Do chemo treatments turn folks
September 16th, 2012 by Holly Cornish
It probably won’t shock you to find out about another serious consequence of going through chemo treatment. Especially not if you already know it can cause nausea and vomiting… leave you feeling weak and exhausted… cause excess hair loss… and bring on additional aches and pains…
But believe it or not—these cancer drugs can damage your brain too! Yes, there’s another reason to think twice before agreeing to chemotherapy. And if you decide on chemo anyway, this article suggests some tips that can reduce the damage. Keep reading and I’ll explain. . .
Continued below. . .
Drink This and Cancer
Comes Pouring Out of Your Body
“If I could pick only one treatment to cure my cancer, this would be it,” says a top expert on alternative cancer treatments.
Research conducted by a scientist at the Detroit Institute of Cancer Research showed this is one of the world’s most powerful cancer cures. Even the mainstream National Cancer Institute confirmed that this do-it-yourself treatment kills cancer cells. Then they buried the research.
Personally, I’ve been writing about cancer treatments for almost seven years. Out of nearly 400 that I’ve investigated, I haven’t found an at-home treatment that’s better.
It worked for Robert, age 54, who had late stage stomach cancer. His doctors told him he didn’t have chance. The most they could do was buy him a little time, using four aggressive chemotherapy drugs PLUS radiation — a deadly, toxic, last-ditch treatment.
INSTEAD Robert used this non-toxic liquid and was completely cancer-free within months. The amazed doctor was forced to admit Robert’s cancer was “in remission.” Two years later, he was still cancer-free.
Statistics show a significant number of chemotherapy patients suffer from a condition called chemotherapy-induced cognitive impairment.
In layman’s terms, the Mayo Clinic’s website says “chemo brain” and “chemo fog” are more common expressions. This condition refers to thinking and memory problems that can occur after conventional cancer treatment.
I first heard of “chemo brain” at a clinic in Germany where my colleagues and I were interviewing a young patient named Oliver. You can listen to his full story by clicking here. Before trying alternatives and getting rid of his cancer, Oliver went through an incredible amount of chemotherapy. It’s a miracle he survived it. But he told us it permanently damaged his mental abilities.
That was news to us. Till then, we didn’t know loss of brain function was yet another price chemotherapy patients had to pay.
The symptoms of chemo brain are fairly consistent and may include:
- Difficulty in articulating thoughts
- Difficulty learning new skills
- Feeling of mental fogginess
- Inability to multitask
- Difficulty concentrating
- Short attention span
- Short-term memory problems
- Trouble with verbal memory (e.g. remembering a conversation)
- Trouble with visual memory (e.g. recalling an image or list of words)
After decades of denying that any such problem existed—it looks like the medical community may finally be willing to admit it DOES!
Here’s what the studies suggest…
Recent findings published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology examined the effects of chemotherapy on breast cancer survivors.
Researchers at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL reviewed previously published studies on the brain function of breast cancer patients who received chemo treatments.
The Moffitt investigators found that earlier studies presented conflicting evidence on how severe the cognitive problems are. In their recent review of the studies, they determined that:
- Patients treated with chemotherapy performed significantly worse on tests of verbal ability than did cancer-free people, and
- Patients treated with chemotherapy performed significantly worse on tests of visual-spatial ability than did noncancer control patients.
Experts say a great number of chemo patients experience short-term memory loss and problems with focus and concentration during and shortly after the treatments.
Although most of these folks improve over time—about 15 percent continue to suffer a loss of brain function years later.
It’s hard to pinpoint the cause…
Naturally people want to know why chemo makes them mentally sluggish, even if it’s only temporary. But the truth is—it’s difficult for doctors to give solid reasons.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) said this is because some folks with cancer might have brain problems even before chemo treatments are administered.
In some cases, hormone treatments such as estrogen blockers may contribute to the problem. Even the cancer itself can cause muddled thinking.
Other problems that may negatively impact your brain function include:
- Additional treatment drugs (e.g. steroids, pain medications, anti-nausea drugs)
- Low blood count
- Other illnesses, such as diabetes or high blood pressure
- Stress or other emotional difficulties
Many of these factors—and the loss of mental sharpness they cause—can improve with treatment. But some may cause long-term brain problems unless they are properly addressed.
Aside from the other contributing factors, ACS points out the difficulty in assessing brain problems. Different researchers use different tests to measure memory problems and cloudy thinking, so it’s hard to compare results.
What’s more, some people experience such mild symptoms that test results can appear normal.
ACS said there is currently no known way to prevent chemo brain. But there ARE things you can do to help jump-start a sluggish brain…
Three simple solutions to help
recharge tired brain cells!
It’s true that sickness and aging can take a toll on a healthy brain. But it’s possible to keep your brain sharp and focused despite these challenges.
Adriane Fugh-Berman, M.D., author of Alternative Medicine: What Works, recommends three easy tips for battling memory problems:
- Eat low-fat foods—diets high in fat and cholesterol can clog the small arteries that provide healthy blood flow to your brain. This can lead to mini-strokes, which have been tied to age-related memory loss…
- Perform mental exercises—many folks have found that learning a new language, writing a daily journal or taking classes helps give the brain a workout. You can also use games and puzzles to stimulate your mind, strengthen nerves… and help preserve brain function…
- Engage in physical activity—aerobic activity is a great way to increase blood flow, oxygenate your brain and help boost your brain processes…
These are just three simple steps you can take to help revive a ‘numb skull’… clear brain fog… and sharpen your mind as you age!
I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention our new book Awakening from Alzheimer’s. While mainly targeted at people who have dementia, this book lays out detailed recommendations that can help anyone maintain and improve brain health. I’m taking advantage of many of them myself. Author Peggy Sarlin, a good friend of mine, got the tips from some of the world’s top alternative doctors.
You should be aware that more than a decade ago, author and leading cancer researcher Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D., declared that antioxidants are a top-notch antidote for chemotherapy poisons.
He said that studies prove antioxidants actually minimize the nauseating side effects of chemotherapy drugs—and even enhance their performance!
I’ll tell you more about which superstar nutrients can help battle chemotherapy contamination in an upcoming article.
Meanwhile, here’s to your good health!
And speaking of your health. . .liquid cleanses may not be such a good idea. I wrote about this in the last issue. If you missed it, you can read it right now, below.
Dubious Liquid-Detox and Anti-Cancer Diets
Liquid cleanse and detox diets are all the rage these days, promising everything from weight loss to extreme energy to cancer prevention.
It’s this last one that got my attention. And that’s why I’m writing about this today. What I have to say may not sit well with some cancer experts (many of whom are well-meaning amateurs) — but you need to know an all-liquid crash diet, especially at home without supervision, may not be a good idea. Let’s take a look. . .
Continued below. . .
The First Time Ever… Harvard Scientists Reverse Aging
In 2010, a group of researchers at the Dana-Farber institute of Harvard University Medical School figured out how to switch on what’s being called the “immortality gene”.
What the scientists saw “… was not a slowing down or stabilization of the aging process.” Instead, they “saw a dramatic reversal…”
What really happens in a liquid-cleanse
First, let me tell you exactly what I’m talking about. There are dozens — hundreds, probably — of different detox programs and strange, short-term liquid diets that claim every medical benefit under the sun.
In terms of cancer, the theory behind a detox cleanse is that we all have toxins trapped in the folds of our gastrointestinal tracts. The toxins can come from anywhere — herbicide- and pesticide-treated foods and chemically-produced household products are major culprits.
As the theory goes, if those toxins find their way to your intestines and stay lodged there for too long, they’ll either turn into eventual cancer or knock you sideways with some other chronic disease. Colon cleansing in itself (also known as colon therapy) is now a popular offering at alternative healthcare facilities. The goal, of course, is to remove these long-lodging toxins, along with putrefied waste that gets stuck in your bowels.
Colon hydrotherapy done by a professional usually involves tubes that inject water and sometimes herbs up into the colon via the rectum. For the record, I believe this is a useful cancer therapy, although it’s only supported by case studies and anecdotes, not large studies.
But liquid cleanses approach things from the other end — they’re taken by mouth. That’s what I’m talking about here.
Most liquid cleanses involve keeping to a liquids-only diet for a specific number of days. The idea is that the bowels don’t have to work as hard to push out liquid waste, which frees them up to unclench, reenergize, and push out old solid waste.
Liquid cleanses also force you (usually) to avoid foods that stress your body. Your organs respond in turn with improved function. That goes for not only the bowels but the kidneys and liver as well.
Some of the liquid-cleanse diets I’ve read about include
- Prune juice fasts — seven straight days of prune juice and nothing else
- Diuretic diets — purported to help fluid retention
- Fasting diets — where you fast for a day every few days and then resume eating
- Laxative tea diets — where different herbal concentrations taken in tea form are used to purge your gut of everything
Others that sound more nutritious include a cleansing program that combines a vegan diet with whole food nutritional supplements, and a liquefied all-vegetarian diet (whole fruits and vegetables pureed into drinkable meals — a “juicing” approach). I’m no expert in this subject, but a liquid diet that provides good nutrition sounds like a better idea than one — for example — that requires you to live on water, lemon juice and a dab of honey for some long period of time.
I don’t lump careful eating plans like the Gerson Therapy with short-term liquid cleanses that provide almost no nutrition at all. The real cancer diets provide you with plenty of healthy nutrients. They can be followed for a lifetime (and you’ll live longer if you do.) Not so the water-plus-a-dab-of-honey fasts.
If you’d like to know more about the Gerson Therapy — one of the first natural cancer treatments and still one of the most renowned — you can get an introduction in either of two reports we publish, Natural Cancer Remedies that Work and Breast Cancer Cover-Up.
Short-term liquid fasts are another story. The general belief in conventional medicine is that liquid cleanses are dangerous and ineffective, except for the brief fasts required just before colon surgery or a colonoscopy. The thinking goes that longer-term liquid cleanses leave you nutritionally depleted with such a low daily calorie intake that your mood and energy levels get affected in a negative way.
I doubt if most liquid cleanses last long enough to put the average person at risk for some kind of nutritional deficiency. The lack of nutrients might leave you vulnerable to infections for a time. If you insist on doing a liquid fast, I suggest doing it in warm weather rather than during the winter cold and flu season. Old and frail people are obviously at greater risk of infection any time and I wonder if a liquid fast — especially an unsupervised one — is a good idea.
Critics say you’re also at risk of losing muscle mass, which could slow your metabolism and make it harder to lose weight in the future. I haven’t seen any hard evidence for this. But here’s a charge I can believe: According to most sources, even if you lose weight on one of these cleanses, you’re bound to gain it back quickly.
I don’t think short-term crash diets are an effective weight-loss plan.
Your body already knows what to do
The biggest bone of contention critics have with these diets is that they’re not backed by medical science. This is true, but that’s not what concerns me. Plenty of effective alternative therapies aren’t yet backed by “medical” science. Which by the way, doesn’t mean they’ve been disproven, it just means nobody has put together an institutionally-funded, white-coat lab study yet.
What does concern me though, is that most of these diets leave your body without real nutrition for several days at a time.
According to Charlotte Kikel, a nutrition consultant and clinical herbalist in Austin, TX, you have an internal clock that sends your body a message to move your bowels every eight hours — assuming there’s something inside that needs to be moved.
This doesn’t mean you should head to the bathroom every eight hours. Your body knows when it’s time to go, and your clue to whether it’s all working well is when you have easy movements with no straining, along with well-formed, solid stool.
The most effective ways to prompt healthy bowel movements and keep your gut clean, meaning you push toxins right on through, are:
- Drink plenty of fluids — especially water
- Boost your fiber intake, preferably from plant-bases like vegetables and fruit instead of grain
- Exercise — hands down one of the best ways to keep your bowels moving
I’ll share another secret I recently learned from my own nutritionist that works like magic for me: Magnesium is a natural laxative — that’s why it’s found in pharmaceutical laxatives like Phillips Milk of Magnesia. However, most magnesium supplements are designed to PREVENT the laxative response because some customers get diarrhea — and that’s NOT why most of us take a magnesium supplement!
For example, magnesium aspartate is the most common form of magnesium in supplements. It’s actually designed to prevent you from going! But if you take magnesium citrate (not easy to find, but it’s available), you’ll probably experience the laxative effect — and most of the time it doesn’t take many pills to do the job. Plus you get plenty of healthy magnesium to boot.
Unplug and empower your system
There may be some nutritional wisdom in certain cleansing programs. Success stories I’ve read talk about people learning to revamp their approach to eating. They say that by taking away their normal daily consumption habits, they grow less attached to bad behavior — like regular snacking or high-sugar cravings — and learn to be aware of their bodies and what they really need.
I say fine if it does lead to long-term changes in your eating habits. But that’s in doubt.
A short-term liquid diet is not a magic bullet. But there is real power in mindful eating and breaking bad eating habits.
If you’re bent on trying a liquid diet, my advice would be to do it under the guidance of a nutritional professional. Your body’s nutrition is too important to experiment on just to see if something works.
Better yet, think of your daily eating habits as a regular opportunity to cleanse your bowels. The most important “bowel cleanse” you’ll ever find is something you were born knowing how to do, and that’s have a bowel movement.
The best full body detox, according to Charlotte Kikel, is to eat the natural things nature intended. That gives you the natural feature most liquid-cleanses promise.
After all, the foods you eat and avoid have one of the biggest single effects on whether you develop cancer in your lifetime. In my experience, the real strength of liquid detox diets isn’t what you drink while you’re on the diet, but instead comes down to the bad foods you learn you can live without.
Personally, I had quite a bit of success changing my eating habits under the guidance of skilled clinicians, under an eating plan that lasted weeks and essentially became permanent — although at the start they didn’t tell me I’d have to eat that way for good.
Probably just as well, it would have been too discouraging at the beginning. I thought it was temporary, and that kept me going. I thought I could go back to my old ways after getting rid of my toxins. By the time I learned it was the program for life, I’d adjusted to the new way of eating.
The motto is “eat for life” — not for a crash fad diet that’s going to last for just a few days or a week. But take your new eating habits one day at a time. . .or one week at a time. Don’t set yourself to climb Mt. Everest.
Lee Euler, Publisher