(NaturalHealth365) Cancer researchers have long debated the effectiveness and supposed perils of clinical antioxidant use for patients experiencing all types of cancer. Natural antioxidants are the subject of this familiar scrutiny again – Dr. Keith Block, a progressive cancer researcher and integrative MD of the Block Institute in Chicago recently discussed however, that cancer researchers are misinformed about the multi-faceted depth antioxidant therapy can offer cancer patients, or at least not clear in their dissemination of the research to the public.
Not surprisingly, researchers chose to only highlight the potential negative effects rather than the dozens of well-established studies showing antioxidant therapy as a safe and effective cancer-treatment modality.
Cancer patients learn how to kill cancer cells safely and effectively
ROS aka reactive oxygen species found in antioxidants is the “friend or foe” in question. In healthy cells, ROS is involved in mitochondrial status and cellular multiplication. In cancer cells however, levels of ROS can increase to the point of causing advanced cellular division, an obvious problem. Dr. Block points out that cancer cells also simultaneously produce glutathione and thioredoxin – two antioxidants that help protect cells from any damaging effects ROS may impose as well as preventing healthy cellular death, unlike chemotherapy.
Pro-oxidants cause cancer cell death while leaving healthy cells intact.
Chemo, a ‘killing machine,’ sacrifices healthy cells, oftentimes leaving a mess behind throughout the body that is difficult for many to bounce back from. Antioxidants, like many other natural effective, non-pharmaceutical treatments, not only outsmart cancer cell division and cause cancer cell death, but also help healthy cells maintain optimal cellular viability.
Find ways to stay healthy and kill cancer cells naturally
This process, pro-oxidation is a selective mechanism of action where an antioxidant enters the cancer cell causing apoptosis while leaving surrounding healthy cellular tissue unharmed. When certain antioxidants interact with primarily copper ions inside a cancerous cell, it has been observed that they cause the production of ROS – but, only within the cancerous cell. If left unchecked, cancer cells may proliferate out of control – the introduction of ROS into the cell prevents this enzymatic process from taking place or significantly slowing it down.
A recent 2014 study published in the journal, Molecular Nutrition & Food Research supports the intracellular copper mobilization process. Copper, a metal ion found in cancer cells was observed to be “pryed away” from structures that hold it in place within the cell. Once copper is dislodged, natural antioxidants interact with the copper – producing effective ROS and causing apoptosis. In this particular study researchers observed plant polyphenols when introduced into cancerous cells, especially breast cancer cells in this case caused apoptosis.
The benefits of vitamin C are promising for fighting cancer
Dozens of studies have shown the pro-oxidative effects of vitamin C on cancer cells. The selectively toxic benefits of vitamin C spare healthy cells while intermediating cancer cell viability. Given in high, therapeutically guided dosages, the benefits of vitamin C elicit direct action involved in cancer cell death.
While the exact mechanisms of vitamin C activity are still being observed, epigenetic variables will be most important to continued research. Identifying genes and proteins regulated by vitamin C related to cellular phenotyping (a cell’s specific traits) will assist in personalizing therapies utilizing natural antioxidants for cancer.
About the author: Christine M. Dionese L.Ac, MSTOM is an integrative health expert, medical journalist and food writer. She’s dedicated her career to helping others understand the science of happiness and its powerful effects on everyday human health. Christine practices, writes and speaks on environmental functional medicine, personalized medicine and epigenetics, food science and sustainable living.
Cancer & Hearth Disease
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