Extensive Cancer Diet Info
Print all this info out and read carefully and discuss it with your pet's oncologist. There are 6 web pages of info. We know it is a lot to print out. However it is crucial- that you print it all, as we will cover different info for all types of cancer and special health problems. There will be cases in which certain things should or shouldn't be given. Therefore you must have all the info to make the best choices. Also, sometime it is recommended that CERTAIN supplements NOT be given during the period chemo is administered. This will vary on the treatment and type of cancer and other health problems the animal may also have. Which is why it is important to print all this info out and give to your vet to read it. If you have chosen NOT to do chemo then we recommend you try supplements as it has added to quality of life and longevity in many cases.
We are sorry we can't answer your questions as to dosage at this time as Carol is no longer with us.
She was the only one who was able to calculate this info correctly off the top of her head! So we ask you to use this information as a guide. Post any other further questions on our message board and join the Endless love board for further support.
The part of the below that your vet needs to note is that you cannot give anyone glutathione even though it is sold over the counter. Don't give it because OTC versions do not work. The only kind that is known to work is the liquid sold at VRP.com.
You also can't give cysteine because it's toxic.
The Immunocal supplement is good. The reason you'd have any interest in giving this to a cancer dog is because the information we have found leads us to believe it can enhance anything you give that is designed to help slow/shrink/stop this cancer; which means it should h help any chemo or other drugs work more effectively:
CONSULT A HOLISTIC or ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE VET
PLANT-BASED PET MEDS OFFER HOPE FOR CANCER
NATURAL HEALING By JULIA SZABO May 13, 2007 -- A few weeks ago, my mother's cat Torkan developed a growth on her right flank. This fluffy little Persian is Mom's favorite baby, and at 6 pounds she's also the smallest, so the hazelnut-size lump on her leg was disproportionately disturbing. I've reported on the many ways alternative veterinary medicine can help ailing pets, so my mother agreed to consult holistic vet Dr. Jill Elliot (nyholisticvet.com). I'd first met the excellent Dr. Elliot back in August, when this column broke the news about Neoplasene, a plant medicine that offers hope in the fight against cancer. Neoplasene attacks only diseased tissue, leaving healthy cells unharmed. (It's made in Montana by Buck Mountain Botanicals.) Dr. Elliot had used Neoplasene on a Belgian shepherd that was given six months to live. Within weeks, the dog's recurrent tumor had vanished. Dr. Elliot was so impressed by Neoplasene that she said, "With results like this, it's worth devoting the rest of my practice to," which inspired me to make an appointment for my pit bull Sam. He's been in remission from cancer for two years, but as a preventive measure he now takes oral Neoplasene daily. For Torkan, Dr. Elliot injected Neoplasene several times around the tumor's perimeter. To prevent the cat from bothering the growth, Torkan was outfitted with a soft blue collar that frames her face - a pretty mug that appears often in many of my mom's paintings. (To see them, visit marthaszabo.com.) One week later, Torkan returned for a second round of Neoplasene injections followed by an oral course. And just the other day, the tumor finished shrinking, leaving behind a crusty scab that fell away to reveal healthy tissue. Torkan is going to be OK a while longer. That's not jewelry or chocolate or flowers, but it's the best gift I can think of. Happy Mother's Day, Mom! firstname.lastname@example.org
COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK POST
What You Need To Know
The CANCER DOG Diet
As your vet may already have told you, do not give this dog anything with sugar in it, no fruit, no crackers, no white bread - nothing with white flour as white flour changes to sugar in the body. Do not give potatoes because of the high amount of starch. Sugars will feed the cancer and allow it to grow faster according to some oncologists though others do not agree. I'd play it safe and not give them in case those who believe it feeds the cancer are correct.
Do not give this dog any yearly shots or the rabies shot as the vaccines may accelerate the growth of the cancer. Some dogs have actually come out of remission after getting the vaccines.
This is the diet Julie used for her osteosarcoma dog. See what your own vet thinks about using some of the things on this diet for your dog.
I've heard of all kinds of diets for cancer dogs. The most difficult one is the one that I'm sending you. It's difficult in that it requires a lot to prepare it but I was impressed with the kind of time Julie was able to get for Jess by using it. Also, this diet was a compilation of information from a holistic vet and from a friend of Julie's who bought himself SEVEN YEARS after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Few survive longer than 6 months with an outside of one year because there is no treatment for pancreatic cancer in people.
I feel compelled to say, however, that under NO CIRCUMSTANCES would I give any dog of mine raw meat of any kind. Dogs can get diseases from raw meat, just as people can. I'd strongly advise that you cook any meat.
Jess weighed about 60 lbs. Julie put her on this diet and the cancer program I sent you. Her dog had osteosarcoma in the sinus cavity with a large tumor above one eye. She managed to stop the sinus cancer and reduce the tumor above the eye for quite a long time. Overall, she got Jess 15 months of perfect quality of life which is excellent considering that the typical if you do chemo for an osteosarcoma dog is 12 months. Of course now there is OPLA-Pt/radiation for nasal cancer and I'm wondering if an owner could extend the remission time significantly by using the cancer program and Julie's diet after doing the OPLA-Pt/radiation.
The thing in the diet that she felt reduced the tumor above Jess's eye was the hecla lava. Her holistic vet told her this is used particularly to stop the spread of cancer in the head, so it may do nothing for tumors elsewhere in the body.
The only good vet I've heard of who is holistic is in B.C. Canada - - just in case you're considering finding one. She will do consults through your vet. She is: Dr. Marlene Smith, 2311 Rosewall Crescent, Courtenay, B.C., Canada V9N 8R9. I don't have a phone number for her but I'm sure you can find one.
The reason I consider her to be worth the consult is that an owner who had an encephalitis dog told me this vet cured her dog of encephalitis. Actually she sent me the protocol used on her dog. She said her vet here in the U.S. knew Dr. Smith and did the consult with her because she felt Dr. Smith was good. Apparently so if she can cure canine encephalitis which another owner was told is impossible according to a vet at U.C. Davis.
Below is what Julie sent:
Ok, basically the food deal is as little fat as possible, NO sugar (no fruit even, nothing, sugar feeds the cancer cells) and no chemicals. Nothing with white flour in it as white flour used in crackers, cookies, etc. turns to sugar in the body. One day is organic meat (I tried to use chicken or turkey which must be soaked for 1-1/2 hours in FOOD GRADE hydrogen peroxide bought at the health food store.
You can NOT reuse it once you have soaked the meat. The meat must be covered or you need to turn the meat to be sure both sides get about one hour. Then you thoroughly rinse the meat under running water before using it for the dog), the next is 1/2 fresh veggies and 1/2 meat and the third is rice or millet with yogurt. There are two schools of thought in human macrobiotic cancer care. one says no dairy, the other is more lenient and, of course, this does not take into account the differences in physiology between humans and dogs.
Jess, however, did not do well on dairy, so we tended to be of the no dairy camp. It was hard to get Jess to eat plain rice or millet alone so we had one meat day, one meat and veggies day and one day with just a little meat and rice or millet. The veggies we used were carrots (though carrot juice is preferred by the vet), kale, spinach, broccosprouts, yams, and squash. To get all the supplements in we fed Jess twice a day. Sea Veggies are considered a MUST by both human and animal cancer specialists, soak them and cut them up real small so the dog won't notice. Get her to eat as much as possible. Jess got 3/4 to 1 cup a day. Buy them at the health food store where they are sold dried.
The other supplements that went into her food (divided up between two meals)
were: 200 mg. COQ10; 6 caps of burdock 400 mg. Essiac (available at health food stores) Don't get the tea, she'll never drink it, get the essiac tonic, the stuff I used is made by a company called the Herbalist. 4 capsules of Maitake extract (This is Carol - I'd recommend that instead you use the Bio Beta Glucan Maitake liquid as it's more potent) Vitamin C 6000 to 10,000 mg. a day I did the fish oil deal I think I got from you. 10 caps twice daily, with a vitamin e supplement once a week. Most vets recommend vit e daily 400mg.
You have to make the choice here. Green tea extract - adult dose on bottle (these formulas vary, get a strong one as possible. Flax oil (Omegaflo or like) - A tablespoon in each meal. Green food - Get at health food stores. Has spirulina, barley grass, etc. Give adult dose. In addition to all this, she also got hecla lava, 6C dose 10-15 grains once daily. You can get this through a homeopathic vet. After I originally started with Jess, her tumor went down quickly.
I continued to give it to her when there was no visible sign of her tumor as a preventive. DON'T DO THIS! You really want to find a good homeopathic vet (as well as a good oncologist) in your area to monitor your dog's progress. In addition to all of this 3 times a day she got (on an empty stomach, one hour before meals)
Noni juice (she liked this and it seemed to make her feel better), Intenzyme forte, IP-6 Adult dose, (available through Vitamins.com) is an immune system booster, and colostrum.
I don't know that I thought the colostrum helped, by it has a lot of anecdotal support. (This is Carol again. I wouldn't use IP-6 or colostrum. I'd stick with the Immunocal instead. We got no good results using IP-6 on a few cancer dogs who tried it.) I know this is a lot but I do know that what she ate made her feel better, and everyone commented on how well she was aging, not knowing she had cancer, so I do think it had an effect. Let me again stress that I think it's best to have an oncologist and homeopathic vet working together. With Jess, as with many nasal tumors, it was simply inoperable and this type of cancer (I was told) responds well only when surgery and chemo are used together. Supplements are cheaper through Vitamins.com I've found.
"Oddly, there seems to be a higher concentration of glutathione in cancer cells than in the normal cells around the tumor. This becomes a problem in that it indicates that the cancer is using more than its share of glutathione precursors and leaving the other cells unprotected. But more important, cancer cells use the extra glutathione to protect themselves from attack, especially from the toxins used in chemotherapy.
One reason for chemotherapy not working is that the cells have too much protection from their elevated glutathione levels. In a limited study, Immunocal was found to disperse these high levels of glutathione, allowing chemotherapy to bemire effective, and boost the glutathione available to helper lymphocytes. So, if we feed the whole body what it needs to create glutathione, the imbalance seems to work itself out."
The cheapest place I know to get Immunocal is off the internet from the original manufacturer. Make sure that your order Immunocal for People. DO NOT order Immunocal for Animals because we have always used the one for People and that's the one we can give a dosage on.
D-Fraction Maitake (Bio Beta Glucan Maitake) What makes Maitake D-fraction so important and how does it compares to other mushrooms? Studies done by Dr. Nanhr, a foremost authority on medicinal mushroom, have demonstrated its greater effectiveness compared to other mushrooms when taken orally, a very key point considering that oral use is the most commonly available form. D-fraction was shown to be over twice as effective in inhibiting tumors than Lenthinan or LEM. It has been studied and proven effective in stimulating the body's own defenses. Research has demonstrated that it simulates a variety of different immune cells including macrophages, NK-cells, Th, Tc and Tdh.
A great Mushoom mix can be found here.
* Maitake mushrooms (Grifola frondosa), may have medicinal benefits more potent than those of
shiitake. This is because maitake's polysaccharides are beta-1,6-glucan with beta-1,3-glucan side chains, which result in a more complex branching structure. Since maitake is a newcomer in the medical field, U.S. studies are just being completed on what components are effective and how they work.6,7 The effects of maitake D-fraction on cancer were studied by Hiroaki Nanba, Ph.D., and colleagues from the department of microbial chemistry at Kobe Pharmaceutical University in Japan. An uncontrolled study on mice found maitake to be most effective in inhibiting cancer growth of the breast, lung, liver and prostate. Effectiveness ranged from 73.3 to 45.5 percent reductions in cancer growth. It was also somewhat effective in cases of leukemia (25 percent), stomach cancer (33.3 percent) and bone cancer (0 to 16 percent). Maitake was also effective when combined with chemotherapy (an added 4 to 13 percent benefit).8 In fact, maitake reduced the side effects of chemotherapy so it was better tolerated and more effective. This latter effect has been attributed to the fractions named X and ES found in the mycelia of the mushroom. Therefore, in cancer treatment, it was suggested a D-fraction concentrate be combined with mushroom mycelia. The D-fraction has been found to activate natural killer (NK) cells, macrophages and memory T cells. A second study by the same researchers showed T cells are responsible for maitake's ability to help the body resist cancer metastases. This is because memory T cells help the immune system remember the cells that promoted the original tumor and tag them for destruction before they can promote tumor growth in other parts of the body.9 Therefore, maitake is effective not only in reducing cancer tumors but also in preventing their recurrence. Maitake also activates several cytokines, which are proteins produced by white blood cells. The cytokines, namely interleukins 1 and 2 (IL-1 andIL-2), attach to T cell lymphocytes, helping them essentially clone themselves into an army of cells that attack tumor-promoting cells.
Brand of D-Fraction Maitake to use is Natures Answer. They are on the net and many sites on the web offer their product. They have changed the name to Bio Beta Glucan Maitake so that's what you'll ask for at your local health food store or buy off the net. This is the ONLY brand I can recommend. Nature's Answer is cheapest from Vitamins 4 Life at:1-888-Vita-4Life - toll free number).
Also the Yunzhi mushroom has shown very good results for preventing tumor growth and building the immune system. Studies have been very promising for the use of all these mushrooms.
Studies done with both human and canine cancer patients indicate that, you can buy quality time by providing optimum nutrition. Run everything by your vet for his/her review.
Use Mega-C Plus (NOTE: Do NOT use this if the cancer dog also has a kidney problem as you do not want to give kidney dogs a lot of Vitamin C. If this dog has renal problems, give a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement that contain only a small amount of Vitamin C.)
To find the Mega-C Plus, go to www.belfield.com and click on Products.
Give the Mega C Plus per instructions on the bottle. (I'd start lower than recommended and gradually increase to the amount indicated (over a 2 week period) to avoid loose stools or diarrhea from the vitamin C).
Also give Beta Plex (from Belfield's site) It's loaded with B vitamins which in nutritional studies on cancer dogs have been shown to be important. Give per instructions on the bottle.
I would supplement with additional vitamin E once in 10 days if you are using the MaxEPA Omega-3 (see below). You want to keep the vitamin E DOWN as much as possible in order for the MaxEPA Omega-3 to work, but in the process that takes place with the MaxEPA Omega-3 in the dog's body (lipid peroxidation), vitamin E is used up, and you don't want the dog's body to be completely without vitamin E, so once in 10 days is a fair compromise.
Vitamin E is given at the following rate for dogs up to 99 pounds:
If the dog is under 7 years of age, you will supplement with 200 I.U. of vitamin E once in 10 days.
If the dog is 7 years of age or older, you will supplement with 400 I.U. of vitamin E once in 10 days.
NOTE: If the dog is VERY TINY (up to 7 pounds) and is under 7 years of age, you will supplement with only 100 I.U. of vitamin E once in 10 days.
Vitamin E is given at the following rate for dogs 100 pounds or heavier:
If the dog is under 7 years of age, you will supplement with 400 I.U. of vitamin E once in 10 days.
If the dog is 7 years of age or older, you will supplement with 800 I.U. of vitamin E once in 10 days.
MaxEPA Omega-3 (Buy from a health food store )
Brand to get is Natures Life or Solgar- Please try to NOT USE A SUBSTITUTE BRAND even if the readout on the label is identical - Can also buy Nature's Life - probably cheaper from: www.dhi.com/natlife2.html The one listed as MaxEPA #75-469 is the regular dose (1,000 mg per gel cap) but it will be easier with a big dog if you get the 3,000 mg gelcaps which is listed as Omega III #75-523 because you'll have to open fewer gel caps.
Alternatively, if you own a Giant Breed, you may want to contact one of the places that supply researchers. The ones I was given by a researcher are: Martek Biosciences Corporation in Columbia, MD and Zapata-Haynie Corporation in Reedville, VA. Be careful to ask how to keep the oil from going bad because I believe it is sold in liquid form rather than inside gelcaps.
Amino acids are normally thought of as the building blocks of proteins, but they are also critical in the formation of many enzymes, hormones, and antibodies. They really play many roles in the way cells work, and their proper balance is crucial to maintaining good health. Nutritionists divide amino acids into two categories: essential and nonessential. Those labels are really misleading. "Nonessential" means that, in the opinion of those who did the research, your body manufactures enough of these acids all by itself given a normal, balanced diet. Those chemicals that your body does not manufacture enough of they label as essential, meaning that it is essential that you go out of your way to take in extra amounts of these elements in your diet. Since the time this research was done and these labels were attached, we have learned a lot about the importance of some of those "nonessential" amino acids, especially as they relate to antioxidant activity. In some cases, the optimum level is now thought to be significantly higher than the researchers previously assumed, and the labels have been altered. For instance, cysteine, and tyrosine are now labeled "semi-essential" amino acids. If we ignore the labeling system and talk about which ones are essential to your health, glutathione, cysteine and alpha lipoic acid (ALA) have to be at the top of the list, at least in terms of what they do as antioxidants.
ALPHA LIPOIC ACID (ALA)
Lipoic acid may be the ideal antiaging antioxidant. It is an essential coenzyme factor in the production of energy and a powerful antioxidant on its own. Not only does lipoic acid improve your metabolism, it protects you from the harmful oxidative by-products of that metabolism.
Lipoic Acid is "The Universal Antioxidant"
Lipoic acid can go anywhere in the body because of its unique characteristic of being both water and fat soluble. Because it directly and indirectly helps in the protection of every body component from oxidative stress, lipoic acid deserves to be called "the universal antioxidant."
Lipoic acid interacts synergistically with vitamins C and E, potentiating and conserving them. When your body is deficient in lipoic acid, the other antioxidants do not work as well together.
Lipoic Acid and Diabetes, Retinal Disease, Cataract Formation, and Peripheral Nerve and Heart Damage Lipoic acid is good for the diabetic, normalizing the blood sugar, and even more important, protecting against glycation, which causes many of the disorders associated with diabetes. Used in Europe for decades, it is proven to reduce retinal disease, cataract formation, and peripheral nerve and heart damage. A dose of 300 to 600 milligrams per day may be necessary to control elevated sugar. If you take drugs or insulin, monitor your blood sugar closely. The normal dose as a preventive supplement is 20 to 50 milligrams per day.
Lipoic Acid Offers Protection Against Atherosclerosis
Lipoic acid can reduce elevated total serum cholesterol by 40 percent, as well as prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, the oxidative reaction that results in hardening of the arteries. Lipoic acid is transported in LDL with vitamin E energizing it. Of course, vitamin E is the most potent antioxidant protector against LDL oxidation. Thus, lipoic acid offers double protection against atherosclerosis: It reduces total serum cholesterol and keeps it from oxidizing. Lipoic acid may improve oxygen uptake of the heart as well. It is just plain good for cardiovascular health and should be a part of all heart disease treatment.
Lipoic Acid Protects Against Cancer
There is also evidence that lipoic acid protects specifically against cancer. Ondogenes are genes that cause cancer. Nuclear Factor kappa-B (NF kappa-B) activates the oncogenes in the presence of free radicals and other carcinogens. This results in the unregulated cell growth of cancer. Lipoic acid can enter the cytosol of cells and prevent activation of the NF kappa-B. Additionally, lipoic acid enhances immune function, your first line of defense against cancer, by neutralizing free radicals that would compromise it. Again, lipoic acid is a double-barreled weapon against cancer, just as it is in protecting against cardiovascular disease. These are the two diseases that kill more of us in the United States than all of the others combined!
Lipoic Acid is an Efficient Detoxifier for Neutralizing Toxic Metals
Finally, lipoic acid is an efficient detoxifier in that it binds up and neutralizes the toxic metals lead, mercury, and cadmium. Lead continues to plague us through auto exhausts. The very toxic mercury intoxicates us by way of our amalgam dental fillings and contaminated fish. Cadmium is present in cigarette smoke. Iron and copper are essential minerals, but excessive or unbound free iron and copper behave as free radiacal oxidants, a dangerous situation. As a chelator, lipoic acid controls these, too.
Cysteine is formed in the liver from homocysteine and methionine. It is a free radical scavenger that assists in the formation of glutathione. It stabilizes cell membranes and is helpful in asthma, smoking, and counteracting the effects of air pollution. As a chelator, it improves immune function and healing.
Glutamine, especially in conjunction with the antioxidant vitamins C and E, is a potent detoxifier at the cellular level. Glutamine levels fall with advancing age, and this decrease of glutamine in the aging population has been linked to a wide range of diseases, including diabetes and heart disease.
Dr. Richard Passwater states that "within the cell where the real toxic war is being waged, the most important antioxidant is glutathione." This powerful antioxidant is a sulfur-containing tripeptide formed in the body from three amino acids: cysteine (a sulfur-containing amino acid), glutamic acid, and glycine.
"Glutathione Helps in Preventing and Battling Weight Gain, Hyperactivity, Alcohol, Sugar and Caffeine Addictions, Allergies, Arthritis, Cataracts, Lung and Skin, and Prostate and Bladder Cancers."
Glutathione helps both to prevent numerous diseases and, in doing so, to slow the aging process. Dr. Allen H. Pressman, in his book "The Glutathione Phenomenon," states, "glutathione helps in preventing and battling weight gain, hyperactivity, alcohol, sugar and caffeine addictions, allergies, arthritis, cataracts, lung and skin, and prostate and bladder cancers." He further points out that glutathione provides other health benefits including increased energy levels, enhanced brain function, and boosted immunity. A study done in Spain showed that frogs lived longer, healthier lives when given supplements of vitamin C and glutathione.
In Dr. Passwater's preface to his book, he describes glutathione as "the foot soldiers in the battle against free radicalds and toxins."
Half of Individuals over 65 Are Deficient in Glutathione, Leading to Greater Susceptibility to All Kinds of DIsease, Especially Cancer
One of the key discoveries in understanding the importance of glutathione was that glutathione levels tend to be lower in older people. The decline in glutathione levels can be seen as early as age forty. At about that age, half of the population shows levels 25 to 30 percent lower than normal for the younger group. By age sixty-five, half of the people showed a deficiency of glutathione, leading to greater susceptibility to all kinds of disease, especially cancer. On the other hand, older people who have maintained high glutathione levels have longer, healthier lives with less occurrence of cancer. The realization that this one factor could explain the higher incidence of cancer in older people, various aspects of aging, and reduced immunity to the elderly and HIV patients has led to aggressive research into all three areas.
How Does Glutathione Work?
Glutathione is the key ingredient in neutralizing hydrogen peroxide in lipids and in the glutathione cycle itself. In the glutathione cycle, glutathione works with the enzyme glutathione peroxidase to scavenge hydrogen peroxide radicals in fatty tissues, such as cell membranes. When the battle is over, the hydrogen peroxide has been converted to water, but the glutathione is now in a disulfide form known as GSSG. Another enzyme, glutathione reductase, is then called on to reduce the GSSG back to normal glutathione so that the cycle can begin all over again. This is a crucial step in the antioxidant process. If it is not completed, dangerous hydroxyl radicals are formed.
In another similar mechanism, glutathione can attack an oxidant directly. In fact, if there are sufficient levels of glutathione, it can directly attack the powerful hydroxyl radical, converting it to water. The glutathione is then oxidized into GSSG, and glutathione reductase converts it back to usable glutathione, an amazing cycle. The reductase in this process needs to have vitamins B1 and B2 present for its activity. Basically the same mechanism is used by glutathione to protect cells from radiation damage. The fact that glutathione can neutralize hydroxyl radicals is very important. It means that there is a mechanism available in every organ of the body to handle this potent radical, IF there are sufficient quantities available.
Over the Years, the Accumulation of Toxins in the Air and Water Pollutants, Processed Foods, and Chemical Exposure Takes its Toll on the Amount of Available Glutathione in Our Bodies - A Cancer Waiting to Happen?
Glutathione also acts as a detoxicant. There are at least twelve carcinogens that have been identified as being susceptible to attack from glutathione. When glutathione does this job, it bonds with the toxin and glutathione transferases to neutralize the poison, and then it leaves the cell to be eliminated in the bile or urine. For this glutathione to be replaced, more glutathione must be synthesized by the cell. If it is not able to do so, the cell is glutathione deficient and none of the things needed to be done by glutathione get done. This means that lipid peroxidation goes wild, other toxins can attach the cell, radiation damage is not repaired, and there is no regulation of antioxidant activity of DNA replication. In other words, it is a cancer waiting to happen. It is probably here, in the detoxification process, that we slowly lose glutathione with age. Over the years, the accumulation of toxins in air and water pollutants, processed foods, and chemical exposure takes its toll on the amount of available glutathione.
Replacing Glutathione is Not Easy
Glutathione cannot be absorbed by the body intact. It must be manufactured in the cell itself. We can't even find a way for glutathione to move from cell to cell. Many people have thrown money away taking glutathione supplements that their body cannot use. In order to raise glutathione levels, we must give the body the componments that it needs to synthesize its own glutathione. Glycine and glutamic acid seem to be readily available, but the limiting factor in the body's production of glutathione is the availability of cysteine.
The problem is complicated by two factors. First, cysteine is an amino acid that is rarely found in foods. Second, taking cysteine directly is toxic. However, the compound cystine can be taken effectively and it occurs in milk whey. Chemically, cystine is two molecules of amino acid cysteine held together by a disulfide bond. When the cysteine passes into the cell, the bond breaks, leaving the cysteine intact inside the cell and ready to bond with the other elements to produce glutathione. A whey protein compound, called Immunocal, has been developed that simulates the protein in human milk and delivers effective quantities of cysteine. It is not a drug; it is a food supplement derived from cow's milk, but with modifications that make it more like human milk in the proteins it delivers. Vitamin C also helps to keep glutathione levels up, but can't synthesize more glutathione, as cysteine can.
Remember, glutathione cannot be absorbed by the body intact. It must be broken down to cysteine first, then rebuilt by the cell. Many people have thrown money away taking glutathione supplements when it would be better to take cysteine and let your body do the rest. Vitamin C also helps to keep glutathione levels up.
Another approach to delivering cysteine into cells for the synthesis of glutathione has been injection or oral use of N-acetylcysteine. This method is also used as an antidote for acetaminophen toxicity. This does, at least temporarily, raise glutathione levels, but the side effects make it less desirable than taking cysteine supplements. Those side effects may include nausea, diarrhea, and anaphalactic reactions.
What Does This Mean in Terms of Fighting Disease?
Research has been in the areas of aging, cancer, and HIV immunity impairment. In relation to aging, the decline in flutathione levels appears to be more consistent in explaining age related disorders than any other antioxidant fluctuation. Moreover, separate studies have shown that Alzheimer's disease, cataracts, Parkinson's disease, and atherosclerosis are all either preceded by or associated with a decline in glutathione levels in the organ or systems involved.
As a cancer fighter, glutathione offers solutions to both of the major theories on cancer formation. Some believe that cancers are caused by exposure to carcinogenic chemicals, which may have a cumulative effect over time. But glutathione acts as a detoxifying agent specifically on many of the most common carcinogens, most notably aflatoxin B1. Glutathione also offers a remedy for the theory that cancers are caused by nonrepairable lesions accumulated over time and contributing to abnormal cell duplication.
As an antioxidant, glutathione works to fight free radicals before they cause such lesions, it protects the mitochondria from damage, and it helps regulate DNA duplication to prevent cancerous cells from forming.
Oddly, there seems to be a higher concentration of glutathione in cancer cells than in the normal cells around the tumor. This becomes a problem in that it indicates that the cancer is using more than its share of glutathione precursors and leaving the other cells unprotected. But more important, cancer cells use the extra glutathione to protect themselves from attack, especially from the toxins used in chemotherapy. One reason for chemotherapy not working is that the cells have too much protection from their elevated glutathione levels. In a limited study, Immunocal was found to disperse these high levels of glutathione, allowing chemotherapy to be more effective, and boost the glutathione available to helper lymphocytes. So, if we feed the whole body what it needs to create glutathione, the imbalance seems to work itself out.
Glutatione's Importance to the Immune System
Glutathione's importance to the immune system cannot be overestimated. The ability of lymphocytes to deal with oxidative damage can be measured directly by determining the ability of these cells to replenish their supplies of glutathione. This is especially true in the production of helper-lymphocytes CD4 and CD8 T cells. These cells are especially targeted by the AIDS virus, and a low CD4 count usually means that the disease is winning the battle. However, research at Stanford University now suggests that raising the glutathione level in patients extends their lives, even if their CD4 count is low. In addition, glutathione inhibits the replication of the HIV virus itself.
As if all that were not enough, glutathione also helps to maintain a ready supply of vitamins C and E. It does this by recycling these vitamins after they have been oxidized.
Methionine has been determined to be a powerful antioxidant, a potent free radical scavenger.
Elevated Homocysteine Levels: Homocysteine is an amino acid that is intermediate in the conversion of methionine to cysteine. For those who are deficient in folic acid, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), or vitamin B12, there will be an associated elevation of homocysteine. Homocysteine has been implicated in the formation of atherosclerosis, directly damaging the artery and affecting the blood-vessel wall, interfering with the formation of collagen.
Elevated homocysteine levels are a definite independent risk factor for heart attack, stroke, and other vascular disorders. Abnormal homocysteine levels are found in nearly 40 percent of patients with heart disease.
NAC Used to Treat Drug and Alcohol Overdoses; Also Tested as Treatment for AIDS
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is the most common form of cysteine and extremely important in detoxification, often used to treat drug and alcohol overdoses. It is being presently tested as a treatment for AIDS because of its capacity to increase the T-cell lymphocyte numbers.
Cysteine has a protective effect against the development of oral cancer from the beginnings of leukoplakia. This is a particularly important supplement for those who smoke or chew tobacco or drink alcohol, leukoplakia being linked to all of these.
Cysteine is most effective when taken along with vitamins A, C, E, and selenium.