Practically everybody will have cancer in their bodies at some stage in their lives. They just may be blissfully unaware of it because the mutant cells never grow large enough to develop into a troublesome disease. “In autopsy studies of people who died in car accidents, up to 40% of women between age 40 and 50 have microscopic cancers in the breast, and about 50% of men in their fifties and sixties have them in their prostate glands,” says Dr. William Li, president and medical director of the Angiogenesis Foundation. “By the time we reach our seventies, virtually 100% of us will have microscopic cancers in our thyroid glands. We probably form microscopic cancers in our bodies all the time. We just don’t know it.”
Most cancers remain about the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen, one critical reason being that they are unable to grow further without a blood supply. Tumors need to grow blood vessels in order to feed and spread. However, healthy bodies have natural antiangiogenic mechanisms which regulate angiogenesis, the process through which our bodies create new blood vessels.
Angiogenesis is an essential part of a normal, functioning body. In healthy people, new blood vessels grow only under specific conditions, for instance as part of the healing process for an injury, or during pregnancy. Healthy individuals have a natural system of checks and balances – known to scientists as angiogenesis stimulators and inhibitors – to regulate the growth of blood vessels. Explains Dr. Li, “The stimulators act as natural fertilizers to get vessels to grow, and the inhibitors prune back extra vessels when they’re no longer needed”.
Forty years ago, Dr. Judah Folkman – Dr. Li’s mentor – presented his thesis in the New England Journal of Medicine that a growing tumor could be “starved to death” by cutting off its blood supply. That theory was initially met with scepticism. Today, every major pharmaceutical company has an angiogenesis program. The first FDA-approved antiangiogenic cancer drug, Avastin, is well-established.There are 12 antiangiogenic drugs on the market for cancer treatment, with some 26 more in the final stages of human testing and another 100-plus behind them in human trials.
You can boost your body’s ability to produce angiogenesis inhibitors. Natural antiangiogenic food sources or angiogenesis inhibitor food sources include:
Cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, brussels sprouts, bok choy, kale etc.)
Omega 3s (salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel, cod, sardine)
Mushrooms (Maitake, Reishi, Agaricus subrufescens also known as Agaricus Blazei Murill Mushroom or Almond mushroom or Himematsutake /Japanese “princess matsutake”, Trametes versicolor or Turkey Tail in the United States or Yun Zhi in Chinese, Phellinus linteus or Japanese “meshimakobu” or Chinese “song gen” or Korean “sanghwang”).
This list is not exhaustive, but it’s a good start. I hear a bar of dark chocolate calling to me right now and, for my own good, I should give it my undivided attention!
Posted: May 24th, 2010 under Cancer, Diet.