Today’s Post Chemo Nutrition topic by Dr. Dylan Foster is on some natural tips, tricks, and suggestions geared towards helping those that currently have or have had leukemia.
Being proactive and doing something NOW is probably the single most important thing you can do right now!
Currently there are over 60,000 new cases of leukemia diagnosed each year and just over 23,000 deaths in 2020(1). Even though leukemia is not the most common form of cancer, these statistics are still terrible and very scary when it comes to being diagnosed with leukemia, especially if it involves you or your loved one.
Note: Leukemia is the most common type of childhood cancer.
Being diagnosed with leukemia and not living a proactive lifestyle approach that is geared towards prevention is like playing Russian roulette!
Throughout this blog, I will be discussing:
- WHAT IS LEUKEMIA
- THE 4 MAIN TYPES OF LEUKEMIA
- TRADITIONAL TREATMENTS
- SOME MAJOR FRUSTRATIONS I HAVE WITH THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY WHEN IT COMES TO TREATMENT AND PREVENTION
- SCREENING AND DIAGNOSING
- POSSIBLE CAUSES AND RISK FACTORS
- PREVENT AND PROTECT TIPS AND TRICKS
- SUPPLEMENTS THAT HELP
WHAT IS LEUKEMIA?
Basically, leukemia is a cancer that starts in blood forming tissues, most often within the bone marrow and hinders the body’s ability to fight off infections. These cancerous cells can grow and spread at a rapid rate that they end up crowding out normal healthy cells. At some point these leukemia cells will leave the bone marrow and spill out into the bloodstream, showing a dramatic increase in the number of white blood cells. These white blood cells overpower red blood cells causing a lack of oxygen, iron, clotting and immune function. Bottom line is that it is NOT good when these cancerous leukemia white blood cells get into your blood stream, because they now can negatively affect other cells, tissues, and organs.
Most Common Symptoms: Different types and stages of leukemia may or may not have symptoms but some of the most common symptoms are found in the more rapidly growing forms of leukemia and consist of:
Weakness or fatigue * Bruising or bleeding easily * Fever or chills
Infections that are severe or keep coming back * Pain in your bones or joints
Headaches * Vomiting * Seizures * Weight loss * Night sweats
Shortness of breath * Swollen lymph nodes or organs like your spleen
1. Acute lymphocytic or lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) forms in the early stages of white blood cell lymphocytes and usually progresses very quickly.
a. ALL is the most common form of leukemia in children.
b. If not treated, could be fatal within a few months.
c. Invades the blood very quickly and often spreads to other parts of the body like the lymph nodes, liver, spleen, brain, spinal cord, and testicles.
d. 14% of Children will relapse within 5 years. 1/3 of which are from new secondary cancers caused by the anti-leukemia treatments.
2. Chronic Lymphocytic or Lymphoblastic Leukemia (CLL) forms in early stages of B-lymphocytes white blood cell production in the bone marrow.
a. Most common form of leukemia in adults.
b. Progresses slowly, can take years for symptoms to arise.
c. The average age at the time of diagnosis is around 70 years. Rarely seen in people under age 40 and is extremely rare in children.
d. Cancer cells initially move to the blood but then later spread to other parts of the body, such as the liver, spleen, and lymph nodes.
e. These cells look fairly normal, but they’re not. They generally do not fight infection as well as normal white blood cells do.
f. Chronic leukemias tend to be harder to cure than acute leukemias.
3. Acute Myelogenous Leukemia or Myelocytic Leukemia (AML) starts in myeloid cells of the bone marrow, not lymphocytes.
a. More common in older people.
b. Progresses rapidly and quickly moves into the blood, as well. Can sometimes spread to other parts of the body including the lymph nodes, liver, spleen, brain, spinal cord, and testicles.
c. This is the most likely form of leukemia to see the best results from radiation and chemotherapy.
4. Chronic myelogenous, myeloid, or myelocytic, leukemia (CML) is associated with a mutation of the Philadelphia Ph chromosome, which genetically alters the myeloid cells within the bone marrow.
a. CML progresses slowly but can also change into a fast-growing acute leukemia.
b. Most cases of CML occur in adults. Rare in children.
c. Is a hard to treat form of leukemia
TYPICAL TREATMENT FOR LEUKEMIA:
Can vary quite a bit for each type of leukemia and is up to your doctor as to what is best for you and your form of leukemia.
- For the more aggressive, acute, forms of leukemias, treatment usually includes chemotherapy, radiation therapy and/or stem-cell transplant.
- For the slower, chronic growing forms of leukemia, treatment usually just includes monitoring it with the “watch and wait” method.
MY FRUSTRATIONS WITH THE MEDICAL SYSTEM:
- Why does monitoring it mean that you just have to wait until it turns into an aggressive, life threatening form before you do something about it? Talk about living a stressful life.
- Why don’t doctors provide information on ways to help you reduce your chances of it turning into an aggressive form of cancer?
- Why do the typical radiation and chemotherapy treatments being used contribute to developing other forms of cancer?
SCREENING AND DIAGNOSIS FOR LEUKEMIA:
- Bone Marrow Biopsy – The most conclusive method and is retrieved via a lumbar puncture, or a spinal tap.
- Leukemias do not typically form tumor masses, therefore other factors need to be looked at to determine prognosis and treatment protocols:
- Lab Testing Results
- Genetic Testing.
Note: Normal range of white blood cells are 5,000 – 10,000. In leukemia, levels are often between 50,000 – 500,000
POSSIBLE CAUSES AND RISK FACTORS RELATING TO LEUKEMIA:
1. Exposures to the following During Pregnancy:
- Organochlorine pesticides and solvents
- Infections, such as influenza, chlamydia, HPV, or genital herpes
2. Greave’s Hypothesis = basically states that we need to let kids play, get dirty, and be exposed to pets, viruses, and bacteria to help them build and boost their Immune System.
- Children have a 50% lower risk of developing Acute lymphocytic or lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) if they regularly attend daycare in the first few months of life to develop a natural immune system due to the exposure of childhood infections. (4)
3. Toxic Chemicals in food and environment, off-gassing, pesticides (see my article on the Top Cancer Causing Carcinogens at https://www.postchemonutrition.com/top-cancer-causing-carcinogens/. The more toxins we are exposed to, the more they build up, the higher our risks of leukemia and many other ailments. Children are especially susceptible.
The World Health Organization concluded that “One third of the global burden of disease can be attributed to environmental risk factors, but whereas children <5 years of age constitute only 12% of the world population, they represent >40% of the environmentally related disease burden.” (5)
4. Benzene(6): Among adults, long-term exposure to benzene, a component of crude oil, increases the risk of leukemia. Benzene is used to make a wide variety of substances, such as plastic and pesticides, and is a component of tobacco smoke.
People who work in chemical plants, oil refineries, gasoline-related industries, and those exposed to secondhand smoke may be exposed to especially high benzene concentrations.
Benzene in cigarettes is responsible for approximately 1/3 of smoking-induced AML.
PREVENT AND PROTECT TIPS AND TRICKS:
1. Parents: Eliminate Chemical Exposure to agricultural and workplace chemicals. Especially before, during and after inception.
2. Avoid High Risk Chemicals like:
- Dioxins and Furans
- Tobacco Smoke and Benz(a)pyrene
For more information see my article on the Most Common Cancer Causing Foods at https://www.postchemonutrition.com/cancer-causing-foods/
3. Diet: For more information see my article on The Best Cancer Fighting Foods and Nutrients at https://www.postchemonutrition.com/best-cancer-fighting-foods-and-nutrients/
a. Vegetables and Protein During Pregnancy: Several studies have found that when pregnant mothers eat a healthier diet, the risk of Acute lymphocytic or lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in their children decreases.
In a case control study, there was a 35% lower incidence of Acute lymphocytic or lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) observed in children of mothers who ate more vegetables, and the risk was 45% lower in children of mothers who ate adequate protein. (Public Health Reports, Jul-Aug 2009 (7)
b. Low-Glycemic Diet: Reduce foods high in glucose or that convert to glucose, such as refined sugars, grains, beans, and fruit.
- Environmental toxins stress the liver, disrupting blood sugar management.
- ALL, AML, and CML cancer cells have an increased number of insulin receptors.
- In AML, hyperglycemia increases mortality risk by 40%, making blood sugar balancing imperative.
c. Eat and Live Organic:
- A data analysis of 37,099 Iowa women, aged 55-69, found that living on or near a farm was linked with a greater risk of developing or dying from leukemia, possibly as a consequence of increased agricultural pesticide exposure. (8)
- In vitro experiments demonstrated that mixtures of pesticides at low concentrations can damage DNA to a similar extent as higher concentrations of single pesticides used alone. (9)
4. Acupuncture(10): Can assist in supporting detoxification pathways and can help ease symptoms of leukemia from the side effects of treatments for leukemia, such as nausea from chemotherapy treatment, without adverse consequences.
Timing acupuncture one to two days before chemotherapy, and then continued weekly throughout the chemotherapy regimen boasts the best results.
5. Infrared Sauna: A full spectrum low EMF infrared sauna can assist the body’s natural detoxification process. Helping release hazardous chemicals commonly found in leukemia patients, such as benzene, xylene, and toluene.
VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure you take Bindatox to remove these toxins from the body, so they don’t just get relocated elsewhere.
SUPPLEMENTS THAT HELP
1. Green Tea (EGCG) (11,12): Found to inhibit and kill off cancer cell growth as well as modulate regulatory T-Cell function of the immune system.
2. Curcumin (12,13): Found in the root turmeric is toxic to chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) cancer cells, causing cancer cell death. It does this by suppressing the activation of AP-1 and NF-kB.
- The effects of curcumin are enhanced when taken at the same time as vitamin D.
- Curcumin also may reduce rejection of bone marrow transplants.
3. Quercetin (14): An antioxidant found in onions, capers, scallions, and red leaf lettuce. Can counteract harmful free radicals stimulated by environmental toxins.
- Quercetin binds to growth factor receptors in leukemia cells, which stops the cancer growth and spread.
- Quercetin may also reduce risk of bone marrow rejection.
4. Nettles Extract (15): Stinging nettle, a herbaceous flowering plant widely used in traditional medicine worldwide. Found to exhibit anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, along with anticancer potential.
- A recent study found that Nettle Tea may inhibit the growth of acute myeloid leukemia cells.
5. Glutamine (16): an amino acid that can effectively improve the systemic nutritional status of children with leukemia and improve immune function.
- Bone Marrow Transplant Glutamine is strongly indicated:
- One controlled trial involving children receiving stem cell transplant demonstrated that glutamine reduce the duration of fever, decreased the drug-related toxicity, and reduced the incidence of severe mouth sores.
- Another study of children receiving stem cell transplant who received a maximum dose of 4 grams of glutamine twice daily during transplant and for one month after experienced a reduction in the need for pain medication and total iv nutrition because mouth sores were less severe.
6. Bindatox™ (17): A custom made blend of natural nutrients for cancer survivors looking for an all inclusive product that is designed to aid in the proper 4 step process of removing heavy metals and toxins from deep within the cells, tissues and organs of the body.
7. Cell Revive™: A custom made blend of many nutrients designed for cancer survivors looking to address prevention, repair and inflammation in an all-inclusive, easy to take product that contains a broad range of scientifically studied nutrients.
The statements in this article have not been evaluated by the FDA. The nutritional information, suggestions, and research provided are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease and should not be used as a substitute for sound medical advice. Please see your health care professional in all matters pertaining to your physical health. This article was written for educational purposes only by Dr. Dylan Foster, DC, PScD, CFMP, ONC. of www.PostChemoNutrition.com. Everyone and every situation is different. Please see your health care physician for any of your healthcare needs.
Sources and References:
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4206105/ Infection and childhood leukemia: review of evidence. Rev Saude Publica. 2013 Dec; 47(6): 1172–1185. Raquel da Rocha Paiva Maia and Victor Wünsch, Filho
- https://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/12/12/1389 Children and Increased Susceptibility to Environmental Carcinogens. Evidence or Empathy? The American Association for Cancer Research: Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. Christopher Paul Wild and Jos Klein. December 2003
- http://www.lifeextension.com/Protocols/Cancer/Leukemia/Page-04 Life Extension
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2693164/ Maternal Diet and Risk of Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Public Health Rep. 2009 Jul-Aug; 124(4): 503–514. Marilyn L. Kwan, PhD,a Christopher D. Jensen, PhD, MPH,b Gladys Block, PhD,b Mark L. Hudes, PhD,c Lisa W. Chu, PhD,d and Patricia A. Buffler, PhD, MPHb
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25038451 Farm residence and lymphohematopoietic cancers in the Iowa Women’s Health Study. Environ Res. 2014 Aug;133:353-61. Rena R Jones, Chu-Ling Yu, John R Nuckols, James R Cerhan, Matthew Airola, Julie A Ross, Kim Robien, Mary H Ward.
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18669166 Genotoxicity induced by pesticide mixtures: in-vitro studies on human peripheral blood lymphocytes. Toxicol Ind Health. 2007 Sep;23(8):449-58. P P Das, A P Shaik, K Jamil.
- https://www.mskcc.org/announcements/acupuncture-helps-ease-side-effects-and-symptoms-some Acupuncture Helps Ease Side Effects and Symptoms of Some Cancers. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23527714 Regulatory T-cell modulation by green tea in chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Controlled Clinical Trial Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. Jan-Mar 2013;26(1):117-25. G D’Arena, V Simeon, L De Martino, T Statuto, F D’Auria, S Volpe, S Deaglio, A Maidecchi, L Mattoli, V Mercati, P Musto, V De Feo. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5926221/ Green Tea Polyphenols Induce Apoptosis in vitro in Peripheral Blood T Lymphocytes of Adult T‐Cell Leukemia Patients. Jpn J Cancer Res. 2000 Jan; 91(1): 34–40. Hong‐Chuan Li, Shinji Yashiki, Junichiro Sonoda, Hong Lou, Subrata K. Ghosh, John J. Byrnes, Carolina Lema, Toshinobu Fujiyoshi, Mitsuaki Karasuyama, and Shunro Sonoda corresponding author.
- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19228728 Curcumin inhibits prosurvival pathways in chronic lymphocytic leukemia B cells and may overcome their stromal protection in combination with EGCG. Clin Cancer Res. 2009 Feb 15;15(4):1250-8. Asish K Ghosh, Neil E Kay, Charla R Secreto, Tait D Shanafelt.
- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11956652/ Selective induction of apoptosis by ar-turmerone isolated from turmeric (Curcuma longa L) in two human leukemia cell lines, but not in human stomach cancer cell line. Int J Mol Med. 2002 May;9(5):481-4. Yue Aratanechemuge, Takashi Komiya, Hiroyuki Moteki, Hirotaka Katsuzaki, Kunio Imai, Hiroshige Hibasami. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16364242/ Curcumin induces growth-arrest and apoptosis in association with the inhibition of constitutively active JAK-STAT pathway in T cell leukemia. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2006 Feb 10;340(2):359-68. Johnson Rajasingh, Himanshu P Raikwar, Gladson Muthian, Caroline Johnson, John J Bright.
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6225654/ The polyphenol quercetin induces cell death in leukemia by targeting epigenetic regulators of pro-apoptotic genes. Clin Epigenetics. 2018; 10: 139. Marisa Claudia Alvarez, Victor Maso, Cristiane Okuda Torello, Karla Priscilla Ferro, and Sara Teresinha Olalla Saad.
- https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/9/2629/htm Nettle Tea Inhibits Growth of Acute Myeloid Leukemia Cells In Vitro by Promoting Apoptosis. Nutrients 2020, 12(9), 2629. by Mohammad Hassan Hodroj, Nour al Hoda Al Bast ,Robin I. Taleb, Jamilah Borjac and Sandra Rizk.
- https://mayoclinic.pure.elsevier.com/en/publications/a-double-blind-randomized-placebo-controlled-study-of-oral-glutam A double-blind randomized placebo-controlled study of oral glutamine in the prevention of mucositis in children undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation: A pediatric blood and marrow transplant consortium study. Mayo Clinic Pages 611-616; Journal Bone Marrow Transplantation Volume 36, Issue number7, Oct 1, 2005. Victor M. Aquino, A. R. Harvey, J. H. Garvin, K. T. Godder, M. L. Nieder, R. H. Adams, G. B. Jackson, E. S. Sandler. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4940940/ Application of Glutamine-enriched nutrition therapy in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Nutr J. 2016; 15: 65. Yueqin Han, corresponding author, Fengzhi Zhang, Jinshen Wang, Yanping Zhu, Jianhua Dai, Yueqing Bu, Qiaozhi Yang, Yingying Xiao, and Xiaojing Sun.