Letter from Dr. Janson
Environment and Cancer
In the Health News
Recipe of the Month: Cauliflower, Potato
and Corn Chowder
I have been recommending dietary supplements to my patients
and readers for 25 years, although it was only after I finished
medical school in 1970 that I began recognize their great
I recommend them partly for protection from toxic environmental
exposures: those that occur naturally, those that are added
to food, water, and air, and those we inflict on ourselves.
Many toxic chemicals and elements such as lead, aluminum,
and cadmium occur naturally (aluminum is the most abundant
metal in the earths crust). Some are added to the environment
through human activities, including automobile exhaust, factory
wastes, burning of fossil fuels, farming with pesticides,
fungicides, and weedicides, and the use of chemicals in the
home to control pests.
Some toxins are inflicted on us for supposed health benefits
such as chlorine to disinfect water, and fluoride, purportedly
to help prevent tooth decay, although it is not clear that
it does. Other toxins are self inflicted, and the most damaging
of these are tobacco smoke, excessive alcohol, charcoal broiled
fats, household chemicals, and some cosmetics, such as hair
Ionizing radiation exposure is more subtle: it comes from
cosmic rays that affect people who spend a lot of time flying,
such as pilots and flight attendants, but also affects radiation
workers, people who live in the vicinity of nuclear power
plants, and researchers who use detectors on their lab coats
to see how much they have been exposed to, and are comfortable
if they fall within the acceptable limits.
With all of these potential causes of disease, it is important
that you provide your own environmental protection, as the
Environmental Protection Agency is unlikely to do as much
for you as you can do for yourself. In fact, the government
agency is far too concerned with balancing the risks of environmental
exposures with the economic impact of controlling those exposures.
The economic impact means that the companies who create the
risks need protection from economic hardship,
often at the expense of the health of the people exposed to
the chemicals they produce.
It is not enough to weigh the risks for the people exposed
to the toxins, as they are the ones who will have to bear
the damaging health effects, the heartache, and the death
that are the devastating impact of the chronic diseases related
to these exposures. Chronic degenerative diseases, cancer,
autoimmune diseases, hormonal imbalances, brain degeneration,
and heart disease are among the ways these toxins can be damaging
to your health. Lifestyle choices including chemical avoidance,
exercise, a healthy diet, and a variety of dietary supplements
will help you minimize these risks.
Here is a look at some of the recently-described dangers posed
by various environmental exposures. Add these to the numerous
chemicals we face everyday, and you will want to give yourself
the greatest possible protection.
While most people are familiar with the increased risk
of lung cancer and heart disease from smoking, and mouth cancer
from cigars and chewing tobacco, smoking also is associated
with an increased risk of other cancers. And not only the
risk of getting the cancers, but more significantly, the risk
of dying from those cancers.
The Cancer Prevention Study II started in 1982 and examined
almost 800,000 men and women over the next 14 years. Smoking
was shown to increase the risk of dying from colorectal cancer
from 30 to 40 percent. Those who smoked the longest and the
most had the greatest risk. Even in men who smoked only cigars
or pipes for 20 years, the risk was 30 percent greater.
The good news is that for those who give up smoking, the
risk of dying from colorectal cancer declines directly with
the length of time since stopping. Once again this shows just
how much control you have over your health.
In addition to stopping smoking, a diet high in fresh fruits
and vegetables helps reduce the risk of many cancers, including
In addition to lung cancer and colon cancer, smoking
(and even second-hand smoke) is also related to an increased
risk of bladder cancer. However, bladder cancer (more common
in men than women) is also related to many other environmental
chemicals from industrial waste, occupational exposure, and
Some of these chemicals include benzene-like compounds, diesel
exhaust, phenacetin in certain over-the-counter pain relievers,
chlorination byproducts in drinking water, arsenic, cancer
chemotherapy drugs, and some chemicals produced by cooking
red meat called heterocyclic amines (these are also related
to increased risk of colon cancer).
It is most likely that urinary tract cancers result from
excretion of the chemicals or their byproducts in the urine.
Certain urinary tract infections also increase the risk of
Reducing exposure means cleaning up your personal and work
environment, modifying your diet, avoiding unnecessary chemicals,
and staying away from contaminated industrial areas. Drinking
clean water without industrial chemicals also helps (more
on this later).
Cosmic rays include naturally occurring radioactive
particles from space. The intensity of their ionizing radiation
lessens as they pass through the atmosphere to the surface
of the earth.
Flying at high altitude increases the exposure to cosmic
rays, because the atmospheric filtration is lost, and for
people such as pilots, other airline crew members, and flight
attendants the risk of radiation associated illness is increased.
A new study suggests that the rate of leukemia is higher in
people with repeated exposuremany hours of flyingeven
though the risk is still small.
(Long-haul flyingmore than six hoursalso increases
the risk of deep vein thrombosis from prolonged inactivity
in airline seats. On long flights, move around regularly and
flex muscles. Take supplements of ginkgo biloba, vitamin E,
and GLA to reduce excessive blood clotting.)
What can you do to minimize environmental damage? You
cant totally eliminate chemical exposures and other
risks from your life, so you must do the best you can to protect
First, reduce exposure. Keep car engines and exhausts in
top shape, and get away from cities as often as possible to
breathe cleaner air. Reduce chemical use in the home, especially
pesticides, solvents, cleaners, and artificial room scents.
Choose a diet high in fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans
as the best source of the abundance of vitamins, minerals,
flavonoids, antioxidants, and other phytochemicals. These
are repeatedly shown to offer the best protection against
environmental chemicals and other causes of degenerative diseases.
Such a diet is also high in fiber, necessary to cleanse the
bowel and remove toxins before they can linger in contact
with the lining cells of the intestinal tract and cause damage,
including cancer. Fiber also improves bowel function, sugar
regulation, cholesterol, and weight control.
Organic foods further lower your exposure to pesticides,
weedicides, and herbicides. For a list of the most and least
contaminated conventional foods, go to the website of the
Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org).
Drink adequate pure water every day from a clean source.
Typical tap water may contain heavy metals, solvents, industrial
chemical runoff , and chlorine and harmful chlorine-hydrocarbon
combinations, such as PCBs. Even bottled water has some
plastic residues, although it is probably far better than
most tap water.
I recommend a solid carbon-block filter that produces water
free of pathogenic organisms, hydrocarbons, heavy metals,
and other toxins. I use a MultiPure brand filter in my home,
as this is far better and more comprehensive in its purification
than those that fit on the tap or those that you pour water
through into a pitcher, and it is far less expensive and more
convenient than bottled wateronly pennies per gallon.
I use MultiPure-filtered water for soups, beans and grains,
herb teas, and vegetables, and all my drinking water, and
even washing vegetables because it is so cheap. One of my
friends who uses a MultiPure says that if you dont have
a filter, then you are the filter!
It is sometimes hard to remember to drink enough water (6
to 8 glasses a day). This is especially true as we get older
and lose our sense of thirst. Exercise, another support for
detoxification, further increases your need for water. Herb
teas, soups, and dilute fruit juices also count as fluid intake.
My first recommendation is to take vitamin C and vitamin E
supplementsto reduce oxidative and free radical damage.
I suggest at least 3000 to 4000 mg of vitamin C and 400 to
800 IU of vitamin E each day, and more if you have been exposed
to high levels of toxins.
For liver support, the bioflavonoid silymarin, derived from
milk thistle, blocks the entrance of toxins into liver cells,
helps to remove them, and helps regenerate liver cells. Silymarin
is also a powerful antioxidant. The usual dose is 250 to 500
mg of standardized extract twice a day.
Many toxins are removed by attachment to glucuronic acid,
but a bacterial enzyme in the gut, called beta-glucuronidase,
can break this attachment. Calcium D-glucarate blocks this
enzyme and promotes the removal of toxins. It inhibits the
development of cancer and reduces tumor growth. The usual
dose is 500 mg for prevention, and 1000 mg to 2000 mg or more
I designed an antioxidant combination supplement called Pr-O2-Tect,
containing ascorbyl palmitate, glutathione, N-acetyl cysteine,
and methionine, all of which work together with other antioxidants
to provide a further level of detoxification and protection.
Pr-O2-Tect is available from QCI Nutritionals at 888-922-4848,
For water filter information and sources, please Email me
Women with PMS find that they can have at least 50 percent
relief of symptoms by taking the herb agnus castus,also called
vitex or chasteberry. In a German study, published in the
British Medical Journal, standardized extract of the fruit
was effective in relieving irritability, moodiness and anger,
headaches, and breast discomfort. The women in the study reported
no significant side effects from the botanical remedy. The
study was done with 170 women, half of whom received a placebo
without significant relief of symptoms. For PMS, I also recommend
supplements of magnesium, gamma-linolenic acid, and vitamin
Weight loss helps reduce blood pressure in hypertensive
patients. A mere 10-pound loss can reduce blood pressure significantly
for 3 years, but only about 10-15 percent of people keep weight
off for that long. Other supports for blood pressure controlvegetarian
diets, large amounts of fruits and vegetables, low salt, exercise,
and supplements of vitamins C & E, magnesium, coenzyme
Q10, essential oils (GLA and EPA), hawthorn berry, and the
amino acid taurine.
The risk of stroke is reduced in women who eat fish
2 to 4 times a week, according to a study published in the
Journal of the American Medical Association. The data was
derived from the Nurses Health Study on nearly 80,000
nurses. However, large fish (shark, swordfish, king mackerel)
are often contaminated with environmental toxins including
methyl mercury, the subject of a recent FDA Advisory, so it
may be difficult to balance the benefit with the risk. Choose
smaller fish, such as sardines and salmon, or take fish oil
capsules that have the protective omega-3 oilsEPA and
DHA, without the toxins.
This is an easy-to-make recipe that will both warm and nourish
you. It is high in fiber, the cauliflower (in the cabbage
family) is an excellent source of phytochemicals for protection
against cancer, and the onions and garlic protect against
both cancer and heart disease. After cleaning, cut eight medium
potatoes and one head of cauliflower into one-inch pieces.
Saute two onions and six cloves of garlic in olive oil for
a few minutes, add the veggies, and stir briefly. Add 3 quarts
of water, season with thyme, dill, and a small amount of soy
sauce, and simmer until done. Add some chopped parsley, and
a packet of frozen organic corn near the end. Mash some of
the potatoes and cauliflower to make it creamy. Serve this
soup with some whole grain toast and a salad for a complete
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