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Boost your Immune System

By D. Barry Boyd, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine (Medical Oncology).

As the late Burton Goldberg (Cancer Coach and Author) wrote:
“When your immune system is functioning properly it can stop cancer in its tracks by identifying and eliminating cancer cells before they can spread and form tumors...The primary “soldiers” that comprise your immune system are natural killer cells, macrophages and cancer cell-killing T cells, all of which are actively involved in targeting and eliminating cancer cells.

Should cancer strike, these same immune system components can mount an effective attack against tumors and any cancer cells that have spread from the original or primary tumor, especially in the early stages of cancer. That’s why ensuring proper immune function is so essential if cancer is to effectively be treated and reversed.”

“Although immunity may have a limited effect in the progression of established cancers…it still remains an extremely important component in the care of the cancer patient because of the high risk of secondary infections both during treatment and after therapy care.”

Immunity and cancer survival

This 2019 study by Yuexin Liu, Department of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA, looked at the effect pre-existing immune conditions had on cancer. A total of 10,062 PanCanAtlas tumor samples had both gene expression and survival data, covering 32 different cancer types.

The results showed that in the majority of human cancers, higher immune response was significantly associated with better Overall Survival, Progression Free Interval, or both, which was in agreement with previous reports that pre-existing immunity is probably necessary for most treatment response. The study also demonstrated that in some cancer types higher immune response is significantly associated with worse outcome.

In particular, higher immune responses were significantly correlated with longer Overall Survival in 7 cancer types (breast invasive carcinoma, cervical squamous cell carcinoma and  endocervical adenocarcinoma , head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, lung adenocarcinoma, sarcoma, skin cutaneous melanoma, and uterine corpus endometrial carcinoma). However, the opposite was the case for kidney chromophobe, low-grade glioma, thymoma (thymus), and Uveal Melanoma (eye cancer).

Data for patients with acute myeloid leukemia were excluded from the study because of a lack of clinical information.

Conclusions: Immune responses have different impacts on patient outcome in different human cancers. 

This 2022 study found that a high immune response in triple negative breast cancer is associated with better survival. However, survival was negatively correlated with immune activity in ER-positive/HER2-negative breast cancer. 

Source: National Cancer Institute
A large international study suggests that the presence of certain immune cells in the tumors of some patients with ovarian cancer are associated with improved survival.

For the analysis, researchers with the Ovarian Tumor Tissue Analysis Consortium counted immune system cells called cytotoxic CD8-positive tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in the tumors of more than 5,500 patients. They then compared the results with information on how long these patients lived.

The strongest link between the number of TILs and overall survival was for patients with high-grade serous ovarian cancer, which is the most common and lethal histological type, or histotype, of the disease. For these patients, as the number of TILs in tumors increased there were corresponding improvements in survival.

“One of the messages of this study is that the more immune cells you have in your tumor, the better,” said study coauthor Martin Koebel, M.D., of the University of Calgary, who was among the dozens of investigators from 70 institutions worldwide who conducted the research.

Ways to support your Immune System

Get Daily Physical Exercise
Exercise greatly improves the immune system.
It improves survival rates of some cancer patients by 50 per cent.

Radically Change Your Diet
Eat a high fibre, high bioactive foods diet, including: Porridge, Beans & Pulses, Fruit and vegetables.

Get Adequate Sleep
Get adequate uninterrupted sleep in a darkened, EMF-free room (no computer, Wi-Fi, ‘phone etc).

Practice Meditation
People who meditate have stronger immune systems.

Laugh more
People who laugh a lot have stronger immune systems.

Have Healthy Sex
People who have good sex lives have stronger immune systems.

Consume Probiotics
Sources include sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, kimchi, tempeh, miso, natto and kombucha. 

Use Essential Oils
Immune Boosting oils include: Tea tree oil, Frankincense (C02 extract), Eucalyptus Globulus.  Oils can be applied directly to the skin, inhaled, sprayed in a room or used in a diffuser to purify the air.

Practice Qigong
Qigong is an ancient Chinese health care system that integrates physical postures, breathing techniques and focused intention. It can reduce stress and enhance the immune system.

Maintain a healthy weight.
Obesity, like other states of malnutrition, is known to impair the immune function, altering leucocyte counts as well as cell-mediated immune responses, according to this study.
This study review says: The findings presented in this review highlight the significant impact that obesity and MetS [metabolic syndrome] have on the immune system. Obesity-induced disruptions affect the integrity of lymphoid tissues and the distribution of leukocyte subsets and phenotypes, and thus, in turn, the development of chronic diseases and immunity.

Prevent Infections

Harvard Medical School offer the following advice:

Avoid Stress
According to Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, stress turns on the fight or flight mechanisms, increasing the production of hormones that can raise blood sugar levels and suppress immune function.

Don’t Smoke
Chronic inhalation of cigarette smoke alters a wide range of immunological functions, including innate and adaptive immune responses. It has been speculated that many of the health consequences of chronic inhalation of cigarette smoke might be due to its adverse effects on the immune system, according to this study published in Nature journal.

Limit sugar intake
According to Biotics Research Corporation, man-made sweeteners like aspartame and HFCS [High Fructose Corn Syrup]can have serious deleterious effects on the immune system, especially on infants, and, as such, should be avoided. 

A study published in Am J Public Health found sugar-sweetened soda consumption shortened immune cell telomere length, which is a biological risk factor for aging and metabolic disease.

Cut down on alcohol
It can affect your immune system. If you drink every day, or almost every day, you might notice that you catch colds, flu or other illnesses more frequently than people who don’t drink. This is because alcohol can weaken the immune system and make the body more susceptible to infections, according to the prestigious Cleveland Clinic.

Avoid Trans Fats
Trans fats are commonly found in processed foods, fried foods, store-bought salad dressings, pie crusts, muffins, chips, baked goods and more.
Trans fats accelerate inflammation, an over-activity of the immune system that has been implicated in heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic conditions (Source: Gulf Coast Research Laboratory).

Beware all drugs
Many studies, including one published by Oxford Academic show that drugs (whether legal or not) such as Antibiotics, Proton-pump inhibitors, Opiates, Cocaine, Heroin etc may affect many important components of the complex immune system, either enhancing or occasionally suppressing the function of distinct immune response cells and the factors they produce.

Immune Boosting Vitamins and Supplements

AHCC (Active hexose correlated compound)
This mushroom extract has an ability to be helpful in supporting the body’s two basic types of immunity: innate and adaptive. This study says the available literature clearly suggests that AHCC is an immune-modulating compound, with consistent effects on NK cell activity when induced by either the presence of an active tumor or a viral infection.
Available in supplement form

Beta Glucans (mushrooms etc)
Beta glucans are sugars that are found in the cell walls of bacteria, fungi, yeasts, algae, lichens, and plants, such as oats and barley. Beta glucans are also used to boost the immune system.

Maitake D (MD)-Fraction

Maitake D (MD)-Fraction is a highly purified soluble β-glucan derived from Grifola frondosa (an oriental edible mushroom). 

This study says:
In summary, our results demonstrated that orally administered MD-Fraction inhibits tumor growth by (i) inducing the systemic tumor-antigen specific T cell response...Our preclinical study advocates the implementation of MD-Fraction as an oral therapeutic agent in the management of patients with cancer.

This study  says the effects of b-glucans are beneficial in chemo and radiotherapy induced immune suppression and depleted hematopiesis. bGlucan shows anticarcinogenic activity, prevent oncogenesis and prevent metastasis.

Breuss therapy
Breuss Therapy is a 42-day fast during which you drink an organic juice made of beetroot, carrot, celery root, raw potato and black radish. The Breuss Cancer Juice boosts your immune system to fight cancer naturally. At the same time you cut off the cancer’s food supply and effectively starve tumours through fasting

Carica Papaya
This study says: Carica papaya originated from Southern Mexico, Central America, and the northern part of South America. It is now cultivated in many tropical countries… C. papaya leaves have been used in folk medicine for centuries. Recent studies have shown its beneficial effect as an anti-inflammatory agent, for its wound healing properties, antitumour as well as immune-modulatory effects and as an antioxidant.

Coenzyme Q10
Studies suggest that CoQ10 may help the immune system work better. Partly because of this, CoQ10 is used as adjuvant therapy for cancer. Adjuvant therapy is treatment given following the primary treatment to lower the risk that the cancer will come back. It also seems to activate macrophages, the seek-and-destroy cells of the immune system.

Curcumin has been shown in the last two decades to be a potent immunomodulatory agent that can modulate the activation of T cells, B cells, macrophages, neutrophils, natural killer cells, and dendritic cells (study)

Dong quai (Angelica sinensis)
Traditional Chinese medicine uses dong quai root as an immune stimulant. A study reported in the 2006 issue of “Planta Medica” tested a formula containing dong quai and astragalus roots that was described in 13th century Chinese medical texts. The researchers found that this concoction increased the activity of T-lymphocytes and macrophages, key cells involved in the body’s immune response. 

Echinacea is a proven herb that helps boost the immune system. In cancer, it also seems to help during radiotherapy and chemotherapy and may even help with brain cancers, or brain tumours.

Essiac Tea
Laboratory analysis of Essiac shows that it has significant antioxidant and immunomodulatory properties. Essiac tea has shown the ability to strengthen the immune system.
Not recommended for brain cancer patients as it may induce swelling which could be life-threatening if it creates too much pressure in the cerebral cavity..

Japanese researchers at the Biomedical Research Laboratories have found that Fucoidan caused leukaemia, lymphoma, colorectal and stomach cancer cells to self-destruct. Fucoidan has also been found to have significant immune-boosting effects.

GcMAF is a is a human protein. It acts as a “director” of your immune system. But viruses and malignant cells like cancer send out an enzyme called Nagalase that prevents production of your GcMAF: that neutralises your immune system. So diseases become chronic, and cancer cells grow unchecked.

Ginger Extract
Ginger, a cousin spice of super anti-cancer substance turmeric, is known for its ability to shrink tumors. This study says: The health-promoting perspectives of ginger are well known. It can treat a wide range of diseases via immunonutrition and anti-inflammatory responses…the anticancer potential of ginger is well documented and its functional ingredients like gingerols, shogaol, and paradols are the valuable ingredients which can prevent various cancers, angiogenesis and metastasis, induction of apoptosis.

As a well-known herbal immune stimulant, hundreds of studies have extensively reported the anti-cancer or chemopreventive effects of ginseng. The anti-cancer effects of ginseng are mainly through the improvements in cell-mediated immunity consisting of cytotoxic T cells and NK cells, while other mechanisms such as oxidative stress, apoptosis, and angiogenesis are also involved, according to this study.

Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB)
Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) represent a heterogeneous group of microorganisms that are naturally present in many foods and possess a wide range of therapeutic properties.
LAB have antitumor properties that inactivate or inhibit carcinogenic (cancer -causing) compounds in the gastrointestinal tract, stimulate the immune response, and delay the onset of tumor or increase the survival rate.

LifeOne Formula
LifeOne is a new, state-of-the-art treatment, developed and produced in the USA, specially formulated and scientifically proven to boost the body’s natural immune system and directly attack cancerous cells.

BIOBRAN MGN-3, a non-toxic glyconutritional food supplement (or functional food) made from breaking down rice bran with enzymes from the Shitake mushroom, has been clinically proven to help powerfully enhance depleted immune systems.

Milk Vetch (Astragalus)
Milk vetch (Astragalus mongholicus) is a medicinal herb that originates from traditional Chinese medicine. It is believed to have immunostimulating properties. It is mostly used in combination with other herbs, depending on the diagnosis. Milk vetch induces apoptosis, inhibits cell proliferation, induces a pro-inflammatory response, and augments phagocytic functions.

Modified Citrus Pectin
A dietary supplement containing the modified citrus pectin (MCP) derived from the soluble fiber of citrus fruit peels and a galectin-3 inhibitor with…immunostimulatory,…and anti-metastatic activities.   Also, unsaturated…acids in MCP may stimulate the immune system through the activation of natural killer cells, cytotoxic T-cells, and B-cells. National Cancer Institute

Noni is an evergreen shrub or small tree that grows throughout the tropical regions of the Pacific Ocean, from Southeast Asia to Australia.. In laboratory research, noni has shown antioxidant, immune-stimulating, and tumor-fighting properties. Noni is found to inhibit the existence or growth of cancer cells by manipulating the immune system.

Nowadays, probiotics have been suggested as adjunctive and complementary treatment modalities for improving the impacts of chemotherapy and immunotherapy agents. Probiotics, the friendly microflora in our bodies, contribute to the production of useful metabolites with positive effects on the immune system against various diseases such as cancer.

Resveratrol and MSKE
There is enough evidence to suggest that there are some compounds in polyphenolic-rich alcoholic beverages such as wine or beer that prevent suppression of the immune system or could trigger a protective effect. In other words, healthy adults who regularly consume a low to moderate amount of beer or red wine could be less prone to infections…
See Resveratrol and MSKE

Women who already have hormone-sensitive cancers should avoid
large amounts of products with resveratrol because of its estrogenic
activity (Gehm, McAndrews, Chien, & Jameson,1997).

Selenium and Zinc
Selenium is being studied in the prevention and treatment of some types of cancer. Zinc may enhance immune function. Suboptimal zinc or selenium status can reduce resistance to infectious diseases, as well as the onset of numerous other health problems such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

Sun’s Soup-Selected Vegetables
A mixture of vegetables and other edible plants that has been studied in the treatment of cancer. The vegetables include soybean, shiitake mushroom, mung bean, red date, scallion, garlic, leek, lentil, Hawthorn fruit, onion, ginseng, Angelica root, licorice, dandelion root, senega root, ginger, olive, sesame seed, and parsley. Sun’s Soup is available in the United States as a dietary supplement.
National Cancer Institute

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
A nutrient that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy. Vitamin C helps fight infections, heal wounds, and keep tissues healthy. Vitamin C is being studied in the prevention and treatment of some types of cancer. 

Vitamin D therapy
Vitamin D is essential to our bodies. It helps regulate the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in our bones, strengthens the immune system and helps cell communication. Cancer patients who have higher levels of vitamin D when they are diagnosed tend to have better survival rates and remain in remission longer than patients who are vitamin D-deficient according to a new study.

Wheat Grass
The authors of this study said their results demonstrated that wheatgrass-activated immune cells played a central role in building immunity…the health benefits of wheatgrass may include improved digestion, blood pressure reduction, heavy metal detoxification from the bloodstream, immune system modulation, and gout alleviation. Several papers have indicated that wheatgrass has anti-tumor activities…

Other Ways to Boost Your Immune System

Coleys Toxins
Coleys Toxins is a cocktail of inactive bacteria used as nonspecific immunotherapy in the treatment of cancer. Recent research has produced a considerable body of scientific evidence documenting the immune system’s role in controlling cancer growth. For example, cancer occurs more frequently in individuals with weakened immune systems.

This study says:
Asepsis, fever control, surgery, and immunosuppressive therapies are known to have an inverse relation to cancer regression, while acute infection, fever, and cancer vaccines by the virtue of immunostimulation induce regression of cancer even in the most advanced stage of disease and prove that cancer is not an irreversible process without a cure.

Dendritic Cell Therapy
A special type of immune cell that is found in tissues, such as the skin, and boosts immune responses by showing antigens on its surface to other cells of the immune system. A dendritic cell is a type of phagocyte and a type of antigen-presenting cell (APC) – National Cancer Institute

Mild Full Body Hyperthermia
Hyperthermia is the use of heat as a treatment for cancer.

This study noted: The use of hyperthermia as an adjunct to cancer immunotherapy is supported by an increasing number of research data. Both preclinical and clinical data results have demonstrated improved antitumor immune responses with the addition of mild hyperthermia.

Beck Protocol
The Beck Protocol was developed gradually from 1991 to 1997. It is a bioelectric, natural health protocol designed to help the body heal itself. The first step is known as micropulsing, blood electrification or microcurrent therapy. The second step is magnetic pulsing, the third is drinking ionic colloidal silver and the fourth part is drinking ozonated water. The Beck Protocol appears to have a positive effect on the immune system, at a very basic level, to help our bodies with a wide variety of health challenges.

Cell-based Therapies
Cell therapy is defined as the administration of living whole cells for the patient for the treatment of a disease. The origin of the cells can be from the same individual (autologous source) or from another individual (allogeneic source).

Immuno-Augmentive Therapy (IAT)
The objective of IAT is to restore the cancer patient’s immune competency to a level by which it can control cancer. The therapy involves injecting patients with blood fractions (deficient in cancer patients) to redress the deficiency . Patients continue to self-administer the injections from serum for whatever length of time is necessary.

Low Dose Naltrexone
Low dose naltrexone (LDN) has been promising as a complementary medication for patients with a broad range of medical disorders. Although not a proven cure, evidence from clinical trials supports LDN as being a valuable adjunct for disorders in which the immune system plays a centralized role. Additionally, clinical trials have proposed a unique mechanism(s) allowing LDN to affect tumors including non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) at the cellular level by augmenting the immune system. (study)

Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) therapy
Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) therapy is a safe, and non-invasive way to reduce pain and inflammation. It can be used to supplement and enhance currently existing healthcare modalities. The PEMF apparatus includes various devices including full body mats, localized pad applicators, and pinpointed probe or “spot” applicators.

Revici Method
This nontoxic chemotherapy uses lipids, lipid-based substances, and essential elements to correct an underlying imbalance in the patient’s chemistry.

Lipids with anabolic or catabolic activity play an essential role in Dr. Revici’s unique therapy for their activity on the immune response to diseases.

Ultraviolet Blood Irridation
Ultraviolet Blood Irradiation (UBI) is a procedure that exposes the blood to light to heighten the body’s immune response and to kill infections. With exposure to UV light, bacteria and viruses in your bloodstream absorb five times as much photonic energy as do your red and white blood cells.

Cancer Survival Tips

Page updated 2023

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