Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: Jan 1997

Cancer Radiation Protocol Update

Nutrients that protect against the free radical damage caused by radiation therapy for cancer.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, on January 2021.

Radiation therapy for cancer inflicts tremendous free radical damage on healthy cells within the body. In certain cancers, radiation therapy is required to eradicate the primary tumor in order to give non-toxic innovative therapies an opportunity to stop further progression and/or metastasis of the tumor.

Radiation Picture An area of intense debate in the field of radiation oncology deals with the use of antioxidants during radiation therapy. While antioxidants will spare many healthy cells from the destructive effects of radiation therapy, some experts fear that antioxidants could also protect cancer cells against destruction.

One radiation oncologist who corresponds with the Foundation has been using high doses of antioxidants, along with other immune-enhancing biological response modifiers, with tremendous success.

Effects Of Genistein

A new article in Science (Aug. 23 1996) deals the effects of radiation therapy on the death rate of lymphoid cells. The article found that lymphoma cells were protected against radiation-induced destruction if they had been exposed to high levels of genistein - an active component of soy that is thought to slow cancer cell growth.

It appears that, in order for radiation therapy to kill cancer cells, there has to be a sufficient level of protein kinase activity. Since genistein inhibits protein kinase activity, some oncologists fear that it might prevent radiation therapy from killing cancer cells.

The Science findings suggest that cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy should consider discontinuing soy extracts supplements one week prior to and during radiation therapy.

The study confirms the potent effects of genistein in inhibiting cancer cell protein kinase activity, which enables cancer cells to hyperproliferate and overwhelm the body's immune system.

Here is The Foundation's Cancer Radiation Therapy protocol:

Cancer radiation therapy inflicts tremendous damage to healthy cells in the body. There are specific nutrients that have been shown to protect the body against cancer radiation therapy. The amino acid, taurine, is severely depleted when humans undergo radiation therapy. Supplementation with 2,000 mg a day of taurine is therefore recommended to people undergoing cancer radiation therapy. In animal studies, when ginseng was administered along with radiation therapy, a far greater percentage of the animals survived. Cancer patients should consider taking two to four capsules daily of Sports Ginseng by Nature's Herbs, which combines Korean and Siberian ginseng.

Shark liver oil containing standardized alklyglycerols can prevent immune impairment and irradiation injury to healthy tissues from cancer radiation therapy. Cancer patients should take six 200-mg standardized shark liver oil capsules a day for 30 days. Shark liver oil can cause an overproduction of blood platelets, so high doses should not be taken for more than 30 days.

Antioxidant supplements can reduce the amount of free radical damage produced from cancer radiation therapy. For a maximum effect of radiation therapy, it may be advisable not to take antioxidants on the days therapy is administered.

Product availability: Shark Liver Oil capsules, Taurine and Ginseng.

Avoid Forskolin If You Have Prostate Cancer

Forskolin has become a popular cell-energizing herbal extract. Forskolin appears to be effective in treating congestive heart disease, asthma, and neurologic aging. Forskolin lowers blood pressure in some hypertensives.

Forskolin is so effective in enhancing cellular energy levels that it now appears that prostate cancer patients should avoid it because it promotes androgen receptor activity that may cause existing prostate cancer cells to proliferate.

Forskolin is a potential medical breakthrough. It enhances energy production in every cell of the body. It is unfortunate that the aging process changes our cells in a way that a beneficial nutrient can have such a negative side effect. There are many men who have discovered the remarkable anti-aging properties of DHEA, only to be told that if they have an elevated PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) reading, they should not take DHEA.

The evidence that forskolin promotes prostate cancer cell division is very preliminary. The study appeared in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (Aug. 16 1996). It was an investigation of the molecular mechanisms by which the testosterone receptor blocking drugs Flutamide and Casodex inhibit prostate cancer cell division. Forskolin appeared to produce the opposite effect of Casodex and Flutamide.

For those taking forskolin for congestive heart disease, cardiomyopathy, or hypertension, we have re-printed our current prevention and treatment protocols for these dieases:

Congestive Heart Failure And Cardiomyopathy

Energy deficiencies at the cellular level cause a gradual weakening of the heart muscle until a transplant becomes necessary. These energy deficits are often a cause of congestive heart failure and many forms of cardiomyopathy. Some of the energy factors that may help restore heart muscle function have been identified.

Forskolin has been shown to improve left ventricular heart function, according to the journal Arzneim Forsh 37:364-7, confirming earlier animal studies showing that forskolin increases the contractile force of the heart.

In cardiomyopathy patients taking forskolin to reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure, cardiac stroke volume and the stroke volume index was increased by 70%. The authors of the study concluded that forskolin could be used in the treatment of severe heart failure, Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology (16/1).

Forskolin's energy-enhancing effects are due to its ability to stimulate adenylate cyclase activity and elevate cyclical adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) levels. cAMP regulates critical enzymes required for cellular energy activity. If you are going to use forskolin or any other alternative therapy to replace drugs that strengthen heart muscle contraction, extreme caution and physician cooperation should be undertaken. Tests should be conducted to make sure that sufficient cardiac output is being maintained while taking forskolin.

Forskolin comes in capsules containing 10 mg of forskolin extracted from the coleus forskohlii herb. One capsule a day is suggested for the first two weeks. An additional capsule should be taken for the next two weeks up to a maximum of six capsules a day. Caution: Do not take forskolin if you have prostate cancer.

Those who suffer from cardiac insufficiency that has been diagnosed as cardiomyopathy or congestive heart failure may be helped by taking the following energy enhancing nutrients:

  1. Forskolin - Three-to-six 10 mg capsules daily.
  2. Coenzyme-Q10 100 mg, three times a day.
  3. Acetyl-L-carnitine 2,000 mg daily.
  4. Taurine 1,500 mg a day.
  5. Magnesium 1,500 mg a day.
  6. Potassium 500 mg a day (if needed).
  7. NADH 5 mg, twice a day.
A dvise your physician about everything you are doing so he or she can adjust your treatment program.

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Garlc There are many nutrients that may reduce, or eliminate, the need for antihypertensive medications. Nutrients do not work immediately to lower blood pressure the way drugs do, so it is important to implement a nutritional blood pressure lowering therapy over a period of 4-to-12 weeks. Physician cooperation is crucial if you are to reduce your intake of blood pressure lowering drugs safely. Regular blood pressure monitoring is mandatory in order to determine if the nutritional regimen you are following is controlling blood pressure adequately. The two best documented nutrients to control hypertension are Coenzyme-Q10 (CoQ10) and Garlic. The amount of standardized garlic extract needed to lower blood pressure is between 1,500 mg and 3,000 mg a day. The amount of CoQ10 needed to lower blood pressure is between 200-and-300 mg a day.

CoQ10 should be taken in a liquid oil capsule for optimal assimilation. After following this Garlic/CoQ10 regimen for four weeks, consult your physician about reducing the dosage of your antihypertensive medications. The objective is to be able to slowly reduce your intake of drugs as the natural antihypertensive effect of the garlic/CoQ10 regimen begin to take effect. It is crucial to monitor your blood pressure, since Garlic/CoQ10 does not work for everyone.

Some people have high blood pressure because they are deficient in certain minerals that keep blood pressure in balance. Anyone with elevated blood pressure should take between 500-and-2,000 mg of elemental magnesium a day. About 80% of Americans are magnesium deficient, and low levels of magnesium are associated with hypertension and arterial disease. Even if magnesium does not correct a hypertensive condition, studies show it can reduce the risk of complications from high blood pressure such as stroke.

One of the most popular classes of anti-hypertensive drugs prescribed to treat high blood pressure are the calcium-channel blockers. These drugs are sold under trade names such as Norvasc and Procardia. Magnesium is nature's calcium-channel blocker. It inhibits excess calcium infiltration into cells. Magnesium is safe to take with the only major side effect being diarrhea when too much is taken.

In addition to magnesium, those with high blood pressure should consider taking a daily 500 mg supplement of potassium. A deficiency of the potassium can also cause high blood pressure in some people. Unlike magnesium which is very safe, too much potassium can be lethal. A blood test can reveal if you need to take additional potassium, though, considering the fact that a banana contains 500 mg potassium, it is hard to believe that anyone taking 500 mg of potassium could harm themselves. Before attempting to use magnesium and potassium to treat hypertension, please pay close attention to the caution we state at the end of this protocol.

There are other nutrients that can lower elevated blood pressure. High doses of fish oil concentrates have produced blood pressure lowering effects in some studies. It requires 8-to-10 capsules of the MEGA-EPA fish oil concentrate to duplicate those studies. There are many cardiovascular and other health benefits associated with taking fish oils, so if your gastrointestinal tractcan tolerate this high a daily dose of fish oil, then you may lower your blood pressure and gain other benefits.

Supplemental calcium may help some women lower their high blood pressure. Other blood pressure lowering nutrients include vitamin C in doses of 3,000 mg to 10,000 mg and the amino acid arginine in doses of 5,000 mg 1-to-3 three times a day. Arginine may work synergistically with ACE-inhibiting antihypertensive drugs such as Vasotec and Capoten. This is important for those with chronic hypertension who fail to respond to conventional or alternative therapies.

Forskolin can also help to reduce high blood pressure. Before taking Forskolin, read the cautions above. CAPOTEN and VASOTEC are drugs that should be prescribed by a physician knowledgeable in treating hypertension.