Ask Dr Andre

Dr Andre Snell-Young trained at Guys Hospital and has steadily developed a strong interest in an ’Holistic approach’ to tackling illness and particularly cancer. His team practice Integrative Medicine at the Vision of Hope Clinic in Brighton. You can contact him direct on 01273 232 779, or email us at [email protected].

Q I am confused about carrot juice.  I understand that sugar feeds cancer cells and I now carrots are full of sugar.  I would appreciate your help so much.  Thank you.

A Interestingly, I have recently returned from a large 3- day conference on intravenous Vitamin C in Kansas, America. One of the subjects that came up was "WHAT SHOULD CANCER PATIENTS EAT ?" Now I know there is a huge amount about this on the CANCERactive web site but carrots, you’ll be pleased to know, came up in Kansas for discussion. Recent research has dismissed the idea of raw carrots being sugary. It all comes down to the fibre content and the rate at which the complex carbohydrates are released and in what form. There is a big difference between raw carrots and cooked carrots. In fact, raw carrots have a GI (Glycemic Index ) of 16 which is very low indeed, (Glycemic Index is a measure of the effect on blood sugar levels a certain food has) and also a very low Glycemic load (the total amount of carbohydrate in the food).

My nutritionist and I are now telling our patients to juice carrots along with their standard green vegetables. But this only applies to RAW carrots, not cooked!

Also DO NOT BUY ready-made carrot juice as that tends to contain preservative and be concentrated in sugars. Concentrate on making your own fresh juice by using ORGANIC raw carrots, for example with green organic raw vegetables.

Q  I was very interested to read the article in the Summer edition of icon on ’Indole 3 carbinol, the safer , natural tamoxifen?’ Tamoxifen has been recommended to me to take for 5 years.  I am concerned about taking it and would prefer an alternative.  However in the article it said that a genetic mutation in women could prevent 13C action. Please would you advise how I can find out if I have or have not got this genetic mutation?

A Indole 3 carbinol is very useful in breast cancer as Chris pointed out in the recent article you mention. It works in a number of ways, one of which is by encouraging the metabolism of oestradiol to its non-toxic metabolite 2 hydroxy-estradiol (2OHE) as opposed to the cancer-growing metabolite 16 hydroxy-estradiol (16 OHE).Unlike tamoxifen this effect is beneficial whether the breast cancer is oestrogen positive or not.The study you mention found no effect for I3C in just a small group of patients: in fact, a small minority of African American patients.

This no-efficacy was not seen in any other races. Further testing showed that the specific gene defect was for the cytochrome p450 CYP1A1 enzyme. This enzyme converts the oestradiol to the "good" 2OHE; so a non-working enzyme will lead to the oestradiol being converted in greater amounts to the "bad" 16 OHE .

It was further found that the CYP1A1 gene that encodes the production of the cytochrome p450 has polymorphic tendencies (meaning that it can have many forms).The only form that produces the non-functioning enzyme is called the Msp1 form. All other forms of the gene produce a normal enzyme that works well with the I3C.

This Msp1 form was found in 4.2% of non-breast cancer African American ladies and 16% of African American women with breast cancer. It was not found in any other races with or without breast cancer. Now, it is important to note that Afro Caribbean ladies without the Msp1 form can still develop breast cancer and likewise Afro Caribbean ladies with the Msp1 form may not get breast cancer but the study showed that Afro Caribbean ladies with the gene are 8 times more likely to develop breast cancer.

So if you are Afro Caribbean, before taking the I3C it would be an idea to have yourself genetically tested to see which form of the CYP1A1 gene you have. One way to do this is to contact your GP or the consultant who suggested the tamoxifen; the same hospital should do the gene test.

Q  I was diagnosed as having endometrial cancer in Sept ’09 having been off Tamoxifen for a year (after 5 years following breast cancer). I have had a hysterectomy but now face four sessions of chemo (Carboplatin) followed by radiotherapy (5 days a week for 4 weeks).
I follow your advice on diet but would be grateful for your views on supplementing with fucoidan (which I have been taking for the past 2 months) during chemo.
One other question, I read in the summer 2009 issue of icon that half a teaspoonful of ginger helps prevent nausea.  Is that powdered ginger or fresh root ginger?  I certainly would like to try ginger rather than the anti-nausea tablets that I’m told I’ll be give with the chemo.

A Fucoidan is a very interesting natural compound with a lot of excellent new research behind it I believe Chris plans to include it in the next magazine. Supplementing with Fucoidan is a good idea as its immune-boosting properties will certainly be of benefit during the chemo and also the radiotherapy as well. At the clinic, we recommend patients take Biobran during chemo and radiotherapy for the same reason .In fact there are a number of natural compounds (like astragalus, omega-3 and others) which have been shown in research to enhance the effect of certain drugs and radiotherapy.

With regards to ginger I have just spoken to my nutritionist about your case, and she recommends making ginger tea by grating a teaspoon of unpeeled ginger ROOT into a mug of hot water; you can use powdered ginger but this contains less of the active GINGEROL than the fresh root ginger. You then leave it for 5 to 10 minutes before drinking .You can do this several times a day.

With your history of endometrial cancer and breast cancer there is certainly an issue of too much oestrogen in your body you might consider natural progesterone cream, Indole 3 carbinol and melatonin supplements to counteract this. Other ways of reducing oestrogen naturally involve diet, avoidance of toxic chemicals in personal care products, and pesticides. CANCERactive have a book on this called ’Oestrogen the Killer in our midst’

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