Protect Your Colon Part TwoDecember 11, 2014 Written by JP [Font too small?]
There is often disagreement about the safety and validity of medical tests in the holistic, health community. Perhaps the best examples are the use of mammography to detect breast cancer and the PSA blood test to ferret out prostate cancer. However, colonoscopies tend to be less controversial for a number of reasons. Firstly, there really isn’t any alternative, stand alone test currently available. Secondly, the documented benefits of colonoscopies far outweigh the low risk of significant side effects. Lastly, as I stated in part one of this column, colonoscopies not only detect potential malignancies, they also remove questionable growths while still benign. For these reasons, integrative health experts such as Dr. Andrew Weil and Dr. Stephen Sinatra endorse this particular test.
My review of the medical literature strongly substantiates the role that diet and exercise play in reducing colorectal cancer (CRC) incidence. But, select dietary supplements, likewise, confer a great deal of hope. In fact, numerous studies validate the incorporation of several food-based ingredients as adjuncts to a healthful dietary plan and exercise routine. Sadly, the news about supplementing to protect colon health hasn’t yet been robustly endorsed or explained by mainstream medical sources. That’s why I’m writing this now!
Curcumin and ginger, two related spice extracts have both shown promise in reducing risk factors linked to CRC. One trial found that 4 grams of curcumin, an extract from turmeric root, taken daily reduced the number of aberrant crypt foci or pre-polyps by 40%. Ginger, given at a dosage of 2 grams daily, lowers inflammation and normalizes cell growth in people at increased risk for colorectal cancer. Supplementing with a high dosage of calcium and Vitamin D (2,000 mg calcium carbonate & 800 IU Vitamin D) reduces DNA damage and alters specific genetic signaling commonly present in those with CRC. According to a study in the July 2010 issue of the journal Gut, EPA, a purified form of fish oil, decreased colon polyp counts by over 22% and polyp size by about 30%. Another trial reports that an identical dosage and form of fish oil, 2 grams/day of EPA free-fatty acids, positively affects new cell growth and enhances the healthy elimination of cells (apoptosis). A final supplement worth considering is concentrated green tea extract (GTE). A 12 month, placebo-controlled study using 1,500 mg/day of GTE discovered that GTE reduced the risk of colon polyps by over half compared to a placebo. Additionally, the size of newly detected polyps were smaller in the participants taking the green tea capsules. Currently, it’s unknown exactly how GTE confers this protective effect. However one study hints that it may do so by rapidly reducing inflammation (prostaglandin E2) in colon tissue.
Thanks to modern research and traditional wisdom, food-based supplements, such as calcium with Vitamin D, curcumin, fish oil, ginger and green tea extract, are relatively well known. They’re inexpensive and safe to use in most circumstances. The key is to make sure that you’re using them appropriately. This means employing them as supplements to other healthy lifestyle factors, such as diet and exercise. Also, it’s advisable to follow the dosing patterns that have been found effective and safe in peer-reviewed studies. The hard work has already been done by the researchers. Why not put it to full use? My final recommendation is to keep your health care team advised about any supplements you add to your regimen. On occasion, some supplements may not interact well with certain medications and/or need to be temporarily discontinued prior to a colonoscopy.
Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!
To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:
Study 1 – Effects of Ginger Supplementation on Cell-Cycle Biomarkers in … (link)
Study 2 – Effect of Ginger Root on Cyclooxygenase-1 & 15-Hydroxyprostaglandin … (link)
Study 3 – A Randomized Clinical Trial of the Effects of Supplemental Calcium … (link)
Study 4 – Effects of Supplemental Vitamin D and Calcium on Oxidative DNA … (link)
Study 5 – Eicosapentaenoic Acid Reduces Rectal Polyp Number and Size … (link)
Study 6 – Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) Reduces Crypt Cell Proliferation … (link)
Study 7 – Effects of Different Doses of Fish Oil on Rectal Cell Proliferation … (link)
Study 8 – Effects of Fish Oil on Rectal Cell Proliferation, Mucosal Fatty Acids … (link)
Study 10 – Ingestion of Green Tea Rapidly Decreases Prostaglandin E2 Levels … (link)
High Dosage Curcumin May Reduce Pre-Polyp (ACF) Formation
Source: Cancer Prev Res March 2011 4; 354 (link)
Tags: Curcumin, Ginger, Green Tea
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Nutritional Supplements