By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
March 14, 2012
- Meat, minus the cancer
- What to do if you just can’t say ‘no’ to bacon
- How to make it up to your liver and pancreas
My patients – and many readers of Advanced Natural Health – are relieved I don’t recommend they give up eating red meat. But before you are tempted to go back to your bacon-eating ways, I want to clarify my stand.
Meat itself is not the problem. It’s what we do to the animals when they are raised that makes the difference.
What they are fed (hold the pesticide-laden GMO corn please). Whether they receive antibiotics and hormones. And how they are processed and preserved before they are transported to the supermarket shelf.
There’s a lot standing between you and a healthy burger.
By all means, eat meat. Just don’t make it the biggest portion on your plate. Don’t eat it at every meal. Consider this: Four of our thirty-two teeth are specifically designed to rip meat – we’re designed by nature to be omnivores. About 13% of the time!
You’ll also want to be sure the meat you eat has been raised and fed right. And that it doesn’t include this…
Way back in the 70’s, we were well aware that a particular food additive causes cancer. So was the FDA, and they came very close to banning it – and perhaps to saving thousands of lives.
But the food processing industry won and consumers lost. We have our skyrocketing rates of pancreatic and colon cancer to prove it.
I’m referring of course to sodium nitrate.
Sodium nitrate preserves, colors and flavors bacon, ham, hot dogs, lunch meats, corned beef, smoked fish and other processed meats. You may find it in school cafeterias and hospitals around the country. And on supermarket shelves.
It takes extraordinarily high levels of sodium to cure meat. But it’s the nitrate/nitrite that turns a piece of bacon into a loaded weapon.
When exposed to heat or acidic conditions in the stomach, nitrite becomes nitrosamines. We have known about nitrosamines for over 100 years, but there are hundreds of them. It wasn’t until about 50 years ago that we learned how they are formed, and what they do.
Most nitrosamines are organ specific. So, when tobacco forms a nitrosamine in the body, it targets the lungs. When sodium nitrate forms a nitrosamine, it targets the pancreas, and possibly the colon.
Around the time the FDA was considering banning sodium nitrate altogether, scientists found that Vitamin C and E inhibit the formation of nitrosamines.
So, instead of taking sodium nitrate off the market entirely, the FDA compromised. They allowed food processors to use it, as long as they also added some form of one of these vitamins. Did you ever wonder why you often see ascorbic acid, erythorbic acid or alpha-tocopherol on the labels of cured meats and fish?
While this compromise may have partially alleviated the problem, the numbers speak for themselves.
Just one link of sausage a day raises your risk of getting pancreatic cancer by 19%. Two pieces of bacon and that number shoots up to 38%.
Overall, people who ate the most processed meats, hot dogs and sausage, showed a 67% increased risk of pancreatic cancer over those who consumed little or none.
Sixty-seven percent. That is simply enormous. And unacceptable.
The untimely death of Steve Jobs thrust pancreatic cancer into the limelight again. And you might remember, about 6 years ago, the high-profile death of Charlie Bell, CEO of McDonald’s, from colon cancer. These two types of cancer are among the deadliest, and they are on the rise.
Eating meat carefully and cautiously is one simple step you can take to protect yourself.
And while you can’t take back yesterday’s bacon, there are some steps you can take today to protect yourself…
If you’ve been around for a while, odds are you’ve already eaten your fair share of sodium nitrate. And while you may swear off bacon today, never again might seem like more than you’re willing to promise.
So now what?
Detox: Only you know how much sodium nitrate you’ve eaten in your lifetime. Lunchmeat to school every day? Bacon or sausage every morning? Lox and herring every Sunday? If it’s been a heavy load over a long life, you may want to consider taking some steps to detoxify your pancreas and colon. This might include a juice fast or chelation.
But more important, find a physician, if you don’t already have one, who knows how to help you responsibly detox your body.
Vitamin C and E Armor: If you feel like a life without any chance of bacon or sausage isn’t a life worth living, then at least protect yourself. Washing down bacon with a big glass of orange juice and your daily vitamins is a start. Though I would still recommend additional supplements with your meal – not long before or after. It’s your best chance to stop the nitrate from becoming nitrosamine once it enters your system.
Extra Pancreas and Liver Support: Even if you’ve had a lifetime of sodium nitrate consumption, you can start today by giving your liver and pancreas extra support. Lots of green, leafy vegetables like kale and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower. Boost your levels of Vitamin D, especially if you’re low or deficient. Absolutely, positively no high fructose corn syrup and eliminate as much sugar as possible as well.
Liver support includes vitamins A, C, and E, as well as the B vitamins, zinc, calcium, and selenium. Make sure your multivitamin/multimineral supplement contains plenty of these essentials. Plus, some additional strengthening herbs, such as artichoke leaf, which stimulates the production of bile. Milk thistle, which strengthens liver cell membranes and promotes the production of glutathione; and tumeric, which in turn, boosts detoxing enzymes in the liver.
Additionally, you can and should scour the labels of your food for the words: NO NITRATES. That way, you can have your bacon, and eat it too!
- S C Larsson, A Wolk, Red and processed meat consumption and risk of pancreatic cancer: meta-analysis of prospective studies, British Journal of Cancer (2012) 106, 603–607. doi:10.1038/bjc.2011.585 www.bjcancer.com, Published online 12 January 2012