In a study conducted at the prestigious University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, vitamin A benefits cured as many as 33% of patients suffering from a rare form of leukemia called acute promyelocytic leukemia. It accomplished this feat without subjecting patients to the harrowing side effects of chemotherapy.
What is Vitamin A?
Vitamin A (also called retinol) is a yellow, fat-soluble vitamin found in egg yolks and the livers of many animals. This critical vitamin contributes to eye health, respiratory health, and helps build a strong immune system.
Vitamin A benefits have also been proven to inhibit the spread of cancer cells and to restore normal, healthy cell growth patterns. Its effects are especially potent against leukemia and certain head and neck cancers.
A Third of Patients Cancer-Free 5 Years Later
Vitamin A Benefits A Natural Alternative to Chemotherapy
The results of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center far exceeded the success rate of traditional chemotherapy treatment. Of the 34 patients in the trial, 10 were entirely cancer-free after 5 years.
The researchers used an innovative delivery method to enhance the vitamin’s bioavailability (make it easier for the body to absorb it). They “emulsified” the vitamin A, or encapsulated it in “bubbles of fat.”
Effective Enough to be Called a “Cure”
Despite the previously held belief that cancer has no cure, the M.D. Anderson researchers did use the term “cure” in relation to the effects they observed. That’s likely due to the truly outstanding results. Seeing a group of cancer patients remain cancer-free for 5 years on a treatment consisting of only of a single vitamin—and nothing else—is mind boggling, considering the low cure rate with traditional methods.
Health experts and other researchers have suggested that if the patients had been given other proven anticancer super-foods, the cure rate might have been much higher—possibly as high as 75% or more. That’s because vitamin A benefits are known to need additional support to be most effective.
Better Together: Laetrile, Enzymes, and Emulsified Vitamin A
The theory of vitamin A working better in combination with other therapies was demonstrated powerfully in 1978. That’s the year that Harold Manner, Ph.D. and chairman of the biology department of Chicago’s Loyola University, conducted an intriguing study of emulsified vitamin A.
Dr. Manner used a therapy that combined:
- Emulsified vitamin A
- Enzymes (molecules that act as catalysts for all chemical reactions within the body and are necessary to sustain life)
- Laetrile (a powerful cancer-fighting agent found in over 1,200 plants,especially the seeds of common fruits such as apricots, peaches,plums, and apples)
Dr. Manner reported his results in his book titled Death of Cancer:
“The tumors gradually underwent complete regression in 75 of the experimental animals. This represented 89% of the total group. The remaining 9 animals showed partial regression.”
Manner repeated the experiment, trying various combinations of vitamins, enzymes, and Laetrile. Combinations of enzymes and or vitamin A with Laetrile were significantly more effective than just enzymes and/or vitamin A.
Vitamin A Benefits or Beta Carotene?
Vitamin A benefits and beta carotene are closely related nutrients. The difference is that all vitamin A benefits are preformed—and comes from animal sources (meat, eggs, milk, cheese), while beta carotene is a precursor of vitamin A (also called Provitamin A), which means that it comes in a form that the body converts to retinol by normal metabolic processes.
Beta carotene comes from fruits and vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, spinach, turnip greens, winter squash, collard greens, cilantro, and fresh thyme.
Beta carotene appears to be an extremely potent cancer-fighter.
In a stunning 1990 experiment published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research, 6 antioxidants were tested and compared for their cancer-fighting abilities on chemically induced liver tumors:
- Vitamin E caused a 60% reduction in the appearance of the tumors.
- Glutathione caused an 80% reduction.
- Vitamin C, selenium, and uric acid, each caused an 87% reduction.
- Beta-carotene produced a 100% reduction in the appearance of those liver tumors.
Other impressive studies on beta carotene against cancer have been published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the New England Journal of Medicine, and the Journal of Nutrition.
Ultimately, both vitamin A benefits and beta carotene are powerful cancer-fighting nutrients. However, expert opinions on safe dosages vary widely. In addition, dosages for cancer treatment are much higher than amounts used for prevention and health maintenance. High doses of vitamin A can raise concerns about toxicity, because this fat-soluble vitamin A accumulates in the body and tax the liver.
For this reason, some practitioners prefer beta carotene, which does not accumulate in the body and is associated with fewer risks. However, those interested in using either vitamin A benefits or beta carotene for cancer treatment or prevention should consult with a health practitioner knowledgeable about these nutritional therapies for guidance with the best forms and dosages, as well as possible combination therapies to enhance effectiveness.
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