Searching for Answers for Cancer Patients is a three-part discussion starting with a critique of the current standard of care, all the way to the latest therapies that alternative medicine has to offer. In part I, Dr Schachter presented a critical analysis of current conventional cancer standard of care practices. In part two, Dr Schachter discussed his concerns about integrative oncology and its tendency to accept conventional treatment as a given, critiqued various diets for cancer patients, and discussed what he believes to be important areas for the cancer clinician and the cancer patient to consider as part of a total program. (Note that although Dr. Schachter discusses integrative oncology in the part 2 radio program, this discussion is included in the written summary of Part I, as the topic seemed more relevant to his discussion about conventional oncology, which was discussed in Part I.)
There are many different opinions on the best diet for cancer patients, but actually there is no one diet that works for all. Every cancer is different and every individual is different and has his or her own needs. However, there are some general principles to which most alternative practitioners and nutritionally oriented clinicians agree. These principles are not shared by most oncologists, who have little training or knowledge about nutrition as it relates to cancer patients.
- Eliminate processed, refined foods which contain refined sugars and carbohydrates as much as possible
- Eliminate hydrogenated fats that contain trans fatty acids (labels should be checked carefully)
- Eat whole foods that are not genetically modified and use organic foods as much as possible
- Avoid foods containing artificial sweeteners, preservatives, pesticides and other chemicals
- Drink water free of chlorine, fluoride and other chemicals
- Diets should contain a wide variety of vegetables of different colors and textures.
Where there is considerable disagreement is what the relative amounts of carbohydrates, fats and proteins in the diet should be.
While Dr Schachter had previously suggested that the ketogenic diet, which consists of a diet very low in carbohydrates, moderate in protein and high in healthy fats, may be beneficial for most cancer patients, he has not seen a lot of evidence to maintain this recommendation. For example, Dr. Thomas Seyfried, a strong advocate for the ketogenic diet for all cancer patients, has only 2 case histories in his recently published book “Cancer as a Metabolic Disease”, and these 2 case histories are not that convincing in Dr. Schachter’s opinion. The diet tends to ignore issues related to the importance of carbohydrates and their possible role in helping the body to fight cancer. Glycoproteins are proteins that contain carbohydrates and roughly 50% of the proteins in our body are glycoproteins. These glycoproteins are very important with regard to the immune system and the body’s ability to fight cancers. By focusing on a ketogenic diet, which emphasizes fats and proteins, Dr. Schachter is concerned that the importance of high quality carbohydrates is being ignored. He mentioned that there were reported long-term survivors with stage 4 cancers that were not on a ketogenic diet, and have thrived quite well using the Gerson, Kelly and other diets, which contain more carbohydrates than recommended in ketogenic diets. However, he does suggest that cancer patients on the ketogenic diet will generally do much better than those on the Standard American Diet (SAD).
While a low fat-high grain diet was once thought to be beneficial, that notion seems to be fading fast, as evidenced by Dr David Perlmutter’s book “Grain Brain”, which has been on the NY Times Best Seller list since being released in September 2013. Dr. Perlmutter’s thesis is that diets that are high in carbohydrates and foods containing gluten predispose to the development of Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative diseases, including cancer. Using many studies from peer-reviewed medical journals, Dr. Perlmutter explains how diets high in carbohydrates tend to increase blood sugar, which leads to the glycation of proteins (sugar combining with proteins in the body). This process tends to increase inflammation and the formation of free radicals, all of which contributes to the formation of degenerative diseases, including cancer. This book would be a good read for cancer patients as it explains how the high fat diet may turn out to be helpful for cancer patients as well as patients with other degenerative diseases. As mentioned previously, Dr Schachter suggests that it is best to concentrate on a whole foods diet, reducing or eliminating refined and processed foods, including foods containing added sugar and white flour and that one should eat many vegetables (including at least some raw vegetables and fresh vegetable juices), include some low sugar fruits, high quality organic eggs and other high quality animal products with an emphasis on grass fed animals.
Moving on we got into what other strategies cancer patients should be focusing on, Dr Schachter suggested we get a good dose of intelligent sun exposure to sunlight directly on skin without it being blocked by sunscreen. The problem here is that for many of us, especially those living in northern latitudes in the USA (e.g. New York, Boston, Chicago areas), we make vitamin D when exposed to sunlight only 6 months of the year. We do not make any vitamin D from November to May. So, we have to rely on other sources of vitamin D, such as supplements.
Ingestion of fat-soluble vitamins (especially vitamins D, K2 and A) should be considered in the prevention and management of cancer. In his view, this extremely important area is totally ignored by conventional physicians and mostly ignored by practitioners doing integrative oncology. However, fat soluble vitamins have the potential for being toxic and must be taken with knowledge and clinical monitoring. Dr. Schachter believes that optimal serum levels of vitamin D status, as measured by the blood serum test for 25 hydroxy vitamin D [abbreviated 25(OH)D], constitutes one of the most important factors in keeping one healthy and protecting against the development of cancer. He further believes that levels of this test recommended by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine (above 20 to 30 nanograms/deciliter or 50 to 75 nanomoles/Liter) are entirely too low for optimal health. Furthermore, he believes that the recommended daily intake of 600 IU of vitamin D3 is also much too low for optimal health. These view are supported by many physicians and scientists who are members of the Vitamin D Council (www.vitamindcouncil.org).
Fat soluble vitamins, such as vitamins K2, A and E, all work synergistically for optimal health and are necessary for optimal use of Vitamin D. Dr. Schachter dispelled the confusion regarding vitamin K. K1 is what is found in green leafy vegetables; it primarily activates enzymes involved in blood clotting. Vitamin K2 functions mainly to activate enzymes that move calcium around the body into the bone (osteocalcin) and out of the arteries and joints (matrix GLA). K2 is essential if one is taking high doses of D3, which increases calcium in the body. In addition to these functions, vitamin K2, according to some preliminary studies plays a role as an anti-cancer nutrient as well. Preliminary studies indicate that it does this by activating another set of enzymes in the body. Dr Schachter also advises other supplements that supply high quality minerals in a balanced form that promotes healing.
Iodine may be needed in individualized dose to improve thyroid function, immune function and the optimal functioning of all the cells in the body; several associated nutrients need to be given including vitamin C, selenium, magnesium, unrefined salt, and sufficient water; these help to prevent strong detoxification reactions as a result of the release of bromine from the tissues when iodine is given in milligram quantities. These higher milligram doses rather than microgram doses help to enhance anti-cancer functions in most if not all cancers, but certainly in cancers of the thyroid, breast, ovary and prostate. Dr. Schachter says that some of the most famous alternative cancer specialists like Dr. Max Gerson, who used Lugol’s solution and Harry Hoxsey, who used potassium iodide, believed that milligram doses of iodine/iodide were crucial to their anti-cancer programs. Dr Schachter said that in testing his patients using a random urine iodine test, iodine is deficient or at least suboptimal in most cancer patients.
He reminded us to avoid exposure to toxic substances, including toxic minerals like lead, mercury and cadmium, but also organic toxins like pesticides. Detoxification to help remove toxic substances from the body with the use of chelation, saunas, exercise and possibly even coffee enemas and other procedures that help with detoxification.
The main thing is to work out a program where all the elements work as a team to prevent and/or manage cancer with the patient not being overwhelmed by the program.
Join us Tuesday February 11th for Part III of this series. For the written summary of Part I Click Here
In part III we will talk about why vitamin D affects so many symptoms and systems in the body, Brian Schaefer’s new book on Salvestrols, and ways of improving the results of conventional cancer treatment as discussed in Ralph Moss’ book “Customized Cancer Treatment”.
Replay Part I and II via the following links or via iHeart RadioTalk under the heading Spreakers.
Dr Michael Schachter: Searching for Answers for Cancer Patients, Part I
December 10th, 2013– http://hipcast.com/podcast/H1tlrkJs
Dr Michael Schachter: Searching for Answers for Cancer Patients, Part II
January 21st, 2014– http://hipcast.com/podcast/HZ2hF9js
~~If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any~~
MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: Reading the information in this post does not constitute a physician-patient relationship. The information included in this post is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with your healthcare provider regarding a medical condition or any treatments.
Dr. Michael B. Schachter is a magna cum laude graduate of Columbia College and Columbia P&S Medical School in NYC. He is also a Board Certified Psychiatrist and a Certified Nutrition Specialist. Dr. Schachter has been involved with nutritional and integrative health care for 35 years. A leader in alternative cancer therapies, EDTA chelation and orthomolecular psychiatry, he is a past president of the American College of Advancement in Medicine (ACAM). He has authored numerous articles and was a major contributor to the large chapter about him in Burton Goldberg’s classic “Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide to Cancer”. His published 2010 paper “Integrative Oncology for Clinicians and Cancer Patients” helps to guide patients in developing a cancer treatment program. His latest article published in 2013 entitled “Integrating Nutrition and Selected Controversial Nutritional Supplements into a Cancer Treatment” is an abridged and updated version of his 2010 article. In 2010, Dr. Schachter received the Humanitarian Award from the Cancer Control Society in California. He has a special interest in the role of iodine in health and disease. Dr. Schachter is the director of the Schachter Center for Complementary Medicine in Suffern, NY.
More information about Dr. Schachter and the Center are available at the website: www.schachtercenter.com. Many articles by Dr Schachter can be accessed from this site, including the two articles mentioned above.
Elyn Jacobs is a breast cancer survivor, professional cancer strategist, speaker, and the Executive Director for the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation. Elyn empowers women to choose the path for treatment that best fits their own individual needs. She is passionate about helping others move forward into a life of health and well-being. Elyn has been featured on CNN Money, Talk About Health, and Breast Cancer Answers and has written for the Pink Paper, Breast Cancer Wellness, Integrative Oncology Essentials, Surviving Beautifully, Body Local and more, and writes the Options for Life column for the Natural Healing-Natural Wellness Newsletter. Elyn hosts the Survive and Live Well Radio Show on the Cancer Support Network. Elyn lives in New York with her husband and two young boys. https://elynjacobs.wordpress.com/about/
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