Nature’s answer to free-radical damage
Current statistics on cancer are staggering. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 4,800 new cases of cancer will be identified each day in 2019. The chance of a person being diagnosed in their lifetime is now 1 in 3. The questions beg to be asked: Why is this devastating disease so widespread? And is there any hope for prevention?
Research shows that cancer can be attributed to a number of causes, but pinpointing a reason you or a family member may have developed the disease is nearly impossible. Tobacco use, toxic chemicals, obesity, hormone imbalances, radiation, viruses, chronic inflammation, and lack of exercise can all set the stage for the cellular damage that leads to cancer. An extremely complex disease, cancer doesn’t come with a one-size-fits-all cause—or solution.
Good Cells Behaving Badly
All cancers can be traced back to an abnormal functioning of cells in the body. Ideally, each of your cells divides in an orderly fashion. During the typical life cycle, old or damaged cells die (a process known as apoptosis) and healthy new cells take their place. Cancer develops when the damaged cells don’t die, but continue to divide and grow. This overgrowth of damaged cells can eventually form tumors that may spread to other organs and tissues.
But take heart—along with the sobering statistics on cancer comes some good news. For many years doctors believed that cancer was primarily a hereditary disease. Now we know that more than 95 percent of cancers have little to do with your genes, but may be contributed to certain lifestyle and environmental factors. Why is this considered good news? While it can be nearly impossible to control things like toxins in the environment, it is possible to control some of the lifestyle factors that could lower your cancer risk in the first place. Also, treatment options are advancing. Screening techniques are becoming more effective. Best of all, cancer survival rates are on the rise. So while cancer remains extremely prevalent, people are beating it more than ever before in history. In the case of such a devastating illness, these small victories are cause for celebration..
Another major contributor in the fight against cancer is the fact that people are becoming more educated in the many ways they can proactively help to prevent the disease in their own lives. While eating a healthy diet, participating in regular exercise, and avoiding tobacco products can provide a good start, science now tells us there are some powerful natural compounds that may have the ability to lessen the odds that the disease ever takes hold. One of the most effective weapons to have in your cancer prevention protocol is grape seed extract.
Amazing Antioxidant Power
Grapes are abundantly rich in disease-fighting nutrients, including antioxidants that protect your cells from oxidative stress and inflammation. The skins and seeds of the grape contain high antioxidant concentrations that can benefit a number of health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. When it comes to disease-fighting botanicals, few have proven to be as powerful and versatile as grape seed extract.
Grape seed extract is so potent because it contains oligomeric proanthocyanidins, or OPCs. OPCs are compounds with great protective value, but to be beneficial, their molecular structure needs to be tiny and readily absorbable. The best OPCs are found in a French variety of grape seed extract called VX1. VX1 is tannin-free and has unique specifications that make it highly absorbable—and therefore more effective—in the body.
Studies on the Rise
Impressively, French grape seed extract VX1 has a growing body of research backing its powerful cancer-prevention abilities. In a number of studies, OPCs have been shown to inhibit cancer cell proliferation and trigger cell death in colon, breast, prostate, and other cancers. They have also been shown to shrink the size of tumors, as well as target cancer stem cells that have become resistant to chemotherapy.
One study appearing in the journal Carcinogenesis focused on colorectal cancer, one of the most deadly cancers in the United States. The research found that VX1 was able to boost levels of tumor-fighting genes, “turn off” the genes that promote tumor growth, and prevent the spread of cancer cells. And when compared to other grape seed extracts in the study, VX1 was significantly more effective at a much lower dose than standard extracts. It’s also important to note that no healthy cells were harmed in this study. The OPCs pinpointed the cancer cells without destroying any healthy tissue.
Targeting Stem Cells
Another impressive study shows the effectiveness of OPCs on cancer stem cells. You’ve heard it time and again. Someone is declared to be in remission or “cancer free,” only to have a reoccurrence in the future. Why does this happen? Because cancer cells are smart and resilient. Sometimes they can hide in the body and become resistant to chemotherapy treatment.
While chemotherapy can cause cancer stem cells to become chemo-resistant, the OPCs in French grape seed extract VX1 target a unique pathway called Hippo-YAP that is necessary for stem cell survival. After exposing colon cancer cells to this standardized extract, tumor growth was suppressed by as much as 90 percent. Additional findings published in Carcinogenesis reported that VX1 can stop DNA from replicating itself, which prevents the spread of cancer.
To get the most cancer-prevention potential from a grape seed extract supplement, look for French grape seed extract that is tannin-free with small OPCs for proven absorption. The best products have gone through a verification program to determine that the extract is authentic and hasn’t been adulterated.
More Powerhouse Protection
While grape seed extract has a great deal of anticancer properties, studies show that the following vitamins and botanicals can also set the stage for cells to exist cancer-free.
This extremely potent antioxidant is the darling of the natural medicine world when it comes to inflammatory defense. Known for its unparalleled ability to stop the free-radical cascades in the body that can lead to inflammation, curcumin also has the ability to enhance the beneficial effects of chemotherapy.
BCM-95 curcumin (a proprietary ingredient also known as Curcugreen) is the subject of over 50 published studies for its medicinal benefits. Preliminary research on its anticarcinogenic activity has found that it can suppress breast, prostate, liver, skin, oral, colon, and lung cancer cells. One study in particular researched the benefits of BCM-95 curcumin when combined with French grape seed extract VX1. Because these two botanicals target separate inflammatory pathways in the body, taking them simultaneously may pack an even bigger punch than taking either of them alone.
Another of nature’s powerful anti-inflammatory botanicals, boswellia stands out for its unique ability to target numerous inflammation pathways in the body, including an important one called 5-LOX. Not even curcumin and grape seed extract can touch 5-LOX, which is thought to contribute to serious health conditions like arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and inflammatory bowel disease.
In a cell study performed in Egypt, boswellia was found to be comparable to two chemotherapy drugs for inhibiting the growth of colon and liver cancer cells. Other preliminary work has shown that a primary compound in boswellia called AKBA was able to stop the growth of leukemia and prostate cancer cells by making the cancer cells unable to form blood vessels—their source of survival. When looking for an effective boswellia product, check the label to make sure it is standardized to 10 percent AKBA.
Yes, the “sunshine vitamin” can do much more than keep your spirits up. Studies show it may prevent or slow the growth of some types of cancers, including breast, prostate, colon, and even pancreatic cancer. Vitamin D is unique in the way that it acts like a hormone in the body, helping to build healthy bones and regulate immune, muscle, and nervous system function.
While the full benefits of vitamin D on cancer prevention still need to be explored, preliminary findings are promising. A recent study in PLOS ONE showed that postmenopausal women with higher amounts of vitamin D in their blood had a significantly lower risk of developing breast cancer than those with lower vitamin D counts. More research reflects that vitamin D has an influence on tumor growth and apoptosis. Remember that before you up your vitamin D intake, it’s important to get a blood test through your healthcare provider to check your levels.