Having a strong immune system is one of the most important factors when you are fighting cancer. And it’s even more important if you are undergoing treatments like chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery.
Your immune system is one of your only lines of defense for innately getting rid of cancer cells. So even if you are undergoing treatments that get rid of cancer cells from the “outside in”… you should also prioritize fighting cancer from the “inside out.”
Watch how immune cells can actually hunt down and eliminate cancer cells.
I often tell my patients and clients to watch this video regularly… It reminds you of how powerful a healthy immune system can be, and what can actually happen inside your body.
So today we going to talk about 3 simple ways that you can boost your immune system when fighting cancer.
Reduce Stress, Boost Your Immune System
We’ve all heard that stress can kill. But now there is more science than ever to explain why… especially as it relates to cancer.
Stress itself can actually be a good thing for the immune system… But being constantly stressed over time (i.e. chronic stress) is definitely not good.
Chronic stress can impair your immune system in a few different ways. It can:
- Decrease the migration of immune cells to problems area in your body.
- Decrease the capacity of your natural killer cells to kill unwanted cells (i.e. cancer cells)
- Decrease the body’s ability to produce antibodies (increasing the risk of infection.)
Stress and depression are also associated decreased activity of cytotoxic T cells (like in the video above). This can also happen from the stress of being diagnosed with cancer, and from the stress of treatments themselves. And… if the stressor is severe (i.e. enough to cause symptoms of PTSD), it can actually cause gene expression changes, which can reduce the function of your immune system
Overall, these immune suppressing effects can reduce your immune system’s ability to “keep watch” and fight against cancer cells.
So when you are fighting cancer, you should definitely make it a priority to reduce the amount of stress in your life. Some of the things that can help you reduce stress include:
- Meditation, mindfulness, and/ or relaxation techniques.
There are many types of these techniques. But often… these practices are centered around “conscious breathing,” and observing your thoughts and emotions (rather than just participating in them.)
And whenever someone has trouble understanding the concept of “conscious breathing,” here is the analogy I use…
Have you ever tried to make a sound by rubbing the rim of a wine glass? Well in order to get the sound, you really have to focus, and rub the glass with even speed and pressure. And, if you have never done it before, it takes a bit of practice until you can generate the sound consistently, at good volume.
This is the kind of attention you should put on your breathing while while practicing meditation, mindfulness, and relaxation practices.
- Releasing suppressed emotions.
Depending on your situation, you may want to seek professional help with this… But often, the first step is to acknowledge the situation.
Once you are conscious of the suppressed emotion, you may find relief in sharing the emotion with someone you trust, writing about it, and allowing yourself to fully experience the emotion so that you can let it go.
- Exploring your own spiritual beliefs.
Especially when dealing with something like cancer, being faced with our own mortality can often be the source of stress. So whether you believe in a particular religion, philosophy, or even atheism… make it a priority to explore any “loose ends” that you may have about your beliefs.
Coming to a strong conclusion of your own, can help to solidify your beliefs and bring a sense of peace into your life.
Stop Tumor Generated Acidity To Support Immune Function
So beyond the mind-body aspect of your immune system, there are some very “physical” things that you should do to help your immune system. One of these is to help your body neutralize “tumor generated acidity” as quickly and effectively as possible.
The concept of “over acidity causing cancer” can be very confusing. Many people also make unfounded claims, and use incorrect information when discussing this concept.
But that being said, there are things about “acidity” that have been scientifically shown promote cancer growth.
In this case we’re talking about lactic acid, which is produced by the cancer cells themselves (i.e. a tumor.)
Tumor generated acidity can:
- Help cancer cells invade other tissues
- Promote cancer metastasis
- Promote tumor blood vessel growth
- Increase treatment resistance.
But most importantly for today’s topic…
Supporting your body with alkalizing factors has also shown the potential to fight cancer… namely its ability to metastasize and spread to other parts of your body.
And while your body is naturally designed to neutralize acidic waste, it usually needs help when fighting cancer. Your body will naturally balance the pH in your body, and keep it in a tight range between 7.35 and 7.45.
But in most cases, your body’s natural ability won’t be enough to neutralize tumor generated acidity quickly enough. When this happens, the pH of your blood and healthy tissues usually remains normals… BUT the tissues around the cancer cells remain acidic. This is one of the most common traits of cancer cells and tumors.
However, a person can either on be on the “more alkaline side of the normal range” or on the “more acidic side of the normal range.” This is largely controlled by the food and water that you drink, and can determine whether or not the tumor generated acid is being neutralized effectively.
For those who are NOT on the more alkaline side of normal (i.e. the average person), you’ll want to proactively help your body neutralize this tumor generated acid.
There are several ways to do this, including:
- Eating a largely plant-based/ vegan diet. Though there haven’t been studies (to my knowledge) to directly measure this effect, we can infer from other studies, that a plant based/ vegan diet can help to neutralize tumor generated acidity (at least to some degree.)
Though there are other anti-cancer diets that are not vegan (or even alkalizing in nature), this is one of anti-cancer benefits of a diet that is rich in plant foods.
- Adjusting your body’s pH with alkalizing factors. This simplest ways to do this are with things like baking soda water (sodium bicarbonate) and magnesium bicarbonate water. Many alkaline mineral waters are also naturally rich in bicarbonate. These things can help you get your body to the most alkaline side of the normal range (which you can test via urine strips.)
The overall goal is to get your urine pH near the most alkaline side of the normal range. This means a morning urine pH consistently between 7 and 7.5, and between 7.5 and 8 throughout the day (use urine pH test strips.)
pH support supplements in general should be taken in between meals on an empty stomach, and taken very slowly. Your pH must be adjusted gradually, which means that you sip the water slowly, and never “double up” if you missed a previous dose. And the closer you get to the most alkaline side of the normal range, the more careful you have to be (i.e. increase your doses very slowly).
I usually recommend starting with a ½ teaspoon of baking soda in 12-16 oz of water divided into 3 doses between meals. If this isn’t enough, you can increase to 1 tsp of baking soda in 24-32 oz… then 1.5 tsp in 36-48 oz, divided throughout the day. If you need more pH support than this, then you should start looking into adding magnesium bicarbonate water, so that you can maintain a more balanced electrolyte profile.
Finally, a more “alkalizing diet” that’s rich in vegetables primarily (but also fruit) is always an important foundation for pH balance.
Note: You should always consult with your physician before starting any type of alkalizing therapy. They may conflict with certain drugs, corticosteroid medication, and may cause problems if you have any disease that involves fluid and/ or electrolyte imbalance.
Also, some type of chemotherapy may actually work better in acidic environments, while other can work better in more alkaline environments. So this should be evaluated on a case by case basis.
Take Immune Boosting Supplements (or Foods)
Depending on your particular situation, you’ll also want to add some immune boosting supplements to your daily routine. This is especially important if you are undergoing conventional cancer treatments like chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and or surgery.
Most people know that chemotherapy can severely diminish your immune functions… But radiation therapy and surgery can also do the same. And while it is certainly important to “avoid getting sick” while undergoing these treatments, you should also proactively support your immune system.
Not doing this means that you’re fighting the battle with only half of your resources.
The three main immune supporting supplements that we are:
- Beta Glucan (specifically Transfer Point brand).
Beta glucan is a natural substance that can be found in things like mushrooms, barley, oats, and yeast. It’s also a proven immune stimulator, and has also shown to help combat cancer metastasis.
However, not all beta glucan substances will give you the same effect. We specifically recommend Transfer Point beta glucan, is because it has been shown in research to outperform a variety of other brands. In this particular study, HALF of the beta glucan brands tested showed NO EFFECT at all.
This is also a prime example of how important supplement quality can be.
Beta Glucan should be dosed at 500mg per 50 lbs (22 kilos) of body weight, taken all at once, on an empty stomach, before bed.
- Turkey Tail Mushroom (aka coriolus versicolor, and Yun Zhi in oriental medicine).
Another good option is Turkey Tail Mushroom… This mushroom has traditionally been used in Oriental Medicine, and is now being proven by scientific research.
Turkey tail has been shown to protect against immune suppression caused by radiation therapy, increase the benefits of chemotherapy, and increase the rate of long term survival overall .
A good dosage of Turkey Tail Mushroom is 6000 mg, divided into 2 or 3 doses throughout the day, between meals, on an empty stomach.
- AHCC (“Active Hexose Correlated Compound” from shiitake mushroom.
AHCC has shown to be a reliable stimulator of the immune system, especially of natural killer cells.
AHCC can also protect against neutropenia (low neutrophil count), opportunistic viral infection, liver toxicity, blood toxicity, and can also lessen the side effects of chemotherapy overall.
It may even protect against hair loss caused by chemotherapy.
A good dosage of AHCC is 3000 mg, divided into 2 or 3 doses throughout the day, between meals, on an empty stomach.
Note: Always consult with your physician before starting any type of dietary supplements. The dosages above are general recommendations, and may also differ depending on your case.
Overall, these immune supportive supplements have different amounts, and different angles of research that support their potential benefits. But in most cases, I recommend picking one or two of them, depending on your situation.
The reason for this? Because it makes sure that you’re not taking too many supplements with overlapping functions. This is important as it allows you to budget for other supplements that you may also want to include in your program.
And if you are on a very limited budget, your best option would be to include a lot of asian culinary mushrooms in your diet overall. This includes things like enoki (enotaki), shiitake, and maitake mushrooms. Most of these are available at asian supermarkets.
Cancer is a multifactorial disease… Because of this, you want as many anti-cancer variables on your side. One of these is having a well functioning, and even optimized immune system.
So it’s important to find a mind-body balance, stimulate your immune system to functional optimally, and create conditions in your tissues so that your immune cells can fight the cancer effectively. Finally, it’s critical to prevent any immune suppression that may be occurring as a result of cancer treatments themselves.
All of these things will ensure that your body is fighting the cancer with 100% of it’s resources.
Have you tried any of these techniques to support your immune system? Let us know your experience in the comments below!
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3. Stress and Immune Responses After Surgical Treatment for Regional Breast Cancer
4. Epigenetic and immune function profiles associated with posttraumatic stress disorder
5. Randomized Controlled Trial of Mindfulness Meditation for Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Effects on Anxiety and Stress Reactivity
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34. Best of Naturopathy
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37. The effect of active hexose correlated compound in modulating cytosine arabinoside-induced hair loss, and 6-mercaptopurine- and methotrexate-induced liver injury in rodents.
Gene Wei is a Board Certified Doctor of Oriental Medicine in the state of Florida, and the founder of AntiCancer360. He’s also a graduate of the University of California Los Angeles, and East West College of Natural Medicine.
His practice is focused on integrative and natural anticancer strategies. Over the years, he’s helped many people overcome difficult cancers… including some cases of “terminal cancer” which were able to be reversed with an “Aggressive Integrative Approach.”