Tripping Over The Truth
As webmaster of VitaminB17.org, certainly I believe in B17. I wouldn't have spent my time and personal resources on this site all these years if I didn't believe in it. The thing about life is, you can only go by the best information you have at the time. You don't know what you don't know. While I still believe in B17, new information has come to light that I believe is not only also valid information, but more central to cancer than B17. That said, I still would pursue B17 as a treatment for cancer. I personally have almost always been one to see a fight against cancer as a package deal. It isn't just about taking a pill (or eating an apricot seed) and getting better. It's about diet and exercise, along with some carefully researched supplements like B17. It's also about cutting exposure to possible carcinogens that may have caused your cancer in the first place. It's about mental attitude. Again, a whole package of winning attacks.
Also, while I have grown less enamored with conspiracies over the years, certainly there are forces that keep valid cancer treatments off the market. If you don't believe this, look at the fight to legalize marijuana. Along with the usual people that stand to gain financially by keeping marijuana illegal, law enforcement groups, alcohol companies and drug-treatment interests, is pharmaceutical companies. Now why would a pharmaceutical company want to keep marijuana illegal? In one particular case the company, Insys Therapeutics Inc., is working on a synthetic version of marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient (source). So here is a documented case of a drug company trying to use both monopoly and state coercion to monetize an ingredient found in a plant that has grown wild since the beginning of time.
Personally, I truly believe that cancer gets "cured" every couple of years (OK, cure may not be the right word here). It's just that these cures never make it to market for a variety of reasons. Here is just one example, from biochemist and cancer researcher Zheng Cui. Cui had grants and funding while researching cancer, but after he found a very promising approach to fight cancer — it worked so well that he planned to move to human trials — all of his research money dried up. Here is what he said:There is some private funding and the university put some funding into it. And also, at early stages when we studied the mechanisms of these mice, we had one Mitchell Cancer Institute grant, several small grants from Cancer Research Institute. But they all stopped funding me. It was kind of a strange situation. I thought it was our common goal to come up with a new weapon to fight cancer, but the moment I announced I had a new weapon to test in real human cancer situations, everybody shied away. (source).
Just like there is no single overarching villion fighting marijuana legalization, there most likely is no single conspiracy to keep new cancer treatments off the market. It's a loose group of people who are working on their own for various reasons, including the fact that they profit by keeping new treatments off the market. The government wants to make sure treatments are safe and actually work, requiring years of expensive testing. Drug companies want to make lots of money, so it is in their best interest to keep cheap treatments off the market. Oncologist make money off doing the things they have been done for decades. They don't have an incentive to try new and better treatments. Again, not a master conspiracy, just a bunch of loosely-connected things that keep things business as usual.
Tripping Over The Truth
Anyway, with the fact that there are at least some valid conspiratorial forces that keep cancer treatments off the market out of the way, let's get to the point. Cancer is mitochondrial cells — the ones that manufacture ATP (the bodies energy) — that have gone bad. Mitochondrial cells go bad all the time. When this happens, they signal apoptosis and quickly die. Keep in mind that mitochondrial cells normally burn oxygen, but they can also burn glucose (or ketones) as a secondary source of energy. While oxygen is the preferred fuel, glucose is used for quick bursts of energy (think to get away from a bear). While this quick burst of energy could save your life, it comes at a price. Burning glucose as energy produces lactic acid as a byproduct (lactic acid is what makes your muscles burn during an intense workout).
The very hallmark of cancer, known as the Warburg effect, is that the mitochondria in cancer cells are burning glucose, even in the presence of oxygen. Normally, this would signal apoptosis and these cells would die and be replaced by healthy cells. However, for some unknown reason, apoptosis is never signaled and these cells start to proliferate instead of dying. At this point, it is cancer. For the sake of brevity, we are going to assume there is a strong link between cancer and glucose, since cancer cells require glucose in order to survive (it's their only source of fuel). If this were the case, then we should see that people who have excess glucose in their blood have corresponding increases in their rate of cancer. And indeed, in the real world this is exactly what we are seeing:
- The risk of bladder cancer is increased by around 40% in type 2 diabetes (source)
- Women diagnosed with diabetes had a 50 percent higher chance of developing colorectal cancer than women without the disease (source).
- The cancer risk was more than doubled in men and women during the first year after diabetes diagnosis (source).
- Patients hospitalized for type 1 diabetes had greater than twice the relative risk of stomach cancer than the general population in Sweden. (source)
In fact, insulin is the hormone that tells the body to store fat. Insulin is released in response to excess glucose in the blood. So in the real world, we should see a link between increased cancer rates and obesity. And indeed, we do:
Obesity is associated with increased risks of the following cancer types, and possibly others as well (source):
- Colon and rectum
- Breast (after menopause)
- Endometrium (lining of the uterus)
Again, for the sake of brevity, let us assume that carbohydrates make us fat (see: Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It, by Gary Taubes). Carbohydrates convert quickly to glucose in the body. Diabetics should eat low-glycemic foods in order to keep their blood glucose levels down. Lower glycemic foods tend to be low in carbohydrates. If you keep your glucose levels low, your body doesn't release as much insulin (again the hormone that tells your body to store fat). In the real world, if carbohydrates cause a rise in blood glucose, then we should see a link between increased cancer rates and carbohydrate consumption. And indeed, we do:
- White bread, bagels and rice 'increase the risk of lung cancer by 49% (source)
- 'Bad' carbs linked with 88% higher rate of prostate cancer. (source )
- One study (10) found 69% and 87% increased colon cancer risk among females and males, respectively, who consumed diets with a high glycemic load. (source)
- A high percentage of calories from carbohydrate, but not from fat, was associated with increased breast cancer risk. (source)
- How overeating gives you cancer.
These aren't two and three percent increases in cancer rates here. These are 50 to almost 90 percent increases in the rates of cancer. And since very few Americans are getting vitamin B17 in their diet, we have to assume that these increases in cancer rates aren't because one group is getting less B17. If we assume we are all getting about the same amount of B17 from our diets (very low), then the only conclusion to draw is that increased carbohydrate intake, blood glucose levels, and it's associated insulin release are a far bigger factor in cancer than levels of B17 (again, not that B17 is not beneficial).
If all of the above is true, then things that lower blood glucose levels should lower cancer rates, right? Let's look at something like exercise. How does it lower blood glucose?When you do moderate exercise, like walking, that makes your heart beat a little faster and breathe a little harder. Your muscles use more glucose, the sugar in your blood stream. Over time, this can lower your blood sugar levels. It also makes the insulin in your body work better. You'll get these benefits for hours after your walk or workout. (source)
Now take a look and see how much exercise is associated with lower rates of cancer:People who exercised the most had a 42 percent lower risk of esophageal cancer and a 27 percent lower risk of liver cancer over 11 years than people who exercised the least, the study of 1.4 million people showed.
Those who exercised the most had (source):
- A 26 percent lower risk of lung cancer
- A 23 percent lower risk of kidney cancer
- A 22 percent lower risk of stomach cancer
- A 21 percent lower risk of endometrial cancer
- A 20 percent lower risk of myeloid leukemia
- A 17 percent lower risk of myeloma
- A 16 percent lower risk of colon cancer
- A 15 percent lower risk of head and neck cancer
- A 13 percent lower risk of rectal cancer
- A 13 percent lower risk of bladder cancer
- A 10 percent lower risk of breast cancer
See also:In late 2002, the Journal of Nutrition published a review of 170 epidemiological studies on the relationship between physical activity and cancer. Here is some of what the researchers found. Colon cancer: Forty-three of 51 studies produced positive results (more exercise was associated with fewer cancers), with an average risk reduction of 40 to 70 percent. Breast cancer: Thirty-two of 44 studies produced positive results, with an average risk reduction of 30 to 40 percent. Prostate cancer: Fifteen of 30 studies produced a positive result, with an average risk reduction of 10 to 30 percent, particularly of the most aggressive forms. Endometrial cancer: Nine of 13 studies produced positive results, with an average risk reduction of 30 to 40 percent. Lung cancer: Eight of 11 studies produced positive results with an average risk reduction of 30 to 40 percent. (source)
There is even evidence that exercise works directly on cancer tumors:“When a tumor lacks oxygen, it releases just about every growth factor you can think of, which often results in metastasis,” he explained to Runner’s World Newswire by email. “Simply speaking, the tumor says, ‘I can’t breathe here, so let’s pick up and move somewhere else in the body.’”
When a tumor is bathed in oxygen, on the other hand, its activity tends to slow. In an earlier paper , Behnke demonstrated a 90 percent decrease in “tumor hypoxia” (low oxygen) among rats that engaged in long-term, moderate-intensity treadmill exercise. “As far as I know, this is the largest reduction in tumor hypoxia of any intervention, including drugs,” he said. (source)
The largest reduction in tumor hypoxia of any intervention, including drugs!
The type of exercise matters, but any is better than none. Cardio works:
- The men who jogged or otherwise exercised fairly intensely for at least 30 minutes a day had “a 50 percent reduction in the risk of dying prematurely from cancer.” (source)
- Strength Training works: Men who regularly worked out with weights and had the highest muscle strength were between 30 and 40 per cent less likely to lose their life to a deadly tumour. (source)
Women who work out vigorously—incorporating a variety of weights and cardio several times a week — reduced their risk of lung cancer by one-third and breast cancer by 30 percent. (source)
In fact, the more you [exercise], the greater your risk reduction. (source)
So if one were to eliminate high-glycemic foods from their diet and add exercise to their lifestyle, while there are no guarantees in life, one would dramatically decrease their risk of almost all cancers. I think in the real world, this is exactly what we will find.
And if one actually has cancer, then an extremely low-carb diet (ketogenic), combined with exercise, would dramatically increase their chance of survival. While there is no mention of exercise in these studies, a very low-carb diet has actually been tested by real scientist:The good news is that for five patients who were able to endure three months of carb-free eating, the results were positive: the patients stayed alive, their physical condition stabilized or improved and their tumors slowed or stopped growing, or shrunk. These early findings have elicited "very positive reactions and an increased interest from colleagues." (source)
It's already been tested in animals to work:
- His results suggest that mice survive cancers, including brain cancer, much longer when put on high-fat diets, even longer when the diets are also calorie-restricted. "Clinical studies are highly warranted." (source)Note: A ketogenic diet has been shown to be neuroprotective for several diseases, among them: epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, and even Alzheimer's. There is a full movie on the diet when used to treat epilepsy here: First Do No Harm
Again, while becoming less enamored with conspiracies over the years as I've aged, I've also become more sensitive to pseudoscience. There are things that I very firmly believe, but there really isn't valid scientific "proof" that they work. I'm really leery that people think they can continue on with the lifestyle that gave them cancer in the first place, and just take a pill that makes said cancer just go away. In the end, I have become more and more skeptical of "magic bullets." That said, we can't wait on science to deliver a cure. I can't say it will never happen, but if you are reading this right now, the chances of something cheap, non-toxic, affordable, and that works extremely well against all PET positive cancers (95 percent of cancers), coming to market in your lifetime is honestly pretty slim.
As I said when I started, the answer seems to be a package deal. Reduce all the things that greatly increase your chance of getting cancer, and start doing all the things that reduce your chances of getting cancer. For good measure, add in foods that contain a fair amount of vitamin B17. Add some carefully researched supplements like vitamin D if needed. Just don't think of these supplements as magic bullets, think of them as being "part of the package," along with diet and exercise.
I like to invoke the 80-20 rule:
Think of diet and exercise as the 20 percent — the vital few — that produce all the results, and think of vitamin B17 as the 80 percent — the trivial many. Instead of chasing magic berries, focus on what really matters. However, occasionally magic berries work. After reading Born to Run, I added chia seeds to my morning meal, and I was very pleased with the results. While I can run with or without chia seeds, they did indeed seem to help, so I kept eating them. Were they magic? No. They were part of the package. I plan on keeping them in my more-energy-to-exercise package, but I know that just the fact that I'm running is far more important than a tablespoon of chia seeds. Again, the 80-20 rule in action.
For the sake of brevity, I have absolutely given the bare minimum of information here. I highly recommend the longer version, that fills in the huge number of gaps I have left. This would be these two books:
And it's important to understand. The exact same things that make you fat, also give you cancer. Here is why we get fat (and what you can do about it):