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  • Writer's pictureDr. Karen F. Miller

Quarantine 15? Pre-cancer? Cancer? Are they connected?

In a word, yes. I don't have any hard data from a study but I'm seeing a lot of people gaining weight during the pandemic, getting dysplasia (pre-cancer of the cervix) and cancer.

I suspect the common factor is stress. Even when we don't 'feel' stress, it is present whenever we face difficult situations and especially when we experience a loss of control.

None of us has any control over this pandemic situation.

We do what we can to prevent getting Covid but at the end of the day it is how we manage our stress and support our immune systems that will determine whether we get sick or not. And stress does impair our immune function so stress management is key to an immune support strategy.

A dysfunctional adrenal gland (from unmanaged stress) will also hinder our ability to maintain our weight and fight off opportunistic infections (HPV in the case of cervical dysplasia) and cancerous growth.

So the first thing to do if you are facing any of these situations is to design a stress management strategy that works for you.

I frequently do adrenal testing as well to see if adrenal support should be part of the therapeutic plan. Do not treat your adrenal without working with a practitioner who does testing. If your adrenal is over-performing and you take a supplement that increases adrenal function you may make the situation worse. A test can determine if your adrenal gland is over or underperforming.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but caffeine impairs your adrenal function, so limiting caffeine intake is a key way to improve adrenal and immune function.

The second strategy should be to reduce the amount of stress that your body is experiencing from poor nutrition, chemicals and pesticides in your food, toxic chemicals in your home environment (now that we are spending so much time in our homes), toxins in your water and toxic substances in your personal care products (soap, shampoo, lotion, toothpaste, etc) and stress to your liver from pharmaceuticals, alcohol and cigarette smoking (also toxic to your lungs and promotes HPV proliferation).

One way to dramatically reduce toxins coming in to your body is to eat organic fruits and vegetables. Toxins are stored in our fat which means animal fat (dairy, red meat, pork) is high in toxins. If you are trying to reduce stress and improve your immune function, an organic plant-based diet is the best way to achieve your goal.

Nutritionists recommend a 'rainbow' of colors in your diet as the colors in fruits and vegetables are protective to the plants and when we consume those protective phytonutrients they protect our cells from conditions that make us susceptible to diseases.

It is also wise to eat lots of cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts because these improve our detoxification of hormones and hormone-like chemicals from our environment which can damage our cells and lead to an increased risk of cancer.

Even the best diet doesn't have all of the levels of phytonutrients that we need so I also recommend a good multivitamin like the Phytomulti from Metagenics. Other supportive supplements that can help improve immune function and help prevent cancer include fish oil (high in omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA - at least 1000mg of EPA + DHA daily), vitamin D3 (get your levels checked but most people need a minimum of 2000-4000IU daily), a quality probiotic, green tea extract (150-300mg a day) and vitamin C (minimum 1000mg a day). Check here to purchase.

For additional support in preventing dysplasia, eat foods with lots of folate - lentils, pinto beans, chickpeas, organic grass-fed beef liver, asparagus, spinach, Brussels sprouts - (and take the Phytomulti) and stop all exposure to cigarette smoke. If you already have atypical cells or dysplasia, contact me to get a personalized plan to help reverse the process that is allowing the HPV virus to cause cellular changes.

Other lifestyle practices to promote healthy cells and reduce your chances of everything from unwanted weight gain to cancer are to hydrate (drink filtered water - 1/2 your body weight in ounces - so if you weigh 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces daily), get movement every day and get quality sleep.

I would also add to these keeping a positive attitude even in the face of adversity. One strategy for this is to count your blessings daily.


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