Jenny Thompson of healthiernews.com again provides its readers with health news that is not generally found (easily) in the MSM or on the Internet…unless you subscribe to Jenny’s newsletter at HSI Balitmore.
Please read this important article (yes, I say “important” a lot as it relates to health pieces like this one) and pass it along to someone you know. 15,000 women die each year from a disease that if caught early is 90% curable.
Your phone rings. It’s your doctor. He’s got your test results. Before he says another word your body tenses, bracing for the diagnosis.
When the diagnosis is cancer, the way your body reacts to the resulting stress may actually energize the cancer’s growth. But researchers believe a common botanical may curb the stressful reaction and help put the breaks on further development of the cancer.
Two steps up
We’ve already seen evidence that ginkgo biloba extract may help women lower their risk of developing ovarian cancer.
In a previous e-Alert I told you about a Harvard study that examined herbal usage among 1,200 female subjects, half of whom were ovarian cancer patients. Researchers found that women who used ginkgo were much more likely to be in the healthy group. In fact, it appeared that when ginkgo was used for six months or longer, ovarian cancer risk was cut by as much as 60 percent.
The Harvard team backed up this research with a lab study in which results showed that a small amount of ginkgolide (the biologically active component of ginkgo biloba) stopped the growth of ovarian cancer cells.
That research is followed up with a Georgetown University study that indicates the Harvard results were on the right track. And even more promising: The Georgetown results suggest that ginkgo may help keep localized cancers from becoming invasive.
Keeping a lid on it
Forget all the negative reports you’ve recently heard concerning steroid use in baseball. Steroids produced naturally in the body are regulatory hormones that a cell needs for proper growth. For two decades, Georgetown researchers have been studying a molecule known as PBR – a protein molecule that plays an important role in drawing cholesterol into a cell where it’s used to produce steroids.
The Georgetown research reveals that PBR is over-expressed by some highly invasive cancers, including certain brain cancers, breast, colon, and prostate cancers. PBR over-expression is also linked to some neurological disorders, so Dr. Vassilios Papadopoulos (vice president of the Georgetown University Medical Center) designed a test to examine the effects of ginkgo on PBR production.
Dr. Papadopoulos’ team took breast cancer cells that over-expressed PBR and implanted them in mice. After a 30-day treatment with ginkgo extract, tumor size was reduced by 35 percent compared to mice that didn’t receive ginkgo.
In a more recent lab study from the Georgetown team, ginkgo extract significantly slowed the growth of aggressive cancer cells.
Dr. Papadopoulos plans further research to test his theory that a cancer diagnosis might boost the production of stress steroids through PBR over-production. He believes such stress may prompt a tumor to become invasive, and adds, “Ginkgo biloba could possibly reduce this stress by tamping down PBR.”
Most HSI members are probably aware that ginkgo biloba is well known as a potential memory enhancer and an aid for cognitive function that might even be effective in treating the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
If you’re thinking of supplementing with ginkgo, keep in mind that many alternative practitioners believe the recommended daily dosage of 120 mg is too low, and that the dosage should be 240 mg or more per day. The optimal dosage for any individual should be determined by weighing other health factors, other supplements or drugs being used, and only after consulting a doctor or medical professional.
Also note that ginkgo may prompt gastrointestinal bleeding. Apparently this bleeding is slight, and usually happens when ginkgo is taken with other agents that are also known to prompt such bleeding, like aspirin or the anticoagulant drug warfarin. So for most people, bleeding shouldn’t be a problem. However, there are other side effects linked to ginkgo usage, including headaches and skin irritations.
The culprit in these cases is ginkgolic acid, a toxic compound. It’s generally accepted that five ppm (parts per million) is a safe maximum level for this acid. But some supplement manufacturers don’t list ginkgolic acid on their labels, so be sure to read content labels carefully. If ginkgolic acid ppm isn’t listed, choose another ginkgo product.
Talk to your doctor or a health care professional before supplementing with ginkgo biloba.