Category Archives: Body

Eat Your Way to Health: Angiogenesis and Diet

Angiogenesis Body (

In a remarkable presentation by Dr. William Li on TED Talks, Dr. Li discusses a ground-breaking research on a radically new approach to treatment of some of the most dreaded human conditions including cancer. This approach involves angiogenesis.

What is Angiogenesis?

Angiogenesis is the body’s process of growing blood vessels. Blood vessels deliver blood rich in nutrients and oxygen all throughout the body.  These vessels adapt to the environment where they form to complement the structures of the organs they support.

Most of the blood vessels were created while growing in the womb. Adults do not normally grow blood vessels except in special cases like:

  • monthly menstrual cycle when uterine lining is formed
  • during pregnancy when the placenta is formed connecting the mother and the baby
  • when wounds heal

When the is body is healthy, the body can turn angiogenesis on and off to perform these normal body functions.  When the body is not healthy, angiogenesis is thrown out of balance and the body might not be able to produce the blood vessels for normal blood flow or it may not be able to stop the growth of blood vessels, producing abnormal blood flow to certain tissues.

A Medical Revolution

A new cutting-edge research links an imbalance in angiogenesis to over 70  diseases including some of the most dreaded ones, like stroke, Alzheimer’s and cancer. Though these diseases appear to be very different in terms of the organ functions they affect and in the symptoms they exhibit, their underlying causes can all be linked to either over-stimulated or inhibited angiogenesis. Never before have the treatment of these illnesses been approached from a standpoint of angiogenesis.

The inability of the body to stimulate angiogenesis results in a lack of blood vessels that in turn result in the reduced blood flow to certain areas of the body. Among the diseases that are caused by insufficient angiogenesis are:

  • Chronic Wounds
  • Coronary Heart Disease
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease
  • Stroke
  • Neuropathies
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Hair loss
  • Erectile Dysfunction

In other cases the body is unable to shut down angiogenesis or the body is flooded with angiogenic factors that stimulate the blood vessels to continue growing past the normal levels causing abnormal growth in tissues. The diseases that are caused by excessive angiogenesis are:

  • Cancer
  • Blinding Diseases
  • Psoriasis
  • Arthritis
  • Endometriosis
  • AIDS-Kaposi Sarcoma
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Obesity
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Cerebral Malaria
  • Rosacea

Although Dr. Li, cited a number of diseases caused by angiogenesis, he focused on the treatment of two of the most serious and pervasive conditions, cancer and obesity. His angiogenic approach to treating these 2 conditions produced such glaringly  successful results, giving hope for the usual bleak prognosis especially in the case of cancer.

Angiogenesis and Cancer

The body naturally produces cancer cells. Autopsies of healthy people who died in a car accidents show that 40% of women ages 40-50 have microscopic cancer cells in their breasts and 50% of men in their 50’s and 60’s have microscopic cancer cells in their prostate. And by the time we reach our 70’s, 100% of us will have microscopic cancer cells in our thyroid.

Not all of these cells will develop into full-blown cancer. Without a blood supply, these cells cannot grow larger than 0.5mm³ (roughly the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen).  What determines whether these cancer cells will progress into a debilitating disease is if they form a blood supply. Angiogenesis is characteristic of every form of cancer that have progressed into disease. Without angiogenesis cancer cells remain harmless but with angiogenesis, these cells can turn into deadly tumors very rapidly.

As these cells mutate, they release angiogenic factors that stimulate vessel growth. Besides feeding the tumor with oxygen and nutrients, these blood vessels also allow the cancer cells to break off and be transported through the blood stream to other parts of the body (metastasis). When the body loses its natural ability to inhibit abnormal angiogenesis, tumors are able to flourish. Most tumors are diagnosed after angiogenesis has been turned on and left uninhibited for some time, allowing the tumor to grow and manifest as a disease.

Like cancer cells, fat cells also require a blood supply in order for it to grow. As more blood vessels grow within the fat tissue the more rapidly fat tissues grow. As in cancer, when the body lacks the natural ability to inhibit abnormal growth of blood vessels, fat tissues grow very fast leading to obesity. Angiogenesis also lies at the heart of obesity.

Angiogenesis as the Focus of Treatment

Dr. Li’s basic premise is, if angiogenesis is what causes the disease to progress, then you can stop the disease by blocking angiogenesis. This treatment is called Antiangiogenic Therapy.

Current cancer  treatments like chemotherapy, radiation and surgery focus on removing or destroying the tumor itself. These treatment will in most cases lead to the destruction of healthy tissue surrounding the tumor. Radiation and chemotherapy are highly toxic and may even be carcinogenic (known to cause cancer).

Antiangiogenic therapy focuses on inhibiting the growth of blood vessels to stop the blood from flowing to the tumor, thus starving the cancer. Since the blood vessels that feed the tumor, are weak and poorly constructed, they are quite vulnerable to this form of treatment. Since only the blood vessels are targeted, no healthy tissues are destroyed and the cancerous tissue simply shrinks and dies from the lack of oxygen and nutrients.  Patients enjoy a better quality of life, both during and after the treatment.

Dr. Li presented remarkable success cases using this treatment in both humans and animals for a broad spectrum of cancer types. Since 2004, more and more angiogenic drugs have been introduced into the market (see table below) as treatment for cancer. Equally effective was the use of antiangiogenic agents to control obesity. Dr. Li’s lab tests with mice showed that antiangiogenic therapy also worked very well in normalizing the weight of obese mice. He also discovered that although the therapy caused the obese mice to lose weight, it could not cause these mice to lose more weight beyond the normal weight of mice.

U. S. FDA Approved Antiangiogenic Drugs

Year Drug Treatment Target  (URL)
2004 Avastin Colon, lung , breast, brain, kidney  (
2004 Erbitux Colon, head and neck  (
2004 Tarceva Lung, pancreatic  (
2005 Endostar Lung  (
2005 Nexavar Kidney, liver  (
2005 Revlimid Multiple myeloma  (
2006 Sutent GIST, kidney  (
2006 Thalomid Multiple myeloma  (
2006 Torisel Kidney  (
2009 Afinitor Kidney  (
2009 Votrient Kidney  (
2009 Palladia Mast cell tumors (canine)  (

Lifestyle and Cancer

Although the survival rate for early stage cancers improved dramatically with the introduction of antiangiogenic drugs, medicine is still losing the battle with later stage cancers.  When the disease has advanced, treatment becomes difficult or impossible.  So Dr. Li started looking at the factors that contributed to cancer to find out how to prevent the disease from progressing beyond repair.

Cancer and Lifestyle

Of all the cancer causing factors, only 5-10% can be attributed to genes. 90-95% is due to environment. If we breakdown environmental factors 4-6% can be attributed to alcohol consumption, 10-20% to obesity, 15-20% to infections, 25-30% to tobacco consumption and 30-35% of the cases were pointing to diet.

So if diet was one of the largest contributors to cancer, then it deserved to be studied more intensively. The current focus was on what foods to remove from the diet. Dr.  Li wanted to know what could be added to the diet to reduce the incidence or recurrence of cancer.  Particularly he wanted to find out if we can eat to starve cancer. He tested ordinary food to see if doses attainable with a regular diet, could inhibit angiogenesis. He found out that it could.

Angiogenesis and Diet

Dr. Li’s  tests revealed that certain foods had powerful antiangiogenic properties.  He tested the effectiveness of cancer drugs, ordinary drugs and dietary factors in inhibiting abnormal growth of blood vessels in the lab. Remarkably, Dr. Li found out that there were food that were more effective than some drugs (both for common and cancer therapies). The graph from his presentation shows how these antiangiogenic agents stack up vis-a-vis each other.

Efficacy of Antiangiogenic Substances (From Dr. Li’s Presentation slide)

Efficacy of Antiangiogenic Substances

Below is a more detailed list of items included in the graph, showing the generic names, the brand names (italicized) and a link to their description:

  1. Irinotecan – Camptosar (Cancer Drug) (
  2. Simvastatin – Zocor (Common Drug) (
  3. Celecoxib – Celebrex (Common Drug) (
  4. Diclofenac – Cambia, Cataflam, Voltaren, Voltaren-XR, Zipsor (Common Drug) (
  5. Soy Extract – None (Dietary Factor)
  6. Paclitaxel-Onxol, Taxol  (Cancer Drug) (
  7. Tamoxifen – (Soltamox)  (Cancer Drug)  (
  8. Artichoke – None (Dietary Factor) 
  9. Doxycycline – Adoxa, Adoxa CK, Adoxa TT, Alodox, Avidoxy, Doryx, Monodox, Oracea, Oraxyl, Periostat, Vibramycin, Vibramycin Calcium, VibramycinMonohydrate, Vibra-Tabs, Doxy-D, Vibramycin Hyclate, Doxy Lemmon, Doxy-Caps, Morgidox, Morgidox 1x100mg, Morgidox 2x100mg, Ocudox Convenience Kit (Common Drug) (
  10. Parsley – None (Dietary Factor)
  11. Berries – None (Dietary Factor) 
  12. Soy – None (Dietary Factor)
  13. Garlic – None (Dietary Factor)
  14. Red Grapes – None (Dietary Factor) 
  15. Brassica – None (Dietary Factor) (
  16. Citrus 1 – None (Dietary Factor)
  17. Citrus 2 – None (Dietary Factor)
  18. Dexamethasone – aycadron, Dexamethasone Intensol, DexPak 10 Day Taperpak, DexPak 13 DayTaperpak, DexPak 6 DayTaperpak, Dexpak Jr. Taperpak, Zema Pak 10-Day, Zema Pak 13-Day, Zema Pak 6-Day  (Common Drug) (
  19. Pravastatin – Pravachol  (Common Drug) (
  20. Lavender – None (Dietary Factor)
  21. Green tea – None (Dietary Factor)
  22. Glucosamine – None (Dietary Factor)
  23. Tumeric – None (Dietary Factor)
  24. Tea – None (Dietary Factor)
  25. Lenalidomide – Revlimid (Cancer Drug)  (
  26. Captopril – Capoten  (Common Drug) (
  27. VItamin E – None (Dietary Factor)

Introduction of these food into the diet could actually prevent cancer in people who have no cancer and deter the growth of tumors in those who have already developed the disease. Several extensive epidemiological studies already show this to be true, as in the study of effects of tomatoes in the diet of 79,000 men. Tomatoes contain lycopene which is an antiangiogenic agent. The findings are as follows:

Tomatoes and Prostate Cancer

And of all those gentlemen who did develop cancer, the tomato-eating group showed significantly smaller tumors and less vessel abnormalities.

Tomatoes and tumor size

List of Cancer-Fighting Food (Antiangiogenic)

Other food that have antiangiogenic properties were also mentioned (listed below) arranged in the order of efficacy. To get a more comprehensive list of antiangiogenic food, visit the Eat to Defeat Cancer website at

  1. Soy Extract
  2. Artichoke
  3. Parsley
  4. Strawberries
  5. Blackberries
  6. Raspberries
  7. Blueberries
  8. Soybeans
  9. Garlic
  10. Red Grapes
  11. Red Wine
  12. Bokchoy
  13. Kale
  14. Broccoli
  15. Brussels Sprouts
  16. Cabbage
  17. Cauliflower
  18. Mustard
  19. Turnip
  20. Oranges
  21. Grapefruit
  22. Lemons
  23. Apples
  24. Pineapple
  25. Cherries
  26. Lavender
  27. Green Tea
  28. Glucosamine
  29. Tumeric
  30. Ginseng
  31. Maitake Mushrooms
  32. Licorice
  33. Nutmeg
  34. Pumpkin
  35. Sea Cucumber
  36. Tuna
  37. Tomato
  38. Olive Oil
  39. Grape seed oil
  40. Dark Chocolate

Please note that the benefits of a healthy diet cannot be attained with a few healthy meals for a short period of time. Health attained from diet is a result of habitually eating nutritious food preferably combined with other healthy habits like exercise, getting enough rest, managing stress and maintaining nurturing relationships.

For more information on clinical trials for Antiangiogenic Therapies for cancers and other diseases, visit the Angiogenesis Foundation website at Below is the full video of Dr. William Li’s TED Talk.

Disclaimer:  The author is not endorsing the treatments discussed herein as a replacement for  professional medical advice. The information presented here are intended to showcase the development  of new therapies in the field. The suggested diet under normal circumstances should not pose any serious threats to health and would generally provide positive benefits, however if you are under treatment or medication please discuss with your health professional, any drastic changes you intend to make in your diet.

Dr. William Li: Can we eat to starve cancer? (TED Talk Video)

A Simple Treatment for Common Health Problems

A Quick Look at Preventive Medicine

Dr. Mike Evans studied the different ways of preventing illness to find which ones have the most impact on health.  He summarizes his findings in a visual lecture he calls “23 and a Half Hours”. In a nutshell, this is what he discovered.

There are a lot of things you could do to impact your health positively. To name a few:

  1. Get regular health check-ups
  2. Add more fibre to your diet
  3. Develop healthy relationships
  4. Maintain your optimal weight
  5. Reduce or totally eliminate smoking and drinking (alcohol)
  6. Eat more fruits and vegetables

All of these would positively impact your health significantly. There are countless more things you can do to improve your health. But of all the things you can do to prevent illness, one thing stands out that would have a dramatic influence on your health. When this treatment is added to the mix, your health can improve many fold.

Before revealing what this treatment is, consider first the benefits this treatment has in relation to some of the most common health concerns.

For Knee Arthritis, one hour treatment 3 times a week reduces pain and disability by 47%.

For Dementia and Alzheimer’s progression of the disease is reduced by 50%.

For Diabetes, people who are high risk candidates for the disease can reduce progression by 55%.

For Post-Menopausal Hip Fractures, post menopausal women who get 4 hours a week of the treatment reduced the risk of hip fractures by 41%.

For Anxiety, can be reduced by 40%.

For Depression, with a low 30% was relieved, with increased doses relief was further increased to 47%.

It is the most common treatment for fatigue, reduces the risk of death in middle age and improves the over-all quality of life.  Okay, have you guessed what it is by now?

The Best Place to Start

It turns out that exercise, mostly walking, can provide all these benefits. We are talking about 30 minutes of aerobic physical activity like walking daily can give you all the above benefits. You can even break this down to 3 ten minute sessions and you will still reap the benefits.

Steven Blair a professor at the Arnold School of Public health determined that, among the top risk factors including obesity, smoking, hypertension, high cholesterol or diabetes, poor cardio-respiratory fitness (CRF) is the strongest predictor of death. Low CRF paired with any one (or more) of these factors significantly increase the risk of death. Even with all the other factors, when a person improves his cardio-respiratory fitness, he can significantly reduce the risk of death.

This is not to say that this is the only thing a person must do to improve his health. Exercise (walking) is the best place to start, and paired with any other preventive treatments, it can make significant improvements to your health. The study shows that there is a big improvement in health when someone goes from doing nothing to doing something. Making small changes in lifestyle like walking the dog regularly or taking the stairs instead of using elevators can have a very positive impact.

Dr. Evan’s Challenge

Dr. Evans asks a simple question, can you limit your sitting and sleeping to just 3 and a half Hours a day? Because if you can it can make a world of difference. Watch the video lecture below.


23 and 1/2 hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health?

Kneading Away Those Aches and Pains

Reflexology:   Healing the Natural Way

Before you pop those pain-killing tablets, you might want to consider a more natural alternative.  Over-the-counter pain medication can get toxic over time with repeated use. To spare your liver from having to filter all those chemicals, maybe you take step back and consider reflexology.

Reflexology is an alternative healing method that uses pressure on specific areas on the body surface especially on the hands and feet to heal an organ or another part directly connected to it.  This healing art form has its roots in ancient civilizations across several continent.  And perhaps because of its efficacy, healers continue to use it today. Without going in-depth into the healing philosophies that explain the workings of this healing art, it suffices to say the basic principle behind it is that the body is structured in a way where connections exists between the internal organs and a surface part of the body. It was discovered that applying pressure to specific areas on the body’s surface can bring about healing internally.

If you are prone to headaches or back aches, this is a very handy first aid tool help you relieve discomfort in those areas. For the head and sinuses, massage the tips of your fingers. For the back, massage the back of your hands. (See the chart below).  Apply pressure as you can comfortably endure.  To get the full benefit of this therapy, seek the services of a trained reflexologist and work closely with him/ her to identify the areas of your discomfort and knead away those nasty aches and pains.

Please understand that I am in no way suggesting that this is a cure-all solution for your problems or that this can and will replace conventional medicine altogether.  Do consult your doctor or health practitioner when you experience pain or discomfort so you can be given a more complete profile of your health status as well as all the treatment options for your condition. Taking into consideration the severity and urgency of your condition, choose the option or options that provide the most health benefits and the least risks.

Many natural treatments like reflexology can provide relief and holistic healing with minimal or no side effects, toxicity or cell damage. It also often works very well in tandem with other treatment modalities if you so choose to employ them.

I found a really helpful chart that maps out the areas of the hands and feet that are connected to the various organs throughout the body. If you are having some trouble in a particular organ or body part, look for the name of the afflicted part on the chart and run your mouse over the word to find out which part of hand or feet you should massage to relieve your symptoms.

Reflexology Hand Chart

Reflexology Foot Chart

Want to know more about Reflexology?