Heme iron raises, zinc lowers colon cancer risk The March 3 2004 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published the results of a study which found a positive association between the possible prooxidant heme iron and colon cancer, and a negative association between the antioxidant zinc and the disease. These associations were stronger among consumers of alcohol than among nondrinkers. Heme iron is found in meat and seafood and is better absorbed than nonheme iron, found in plants.
The researchers analyzed data from the Iowa Women’s Health Study, which examined cancer risk factors in postmenopausal women. The current study included 37,708 women who completed questionnaires which provided information on diet and cancer risk factors at the beginning of the study in 1986. The women were followed for fifteen years, during which 303 distal and 438 proximal cases of colon cancer were diagnosed.
Adjusted analysis found a trend of rising proximal colon cancer risk with increased heme iron intake while the risk declined with increased zinc intake, with both associations stronger in women who consumed alcohol. Zinc intake was also found to be protective against the risk of distal colon cancer regardless of alcohol intake.
Free, not bound iron has been found to cause cancer. Because alcohol disrupts iron homeostasis, it may be responsible for generating free iron, increasing cancer risk. Zinc has known antioxidant qualities, and dysregulation of certain proteins containing zinc is found more often in colon cancers than in the normal colon. In addition, iron can substitute for zinc at a molecular level and may be responsible for some DNA damage. These factors may help to explain the findings of this study. Because meat is a good source of both heme iron and zinc, this may account for the conflicting findings of studies that have examined the relationship of meat consumption to colon cancer.
Colorectal cancer A number of published reports indicate that off-label drugs (such as cimetidine) and certain dietary supplements may improve survival in patients who have undergone conventional therapy. Please read this entire protocol before initiating the various recommendations because there are certain cautions to consider that should be discussed with your physician.
The following is a summary of what a colon cancer patient should consider as an adjuvant approach to conventional therapy:
Cimetidine, 800 mg each night for 12 continuous months.
Curcumin, 900 mg, 4 capsules 3 times a day.
Lightly caffeinated green tea extract, 350 mg, 5 capsules, 3 times daily with meals. If caffeine interferes with sleep, take decaffeinated capsules in the evening. Each capsule should contain at least 100 mg of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).
Se-methylselenocysteine, 200-400 mcg daily in divided doses.
CoQ10, 100-300 mg daily.
Fish oil: 8 capsules of a supplement called Mega EPA supply 3200 mg of EPA and 2400 mg of DHA.
Vitamin D3, 4000-6000 IU, taken daily on an empty stomach with monthly blood testing to monitor for toxicity. Reduce dosage at 6 months.
Water-soluble vitamin A, 100,000-300,000 IU daily, with monthly blood testing to monitor for toxicity. Reduce dosage at 6 months .
Vitamin E succinate, 800-1200 IU daily.
Gamma E Tocopherol/Tocotrienols, 200 mg daily.
Modified citrus pectin, 15 grams daily in 3 divided doses.
Vitamin C, 4000-12,000 mg throughout the day.
Whey protein concentrate-isolate, 30-60 grams daily.
Zinc is a mineral essential for formation of superoxide dismutase, one of the body’s most important free radical scavengers and one that cannot be directly supplemented. Zinc also promotes wound healing, immune function, taste sensitivity, protein synthesis, insulin production, and reproduction including organ development and sperm motility.
Vitamin A (retinol) is a yellow, fat-soluble solid terpene alcohol obtained from some carotenoids by conversion in the liver, its storage organ. While carotenoids are widely distributed in such foods as green and yellow vegetables, retinol is not found in any vegetable sources, but is concentrated in egg yolks and the livers of many animals. Vitamin A, either from animal sources or synthesized in our own liver, is essential for growth and reproduction, maintaining healthy vision, and supporting protein synthesis and cell differentiation.
Vitamin A and its analogs have shown the ability to help maintain proper DNA function.