Supplements and herbs in cancer

I guess an explanation of why the entry was created in the first place is in order. People will always reach for alternatives, for various reasons. Some don’t believe in doctors, others have been told to go home, lie down and wait to die (how supplement can harm them, will they die more from it?). Finally, patients can simply try to increase their chances. If they are going to reach for something, let them be things that have at least a shadow of a chance of working, let them not give their money to charlatans. There are plenty of such things.

A word to the “anti-alternative”. Patients should learn about such things from their doctor, but unfortunately we have a situation where a doctor can only offer what has been thoroughly tested, preferably under placebo control. He is not allowed to talk about things that have not been thoroughly studied, but which, on common sense, inspire some hope. Why “unfortunately?” Because according to such a model, we should not use parachutes when jumping from an airplane. No one has ever tested under placebo control whether a parachute is an effective treatment for preventing injuries from falling from great heights. Only things that have been thoroughly tested are approved for treatment, and such tests cost money; for just one specific, it’s sometimes billions of dollars. Someone has to pay for it, and no corporation is going to pay for an herb or vitamin, because, first of all, they won’t earn anything from it later (there is no option to patent them), and secondly, they may lose their main source of income. You can put it another way, at the doctor’s we get an offer only for those things that the pharmaceutical companies have paid to promote.

Yes, I know, it’s best to wait until everything has been fully researched. It’s just that if a certain therapy cured animals 30 years ago, and since then no center has even touched it with a stick, telling a patient who has 3 months to live “wait a little longer, they’ll definitely research it” is just disgusting. It’s risking human life to boost your ego.

A word to “alternative” folk. Charlatans tell people that there is a vast conspiracy by which a super hyper effective drug, sold by this charlatan, cannot be tested, or the tests have been rigged to show a lack of effect. This is a gross lie, just look at the list below, these are all things that have been described to work and no secret conspiracy has tried to stop it. If something really works, it will be demonstrated at least on animals, where studies can be done even by students.

It’s really no problem to create 5 Facebook accounts and when some desperate person asks for advice, flood the thread or even private messages with stories of miraculous cures that never happened. This is what happens on Facebook groups in my country, by the way, visiting them gave me the motivation for this post.

The things I describe here are tested by science. Science is such a wonderful thing that is almost infallible, only it is also a very difficult thing and people prefer easy, simple and mindless solutions. Did lightning strike? It’s easier to say Zeus is angry than to try to understand the workings of the static field and the electron.

A word of warning. These are NOT therapies that work! They may do something, they may not, sometimes there is a case report of a cure behind them, not from a feebook, where someone can make it up, but from the professional medical press. But we don’t know if, by chance, the same therapy hasn’t been tried by 10,000 other people and it didn’t do anything for them. Sometimes there is an animal study behind them, but we also don’t know if something that helps animals will work in humans. Sometimes they have a strong disease-preventing effect, but just because something prevents doesn’t mean it cures, as if it were that simple, gunshot wounds would be treated by applying a bulletproof vest to the wound.

The most important thing, however, is that usually the research was on some one variety of disease, if even a therapy will be effective for it, it does not mean that it will also work for other varieties of cancer.

I have steered clear of studies where something works in a cell culture. In a cell culture gunshot will be an effective drug.

If someone were to ask which of these things to choose, I answer – ALL of them, as long as there is access to them (LDN is on prescription, DCA in general is not available on the normal market in most countries). Usually they are dizzying costs of about $3 a month for some supplement.

A list of things that might work, with links to where it’s described in more detail (click on the highlighted section of text), or directly to research:

First, the Ornish diet. Or rather, the whole therapy, which is a low-fat vegan diet plus some basic supplements, more exercise, quitting smoking, sometimes meditation. This was tested on a large group of patients, which is very rare for therapies that cannot be patented. The effectiveness in preventing precancerous lesions of the prostate from turning into cancer was basically 100 percent. It can be said to be completely effective in preventing this cancer, which kills one in 30 men, and further studies have shown that it has at least partial protective effects against other varieties. The Gerson therapy, which is really a vegan diet, but described in such a way that the patient would have great difficulty applying it on his own and would come to the clinic instead, falls under this point. No, you don’t need to buy any love-powered juicers or veggies planted by virgins on a full moon. A low-fat vegan diet will suffice.

Baking soda, one teaspoon a day. Yes, baking soda. Contrary to what dudes (because it’s hard to even call such bloggers) write on the internet, the evidence of its effect is quite strong, in 2 animal studies it prolonged their lives by about three times, one clinical trial with humans had a similar effect. However, I would suggest using potassium bicarbonate instead of sodium bicarbonate.

Dichloroacetic acid salts, or DCA. There are described cases of complete cure in situations where a cross has already been placed on the patients:

Should be used under a doctor’s supervision, due to potentially very dangerous (even fatal) side effects.

Combination of LDN and intravenous alpha lipoic acid. There are described cases of reversal of pancreatic cancer, something that “ordinary” medicine has never done. LDN is a prescription drug, but alpha lipoic acid can be bought at any pharmacy and supplements will have the same effect as intravenous infusions, blood levels will rise just as much if high enough doses are used (several hundred mg, such doses are completely safe).

MSM, or organic sulfur. In animal studies, it has slowed the development of disease several times, with virtually zero side effects, even when doses equivalent to a few grams in humans were used.

Ground flaxseed, with the focus not on omega 3, but on lignans. 30-50 grams per day is enough, while you should grind it yourself, you can first gently roast it in a pan. Dr. Budwig’s therapy, which is really a mixture of Dr. Ornish’s diet and flaxseed, will also fall under this point. Several-fold reduction in the number of metastases or the size of tumors in animals that got to eat the stuff:

A combination of coenzyme Q10 (suggested dosage at least 300 mg) and shiitake mushroom extract. With coenzyme alone, life extension of 5 to 15 years was described; in an animal study, the inclusion of shiitake extract produced a synergistic effect, that is, it potentiated the effects of both

Curcumin. Two times slower tumor growth in animals:

With resveratrol, there are a lot of studies that showed no effect, but there is one where a dose equivalent to 240 mg in humans slowed tumor growth by almost three times:

Vitamin K2 in the form of MK4. Some studies show an effect, some a lack of effect, but here, reversal of disease was observed in animals. Not stopping tumor growth, but regressing:

It should be noted, however, that there they injected the vitamin directly into the tumor. We also have a study where oral doses were used (the equivalent of 200 mg of MK4 per day) and the disease progressed much more slowly as a result:

It’s hard to say whether cumin (blackseed, nigella) or cumin oil will work if you just drink it, the results of an animal study were sensational, but it involved injecting oil into a tumor:

Cysteine is the basis for the formation of glutathione, in one clinical trial synthetic glutathione (one was tested because only such a form can be patented) extended the life of patients several times, sometimes leading to complete reversal of the disease. There are also studies confirming the link between low cysteine levels and disease risk. Suggested dosage at least 1000 mg of NAC a day, possibly more.

Quercetin had a weak effect, but it did. The 500 mg recommended by the manufacturer will provide a dose several times higher than the animals got, where this effect was demonstrated:

Astaxanthin at a high enough dose slowed tumor growth, no mistake here, 20-fold:

The problem is the dosage, because if what the researchers described is to be believed, a dose equivalent to 40 mcg in humans was used. Supplements we can buy have a dose of 5000 mcg, which is more than 100 times higher. I suppose there is an error somewhere, but where?

A dose equivalent to 500 mg of graviola extract slowed the development of pancreatic cancer in animals twice:

Theanine given to mice made them even several times less likely to develop cancer, but there’s a lot to suggest that the therapeutic effect at the doses that are in the supplements will be very small. Nevertheless, theanine is an inexpensive supplement that improves mood and further reduces the risk of heart disease. Dosage as suggested by manufacturer.

Ginseng admittedly strongly prevented disease, but only if it was from rhizomes five years old (strong effect) or four years old (weaker). Younger ones are the most common to buy, which in studies have had no effect. Dosage as suggested by manufacturer.

A bit questionable is conjugated linoleic acid, there are claims that it prevents the development of the disease, but with an already existing one, it can even worsen the course. Nevertheless, the vast majority of studies have shown that supplementation would be very beneficial, with suggested dosage at least 10 ml a day.

Betaine (not to be confused with betaine HCL) at a dose equivalent to 15 grams in humans slowed tumor growth twice in animals:

At the same time, here I would be cautious, perhaps there are varieties of cancer for which betaine will be “food”, by providing methyl groups.

Evening primrose and borage oils, there is a lot of evidence that high doses can have quite a strong effect, admittedly, the only clinical trial with humans gave not very good results (life extension from 42 to 58 days, if I remember correctly), but very low doses were used there, 6 ml of borage oil per day. Higher doses in animals have already given clear results:

IP6 slowed the growth of tumors twice in animals, beware, prolonged use can flush iron out of the body and cause anemia:

I think that’s it, I’ll add various things here if I come across them. I purposely left out what is unavailable, such as catalpol or daidzein.

Things that are questionable, there is some theoretical basis behind them, but, for example, there is not much research that has shown action, yet there is also not much that has shown lack of action:

Tocotrienols. Admittedly, a study with mice showed a fairly pronounced slowing of tumor growth and prolonged the life of the animals, but a dose equivalent to 2000-4000 mg in humans was used there. Such doses are very expensive and may have side effects.

A dose equivalent to 1000 mg in humans slowed down tumor growth by a mere 20-30%, it can be assumed that at the doses that are normally in the supplement, the effect will be unnoticeable:

Tocotrienols can be recommended as something to prevent various diseases, especially atherosclerosis, but in therapy they are, due to the price and potential side effects of such doses, rather useless.

Hemp / CBD oils of all kinds. There is one case report of a cure, but what is striking there is the emphasis on the fact that no oil bought online has shown any effect.

Vitamin D3. Several very large clinical trials have shown that supplementation has virtually no effect on the risk of disease, although it may have on the chance of recovery. Very large doses may have a therapeutic effect, especially in melanoma (where it should be supplemented), but they may also not; no one has fully studied this.

Intravenous vitamin C. It has been studied clinically (yes, seriously, it’s been done), with no therapeutic effects, although it handles the side effects of chemotherapy quite well. The cases of cure described are when someone took a bag of other supplements in addition to it. The best effect described was for pancreatic cancer, where very high doses actually prolonged life, but very slightly:

Things to avoid:

Hydrogen peroxide. Some fool once wrote that “Soviet scientists” proved its effect, the rest of the fools repeat after him. In the USSR, everyone could write whatever they wanted, as long as they were friends to the ruling party.

There are several studies suggesting that it may help in some way, and there are several suggesting that it may significantly accelerate cancerous processes. Certainly on its own, if you drink it, it significantly increases the risk of duodenal cancer; in studies on mice it caused it, depending on which genetic line of animals was tested, in 11% (the most resistant) to over 90% (the most sensitive). If there are ever therapies using it, they will involve situations where it is injected heavily concentrated directly into the tumor to kill it, this type of experimentation has shown promising results. In the case of simply drinking small doses, the cancer cells can use it as “food” to grow and form metastases:

The keto diet. In theory it was supposed to work, “starving” cancer cells by lowering glucose, in practice it is physically impossible to make it completely disappear from the blood, as this would cause the normal cells to die immediately. This diet has been tested on animals and humans, repeatedly, with the best results being a few, several percent slower disease progression. All the described cases of cure involve situations where someone has used a dozen or more therapies in addition to the diet.

Why do I recommend avoiding the keto diet? Because it excludes the Ornish diet, which has been shown to have a very strong effect, potentially stronger than any other therapy described here.

Amigdalin. It really WAS tested, dozens of times. Never, really, never in studies has it cured any patient, any animal. The last study was published literally in December 2022, a few weeks before this post was written, it was administered to mice with implanted human breast cancer. It’s hard to suspect that the authors are in on the conspiracy, since they gave amigdalin a positive review, but their analysis shows that it slightly slowed the progression of the disease by activating immune cells. Too slightly for there to be any sense in adding it to the list of even “questionable” substances.