Little-Known Supplements That Supercharge Your Anticancer Genes

My mother died of cancer at age 43, when I was nine years old. But I know I’m not a slave to my genetic destiny, doomed by DNA to die of the same disease. I know that I can do something about my cancer-prone genetic inheritance—and so can you.

The new science of epigenetics shows that it is possible to “upregulate” (trigger) the “expression” (activity) of powerful anticancer genes using a whole-foods diet, regular exercise, restful sleep, stress reduction—and concentrated nutritional and herbal compounds.

These natural compounds can activate genes that tell the body to turbocharge the immune system so that it can locate cancer cells…kill those cells…douse chronic, low-grade inflammation, which generates “growth factors” that fuel cancer…decrease the liver’s production of insulin-like growth factor one (IGF), the most deadly “tumor promoter”…reduce a tumor’s cancer-spreading blood supply…and even improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy.

In addition to taking vitamin D ­daily, I recommend these four powerful anticancer supplements for preventing or controlling cancer or stopping its recurrence. Take one, two or all four. At the dosages recommended, they are very safe. Of course, always check with your doctor before taking any new supplement.

Magnolia Extract

This herbal supplement from the bark of a magnolia tree contains honokiol, which has anticancer functions—it is anti-inflammatory and anti-angiogenic (limiting blood supply to tumors), and it targets many biochemical compounds that “signal” cancer to start and to grow, such as nuclear factor-kappaB and epidermal growth factor receptor.

Scientific research: More than 200 studies show that honokiol (and magnolol, another compound in magnolia bark) can fight cancer. In a recent cellular study, published in International Journal of Oncology, honokiol activated a gene that “suppressed” the spread of kidney cancer and deactivated two genes that allow kidney cancer cells to invade and colonize the surrounding tissue (metastasize).

Typical dosage: 200 mg, daily. Suggested product: Magnolia Extract from NutriCology. (I have no financial interest in this or any other product or brand that I recommend.)

Artichoke Extract

This extract from artichoke leaves contains rutin, quercetin, gallic acid and chlorogenic acid—all of which have been shown in laboratory studies to kill a variety of cancer cells, including colon, breast and liver cancers, and leukemia. Artichoke extract also contains cynarin, which ­decreases inflammation. Plus, the extract has been shown in people to improve insulin sensitivity, the body’s ability to utilize the glucose-­regulating hormone insulin. When insulin is used efficiently, the body makes less insulin—and less cancer-sparking IGF. Recent study: A cellular study published in Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention showed that artichoke extract triggered tumor suppressor genes.

Typical dosage: 320 milligrams (mg), once daily. Suggested product: Artichoke Extract from Enzymatic Therapy.

Black Cumin Seed Oil

Many years ago, a patient of mine with prostate cancer started taking black cumin seed oil (Nigella sativa) with honey, three times a day, on the recommendation of a naturopathic physician. His Gleason score (a measure of the severity of prostate cancer) went from nine on a scale of one to 10 (an aggressive, invasive cancer with poor prognosis) to six—essentially, a precancerous lesion. Amazed, I started investigating this compound, which has been used in Turkish cooking for millennia—and started taking it myself, adding the seed to blended shakes and the oil to foods as seasoning. I recommend that patients use the oil—rich in thymoquinone, which is found in few other foods—either in their diets or as a supplement.

Compelling research: Researchers at Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit reviewed hundreds of cellular and animal studies on thymoquinone and cancer and concluded that the compound is anti-inflammatory…stops cancer cells from dividing and spreading by triggering their death…limits the formation of blood vessels that nourish the tumor (angiogenesis)…and “sensitizes” cells to chemotherapy. Example: In a recent animal study, published in Archives of Medical Science, researchers found that thymoquinone “decreased the expression” of both BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes—genes that increase the risk for breast cancer three- to five-fold and the risk for ovarian cancer as much as 30-fold.

Typical dosage: 500 mg, twice daily. Suggested product: Black Seed Cumin Seed Oil from Amazing Herbs.

Bee Propolis, Bee Pollen and Royal Jelly

Bee ­propolis (a waxlike material used by bees to repair holes in hives) is rich in caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), chrysin and cinnamic acid, compounds that affect cancer genes. Studies show they are ­immune-strengthening, anti-inflammatory and anti-angiogenic and can reduce the growth of many cancers, including colon, prostate and kidney. Bee propolis also has been used clinically to reduce mouth sores caused by chemotherapy and radiation. Recent study: In a cellular study on prostate cancer from the University of Texas Medical Branch, researchers found that CAPE boosted the cancer-killing power of chemotherapeutic drugs.

Another cellular study shows that bee pollen can inhibit vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which helps ­create blood supply to tumors.

Royal jelly (a milky secretion produced by worker bees) contains several epigenetic factors. It has been shown to suppress the blood supply to tumors.

Typical dosage: 500 mg, once daily. Suggested product: Triple Bee Complex from Y.S. Organic Bee Farms, which contains bee propolis, bee pollen and royal jelly. Caution: People who are allergic to bee stings should not take bee products.

Anticancer Smoothie

This drink is rich in anticancer compounds. Examples: The sulforaphane from broccoli promotes the activation of “tumor suppressor” genes. The quercetin from apples inhibits tyrosine kinase, an enzyme associated with cancer. The lauric acid from coconut milk is linked to a low risk for breast cancer. And the ­curcumin from turmeric keeps cancer cells from replicating. Drink it daily. Ingredients…

  • ½ cup coconut water
  • ¼ cup broccoli
  • 1 peeled cucumber
  • ¼ cup watercress
  • 1 apple, cored with peel
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut milk powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

Blend one minute on medium. Pour through a strainer.