How some people manage to beat the odds

“What’s the secret?” Is a question you often hear when it comes to statistical outliers, especially with people who somehow beat the odds and live much longer than we expect them to. I’m not going to hold an entire treatise here about how to live forever. We don’t have all the pieces to that puzzle yet and what kills most of the supercentenarians (generally an accumulation of protein clutter) is different from what kills most of us. I want to discuss instead what happens to people who have a disease that is seen as uncureable.

Before the industrial revolution, most of us died of infectious disease. These days that’s rare. If you’re an average normal person in Western civilization, born without severe hereditary conditions and able to survive the problems that kill otherwise healthy adults (accidents, mental disorders, suicides and drug overdoses), you’ll die on average in your eighties.

What kills such normal people? That depends on how they live. If they made bad lifestyle decisions, they’re likely to die somewhat ahead of that curve. They could die of type two diabetes complications, of atherosclerosis, or certain forms of cancer. However, if you follow relatively simple common sense health advice, that’s unlikely to happen to you. If you don’t smoke, exercise regularly, watch your weight, eat little meat or processed carbohydrates but plenty of vegetables, you can generally dodge these big killers. You’re unlikely to get diabetes, atherosclerosis and many forms of cancer.

If you’re one of those people who passes these first hurdles, you’ll generally live long enough to encounter the next hurdle: Certain forms of cancer that are difficult to prevent become very common in the old, dementia becomes a big problem and the decline in the immune system makes you susceptible to influenza and other kinds of infectious disease. If you make it through those hurdles and become a centenarian, cancer actually becomes rare. The big problem now becomes something known as transthyretin amyloidosis.

In my father’s case, he essentially got in trouble with the first series of big hurdles: The lifestyle diseases. Prostate cancer used to be very rare in Japan, prostate cancer deaths were a fraction of their prevalence in Western nations today. In China and India, prostate cancer was very rare in elderly men too as a cause of death. This is primarily due to a number of lifestyle factors: They had physically active lives, ate little red meat and dairy, ate a lot of soy, a lot of vegetables and a lot of fruit. In the Japanese in particular, high intake of iodine from seafood and high intake of vitamin K2 from Natto seems to play an important role too.

With a problem like this, its easiest to address when you address it early. If you’ve lived a healthy lifestyle throughout most of your life, prostate cancer is not one of the main risks you’ll face unless you’re highly unlucky. If you do get prostate cancer, the question becomes whether it’s caught early or caught late. If it’s caught early, it can generally be well addressed with relatively mild interventions. They generally won’t “cure” it, but it will progress so slowly that you live long enough to be killed by something else. In my father’s case, it was discovered late. In that case, the only real option mainstream medicine has to offer to you is a chemical cocktail that will hopefully harm the cancer cells more than it harms your own body. They don’t expect to cure the disease, they merely expect they’ll buy you some time.

Of course the patients generally don’t wish to buy themselves some time, they want to be cured. My father is no exception. With situations like these, “curing” someone becomes increasingly difficult as the disease progresses further. You sometimes hear about “miracle recoveries”, people who had a disease that was supposed to slowly kill them, who manage to make a miraculous recovery.

When we hear about “miracle recoveries”, we want to know what the “miracle cure” might be. However, that’s where the first mistake slips in. In most cases where people seemingly miraculously beat the odds, they’re not doing one thing right that everyone else is doing wrong: They’re doing multiple things right that everyone else does wrong.

This makes perfect sense when you think about it. If you’re a doctor with a patient who is dying of heart failure, you tell him he has three months left and he shows up again a year later and tells you he’s feeling fine because he took coenzyme Q10, you’d write a case study about your patient and if others report the same thing eventually you’d start giving all your patients coenzyme Q10.

If on the other hand, your patient tells you that he took a dozen different supplements, went on an ayahuasca retreat, practiced acupuncture and meditation, then you don’t know what to think about it, because you consider half his choices to be bullshit that you can’t recommend to your patients. If you’re a doctor faced with that situation, you’d probably decide to put it out of your head.

That’s what happened to a Dutch man known as “pilly willy”, who suffered heart failure. He was the only one out of 132 patients in his hospital, who recovered from cardiomyopathy. How did he accomplish that? He explains his procedure here. He recommends starting out with four different supplements simultaneously, then gradually adding more supplements, until you’re taking about a dozen supplements daily. With a lot of these supplements there’s good evidence that they’re beneficial.

Of course, that’s not how normal people tend to react to a disease. What you tend to hear instead is that people realize the mainstream medical system can’t help them, so they look for alternatives. They find out about some treatment online, try it for a while, realize they’re still in decline (though probably slightly slower than they would be without that particular solution), give up on that treatment and move on to the next treatment. Eventually after trying a number of alternative treatments, they end up dying. Other people then hear about their situation and think to themselves “see, there’s nothing out there that works”.

With cancer, it’s somewhat the same. There is no “miracle herb” out there, that will cure cancer that modern medicine never found out about or tries to suppress. Instead, there are a number of natural solutions, that are all able to help reign in the disease. If something like Cannabidiol was really a miracle cure for cancer, it would be impossible for modern medicine to suppress. Instead, the reality is more as following: Most patients who take Cannabidiol for a long time, decline slower than patients who don’t take cannabidiol. There may be people for whom it works exceptionally well, but for most people it simply slows down the decline.

That doesn’t mean you should ignore cannabidiol. Instead, it needs to be recognized as being part of a broad arsenal that’s necessary to reign in the disease. My father has now bought cannabidiol, but I am beginning to think that a good hypothetical procedure for metastatic prostate cancer would probably involve a combination of some of the following treatments:

-Cannabidiol, 20 milligram daily, three days in a row, followed by three days without cannabidiol, as explained here.

-High dose vitamin K2, menaquinone-7, administered daily, in accordance to this study. I do not know what the ideal dose would be, but 180 mcg per day is commonly given to study subjects. An alternative that may work is vitamin K3 combined with high dose vitamin C, as shown in this study.

-Vitamin D is generally associated with better outcome of chemotherapy. Cancer is primarily a consequence of the fact that aging leads to a decline in the effectiveness of the immune system, the accumulation of genetic damage is not the main cause of the rise in cancer with age. This decline in the immune system makes it difficult for the body to remove dangerous pre-cancerous cells. With high levels of vitamin D, the patient’s immune system is better capable of fighting the cancer cells.

– Perhaps high dose iodine supplementation, in accordance to this study.

-There’s evidence that Amanita Phalloides, a deadly mushroom, works against cancer. It’s been used on a number of prostate cancer patients now, in small sub-lethal doses. These patients were treated with Amanita Phalloides alone, they received no other treatment. Important to note is that simultaneously giving melatonin seemed to make the treatment fail. The most effective treatment seems to be a conjugate of alpha-amatin, the active substance in this mushroom, bound to an antibody that binds to a prostate cancer antigen. This is only used in experimental studies in mice, I suspect that I have no method available to acquire such a substance.

-Get rid of all red meat and dairy from the diet.

-Take white button mushroom extract daily.

-Periods of fasting may make the tumor cells more vulnerable too, because tumor cells tend to use a different form of metabolism due to defective mitochondria. Periods without carbohydrate starve the tumor cells of nutrients. Intermittent fasting can work for this purpose, but a ketogenic diet can accomplish the same purpose.

-There’s reason to believe that Ayahuasca works against cancer. Both the harmala’s from the Banisteriopsis vine and the sigma1-agonist effects from the DMT are known to be effective against cancer. It’s likely that the combination of these two plants has some sort of synergistic effect. I get the impression from the few case studies that have been done, that multiple treatments with Ayahuasca can lead to a successive decline in the tumor, you shouldn’t expect that one single treatment with Ayahuasca makes the difference on its own. As an example, Donald Topping took Ayahuasca four times after his diagnosis, which seems to have lead to remission.

-Chemotherapy and hormone deprivation therapy, as offered by mainstream medicine, can help reduce the cancer. The problem is that on their own, these therapies won’t cure the patient and both of these therapies have significant harmful side effects. Multiple forms of chemotherapy administered simultaneously might be more effective against cancer, but the problem that leaves you with is that the assault on the healthy cells in the body is much worse too, the patient would be suffering from multiple kinds of side-effects.

My personal belief based on the evidence I have read is that a simultaneous combination of some of the above therapies given to a large group of patients with metastatic prostate cancer would lead to results that we would consider much more effective than the results that we are currently familiar with. That’s not what we do however, because it’s not how our society functions and it’s not how human psychology functions.

Imagine for a moment that you were a regular person afflicted with this terrible disease. Would you do what your doctor recommends, or would you seek out an alternative treatment with small amounts of a deadly mushroom? You probably choose the prior, but if that doesn’t work you may eventually end up becoming desperate and choosing the alternative treatment. At that point the disease is already much further advanced and treating the disease has become more difficult.

The thing to understand is that although most alternative treatments on their own may not be as effective as chemotherapy, most alternative treatments do have something in common that chemotherapy doesn’t have: They generally don’t cause severe harmful side-effects. As a consequence, you can use multiple of these treatments simultaneously, which is generally not an option with chemotherapy.

To make a long story short, I want to offer the following idea to consider, to people who are seeking out alternative treatments for a disease: Don’t make the mistake of trying one thing and moving onto another thing when the prior doesn’t seem to work. Your chances of success seem much higher if you try multiple treatments simultaneously.

I should also point out some limitations to the prior suggestions. The scenario can’t be excluded where some alternative treatments might interfere with each other. Generally speaking, that doesn’t seem to be the case. With cannabidiol for example, it’s consistently found that cannabidiol makes the cancer cells more vulnerable to chemotherapy. Similarly, fasting seems to make the cells more vulnerable to chemotherapy.

When looking at alternative options like these, you also need to be asking yourself, why a particular aspect of the treatment is chosen. You can only get a good image of how different therapies would interact with each other, if you have an understanding of the mechanisms behind these therapies. As an example, although anti-oxidants are generally healthy for us, taking them while you’re taking a therapy that works by inducing oxidative stress in cancer cells may make that therapy less effective.

For the sake of completeness, I don’t want to leave the impression that I’m offering qualified medical advice here to people. Instead, I am simply offering a series of ideas that I wish people would look into on their own initiative. As an example, I’m curious how a treatment protocol of high dose vitamin K2 might interact with a treatment based on small amounts of Amanita Phalloides. Is the result greater than the sum of the parts?

My personal hope is that my father can soon try a combination of some of the above treatment options. If such treatments are genuinely effective when taken together, then you could eventually reach a point where the cancer cells have dwindled so far in number that the prostate cancer is no longer a genuine threat to his health. It’s generally argued that more men die with prostate cancer than without, the disease is simply growing so slowly in many that it’s not an acutely relevant health threat.

I will admit that I don’t expect a miracle. I don’t consider it likely that I am somehow going to independently solve a puzzle that numerous smart people have been working on for decades now without booking consistent success. However, all the evidence shows that alternative supplementary treatments can improve your survival chances and my father very much wants to be cured of this disease, so my intention is to recommend to my parents that we have to look into a simultaneous combination of some of the different treatments that I have listed earlier.

I have to point something else out too. Just because there are alternative treatment options that work, doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot of bullshit out there too. There are people online claiming that baking soda cures cancer. There are some of such really obvious forms of nonsense out there, but there are also options that do seem credible at first sight but actually don’t genuinely work. An alternative treatment can work better than the mainstream treatment, but the opposite is possible too. Some people seeking out alternative treatments to cancer end up dying, whereas they would have lived if they hadn’t.

Another problem I face is that a combination of these kinds of therapies can be a lot to ask of someone who is sick. I will have to find out what my father wants to try. I do feel an obligation to explain to my parents the different options that are out there, but then it is up to them to decide what they are willing to take into consideration.

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