Cancer: How to Help the Body Detoxify

Painting by Henry Roderick Newman

Painting by Henry Roderick Newman

Last week, we introduced you to the ideas of an MD (now retired) who pushed the medical envelope for four decades to treat cancer patients. Long before there were clinics specializing in an integrative approach, he was including targeted nutrition (among other things) as part of his cancer treatment.

In last week’s blog, we outlined the four key components of his protocol for turning around cancer. Now, we’ll look at those components in more detail.

The first is to Detoxify the Patient. In his view, a cancer patient’s body is overloaded with toxins that must be eliminated, so the body can heal.

Here are eight things that he told his patients to do in order to detoxify. They are tips that patients dealing with cancer (or any serious disease) or anyone simply wishing to improve his or her nutritional foundation would be wise to consider:

1. Eat certified organic food. Period. Conventionally-grown foods are laden with too many pesticides and herbicides that create an extra load on a body already fighting to recover. Don’t add to that burden with toxin-laden food.

2. Drink filtered water. You will need the best water filter available (not a cheap thing that only removes chlorine and a few other large molecules). Go to www.nsf.org for a detailed assessment of water filters—and get the best one you can afford. This is important. Don’t be cheap, here, or think that the kind of water filter you buy doesn’t matter—because it does; it really does. Note: Bottled water is not regulated and about 25% of it is just tap water. Filter your own water and carry it with you.

3. Eliminate toxic foods. When it comes to eliminating toxins, the following foods should be removed from your diet for the next 100 years:

  • Refined sugar (white and brown): Even less than a teaspoon of refined sugar suppresses the immune system for up to five hours, and it interferes with production of antibodies and transport of Vitamin C. This is why cancer patients, or anyone looking to take control of their health and kick disease to the curb, should avoid sugar and sugary foods. Use stevia or very small amounts of fruit juice, unrefined date sugar, real maple syrup, or organic raw honey.
  • Refined grains: Eliminate white flour, white rice, boxed cereals, commercially-prepared granola, and quick-cooking oats because the starch in these foods quickly turns to sugar during digestion. Choose whole grains (not multi-grain, which is basically white flour), sprouted grains, quinoa, brown rice, steel-cut oats, and other slow-cooking hot cereals.
  • Damaged fats: Hot fats become oxidants that promote cancer. It’s therefore critical to eliminate fried foods (except, perhaps, those foods cooked at home using certified organic coconut oil and low heat), blackened and charred foods, potato chips and other fried snacks, roasted nuts and seeds, trans-fats, refined vegetable oils (especially canola oil), margarine and other butter-like spreads made from refined oils, commercially-prepared salad dressings, and anything containing refined (damaged) oils. Choose healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil and cold-pressed flax seed oil for salads, and certified organic coconut oil for cooking. We’ve written a whole chapter on fats in our book Eat to Save Your Life. Check it out; there’s a lot more to know about fats than we can include in a short blog, and you likely will be surprised by what you learn.
  • Refined salt: See last month’s Blogs about refined salt vs. sea salt. 
  • Artificial colors and flavors: Foods containing artificial colors and flavors demand extra elimination work from the liver and kidneys—which places an added burden on a body that needs all its resources to fight the disease. Eliminate artificial colors and flavors, and don’t fall for products touting “natural flavorings” that aren’t specifically defined.  “Natural flavor” could be MSG or some other ingredient that may be “natural”, but certainly not healthy. See Chapter 2 of our book Eat to Save Your Life to learn more about toxic foods being fraudulently promoted as healthy.
  • Sodium nitrite or sodium nitrate: These are frequently used in processed meats and meat products, and result in nitrosamines—which are known cancer inducers.
  • Junk food and junk beverages: No cancer patient should have crackers, chips, fried or salty snack foods, sugary treats, soft drinks (regular or “diet”), processed cereals, or commercially-packaged meals in his or her home. Even certified organic packaged meals have to be scrutinized for damaged fats, too much carbohydrate, or other ingredients not recommended for cancer patients.
  • Prepared fruit juices. Fruit juices should be freshly-squeezed (never purchased in a box or bottle—no matter how enticing that dewy orange on the front looks). Dilute the freshly squeezed juice 50/50 with water to reduce the sugar load, and consume all fruit juice in small quantities for the same reason.
  • Shellfish (such as shrimp, lobster, and crab), fish with skin (such as tuna and halibut), and fish from lakes and streams: They are too toxic due to high levels of mercury and other toxins in the waters where they live and feed.  Choose fish with scales, and look for those that live and feed in the upper regions of the deep ocean.
Thanks to www.free-hdwallpapers.com for the picture

Thanks to www.free-hdwallpapers.com for the picture

4. Eat detoxifying foods: During detoxification, eat one or two servings of beans, peas, or lentils every day. Also eat the white pulp of lemons and limes, sprouted plants, dandelion leaves in salads (crucial to ensure they have not been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides), and pectin (prevalent in the peels of apples and plums, and also available in supplement and powder form).

5. Get enough fiber. Again, beans, peas, and lentils play an important role, and so do raw vegetables, fruit with the skin and pulp, whole grains, hemp hearts, ground flax seed, and chia seeds.  Plants contain fiber (some more than others), but animal products such as meat, dairy, and eggs do not. Also take a high-quality soluble fiber product every day to help “sweep” toxins from your colon.

6. Support the lymphatic system. To support the lymphatic system, get regular massages, dry brush your skin with a soft brush specially designed for this purpose, and (especially) use a rebounder every day. Small rebounders can be unstable, so look for a large one.

7. Use a gentle herbal detox. Our medical maverick MD didn’t use the detox products often displayed in health food stores because he found they are too harsh and frequently developed by people with no medical background. No, it was his professional opinion cancer patients are too, too sick to withstand these harsh preparations. He preferred a product containing lactobaccilus probiotics, dandelion root, fenugreek seed, ginger root, pepsin, red clover flowers, yellow dock root, marshmallow root, sarsaparilla root, cascara sagrada bark, Echinacea root, and milk thistle seed concentrate. As always, discuss your herbal detox with your healthcare provider because herbs, though natural, are powerful and should be treated with respect and care.

8. Take supplements that help the body detoxify. Our medical maverick placed all his cancer patients on a comprehensive supplements program. Some were for overall health (such as a plant-based multi-vitamin-mineral-phytonutrient daily supplement), but we’ll discuss those in a later blog.

For now, in this blog, we’ll focus on those supplements that he specifically used to help the body detoxify. These detox supplements are:

  • Vitamin A with zinc: He used a minimum of 30,000 IU per day of Vitamin A (not beta-carotene because he was concerned that the body of a cancer patient could not convert beta carotene to Vitamin A)
  • Vitamin C with bioflavonoids at a minimum of 5,000 IU per day (more if the bowels can tolerate it; that is, as long as the patient does not get diarrhea; if diarrhea occurs, reduce the dose)
  • Vitamin D3 (with Vitamin K2, if available in your country) at 6000 to 8000 IU per day—more if the patient’s 25(OH)D blood test indicates that his or her level of Vitamin D is at the bottom of the normal range or deficient
  • Vitamin E (in the complete d-alpha tocopherol form—not dl-alpha tocopherol)
  • Calcium-Magnesium
  • Kyolic (fermented) Garlic
  • Silymarin (Milk Thistle) in addition to the milk thistle already contained in the detox herbal combination
  • Glutathione

He advised patients to take some of these vitamins, minerals, and herbs for a lifetime, some for just a few months, and others intermittently, so talk about them with your Naturopath or Nutritionist.

And please, please, please note that it is very important to choose plant-based rather than synthetic brands—and don’t let someone talk you out of it by claiming that synthetic is fine because a molecule is a molecule. That’s true, but synthetic supplements do not contain important plant nutrients that cannot be duplicated in a lab, and the value of those plant nutrients cannot be overstated.

To learn more about the vitamins and minerals listed above (as well as the phytonutrients that go with them), see Chapters 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 of our book Eat To Save Your Life. It’s also very important to see our Ten Totally Terrific Questions in Chapter 13 to ensure cancer patients choose the best supplements to fight this fight.

Artist: Angelina Whittaker Cook

Artist: Angelina Whittaker Cook

As always, it’s very important to discuss food choices and, especially, any herbal detox or supplements regimen with your entire medical team. Don’t just take supplements willy-nilly, because some can interact with medications. Get advice from a qualified healthcare provider.

We realize that this nutritional detox regimen can be challenging at a time when a patient already is facing enormous challenges. We recommend that patients get help from friends, family, co-workers, support groups, church organizations, or wherever they can.

Just make sure that the person who is shopping or cooking understands the importance of the nutritional regimen outlined here. He or she may think a little sugar or processed food won’t do any harm, but it certainly can.

The cleaner the dietary choices, the better.

Next time, we’ll look at the second pillar of our medical maverick’s regimen for treating cancer: Oxygenate the Cells.

Here’s to your detoxified health,

Gloria and Jerre


  • Very important and crucial info for people with cancer. I thank you for caring so much to take the time to write this.
    Your awesome!

    Jill in MI

  • Jerre

    Thank you for your comment, Jill. The blog-scape is often a very silent place, so hearing your voice matters. We wish you well. Jerre

  • Julie

    If the vitamin A is not from beta carotene (plant based), then from where? Vitamin a palmitate which is synthetic? Or from animal liver?

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