Carbohydrates and Cancer (Transcript #1 of 4)

Carbohydrates Can Kill, a book by Robert K. Su, MD

As a physician, I have encountered many patients who unfortunately suffered with cancers and passed away untimely. The departure of each of these patients always left a tragedy to his loved ones, family, and friends. Not to even mention the suffering that these patients and their families had to endure. Because of such a terrible professional experience, to no one’s surprise, I have determined to exploring the cause or causes of cancer and helping all of us find the best measure that can prevent and/or treat cancer.

Since the middle of 2002, I accidentally found out that I had systolic hypertension in conjunction with exertional angina, I began to conduct self-experimentation as well as literature review. When I ended up to restricting carbohydrates for reducing my weight from an almost-obesity, through literature review, I began to understand the dark side of carbohydrates, which has a detrimental impact on our health. I could not believe that carbohydrates have a role in developing and metastasizing cancer. My incidental discovery of the relationship between carbohydrates and cancer has encouraged me to keep an eye on it as I am continuing my literature review. I want to share this important knowledge with everyone from every corner of the world that we should mindfully restrict carbohydrate foods for the sake of preventing diseases including cancer from happening.

During the last quarter of 2010, I had published a series of articles on my website at about diet and cancer, mainly for illustrating how carbohydrates, but not fats or proteins, are linked to the development of cancer, how carbohydrates are able to facilitate the growth and metastasis of cancer, and what we can possibly do to fight back. I have also shared the information at live presentations. Nevertheless, we are still learning that more people are dying of cancer, which could possibly be preventable and even reversible. So, I am starting a series of podcast episodes on Carbohydrates and cancer. I am hoping that the information offered in each episode of this podcast series would help someone understand that he could change his diet to slow down or even reverse the growth of his cancer. What I have done so far would pay off, even if this information results in preventing one life from being destroyed by cancer and helping save his family and friends from being sadden for losing his life in vain.

This episode I present to you today is the summary and update of the serial articles on diet and cancer that I mentioned a moment ago. So, please visit my articles or write me if you need more details or references on this important subject.

Cancer has been with human for at least thousands of years, depending on which historical document is referred to. In the East, Chinese medicine claims that it began to note about cancer, 4,000 years ago. In the Middle East, an Egyptian Seven Papyri, which was written about 3,500 to 5,000 years ago, is reported to contain description of cancer. The oldest cancer specimen is reportedly found in the period between 1,900 and 1,600 BC. Hippocrates, a Greek physician, during the period between 460 and 370 years BC, had already described the growth of a malignant cancer as the claws of a crab. He named this kind of cancers karkinos, which is the name of crab in Greek. Or, it is carcinos or carcinoma in English.

Cancer starts inside our body from a very basic unit of life, which is a cell. In other words, cancer cell is originated from our normal cells, which, for whatever reason or reasons, change its behavior to depart from a normal life cycle that normal cells follow. A normal cell has a set life span since the time when it is produced. Until the time for its scheduled death or apoptosis, it reproduces. There are factors, which affect the individual cell’s scheduled death or apoptosis. For instances, pro-apoptosis is the factor or factors, which shorten the cellular life and facilitate the early death of the cell. On the other hand, anti-apoptosis is the factor or factors, which prolong the cellular life and help a cell resist the scheduled death or apoptosis.

Understandably, for the sake of good health, each cell should live to its full life span before its apoptosis. Therefore, preventing the cell from premature death by avoiding pro-apoptosis is important for slowing down the aging process. At the same time, inhibiting the cell from resisting its scheduled death or apoptosis, under the influence of anti-apoptosis factor or factors is also critical in cancer prevention. Allowing cancer cells to grow will eventually damage the normal cells and organs and overtake the host’s life. In other words, finding out the etiology of cancer helps set up a strategy for cancer prevention. The question here is: what is the anti-apoptosis factor, which is responsible for the cell to resist its apoptosis?  Let’s continue to discuss and find the answer to this interesting question will emerge later.

To date, many studies have discussed the etiology of cancer.

In 1979, Schottenfeld D found that consuming alcohol and tobacco was associated with cancers of the oropharynx excluding the lips, larynx, and esophagus. He also pointed out primary liver cancer was found in those who suffered with liver cirrhosis as a result of chronic alcohol abuse.

In 1981, Burch JD et al claimed using tobacco was closely linked to cancer of the larynx in both male and female, while asbestosis exposure and alcohol were also linked to cancer of the larynx in male.

In 1989, Harris CC cited, “Carcinogenesis is a multistage process involving the inappropriate activation of normal cellular genes to become oncogenes, e.g., ras, and the inactivation of other cellular genes called tumor suppressor genes. p53 is the prototypic tumor suppressor gene that is well suited as a molecular link between the causes of cancer, i.e., carcinogenic chemical and physical agents and certain viruses, and the development of clinical cancer.” He further cited, “Some of the mutations in the p53 gene reflect endogenous causes of cancer, whereas others are characteristic of carcinogens found in our environment.” In essence, factors, which initiate cancer, exist both inside and outside the cell.

In 1997, Gross L argued that viruses caused cancer and leukemia in animals and humans. His paper states that (1) the viruses, which cause cancer and leukemia, are probably involved in a very old, latent infection that has been transmitted from one generation to another for centuries; they have still existed in most instances, which are submerged, invisible, and unrecognized, except for an occasional cancer or leukemia developing in one of their carrier hosts; (2) noclear evidence but only reasonable assumption is yet available of a viral etiologyof human tumors and leukemias; (3) induction of an ultimately fatal diseaseof their hosts and their own destruction due to an accidental activation of the oncogenic  potency of the virus by a variety of internal or externalfactors. Based on Gross’ argument, it is interesting to note viral infection alone is not necessarily causing cancer or leukemia.

In 2000, DeVita VT et al offered a list of Etiology of Cancer that includes (1) RNA & DNA Viruses; (2) Chemical Factors such as Gene-Environmental interactions; (3) Tobacco; and (4) Physical Factors such as Ionizing Radiation, Ultraviolet Light, and Asbestos.

In 2007, Dr. James F. Holland, Professor of Hematology and Medical Oncology at the Mount Sinai Hospital, New York at that time, cited 95% of the gene segment of the retrovirus is identical between Human Mammary Tumor Virus (HMTV) and Mouse Mammary Tumor Virus (MMTV). Therefore, he thought virus was responsible for a certain type of breast cancer. But, is it true that viral infection alone is really capable of causing cancer?

On the other hand, the Canadian Cancer Etiology Research Network lists genetic factors; infections; hormones; environmental and occupational; and diet and lifestyles as the etiology of cancer.

Having presented to you the above studies up to this point, the knowledge of etiology of cancer alone cannot always explain why the disease develops and how the disease can be prevented. Nevertheless, these studies help identify all possible etiology of cancer and understand: (1) There is an urgent need of finding the way of preventing the development of cancer; (2) Avoiding tobacco, alcohol, asbestos, and other toxic material, which may cause cancer development alone, however, is not effective in cancer prevention; (3) There is no possibility of wiping out bacteria and viruses to avoid infections; (4) There must be a common linkage or factor between all the etiology and the development of cancer. Thus, these “different etiologies” are just the nutshell, at most. There must be a “real etiology” or “kernel” of cancer, which initiates and facilitates the course of cancer.

We’ll be back in a moment.

Robert Su, Pharm.B., M.D., author of Carbohydrates Can Kill and host of the Carbohydrates Can Kill Show

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