Searching for Answers for Cancer Patients has been a wonderful series on my radio show, Survive and Live Well, created to empower cancer patients to take control of their health, navigate treatment choices, enhance and improve the efficacy of treatment and to boost quality of life.
In Part I, Dr Schachter presented a critical analysis of current conventional cancer standard of care practices and opened our eyes to explore all options. In Part II, 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 shared what he believes to be important areas for the cancer clinician and the cancer patient to consider as part of a total program including the incorporation of vitamins D, K2 (MK4), A and iodine into the treatment program.
In Part III Dr Schachter and I discussed ways of improving the results of conventional cancer treatment–specifically the various tests which help clinicians determine which therapies might be most helpful for a particular patient, as examined in Ralph Moss’ book Customized Cancer Treatment. We also critiqued Brian Schaefer’s Salvestrols: Journeys to Wellness.
We kicked off Tuesday’s conversation (Part IV) with a huge appreciation for Ann Fonfa and another amazing conference. If you have not yet been to one of the Annie Appleseed Project conferences, you might want to consider going–excellent speakers, content and delicious organic meals.
We then discussed Vitamin D at length, delving into the extensive list of health problems that can be managed or resolved with the judicious use of Vitamin D, especially when used along with other fat-soluble vitamins such as K2 and Vitamin A.
Here are some conditions that may be helped with vitamin D:
– Osteoporotic fractures
– Adjuvant TBC therapy
– Respiratory infection/influenza risk
– Pregnancy outcomes
– Periodontal disease
– Insulin sensitivity & diabetes
There is supportive medical literature in peer-reviewed journals for each of them and several have more than one study. For all of these conditions, there is evidence for a causal connection between serum 25 (OH) D levels and the various health benefits, as shown by a number of randomized double-blind placebo controlled studies. For cancer, we have only one successful randomized control study showing that an extra 1,100 IU of vitamin D given daily to a group of older women for 4 years reduced the cancer rate in those women by about 70%. This study was published in 2007. Dr. Schachter believes that more studies like this haven’t been done because vitamin D is a natural substance that can’t be patented. As a result, there is little economic motivation to carry out these expensive clinical trials.
I questioned Dr Schachter as to why vitamin D can be helpful for so many conditions. It turns out that the hormone derivative from vitamin D (1,25 Hydroxy D) is formed in cells all over the body and functions as a type of password for other stimuli to up-regulate or down-regulate the expression of various genes.
What most of us learned in high school biology, college and medical school was that vitamin D (also called cholecalciferol) was formed in the skin from cholesterol in the presence of ultra violet B rays from the sun (also from tanning machines) or from a small number of foods like certain fish. This cholecalciferol then migrates to the liver where a hydroxyl group (-OH) is added to form 25 Hydroxy Vitamin D. The 25 Hydroxy D circulates in the bloodstream. The level of this substance in the bloodstream is the best available measure for the vitamin D status of the body. Everyone agrees that this is what happens in the body.
The NEXT IMPORTANT STEP IS WHAT IS NEW. The old teaching was that 25 Hydroxy D circulates in the bloodstream until it reaches the kidneys. Then another hydroxyl (OH) group is added to form 1,25 Dihydroxy D which is the active hormonal derivative of vitamin D. According to this old teaching, this derivative form of vitamin D then leaves the kidney, enters the bloodstream and travels to various organs, enters them goes into the cell and the nucleus of the cell to activate various important enzymes.
RECENT INFORMATION INDICATES THAT THIS IS NOT THE ONLY WAY THAT 1,25 DIHYDROXY D IS FORMED IN THE BODY. IT TURNS OUT THAT EVERY CELL IN THE BODY IS CAPABLE OF MAKING 1,25 HYDROXY D FROM 25 HYDROXY D. So, when an organ or a cell needs 1,25 Hydroxy D, it obtains 25 hydroxy D from the bloodstream and within the cell, converts the 25 Hydroxy D to 1,25 Dihydroxy D. In order for this to occur optimally, there needs to be relatively high concentrations of 25 Hydroxy D circulating in the bloodstream. Thus, every cell in any organ is capable of making this active form of 1,25 Hydroxy D if sufficient 25 Hydroxy D is present. THIS IS HOW THE 25 HYDROXY D AFFECTS THE FUNCTIONING OF EVERY CELL (ORGAN) IN THE BODY. It is important also to realize that every time this 25 Hydroxy D acts, it is destroyed where it has its effect within the cell. So, it is important to keep the 25 Hydroxy D level optimal, so that it is constantly available to do its job.
Both the optimal serum level of 25 Hydroxy D and the dosage of vitamin D as a supplement are extremely controversial at this time. The position of the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) is that everything is fine if the 25 Hydroxy D level is 20 nG/dl and certainly great if it is 30 nG/ml. The vitamin D council presents lots of evidence to indicate that above 40 is optimal for many functions AND A FEW RENEGADES LIKE DR SCHACHTER THINK THAT BETWEEN 60 AND 100 IS OPTIMAL, ESPECIALLY FOR SERIOUS CONDITIONS LIKE CANCER. One of the best lectures he has seen and highly recommends about vitamin D was done by Robert P Heaney MD. It can be seen at the website: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Za2H5oTXJY. In this lecture Dr Heaney gives a great explanation of how vitamin D can be helpful for so many conditions.
Regarding the importance of vitamin A and how it works together with vitamin D, Dr Schachter explained how vitamin D combines with D receptor, vitamin A combines with vitamin A receptor (RXR) and these two components combine together to enter the nucleus of the cell to affect the up and down regulation of genes. This generally results in an up-regulation of anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer genes and a down-regulation of pro-inflammatory and pro-cancer genes.
Dr Schachter also suggested to us that it is critical to have sufficient Vitamin K2 in order to ensure that calcium is bound and held in bones and at the same time is removed from our arteries, joints or other tissues where it doesn’t belong. Vitamin K2 also inhibits cancer cell lines, such as colon, breast, leukemia, brain and many more. Dr. Schachter discussed the two forms of vitamin K2 that are available in supplements (Menadione 4 or MK4 and Menadione 7 or MK7). Although most supplement companies are using MK7, Dr. Schachter prefers to use MK4 for a variety of reasons, one of the most important of which is that only MK4 has been involved with successful randomized double-blind placebo controlled trials.
We also spoke about the inverse relationship of vitamin D intake and various cancers, including melanoma—great motivation to get some sunshine (or take the supps). We tackled the argument by dermatologists that our lives depend on the liberal use of sunscreen. Dr Schachter debunked that myth—just please remember that while sunscreen usually contains toxic ingredients and blocks the absorption of vitamin D, sunburn is not the goal. Stick with an anti-inflammatory diet (natural sunscreen) and enjoy some sun—just don’t overdo it.
If you would like more information regarding Vitamin D, there are several books and websites that Dr Schachter recommends, though all of them have some limitations. One could start with books by Michael Holick MD, PhD: The UV Advantage and The Vitamin D Solution. He also likes the book Vitamin D3 and Solar Power for Optimal Health by Marc Sorenson Ed.D.A great deal of information can be obtained from the Vitamin D Council website, though they charge $5 a month to keep up with their latest information. You may also want to replay Parts I, II, III and IV of this series.
We wrapped up the conversation with kudos to Peter Gotzche for his brave work and incredible book Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Healthcare, as well as Dr Kelly Turner’s extensive research on the radical remission of cancer and her book Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds. Both of these books will give you powerful insight on taking control of your health and finding the best path to wellness. You will gain valuable insight into the dangers of operating out of fear when you intuition tells you the treatment may be far worse than the disease. Dr Turner was on Survive and Live Well on April 1, 2014, and Dr Gotzche will be on the show in May.
Replay the Searching for Answers series on Survive and Live Well via the following links or via iHeart RadioTalk under the heading Spreakers or Health or via www.schachtercenter.com.
Searching for Answers for Cancer Patients, Part I
December 10th, 2013– http://hipcast.com/podcast/H1tlrkJs
To read the summary of Part I, Click Here
Searching for Answers for Cancer Patients, Part II
January 21st, 2014– http://hipcast.com/podcast/HZ2hF9js
To read the summary of Part II, Click Here
Searching for Answers for Cancer Patients, Part III
February 11th, 2014– http://hipcast.com/podcast/HBxnqhps
To read the summary of Part III, Click Here
Searching for Answers for Cancer Patients—Part IV–The Wrap Up
March 25, 2014– http://hipcast.com/podcast/HVNGyq2s
~~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. Also, several of Dr. Schachter’s lectures on DVD are available for a fee. Available DVDs can be seen by clicking on the option on the home page.
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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