Vitamins for Brain Cancer
Senator Edward Kennedy, columnist Robert Novak, and cookbook author Sheila Lukins all succumbed to brain cancer. Malignant brain tumors occur slightly more in men than women, with a rate of 4.5 cases in 100,000 people.
Tumors can be detected at any age, but they most often occur between age 2 to 12 and 40 to 60. In recent years, vitamins have been examined as a preventative measure and as an unproven alternative treatment of the life-threatening disease.
Brain cancer is often misdiagnosed as its initial symptoms are usually insidious. As the central nervous system is invaded, tissue is destroyed affecting thought processes and motor function. Although there are a few risk factors, no definitive cause of brain cancer has thus far been found. Traditional treatment options include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
Vitamin C may be useful as a preventative measure of brain tumors. Evidence indicated that early childhood brain cancer may be linked to the mother’s diet. Women who ate two to three servings daily of vitamin C rich fruits, fruit juices and vegetables, were not as likely to give birth to children who developed early childhood brain tumors.
Bad enzymes called kinases, which help cancer cells grow and reproduce, are killed off by good enzymes called phosphotases. Vitamin D may help activate the phosphotases, thus helping to stop the growth of the tumors. Foods that are rich in vitamin D include herring, sardines, salmon and eggs.
Niacin is a B-Complex vitamin which may help deter the cancer promoting genes from sending signals. It also assists in depleting an amino acid called glycine, which is needed by cancer cells to synthesize DNA. Chicken breasts, tuna, veal, and fortified breads and cereals contain niacin.
Choline is another B-Complex vitamin shown to be beneficial to brain cancer patients. It helps the liver metabolize niacin as well as fighting the fatigue which is often a side effect of the cancer.
Yet another B vitamin, pantothenic acid has been used to help patients gain weight and reduce cancer growth. Foods rich in the vitamin are whole grains, mushrooms, salmon and peanuts.