Can One Eat to Starve Cancer?
William Li presents a new way to think about cancer treatment: angiogenesis, targeting the blood vessels that feed a tumour. The crucial first (and best) step: Eating cancer-fighting foods that beat cancer at its own game.
Angiogenesis is an important process that occurs both during health and disease. Blood is important in the body as it carries oxygen and nutrients to all the parts of the body via blood vessels like arteries and brings back the toxins and wastes from these peripheral organs for purification via veins.
When a new tissue is formed, it is vital that it has blood supply for its growth and sustenance. For this formation of blood vessels or angiogenesis is important.
What is Angiogenesis?
Simply put- Angiogenesis is the growth of new capillary blood vessels in the body. It’s an important natural process used for healing and reproduction. The body controls angiogenesis by producing a precise balance of growth and inhibitory factors in healthy tissues.
When this balance is disturbed, the result is either too much or too little angiogenesis. Abnormal blood vessel growth, either excessive or insufficient, is now recognized as a “common denominator” underlying many deadly and debilitating conditions, including cancer, skin diseases, age-related blindness, diabetic ulcers, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and many others. The list of diseases that have angiogenesis as an underlying mechanism grows longer every year. (http://www.angio.org/)
As early as the 1970s, Dr. Judah Folkman of the Harvard Medical School suggested inhibiting new blood vessel formation as a way to fight cancer.
The malignant tissue would be deprived of its oxygen and nutrient supply, as well as be unable to eliminate metabolic wastes. This in turn would inhibit tumor progression and metastatic progression that accompanies most advanced cancers. These are the main steps of the angiogenic process that can be interrupted:
- Inhibiting endogenous angiogenic factors, such as bFGF (basic Fibroblast Growth Factor) and VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor)
- Inhibiting degradative enzymes (Matrix Metalloproteinases) responsible for the degradation of the basement membrane of blood vessels
- Inhibiting endothelial cell proliferation
- Inhibiting endothelial cell migration
- Inhibiting the activation and differentiation of endothelial cells
However, the challenge is to develop an antiangiogenic factor that does not affect the existing vasculature. (Via http://www.angioworld.com/)
Angiogenesis Foods that Fight Cancer
Li knows the power of antiangiogenic cancer therapy. But he also knows that the sooner a cancer is treated, the more likely a patient is to survive the disease. So why wait until the tumor has a blood supply to call its own? Why not prevent the tumor from ever getting past the microscopic phase? While we have no way to consistently and accurately detect microscopic cancers, we can boost our bodies’ natural ability to produce angiogenesis inhibitors. And we don’t need expensive pharmaceuticals or cutting-edge technology to do it.
Instead, we need red grapes. If you’re not crazy about red grapes, red wine will do the trick. Not a big drinker? Green tea works. If you like curry, you’ll be glad to hear that turmeric can help; if you’re a baker, ready that cinnamon shaker.
Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries; oranges, grapefruit and lemons; apples and pineapples; soy beans, kale and bok choy; garlic, tomatoes and olive oil—all these common foods are also weapons against the development of cancer. (Oh, and don’t forget dark chocolate. I know I won’t.) (Via http://www.standup2cancer.org/)