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Sunday, June 1, 2014

This cause of cancer strikes everyone over 50

This Quiet Cause of Cancer
Strikes Everyone Over 50

Here's some irony for you: Most people want to live as long as possible. Yet that very thing we all strive for – old age – is actually hazardous to our health. The older we are, the more susceptible we are to all kinds of diseases.
But it's not so much wrinkled skin and other age-related changes to our biology that are the reason why we get sick more as we get older. Rather, it's a deterioration of our immune systems.
Keep reading and I'll explain why. But I'll also tell you how to outsmart this nasty "wrinkle" in the aging process.
Continued below…

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Why your immune system
erodes over time
The gradual decline of the immune system as you age is called immunosenescence. That's just a Latinized term for "aging of the immune system." I just saved you three years of medical school and hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The sad fact is, the immune system breaks down as you age. In fact, both the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health consider this condition a significant threat to everyone over the age of 50. Everyone. Because not only does the aging process make it harder for your body to ward off infections, it also subdues your body's long-term memory, meaning vaccinations are less effective.
Let's face it, we all face age-related biological changes. But this isn't about the development of wrinkles or a slightly stooped posture. Immunosenescence is not the deterioration of average cells. It's the decline in some of the key cells that run your immune system.
T-cells appear to be the most affected by aging, as their function noticeably declines over time. Aging also means you no longer produce an abundance of antibodies or lymphocytes, all key players in immune function. In addition, immunosenescence marks a dramatic increase in inflammation, which leaves you susceptible to just about every chronic disease out there. That's why illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer can have such a significant and dramatic effect on the elderly.
You also become more vulnerable to viral outbreaks, leaving you exposed to debilitating bouts of cold and flu.
Anecdotally, I notice that I take longer to get over a cold than when I was young, even though, in many ways, my general health is better than when I was young and I actually get fewer colds. When I do get one, it hangs on like crazy. The immune system just can't seem to shake it off.
It's quite clear that once your immune system is thus impaired, the body becomes more susceptible to infection and cancer. And sure, we're all vaguely aware that the likelihood of getting cancer increases with age. But the question here is can we counteract it?
How to stop the stealth-progression
of immunosenescence
Immunosenescence is not just a product of being human. All kinds of species suffer decline as a function of age. But we're the only ones who can do something about it. You can't stop aging completely but you can darn well slow it down.
First, be aware of the signs of immunosenescence. Think of it as a stealthy thief in the night. It starts by robbing you of energy. You might feel a little slower, or a little sluggish. Usually, this happens in your 50s. While most people rightly attribute this to age and a general slowing down of the body, that's a different thing from a dwindling immune system.
Stress is the next thing to keep your eye on. Take any aspect of your health and expose it to stress, and it's probably going to get worse. That may be more true for your immune system than for any other bodily system. Even a young person's immunity is compromised by stress. The best ways to combat stress include meditation and yoga – and just getting plenty of sleep.
By now, you're certainly aware of the risks of poor diet and obesity. Naturally, both these things suppress the disease-fighting power of your immune system. Sugar consumption is one of the most effective ways to knock your immune system out. In fact, research shows sugar has a dramatic, negative effect on your immune system within a half hour of eating it. The simple answer is to avoid sugar and eat whole, organic foods.
Next – and I'm sure you knew this was coming – not getting enough exercise puts a marked damper on your immune system. Regular physical activity purges your body of toxins and keeps your immune system in fighting shape. Even something as simple as a daily 30-minute walk around the block can be an effective tool against immunosenescence.
In addition, certain herbs and supplements can keep your immune system up to par. Traditional Chinese medicine has long made use of Reishi mushrooms to promote a vigorous immune system. Scientific studies support this – apparently a mix of compounds in this mushroom make it a medicinal powerhouse. It wards off the effect of immunosenescence and increases life span as well. In fact, one 2011 animal study suggested the regular use of Reishi may add seven to 16 years to your life span, on top of restoring your immune strength.
To be fair, other mushroom remedies are also highly effective. Just last week we wrote about enoki mushrooms (the article is reprinted below). And another great move is to supplement with beta glucans – one of the most powerful active ingredients in medicinal mushrooms and other species of fungus.
Get yourself in "fighting shape"
no matter what your age
A functional immune system is your body's most potent weapon against cancer and every other health risk out there. And understanding the role played by immunosenescence in cancer development is especially useful when it comes to helping elderly cancer sufferers.
So -- just as any wise soldier keeps his blade sharp for battle, you should keep your immune system in fighting shape. If a long life of vibrant health doesn't tempt you, I don't know what will.
As I just mentioned, our previous issue wrote about one of the most effective ways to boost your immune system. If you missed it, you can catch it now just below this.

Cut Cancer Risk in Half
With This Mushroom

Longtime readers of this newsletter know mushrooms are among the most powerful foods for treating and preventing cancer. Some of the best cancer remedies are concocted from mushroom extracts.
Today's spotlight is on the Japanese enoki mushroom, also known as golden needle, velvet foot and winter mushroom. Discover what this wonder-food can do for you. . .
Continued below…

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Enoki mushrooms have been a prized feature in Chinese and Japanese medicine for centuries. Traditional Asian medicine credits these fungi with marvelous healing abilities including:
  • Cutting bad cholesterol down to size
  • Improving an ailing liver
  • Lowering high blood pressure
  • Soothing sour stomachs
As if this weren't impressive enough—enoki mushrooms are packed with antioxidant compounds that are known as powerful immune boosters—and kick-butt cancer fighters!
These fabulous fungi grow in many places throughout the world, typically in dead conifer trees and stumps.
They can look very different depending on where they grow. In the wild, an enoki mushroom is often brown and squat with a wide cap.
But when farmers and hobbyists grow them, they tend to have a whitish-gold color with longer stems and smaller caps.
Enoki bears a bounty of beta glucans…
Rather than having the ability to kill cancer directly, a 2010 study revealed that the secret power of this cancer-fighting fungus may lie in its rich supply of three immune-boosting nutrients called beta glucans. You can learn more about beta glucans in Issue #177.
These nutrients are types of fiber found in the cells of certain simple organisms such as algae, bacteria, fungi and yeasts. But more complex plants such as oats and barley can also be rich in beta glucans.
The Chinese isolated three unique beta glucans in enoki mushrooms: beta-linked glucose, galactose, as well as mannose and fucose sugars (that's not a typo – it's "fucose" not "fructose").
These nutrients boost a cell's production of nitric oxide—one of the key mechanisms our bodies use to destroy diseased cells.
What's more, these fungi pack in significant amounts of other important vitamins and minerals like calcium… niacin… riboflavin… thiamine… selenium… and sodium…
Clinical testing on various medicinal mushrooms has produced a consistent pattern of enhanced immune response. But these tests are merely a confirmation of what a Japanese researcher first noted several decades earlier…
Simple farmers provide an important clue
The first clues about the cancer-fighting strength of enoki mushrooms resulted from observations of Dr. Tetsuro Ikekawa, a former epidemiologist at the Research Institute of the National Cancer Center in Tokyo, Japan.
Dr. Ikekawa noticed that cancer rates in the Nagano Prefecture of Japan were significantly lower than those in surrounding provinces from 1972 to 1986.
Upon further investigation, he discovered that this area was dedicated to growing enoki mushrooms.
Many people within this province ate higher quantities of these mushrooms because the farmers gave them away if they weren't good enough for local grocers.
Ikekawa found that these lucky folks tended to die far less frequently from cancer. In fact, the mushrooms seemed to be the magic bullet that cut their cancer rate in HALF!
Dr. Ikekawa concluded that the more enoki mushroom a person eats, the lower his or her chances of dying from cancer in the Nagano Prefecture.
In 1969, the journal Cancer Research published an article by Dr. Ikekawa that focused on the cancer-fighting properties of enoki and other mushrooms. This sparked additional investigation as Japanese researchers sought to isolate and identify the constituents in enoki mushrooms that provided the anti-cancer effects.
One compound their research isolated was proflamin, which showed higher cancer-fighting activity against melanoma and other cancers than did another cancer-fighting compound, PSK, isolated from turkey tail mushrooms. That's saying something, because PSK is a highly respected remedy.
Studies on 'magic mushrooms' continue…
Scientists have continued to study the enoki mushroom in an effort to unlock its cancer-fighting properties.
A WebMD report cited a study showed that combining the beta-glucan called lentinan with chemotherapy appeared to help gastric cancer patients live longer.
Additional studies suggest that beta-glucans in the enoki mushroom may help people with cancers of the cervix, head and neck. This isn't to say it's no good against other cancers, just that these three cancers were the ones specifically studied.
Early studies are showing promise for using the supplement's immune-boosting abilities to help people suffering from acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). It may also lower your risk for infections after surgery and trauma.
As noted, there are food sources for these cancer-fighting beta glucans. But you can also find nutritional supplements in pill or tablet form.
These supplements are natural and safe, but you should still check with your medical provider before taking them—especially if you take medications for diabetes, high blood pressure or AIDS and AIDS-related complexes.
And you could always grab some enoki and other 'magic mushrooms' from the grocery store and include them in your favorite dishes.
This is a healthful and tasty way to help boost your immunity and cut your risk for cancer!

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Article 1
"Epidemic of Immunosenescence." By Maegen Rawlls for Life Extension Magazine Winter Edition 2012-2013.
"Immunosenescence." Wikipedia, Retrieved 14 May 2014.
"Immunosenescence and cancer." By Grapham Pawelec, et al. Journal of Geriatric Oncology. Volume 1, Issue 1 , Pages 20-26, June 2010.
"Immunosenescence of ageing." By Gruver A.L, et al. J Pathol. 2007 Jan;211(2):144-56.
"Potential role of immunosenescence in cancer development." By Fulop, T., et al. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2010 Jun;1197:158-65.
"Understanding immunosenescence to improve responses to vaccines." By Jörg J Goronzy & Cornelia M. Weyand. Nature Immunology, 14, 428–436 (2013).
Article 2
Hongping Yin et al. Am. J. Chin. Med. 38, 191 (2010). DOI: 10.1142/S0192415X10007750. Retrieved from
Ikekawa, T et al. Cancer Res March 1969 29; 734. Antitumor Activity of Aqueous Extracts of Edible Mushrooms. Retrieved from
Stamets, P. 2013. Can eating enoki mushrooms lower your cancer risk? Huffington Post. Retrieved from
WebMd. 2013. Beta-glucans factsheet. Available online at

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Editor in Chief: Lee Euler Contributing Editors: Mindy Tyson McHorse, Carol Parks, Roz Roscoe Webmaster: Holly Cornish Information Technology Advisor: Michelle Mato   Fulfillment & Customer Service: Joe Ackerson and Cami Lemr

Health Disclaimer: The information provided above is not intended as personal medical advice or instructions. You should not take any action affecting your health without consulting a qualified health professional. The authors and publishers of the information above are not doctors or health-caregivers. The authors and publishers believe the information to be accurate but its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. There is some risk associated with ANY cancer treatment, and the reader should not act on the information above unless he or she is willing to assume the full risk.

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