update on the latest evidence regarding the cancer-lifestyle link as part of the Precision Health session: Oncology, held during the 7th International Congress of the Spanish Society of Precision Health (SESAP). The role that certain nutrients can have on tumor development was analyzed, along with the most recent data justifying the idea that the prescription of physical exercise should not be optional, but rather integrated into oncological treatment.

Exercise as Oncological Therapy

In the same session, Adrián Castillo García, graduate in physical activity and sports sciences and a researcher at the Barcelona Biomedical Research Institute (IIBB) of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), reviewed the latest studies that showed evidence of the importance of physical exercise during cancer treatment and its potential role in modulating the tumor microenvironment and immune function. 

...continue reading "Exercise Slows Down Tumor Development"

Americans spend enormous amounts of money on vitamins and mineral supplements in an effort to stay healthy or to improve their health. Unfortunately, unless a person has an actual vitamin or mineral deficiency, studies are just not finding health benefits. Sometimes there are even harms.

Physicians at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine weighed in on this issue. Their view: For most non-pregnant healthy Americans vitamin and mineral supplements are a "waste of money". There is no "magic set of pills to keep you healthy". Instead, a healthy diet and exercise are key.

However, they also say a pregnant women should consider taking a prenatal vitamin, especially folic acid. There are health benefits to folic acid supplements during pregnancy.

Basic conclusions: For non-pregnant persons without vitamin or mineral deficiencies, there is no evidence supporting the consumption of vitamin and mineral supplements in preventing cancer or cardiovascular (heart) health. Avoid beta carotene supplements (health harms) and vitamin E supplements.

What to do to maintain or improve health? Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes (beans), seeds, and nuts. Get enough exercise or physical activity. Don't smoke. Maintain a healthy weight.

Doing these things will also improve the gut microbiome (the community of microbes living in the gut), which is so important for good health.

From Science Daily: Vitamins, supplements are a 'waste of money' for most Americans

Drawn to the allure of multivitamins and dietary supplements filling nutritional gaps in their diet, people in the U.S. in 2021 spent close to $50 billion on vitamins and dietary supplements. ...continue reading "Focus On Eating Healthy Food, Not Vitamin Supplements"

Well, these were surprising study results, given that so many studies find that eating fish has such beneficial health effects. A recent large study of US adults found that higher fish consumption was associated with melanoma (when compared to persons who hardly eat fish).

Brown School of Health researchers found that a higher intake of fish (all kinds), tuna, and non-fried fish were all associated with a higher risk  of both malignant melanoma and melanoma in situ (stage 0). Interestingly, fried fish intake was inversely associated with risk of malignant melanoma - that is, the more fried fish is eaten, the lower the risk of melanoma.

The group with the highest fish intake ate about 10 ounces per week or 3 servings, and had about 22% higher rate of melanoma.

They speculate that this cancer association could be due to the contaminants in fish, such as PCBs, dioxins, arsenic, and mercury. Other research has found that higher fish intake is associated with higher levels of these contaminants in the body, and that there are associations between these contaminants and a higher risk of skin cancer.

But the researchers also said people should keep eating fish for all their other health benefits (e.g., for heart health). In other words, don't panic. There are other known risk factors for melanoma such as repeated sunburns in childhood.

From Science Daily: Higher fish consumption may be associated with increased melanoma risk

Eating higher levels of fish, including tuna and non-fried fish, appears to be associated with a greater risk of malignant melanoma, suggests a large study of US adults published in Cancer Causes & Control. ...continue reading "High Fish Intake and Melanoma"

Something surprising - having cancer is linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer's disease and a lower risk of neurodegenerative symptoms (e.g., memory loss) during their lifetimes.

One big analysis and review of 22 studies (representing more then 9.6 million people!) calculated that cancer diagnoses are associated with 11% reduction in Alzheimer's disease occurrence. However, this relationship does not hold true for melanoma. [Also, there is a strong positive correlation between melanoma and Parkinson's disease - which is a neurodegenerative condition.]

There are some theories, but it is still unknown why this lower risk of Alzheimer's disease occurs in persons with cancer.

Excerpts from The Scientist: Cancer Tied to Reduced Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

In recent years, scientists around the world have been probing an unexpected trend: The risk of developing cancer seems to have an inverse relationship with the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.  ...continue reading "Reduced Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease In Those With Cancer"

For years people have searched for ways to prevent cancer, which occurs significantly more with age. A recent study conducted in 5 European countries offers hope that some simple steps could reduce the incidence of invasive cancer up to 61 % in older adults (over 70 years of age).

The 3 year long study tested individual and combinations of vitamin D3, marine omega-3, and a simple home strength exercise program and found that the combination of all 3 (vitamin D3 + marine omega-3 supplements + exercise) reduced the incidence of invasive cancer by 61 percent. In other words, it prevented cancer.

What they took: Persons in the double-blind (no one knew who was in what group) study were randomly assigned to one of 8 groups with the intervention alone or combined: daily supplements of 2000 IU of vitamin D3, and/or daily 1 g of marine omega-3s, and/or a simple home strength exercise program compared to a placebo/control group. NOTE: The marine omega-3s supplements used were algae-based (EPA + DHA ratio: 1:2), and not fish oil.

Even though there were over 2000 participants in the study, the numbers were too low to see if there were effects on certain types of cancers. Can only say there was a reduction in invasive cancers when all 3 interventions were combined. Looking at the study report, it is unclear how frequently and how many of the home-strengthening exercises were done each week.

Other studies: As the researchers note - other studies have had mixed results on vitamin D3 and omega-3 supplements, which are typically fish oil. A major review in 2020 of 27 studies using fish oil supplements (for a total of 113,557 participants) found little or no benefit regarding cancer or cancer death, and a 2021 review of 5 studies found increased risk of atrial fibrillation. So once again, we'll see... Three years (the length of this study) is a short time regarding cancer.

Bottom line: While vitamin D3 and fish oil supplements are being debated over their health effects, all studies find health benefits from exercise and eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, some fish, and olive oil. Also, vitamin D3 is superior to vitamin D2, and that taking it daily is better than a mega-dose occasionally (e.g., once a month). Getting some sunlight (vitamin D) is also recommended.

From Medical Xpress: A combination of three simple treatments may reduce invasive cancer risk by 61% among adults aged 70+

A new study published in Frontiers in Aging found that a combination of high-dose vitamin D, omega-3s, and a simple home strength exercise program (SHEP) showed a cumulative reduction by 61% in cancer risk in healthy adults aged 70 or older.  ...continue reading "Study Suggests Simple Steps To Reduce Cancer Risk In Older Adults"