Four natural powerhouses shown to prevent cancer

Today, mainstream oncology relies on toxic treatments like radiation and chemotherapy to treat cancer. And they reserve natural approaches as “complements” to these toxic, first-line treatments.

But mounting evidence shows many natural therapies can be used to prevent — and even treat ­— cancer. We won’t know more until we start investing in studying these natural approaches as first-line treatments for cancer as opposed to purely complementary medicine.

In the meantime, I’ll share with you some of the latest research on natural ways to stay cancer-free…

Start with key powerhouse vitamin

Vitamin D is a strong example of a micronutrient with anti-cancer activity. In a recent study, men and women with vitamin D levels above 40 ng/ml had a 67 percent lower overall cancer risk than men and women with lower levels.

Plus, in a previous study, women given just an average 1,000 IU vitamin D per day had a 77 percent lower incidence of cancers of all sites, including the breast, colon and lung.

Other studies showed higher blood levels of vitamin D can lower cancer risk by up to 83 percent.

Vitamin D also appears to protect against many specific forms of cancer. For example:

  • Men and women with the highest vitamin D levels had a 34 percent lower colon cancer risk compared to those with the lowest vitamin D levels.
  • People with the highest serum levels of vitamin D had 17 percent lower risk of developing lung cancer compared to people with the lowest levels of D.
  • Men with blood serum vitamin D levels less than 30 ng/ml had 2.6 times greater risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer.
  • Women with skin cancer were found to have lower intake of vitamin D compared to matched women without cancer. Women with malignant melanoma took in only 311 IU/per day; women with squamous cell tumors took in 340 IU/day, and women with basal cell tumors took in 326 IU/day.
  • Men and women with low vitamin D were four times more likely to develop an aggressive melanoma skin tumor than men and women with higher levels.

Dr. Cedric Garland, who led the first study I mentioned, recommends that every female older than nine years take 4,000 IU vitamin D daily based on the National Academy of Science having set 4,000 IU per day as the top intake.

But according to newer research, even that amount may be too low to reach optimal blood serum levels needed to ward off cancer. To reach and maintain this optimal level, I recommend supplementing with 10,000 IU of vitamin D daily. If you don’t like taking pills, you can get vitamin D in a liquid form, which you can take straight on the tongue or add to a small glass of organic fruit juice or milk in the morning.

Holiday herb trio for fighting cancer

Research shows three herbs associated with the Christmas holiday show tremendous anti-cancer potential.

As we have wrapped up the holiday season, it is interesting to reconsider boswellia, commonly known as frankincense, from the Middle East and South Asia. It is traditionally one of the gifts of the Three Magi at Christmastime, and perhaps for good reason. Lab studies show frankincense works against cancer cells from bladder, breast, brain, cervical, colon, liver, lung, pancreas, prostate, skin and stomach.

It activates genes that regulate cell cycle arrest, cell growth suppression, and apoptosis in cancer cells.

Frankincense also appears to distinguish cancer from normal cells, which could be helpful in targeting treatments and avoiding toxicity of chemotherapy. One lab study showed that frankincense could reduce the effective dose needed for cancer chemotherapy drugs.

Its well-established clinical anti-inflammatory effects may also help combat cancer by reducing chronic inflammation, which appears to be a feature of increased aggressiveness in some cancers. It also appears to balance the immune system and boost proliferation of immune cells for enhanced immune surveillance.

In a recent clinical trial, frankincense significantly reduced brain swelling in patients with glioblastoma brain cancer.

Mistletoe (Iscador) is another anti-cancer medicinal plant, administered only by direct injection. It was originally a late-19th-century theosophical medical treatment. Doctors now use it in their practices in Germany and Switzerland.

The evergreen tree (Pacific yew), from which the drug Taxol was derived, is known for its activity against breast and ovarian cancers.

Research shows that kava (Piper methysticum) root extract prevented lung tumors in 99 percent of lab mice. Other recent research shows that kava may be effective against cancer cells from breast, bladder, bone, colon, uterine, and prostate cancer as well. Kava is native to the South Pacific and is a member of the black pepper (Piper nigricans) family, also shown in lab studies to have strong anti-cancer activities.

These natural approaches also have many other health benefits. For example, vitamin D benefits brain and heart health. Boswellia reduces chronic inflammation and improves joint health. So — you can and should take them as part of your daily routine and lower your risk of cancer as a side benefit.

Research needed on natural approaches as primary treatments

Available research falls short of establishing standard clinical cancer treatment protocols incorporating natural remedies. But it does strongly suggest the value of investing in such trials. As I published in the Annals of Internal Medicine back in 1989, “what works is not ‘alternative,’ or ‘complementary;’ what works is just good medicine.”

While awaiting more clinical research to establish the use of these powerful natural approaches in cancer treatment, imagine what the anti-cancer activities of these nutrients and herbal remedies can do for cancer prevention.

Of course, cancer is a highly complex disease that requires individualized care. But, as you’ve seen here, many natural alternatives to the mainstream’s slash-poison-burn-approach. And there are plenty more where these came from.

In fact, there are so many natural ways to combat cancer, I’m currently working on developing an in-depth, step-by-step, comprehensive online learning protocol that will help you find the best alternatives to suit your individual needs.

I’m wrapping it up now and will let you know as soon as it is ready. In the meantime, rest assured that you DO have options — and in the majority of cases, there is no need to rush into any treatment. No matter what sort of breathless warnings you may get from your oncologist.


Marc S. Micozzi, MD, PhD, Editor, Fundamentals of Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 5th ed. (2015), Elsevier Health Sciences, 759 pp.