I can smell the citrus fragrance from here... Ummmm... Divine!
And now research studies are targeting the health benefits and cancer fighting properties of these delicious summer fruits... Tasty and Healthy? Yes, please!
So, here's the thing. The technical explanation gets, well, technical, so hang on... it's information that offers potential hope to the pancreatic cancer patient... and we feel that's worth wading thru heaps of scientific mumbo-jumbo to get down to the nitty-gritty of this alternative cancer fighter...
To start, according to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering research team, there are compounds in the citrus peel that have specific cancer-fighting potential. The phytochemical in the citrus peel is called d-limonene and through laboratory studies d-limonene has shown anti-imflammatory, wound healing and anti-cancer effects.
The d-limonene was found to alter the signaling pathways within cancer cells in a way that stops cancer cells from multiplying and causes apoptosis (that's a fancy word for cell death... hmmmm, apoptosis might be my new favorite word!).
The laboratory studies so far have just been animal models, but there is promise as the d-limonene slowed the growth of pancreatic, stomach, colon, skin and liver cancers. It's important, however, to emphasize that these results have only been shown in animal models, not in human clinical studies...yet.
In a new article from TTAC, we find that d-limonene has been used to assist pancreatic cancer researchers in another surprising way. A study reported in 2015 in Molecular Pharmacology shared that scientists examining the effectiveness of gene therapy in overcoming pancreatic cancer were encountering trouble with the delivery system and turned to d-limonene for help. The gene therapy, called MDA-7/IL-24, is a tumor suppressor and when introduced into cancer cells it fosters an anticancer immune reponse. The trouble? Getting it into the cancer cells. D-limonene was found to be an effective and non-toxic delivery strategy.
In Japan, the Osaka Medical Center for Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases did a study on the effect of d-limonene on pancreatic growth using hamsters with induced pancreatic cancer tumors. The hamsters were fed a diet containing d-limonene. After 26 weeks, their results showed that prolonged treatment with d-limonene significantly reduced the number of pancreatic carcinomas.
So, if you're like me, you're wondering how can I apply this to my situation? Like, how many oranges would I need to consume on a daily basis to get any benefit??? Right??? Well, here's an article from Life Extension that shares a little bit on dosage and just how high the doses need to be for potential medical effectivness...
"Limonene is well tolerated in cancer patients at doses that may have clinical activity (Chow 2002). One partial response in a breast cancer patient at a dose of 8 grams taken twice daily was maintained for 11 months. Three patients with colorectal cancer showed disease stabilization for longer than 6 months on d-limonene at 0.5 or 1 gram twice daily (Vigushin 1998). The tentative dose recommendation for d-limonene is 7.3 to 14.4 grams per day (Boik 2001; Vigushin 1998). Daily consumption of d-limonene from food sources is estimated to be 16.2 mg/person/day (027 mg/kg body weight/day)(Sun 2007)."
Did you get that? Normal people might consume roughly 16.2 milligrams of d-limonene a day from eating oranges or other citrus fruits. The potential dose recommendation for disease stabilization according to Life Extension is 7.3 to 14.4 grams a day...
That's a lot of oranges!
And this is definitely in the realm of alternative treatments. But I'm sure you already figured that out... so, please, as always, please talk with your oncology team before beginning any new protocol.
Could the power of citrus and d-limonene offer hope for the pancreatic cancer patient? There are no clinical trials yet... only animal studies and lots of research... and whenever I begin to wonder if there is any hope in these natural "alternative" remedies I am reminded of a story from many years ago...
... involving dying sailors and scurvy... and a little known treatment at the time... a treatment that was so simple many called it crazy... but a treatment that worked... Vitamin C.
The cure for scurvy was as simple as mending a vitamin deficiency... so, No, I don't believe all alternative treatments are crazy. I do believe we need to be sensible and first, do no harm... But d-limonene is showing promise in studies... could this be Hope for Cancer Patients?
Praying for clinical trials soon. And even more so, praying for healing and hope as we journey on, hard into this cancer fight.
In Grace, My Love, Always,