Complementary Cancer TherapiesHealthNatural Compounds

Junk Science? Number 48: Now lemons beat cancer

Now lemons beat cancer

People come up to me (usually the moment I have finished a speech) and ask if I have heard about B-17, Shark Cartilage; Coral Calcium as a ‘cancer cure’. I sigh.

Recently I have received more than 20 copies of an e mail doing the rounds. It’s about lemons. It suggests that eating whole lemons is a cancer cure – all you have to do is freeze them and then you can eat them as some sort of delicacy. Job done. Now, it is true that lemon skins contain limonene (not mentioned in the article) and that does have an effect in research on cancers. It is a natural oil that seems to be able to detoxify the liver and parts of the intestine from certain carcinogens and animal studies show an effect with mammary tumours. And lemons are very alkalising and research shows alkaline bodies tend to stop metastases while acid bodies promote it. But eating a frozen lemon to cure a cancer? Oh dear.

I know of no single compound – drug, natural compound, vitamin, whatever – that is a cancer cure. If you push me I can think of a couple of treatments with potential for solid tumours like ablatherm; and I can think of some natural compounds like vitamin D and curcumin that can play an important part in an integrated treatment programme (which might include a drug or surgery too).

I find research; and it (via links to over 100 cancer centres around the world) finds me.

So let’s start:

Coral calcium: Your body does need calcium. If you have polyps in your intestine it seems to help reduce the risk of them becoming cancerous.
There is research showing that mass market calcium supplements can increase heart problems (see but then I detest high street cheap supplements – they are usually synthetic, often deficient and poorly absorbed.

Which takes me to Coral Calcium. There is no research that I have come across that says it cures or helps cure cancer. Its proponents normally provide half a dozen pieces of random information and try to join the dots. Yes. Okinawans live a long time and much of this has been scientifically linked to calorie restriction and a diet high in natural minerals (they probably came late to mobile phones, EMF’s, and environmental toxins too). Some salts (rather than the refined table salt or sea salt) contain not just sodium chloride but up to 20 per cent as other minerals (like calcium, magnesium and other salts). All are essential to our health and, yes, research shows the general population to be deficient.

Then there’s the acid body argument. Let’s be clear. A normal healthy body is slightly alkaline. If it becomes slightly acid, if its oxygen levels are lowered, there will be a health risk. But just taking coral calcium is not going to change that dramatically. Inside the centre of a tumour the pH is about 6.2 caused by the inefficient energy production process. Research has shown that in more acidic conditions there is more metastases and the metastases tend to form new cancers more. Could coral calcium help? Possibly as a part of a total package of activities to correct your acid body, Yes. But is it a cure for cancer, No. There is also no research that shows lobbing in supplements or minerals on their own can alkalise the body sufficiently to stop the cancer reaction centre inside the tumour, although there are some clinical trials about to start with sodium bicarbonate.

So, is coral calcium a cure for cancer? No. It could play a small part in a much, much greater integrated package if you had a body deficient in calcium, and minerals in general, and you were acidic.

B-17: Let’s get a few things straight. There is research on B-17, but not much, and mostly with animals. And there are no phase III clinical trials; but then there aren’t for chemotherapy treatments for the under 12s, cyberknife or brachytherapy for breast cancer, but that doesn’t seem to stop orthodox medicine men using them.

Krebs did a research study claiming it cured people, which he presented to the Senate, but they were unimpressed. I know there are conspiracy theories over this and the Sloan-Kettering Trial.

Krebs called it a vitamin, but that’s debatable.

I have looked into B-17 in some depth. I have also spent a long time talking to people who use it, notably Contreras at the Oasis of Hope.

The biochemical logic is reasonably sound, that an enzyme unique to cancer cells (glucosidase) breaks down the molecule of B-17 to benzaldehyde and cyanide which promptly kills the cell. Looking for unique proteins and enzymes in a cancer cell is exactly what drug companies are doing right now.

The skeptic mantra (as trundled out by the fictitious Josephine Jones) of ‘it contains cyanide and kills people’ is ignorant. Run away, if someone says that to you. Many natural compounds could be equally said to contain cyanide in the plant world if you use their duff science. And we need these compounds for our health. Contreras has never heard of anyone dying of cyanide poisoning from B-17.

The other Skeptic point of ignorance is that none of them (the fictitious Josephine Jones and troll Guy Chapman) seems to have sufficient science knowledge to distinguish between natural B-17 (amygdalin) and synthetic (laetrile). The fact is that, correctly, the FDA has refused to pass/banned laetrile for general use because it is synthetic and is thus a drug. It ain’t got any research to support it, so it can’t be approved. Full stop.

The natural compound is called amygdalin. I have talked to loads of people who eat apricot kernels – I take 6 a day with my breakfast. We need nitrilosides in our diet. And there is some very general evidence that they are helpful.

Contreras uses B-17 but as a part of a ‘Metabolic Therapy’ package. This is a bit like chucking the alternative therapy kitchen sink at a cancer, and can include B-17, Intravenous vitamin C, pancreatic enzymes, oxygen therapy and more. Which bit works (there is little doubt that they do have satisfied customers) – no one seems to know! But Contreras himself says that B-17 has no effect with brain tumours, liver cancer or sarcomas.

I have had grown men come up to me who were visibly yellow/grey – they were trying to consume 50 apricot kernels for breakfast as they had prostate cancers. The problem is that you need a healthy liver to detoxify the by-products of B-17 and cancer patients don’t have a healthy liver. Also Nutrition Almanac recommends no more than 35 a day, nor 5/6 in a 90 minute period.

So does B-17 cure cancer? No sorry. No evidence to support it at all. Could it play a role in your anti-cancer programme? Yes, a small role but be very, very careful. Heed the Nutrition Almanac advice and have someone qualified watch over you.

Shark Cartilage: There was research done using a ground concentrate of shark cartilage that showed some evidence of preventing blood supplies forming in cancer tumours. BUT. The guy who did the research had a TV documentary made on his work, and this prompted a hundred supplement companies to turn out shark cartilage tablets. But ‘Sharks don’t get cancer’ – who says? And they don’t use toxic toothpaste and carry mobile phones either.

One report I read was that, if the shark cartilage was ground to the original standards, you would anyway have to consume three bottles or more of the pills a day just to come close to the original research. And anyway, it could be the calcium levels in the cartilage. Didn’t that shark just swim past some coral?

The American Cancer Society States: One shark cartilage product, called AE-941, was studied as an investigational new drug. Although some laboratory and animal studies have shown that some components in shark cartilage have the ability to slow the growth of new blood vessels, these effects have not been proven in humans. The clinical studies of shark cartilage products published to date have not proven any benefit against cancer.
I could talk about zeolite, vitamin C, and acai berries but I’d get bored. And so would you.

Back to top button