Naturopathic integrative cancer therapy utilizes macro and micro nutrients in the fight against cancer. Copper is an essential trace element needed for many human biological processes. It has been shown that there are high copper levels in cancer tissue, and that it plays a role in inflammation and tumor growth. Cancer growth relies on the formation of new blood vessels to supply nutrients. Copper is essential for that growth. Therefore, the lowering of copper levels or “copper chelation” can help to decrease tumor growth, the risk of metastasis and the risk of recurrences.
Your Naturopathic Doctor would order a blood test, ceruloplasmin, to determine copper concentration in the body. If the levels are elevated or near the higher end of normal, the Naturopathic Doctor should act to decrease copper levels and mitigate risks. A balance needs to be achieved, as decreasing copper levels too much can cause anemia and a decrease in white blood cells.
Dietary advice and protocols are an integral part of naturopathic integrative cancer treatment. A low copper diet is essential if the levels are elevated. Some foods high in copper are sesame seeds, cocoa, sunflower seeds, liver, potatoes, lentils, molasses and almonds. It is also important to use reverse osmosis water to remove the copper. Naturopaths may recommend supplements that are helpful in reducing copper, if the levels do not decrease with diet alone.
Naturopathic Doctor in Calgary, Dr. Jennifer Nardella is a Fellow in Integrative Cancer Therapies.