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Nutritional healing for cancer ART OF QI


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Sunday October 22, 2006

Nutritional healing for cancer



NUTRITION is the mainstay of good health, and therefore of disease prevention, and healing. I have already discussed at length what the anti-cancer diet should be, and the importance of antioxidants that scavenge the free radicals that cause ageing, disease and cancer. There are many other nutrient groups that are essential for good health, and for fighting cancer.


Vitamins C and E have been described under antioxidants. Vitamin A is another anti-oxidant vitamin, but since it can be toxic at high doses, it is preferable to take its precursor, beta-carotene (pro-vitamin A), which is water-soluble, and much safer. It is especially beneficial against breast and lung cancer. Other than having potent antioxidant power that fights cancer, all of them have other health benefits.

The vitamin B group is essential for cell metabolism, which is indispensable for good health. In a recent study, women who consumed the most vitamin B6 had a 34% lower risk of colon cancer than women who consumed the least B6. The benefits appeared greatest for women who drank two or more alcoholic drinks per week.

Vitamin B17 or laetrile (main source is apricot kernel), although still controversial, has helped many cancer patients. For cancer treatment, very high doses are required. It is available here as a supplement powder. However, it is banned in the US.

Most know the importance of vitamin D for bone health and preventing osteoporosis. Recently, researchers have discovered that vitamin D levels also determine how well the lungs work. Low vitamin D levels have also been linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer.

Research shows that vitamin D may help reduce the risk of colon, breast, prostate, and ovarian cancers. This may explain the paradox that exposure to the sun actually reduces the risk of getting lymphoma and leukaemia.

While sun exposure is the leading cause of skin cancers, the resulting increased vitamin D production protects against some other cancers. The smart way to benefit is to go out in the sun in the mornings (before 10am) when the UV rays are less harmful, and to protect yourself with sunscreen thereafter.

Vitamin K plays a crucial role in many bodily functions, but until recently, has been poorly researched. Its role in our coagulation system is well known. What is exciting is that it may be a key anti-ageing and anti-cancer vitamin. It is a stronger antioxidant than vitamin E or co-enzyme Q10! Japanese researchers found that vitamin K may help in fighting diabetes, certain types of cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.


There are probably over 80 minerals and trace elements (needed in minute amounts) that are essential for our good health.

Without certain minerals, many hormones, enzymes, co-enzymes, vitamins and cell activities cannot even function. Some of these functions may be crucial to the immune system, and in preventing or fighting cancer.

Whilst most of you know that minerals are important and may be taking mineral supplements, many may not be taking the right supplements. A fruit and veggie diet will be rich in minerals, but if your diet is not balanced, you will need supplements. If you have cancer, for nutritional healing, you must take mineral supplements too.

It is absolutely essential that if you take a mineral supplement, it must be food-based, that is the minerals must be organic so that the molecules are small enough for the cells to absorb. Many cheap mineral supplements, even if absorbed by your intestines, only increase the blood levels without making the minerals readily available to the cells.

The cheapest calcium carbonate supplements, for example, are only 5-10% absorbed by the cells. The high circulating inorganic calcium instead may increase the risk of gallbladder and kidney stones. Drinking mineral water made from dissolved rocks (“mineral pot”) may also give you high inorganic (harmful) calcium intake. Taking chelated minerals (combined with amino-acids or peptides) can increase the absorption up to 40%.

Enzymes and co-enzymes

Digestive enzymes are necessary for proper digestion of food so that nutrients can be absorbed and used by the body. Metabolic enzymes and co-enzymes are necessary to initiate, facilitate and accelerate many cellular metabolic activities.

For example, superoxide dismutase is necessary to change superoxide free radicals to less harmful products. Thus like many other enzymes, it is also an antioxidant. Co-enzyme Q10 is necessary for energy production, besides being a strong antioxidant. With their varied roles, it is easy to realise how important they are to maintain good health.

Unfortunately, as we age, enzyme production declines. Combined with our modern diet, which has less fresh fruits and veggies, many of us end up with poorly-digested food and are therefore deprived of whatever little nutrients still available in the food eaten. If you are over 40 and not eating fresh raw food, you should start considering taking enzyme supplements with your cooked meals. It will do wonders for your digestion and bowel habits.

In nutritional healing, those with cancers are advised to reduce protein intake because undigested protein rots (putrefaction), and cancer itself is a “rotting” disease (if you have seen advanced cancer cases, especially if the tumours are external, you will know what I mean). It is very important that cancer patients take digestive enzymes at every meal when protein is eaten to ensure complete digestion of the protein.

Probiotics (friendly bacteria)

There are more bacteria in our intestines than there are cells in our whole body. These bacteria definitely affect our health. In fact the first gift a mother gives to her baby when giving birth the normal way is a dose of protective friendly bacteria (probiotics).

The friendly bacteria (Lactobacillus vaginalis) in the healthy vagina keeps the environment there free from harmful infections, and the same friendly bacteria, when they contaminate the baby as it comes through the birth passage, become the first residents of the baby’s intestinal tract.

Provided that the mother is healthy, the baby will have 80-90% healthy bacteria colonising the intestines if he is fully breast-fed.

Bottle-fed babies are more exposed to unfriendly bacteria, and unhealthy mothers will of course give unfriendly bacteria (pathogenic bacteria) instead of the friendly ones.

As the child grows, especially in this modern day junk food plus antibiotic era, the friendly bacteria are gradually replaced by pathogenic bacteria. Just reflect upon how a child’s faeces gets “dirtier” as he/she grows. By adulthood, the typical human has 80-90% unfriendly bacteria.

Friendly bacteria also have many other functions. They provide an estimated 60% of our immune defence by preventing invaders from ever entering our body through the intestinal and genital tracts. Some produce vitamin K for us.

A healthy bowel is the first step towards having a healthy body. The protective and preventive benefits of friendly bacteria extend beyond the intestinal tract. If your bowel is healthy, your skin will also be healthy and glowing, and your internal organs also healthy and functioning well.

Food you eat will be properly digested and you will get much of the nutrients they contain. Your stools will be “healthier” and bowel movements regular.

If you already have cancer, taking steps to revitalise your bowels with enzymes, probiotics and fibre will be a very important step towards recovery.

Some probiotics can kill pathogenic bacteria that even the most expensive antiobiotics cannot kill. A study at our own University Malaya showed certain probiotics can kill the supergerm E. coli O-157, which has caused many deaths in homes and hospitals worldwide, and antibiotics could not kill this particular strain.

Probotics can be found in uncooked fermented foods like yoghurt or tempeh. Fried tempeh is useless. Since probiotics are living organisms, the best probiotic supplements are those that have the bacteria in living liquid or paste form (even encapsulated paste).

The liquid form will have to be refrigerated. Freeze-dried powdered (or in capsules) forms are convenient because they may not require refrigeration, but the potency of the bacteria after reconstitution may not be fully restored.


We need about 30 gm of fibre daily to maintain good health. Soluble and insoluble fibres together add bulk to the stools, help regulate digestion and absorption of glucose, fats and nutrients, and help improve your bowel regularity and bowel health.

Fresh raw veggies and certain fruits are rich in fibre (and enzymes and other nutrients as well), so that is why my anti-ageing and anti-cancer diet is based on these. Processed and refined foods are usually depleted of fibre and good nutrients. If somehow you refuse to take veggies, then you have to take fibre supplements. Visit www.superqigong.com for more information.

Many studies have shown that fibre may prevent colon cancer. However some studies didn’t show the same results. If you understand my message above that for proper bowel health, adequate enzymes and probiotics are also necessary, then maybe the reason why the results are not consistent is because they did not look at these other factors.

If you have all three, plus adequate fluid intake and enough exercise (which also influence your bowel habits), then you can expect protection not only from colon cancer, but other cancers and other diseases too.

Happy Deepavali to my Hindu readers and Selamat Hari Raya to the Muslims.

Dr Amir Farid Isahak is a medical specialist who practises holistic medicine and has been teaching qi gong for more than 10 years. He is the former president of the Guolin Qi Gong Association, Malaysia. You can e-mail him at starhealth@thestar.com.my. The views expressed are those of the writer and readers are advised to always consult expert advice before undertaking any changes to their lifestyles. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to the content appearing in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.

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