Cancer seems to hit suddenly yet it has usually been developing in the victim’s body for many years. There could be some cancer lurking away in the hidden parts of most of our bodies. Some of us could be facing a cancer diagnosis in the near future. It is very frightening but is there anything we can do?
Most of the publicity about cancer is focused on cures. Some of the information discusses risk factors but this latter information is usually fairly difficult to interpret. We know, for example that smoking greatly increases the risk of lung cancer. But we also know of people who smoked all their lives without developing lung cancer. Leaving aside the negatives, let’s look at folic acid, a nutrient that seems to be universally good for our health.
Folic Acid turns up again and again as one of the “good guys”. However it works in cooperation with Vitamin B12 so both need to be consumed simultaneously. Folic acid supplementation prevents birth defects known as neural tube defects. It also reduces birth defects in women taking antiepileptic drugs, which themselves cause folate deficiency. It also lowers blood homocysteine, a risk factor for heart disease.
As a geneticist I often studied cells grown in culture with low folic acid. It is well known that deficiencies of folic acid are associated with breaks in chromosomes and that giving extra folic acid corrects the problem. Since a break is usually the first event in the evolution of a cancer cell, it is critical to minimize breaks. The initial genetic damage is often caused by other toxic agents but the folic acid plays a critical role in the repair of this damage.
Intervention studies show that cellular measures of chromosome damage are minimized when people take more than 200 – 400 μg folic acid and more than 2 μg vitamin B12 each day. Controlled studies suggest that intakes of 700 μg folic acid and 7 μg B12 are appropriate intakes for young adults. It is expected but not yet proven that high folate and B12 consumption will protect against all cancers. Thus far there are studies that prove that taking a supplement with folic acid protects against colon cancer. There is also evidence that high folate counteracts the effects of drinking alcohol, which otherwise increases the risk of breast cancer in women.
Wheat grass juice is a fantastic health supplement and is an incredibly rich source of folic acid. One 100 gm shot will give you 1,110 μg folic acid and at the same time supply you with most of the other B group vitamins, Vitamin A, C and E as well as the minerals you need. Unlike most vegetables, it also contains Vitamin B12 although 0.8 μg, not as high as the concentrations advocated by the studies. So whilst you can use Wheatgrass to really top up on your vitamins, minerals and folic acid, you will need some extra B12 to reach the levels recommended by the invention studies. If you want to get this from food, the highest food sources of B12 are shellfish and crustaceans. Fish are quite a rich source but have far less than the other sea-foods. Dairy and eggs have similar amounts to wheatgrass itself so a combination of wheatgrass with an egg and a piece of cheese or glass of milk will give sufficient intake. For strict vegetarians, it is wise to supplement.
Although there are other steps that are important in cancer prevention, a daily shot of wheatgrass will put you well ahead in your optimal health program.