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Preventing cancer is a top health concern for everyone today. Only 5-10% of cancer patients today have any genetic predisposition (inherited risk from their family members) for developing cancer. For the remaining population, we have to consider what are the predominant factors causing cancer today.

Carcinogens are chemical substances known to cause cancer. The majority of the most concerning carcinogens are human made. They are products developed for agriculture (pesticides & herbicides), building materials, products in our cosmetic industry and more. Avoiding cancer requires a keen awareness of what carcinogens are and making conscious choices to utilize products without them. It also requires adding protective measures for the carcinogens we cannot avoid; those that are in our air and water as pollution and often in our homes.

But isn’t our government keeping us safe? In the United States, chemical safety is determined by the manufacturer of a compound evaluating effects over short periods of time, then reporting to the EPA/USDA depending on how it is classified. This does not identify long-term toxicity or lifelong accumulation. While we know that cigarettes cause cancer, smoking 1 cigarette will not and so it was said that cigarettes were safe for many, many years. However it is now widely acknowledged that cigarettes do cause cancer as a result of long-term use. Similarly, chemicals that have been allowed in our food system due to short-term safety are increasingly recognized to have detrimental long-term effects.

Even more complex, when scientists determine chemical safety it is by evaluating 1 chemical at a time. However an individual’s exposure in one bite of food can often contain a dozen or more chemical additives, all working together. One aspect of medicine that is becoming an increasing concern is the use of “polypharmacy,” or the unknown effect of using more than one drug at a time. While we might evaluate the risks and benefits of prescription drugs in this way, we need to be paying even closer attention to the combined affect of carcinogens in all areas of life.

Examining the entire list of carcinogens is completely overwhelming, so this series will highlight a few to steer clear of and great resources to check out too. Let’s start with those that may be in our refrigerators and our backyards:

  • Atrazine, Organophosphates and Telone – these chemicals are just a few of the compounds used in conventional agriculture today that are known carcinogens. Consuming foods produced with these chemical additives are individually known to cause cancer. In most conventional farms and food products, multiple chemicals are used simultaneously. What are we to do?
    • Consume organic foods, especially from small farms that are not adjacent to conventional agriculture regions is your best bet to keep these cancer causing substances out of your body.
    • Request restaurants you enjoy to opt for organic foods, as it’s not just what we buy at the grocery store that matters.
    • Ensure children are given organic food for their packed lunches. Many of these compounds bio-accumulate, which mean they grow in the body exponentially and cannot be removed. Presently public school nutrition does not provide food free of carcinogens.
    • Learn about natural pest control and organic fertilizers to grow your own healthy food.
  • Glyphosate the active ingredient in RoundUp – this controversial compound and product have been proclaimed as safe by the manufacturer Monsanto since the 1970’s. However, increasing evidence from researchers around the world acknowledge the broad health impacts and carcinogenicity of not only glyphosate but the combined effects of the ingredients in the common weed killer products.
    • Learn to appreciate a natural appearing environment for your region. Permaculture and xeriscaping employ practices that mimic the health of the ecosystem to create beautiful landscapes.
    • Utilize old-fashioned techniques – pull the undesirable weeds out!
    • Explore natural products for weed killing; salt, vinegar and certain essential oils have proven effective at destroying undesirable plant species.

No matter your race, gender, class or intellectual expertise we are all at significant risk for developing cancer living in the US today. For most individuals, by the time a cancer is large enough to be identified, it has already been growing steadily for 10-20 years. There is no better time to focus on prevention, because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

For individualized recommendations on reducing your cancer risk and enhancing the preventative measures in your life, visit Stillwater Clinic & Apothecary where we offer resources, education and individualized medical care to support your long term health.

 

References:

Anand, Preethad et al. Cancer is a Preventable Disease that Requires Major Lifestyle Changes., Pharm Res. 2008 Sep; 25(9): 2097–2116.
BreastCancer.org, “Your Step By Step Guide to Reducing Your Risk of Breast Cancer” handbook.
Cressey, Daniel.  Widely Used Herbicide Linked to Cancer  The World Health Organization’s research arm declares glyphosate a probable carcinogen. What’s the evidence? Nature magazine on March 25, 2015.
Dalamas, Christos and Ilias G. Eleftherohorinos. Pesticide Exposure, Safety Issues, and Risk Assessment Indicators. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2011 May; 8(5): 1402–1419.
National Institute of Health, Department of Health & Human Services: Environmental Health & Toxicology Database; https://toxtown.nlm.nih.gov/index.php
Samsel, Anthony, and Stephanie Seneff. Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance. Interdiscip Toxicol. 2013 Dec; 6(4): 159–184.
Seidler, Ramon PhD., the former Team Leader of the EPA’s Genetically Engineered Organism biosafety program. Interview; http://gmwatch.org/en/news/latest-news/17456-the-time-for-glyphosate-based-herbicides-is-over

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herbal-medicine-in-jars-0Drippy noses, itching eyes, fatigue and shortness of breath are all a terrible combination of symptoms that tend to show up for millions of Americans in summer time.  While it seems like an awful way for the season to welcome someone, there are numerous ways to help improve the pattern over time.

Allergies are a result of inappropriate immune reactions to non-harmful particles.  The allergic person has somehow determined that cat dander, grass pollen or food substances are dangerous to the body and the resulting attack can be very annoying.  This is especially true for environmental allergies where we cannot stop the exposures from happening.

While it is generally determined that once a person has allergies, that is their tendency for life, some people “outgrow them” or grow into them.  Either way, you can support health naturally with a variety of remedies that both improve allergy symptoms but overall health too:

–       Quercetin – A natural anti-inflammatory and antihistamine, quercetin is a potent bioflavonoid that is found naturally in onions, black tea and apples.

–       Bromelain – This compound comes from pineapples and is a natural anti-inflammatory.  It enzymatic activity breaks up inflammation in the body and is useful for allergies and other inflammatory conditions.

–       N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) – This is one of natures most powerful mucolytic agents.  Used to break up congestion, NAC is created naturally by the body from proteins but can be taken as a nutritional supplement to eliminate congestion.  Especially helpful for chronic congestion of the sinuses or lungs.

–       Nettles – Urtica Dioica is one of North America’s most abundant natural remedies for allergies.  This herb stabilizes mast cells which calms the bodies tendency to react to pollens that enter the respiratory tract.  Taken as a daily tea, encapsulated or tinctured there are multiple constituents in this plant that benefit the immune system.

–       Eyebright – Euphrasia officinalis has an affinity for benefiting the eye when consumed as a tea, tincture or encapsulated herb.  This plant is astringent and can be used topically as a compress for itchy, swollen eyes.  It works equally as well as a homeopathic remedy for allergy symptoms affecting the eye.

–       Vitamin C – Popular for it’s immune stimulating effects, vitamin C acts as a natural anti-histamine, calming the allergic reaction.  This vitamin is water soluble so the body will easily eliminate any excess that may be taken.

–       Amla – This herb is used traditionally in Ayurvedic medicine as an agent to improve digestion.  However, it is one of the only compounds we know of that increases the gut immune function, known as secretory IgA.  To calm the related digestive reactions of allergies, Amla can be added on a routine basis to support the body.

–       Bee Pollen – Oral tolerance is the ability of the body to regulate an immune response to something that caused allergy symptoms.  Oral tolerance can be naturally stimulated to regional pollens by consuming the pollen from bees.  This can be a very effective method of neutralizing the bodies reactions, however it should be done with extreme caution to prevent the immune system from being overly-triggered.  It is helpful to know from skin or blood testing how the immune system is responding because a severe IgE reaction to a pollen may result in anaphylaxis if bee pollen is consumed.

Ways to help shift the immune system from the allergic tendency to create a long-term correction in immune function include:

–       Reducing Inflammation – In addition to avoiding food allergens, minimizing inflammatory provoking agents from the diet can help ease the body.  This includes vegetables of the nightshade family, pork and grain-fed meats, sugar, coffee and alcohol.  This also includes any irritants that the body has identified as harmful including other environmental and food allergens.

–       Detoxification – Enhancing the bodies elimination of irritating agents will help correct immune function.  Ensuring adequate bowel elimination, kidney function and augmenting elimination through the lungs and skin all support the body’s natural detoxification process.

–       Nervous System Regulation – The more we can exist in our parasympathetic, rest and digest aspect of our nervous system, the better the bodies opportunity to restore and heal imbalances.  Utilizing stress management techniques on a routine basis helps us not only feel more calm and peaceful, but also improves our immune system and whole self.

For more information on treating allergies with natural medicine, come to Stillwater clinic for personalized hydrotherapy sessions and holistic health consultations to get the right tools in place to support your unique self.

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I am pleased to offer the expansion of my services to you and yours in need of support and guidance in the journey of health.

As a healthcare practitioner, I have had over 10 years of experience in home health and institutional care.  As an apprentice, I have had 5 years of study in herbal medicine and Native American healing traditions.  As a medical student, I survived 7 years of intense study of modern sciences as well as ancient traditions.  Additionally, I was able to serve as an intern for 5 years of clinical experience.  

As an intern with the National College of Natural Medicine clinics, I had a number of incredible experiences. A few that stand out include working with individuals enduring chemical detoxification from drug detox to environmental exposure detox.  We were able to not only provide symptomatic support for the physical challenges but also to help redirect patients total health and correct some of the deeper underlying vulnerabilities that predisposed their struggle.  Many patients come to a Naturopath because western medicine has nothing more to offer.  There are many conditions that just don’t seem to fit into the normal paradigm of medical diagnosis’ and therefore, there are no drug therapies to match the collection of symptoms.  Natural medicine in many forms has been very useful in these cases, providing new hope and direction to patient care.  My final year as an intern was spent with a focus on cancer patients and the integration of Naturopathic, Chinese and allopathic medicine to offer the best possible solution to very challenging conditions.  

I look forward to bringing my knowledge and experience as well as the amazing hope and inspiration I have been able to witness with a combined therapeutic approach into your lives.  For more information on any of the above subjects, please contact me or visit the National College of Natural Medicine at http://www.ncnm.edu.

I am now available 4 days a week for complete health intakes and treatment plan development incorporating acupuncture, herbal medicine, homeopathy, bodywork, hydrotherapy and counseling services as well as collaboration with your other medical professionals.  Additionally, I offer home or institutional visits on a regular basis.  For scheduling information, please visit my “contact” page or call 503-422-3032.

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