cancer

Functional medicine: an alternative treatment for cancer: Fitter Food Radio episode 11

I’m listening to  Fitter Food Radio episode 11 with Jo Gamble on Embracing Nutrition.

It is quite fascinating. Focusing on Jo Gamble explaining the value of functional medicine for health.

Jo is a nutritional therapist and functional medicine practitioner who specialises in alternative treatment for cancer.

I’m getting to know the show so I can only comment on this episode. I’m always interested in different approaches to help and I like the way Jo tells her story. So I share for reference.

Functional medicine certainly sounds interesting but so do most approaches in the hands of a good promoter. The problems cited with the existing health system we’ve all heard before. I like the holistic approach we hear from Jo.

Though I’m still curious how much we really know and how much relies on the ability of the practitioner. The same can be said for the existing system as much for alternatives.

Jo makes the point that

doctors knowledge of nutrition is often not as good as our own

Given how much Doctors are required to know along with the lack of support to help them gain this knowledge and keep it up to date. I feel it is important to keep considering other ways of achieving the same result. Helping people gain health.

What are the things Jo says are critical to preventing cancer through lifestyle

  • enough sleep: atleast 8 hours
  • stress: too much leads to problems.

These are the things I see across all diseases. The same lifestyle factors leading to disease. Lack of sleep prevents your body fixing itself and dealing with problems. Of course this leads to disease, why would it not.

To much stress overworks you creating too much damage. It also prevents sleep and thus stops any repair.

Thanks to Matt Whitmore and Keris Marsden for an excellent show.

What is Functional Medicine?

Wikipedias introduction is:

Functional medicine reflects a systems biology approach which involves an analysis of how all components of the human biological systeminteract functionally with the environment over time. The Institute for Functional Medicine contrasts this approach with an organ system biology broken down into modern medical specialties.

Functional medicine, in agreement with modern medicine, holds that the entire “patient story” needs to be heard and understood in context in order to truly help the patient.[6] Where functional medicine differs from mainstream medicine is its willingness to employ treatments and drugs which may not be well evidenced by clinical research, including orthomolecular medicine and detoxification of unevidenced toxins.

Related links

How activity and exercise improves your health

For years we have been told that exercise is good for us. Now the evidence is becoming indisputable.  Being inactive is as bad as smoking or drinking too much alcohol. It could even be more serious than that.

Over the years I’ve found so much information I didn’t know what to do with it. I mainly shared it through my original blog or kept it private hoping to share it when I found the right approach. For many of these articles I’ve now been waiting years which just isn’t helping anyone.

I recently realised my blogs are the perfect medium on which to share because I’m most interested in the discussions and debate around this topic. I don’t feel I have the answers, I share because I’m interested in learning and using what I learn to help me on my journey through life.

I have now started to organise all I have found and it’s re invigorating my dreams because the message really is about living your life. The act of living itself is what we must do. Moving is living. Activity to me isn’t just physical it is mental and emotional. Thinking about things makes your brain active, experiencing emotions involves both your brain and your body.

For now most information will be about physical activity because that is what is most available. Though I am looking for and finding interesting articles in all three areas. Over time this and all the other posts will grow as I continue this life journey.

Diseases

For now I’m creating a series of articles covering the various topics related to activity and health. So far I have published:

Key articles

Activity is so useful throughout life that I’ve also compiled a list of the main articles worth reading to build your general knowledge.

Useful Reading

Here is more useful information

New evidence that exercise produces cancer fighting chemicals

I found this a while ago and just came across it again. A study has found evidence that exercise can produce chemicals which suppress cancer. We all kind of know it can help but it’s really powerful to find evidence showing real protective benefits. Of course more research is required but this is extremely promising.

Learn more about Fitness v Cancer

Thanks the original Conditioning Research article I discovered this in.

Battling Cancer through exercise

Moving to fight cancer
The basic concept in this blog is that ‘fitness is the absence of disease’. It is widely recognised that the fitter you are the less disease you are likely to have now, or in future. The ongoing question I have is whether fitness itself could actively promote health over disease? (more…)

Feast and Famine: Is that what our bodies expect?

I was in the Open University library a couple of weeks back. I had the urged to pop down the human biology section and see what caught my eye. I know I shouldn’t admit to that because it’s far too sad, but that’s how much this stuff fascinates me.

Anyway I picked up a book named ‘Human Biology and Health: An evolutionary approach‘ and I was hooked at the first. I can’t remember every detail but basically began forming a few theories based on what I have already read. I also used other references but can’t for the life of me find them. So I’ll just have to launch in.

What does it do?

The theory I was working on is basically a way toxins can build up in the body and how they can be got rid of. With this knowledge we can adjust our lifestyles to take advantage of this. Eliminating toxins from our body should be a great way of minimising their bad effects. Much like taking out the trash.

How does it work?

The way this works is because the body has certain mechanisms in place to get energy from cells that aren’t needed by the body or are marked as dangerous. This mechanism is not used if you eat plenty. Thus those who eat less than others are more likely to use it and thus get rid of bad things from their body. I think I’ve held off putting this out there in case anyone reads this too literally. You still need to eat enough high quality food to thrive. My approach is through using intermittent fasting so I flush my body with great food regularly so I’m always healthy. Then when I think it’s full of nutrients I fast for a day or so to encourage my body to break up the bad cells for food and get rid of their contents.

More detail please!!!

Ok, here I’ll explain this in a little more depth.

From human biology and health I came across a possible explanation why people who eat little could live longer.  The theory began with how toxins build up in the liver and ultimately cause it to fail. The process would work like so:

  • Toxins in food get absorbed in the gut and sent to the liver.
  • The liver doesn’t get rid of toxins so they get more concentrated.
  • Toxin build up causes problems and these mount up.
  • Organs start failing.
  • Then you die.

Then I came across research that showed that our body actually obtains energy from devouring its own cells. It’s also not a random act. The immune system is constantly patrolling our body through killer B and T cells. Any bad cells that can’t be devoured on the spot are marked for deletion. Since we’ve normally lived in periods of feast and famine you body seems to assume that during the next period of famine these cells will be lost and the body will be cleaned.

The main problem these days in western societies is that few of us have problems getting enough to eat all year round. Thus it’s entirely possible that we’re all slowly building up bad pollutants and cells in our bodies and over time their effects show as all the diseases and problems that affect western society. Before modern times our lifestyles got rid of these toxins. These days they don’t and they build up and cause problems.

What’s the evidence?

Obviously that’s a big claim and I can’t vouch for exactly how much it all stacks up. It does make sense in a logical way though. That our bodies mark up cells for deletion is something I’ve heard a lot before. That they’d be the first to go if we couldn’t get enough food. That makes sense too. That only recently has there been enough food for all. That’s well known. That all those who reach truly exceptional ages over a hundred are all on the thinner side and seem to eat frugally in general. That seems to be the case too.  I have noticed many times that while larger people can be very healthy there seem to be less and less of them that make it to an older age. That said I’m not sure if they just get thinner as they get older so maybe they were larger when younger but not when older.

What also makes sense is that cells that have become cancerous would, in theory, be ejected from the body in this way reducing the likelihood that a cancer could take hold. It also implies that without this mechanism the risk of all related diseases would be higher. That seems to be the case according to health statistics.

I do wonder if our bodies are essentially well adapted for feast and famine and thus our constant feast is something we’re not suited to. If that’s the case then coming up with safe ways to implement a famine (I’d prefer just a simple fast of a morning or a day) could be useful. As long as we’re aware of the risks and don’t get carried away. Don’t forget just living your life according to hunger. That often works for me. If I’m not hungry I don’t eat. If I am I do.

Another easy and useful way to create a famine like situation is being active which helps for two main reasons.

  1. Firstly, moving makes your body work the way it’s supposed to. Exercise creates a demand for energy within the body forcing the food from the famine to be put to use and forcing the cells to use the food properly to get stuff done.
  2. Secondly, being active every day burns a few more calories. It doesn’t mean much in the short term but adds up to a lot over the long term.

This sounds like a very simple answer to a complex problem. The beauty is it that it uses what is currently known to explain how we could survive in the tough conditions we’ve faced over the years. There could easily be a lot that I haven’t thought of or I could have misinterpreted things. Either way I look forward to your comments and seeing if this theory holds water over time.

Learn more about the effect of physical inactivity on disease worldwide and what you can do to help prevent obesityinsulin resistanceheart disease and Diabetesdementia and alzheimers and even Cancer through exercise.
Feast and Famine: Is that what our bodies expect? first appeared on my original blog. Cell Your Sole is my new focus for health posts so I’m re posting relevant articles here.

Can you reverse insulin resistance


I read an article Insulin resistance and pre diabetes and just had to report the findings of the major study they refer to.

‘lifestyle changes reduced the risk of diabetes by 58 percent’

The main recommendation is to be active and eat well.

I just wanted to make the point that insulin resistance can be reversed. They also found that many people with pre-diabetes, symptoms that often lead to diabetes, returned to normal.

So anyone out there who’s worried about or has been told they have or are likely to get diabetes. There are options for you and they don’t all involve medicine. Simple approaches like looking at the balance in your life and including activity and adjusting your foods can make a big difference

These days diabetes type 2 is generally considered a self inflicted disease. The up side is that it means you can help fix it yourself with the right advice.

Summary

If you’re in a rush here is the take home message in one paragraph.

Insulin resistance occurs because your body forgets how to deal with sugar. This leaves sugar flowing through your body causing lots of damage. Exercise creates a big demand for sugar forcing your body to remember how to deal with it. Making sure sugar doesn’t get to flow where it shouldn’t, minimising the damage sugar can do. Improving your health in the process.

What is insulin resistance?

Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body produces insulin but does not use it effectively. When people have insulin resistance, glucose builds up in the blood instead of being absorbed by the cells, leading to type 2 diabetes or prediabetes

Insulin resistance means that the cells start losing their natural response to the presence of insulin and so sugar is no longer used properly within the body. This is because the levels of a cell component named Glucose Transporter 4 (GLUT4) fall. GLUT 4 responds directly to the presence of insulin and encourages cells to take up sugar. GLUT4 is the glucose transporter found in (skeletal) muscle and fat (Adipose) cells

This can lead to sugar shortages within the cell and an inability to clear sugar from the blood. Both situations can have serious consequences. This is often compounded by the pancreas secreting more insulin in an effort to trigger great uptake of glucose within cells. Over time this feedback loop can overload the pancreas and create problems in producing any insulin at all.

How important is insulin resistance?

The size of the problem can be large because insulin resistance affects two thirds of the human body since it effects both muscle and fat cells which account for around two thirds of an average humans weight.

Why does insulin resistance develop?

The reason insulin resistance occurs is because the body is constantly adapting to our lifestyle and looking for ways to save precious resources. When you lead an inactive life you rarely create a big demand within your cells for carbohydrate. So the GLUT4 receptors are lost by the cell. There seems no need for them.

How can you reverse insulin resistance?

What is not commonly known is that regular exercise can reverse insulin resistance by increasing the number of GLUT 4 receptors within cells. Research shows that exercise places a high demand on the bodies carbohydrate (sugar) stores. It tests its ability to mobilise and use carbohydrate to power the muscles to create movement. Most of the adaptations that happen when you get fit are designed to conserve carbohydrate by using it efficiently. As a result the body will increasingly prefer fat as a fuel. Small amounts of exercise have been shown to have a big impact on the bodies ability to regulate carbohydrate.

Benefits of reversing insulin resistance

It is becoming increasingly clear that insulin resistance causes obesity and diabetes. Not the other way around. If you consider How exercise combats Heart Disease, Insulin Resistance and Diabetes then you will find that learning how to move more can tackle insulin resistance. In turn this can help tackle:

  • Obesity
  • Coronary Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Cancer

Often because all these problems are strongly linked to an inability to handle sugar properly.

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Can you reverse insulin resistance first appeared on my original blog. Cell Your Sole is my new focus for health posts so I’m re posting relevant articles here.

The cancer ecosystem

I just came across Game theory and the treatment of cancer. A fascinating article considering the ecosystem within a cell and organism as relevant to the understanding of Cancer.

I much prefer this more holistic view because much of what I’m learning shows cancer and the viruses and bacteria which cause it to be involved in the same kinds of struggles as all the other lifeforms we know about.

I don’t see cancer as a lifeform but I do see that it has a strong urge to manipulate the environment to its own ends, often to reproduce itself. It most certainly requires another organism to live but then if you considered the earth to be a cell then the effects humans have had on it as a species could easily be considered a metaphor for cancer. The scale is different. The effect very similar.

Game theory is exciting because it’s designed to explore and understand the relationships within ecosystems. So by approaching cancer in this frame of mind you can draw new inferences. There are many cancers we can’t cure yet. What if we had a natural treatment. Maybe not a cure but something that limited the cancer in someway.

One idea is that many cancers compete with each other. If you make the ecosystem right for one type of cancer and it will out compete the others. So what if you could promote the less aggressive cancers over the more aggressive ones. Much like promoting grass and wheat for farming over other plants. Make the cancer work for us in some way. A patient in this situation will still have cancer. Just a less aggressive one that we we may know how to control.

Considering an ecosystem the approach is more about redirecting the flow of interactions towards a better ecology for the patient. Instead of destroying the flora and fauna of a cell indiscriminately. This concept is very much in its early days but is a welcome addition to the traditional reductionist methodology. My analogy is that we didn’t get where we are with physics until we fully understood the atom (Ok, almost fully understood). We still don’t know everything at the minutest (quantum) level but we can describe and manipulate the basic atomic ecosystem reliably and efficiently. Understanding the whole has been as important as understanding the specific.

When that happens the quality and quantity of the solutions available increased immeasurably.

This is all part of understanding the relationship between fitness and cancer