Cancer treatment for zero dollars?

I realize pomegranate peel as a health commodity is a tough sell at the difficult price point of zero dollars but some people can’t afford a quarter million dollars. (The zero dollars is simply referencing the fact that pomegranate peel is thrown out currently and the fruit is purchased for the seeds or used to create juice – so not throwing out the peel would be a zero dollar amount but time to create an extract and to store it in a freezer or dehydrate it into capsules would involve some cost in time and supplies – but we have to start somewhere and the starting point here is recognizing that throwing out the peel is wasting valuable health protective phyto-nutrients.)

Research has to start somewhere. Animal research may be followed by human cell cultures and eventually make it to clinical trials with human patients.  Call me patient zero as I have found it helpful for anxiety and numbness in my fingertips (possibly an early sign of Raynaud’s Disease but I don’t have a diagnosis of that condition – actually I’m not patient zero:,and pomegranate extract can be purchased for more than zero dollars in capsule, microgram doses: )(I use more than a 250 mg amount of my homemade extract, a few tablespoons throughout the day in a few different foods would equal about 60-90 grams/4-6 Tablespoons).

Pomegranate extract has been found beneficial in animal research for hypertension  (5) and for cancer, (6).

“PE (Pomegranate Extract) treatment (1 or 10 g/kg), started 4 weeks prior to the DENA challenge and continued for 18 weeks thereafter, showed striking chemopreventive activity demonstrated by reduced incidence, number, multiplicity, size and volume of hepatic nodules, precursors of HCC (Hepatocellular Carcinoma).” (6)

In a more recent post a reference to a book chapter reveals that a human trial for prostate cancer was found beneficial for 85% of the patients. It was a small study with only 40 patients but that is an astonishing success rate for the average cancer treatment, I’ve seen some chemotherapy treatments listed with warnings to not be used for frail older patients as the survival rate was 10% – flip that around and it is a successful poison rate of 90%.

The prostate cancer reference:

“Pomegranate juice given daily for 2 years to 40 prostate cancer patients with increasing PSA levels provides evidence for the possible utilization of a nontoxic option for prevention or delay of prostate carcinogenesis. It is remarkable that 85% of patients responded to pomegranate juice in this study.” Pomegranate Ellagitannins – Herbal Medicine, (4)

(Punicagilanin and other polyphenols from a group called ellagitannins are found in the pomegranate juice and more are available when the entire fruit is used to extract juice. The bioactive phytonutrients seem to start being excreted from the body within 12 hours based on clinical studies, so a daily intake would be required for consistent benefits. Pomegranate Ellagitannins – Herbal Medicine, (4))

Using pomegranate peel or whole fruit extract is not only likely to have fewer negative side effects such as hair loss or severe vomiting but the cost savings isn’t a joke. Even if health insurance covered most of a $250,000 chemotherapy treatment the copays would still add up. Ten percent copays would be $25,000 and 20% would be $50,000. Many people can’t afford that, let alone an uninsured person trying to pay the $250,000. The other side effect that isn’t discussed much is a long term or lingering loss in cognitive skills following chemotherapy. Patients may not be able to return to their former jobs after recovery from cancer with standard chemotherapy treatments. Here’s an article about the sticker shock that can occur with hidden costs for having a baby in our modern hospitals – the specialist doctors may not be considered inhouse and covered by insurance in the same way as the doctor for average deliveries. Families go bankrupt over the copays left from having a baby in the U.S.. That is unusual compared to other developed nations.

Not developing the cancer in the first place by helping your body to have a strong and healthy defense system is ideal and the Nrf2 promoting foods, which have been discussed in the latest series of posts and which included pomegranate, may all help with daily protection of the body against inflammatory conditions and with detoxification of toxins which may underly increased risk for cancer.

Pomegranate extract and its potential  for health benefits and other Nrf2 promoting foods was discussed in an earlier post:

Pomegranate extract for the home cook (me) for individual research purposes regarding health and edible characteristics is described in this post: The second large batch I made I simmered for 20 minutes instead of 30 minutes as the shorter heating time retained a brighter color and many phytonutrients and antioxidants are colorful. The broth is quite acidic and I’ve primarily been using it in recipes in place of lime/lemon juice or salad vinegar.

Soup is good food and vegetable stock is made with washed produce peels and other sections of some types of produce. Not all produce makes good soup stock but the budget conscious cook tries things and finds out what works, or how to make it work.

Economic history, a collection of free ebooks that include a section on Austrian economics and Carl Menger, see The Essential Henry Hazlitt, 3. Understanding “Austrian” Economics

Capitalism versus socialism doesn’t have to be the only way to look at economic theory – longterm stewardship of the planet and its resources is discussed in the Austrian economics viewpoint and in this more modern and alternative view of our being part of the cosmos as energy beings:

For an alternative viewpoint on the economic value of viewing our time here as stewardship of the planet and its resources: – 10 Characteristics of Highly Evolved Beings

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

  • Wenyan Sun, Chunhong Yan, Bess Frost, Xin Wang, Chen Hou, Mengqi Zeng, Hongli Gao, Yuming Kang,and Jiankang Liu,

    Pomegranate extract decreases oxidative stress and alleviates mitochondrial impairment by activating AMPK-Nrf2 in hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus of spontaneously hypertensive rats., Sci Rep. 2016; 6: 34246. (5)

  • Anupam Bishayee, Deepak Bhatia, Roslin J. Thoppil, Altaf S. Darvesh, Eviatar Nevo, and Ephraim P. Lansky.,  Pomegranate-mediated chemoprevention of experimental hepatocarcinogenesis involves Nrf2-regulated antioxidant mechanisms., Carcinogenesis. 2011 Jun; 32(6): 888–896. (6)

Pomegranate peel may be the best part – medicinally

I’ve been experimenting with making pomegranate peel extract and it may be the best part medicinally but is quite acidic and quite bitter. Mary Poppins sang that a spoonful of sugar helped the medicine go down and she is on to something. Medicinal herbs may be the bitter ones.  Sugar does help with the taste, but excess amounts of it can help worsen inflammation, so just a spoonful is important. Diluting with extra water and adding a concentrated fruit juice also helped with flavor.

I’m taking notes but am still in the testing phase so this is a summary – yes it seems possible to make an extract from the peel and inner membrane part of the pomegranate. The taste is something that a sick person would tolerate because feeling better is worth a lot including drinking something not very good as quickly as possible. However the healthy person is still likely to prefer the pomegranate juice or juicy crunch of the seeds. If there are seasonal issues one simple experiment worked well – the juicy seeds freeze quite nicely so making a large batch of peel and membrane extract could include simply freezing the seeds for later use in salads or as a sweet and tangy treat. The juice is also tart but the peel extract I made was more acidic than coffee I added baking soda to make it less acidic and easier for the digestive system to tolerate.

The extract did help more of my symptoms than the seeds do. I’ve had early signs of finger numbness, possibly Raynaud’s Disease/Syndrome, which doesn’t really have any treatments. The extract helped restore feeling to my fingers but it was temporary, just that day so the larger quantity of the treatment mentioned in the last post on this topic which used 1 – 10 grams/kilogram for 8 weeks for hepatocellular carcinoma might be best spread out through the day for someone with a more severe illness. Half a cup per day for someone less ill and a half a cup every three to four hours throughout the hours spent awake for someone who is more severely ill might be what helps symptoms. If every cell of the body needs the substances, every hour of the twenty-four, then one dose one time per day might leave the body under-treated for most of the 24 hours and only relieve symptoms for a few hours.

Raynaud’s Syndrome/Disease is referred to by both names. It was mentioned in the search engine results but the article is only available as an Abstract which doesn’t mention any specific conditions: (1). The condition is discussed in an full text available article on oxidative stress and Nrf2. It mentions green tea extracts and Gingko biloba as possibly helping reduce oxidative stress: Review Article: Oxidative Damage and Antioxidative Therapy in Systemic Sclerosis,   (2).

Gingko biloba is also mentioned along with Raynaud’s Disease in this article. A standard dosage is mentioned as being used once or twice per day: “The standard clinical dose of EGb 761 is 120 mg (~1.7 mg/kg) once or twice daily;” Egb is a standardized formulation that contains a certain amount of the active phytonutrients of the Gingko biloba herb which are called gingkolides. It is a traditional herb that was used in cooking and as a medicine in Chinese and Japanese history for conditions such as asthma or as a cough medicine. In the discussion of Future Directions for research the authors suggest more study of dosing as the amount used in preclinical trials was significantly more than used in many clinical trials, “(100 mg/kg compared to <2 mg/kg, respectively),” although some used a larger dose, (300 mg daily).  (3).

I do take a capsule of Gingko biloba daily but not the Egb formulation. The dose I have been using is 60 mg standardized to include “24% Gingko Flavoglycosides = 14.4 mg and 6% Terpene Lactones = 3.6 mg” – which suggests it is a fairly low dose compared to some of the research studies that used 100-300 mg of the Egb formulation. (3)The Egb formulation also includes flavanoids which include one that has been found to help increase Nrf2:

“Beyond oxidant scavenging, the flavonoid isorhamnetin was able to upregulate antioxidant enzymes through Nrf2 activation.(3).

Take home point – clinical trials are a lot of work and accurate dosing, both amount used, concentration of the active phytonutrients, and frequency the dose is used throughout the day, and how large the patient is, are all important factors for effectiveness of the herbal preparation at relieving symptoms of a disease or preventing chronic illness.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

  1. DaigoSumiAikoManjiYasuhiroShinkaiTakashiToyamaYoshitoKumagai., Activation of the Nrf2 pathway, but decreased γ-glutamylcysteine synthetase heavy subunit chain levels and caspase-3-dependent apoptosis during exposure of primary mouse hepatocytes to diphenylarsinic acid., Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, Vol. 223Issue 3, 15 September 2007, Pages 218-224. (1)
  2. Bogna Grygiel-Górniak and Mariusz Puszczewicz,Review Article: Oxidative Damage and Antioxidative Therapy in Systemic Sclerosis, Mediators of Inflammation, vol 2014 (2014), Article ID 389582, 11 pages. (2)
  3. Kevin M. Nash and Zahoor A. Shah., Current Perspectives on the Beneficial Role of Ginkgo biloba in Neurological and Cerebrovascular Disorders., Integr Med Insights. 2015; 10: 1–9. (3)

Magnesium deficiency and cancer – and magnesium sulfate salt

Magnesium Deficiency and Cancer, Sara Castiglioni, Jeanette AM Maier (2011):

In addition, magnesium concentration in drinking water is inversely correlated with death from breast, prostate, and ovarian cancers, whereas no correlation existed for other tumors [36, 38, 39].”

Looking at the bigger picture can lead to a better understanding of the real underlying issues and we are overlooking or being deceived about the underlying causes of cancer:

Experimental evidence therefore leads to the conclusion that in rodents, magnesium deficiency participates both in early (initiation) and late (progression) phases of tumorigenesis (figure 2).”

Full text:

*this article also mentions that low magnesium levels slow down growth of the main cancer tumor but that it is associated with increased spread of the cancer to other areas of the body. There is some speculation that low magnesium could be used to slow growth of cancer tumors but I would point out that the simple answer is math – cancer is very rapidly growing and any rate limiting factor such as reduced levels of essential nutrients such as magnesium or folate would reduce growth of rapidly growing cell groups but also would affect the health of the immune system and rest of the body. Cancer cells are ravenous, they have no off switch and it is the magnesium which provides the body’s ability to kill by apoptosis cells that are defective or too old. The article goes into more detail about oxidative stress, inflammation and mentions factors involved with apoptosis that are dependent on adequate magnesium. Some types of cancer treatments increase the risk of low magnesium and treating with extra magnesium sources has been studied elsewhere. Problems with fingertips occurs in a variety of health situations that involve starvation of some important nutrient including Raynaud’s disease – mentioned here, in an article about the cancer treatment associated with low magnesium:;2-2/full

The most well known example of fingertip problems due to lack of essential nutrients is frostbite – warmth is the missing nutrient – is that a nutrient? not really but without warmth nothing else works. I’ve written about a few other type of vasculitis problems that begin with finger symptoms. I’ve included some of that post at the end of this, to be organized later on the site.

In the case of cold water drowning the body has self preservation techniques that may sacrifice the fingers and toes while saving circulation throughout the heart, brain and lungs – the three most important organs for survival. Drowning victims in very cold water sometimes survive much longer exposure than would be possible in warm water because of this survival tactic that may be based somewhere in our evolutionary past. Life guards are trained on the importance of not giving up on the search for cold water victims. (cold water survival) My first job was as life guard, water safety instructor and camp counselor.

The cancer treatment with magnesium may need a source that can be absorbed through the skin. Many factors can reduce the body’s ability to absorb magnesium as well through the intestines.

Humans intestinal and renal systems are designed with an expectation that we will have lots of magnesium available and not much calcium so magnesium tends to be wasted easily and absorbed poorly. Current water supplies tend to be lower in magnesium content than natural river water might be. An Epsom magnesium sulfate salt bath or foot soak can be a better absorbed source as skin readily absorbs it. 20 minutes with about a cup of the magnesium sulfate salt is a medicinal dose, Staying in longer than 40 minutes might be dangerous due to slowing of the heart, and can cause watery bowel movements for up to a day or two if oversoaking as the magnesium causes relaxation of smooth muscle fibers which are what control the heart rate and the intestinal system. there are early symptoms of a fluttery weaker heart rate that is a signal to rinse off, you spent too long soaking.

Originally posted Feb. 20, 2011 – Regarding Vasculitis:

The first picture that I saw of someone diagnosed with vasculitis reminded me of hypothermia. The person’s fingertips were red and swollen but also shriveling at the tips. I learned about the body’s amazing ability to divert nutrients to the brain and heart during my training as a Water Safety Instructor. People survive drowning in extreme cold sometimes because the body stops circulating blood through the arms and legs. The person might lose fingertips and toes due to frost bite but if they survived an hour under water without brain damage, then it seems like a small price to pay.In the case of vasculitis, however, white blood cells are breaking down blood vessel tissue and destroying function of the area. It has been a mystery – why would the body attack itself and take apart structures?

I suggest that it is occurring for the same reason that anorexics die of heart attacks. In cases of malnutrition the body will catabolize – break down – body parts that are not essential in order to keep the brain alive. In the drowning victim, the brain, lungs and heart continue circulating blood while the extremities are left to freeze. The anorexic’s body needs calories to feed the brain and fat stores won’t work. Muscle tissue can be converted into energy that the brain can use. Over time, the heart and the rest of the muscles are eaten from within to feed the starving brain, leaving the weakened heart muscle at risk from any overwork.

Buerger’s Disease

The type of vasculitis most associated with fingertip loss is also most associated with smoking. And  the most effective treatment is to stop smoking. The vascular tissue would be oxygen starved in a chronic smoker as well as magnesium deficient.

Buerger’s Disease,
photo from: []  John Hopkins Vasculitis Center
Central Nervous System Vasculitis

**This is a rare form of brain vasculitis but the description of symptoms and population at risk reminded me of my migraine days of maximal blood brain permeability and sensitivity to many foods and chemicals.

“Treatment and Course of CNS Vasculitis” 
PACNS: Until recently, CNS vasculitis was a fatal condition in a high percentage of cases, with death following diagnosis in a mean of 45 days after diagnosis. The availability of powerful immunosuppressive therapy, however, has significantly improved the prognosis for people with this condition. Some patients with PACNS respond well to treatment with high doses of steroids alone. Others require the addition of cyclophosphamide to the steroid regimen. In many cases, a reasonable approach is to attempt to control the disease with high doses of steroids first (e.g., for one month), adding cyclophosphamide only if steroids fail or if patients begin to develop unacceptable side–effects of steroid treatment.
Balancing control of the disease with the possibility of serious side–effects of treatment is often challenging. For PACNS, treatment must often be continued for a year or more.
BACNS: Patients who fit the typical patient profile of BACNS and who have clinical presentations compatible with that diagnosis may be candidates for less intensive treatment regimens than those used in clear–cut cases of PACNS. Patients believed to have BACNS may be treated with calcium–channel blockers (a class of drug used to treat high blood pressure and spasm of blood vessels that occurs in a variety of conditions) for a few weeks, along with a comparatively short course of steroids (prednisone). No firm guidelines exist regarding the length of therapy, however, and decisions about the length of treatment must be made on a case–by–case basis.
Cocaine use, malignant hypertension, preeclampsia, and intravascular lymphoma can mimic this disease. The best therapy has not been established: many patients are treated with prednisone and cyclophosphamide.”

[] – John Hopkins Vasculitis Center

** Calcium channel blockers are a pharmaceutical stand-in for magnesium. Deficiency of the building blocks and energy sources that the body needs for regeneration prevents the body from growing new tissue. When functioning correctly, new skin cells are grown every day. Hypertension and preeclampsia are conditions resulting from magnesium deficiency. Cocaine use is associated with minimal eating and weight loss (appetite for more cocaine instead of food). Cancer is also associated with malfunctioning white blood cell function – apoptosis is required to prune decaying cells before they mutate. Magnesium is essential to grow the white blood cells and to arm them with the enzyme and adhesion powers necessary for apoptosis.

When nutrients are missing the body will recycle nutrients from less important body parts. White blood cells, our work force, will break down and not repair tissues that aren’t supporting the brain, lungs and heart circulation. Tissue with rapid cell turn over will show the lack of repair earliest. The skin and blood vessels in areas of the body that are less physiologically important will show break down and inflammation earliest in the progression of disease. Leaky Gut Syndrome is a similar problem happening with disrepair of the intestinal lining. It leads to worsening malabsorption problems and further malnutrition.

Bypassing the poor intestinal absorption with delivery of nutrients by skin is a low budget, low risk solution worth trying. A magnesium containing skin cream may provide some of the nourishment that the skin cells need for repair. Excess active hormone D also causes increased intestinal calcium absorption and worse magnesium absorption. Some types of infection can cause an increase in active hormone D and cause an imbalance in calcium and magnesium. Consuming extra vitamin D will add to the imbalance in vitamin D vs hormone D levels that the chronic infection is triggering. the increased levels of hormone D cause movement of calcium and magnesium out of the bone tissue and lead to increased urinary magnesium losses. Magnesium deficiency prevents growth and repair of our skin and everything else.

Use of a magnesium containing skin cream may bypass the poor intestinal absorption and bring symptom relief sooner than just taking a supplement of magnesium.

Eating supplements or diets rich in lecithin from egg yolk and omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil, or flax or hemp oils rich in essential fats can help nourish the skin and promote healthy membranes in the brain and throughout the body. Self care and nourishment helps speed healing.  Calcium channel blockers and corticosteroids will not provide any building blocks for growth in the long run.

*I must not have been aware of Epsom salt baths at this stage of my learning more for better self-care – migraine headaches may have to do with vasculitis.

  • Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.