Life Extension Update
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American Cancer Society 2005 report estimates half of cancer deaths preventable
According to the report, 570,280 cancer deaths will occur in 2005, with 168,140 caused by tobacco. One-third of the projected deaths will be caused by poor nutrition, lack of exercise, or being overweight. The American Cancer Society recommends that people emphasize plant sources in their diet by consuming five or more servings of vegetables and fruits each day, and by limiting processed grains and sugars, and red meat. Alcoholic beverage consumption should be limited. With 65 percent of American adults classified as overweight or obese, calorie consumption should be carefully balanced with physical activity.
A large number of projected deaths from cancers of the breast, cervix, colon and rectum could be prevented if men and women participated in regular screening for these cancers. Ninety-seven percent of breast cancer patients diagnosed at the localized stage are alive at five years, making early detection of the disease critical. Colorectal cancer, if diagnosed and treated early, has a 90 percent five year survival rate, yet the failure of the majority of individuals to take advantage of screening tests for this cancer has resulted in only 39 percent of the cases diagnosed in their early stage. Improved insurance coverage for colorectal cancer screening procedures is recommended to increase their use.
The fact that half of the deaths from this major killer could be avoided is good news, and should encourage better nutrition and greater participation in cancer screening. While tobacco use continues to decline, obesity is increasing, making an awareness of proper nutrition and exercise even more critical.
Cells operate under the direction of genes located in the DNA. Our existence is dependent on the precise genetic regulation of all cellular events. Healthy young cells have nearly perfect genes. Aging and environmental factors cause genes to mutate, resulting in cellular metabolic disorder. Gene mutations can turn healthy cells into malignant cells. As gene mutations accumulate, the risk of cancer sharply increases.
Human studies show that about 70% of gene mutations are environmental and, thus, relatively controllable based on what we eat, whether we smoke, or exposure to genotoxins or radiation (Ljungquist et al. 1995; Herskind et al. 1996; Finch et al. 1997). Antioxidant supplements have become popular because they reduce gene damage inflicted by free radicals. However, it takes more than antioxidants to adequately protect genes against environmental mutation.
The first line of defense against the many carcinogens in the human diet are agents that prevent gene mutation. Many antimutagenic agents have been identified in fruits and vegetables, the most potent being the indole-3-carbinols, the chlorophylls, and chlorophyllin (Negishi et al. 1997). The traditional dietary antioxidants should be considered only as a secondary line of defense against cancer because it is more important to inactivate or neutralize carcinogens in the first place than to try to protect the cells and proteins downstream from their effects.
It has been estimated that the DNA in each cell of our body suffers 10,000 oxidative hits per day, leading to the formation of more than 20 different oxidative DNA lesions.79,80 Human studies show lifestyle and other environmental influences may profoundly modify outcomes of aging.
It is not just environmental toxins that pose a concern. Foods cooked at high temperature also inflict cellular damage. Deep-fried foods along with well-done beef steak, hamburgers, and bacon cause the formation of gene-mutating heterocyclic amines. Even so-called healthy foods contain small amounts of undesirable substances.
Chlorophyllin is the modified, water-soluble form of chlorophyll that has been shown to have DNA protective and antioxidant properties. Chlorophyllin also quenches all major oxygen species and acts to protect mitochondria.
Indole-3-carbinol is a plant compound from cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower, that has shown impressive results in maintaining healthy cell growth. Broccoli contains several compounds that help maintain healthy DNA function. The broad-spectrum benefits of cruciferous vegetables have now been combined into one capsule. The proprietary 3:1 blend of broccoli sprout concentrate provides sulforaphane for immediate absorption and glucosinolates, which must be broken down in the body to provide a broad spectrum of isothiocyanates.
Unlike other products on the market that contain only the isothiocyanate sulforaphane, I3C with Standarized Broccoli contains standardized levels of glucosinolates. Glucosinolates are precursors or the “parent” compound that include a natural spectrum of isothiocyanates.
Katie Couric: A personal tragedy sparks a public campaign to prevent colon cancer, by Matt Sizing
All that seemingly changed overnight in 1997, when her husband, television legal analyst Jay Monahan, was diagnosed with the disease. A fit, trim, healthy non-smoker in his early forties—with no family history of colon cancer—Monahan certainly did not give the appearance of a man at risk of contracting this lethal disease. Despite access to the best doctors and treatments available, however, Jay died of colon cancer at the age of 42, following a courageous but brutal nine-month battle against the disease.
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