It’s Official: Bacon, Hot Dogs, Other Processed Meat Cause Cancer

After years of research and hundreds of studies finding links between eating certain meats and cancers, health experts have finally broken out the branding irons.

Today, in a sizzling announcement, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) officially marked processed meat, such as bacon, hot dogs, and sausages, as “carcinogenic to humans,” a “group 1” designation. The agency, an arm of the World Health Organization, also classified red meat, such as beef, pork, and lamb, as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” a “group 2A” grade.

Source: It’s official: Bacon, hot dogs, other processed meat cause cancer

This news is all over the place, but I was really surprised that there’s no actual scientific fact.  All I get is there was a meta-study that amounts to “there’s a correlation”.   It’s all speculative, nothing about how the meat is prepared or cooked.  It was almost a year ago that an actual link was found – in the neu5Gc content

Sushi Parasite Inspires Worm Test for Cancer

Dogs do it. Rats do it. Even some people seem to be able to sniff out cancer and other diseases. Now we can add the humble roundworm to the list of super-smellers.

Japanese researchers have discovered that Caenorhabditis elegans worms can detect cancer in people’s urine. They are working with technology companies Hitachi and Johnan to turn the finding into a diagnostic test that can be used to catch the disease in its early stages.

…The team are now investigating whether different cancer types release different odours, and whether this has an effect on the worms. They hope to have a commercial product ready by 2019. The idea would be that users send a urine sample to the company and get the results back the next day, says Hirotsu.

Source: Sushi parasite inspires worm test for cancer

It was only recently that dogs were trained to sniff out cancer, though dogs have been trained companions for detecting low blood sugar for diabetics in the past.  Much as I like dogs, the worms are a much better idea for a diagnostic test.  Being smaller means less space needed, and likely less resources to keep.  Don’t have to walk the worms 😉

Here’s to a cost-effective, non-invasive, diagnostic test that posted a 96% success rate.  No word about what stage the respective cancer was at, but the ability to test and test often is still pretty good.

I’m interested to see how the commercial aspect turns out for worms that have been used in research since 1963.  I shudder at the thought of repeating the breast cancer testing fiasco, and hope they see that the volume of commercialized test sales could offset upscale pricing.

My multivitamin has 150% my daily value of Vitamin D. Does this mean I actually absorb 150% of my DV?

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin. Meaning, any excess vitamin in your diet can be stored in fat and released at a later date when your body needs it. Unlike water soluble vitamins like C, the body doesn’t get rid of Vitamin D once the concentration is high enough. So it is possible to ‘overdose’ on Vitamin D.  And it can be toxic as it builds up in your fat.

Although it is named a vitamin, what is actually given to you in the supplements is a pro-hormone – something that will be acted on by your body (liver and kidneys specifically) to form an active hormone that then affects other bodily systems.  The supplements specifically contain vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol).  These are hydroxylated (-OH group added to the molecule)- first in the kidney, then in the liver to form the active vitamin 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D.

Cholecalciferol is also synthesised in your skin when it is exposed to UV light (sunlight), which is why people who do not get a lot of sunlight are prone to rickets. The body has a negative feedback mechanism to prevent excessive vitamin D synthesis, which mainly involves blocking the liver hydroxylation step.  So although you are taking 150% of your recommended dosage (plus UV/sun light), you should be safe from the effects of excessive intake!

Disclaimer: Please don’t take any of this as medical advice! If you are worried, speak to your doctor for blood tests to check your vitamin D and calcium levels.  It’s worth looking into if concerned with pancreatic cancer

Study: Vitamin D Shatters Pancreatic Cancer Defenses

Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers that has poor prognoses with one and five year survival rates at 25% and 5% respectively.  Professor Ronald Evans and Senior Scientist Michael Downes, both of the Gene Expression Laboratory at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, have discovered that pancreatic cancer cells become reprogrammed by vitamin D, converting them into a “quiescent” state so that they become vulnerable to chemotherapy, resulting in almost complete halt to tumor growth and extension of survival time of mice with pancreatic cancer by 57%.  A subgroup survived an astounding 15 times longer.

Source: Vitamin D Shatters Pancreatic Cancer Defenses By Reprogramming Cells Into Quiescent, Chemo-Susceptible State

So guys – that means more sunlight.  There’s not a lot of options for food intake but some, like salmon, are listed on this page.  Point of interest:

The biggest sources of vitamin D in the American diet are not whole natural foods, however, but fortified, processed foods. Virtually all commercial cow’s milk sold in the U.S. has been fortified for vitamin D in the amount of 100% DV per quart (meaning that each 8 ounce glass contains a little over one quarter of the DV).

Important point: this is a modified analogue of activated vitamin D that DOES NOT participate in the calcium regulation process. Running down to the corner drugstore is not going to net you an off-the-shelf cancer cure.