Highlight on Cancer
Cancer is the second largest cause of death in the United States and most of us have lost at least one person that we loved dearly from cancer. In some families the numbers are staggering.
This month, in the news, I came across three articles on cancer prevention.
Two articles involve foods that are preventative against cancer and the third discusses a link between sleep disruption and light exposure. Many of us in integrated healthcare have known about the link between disturbed sleep and artificial light exposure for a long time. Read on for the details…
It is known that the sleep deprivation from shift work disrupts circadian rhythms and is an independent risk factor for cancer. This has been seen in the nursing profession for some time.
A recent study in Cancer Journal posted the results of artificial light exposure during sleep. This study tested the cancer risk of women who were exposed to high intensity light in their sleeping environment had 22% higher odds of developing breast cancer.
Note from Dr. P: The combination of the information from the shift work studies and the light exposure at night study, drive home a very important point.
The point is that our bodies are programmed by light. Not artificial light, natural light.
Waking up with the sunrise triggers certain chemical compounds to be released. Going to bed within 1-2 hours after sunset, in complete darkness, allows the release of chemical compounds and hormones that work to repair and restore our bodies. Specifically, in the evening, there is a hormone cascade that is released from our brains under the cover of complete darkness: Melatonin is released which triggers prolactin, prolactin then triggers growth hormone, similar to a domino effect.
When we interfere with this process by staying up late, working through the night with artificial light, going to sleep in front of the TV, it stresses our system, promotes fat storage, pre-maturely ages us and increases our risks of developing breast cancer.
Cancer Journal this month also listed two foods that should be incorporated into our diets to prevent cancer growth and progression.
The first, is for all of you men out there. Pomegranate juice has been popular since 2006 when a UCLA study found it to reduce PSA (prostate specific antigen) levels in a dose of 8oz/day. A recent study out of UC Riverside found pomegranate juice to slow the growth of cancer cells and thereby the metastasis of prostate cancer to bone.
Note from Dr. P: If you are a man over 50 the only juice you should be drinking is pomegranate or blueberry juice. 4-8oz/day to kick back your vitamins and decrease inflammation.
The second food should come as no surprise, Broccoli. If you haven’t heard about the cruciferous vegetables assisting with cancer prevention you must live under a rock! For at least a decade conventional and integrative doctors have been promoting the benefits of the cruciferous vegetable family. The members are: broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, and cabbage. These vegetables have many beneficial anti-cancer constituents. Namely, sulforaphane, and indol-3 carbinol. In this study participants were supplemented with air-dried broccoli sprouts and broccoli powder in capsules. Participants taking the sprouts had higher absorption and excretion.
Note from Dr. P: It really is logical that the sprouts would be absorbed well. They enzymatically are more alive and have more energetic potential then pulverized broccoli powder. Good news for all you folks who hate eating vegetables, take capsules of broccoli sprouts. For the rest of you out there, each week buy at least one cruciferous vegetable!
Don’t know how to prepare these vegetables? Check out my new cookbook!
-Be Healthy, Happy & Holistic