The B-vitamin inositol and its derivative IP-6 (Inositol hexaphosphate) is an anti-oxidant with many health benefits for human health. It is important for regulating vital cellular functions such as signal transduction, cell proliferation, and differentiation. IP-6 offers significant protection against cancer and it also helps to lower cholesterol, prevent kidney stones, and reduce the complications of cardiovascular disease.
Recently IP-6 has received much attention for its role in cancer prevention and control of tumor growth, progression, and metastasis. IP-6 works by increasing your body’s Natural Killer Cell activity. NK cells target cancerous cells as well as invaders such as virus, bacteria, fungus, and molds. NK cells are also a part of the Th1 immune system, which is commonly depressed in cancer patients. IP-6 has also shown to revert cancer cells back to normal by its ability to increase the differentiation of malignant cells.
IP-6 is a selective agent against cancer cells. Cancer cells are high in iron content, so IP-6 directs most of its attention to abnormal cells since IP-6 acts as a selective iron chelator. It removes iron from tumor cells (stealing one of its major food sources) which deprives them of their primary growth factor. Importantly, IP-6 does not remove iron from red blood cells which are tightly bound to hemoglobin. Therefore, unlike cancer drugs, healthy cells are not affected by IP-6.
IP-6 and Tumor Suppressor Genes
IP6 has been shown to alter the expression of proteins produced by the p53 (TP53) and p21 genes (cancer suppressor genes) that control cancer growth.
The p53 gene regulates cell division by keeping cells from growing and dividing too fast or in an uncontrolled way. Inactivation of the p53 tumor suppressor is a frequent event in tumorigenesis. In most cases for those with cancer, the p53 gene is mutated, and the accumulation of those mutated proteins is regarded as a hallmark of cancer cells. Mutated P53 cannot regulate cell growth and division effectively. Specifically, the altered protein is unable to trigger apoptosis in cells with mutated or damaged DNA. As a result, DNA damage can accumulate in cells (this is common with CHEK2 mutations).
When the DNA in a cell becomes damaged by things such as toxic chemicals or radiation, P53 plays a critical role in determining whether the DNA will be repaired or the damaged cell will self-destruct (undergo apoptosis). If the DNA can be repaired, p53 activates other genes to fix the damage. If the DNA cannot be repaired, this protein prevents the cell from dividing and signals it to undergo apoptosis. By stopping cells with mutated or damaged DNA from dividing, p53 helps prevent the development of tumors.
Mutant p53 proteins not only lose their tumor suppressive activities but often escalate the development of cancerous tumors by providing them with growth and survival mechanisms. Interestingly, mutations in the p53 gene were shown to occur at different phases of the cancer process, contributing to tumor initiation, promotion, aggressiveness, and metastasis.
P21 is controlled by p53, and can be significantly correlated with lymph node metastasis, distant metastases, advanced TNM stage (a classification of cancer staging that stands for: tumor size, describing nearby lymph nodes, and distant metastasis), depth of invasion, and overall survival rate. To read more on p53, click HERE.
IP-6 also inhibits MMP-9 secretions. Matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) plays important roles in tumor invasion and angiogenesis. Secretion of MMP-9 has been reported in various cancer types including lung cancer, colon cancer, and breast cancer.
Circulating Tumor Cells
It is important to remember that it is not the primary tumor that kills us, but rather the metastatic disease post-treatment that kills us. When cancer spreads to other areas in the body it is called metastasis. In order to spread, a cancer cell must first detach from the primary cancer and move though the wall of a blood vessel to get into the bloodstream.
These mobile cancer cells are called circulating tumor cells (CTCs). When CTC’s enter the bloodstream, the circulating blood sweeps them along until they stick somewhere, usually in another opportunistic position that enables it to lodge and multiply.
This is a complicated journey as the immune system is designed to rid the host of these cells. Therefore, some of the time CTC’s are not problematic. However, in a host (you) with cancer and therefore with the likelihood of a weak or dysfunctional immune system, well, you can see how the risk increases. (A simple blood test can determine the existence of circulating tumor cells in the body. At this time, the only lab I know of that will readily offer this test is Quest Diagnostics. If your insurance company does not use Quest, you may need to petition them for it.)
Hence, reducing circulating tumor cells (CTC’s) and using other strategies to prevent metastases should be the focus of treatment once individuals have treated the primary tumor and are addressing the primary cause of the dis-ease. IP-6 seems to be the new kid on the block when it comes to targeting CTC’s (along with Modified Citrus Pectin*).
It is well known that the potent antioxidant and immune enhancing properties of IP6 can play a vital role in the prevention and treatment of cancer cells. It Sadly, IP-6 goes unused as a cancer treatment, which makes no sense. Further, IP-6 enhances the efficacy of cancer drugs such as Adriamycin (a popular chemotherapy) and tamoxifen. Yet again, it goes unused by the traditional medical community even as an adjunct therapy.
It is up to you, the educated patient, to be sure you are taking advantage of all that is available to you to heal from your cancer.
Summary of IP-6 benefits:
• Inhibits cell proliferation and progression
• Helps stop cancer growth
• Induces differentiation of malignant cells
• Supports the p21 and p53 genes (tumor suppressor genes) that control cancer growth
• Inhibits metastasis by interfering with the CTC adhesion, migration, and invasion
• Induces apoptosis (cell death) in many cancer cell lines
• Inhibits angiogenesis (new blood vessel growth for tumors)
IP-6 is easily absorbed into the gastrointestinal tract and has been found to be safe. It can be found in many plant sources and in high-fiber foods such as seeds, bran, cereals and legumes. It can also be taken in supplement form. You can find IP-6 in most health and drug stores. However, don’t get the cheap versions of this stuff—be sure to buy a reputable brand. For your convenience, you can find IP-6 here on Amazon.
*Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP): Helps with detoxification and inhibits circulating tumor cells (CTC’s) from latching onto the lining of blood vessel walls, reducing the risk of metastases.
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Elyn Jacobs is a breast cancer survivor and holistic cancer strategist who helps people make better, healthier, non-toxic choices. She emphasizes the critical nature of addressing the root cause of cancer and not just its presenting symptoms (such as the tumor). Elyn specializes in understanding the role of estrogen in breast cancer and debunks the myths associated. She brings a plethora of knowledge to her practice and will help you think outside the box so you can incorporate every lifeline you may need for long term survival. Elyn is a Contributing Editor for The Truth About Cancer and was creator and host of the Survive and Live Well Radio Show on the Cancer Support Network. She is on the Medical Advisory Board for BeatCancer.Org and is on the Advisory Board to the Radical Remission Project. Contact Elyn via her website. Elyn offers consults via Skype, phone or in person.
Elyn does not endorse alternative modalities as a cure for cancer. She provides information solely for educational purposes only.
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