Fasting

Fasting has been a common for practice in many cultures since the beginning of humanity.  The list of benefits are long, but the main are summarized below:

 

  • Decreases inflammation

  • Improves cell recycling

  • increases resistance to Oxidative stress

  • protects your brain

  • reduces harmful protein production

  • Lowers blood pressure

  • Decreases blood sugar

  • Encourages better insulin sensitivity

  • Improves cardiovascular health

  • Promotes overall heart health

  • Supports fat loss and Ketosis

  • Boosts metabolism

  • Serves as an anti-aging agent and enhances longevity

  • Supports Healthier Collagen in Skin

  • Supports with recovery from trauma.

Looking at all of these benefits, it makes one wonder if fasting would also work during chemotherapy?  Could fasting support the chemo to destroy cancer cells while reducing side-effects of chemo (such as chemo brain, skin issues and fatigue)?  Research is showing that the answer is "Yes."  Valter Longo director of the USC longevity Institute has been studying fasting for years and has now shown that the effects of short term fasting or a low calorie fasting-like diet, plus chemotherapy supports the immune system to target and kill breast cancer cells.  If you are interested in his work click here.   A journal article that defends Valter's theory shows that fasting cycles retard growth of tumors and sensitize a range of cancer cell types to chemo. - this means a higher chance of survival.  Basically what happens is that the body's DNA goes into protective mode and normal cells get stronger and cancer cells or abnormal cells become weaker thus making them more susceptible to chemo.  The journal article link is here

 

In a journal article written in March of 2017 (here​). also shows that fasting decreases glucose levels and promotes sensitization to chemo - thus reducing cancer cells.

I started fasting 48 hours before each chemo session and usually another 24 hours after or a fasting mimicking diet right after (basically eating an avocado or Brazil nuts to coat my stomach before chemo is infused).  What I noticed is that I tend to recover faster than other patients on the same regimen.  My skin looks great, my fatigue is minimal and my tumor is almost gone after 4 AC treatments.  I also don't seem to have the chemo brain or brain fog that everyone talks about.  The one thing that I need to point out is that your body needs to be able to tolerate fasting.  You should talk to your healthcare prior to fasting to ensure you can tolerate it.  I did a few practice runs before chemo and knew I would be ok..I was a bit nervous the first infusion but all went well. I also learned that President Obama is a faster - every Sunday he fasts for his health..and look at him...clear and strategic thinker and very healthy!  

Acupuncture

Managing the side effects of the western treatment to breast cancer is exhausting.  Each round of chemo brings a new obstacle to overcome and you are forever learning how to manage the responses of your body.

Acupuncture has saved me twice - the first time I had a persistent headache that would not go away along with slight brain fog.  I had one treatment and left headache free and my brain was clear of fog.  After round 3, I had nausea that stayed with me for 10 days.  One treatment of acupuncture and the nausea was gone.

Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine needles into strategic points (called meridian points) to manipulate the flow of energy or qi.  

In the USA a licensed acupuncturist must pass a national exam to obtain a certification by the National Certification for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.  After this exam, each state has different requirements for licensing which include clinical training hours, ethics and clean needle technique.  Note that going to a trained acupuncturist vs. a medical practitioner using needles for pain relief is a VERY different experience.  I highly recommend going to a NCCAOM certified Traditional Chinese Medical Practioner if you want the holistic approach.  To access a list of partitioners, click here

 

For Breast Cancer, acupuncture can be an adjunct therapy with chemotherapy and radiation as well as recovery from surgical procedures.  It can support with the following:

  • Nausea

  • Brain Fog

  • Neuropathy (and prevention of neuropathy)

  • Immune System Support

  • Headaches

  • Mouth Issues - soreness of tongue and heat issues (mouth sores)

  • Stress (this is HUGE as if you are stressed your western treatments can be ineffective)

  • Appetite 

  • Pain

  • Fatigue

At Mayo, acupunture is recommended for side effects and is also available at Mayo Clinic.  There are numerous clinical trials available for breast cancer patients..so ask as you may benefit from this wonderful medicine free of charge!  One article that I found interesting this week is related to joint pain and acupuncture.  The link is here.