Tag Archives: cancer

Reishi, an adaptogen to support the Heart

ganoderma_lucidum BPotD

Reishi is the Japanese name for Ganoderma lucidum, a mushroom known as Ling zhi in Chinese medicine. Similar species are found from the Amazon rain forest to the Arctic and have similar tonic uses. The mushroom is known to be powerful and features in myths about raising warriors from the dead. While it lacks that specific property, the mushroom is used for everything from increasing blood quality to treating cancer. Mycelial extracts done well on wooded substrates have similar to superior healing characteristics to those of the whole mushroom according to mycologist Paul Stamets. Nonetheless the mushroom itself excites users, with its antler or mushroom forms and red shiny surface.

The ganodermas (black G. lucidum, red G. lucidum, G. oregonense, G. tsuga, G. adspersum and G. applanatum) are tonic, immune strengthening, protect against cancer, have anti-tumor properties, calm the spirit, protect and clear heat from the central nervous system, open the heart, lower serum cholesterol and are good for adrenal fatigue and for depression and anxiety. They enter all five zang organs. They have anti-allergic effects, inhibiting histamine production and stabilizing immunoglobulin levels. They lower blood pressure, are antioxidant, antiviral and antibacterial. Combining with astragalus, atractylodes and Ren shen increase phagocytosis, promote immune globulin formation, promote lymphocyte transformation, and induce the generation of interferon. Chinese mountain climbers use Ling zhi to alleviate altitude sickness by oxygenating the blood.Hokkaido_Reishi's_Deer_Horn_Shape_Reishi

I learned from a Thai doctor with a cancer practice, Santi Rosswong, to make a water decoction of Ganoderma lucidum (Ling zhi) with 10% cordyceps [Dong chong xia cao] for stamina. But since the polysaccharides in ganoderma are quite long, it has been shown to be more effective if the decoction is taken with not less than 500 mg of vitamin C, and 5 mg of folic acid each time. (The vitamin C is based upon Japanese research by Morishige and the folic acid is based upon Santi’s clinical experience.) Take several tablespoons (or more) every three hours. The most important dose is just before retiring, which should be larger. Take the folic acid and vitamin C with each dose.

There are two types of tinctures. One uses a concentrated decoction and adds alcohol to stabilize it. When I make it, I learned from Chris Hobbs to shoot for 25% alcohol to protect the polysaccharides, to ensure that I got between 22% and 28%, the lower number for spoilage and the upper number being a maximum for the polysaccharide protection. This appears to be the best formulation for immune system effects. The other way is to use a high alcohol formation to get the triperetenes, but I understand that this destroys the polysaccharides and differs significantly from the constituents extracted in traditional uses or from powdered extracts. It may have stronger CNS effects however. I know several herbalists who make a high alcohol tincture and add it to the subsequently decocted marc to get the best of both (and they understand that the high alcohol just makes the polysaccharides clump together on the side of the tincturing vessel but does not destroy them). There is not a consensus.

Ling zhi has various steroidal compounds, long chain polysaccharides, bitter triperetenes such as ganodermic acid and some volatile oils. Unlike Echinacea which activates macrophages, ganoderma is not believed to stimulate the immune system directly. It is probably an immune regulator rather than an immune stimulant. Ling zhi mushrooms get to the bone marrow and induce the marrow to put on more nucleated marrow cell mass, according to Jia. The marrow then increases B-cell production, which in turn increases antibodies. The DNA and RNA made in the bone marrow increases production of lymphocytes. This very deep immune nourishing means that it may be appropriate for AIDS patients although the patient should not suffer from undue dampness. For cancer therapy, combined with other fu zheng herbs, Ling zhi can be quite useful, even for patients undergoing chemo and radiation. Hobbs recommends low dose decocted ganoderma with cinnamon bark and orange peel as a tonic drink (for those not suffering from undue dampness) and I find that preparation, with roasted dandelion or chicory, combines well with coffee, helping neutralize coffee’s negative effects.

(Karen S Vaughan, adapted from Chinese Herbal Academy post 8-26-2000)

Reishi on log
Reishi on log

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Does it matter if I eat acid-forming foods? Not when you look at the research.

There is a widespread idea among health-seeking eaters that one ought to avoid meat, dairy and other “acid-forming foods” in favor of vegetables. The theory is that your body needs alkalizing foods or acid blood will leach minerals from your bones . Generally the effect is to get people to eat more vegetables, but after reading about this for 20 years I have to say that the evidence for the theory itself isn’t compelling.

First, what is an acid-forming food?  Lemon juice is acid but it stimulates the release of magnesium which alkalizes.  Vinegar (another acid) gets classified both ways, but it does function similarly to lemon juice.  The makers of alkaline water like Kangen believe that alkaline water makes the body alkaline.  Generally meat, dairy, sugars and some fruits are shown on the “acidifying” side while vegetables, good oils and most fruits (except blackberries) are shown as “alkalizing”.  Some of the foods on lists are backed by research from the 50s and 60s, while others are conjecture.  The problem is that the body has complicated feedback systems, food is eaten in groups and at different times of the day and constitutions differ.

A healthy stomach secretes gastric acid at a  pH of 1.5  to digest food, including meat, and that extreme acidity triggers the esophageal sphincter to shut.  The acid kills disease-bearing organisms and opens the sphincter at the bottom of the stomach to let the food get treated by bile, probiotic organisms and the intestines.  If you have reflux, you generally have too little acid, so the esophageal sphincter doesn’t close and the lesser acid bubbles up where it can cause harm. (Starting the meal with bitters can help your liver and stomach produce sufficient acid, but you may need to take betaine hydrochloride, especially if your gallbladder has been removed. )  So if your body is producing hydrochloric acid at an extremely low (acidic) pH of 1.5, how does eating beef with a less acidic pH of 5.5 hurt your body? And why would lemon juice with a pH of 2 be better than meat?

Diagram of alkaline Mucous layer in stomach wi...
Diagram of alkaline Mucous layer in stomach with mucosal defense mechanisms (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So is alkaline blood good for your health?  Well no.  First of all you need to keep your blood essentially neutral with the slightest alkalinity.  Second eating acid or alkaline food has very little effect on your blood pH because you automatically breathe deeper or pee more (but it does affect urinary pH).  And if it were an issue, why do alkaline conditions translate into disease? For instance, low-protein vegans with alkalizing diets tend to have alkaline UTIs.  Mercola believes that alkaline water is only safe for short term detoxification.  A study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry found that alkalosis (rising cellular pH) causes alkaline-induced cell death as a result of altering mitochondrial function.  Mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell and their dysfunction causes serious diseases like diabetes and Parkinson’s. Researcher Robert Gilles, who has studied tumor formation and acidity found that tumors make their own acidity even in an alkaline environment.  Scientists developing new anticancer agents that selectively kill tumor cells by interfering with the regulation of intracellular pH, have found that alkaline treatments do not have the desired effect – but strongly acidic treatments do. A  Swedish well water study found that drinking either significantly alkaline or acid water was undesirable, which suggests that drinking water with a pH between 6-8 is best.

Some old studies did show that eating a high meat diet could stimulate the release of calcium in the urine, but that effect stops after a few weeks (and the initial studies were only a week or two long.) Ten years ago a research group at Yale and the University of Connecticut under Dr. Karl Insogna began investigating the effect of dietary protein on bone health, believing that to be true.  Actually it proved that urinary calcium was not from bones, but caused by a more efficient calcium uptake in the gut from dietary protein.

The body has mechanisms to keep the pH (measure of acidity or alkalinity] within a very narrow neutral range of 7.38 and 7.42.  If your blood pH is 6 (slightly acid)  or 8 (slightly alkaline), you can sicken and die.  So your body has a variety of ways to buffer acidity or alkalinity.  The body regulates the acid/alkaline balance primarily through the amount of carbon dioxide ( CO2) exhaled in the lungs and the acidity of urine. If the blood pH drops too low and becomes acid, the body will compensate by increasing breathing, expelling CO2,  so fewer hydrogen ions are free and the pH will rise back to normal. For too much alkalinity the opposite occurs.   Any shifts in acid/alkaline balance in the blood are minor and transient.

 

As Wikipedia says:

The body’s acid–base balance is normally tightly regulated, keeping the arterial blood pH between 7.38 and 7.42.[1] Several buffering agents that reversibly bind hydrogen ions and impede any change in pH exist. Extracellular buffers include bicarbonate and ammonia, whereas proteins and phosphate act as intracellular buffers. The bicarbonate buffering system is especially key, as carbon dioxide (CO2) can be shifted through carbonic acid (H2CO3) to hydrogen ions and bicarbonate (HCO3) as shown below.[2]

rm H_2O+CO_2 leftrightarrow H_2CO_3 leftrightarrow H^++HCO_3^-

Acid–base imbalances that overcome the buffer system can be compensated in the short term by changing the rate of ventilation. This alters the concentration of carbon dioxide in the blood, shifting the above reaction according to Le Chatelier’s principle, which in turn alters the pH. For instance, if the blood pH drops too low (acidemia), the body will compensate by increasing breathing[3] thereby expelling CO2, and shifting the above reaction to the left such that less hydrogen ions are free; thus the pH will rise back to normal. For alkalemia, the opposite occurs.

The kidneys are slower to compensate, but renal physiology has several powerful mechanisms to control pH by the excretion of excess acid or base. In response to acidosis, tubular cells reabsorb more bicarbonate from the tubular fluid, collecting duct cells secrete more hydrogen and generate more bicarbonate, and ammoniagenesis leads to increased formation of the NH3 buffer. In responses to alkalosis, the kidney may excrete more bicarbonate by decreasing hydrogen ion secretion from the tubular epithelial cells, and lowering rates of glutamine metabolism and ammonium excretion.

So my conclusion is that moderation is key, where water should not be significantly far from neutral and food should have a balance of acidity and alkalinity.  Eat real food, organic pasture-raised meat, local fruits and vegetables and don’t sweat the pH.

I don’t endorse this chart, but it shows common beliefs about alkalizing foods.  It isn’t that simple:

See Also:

 

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What is the Right Vitamin D Level?

Vitamin D
Vitamin D

The symptoms of low vitamin D levels are subtle and difficult to distinguish, given that receptors are found in most organ systems in the body and affect genetic transcription in cells. For chronic pain the Mayo clinic suggests that Vitamin D deficiency is the first thing that should be considered. Vitamin D deficiency contributes to depression, osteoporosis, osteopenia, osteomalacia, rickets, periodontal disease, seasonal affective disorder, increased susceptibility to colds and flu, colon cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, malignant melanoma, Continue reading What is the Right Vitamin D Level?

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Cordyceps for stamina, against cancer

Cordyceps ophioglossoides

Cordyceps sinensis has been part of my anti-cancer formulas for many years, since Thai doctor Santi Rosswong suggested that I add it to my reishi formulas for stamina.  It appears from recent research that the herb stops cell proliferation as well.

Cordyceps is a strange herb, a fungus that colonizes then kills an insect, as shown in a BBC  video (with one of the other 680 described cordyceps species found on 6 continents.)  When the Cordyceps sinensis fungus attacks a Continue reading Cordyceps for stamina, against cancer

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How To Get Vitamin D from the Sun

How do you get enough Vitamin D from the sun?  If you can fulfill the following, you might get enough:vitamin-d

  1. You live south of Atlanta in the winter.
  2. You are in the sun from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.
  3. Your body is mostly uncovered.
  4. You go without sunscreen for at least 15-20 minutes.
  5. You don’t use soap for 48 hours.
  6. You repeat the process in 72 hours.
  7. Your skin is not dark, either from genetics or suntanning. (You may need six times as much exposure if your skin is dark.)

Unless you fit all of these conditions, you need to supplement.  And a multi-vitamin or calcium plus D supplement will NOT have enough Vitamin D, nor will your milk.  You need to supplement with high iu Vitamin D3, preferably above 4000 iu.  If your blood 25 hydroxy D test is below 70 (ignore “high”, “medium” and “low” because that is based on the averages of a D-deficient population,) then supplement it.  The exception is if you have scleroderma or similar abnormal calcium metabolism.

Other ways to supplement:  frequent consumption of liver, preferably from organic animals.  Shitake or other mushrooms dried gill side up in the sun on a daily dose of about one ounce dry weight, cooked long and low.

Calculations from studies on Vitamin D show that, for every person who dies of skin cancer from UV overexposure, more than two hundred will die from other cancers, like lung, breast, prostate and colon, as a result of low vitamin D levels.

See Related Posts:

Vitamin D Regulates the Immune System

Nursing Mothers, Infants and Vitamin D

And More On Vitamin D

Vitamin D Prevents Cancer, Type 1 Diabetes, MS, Heart Attack and Pain

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And more on Vitamin D

This is a very funny and informative video on Vitamin D, with images that will stick with you.  (I especially liked his publication strategy to get new patients.)

  • Infant chimps, which we have already seen need similar Vitamin D to humans can take 5000 iu per day.
  • Collagen without sufficient Vitamin D is like putting Jello in water- it gets softer and can’t support the bones.
  • Iguana owners have a better idea of Vitamin D needs than most doctors. (And the pictures of Vitamin D deficient iguanas will stick with you.)
  • Vitamin D is responsible for regulating the blood pressure hormone rennin, and for combating elevated levels of C-reactive protein in your body.
  • Malignant melanoma usually appears in areas without exposure to sun, and working out of doors lowers your malignant melanoma rate.
  • Squamous cell skin cancer is the only cancer that occurs more in sunbathers, the ones that will kill you are lower.
  • Vitamin D toxicity occurred in a Florida lawyer who was taking 1 million iu of Vitamin D for two years due to a manufacturing accident.  When they gave him a diuretic and kept him out of the sun for a month, it reversed.
  • While tanning bed enthusiasts get more cancer, they also have higher bone density.

Lots more and hard information:

See Related Posts:

Vitamin D Regulates the Immune System

Nursing Mothers, Infants and Vitamin D

How to Get Vitamin D from the Sun

Vitamin D Prevents Cancer, Type 1 Diabetes, MS, Heart Attack and Pain

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Vitamin D Prevents Cancer, Type 1 Diabetes, MS, Heart Attack and Pain

Watching this You-Tube video from the University of California at San Diego might be one of the best things you can do for your health. It explains clearly and in detail which levels of vitamin D3 are necessary to prevent a great variety of diseases. Rickets, the disease our woefully inadequate RDA was designed to prevent, needs very little Vitamin D.    Cancers, diabetes, heart attack, falls, fractures, hypertension, neurological impairment, even pain will be prevented by raising your blood Vitamin D levels to the recommended range.

I have been taking 10,000 iu of Vitamin D3 daily for the last year and am only in the low end of the recommended range.

You can find the charts shown in the video at http://www.grassrootshealth.net

A blood level of Vitamin D (have your doctor test it) should be 40-60 ng/ml, which is likely higher than the reference range of the test. You would need to reach 200 ng/ml to suffer from toxicity. The amount you need to supplement will vary, but is way way higher than you find in any multi.  Unless you seek out a special high concentration vitamin D supplement, you are not getting enough, at least above the Mason-Dixon line (and usually below as well.)

This video puts together the Vitamin D research and offers a public health program designe Continue reading Vitamin D Prevents Cancer, Type 1 Diabetes, MS, Heart Attack and Pain

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