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diet, parasites and cancer

Cliff Monahan cmonahan at iamerica.net
Sat May 10 13:46:08 EST 1997

We are all in agreement that the herbalist hucksters have taken any potential link to a 
profitable extreme, but let's consider a moment that there may be some link -- not 
necessarily cause and effect -- between diet, parasites and cancer. Given that 
alterations in immune function can result in increased rates of infection or a decline 
in surveillance against tumors, the extreme being HIV infections leading to all sorts of 
sequelae, parasitic infections may be a signal that the immune response has flagged for 
some undetermined reason, and that tumor recognition may also be impaired. Diet may be a 
factor, and, hypothetically, parasites may have evolved a mechanism whereby they absorb 
or metabolize a critical cofactor needed by the immune system for a proper response and 
expulsion of the parasite. If the parasites could alter the immune response to 
themselves, tumor surveillance may be affected as well. If this critical cofactor was a 
dietary component, then supplementation beyond the metabolic capacity of the parasite 
burden may trigger an adequate response and expulsion of the parasites, perhaps 
resumption of tumor surveillance as well. Clearly, parasites are capable of lots wierder 
things in the host/parasite relationship, so let's not dismiss a potential link through 
a knee-jerk dislike of the herbalist fringe but consider it in a rational and scientific 
fashion. Ciao, Cliff

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