In this blog post, we will explore what carcinogens (cancer-causing substances), the different types of carcinogens, and how they can cause cancer or increase the risk of cancer, Understand Ayurveda and its Principles – How Ayurveda Helps in Choosing an Anti-carcinogenic Lifestyle and the Importance of Food and Therapies in Ayurveda for Preventing cancer
Cancer is the number one killer worldwide a disease that affects millions of people around the world every year. It is a complex disease that can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetic predisposition, environmental factors, and exposure to carcinogens.
What are Carcinogens?
Carcinogens (pronounced “kahr-sin-o-jens”) are substances that may increase the risk of developing cancer. Experts have identified more than 100 carcinogens. They can be found in the environment, in the workplace, and consumer products. Carcinogens can be classified into different categories, including chemical carcinogens, physical carcinogens, and biological carcinogens.
Types of carcinogens
There are many different types of carcinogens, and they can be found in a wide range of substances. The IARC classifies carcinogens into three categories.
Chemical carcinogens: Chemical carcinogens are substances that can cause cancer when they are inhaled, ingested, or come into contact with the skin. Some common chemical carcinogens include:
- Tobacco smoke
- Drinks or beverages containing alcohol
- Aflatoxin (a type of fungus that contaminates food)
- Arsenic (appears naturally in the air, water and soil)
Physical carcinogens: Physical carcinogens include ultraviolet radiation from the sun and ionizing radiation from sources such as X-rays and radioactive materials.
Biological carcinogens: Biological carcinogens include infections from certain viruses, bacteria or parasites such as human papillomavirus (HPV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV), which can cause cervical and liver cancer, respectively.
How carcinogens can cause cancer or increase the risk of cancer?
Carcinogens can cause cancer or increase the risk of cancer through a variety of mechanisms.
- Chemical carcinogens can damage the DNA in cells, leading to mutations that can cause the cells to grow uncontrollably and form tumours.
- Physical carcinogens can also cause DNA damage, as well as other types of cellular damage that can lead to cancer.
Biological carcinogens can cause cancer by infecting cells and disrupting their normal functions, leading to uncontrolled growth and tumour formation.
In addition to directly causing cancer, carcinogens can also increase the risk of cancer by promoting the growth of existing tumours or making cells more susceptible to the effects of other carcinogens. For example, tobacco smoke contains a variety of carcinogens that can damage the cells in the lungs and make them more susceptible to the effects of other carcinogens, such as asbestos.
How would I come into contact with a carcinogen?
You might be exposed to a carcinogen if:
- You engage in certain lifestyle behaviours such as using tobacco.
- You spend time in a workplace where carcinogenic chemicals are used in the production of goods.
- You have certain viruses, such as human papillomavirus (HPV), which can lead to cancer.
However, mere exposure to a carcinogen does not guarantee the development of cancer. Factors that can increase the risk of cancer include:
- Prolonged exposure to a carcinogen: For example, people who use tobacco for many years or are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke are at a higher risk of developing cancer compared to those who have never used tobacco, have quit, or avoid second-hand smoke.
- Significant exposure to a carcinogen: Consuming large quantities of alcoholic beverages increases the risk of cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, men should limit their alcohol intake to two drinks per day, while women should limit their intake to one drink per day.
- Genetic (inherited) mutations: Approximately 5% to 12% of cancers are inherited, meaning individuals are born with genetic mutations that predispose them to cancer. Those with inherited cancer and exposure to carcinogens have an elevated risk of developing cancer.\
Understanding Ayurveda and its Principles On Carcinogens
Ayurveda, which translates to “the science of life,” is based on the belief that the body is interconnected with the environment and the universe. According to Ayurvedic principles, each person has a unique combination of three doshas, or energies, known as Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. These doshas govern various bodily functions and are responsible for maintaining balance and harmony within the body.
According to Ayurveda, an improper diet & lifestyle, and exposure to toxic elements in the environment lead to Aam (toxin) formation in the body and disturb the Agni and vitiates the Tridoshas (especially Pitta). Agni or Pitta, which is present in every cell, is responsible for digestion and metabolism in the human body. The decrease in Agni is inversely proportional to the related tissue and therefore forms arbuda (tumour). The decreased state of Dhatwagni (deranged metabolism) will result in excessive tissue growth. Vata can be correlated with the anabolic phase of growth whereas Kapha is to the catabolic phase. Cancer originates due to a metabolic crisis, i.e. aggravation of Vata forces and suppression of Kapha forces, both interacting with one another resulting in proliferation which leads to cancer.
In Ayurveda, health is defined as a state of balance between the doshas, while disease is seen as an imbalance or disruption of these energies. By understanding a person’s unique dosha constitution, Ayurvedic practitioners can recommend personalized treatments and lifestyle modifications to restore balance and promote overall well-being.
How Ayurveda Helps in Choosing an Anti-carcinogenic Lifestyle
Ayurveda emphasizes the importance of prevention and maintaining a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of diseases, including cancer. By following the principles of Ayurveda, individuals can make informed choices that support their overall health and well-being.
One of the key principles of Ayurveda is the concept of Ahara or diet. According to Ayurvedic teachings, food plays a crucial role in maintaining health and preventing diseases. Ayurveda recommends a diet that is tailored to an individual’s dosha constitution, as well as the season and their current state of health. By consuming a balanced and nourishing diet, individuals can support their immune systems and reduce the risk of developing cancer.
In addition to diet, Ayurveda also emphasizes the importance of Dinacharya, or daily routines, and Ritucharya, or seasonal routines, in maintaining overall health. By following a daily and seasonal routine that is in harmony with their dosha constitution, individuals can promote balance and well-being, which can help reduce the risk of cancer.
The Importance of Food and Therapies in Ayurveda for Preventing Cancer
Ayurveda offers a wide range of therapies and treatments that can support the body’s natural ability to prevent and fight cancer. These therapies are aimed at restoring balance within the body and strengthening the immune system, which is crucial in preventing the development and progression of cancer.
One of the key therapies in Ayurveda for preventing cancer is Panchakarma, a detoxification and rejuvenation treatment that helps to remove toxins from the body and restore balance to the doshas. Panchakarma treatments can help to strengthen the immune system, improve digestion, and promote overall well-being, which can reduce the risk of cancer.
In addition to Panchakarma, Ayurveda also offers a range of herbal remedies and dietary supplements that can support the body’s natural defences against cancer. These remedies are tailored to an individual’s dosha constitution and can help to strengthen the immune system and reduce inflammation, which are key factors in preventing cancer.
Furthermore, Ayurveda also emphasizes the importance of mental and emotional well-being in preventing cancer. By addressing stress and promoting mental clarity and emotional balance, Ayurvedic therapies can help to reduce the risk of cancer and support overall health and well-being.
Go Anti-Carcinogens by following Ayurveda Lifestyle:
In today’s world, we are constantly exposed to various harmful substances that can have detrimental effects on our health. Carcinogens, in particular, are substances that have been linked to an increased risk of cancer. These can be found in everyday products and activities, making it important for us to take steps to go carcinogens-free in our daily lives. Explore the benefits of going carcinogens-free, how to do so, and ways to prevent the addition of carcinogens in your life and for your babies.
Benefits of going carcinogens-free:
1. Reduced risk of cancer: By eliminating or reducing your exposure to carcinogens, you can lower your risk of developing cancer. This is especially important for individuals who have a family history of cancer or other risk factors.
2. Improved overall health: Carcinogens can have negative effects on various organs and systems in the body. By avoiding these substances, you can improve your overall health and well-being.
3. Environmental benefits: Many carcinogens are also harmful to the environment. By going carcinogens-free, you can help reduce pollution and protect the planet.
How to go carcinogens-free in daily life:
1. Choose organic produce: Many pesticides and herbicides used in conventional farming contain carcinogens. By opting for organic fruits and vegetables, you can reduce your exposure to these harmful substances.
2. Use natural cleaning products: Many household cleaning products contain carcinogens such as formaldehyde and benzene. Look for natural alternatives or make your own cleaning products using ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils.
3. Avoid processed and charred foods: Processed meats and foods that have been charred or blackened during cooking can contain carcinogens. Opt for fresh, whole foods and use gentler cooking methods like steaming and baking.
4. Check product labels: When purchasing personal care products, look for those that are free of parabens, phthalates, and other harmful chemicals. Many companies now offer carcinogen-free options for items such as shampoo, lotion, and sunscreen.
Preventing the addition of carcinogens in your life and for your babies:
1. Breastfeeding: Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for infants and can help protect them from exposure to carcinogens found in formula.
2. Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke: Cigarette smoke contains numerous carcinogens. If you smoke, consider quitting, and avoid exposure to secondhand smoke as much as possible.
3. Choose natural materials: When purchasing items for your baby, such as clothing, bedding, and toys, opt for natural materials like organic cotton and wood to avoid exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.
4. Be mindful of household products: Many common household items, such as furniture, mattresses, and carpets, can contain carcinogens. Look for products that are labelled as low-VOC (volatile organic compound) or formaldehyde-free.
Ayurveda can complement allopathy treatment for cancer by providing supportive therapies that can help cancer patients manage the side effects of traditional cancer treatments and improve their overall well-being.
Ayushakti Ayurved offers personalized anti-carcinogenic lifestyle and treatment plans that are tailored to each patient, providing them with the support and guidance they need to navigate their cancer journey. If you are interested in exploring Ayurveda as a complementary therapy for cancer, consider booking an appointment with Ayushakti Ayurved to receive personalized care and support.
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Blog Author: Dr Rajeshree Mehta
Expert Review: Dr Smita Pankaj Naram
Co-Founder, Ayushakti Ayurved Pvt Ltd
Disclaimer: This blog is for educational purposes only. Please consult an Ayurvedic practitioner before trying or consuming any medicines, home remedies or treatments mentioned in this blog. The information provided is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]