AIMA Conference 2015: Battling the Increasing Incidence of Cancer thru Diet and Lifestyle Changes [Interview][Transcript]


Guest: Dr. Lise Alschuler
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guest Bio: Dr. Lise Alschuler (US) is a world renowned integrative medicine expert, with a board certification in naturopathic oncology and the author of several scientific papers and books including “The Definitive Guide to Cancer.” Since her breast cancer diagnosis seven years ago, Dr. Alschuler has undergone surgery, received chemotherapy and radiation and integrated natural supplements, diet, exercise as well other lifestyle changes throughout her treatment.

Segment overview: In today’s Health Supplier Segment, we welcome Dr. Lisa Alschuler who is currently in Australia as a keynote speaker for the Australasian Integrative Medicine Association Conference as well as a series of workshops where she is presenting to medical practitioners around the country regarding the latest in cancer research and the role of integrative medicine in battling the disease. According to the latest scientific based findings in natural integrative cancer care and prevention, diet and lifestyle changes can impact our health at a cellular level and improve our risk for cancer significantly.


Health Professional Radio

Wayne Bucklar:    You’re listening to Health Professional Radio. My name is Wayne Bucklar and my guest today is Dr. Alschuler. Dr. Lise Alschuler is here in Australia to talk at the Australian Integrative Medicine Association Conference. Welcome to Australia and welcome to Health Professional Radio Lise.

Dr. Lise Alschuler:    Thank you.

W:    I understand that you’re here to speak to the conference but first of all, what is Integrative Medicine?

A:    Well, yes I’m here actually to speak at the moment I did this past weekend and I’m also here on a sponsored tour by BioCeuticals on integrative oncology. But integrative medicine is really combining conventional or I think in Australia it’s refers to as traditional medicine along with natural medicine. And the point of integration is an evidence based approach so or an evidence informed approach. So practitioners of various trainings collaborate together for the good of patient and utilize all and every complementary synergistic way to support the health of patients.

W:    I see. Now at that conference you were talking I understand about “overweight and obese Australians” and “the risk of kidney cancer.”

A:    You know it’s interesting there some, obesity is emerging as a various significant risk factor for a number of cancers and somewhat surprising I think for some “renal cell carcinoma” or “kidney cancer” has merged as quite a strong association to obesity. There is a recent study that was published by in the National Institute of Journal of Cancer and this study was a combination or review of many prospective trials, and actually in that study – among all the cancers, the one with the greatest link to obesity was renal cell carcinoma such that those people who have the highest weight had a 42% increased risk of kidney cancer compared to those with the lowest level of weight or lowest weight gain. So there was a very strong association that’s been shown in a number of other studies. Actually just this month there was a study that was added to the body of literature, there was another very large study that was done in China, then again they found that there was a significant relationship between weight gain and renal cell carcinoma. So this is an association that’s being documented around the world and it’s actually quite concerning since renal cell carcinoma the incidence of it is increasing.

W:    That relationship that you talked about in the research, has there been a causality link between those?

A:    Yeah, that’s a good question and there’s some postulations but it appears to be that it’s not just having extra body mass but there’s also a link between extra body mass, high blood pressure and the renal cell carcinoma which is really characteristic in a way of metabolic syndrome. So as part of metabolic syndrome, some of the underlying pathophysiology if you will includes insulin resistance and a low level of inflammation and both a state of insulin resistance, which is considered by some to be a pre-diabetic condition as well as low level inflammation creates a biochemical milieu in the body which is very favorable to cancer development. Now why that particular milieu is especially problematic for the kidney is still something we’re trying to figure out, I have the suspicion though that it may have to do with the added environmental toxins that we’re increasingly exposed to because the kidney is an organ of elimination. So for example, we’ve known that kidney cancer is related to petrol exposure and there’s an increasingly polluted environment in which we live so if we think of cancer is kind of a multi-hit phenomenon. We have the exposure to environmental gasoline and petro chemicals, then as one hit then we have added body mass with all those underlying chemical adjustment if you will that are part of the inflammatory response and the insulin resistance response, and now we have several more hits and eventually it overcomes our body’s homeostatis and we start to have aberrant cell behavior and then ultimately cancer.

W:    You’re listening to Health Professional Radio with Wayne Bucklar. My guest is Dr. Lise Alschuler whose been here speaking at the Australian Integrative Medicine Association Conference and we’re talking about the relationship between obesity and kidney cancer and it’s on the rise. Of course obesity is one of our common topics on this station as we talk about there’s an army of obesity that seems to be engulfing the developed world at present. Lise with that relationship being established, is the answer the standard answer with metabolic syndrome – lose some weight, get some exercise, give up high glycemic index convex carbohydrate?

A:    That’s very much part of the answer. I think that all of those things would be absolutely appropriate and I think that the other issue is there is this element of hypertension which is certainly is playing a role in the causation. I think in the addition to those things I would also recommend that evaluation of blood pressure is included and that also is addressed. I would also say that weight loss which is of course easier said than done but certainly weight loss, exercise, lower in carbohydrate intakes so that we can lower glycemic load of the diet is all absolutely fundamental with kidney cancer because again it’s an organ of elimination. It does offer us a bit of opportunity, in that many of the compounds that we ingest they’re metabolize will ultimately be excreted through the kidney and in that way we would also include the consumption of various targeted, nutritional and botanical therapies that have known effects on cancer prevention. Knowing that they’re goanna be eliminated to the kidney and would theoretically have more affect in the kidney and in fact there is some fairly good body of data that suggest that there are several botanical compounds and nutritional compounds that do have benefits in supporting the health of the kidney. So I think in some ways that would turbo charge the lifestyle approach to this prevention.

W:    Yes. That’s interesting that because the compound’s ending up going through the kidneys, the notion that they may have a greater effect on the kidneys. Is there a common compound that you recommend or is there a regime of recommended compounds in the integrative medicine field that are recommended in this case?

A:    You know from a prevention stand point and again especially going back to the fact that underlying this association between weight and between environmental exposure is what as referred to increasingly as chronic inflammation. And with that chronic inflammation we know several things, we know that there is an imbalance in what we call “redox” potential in ourselves which means our antioxidant capacity. And in fact there’s a bit of a drain on our anti-oxidant status. So one of the things in a broad category sort of way, I would suggest is that we would look at supplying or increasing some of this antioxidant status, and of course there’s a variety of ways to do that ranging from fairly straight forward vitamins, supplementation, let’s say Vitamin E complex and Vitamin C all the way through to the body’s most important anti-oxidant which is glutathione either itself or precursors. And then I think with that anti-oxidant component in place, the other group of supplements that I think would be very important because we know from other kidney diseases that they’re quite effective are a group of compounds called flavonoids and these are pigmented compounds found in plants and herbs. They’re about 4000 of them that we know that have bio medical activity, biological activity in the body, and these pigmented compounds are very very anti-inflammatory. They’re very supportive of our bodies innate anti-oxidant capacity, they have inherent cell repair characteristic, so they end up having a very pervasive anti-cancer or cancer preventive type of effect. And so we can of course eat flavonoids by eating a plant base diet, lots of colorful fruits and vegetables which is certainly recommended. And then in addition for specially people with extra weight who would be considered at increased risk for kidney cancer, I think it would make some sense to consider augmenting the diet with extracted flavonoids. Some of those are increasingly being researched and are establishing a fairly good body of evidence to support their use would be things like cumin from the turmeric plant, or Epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG from green tea, there’s resveratrol found in skin of grape. So you know there is number of these flavonoids which are quite impactful on health, and in a number of studies. Kidney cancer is a bit understudied in relationship to some of the other cancers from an integrated perspective but many of the underlying mechanisms are shared and from some of this other data with other cancers, there’s really quite a compelling story to be told about the value of using this extracted flavonoids in the prevention and supporting the health of various organs, kidney certainly included.

W:    It’s interesting. I’m always struck by whether the day will come when we will understand the medical benefits of food so thoroughly that this sort of conversation just becomes routine and instead of talking about indicators and the statistical likelihood of things working, whether they’ll just solid answer. I noticed you mentioned “turmeric and green tea” as being on your list and I thought these are things you hear often in kind of focal medicine getting a mention.

A:    Yeah, many of these natural agents have a long history of true traditional or historical use and I think what’s nice now about natural medicine is that it’s increasingly evidence and form.

W:    Yes.

A:    So we’ve taken that historical practice, we’ve put it into the laboratory, there’s a growing body of clinical research. You know a lot of times, there’s sort of an accu position leveled against integrative practice that there’s no evidence to support this practice but that’s really not true at all theirs a huge body of evidence, you just have to look for it. So there is a lot of clinical data, it’s a bit hard to get a piece together so I can understand why at first blush somebody might say “Hey there is no evidence, why are you doing this?” But in fact there is and I think to your point with these studies increasingly being done and validated in different context that we can start to make various form conclusions. There is a variable though that make this studies somewhat challenging and that’s the subject matter which is human beings are a constantly evolving and changing subject and I think that particularly in relationship to cancer, one of the challenges is that the you know the body mass index for humans has increased rapidly and the research done 20 years ago was kind of done on different people…

W:    Yes.

A:    quite frankly. The other thing that’s happening that the load of environmental toxins is growing astronomically. Actually it’s quite frightening, babies before they even draw their first breathe already have environmental toxins in their bodies. So people are different now, so we have to keep doing the research to keep understanding the implications on us as we evolve in our weight and in our diet and in our environmental exposure, there are a lot of factors that come to play.

W:    Yes, indeed. And it’s good that we’ve got people like you who are doing this work looking for that evidence base and then spreading the word. This is Health Professional Radio. I’ve been in conversation with Dr. Lise Alschuler. Lise, can I say on behalf of Australia, welcome to Australia and I know you’ve got some tour time left, so I hope you thoroughly enjoy the country while you’re here. It’s been a pleasure having you on Health Professional Radio with us today.

A:    Well thank you very much, it’s my pleasure as well. It’s a wonderful country, I love coming here.

W:    If you missed our conversation, we have a transcript of it on our website, there’s also a SoundCloud archive. You can find it on YouTube as well, but on our website at the transcript is there. This is Health Professional Radio, my guest today has been Dr. Lise Alschuler. My name is Wayne Bucklar.