6

votes

Can food really cause cancer?

Answered on December 11, 2014
Created August 12, 2012 at 10:14 PM

I was introduced to the paleo diet last night during a comedy show believe it or not. The healthy comedian shared his weight loss success by following the paleo diet, but that is not what intrigued me. It was understanding the Paleo diet and the health benefits of cancer and disease free lifestyle. Last year my 14 year old daughter was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Yes, a disease that usually occurs in women 60+ years old. They could not and still cannot give me a reason behind the root of this cancer. We have not history of breast or ovarian cancer, but still a 14 year old could have stage 3 ovarian cancer, have to have both ovaries removed, and completed 6 chemo treatments. So I thought it was one of two things, one the hpv vaccine I insisted she get, or two the food we eat. What else could it be? So with no other known cases of ovarian cancer with the hpv vaccine, I am lead to believe it is the food. So, with that being said, can some one give me a crash course to bring me up to speed on this diet, the research. I am determined to have a healthy family, with three children, a husband, and a father who had a stroke at 53, I have to make some serious changes.

3d58b5fb4f9780e2f47d4dcc53338a5a

(2771)

on August 15, 2012
at 11:04 PM

Yes, both Omega 3 and 6 are essential fatty acids, meaning your body can't make them, but its really hard to be defecient in Omega 6s, unless you're a raw vegan. Good point about vitamin D. It kinda falls under eat the right food, but also relax. Actually, when I take a nice relaxing walk in the sun, I'm kinda relaxing and exercising at the same time, while making vitamin D. I think its probably a good idea to try to make the most vitamin D you can, and get the rest from eggs and other D rich food. If I'm stuck indoors a lot due to work, or its winter time, I'll take a supplement.

Da12b342d4959f5bd776c0f00b072a6c

(311)

on August 14, 2012
at 06:46 AM

I’d add another pillar - adequate vitamin D levels - “vitamin D deficiency may be a risk factor for development and progression of some types of cancer…” ovarian cancer was included in list. http://www.landesbioscience.com/journals/dermatoendocrinology/article/20013/?show_full_text=true

0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

(5150)

on August 13, 2012
at 03:21 AM

Something like that would be extremely difficult to detect, because of how quickly alcohol is removed from the body and the location of these microbes within the GI tract. And severe gut dysbiosis isn't a particularly rare issue nowadays.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on August 13, 2012
at 03:06 AM

I did lab work under a microbiologist who thought the production and absorption of alcohol in the gut by bacteria/yeast was highly unlikely except in the context of severe dysbiosis. I'm curious about the theory since the mechanism seems probable, but I haven't really seen evidence for or against it.

0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

(5150)

on August 13, 2012
at 02:23 AM

It's important to note that omega-6s are pro-inflammatory AFTER A CERTAIN POINT. They are essential fatty acids and in moderate doses, they do a lot of good in the body and probably don't cause any inflammation. But once that threshold is passed, very significant and noticeable problems can arise. Like with most stuff, the poison is in the dose.

Dc8ec73989c7b37c006f2031dd648a61

on August 12, 2012
at 11:58 PM

environment/food can indeed play a role in cancer development/growth... I don't really have much to add except be careful with claims from epidemiological studies and learn to tell a good study from a bad one if you are interested in the research. Sorry to hear about this and hope she fully recovers

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7 Answers

10
3d58b5fb4f9780e2f47d4dcc53338a5a

(2771)

on August 12, 2012
at 11:36 PM

I came to paleo from the anti-cancer approach, so most of my research has been cancer related. The short answer is food itself doesn't cause cancer, but some foods can have carcenogens in it, like pesticides. The problem with certain foods is that it can create a breeding ground for cancers.

For example, the typical cancer cell has ten times the number of insulin receptors than a normal cell. If your insulin levels are high, you're feeding cancer at 10X. A low carb/paleo diet lowers insulin levels and provides less nutrients to cancer cells. Some say that a ketogenic diet will starve cancer, but I need to hear more on that before I'll put my stamp of approval on it.

Also, the Omega 6 ratios can contribute to problems. Omega 6 is the pro-inflammatory fat, and normal diets are too high in it. When we cut ourselves, we get inlfamed, which means that our body is in repair mode, where cells divide rapidly to heal as quick as possible. If you have a constant inflammation in the body, the groundwork is laid for cancer cells to get a foot hold. After all, the body is saying that rapid cell production is called for (being inflamed).

Another issue is stress. That also weakens your immune response, ups your cortisol levels and creates an unhealthy environment for you, a good one for cancer.

And one thing that needs to be kept in mind with paleo, its not just diet: its excercise as well. Its a lifestyle, not a way to lose weight. There are many benefits of exercise, in both insulin control and with the body breaking down old and bad cells, plus moving nutrients around. A good "run out of breath" exercise or tough strength training will make a hostile environment for cancer, and a healthy body for you.

The four pillers of anti-cancer are: 1. Avoid Carcenogenics (eat natural food, don't smoke, don't snort spray paint, etc). 2. Eat natural foods (veggies with antioxidents, grass fed meats, anti-biotic free meat, etc) 3. Exercise (HIIT training, strength training, leisurly walks. Don't overdo it, or cortisol levels increase - usually after an hour or so of exercise) 4. Relax (meditate, sleep well, etc)

I read about this in a book about preventing cancer. It also matches up perfectly with Mark Sisson's blog and what he promotes, which got me into the whole paleo lifestyle, or at least, gave me a name for what I was doing.

0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

(5150)

on August 13, 2012
at 02:23 AM

It's important to note that omega-6s are pro-inflammatory AFTER A CERTAIN POINT. They are essential fatty acids and in moderate doses, they do a lot of good in the body and probably don't cause any inflammation. But once that threshold is passed, very significant and noticeable problems can arise. Like with most stuff, the poison is in the dose.

Da12b342d4959f5bd776c0f00b072a6c

(311)

on August 14, 2012
at 06:46 AM

I’d add another pillar - adequate vitamin D levels - “vitamin D deficiency may be a risk factor for development and progression of some types of cancer…” ovarian cancer was included in list. http://www.landesbioscience.com/journals/dermatoendocrinology/article/20013/?show_full_text=true

3d58b5fb4f9780e2f47d4dcc53338a5a

(2771)

on August 15, 2012
at 11:04 PM

Yes, both Omega 3 and 6 are essential fatty acids, meaning your body can't make them, but its really hard to be defecient in Omega 6s, unless you're a raw vegan. Good point about vitamin D. It kinda falls under eat the right food, but also relax. Actually, when I take a nice relaxing walk in the sun, I'm kinda relaxing and exercising at the same time, while making vitamin D. I think its probably a good idea to try to make the most vitamin D you can, and get the rest from eggs and other D rich food. If I'm stuck indoors a lot due to work, or its winter time, I'll take a supplement.

7
2e5dc29c61f97d335ffb990508424719

on August 12, 2012
at 10:41 PM

Short answer, yes. Cancer is caused by environmental factors. Food, radiation, stress, etc. Everything is speculation but look at the amount of soy in your diet. Soy has an estrogen-like effect.
Cancer is a mis-match between what your daughter encountered environmentally and what her genome expects. Food is one of those things that has this potential. I am very sorry to hear about this and wish her Godspeed in a full recovery.

6
4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

on August 12, 2012
at 11:28 PM

Shelley I am so very sorry to hear this about your daughter. Very concerning indeed.

I will be interesting to see what comes up with that vaccine, over time. Its so hard to know what to do. My daughter got it too after a lot of scare tactics from her MD. Her ND told her not to get it. Sigh

Besides food, please look to your environment as well.

Things like plastics and chemicals in clothing and mattresses and dryer sheets etc etc. Also, making sure you aren't drinking tap water.

The Environmental Working Group has a website that is very useful for helping you choose safe body care products. It rates the toxicity level of products overall and by specific ingredients. http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ The EWG also gives information on cleaning products.

I hope that your daughter is getting bio-identical hormone replacement rather than synthetic as there is increased risk of cancer with synthetic hormones.

All the best to you and your family.

3
Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on August 13, 2012
at 06:44 AM

From what I understand, research seems to show that we all harbor cancer cells, which are mutated regular body cells, probably throughout our lives. It's kind of like warts - we all have the virus, but it remains dormant in the vast majority of cases. Whether or not cancer cells start proliferating in an out-of-control manner to form tumors and invade organs may depend a lot on the environment - the "terrain" - that we provide. We need an optimally functioning immune system to be able to do its job of keeping them in check. As other people have written, sugar feeds these critters, there is an interaction with insulin, and if your immune system is otherwise occupied dealing with low-level systemic inflammation from what you're eating (i.e. wheat, etc) or chronically elevated cortisol levels (stress) then it's not going to be as effective or ready to combat an uprising, should one occur.

3
0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

on August 13, 2012
at 02:20 AM

To understand WHY food/environmental factors can cause cancer, first you need to understand the development of cancerous cells.

The development is a mixture of genetic predisposition, epigenetic changes over a lifetime (genes can be turned "on" and "off" by your diet and environmental factors. Genes are not static and they do not remain in the same state for your entire life.) Excess insulin in the blood/insulinogenic foods such as dairy and wheat can also cause changes in cells and set up the conditions necessary for cancer to occur in the first place. There's also some evidence that cancer cells may consume glucose at a faster rate than other cells (thus, excess sugar/carbohydrate consumption may feed cancer growth.)

Insufficient gut flora = immune system deficiency. Your intestinal bacteria are responsible for blood sugar control and detoxification to some degree as well. If too much toxins are coming into the body from the environment, hygiene products, and food, the liver must work in OVERDRIVE and often times may not be able to keep up with the amount of crap being introduced into the body. The stuff the liver can't detoxify and, along with the kidneys help, excrete out of the body, WILL damage the liver and probably get inside tissues, other organs, etc. If the liver is damaged, it is not detoxing the body efficiently and potentially toxic metabolites of other toxic substances stick around the body for longer periods of time, causing more damage. It's a cumulative effect.

Certain pathogenic bacteria and yeasts produce alcohol INSIDE the intestinal tract, which is then absorbed and broken down into certain aldehydes, which are CARCINOGENS. This chronic low-dose of alcohol alone may possibly damage the liver. This is one way in which cancer can actually be caused by pathogenic microbes. I've also read that parasites may themselves cause cancer of various organs, but haven't seen too much compelling evidence for that claim. Either way, it's better to err on the side of caution and provide an inhospitable environment for parasites and other nasty microbes inside your body.

All of that ^ is just scratching the surface, but do not let ANYONE tell you that your diet and environmental factors do not affect cancer. I personally refuse to believe that cancer "just happens." Cancer isn't something that the body creates just for fun, it's a complex process that is caused by various factors (many of which we have control over.)

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on August 13, 2012
at 03:06 AM

I did lab work under a microbiologist who thought the production and absorption of alcohol in the gut by bacteria/yeast was highly unlikely except in the context of severe dysbiosis. I'm curious about the theory since the mechanism seems probable, but I haven't really seen evidence for or against it.

0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

(5150)

on August 13, 2012
at 03:21 AM

Something like that would be extremely difficult to detect, because of how quickly alcohol is removed from the body and the location of these microbes within the GI tract. And severe gut dysbiosis isn't a particularly rare issue nowadays.

1
0b4326a4949718451a8571b82558dc10

on August 12, 2012
at 10:48 PM

Heavily processed meats are also a no no...I remember reading somewhere that kids who eat hot dogs 3 days a week are 9X more likely to develop leukemia.

I suggest you google Dr. Mercola or Dr. Mark Sissmon...they have some pretty good articles on paleo eating

0
C017efc15dde9ed725a6a245f01e4b88

on December 11, 2014
at 10:33 PM

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