Your First Line of Defense Against Flu, Cancer and More

By Frank Tabino | Category: COLD REMEDIES

Your First Line of Defense Against Flu, Cancer & More

The body’s first lines of defense against disease-causing toxins are the liver’s Phase I and Phase II detoxification pathways, two distinct enzyme systems. These two detoxification pathways are fundamental to the body’s ability to protect itself against microbes and toxic chemicals that routinely enter through diet and the environment. Because they encounter an enormous range of natural and man-made chemicals, these enzymes are capable of entering into a wide variety of chemical reactions. The fact that they can defend against so many different chemical agents makes them major players in fighting disease.

Nutrition has a direct and significant impact on the activation of both Phase I and Phase II enzymes. These important detoxification systems work together to prevent disease, and there is overwhelming evidence they react to dietary influences. Under rare circumstances, they may even work against each other. It is only when their conflicting effects are in balance that the most potent protection is achieved.

When the phase I enzyme system is activated, it seeks out toxic compounds and make them more reactive, more water-soluble and easier for the body to dispose of. This is when the enzymatic activity of the Phase II detox pathways takes over and eliminates the reactive compounds from the body. When Phase II enzymes are activated by compounds in the diet, they are able to detoxify the reactive toxins produced by Phase I enzymes. They can attack the toxins directly or render them inert and remove them from the body. Problems arise when this system is out of balance. One possible outcome of activating the Phase I enzyme system is the production of highly reactive molecules. Without sufficient Phase II enzymes ready to detoxify them, these reactive molecules could lead to genetic damage.

Cruciferous Vegetable Components Boost Immunity”¦”¦

Specific compounds found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy and kale, have been linked to heightened immunity and reduced cancer risk. Researchers have focused on three of these compounds, Sulforaphane, Indole-3-carbinol (I3C) and diindolylmethane. Laboratory studies show that these compounds help regulate the complex Phase I & II of liver detoxification pathways that defend against oxidative stress, invading microbes and even cancer. 

Due at least in part to their ability to modulate the production of the body’s detoxifying enzymes; these compounds show the ability to stop the growth of cancer cells in various cell, tissue and animal models, including tumors of the breast, endometrium, lung, colon, liver and cervix. The additional discovery that the cruciferous indoles, DIM and I3C, promote Healthy estrogen metabolism expands their usefulness as dietary supplements for many hormone-related conditions in both men and women. 

More Than 300 Studies Point to Sulforaphane 

The antimicrobial compound, sulforaphane is believed to boost the immune system by replenishing nutrients in the dendritic (immune system) cells of the mouth, nose, bladder and gut membranes. These cells bolster the body’s first line of defense against invading microbes and toxins.  Working as a catalyst to boost Phase II enzymes, sulforaphane exhibits broad-spectrum activity to eliminate many types of free radicals. Cycling over and over, it creates an “army” of antioxidants, ready to neutralize free radicals over a period of time. 

While much of the sulforaphane research has focused primarily on its use in reducing the risk of cancer, hundreds of scientific studies point to sulforaphane, as a factor in reducing the risk of multiple diseases including high blood pressure, macular degeneration and stomach ulcers, as well as some types of cancer.  A study from the Tokyo University of Agriculture and the Japan Institute for the Control of Aging shows that this naturally occurring antioxidant may help reduce cholesterol levels in a matter of days. Its ability to activate Phase II enzymes, thereby reducing oxidative stress, makes sulforaphane beneficial to overall health and well-being, as well as some specific conditions including: 

  • Hypertension ““ reduced oxidative stress correlates with endothelial-dependent relaxation of the aorta and lower blood pressure. 
  • Elevated Cholesterol ““ may reduce overall cholesterol and increase beneficial HDL in as little as one week. 
  • Atherosclerosis ““ reduces the number of infiltrating activated macrophages, indicative of inflammation. 
  • Aging ““ oxidative stress is implicated in the aging process. 
  • Eye Health ““ provides effective protection against the toxicity of several very different types of oxidant stressors. 
  • Infection ““ increased phase II enzymes boost the body’s ability to protect itself against invading microbes. 
  • Stomach Ulcers ““ inhibits antibiotic resistant strains of Helicobacter pylori. 

I3C and DIM: The Hormone Connection 

Indole-3-carbinol and its derivative dindolylmethane show anticancer activity, possibly by inducing hepatic enzymes involved in carcinogen detoxification. I3C has been shown to modulate the activities of both Phase I and Phase II enzymes. It may also up-regulate apoptosis in some cancer cell lines. 

In addition, I3C promotes the metabolism of endogenous estrogens to non-carcinogenic metabolites, which could reduce the risk of estrogen-dependent cancers. In a placebo-controlled, double-blind study, 27 women with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) class 2 or 3 (proven by biopsy) were randomly assigned to receive I3C (200 or 400 mg daily) or a placebo orally for 12 weeks. None of the patients in the placebo group had complete regression. In contrast, 4 of 8 patients receiving 200 mg and 4 of 9 receiving 400 mg had a complete regression after 12 weeks”¦that’s 47% who returned to normal cervical cytology with I3C. 


The estrogen metabolites 16 alpha-hydroxyestrone and 4-hydroxyestrone (bad estrogen) are believed to be carcinogenic. On the other hand, the estrogen metabolite 2-hydroxyestrone (good estrogen) has been found to protect against several types of cancer, including breast cancer. Cruciferous indoles such as I3C and DIM increase the ratio of “good estrogens” to “bad estrogen” via induction of the Phase 1 enzyme, cytochrome P4501A1. 

Positive estrogen balance is important to men as well as women. Good estrogen metabolites free up testosterone by bumping it off the testosterone-binding proteins, resulting in a healthier balance of testosterone to estrogen and more free testosterone circulating in the body. 

Because I3C and DIM increase production of 2-hydroxyestrone which inhibits oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), these indoles may be considered indirect antioxidants. Good estrogen metabolites also appear to inhibit smooth muscle proliferation. This, along with inhibiting LDL oxidation, could account for the possible anti-atherogenic activity of these indoles. In women, unbalanced estrogen metabolism can cause symptoms such as heavy menstruation, cramping, PMS, fibrocystic breast changes, uterine fibroids, endometriosis and ovarian cyst formation. 

High levels of testosterone and low levels of estrogen are linked to lean body mass, efficient fat-burning and reduced abdominal obesity. Other benefits include improved mood, greater interest in sex and better physical condition. In the stomach, I3C is converted into a variety of compounds including DIM. Some researchers believe DIM is the active beneficial component. Positive results have been achieved with both substances in prevention and treatment of some cancers in vitro, in animal studies and in human trials. Both are also shown to promote positive hormone balance. Since acid is required for I3C breakdown, supplements should be taken with meals. Patients with insufficient stomach acid should be advised to take a digestive aid containing hydrochloric acid (HCL) like our digestive enzyme formula Digestin.


Milk Thistle has been used for more than 2,000 years as a treatment for liver and biliary disorders. The active substance, silymarin, is a mixture of flavonoids primarily consisting of four isomers: silybinin, isosilybinin, silychristin and silydianin. In laboratory studies silymarin is shown to: 

  • Stabilize cell membranes, to prevent entry of toxic chemicals into the cell. 
  • Stimulate synthesis and activity of enzymes responsible for detoxification pathways. 
  • Exhibit potent antioxidant properties, neutralizing a wide range of free radicals.
  • Stimulate the glutathione S-transferase pathway and alter intracellular concentration of glutathione. 
  • Stimulate regeneration of liver cells at up to four times the normal rate. 

The German Commission E has approved the use of standardized milk thistle seed extract for the use of standardized milk thistle seed extract for toxin-induced liver damage, hepatitis and cirrhosis. In Europe, and extract of milk thistle is used intravenously as an antidote for death cap mushroom (amanita phalloides) poisoning. Humans exposed to this mushroom toxin develop serious liver failure that ultimately progresses to death.

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