Dr Byers, supplements and increased cancer risk – Same turgid old stuff.

It seems every five years or so, someone is appointed to jump up and warn us all about Vitamin Supplements and their dangers.

This time Dr Byers got the short straw.

The problem is that we’ve heard it all before, the same research, the same generalisations – and we know the answer.

Out comes the same one-off research study (following an indicative study) on beta-carotene and smoking. Then there is research on vitamin E which has little benefit and may even do harm.

Neither supplement would I touch anyway. Both mass market supplements in the main are deficient, synthetic copies of the real thing. In nature beta-carotene is available in cis- and trans- forms, but only one is used in the common supplement. Vitamin E is worse. Most studies involve synthetic alpha-tocopherol, just one of the eight variants found in nature. In my book it should not even be called vitamin E (it’s fraud).

Synthetic vitamins, for me, carry the same basic risks as synthetic drugs. Natural vitamin E is easy to come by. Put out a bowl of nuts and seeds – a handful of sunflower and pumpkin seeds will give you the four tocotrienol vitamin Es – shown to be much better than tocopherol in fighting cancer anyway.

Folate supplementation is, quite possibly, a threat to all these highly profitable cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, which are under soooo much pressure at the moment from leading heart specialists. They have been linked to a range of secondary illnesses from diabetes to eye sight problems; and research is now questioning whether they do lower death rates from heart attacks and strokes.

Folate, again, is a vitamin you should get from your diet – eat your greens!!!! If you are short you are in trouble. If you have a healthy microbiome (gut bacteria) and eat properly you will be fine; too much you might be in trouble. It has an RDA in ‘micrograms’ for that reason.

But what I love is the way the ‘research’ extrapolates a study on synthetic beta-carotene and smoking to warn the listeners on supplements in general. It would be like me saying that since one drug, Vioxx, killed 48,000 Americans and is now banned, people should be careful when using any drugs because their benefits are questionable and there is clear evidence of significant risks.

Mass market vitamin supplements have limited benefits, although Centrum produced a study a couple of years back showing their multivitamin reduced cancer risk by 7 per cent – this would extrapolate to 22,000 less people with cancer in the UK alone next year. In 2003, the French produced the Su Vi Max study which had followed 17,000 people on selenium and zinc, vitamins E and C and beta-carotene – that showed 31% fewer male cancers (but little change for women); and 37% less deaths overall from cancer over the study period.

I am much more interested in bioactive natural compounds such as vitamin D, curcumin, fish oils, sulforaphanes, CLA, MCP and another 60 with Epigenetic benefits. Now they are interesting. Even Dr Young S. Kim of the NCI in her research on foods that could stop cancer stem cells re-growing, said these could be taken as quality supplements.

Ok. It’s diary time. Which doctor, or preferably professor wants to author this same study on the risks of supplements in 2020?

I’ll have this Junk Science article ready to re-run then too.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 

 

Everybody is missing the point on screening mammography

A debate has sprung up over the last few weeks. It is not a new debate; it concerns mammography. Recently there has been research that shows 4000 people in the UK are unnecessarily treated as a result of ‘Over-diagnosis’ by screening mammograms. The ‘pro’ side immediately says ‘1300 lives are saved and have to be set against this’. And then journalists from the Telegraph and BBC jump in on the act. Unfortunately, few know their facts. I won’t be updating our article on mammography at CANCERactive because, as usual, we were well ahead of this debate. What I thought you might like to read is the essence of my piece to the Telegraph, and why I think everybody seems to be missing the important issue:

Firstly, there is no confirmed research data that mammography saves 1300 lives a year in the UK. Until recently the Cancer Research UK website admitted that fact. There are various studies and reports, for example, showing the figures of 1300, 850 and zero. Take your pick.

Secondly, whilst people have been debating issues such as over-diagnosis and unnecessary treatment and distress, the debate has missed the fact that mammography can likely cause breast cancer. For example, about 25 per cent of breast cancers are linked to inherited genes where the person usually has one of the pair defective, and only one operating correctly. American research is quite clear that these people are at greater risk of developing breast cancer if sent off from an early age for an annual mammogram ‘to be safe’. The cumulative radiation is statistically far more likely to damage a single gene than a pair.

Thirdly, some ‘diagnosed’ women consider having double mastectomies. The idea of a double mastectomy is palpable non-sense with no evidence whatsoever in terms of numbers over who might have been prevented from developing cancer! Cancer is an all over body disease with symptoms like cancer markers, low blood oxygen and poor immune response evident throughout the body. If you have a BRCA1 or 2 problem, it will cause poor immune recognition or DNA replication control everywhere in your body. If a woman has toxic chemicals in her body, they will not only collect in the fatty breast tissue but in other such tissue too.

Fourthly, to add to the confusion, about 50 per cent of the ‘irregularities’ detected by mammography are lobular, and 50 per cent ductal. While Christies, Manchester were warning some 5 years ago that DCIS could be extremely dangerous and were looking at trials to see which drug might be used to prevent an aggressive cancer developing, at the annual Breast Cancer Symposium in America a paper was presented showing that DCIS was caused by calcium deposits, and 80 per cent never became cancers. The finding that women with the highest blood levels of vitamin D and omega-3 do not develop breast cancer may be linked to their effects with calcium.

European research has shown that depending on the density of the tissue, screening mammography may be only 65 per cent accurate at best. Other studies have shown that in order to detect the cancer it has to be of sufficient size – a size produced by about 20 cell divisions. At 40 you are dead. Screening mammography is neither accurate nor early detection.

How many of the 4000 women who are then unnecessarily treated die as a result of the chemotherapy drugs provided? How many have impairment to their heart and/or lungs as a result of radiotherapy? Is it is more than the 1300? But surely even this question is off the point: Why are we using such an outdated and inaccurate system which can lead to quite barbaric consequences (double mastectomy?).

Surely, the energy, time and the money would be better spent developing blood tests that are already coming through from private companies in Nottingham and America that can spot cancer in the pre-cancer stages.

This argument about screening mammography is completely off the real point and is propagated by vested interests. How many hospitals and cancer centres would be stuck with an expensive machine if an accurate blood test were available tomorrow? (Although I should point out that mammography is the current gold standard once a cancer has been confirmed and further information is required.)

The real question we should be asking is this: ‘How do we develop a simple, accurate and early diagnosis test for cancer?’ The answer has nothing to do with mammography.

For a fuller report see:

http://www.canceractive.com/cancer-active-page-link.aspx?n=1420&Title=Breast cancer screening and cancer risk

http://www.canceractive.com/cancer-active-page-link.aspx?n=666&Title=False Positive Mammograms

http://www.canceractive.com/cancer-active-page-link.aspx?n=671&Title=Mammograms and Obese Women

http://www.canceractive.com/cancer-active-page-link.aspx?n=2644&Title=The Development of Thermal Imaging

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,