Is it really possible to prevent precursors to one of the deadliest killers in the US with the best anti-cancer supplements? For the last several years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has listed cancer as one of the 10 main causes of death in the country. Some health experts predict it will bypass the nation’s number one killer, heart disease, in the future. While some naturopathic physicians and health professionals believe supplements and vitamins have cancer-fighting properties that can help, do they actually work?
Cancer — A Look at the Stats
Cancer is a group of diseases distinguished by the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells that can impact most life-sustaining biological systems. An estimated 1,735,350 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the US, and 609,640 people will die from the disease this year, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
Fortunately, there are an estimated 15.5 million cancer survivors in the US. That number is expected to rise to 20.3 million by 2026. In 2017, the estimated expenditures for cancer care in this nation were $147.3 billion, and those numbers are expected to climb as more innovative, sophisticated, and expensive treatments become part of the standards of care, according to the NCI.
The Best Anti-Cancer Foods
Eating a nutritious diet rich in fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of chronic diseases, like diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer, including breast and colorectal cancers. Getting your fruits and veggies, as well as legumes, nuts and seeds, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, and whole grains, helps your body get functional components, such as omega-3 fatty acids, polyphenols, and antioxidants. Specifically, superfoods, such as avocados, acai berries, almonds, and blueberries, are important. They cut down on damage caused by oxidation, which is a natural process that leads to the cell and tissue damage that may contribute to some diseases and inflammation. These functional components can be delivered in concentrated levels through supplements.
Lisa Matejka, a naturopathic physician and energy worker at New Moon Cancer Care, encourages people to follow cancer-fighting diets, such as the Mediterranean diet, keto diet, and raw vegan diet. The best type of diet depends on the person and his or her health. People should abstain from diets rich in red meat, such as beef and lamb, as well as processed food, like deli meats and hot dogs. These foods can increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
In addition to diet, Matejka told WomansWorld.com, “Consume an arsenal of supplements that is right for your particular case based on the advice of your health care professional.”
Can anti-cancer supplements help prevent cancer?
Susan Domcheck, MD, executive director of the Basser Center for BRCA at the University of Pennsylvania, said research does not support that supplements can decrease a person’s chances of cancer.
“The most important lifestyle factors associated with a reduced risk of cancer include not smoking, minimizing alcohol intake, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet (high fiber, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and minimally processed foods), and exercising regularly,” Domchek said. “Unfortunately, there are no good data to show that supplements lead to a reduction in cancer risk.”
On the other hand, Matejka pointed out that supplements for cancer prevention have “a broad effect, such as anti-inflammatories or antioxidants, which would have an overall positive effect on health.”
How can supplements help your health?
Although there isn’t one specific supplement that fights, cures, or prevents cancer, there is research that shows that some supplements may help prevent medical conditions that can lead to cancer. For example, research has shown that fish oil can suppress the growth of polyps. Polyps are abnormal tissue growths that most often grow in the colon, but also develop in the stomach, cervix, rectum, uterus, throat and ear canal. It is not abnormal for individuals to have polyps. In many cases, they are benign.
However, they can also indicate colon and other cancers. In fact, a history of polyps in the colon is one of the primary risks of colon cancer. Polyps often have no symptoms, and they are typically found during routine screenings, such as colonoscopies. Once those screenings are done, benign polyps can be removed so they don’t have a chance to turn cancerous. Supplements that contain omega-3 fish oil, vitamin D, selenium, and other ingredients have antioxidant and anti-inflammation properties that may help prevent health conditions that are precursors to cancer.
What to Look for in a Supplement
While the efficacy of anti-cancer supplements has not been proven, when choosing a supplement, Matejka said there are notable ingredients that should be avoided, including artificial preservatives, colors, dyes, and sweeteners. Fillers, such as hydrogenated oils, should also be avoided because they are associated with heart disease, stroke, diabetes and inflammation.
She added that potential unwanted ingredients can show up in products that don’t undergo further testing, including heavy metals, solvent residues, aflatoxins, herbicides, fungicides, pesticides, PCBs, dioxins, histamine, and melamine. Most importantly, Matejka encouraged people to seek the advice of their trusted health care professionals when making important decisions regarding their health and well-being, especially when it comes to a disease as dangerous as cancer.
She added, “Brand names of supplements matter, as well. ‘You get what you pay for’ is very applicable here. Cheap supplements from mainstream grocery stores or shopping centers will be derived from cheap sources, be potentially contaminated, contain filler, and may contain very little of the active constituents that you are buying it for to perform their specific function in the body. In these instances, the supplements are a waste of money as they are not of the quality needed to have the desired effect.”
As always, check with your doctor before taking a new supplement and consult with your health provider for any medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Scroll down to see the anti-cancer supplements for overall health.
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Best Anti Cancer Supplement Turmeric
1. Turmeric Curcumin Supplement
Where to buy: $90.20, Amazon
Curcumin is the bright yellow active ingredient in the spice turmeric, which is often used in Indian cuisine and gives mustard its vibrant hue. In addition to having many antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, researchers found in a 2013 study that the combined treatment of curcumin and chemotherapy had better effects on bowel cancer cells than chemotherapy alone. Though results have been inconsistent, studies have shown that it may be helpful other types of cancer, as well. Additionally, turmeric is used in supplements for inflammation and arthritis, as well as skin, liver, and gallbladder issues, according to the National Institutes of Health. For a fast-acting supplement, try Bosmeric SR Supplement with Curcumin C3 by Sanjevani. Made with boswellia, ginger, and black pepper, this supplement contains clinically-tested ingredients, and it's vegan.
Anti Cancer Supplements Fish OilvAnti-Colorectal Cancer
2. Fish Oil Supplement
Where to buy: $36.05, Amazon
Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in oily fish, like salmon, sardines, and anchovies, are critical for controlling inflammation and necessary for optimal cellular health. As previously mentioned, it is known to reduce polyps, which are known precursors to colon and rectal cancers. To ensure you are getting all of your fatty acids, try Sports Research Omega-3 Fish Oil. It is sourced from Wild Alaska Pollock with 1,099 milligrams per softgel. In addition to helping reduce polyps, it provides the fatty acids needed to help support hair, skin, brain, and heart health. Another bonus is the product is certified and sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council.
Anti Breast Cancer Supplement
3. Selenium Supplement
Where to buy: $11.90, Amazon
Selenium is an antioxidant mineral that helps normal cell function and provides support for the immune system. The mineral is naturally found in fish, crab, poultry, and wheat. There is some evidence to suggest that it lowers a person’s risk of some cancers, and one study from Texas Tech University showed that selenium, when attached to a monoclonal antibody, can successfully kill cancer cells in chemotherapy-resistant breast cancer patients. If you are looking for a quality supplement, try Pure Encapsulations – Selenium. To provide the best quality products, all Pure Encapsulations offerings are hypoallergenic, research-based dietary supplements that are free of wheat, gluten, eggs, peanuts, coatings and shellacs, GMOs, magnesium stearate, trans fats and hydrogenated oils, artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners, unnecessary binders, fillers, and preservatives.
Anti Cancer Vitamin Supplement
4. Vitamin D Supplement
Where to buy: $15.15, Amazon
Some research has shown that higher intake or blood levels of Vitamin D are associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer; however, other studies have been inconclusive. Skin that is exposed to sunshine can make vitamin D, which helps the body use phosphorous and calcium to make strong bones and teeth. Additionally, the fat-soluble vitamin can be found in eggs and fatty fish, like salmon, as well foods that are fortified with vitamin D, such as milk and breakfast cereals. Get the vitamin D you need without exposing yourself to the sun’s harmful UV rays with Sports Research’s Vitamin D3. Considered a powerful membrane antioxidant, this high-potency form of vitamin D will also be absorbed in your body quicker because it also contains coconut oil. Since it is fat soluble, the body absorbs it better when it is paired with a fat.
Anti Cancer Vitamin Supplement
5. B Vitamin Supplement
Where to buy: $14.20, Amazon
B vitamins, which includes B12, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and folic acid, correct cellular division, play an integral role in the nervous system, and control homocystein levels in the body. B vitamins, which are naturally occurring in meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products, are considered beneficial for preventing some forms of cancer because those who are diagnosed often have high levels of homocystein. To ensure you are getting what you need, consider Super B Vitamin B Complex Supplement by Divine Bounty contains all of the B vitamins in one capsule. Made with a pure, safe formula, capsules are non-GMO, soy free, gluten free and have no preservatives, stearates, silicone dioxide or artificial ingredients.
Cancer Supplements And Herbs
6. Resveratrol Supplement
Where to buy: $27.99, Amazon
Found in red wine, red grape skins, purple grape juice, mulberries, and peanuts, people take the chemical resveratrol to lower bad cholesterol, raise good cholesterol, and prevent cancer. It is a powerful antioxidant that also is said to improve youthfulness and reduce inflammation. Though several studies in animals have shown that resveratrol prevents certain cancer cells from dividing, the results for humans is inconsistent. To get some of the benefits of this antioxidant, consider Pure Resveratrol by aSquared Nutrition. It offers a maximum-strength formula and a money-back guarantee. If you are not satisfied with this product, return it within 30 days for a full refund.