WHAT IS IP6?
IP6 stands for inositol hexaphosphate which is a compound found naturally in several food items. IP6 has a role in cancer treatment. IP6, also known as phytic acid, acts by binding to iron. Iron has a role as an enhancer and helper of cancer cells and this is why IP6 is considered as a favorable cancer treatment.
HOW CAN IRON CAUSE CANCER?
Iron is required to produce red blood cells in our bodies. However, with age, when full growth is achieved, the body’s utilization of iron decreases and iron begins to accumulate. This process is delayed in women as they lose iron during menstruation.
It was shown by Eugene D. Weinberg that this accumulation of iron can aid cancer development. The examples are plenty. Cancers grow more often when iron content is high. Cigarettes cause lung cancer and they free iron from its stores, ferritin. Alcohol increases iron absorption and is known to cause cancer. Red meat which is a rich source of iron is linked with cancer production. Patients who have increased iron in their bodies are more prone to develop cancer. Faulty metabolism of iron in red blood cells can lead to leukemia.
In the same way, people who regularly donate blood reduce their iron content and hence lower their cancer risk. In females, risk of breast cancer increases after menopause when iron accumulation increases. Also, people who consume whole grains that contain IP6, which decrease free iron levels in the body, have lower incidence of colon cancer. This is why treatments that decrease iron content of the body can help in fighting cancer.
USE OF IP6:
Iron chelators like IP6 bind iron in the body. Hence they can prevent against cancer. IP6 is found in bran, seeds and is easily available. The best thing is that IP6 is totally non-toxic. It acts selectively against tumor cells while not harming normal cells.
So let’s discuss how IP6 works.
Effects on DNA and genes:
There is a gene that protects against cancer known as p53. It was discovered in University of Colorado that tumor cells that do not have p53 were damaged by IP6 as it caused expression of other genes that protect against tumors.
IP6 is also required for DNA repair. As DNA damage can cause cancer to develop, its repair is essential for cancer prevention.
A research conducted in Medical University of Silesia showed that IP6 affected the expression of genes in cells of colon cancer. These genes were p65 and IkappaBalpha and they regulated the formation of cancer cells.
Controlling cell growth:
IP6 maintains and slows down rate of cell division and growth in cancerous cells.
Our natural immune cells known as natural killer cells normally locate and kill any cancer cells produced in the body. IP6 acts by increasing the number of natural killer cells during stress situations like the appearance of tumor cells and the toxic and harmful drugs that are given as treatment. Hence it improves the body’s ability to fight cancer.
Increasing tumor cell death:
The problem with cancer cells is that they have uncontrolled division and do not die at the time when normal cells would. Programmed cell death is vital for survival of humans as it ensures that cells die when they are old and before being converted into abnormal cells. However, cancer cells do not undergo this process which is known as apoptosis. IP6 can normalize the functioning of a cancer cell so it goes through apoptosis.
Effect on blood vessel formation:
IP6 reduces the new blood vessel formation that is initiated by cancer cells, hence ensuring that they do not get nutrients to grow.
Iron binding property:
IP6 binds free iron and reduces its levels in the blood; as mentioned before iron overload helps in cancer formation.
Preventing cancer spread:
Cancer cells spread by binding to proteins present outside other cells and tissues. IP6 inhibits this process.
Effect on inflammation:
Chronic inflammation, in many cases, can be a prequel to cancer formation. IP6 fights against inflammation by reducing the number of cytokines, which are substances that are necessary for inflammation to occur and progress.
Fighting against free radicals:
Free radicals are lonely atoms that are very harmful and damaging to the body cells. IP6 acts as an anti-oxidant, which means that it can neutralize free radicals and hence prevent damage caused by them.
DOSE OF IP6 IN DIET:
Patients using 8g IP6/day for three or four weeks started showing tumor suppression, according to studies conducted by Dr. Shamsuddin. These findings have been confirmed by other scientists as well. As an added evidence, those people who consume diet rich in IP6 have lower incidence of cancers.
When IP6 is consumed in diet, it is bound to a protein from which it needs to be freed before it can act. This is done by the enzyme phytase which also destroys IP6. Therefore, large quantities of IP6 need to be consumed. However, if you take IP6 as a supplement, it is in free form and not protein bound and hence is absorbed and acts a lot better.
Due to its many proven benefits and with research still going on, IP is being recognized by doctors as well as other healers as an alternative cancer treatment. While it is not yet considered as a separate treatment options, doctors have started prescribing it along with chemotherapy drugs.