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February 2001

Letter from Dr. Janson
Environment and Cancer
In the Health News
Recipe of the Month: Cauliflower, Potato and Corn Chowder
References

Letter from Dr. Janson
Dear Friends,
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 value.

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 earth’s 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 dyes.

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.

Environmental Protection
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.

Environment and Cancer
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.

Smoking and Colon Cancer
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 colon cancer.

Bladder Cancer and Chemicals
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 personal contamination.
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 these cancers.

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).

Air Travel and Leukemia
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 exposure–many hours of flying–even though the risk is still small.

(Long-haul flying–more than six hours–also 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.)

Protection You Can Choose
What can you do to minimize environmental damage? You can’t totally eliminate chemical exposures and other risks from your life, so you must do the best you can to protect yourself.

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 PCB’s. 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 water–only 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 don’t 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.

Supplements for Detoxification
My first recommendation is to take vitamin C and vitamin E supplements–to 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 for treatment.

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, or www.qcinutritionals.com. For water filter information and sources, please Email me at info@drjanson.com.

In the Health News
•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 B6.

• 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 control–vegetarian 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.

Diet and Disease
• 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 oils–EPA and DHA, without the toxins.

Recipe of the Month
Cauliflower, Potato and Corn Chowder

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 meal.

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References

Environment and Environmental Protection:
Chao A, et al., Cigarette smoking and colorectal cancer
mortality... cancer prevention study II. J Natl Cancer
Inst 2000;92:1888- 1896.

Shirai T, Etiology of bladder cancer. Semin Urol 1993
Aug;11(3):113-26.

Ostroff J, et al., Cigarette smoking patterns in patients
after treatment of bladder cancer. J Cancer Educ 2000
Summer;15(2):86-90.

Cohen SM, et al., Epidemiology and etiology of premalignant
and malignant urothelial changes. Scand J Urol Nephrol
Suppl 2000;(205):105-15.

Sinha R, Rothman N, Role of well-done, grilled red meat,
heterocyclic amines (HCAs) in the etiology of human cancer.
Cancer Lett 1999 Sep 1;143(2):189-94.

Gundestrup M, et al., Radiation-induced acute myeloid
leukaemia and other cancers in commercial jet cockpit crew:
a population-based cohort study. Lancet 1999
Dec 11;354(9195):2029-31.

Hundreds of airline passengers to UK, Australia develop DVT,
Reuters Health, January 10, 2001.

Supplements for Detoxification:
Walaszek Z, et al., Metabolism, uptake, and excretion of a
D-glucaric acid salt and its potential use in cancer
prevention. Cancer Detect Prev 1997;21(2):178-90.

Feher J, et al., Oxidative stress in the liver and biliary
tract diseases. Scand J Gastroenterol Suppl 1998;228:38-46.

Lang I, Hepatoprotective and immunomodulatory effects of
antioxidant therapy. Acta Med Hung 1988;45(3-4):287-95.

In the Health News:
Schellenberg R, Treatment for the premenstrual syndrome with
agnus castus fruit extract: prospective, randomised,
placebo controlled study. BMJ 2001;322:134-137.

V.J. Stevens, et al., Long-Term Weight Loss and Changes in
Blood Pressure: Results of the Trials of Hypertension
Prevention, Phase II. Ann Intern Med 2001, Jan 2;134:1-11,72-74.

Hiroyasu I, et al., Intake of Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids and
Risk of Stroke in Women. JAMA 2001;285:304-312.

FDA Talk Paper, FDA announces advisory on methyl mercury in
fish, T01-04 Print media: 202-205-4144 January 12, 2001.

 


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CONSULTATIONS:

From September to June, I see patients in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
Call 386-409-7747, or send an email to to make arrangements.

In summer, I have a variable schedule, and I see patients in offices at the
Rothfeld Center for Integrative Medicine in Waltham, Massachusetts. For appointments, send an email to make arrangements, or call: 386-409-7747.

I primarily do phone consultations, as well as email and instant messaging consults.


Information herein is not medical advice or direction. All material in this newsletter is provided for information only. Its contents should not be used to provide medical advice on individual problems. Consult a health care professional for medical or health advice.

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