Heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease are leading causes of death in America, but did you know that they are all caused by chronic, low-grade inflammation? Conventional drug therapies for these conditions have dangerous and lifelong side effects, yet they fail to address the origin of illness.
In her ground-breaking new book, Prevent Cancer, Strokes, Heart Attacks & Other Deadly Killers, Dr. Vijaya Nair takes a unique but effective approach to treating some of America’s most deadly diseases. Divided into two parts, the book first explains how chronic inflammation is the hidden cause behind many diseases, including cancer, blindness, Alzheimer’s disease, and more. Part two details Dr. Nair’s top seven anti-inflammatory and antioxidant supplements, including soy, curcumin, and green tea, which can prevent as well as combat disease. Finally, the author emphasizes the benefits of a healthy diet, exercise, and plenty of sleep in order to enjoy a better quality of life.
Good health is within reach. With Prevent Cancer, Strokes, Heart Attacks & Other Deadly Killers, you’ll find out how simple lifestyle changes can help you live disease free.
1. The Ravages of Inflammation,
What is inflammation?
Enemy #1: NF-kB
What triggers chronic inflammation?
How inflammation causes cancer
How inflammation destroys your joints
How inflammation damages your heart
How inflammation affects your digestive tract
How inflammation robs you of your eyesight
How inflammation hurts your brain
How inflammation reduces your energy
2. The Importance of Antioxidants,
What are antioxidants?
How oxidation contributes to disease
The connection between inflammation and oxidation
3. My Top Seven Natural Anti-Inflammatory &
1. Cultured Soy and Cancer
The importance of culturing
Whole soy vs. isolated soy phyto-nutrients
My interest in cultured soy
What cultured soy research says
2. Curcumin and arthritis
What curcumin research says
3. Resveratrol and cardiovascular disease
What research on resveratrol says
4. Ginger and digestive health
What the research reveals about ginger
5. Lutein and macular degeneration
What the research says about Lutein
6. Ashwaghanda and Alzheimer’s disease
What ashwaghanda research reveals
7. Green tea and energy
What the research says about green tea
4. Why I Prefer Formulas over Single Ingredients,
East vs. West
The value of herbal formulas
5. How Natural Ingredients Complement
6. Living Inflammation-Free,
Get regular massages
Give yourself the gift of sleep
Detoxify your home
Detoxify your body
Change your mind
About the Author,
“Happiness lies, first of all, in health.”
-George William Curtis (American writer, 1824-1892)
If you’re like me, you’re keenly interested in preserving or regaining your health, yet you reserve a healthy dose of skepticism about anything promoted as a “miracle cure.” I’ll be the first to acknowledge that many of the natural supplements available today have big claims but little scientific backing. Too often, when you dig a little deeper you’ll find these claims are either distortions of the truth or downright fabrications. So for much of my life I, like many people, disregarded herbal therapies as a valid possibility for the prevention and treatment of serious diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer’s. When you look at my background you may understand why.
Although I was born in Singapore, an island nation in Southeast Asia, my academic studies were similar to that of any Western doctor. I was initially trained as a psychiatrist (a medical doctor who specializes in mental health) in my home country. I later moved to the United States and completed my post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School and at Columbia University. I then taught epidemiology (the study of identifying risk factors for disease) at Columbia. If I was going to be convinced of the validity of herbal therapies I had to see factual evidence! However, my unquestioning support of Western medicine started to crack while I was doing research at Columbia. In all the studies I was coming across and helping to direct, one thing was striking — conventional treatments for chronic illnesses had shocking and often painful side effects. For example, standard cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation not only made people sick to their stomachs, bone-achingly tired, and skinny as a rail, but sometimes the side effects were so severe they actually killed the patient! Sadly, many patients were not even told what the risks of these drugs were or how they were going to affect them before starting treatment. Worse yet, these treatments weren’t even helping us win the war against cancer. Despite $200 billion dollars invested in conventional cancer treatments since 1970, as of 2002, Western medicine hadn’t made a dent in the rate of cancer deaths.1 In fact, the U.S. death rate from cancer remained unchanged from 1950 to 2002.2 So what we had were highly toxic treatments that were not actually saving people’s lives. I started to wonder if there was a better way.
I didn’t have to wait long to get my answer. While at Columbia I came upon some promising research on a botanical therapy called cultured soy, showing it held great promise for people with terminal cancers and chronic infections (You’ll read more about cultured soy in Chapter Three). I read through all of the studies with great interest. Then, I interviewed some of the scientists who conducted the research to find out more about their methodologies and results. Subsequently I had a whole team at Columbia—general practitioners, oncologists (doctors who specialize in cancer), and biostatisticians (people who apply statistics to biology)—review the data. We were convinced the therapy had potential. That’s when I started to get excited. If there was something safe and natural that could improve the quality of life for people undergoing very challenging conventional medicines for very difficult chronic illnesses, then it needed to be investigated seriously.
Something inside me knew this was my calling. For six years I collaborated with various research centers across the globe and worked one on one with cancer patients to study the effects of cultured soy. The results were nothing short of amazing. In fact, the case reports I compiled won recognition from the Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (OCCAM) at the National Cancer Institute. As this book goes to press, a human clinical study is being conducted at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center on using cultured soy to treat the complications of cancer. While I was busy studying cultured soy, another researcher, Dr. Bharat B. Aggarwal, was doing groundbreaking work with curcumin, a constituent of the herb turmeric. Dr. Aggarwal was arriving at similar conclusions about curcumin’s ability to fight chronic disease that the Columbia team had realized about cultured soy. Of course, we weren’t the only ones studying botanical therapies for disease prevention and treatment. Other researchers were publishing equally exciting studies on herbal ingredients such as resveratrol, ginger, lutein, ashwaghanda, and green tea. What I learned through reviewing all the research being published was that successful botanical therapies for preventing and treating chronic diseases have one thing in common: They all fight inflammation. Inflammation is your immune system’s way of protecting you from physical trauma or foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria. It’s supposed to be a short and powerful response. But sometimes the body doesn’t turn off the inflammation switch and it ends up destroying the very tissues and organs it was meant to protect. We tend to think of inflammation as synonymous with arthritis. However, inflammation can strike anywhere in your body. It’s a major contributor to heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and many more life-threatening conditions. Control inflammation and you control disease.
Pouring over those scientific studies, I had an “aha!” moment. I realized this information was too valuable to sit in complicated medical journals, unread by the lay reader. It was at that moment that I decided to devote my life to educating people about nature’s most powerful anti-inflammatory remedies. A few years later, I got to experience the healing power of natural remedies first-hand. In 2004, I started experiencing heavy bleeding. The bleeding was so severe that I had to have a blood transfusion. It turned out I had uterine fibroids—a benign type of tumor that grows in the wall of the uterus. The doctors recommended I get a hysterectomy, which involves the removal of the uterus. But I resisted. I was working with cultured soy at the time and decided to see if taking it, along with some other herbs, would help me. Remarkably, the bleeding stopped and my energy was restored. For almost a year, I was well. Then the bleeding returned. Again, it was recommended that I get a hysterectomy. Again, I decided against surgery, but this time I realized my body was trying to tell me something; I wasn’t taking care of myself. At the time I had a very rigorous schedule. I was working as a researcher. I was traveling back and forth to Asia frequently. I was leading seminars in New York City to hundreds of people every week. And I was going through a divorce. It was too much. I had to stop everything and rest. This time, instead of just taking a few herbs I created an entire wellness program for myself.
First, I underwent a very minor, non-invasive radiological technique to cauterize my uterine arteries instead of the major surgery that was being recommended. Then, based on the fact that my uterus was severely inflamed, I began taking both cultured soy and curcumin together. I also started meditating, got massages and went to therapy to see what in my life was no longer working. Soon, the fibroids began to shrink. In fact, after awhile they shrank 70 percent. Today, my uterus is healthy again.
I know from personal experience that it is possible to create natural, vibrant health using the techniques laid out in this book. If after reading it, just one person finds relief from their suffering or learns how to prevent some of the most debilitating diseases we face today, then I will consider myself successful.
May you enjoy a long and healthy life, free of suffering and disease.
Dr. Vijaya Nair