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Another Step Toward Curing Cancer

This week a realistic cure for cancer was presented by Thomas Graeber of UCLA (Molecular Systems Biology, June 26, 2012). His team showed that depriving cancer cells of the sugar, glucose, kills them by causing the cancer cells to accumulate Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). As ROS accumulate in cells, they damage the large molecules in cells, such as DNA and RNA, and cause apoptosis, the programmable death of cells. This specifically kills cancer cells without harming normal cells. To understand the importance of this breakthrough research, please re-read my reports from January 2012:

Blocking Glycolysis May Cure Cancer
A Cure for Cancer? Part II

WHY EXISTING TREATMENTS FOR CANCER ARE NOT EFFECTIVE: Chemotherapy and radiation are not effective treatments for cancer because they kill all cells, not just cancer cells. You cannot get a high enough dose to kill all of the cancer cells without killing too many normal cells. A cure for cancer will come from developing a "magic bullet" that will kill cancer cells and spare normal ones.

WHAT IS THE BREAKTHROUGH? The researchers at UCLA showed that removing the sugar glucose, from cancer cells causes huge amounts of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) to accumulate in cancer cells. Certain chemicals called tyrosine phosphatases prevent ROS from accumulating in cells. Blocking tyrosine phosphatases stops cancer cells from being able to remove ROS and causes even higher levels of ROS to accumulate in these cells. These very high levels of ROS revive apoptosis in the cancer cells and the cancer cells die as normal cells do. THEREFORE CANCER CAN BE CURED BY:

The next step in curing cancer is to develop drugs that prevent glucose from entering cancer calls, and block tyrosine phosphatases from removing ROS, so that ROS can kill the cancer cells. This treatment will provide the magic bullet that will kill cancer cells and spare normal ones. Scientists are getting very close to a cure for cancer. For a more complete report on this exciting research, see:

Breakthrough Research on a Cure for Cancer


Reports from

What is lactic acid?

Dairy products

Chronic sinusitis


Second-hand Smoke Associated with Lung Damage (COPD) and Early Death

People who did not smoke themselves, but lived with, or worked with, smokers were far more likely to die from heart attacks, strokes, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and the more their partners smoked, the more likely they were to develop these diseases (CHEST, published online May 2012).

Passive smoke also increases risk for diabetes and obesity (The Endocrine Society's 94th Annual Meeting in Houston, June 24, 2012).


Athletes Compete Better on Cold Drinks

Almost all studies on the subject show that athletes prefer cold (32 -50F) or cool (50-70F) drinks to warmer ones (International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, June 2012;22(3):199-211). When given a choice, athletes will drink approximately 50 percent more cold/cool beverages than warmer ones during exercise. Those who drink cool liquids during exercise retain 1.3 percent more body weight of fluid than warm fluid drinkers, race faster and have greater endurance.


Both Caffeine and Bicarbonate Help Athletes Race Faster

Taking caffeine or bicarbonate improves time trial performance for bicycle racers. However taking both together does not improve race times more than either agent taken alone (International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, June 2012; 22(3):175-83). Caffeine increases sugar absorption from the gut by as much as 26 percent. Athletes move faster when their muscles use sugar for fuel than when they use fat. Bicarbonate neutralizes the acidity caused by a buildup of lactic acid to help clear lactic acid faster from the bloodstream. See:

Why Three out of Four Athletes Take Caffeine Before Competition
Caffeine Increases Endurance
Caffeine During Competition
Caffeine Boosts Hot Weather Performance


Intense Exercise Can Lower High Blood Pressure

Why do so many different studies show that exercise fails to lower high blood pressure? A study from Ipswich, UK shows that you have to exercise intensely to lower high blood pressure (Journal of Sports Sciences, June 2012).

Eleven men performed isometric strength training for both legs for four weeks. The authors measured blood levels of lactic acid to determine how intensely each person exercised. The men who had to exercise with greater intensity to reach certain lactic acid blood levels had the greatest drop in blood pressures. That means that the more intensely you exercise, the greater the drop in high blood pressure.

The limiting factor to how intensely you can exercise is the time it takes to move oxygen into your muscles. When you exercise so intensely that you exceed your needs for oxygen, chemical reactions that provide energy for your muscles decrease, lactic acid starts to accumulate in your muscles and spills over into your bloodstream. You become short of breath trying to bring in more oxygen to your muscles, the acidity causes your muscles to burn, and you have to slow down. The harder and more intensely you exercise, the greater you exceed your needs for oxygen and the more your muscles burn and you become short of breath.


Do Runners Run and Cyclists Ride Faster on Special Foods or Drinks?

Exercisers spend more than 7.5 billion dollars a year on sports drinks and sports foods because they think that they will help them exercise, train and compete better, faster and longer. Yet, this month, studies show that runners taking raisins ran as fast and as long as those who took a commercial candy called Sports Chews (Journal of Sports Sciences, June 2012;9(1):27), and that cyclists rode 24 miles just as fast when they ate bananas and drank water as when they took a commercial sugared sports drink (PLOS ONE, May 17, 2012).

Here are my recommendations for taking food and drink during intense exercise or competition:

- LASTING LESS THAN AN HOUR -- fit athletes do not need to take any food or drink, except they may need water in warm weather.

- LASTING MORE THAN AN HOUR -- Take sugared drinks just before you begin and frequently during intense exercise.

- LASTING MORE THAN THREE HOURS -- Take sugared drinks before you begin and frequently during intense exercise. Eat the food of your choice (fruit or sugar- added foods such as whole grain bars, etc.), plus a source of salt. We use potato chips or peanuts. You cannot get enough salt in a drink because it would taste awful.

- LASTING MORE THAN FIVE HOURS -- You need water, sugar, salt, and protein. Up to ten percent of the energy to power your muscles during exercise is supplied by protein stored in muscles. However, you do not lose enough muscle to harm performance during exercise until you have been exercising for more than five or six hours, so you do not need to take a protein food to improve performance during exercise until you have been exercising for about five hours. Protein sources include whole grain bars, nuts, meat, fish, chicken, or dairy products.

I eat whole grain bars that contain a lot of sugar and some protein just before, and sometimes during, all races lasting more than an hour.

WHY YOU NEED SUGAR DURING INTENSE OR PROLONGED EXERCISE. How fast you can move is limited by the time it takes to bring oxygen into muscles. Since sugar requires less oxygen than fat or protein, you move faster when muscles use sugar for energy. You have an almost infinite amount of fat for your muscles to burn for energy, but a very limited amount of sugar stored in your muscles and liver. Top athletes start to run low on sugar after an hour of intense exercise. You may start to run out of sugar before then. The only signal you will get when you start to run out of sugar is that you will slow down and have to work harder to go slower because burning mostly fat for energy will increase your oxygen requirements. Also, your muscles may start to hurt, and you may start to feel very tired.

WHY YOU NEED SALT. Even on the coldest days, you sweat when you exercise and as you keep on exercising, you will eventually run low on salt. The first sign may be slowing down as lack of salt weakens muscles. You may also suffer muscle cramps.


Recipe of the Week:

Mexican Shrimp Salad

You'll find lots of recipes and helpful tips in The Good Food Book
- it's FREE


July 1st, 2012
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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