Epigenetics And Cancer Prevention

Eat, Drink and Be Merry?

 Cancer results from an exceedingly complex set of biochemical responses when the body is exposed to multiple toxins over a long period of time. The popular, conventional description of how cancer develops assigns causation primarily to mutations (one type of aberrant gene expression) and a very vague association with environmental toxin exposure. This view, although generally accepted and perpetuated in both the popular and scholarly press, is quite the opposite of the sequence of events that leads to the formation of a malignant tumor or leukemia.

The simple truth that cancer results from an altered cellular metabolism (anaerobic) that is a direct consequence of the toxic biochemical environment in which the cells live is largely ignored leaving the general impression that we are all helpless victims who may have inherited “defective genes” that directly produce cancer or that we have a “predisposition” to develop cancer, whatever that means.

The corollary to that simple truth is that our bodies are like gardens that need to be tended and cared for according to very specific natural laws such that they yield the crops we desire and do not yield weeds or other unwanted growths. It is a simple matter of ensuring that there is adequate irrigation and drainage as well as appropriate fertilizers and careful observance of the cycles that affect growing, such as the seasons and diurnal cycles (day and night).

    Seasonal Fasting Helps Contribute To Homeostasis

    This all translates into eating fresh, organic and unprocessed/unheated whole foods in small proportions, using enemas or colonics, sleeping early, keeping active and avoiding all unnatural habits. Additionally, seasonal fasting contributes an additional harmonic to this balancing dance that we have with our true home, nature.

    Also ignored, yet a scientific certainty is the fact that the metabolic changes (anaerobic default) associated with a toxic cellular environment serve as a signal or catalyst by which the DNA of the cell expresses different genes or actually mutates in order to support the metabolic needs of the cell. Cancer is a corrective measure that the body engages in to survive a chronic, toxic assault.

    The ability of cells to continually produce the necessary proteins to both function and reproduce themselves requires a specific set of genes or ‘blueprints’. Hence, the genes (DNA) of the organism determine the range of possibilities that are available to that organism in order to adapt to its environment. The term genetics, then refers to the specific set of genes in an organism and their sequence.

    Cells are able to carry out their functions depending upon three distinct elements common to all enterprises. For example, if you wanted to build a house, you would need three things: blueprint (plan), materials, and someone to do the work. Cells already have a blueprint (DNA) but they must derive the necessary materials and energy (to do the work) from their immediate environment.

    What Is Epigenetics?

    There are many prepositions to describe the prefix, “epi” such as ‘around’, ‘upon’, ‘near’, etc. So, epigenetics refers to the environment around the cell, which the cell depends upon for raw materials to build and the energy to carry out its’ functions.

    The external environment of the cells, called the extracellular matrix (ECM) or interstitial fluid, supplies cells with the materials required to carry out its activities. This extracellular environment (milieu) also defines for the cells how they must respond, much like a snowstorm defines for us how we must respond vs. a flood or a sunny day.

    This milieu, then determines which genes need to be activated (turned on) and which do not (turned off or remain dormant) for adaptation and survival.

    In the field of genetics, epigenetics has come to refer to anything in the environment other than the DNA sequence that influences the functioning of a cell. Clearly, if the appropriate materials are not present, the cell will utilize whatever it can out of necessity and burn whatever fuel that is present to produce energy.

    What we see as the outcome of cells not having the materials and energy sources that they were designed to use is what is known as “disease” and one of the final pathways with altered or unnatural epigenetics is “cancer”. It has been unequivocally determined that genes can be turned ‘on’ or ‘off’
    (gene expression) depending upon the epigenetics.

    Chronic Toxicity Leads To Degenerative Diseases Such As Cancer

    This makes sense since the cell is always adapting to its environment and in fact, it is the environment that determines the activity of the cell. For example, if toxins overwhelm the cell, it must use all of its energy and resources to defend itself instead of carrying out its normal functional activities. So, a kidney cell so affected would be too busy defending and cleaning that it would not be able to engage in normal operational activities, hence kidney function would decline. Chronic toxicity is the path leading to degenerative “diseases”, of which cancer is the most dreaded.

    Not only is gene expression determined by epigenetics but, additionally genes can be irreversibly damaged or changed (somatic mutation) by the cells’ epigenetics.

    Epigenetics has been found to be mediated by two major biochemical processes, and although it is not necessary to understand them, it is important to realize that science has uncovered the actual mechanisms of epigenetics: cytosine methylation and the post-translational modification of histone tails. In fact, these changes have become known as the “epigenetic switch” whereby healthy cells become cancerous, dispelling the notion that cancer is caused by mutations or is genetic.

    The metabolic changes that initiate this whole cascade of events resulting in cancer development are known as the Warburg effect and alterations of mitochondrial function. Mitochondria are the little organelles inside cells that efficiently “burn” glucose in the presence of oxygen to yield 36 ATP (energy “packages”) for every molecule of glucose.

    Mitochondrial Dysfunction Is The Foundation Of Cancer

    Because of the presence of oxygen, these organelles are the most vulnerable to injury because oxygen is not only flammable outside of the body, but is “biochemically” flammable within cells. Hence, mitochondria are not able to repair or reproduce themselves quickly enough and the cell accumulates a large number of dysfunctional mitochondria.

    Lacking functional mitochondria then is the foundation of cancer development. “Burning” glucose without oxygen is called fermentation (or glycolysis) and is very inefficient yielding only 2 ATP for each molecule of glucose. In order to maintain enough energy, cancer cells must consume 19 times more glucose than non-cancerous cells accounting for cancer’s “sweet tooth”. Once these changes take place, a major consequence is an altered “redox” state (free-radicals accumulate), which down stream can account for most of the destruction and proliferation of cancer cells.

    What are known as “oncogenes” (“cancer producing genes”) are genes that have been turned on to support the anaerobic metabolism that is the foundation of cancer (Warburg biochemistry). The metabolic changes determine gene expression, not the other way around.

    Cancer development (carcinogenesis) is classically divided into three phases: initiation (irreversible mutation), promotion (underlying biochemistry to support cancer growth) and progression (additional mutations and spread to other organs) Each of these steps is now clearly understood to be the consequence of epigenetics.

    Cellular Metabolism Is Regulated By Epigenetics

    In summary, epigenetics regulates cellular metabolism, determines how cells will respond by either turning genes on or off, functions as the pivitol role in cancer development and even signals cellular death, or apoptosis.

    Just a reminder….epigenetics is everything from what you eat, drink, dream, fear and don’t eliminate to how you treat loved ones and strangers. All of that contributes to our biochemistry, our epigenome.

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