IP6 Inositol Hexaphosphate has been called a "natural cancer fighter" and proponents claim it slows or reverses the growth of various forms of cancer, including breast, colon, and prostate cancers. Considered to be a super antioxidant, IP6 Inositol blocks the action of free radicals and activates oxygen molecules that may cause damage to cells. It is thought that IP6 Inositol helps to prevent the abnormal signals that tell a cancer cell to keep growing from reaching the cell's nucleus. Research has demonstrated that IP6 slows abnormal cell division and may help transform tumor cells into healthy normal cells. Supporters of regular use of IP6 Inositol have reported benefits that include, effectively prevents kidney stones, reduction of high cholesterol, healthier heart, and prevention of liver disease. Most recently, some practitioners have witnessed the additional benefits of elevated mood, reduced stress and anxiety, as well as lifting bouts of mild depression.
IP6 Inositol hexaphosphate is a chemical present in whole foods such as beans, brown rice, corn, sesame seeds, wheat bran, and other high-fiber foods. When converted into compounds in the body it is used by cells to relay outside messages to the cell nucleus. IP6 also aids the body in its use, or metabolism, of calcium and other minerals.
The existence of IP6 has been known for several decades. Interest in its potential anti-cancer properties emerged in the mid-1980s when Abulkalam Shamsuddin, MD, PhD, a pathologist at the University of Maryland, began to conduct research studies on inositol in the lab. Having researched the processes of cancer formation, prevention and treatment since 1975, he was awarded the US patent #5,082,833 for a unique formula of IP6 and Inositol. He published a book on the subject in 1998. Dr. Shamsuddin and others continue to research the benefits of IP6 and Inositol Hexaphosphate.
In his book, "IP-6: Nature's Revolutionary Cancer Fighter", Dr. Shamsuddin describes the amazing results of his ground-breaking experiments of the past 15 years, as to how the B-vitamin inositol and its derivative IP6 Inositol Hexaphosphate prevent the formation of cancer cells and even shrink experimental pre-existing cancers. Dr. Shamsuddin mentions many other important health benefits of IP-6 and Inositol:
IP6 Inositol Proven to be Effective Against Prostate Cancer Cells
A recent study at the University of Colorado Cancer Center identified some of the mechanisms through which IP6 is effective. Previously, scientists had found that IP6 increased the activity of genes which control proteins in human prostate cancer cells lacking functional p53, the gene that provides much cancer protection. They sought to determine whether this increased activity plays a role in IP6's anti-tumor effect. They found that the two genes activated by IP6, p21 and p27, play a critical role in mediating the anticancer effectiveness of IP6. Following activation of the genes by IP6, they were able to halt tumor growth and promote the appropriate death of cells in a process known as apoptosis. This study was published in the February edition of Cancer Research.
In other research from the University of Colorado, the efficacy of IP6 against prostate tumor growth and progression was evalutated. Prostate cancer was induced in mice given either water containing IP6 or plain water. The researchers found that IP6 inhibited the progression of the cancer cells and strongly reduced the incidence of adenocarcinoma. This is of high significance because 95% of prostate cancers are adenocarcinomas, meaning the cancer has developed in the lining or inner surface of the gland.
The incidences of well-differentiated and poorly differentiated adenocarcinomas in the group fed IP6 were reduced by 44% and 62% respectively. Analysis of the prostate tissue showed a 3.5 fold increase in malignant cell death. This is considered to be a highly significant finding that establishes for the first time that oral IP6 actually suppresses prostate tumor growth and progression at the stage of abnormal or uncontrolled growth.
Whether from food or from therapeutic supplemental doses, IP6 works against cancer in several ways. Its ability to act as an intracellular messenger means that it is integral in many cellular activities including:
Enhancing Natural Killer Cell Activity and Normalizing the Rate of Cell Growth
Natural killer cells are white blood cells that help protect against infected or cancerous cells. Research has shown that the higher the amount of natural killer cell activity, the lower the incidence of some cancers. A healthy human produces 500 to 1000 cancer cells daily that need to be identified and disposed of by the body. Natural killer cells and natural cell programming result in the vast majority of these cells being destroyed and removed. However, when the body is under stress, including the stress produced by lack of sleep, natural killer cell population is compromised. When the body is under the ultimate stress of being forced to face a diagnosis of cancer and the terrifying toxic treatments that go with such a diagnosis, the natural killer cell population can be reduced at the time it is most needed. IP6 has been documented and proven to increase natural killer cells at such times.
Normalizing Cell Physiology
Because IP6 is able to restore aspects of normality to the cells, it is able to modulate how a cancer cell expresses itself and how threatening it will be. Experiments have shown that IP6 is able to normalize several aspects of cell physiology in spite of the fact that cancer cells have altered DNA. It was demonstrated in the above noted study that IP6 is able to alter gene expression to restore normality. The more a cell can return to its normal state, the more it loses its malignant characteristics.
Increasing Tumor Suppressor p53 gene Activity
DNA contains tumor suppressor genes that inhibit pathways and processes that allow cells to become malignant. The p53 gene acts as a control to prevent genetically damaged or cancerous cells from growing and propagating. If the p53 gene becomes damaged or compromised, cancers can establish themselves more easily. IP6 has been shown to greatly increase the amount of p53 gene activity, up to seventeen times. When augmented by IP6, even the toxic treatments offered by traditional medicine become more effective due to its ability to increase p53 gene activity.
Apoptosis is the orderly programmed process by which cells naturally die off. The process of apoptosis results in the removal of individual cells without affecting the surrounding cells. It is part of the growth and maintenance of healthy tissues. Cancerous cells do not want to die and are resistive to apoptosis. This is one mechanism of tumor formation. IP6 has been shown to restore cancerous cells to normality to the point where they are able to follow through with their programmed death.
Angiogenesis is the process by which tumors set up their own blood supply, to assure themselves of getting the nutrients necessary to grow. Once this blood supply is set up, tumor growth spirals as more growth leads to more blood supply creation. IP6 has been shown to inhibit this process, resulting in the starvation of cancer cells.
Powerfully Chelating Heavy Metal
Tumor cells use iron as a primary growth factor. According to researchers at Wake Forest University, iron chelators are of value in the treatment of cancer since they act by depleting iron and limiting tumor growth. IP6 binds with iron and escorts it from the body. Because IP6 is naturally found in all human cells, it has the ability to get inside tumor cells and remove their iron.
IP6 inhibits cancer cell migration and invasion by preventing the adhesion of these cells to extra-cellular matrix proteins. This limited adhesion is very important following surgery and biopsy, as these procedures can cause cancer cells to become dislodged. One reason so many breast cancer patients have lymph nodes containing cancer cells is that the squeezing of the breast by the mammography used in diagnosis can dislodge cancer cells which then migrate to the lymph nodes.
Reducing and Inhibiting Inflammation
One key indicator used in predicting the survival rate for a cancer patient is the level of systemic inflammation. Inflammation is like a fire going on in the body that will destroy it if not stopped. IP6 helps stop inflammation through chemical messages that halt the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Blocking Free Radical Production
IP6 acts as an antioxidant in the body. Antioxidants are known to protect against disease states and aging in general. Antioxidants bind with free radicals rendering them harmless. In their free state, these radicals can damage DNA and leave cells susceptible to mutations that can result in the production of cancerous cells. IP6 is significantly more potent as an antioxidant than green tea.
Populations with Diets Rich in IP6 have Lower Incidence of Cancers
Dr. Shamsuddin's studies have shown that tumor regression takes place in people using 8 grams of IP6 daily for three to four weeks. This is the amount that would be found in 12 ounces of whole kernel corn. One of his studies found that after two weeks the tumors of mice treated three times a week with IP6 were 96 percent smaller than the tumors of mice that did not receive IP6. Populations with diets high in IP6 have lower incidences of cancers of the breast, colon and prostate. Dr. Shamsuddin's laboratory experiments with IP6 have been reproduced and extended by scientists around the world, reconfirming his amazing findings. This study is from Acta Poloniae Pharmaceutica, November through December, 2008.
IP6 is more than a cancer treatment
In addition to the anti-cancer benefits of IP6, research is revealing its benefits in treating diabetes, depression, osteoporosis, heart disease, and kidney stones. It has recently been shown to help Parkinson's patients because of its ability to chelate excess iron and thereby reduce oxidative stress that results in neuronal degradation.
Many healthcare professionals and naturopaths recommend IP6 Inositol as a standard alternative treatment to be used alongside other treatments for active cancer. For people with a high risk of cancer or who have had cancer and want to prevent a recurrence, IP6 Inositol is also consistently recommended. Everyday more traditional physicians are becoming aware of the benefits of IP6 Inositol and including it in their protocols.
Information used in this article was obtained from the American Cancer Society, www.cancer.org
Vucenik I, Shamsuddin AM. Cancer inhibition by inositol hexaphosphate (IP6) and inositol: From laboratory to clinic. J Nutr. 2003;133:3778S-3784S.