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Colon cancer prevention guide

Step 7. Slowdown physiological aging

Past a certain age, a person's appearance on the outside — supple skin, lustrous hair, strong nails, flawless teeth, healthy gums, lean girth, and a bouncy gait — mirrors the health of the body on the inside. Since colorectal cancer is primarily an age-onset condition, it affects people past fifty the most. Thus, slowing down your rate of physiological aging relative to your chronological age is one of the most effective forms of cancer prevention. In other words, the younger you look past fifty, the lower your chances of getting hit with any cancer, not just colorectal.

Let me reinforce what I have just said: the larger the spread between your actual age and your perceived age, then the healthier you are, and vice versa.

In other words, if your skin is free of wrinkles and liver spots, your hair isn't limp and dull, your nails aren't frayed and discolored, your teeth aren't rotten or gone, your gums aren't bleeding and receded, and your girth and gait haven't changed much from your youth, then your internals are just as supple and kink-free on the inside as the rest of your body is on the outside.

While healthy children, teenagers, and twenty-somethings all look equally young, estimating the age of older adults becomes harder and harder with each passing year. This is happening because the rates of physiological and chronological aging among different people past youthful bliss begin to spread considerably. Correspondingly, some people at 60 may look like they are in their late forties, while others at 40 look like they are already close to sixty.

The rate of your physiological aging reflects the combined impact of malnutrition and overnutrition on the one hand, and physical and mental abuse on the other. This means good nutrition alone isn't enough to slow down physiological aging. Here are the specifics:

Malnutrition. The causes and consequences of malnutrition and overnutrition are discussed throughout this site, and in my books. Unfortunately, most of my contemporaries are malnourished and over-nourished all at once.

Malnutrition results from a shortage of essential micronutrients, or inadequate assimilation, or both. It is a well-established fact, for example, that calcium, vitamin D, and folate deficiencies are risk factors for colorectal cancer. Reading this page is a good start to avoid malnutrition in the era of abundance: All That Goodness Gone To The Rats.

Overnutrition. Eating too much of anything has its consequences. This equally applies to excess carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, especially relative to your body requirements.

Countless armchair nutritionists, medical writers, and bona fide medical doctors advocate unrestrained consumption of protein and animal fat. This dubious advice emerged from the Atkins Diet. My critique of the Atkins Diet doesn't make me popular among the adherents of a low-carbs lifestyle, but given a choice between human physiology and human stupidity, I choose to stick with physiology. I discuss the errors behind Dr. Atkins approach in the Atkins Goes To South Beach chapter of Fiber Menace. If you had failed losing weight on the Atkins, South Beach, or similar diets, it explains why. 

The overconsumption of vegetable fats, carbohydrates, and fiber are squarely behind colorectal cancers. I cite numerous academic studies confirming this insidious connection in Chapter 10. 'Colon Cancer' of Fiber Menace.

Animal fat and cholesterol are essential nutrients, and, by themselves do not contribute either to weight gain (in moderation), or to the creation of plaque, or to heart disease. Low-fat diets, though, cause irregularity, large stools, and/or constipation for reasons enumerated here.

In terms of colorectal cancer, low-fat diets are exceptionally carcinogenic, because dietary fat is required for the assimilation of fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin D, and essential minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. Not surprisingly, a deficiency in vitamin D and calcium is implicated in colorectal cancer.

A low-cholesterol diet is also behind all digestive cancers, including colorectal. Gobs of cholesterol are required 24/7 to turnover cells that make up the intestinal mucosa. That is why a deficiency in dietary fat and cholesterol causes inflammatory bowel disease — the number one cause of colorectal cancer, and is also the reasoning behind the long-term carcinogenicity of statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs.) More on this subject is here: Cholesterol Reduction Hoax.

The overconsumption of proteins by itself isn't likely to cause any cancer, but if it leads to indigestion, then the byproducts of protein rotting become potent carcinogens.

The overconsumption of water contributes to malnutrition more than any other factor because it compromises gastric digestion and leaches out hard-to-replace minerals from the body. (I discuss water overconsumption in great depth in the Water Damage chapter of Fiber Menace.)

When people ask me  — Konstantin, what should I eat? — I refer them to Part III of Fiber Menace, Live to Eat, or Eat to Live? Both!  This is because a one-size-fit-all diet simply doesn't exist. The actual answer depends on your age, weight, gender, health, and other individual considerations. This is also why it took me 55 pages to address diet choices there. My general take on cancer-proof nutrition is discussed here: The Ingredients of Longevity Nutrition.

— Physical abuse. The primary contributors to accelerated wear-and-tear are overexposure to the sun, smoking, alcohol, professional sports, intense exercise, hard labor, and similar factors. All of these activities take a gradual toll on the immune and endocrine systems called upon to continuously patch up the on-going damage. Alas, this repair job is done at the expense of the cellular metabolism directed toward renewal. I consider alcoholism a form of physical abuse because alcohol isn't an essential nutrient.

Prescription drugs, particularly lifestyle medicines such as statins, antacids, sedatives, and blood pressure medicines are a form of physical abuse. While they may mask certain symptoms of malnutrition, overnutrition, stress, and other physical abuse, going forward they cause even more cumulative damage and aging than any other single factor. Since the resulting health and appearance changes are gradual, it's hard to spot their adverse effect until it is usually too late.

Mental abuse. The rate of mental abuse is a function of stress exposure — the more stress, the higher the rate of abuse. With all other things being equal, stress, external and internalized, determines a person‘s health and longevity just as assertively as nutrition and physical abuse. Low stress is one reason why various people in some awful environments and/or in terrible shape too, may outlive the Masters of the Universe. Interestingly, stress is lowest in environments with a well-developed family tradition, a strong religious bias, and minimal social mobility. Correspondingly, packets of longevity throughout the world are represented exactly in this type of habitat.

Besides plain luck, there are strong physiological reasons why peeling off layers of abuse extends one's longevity and offers strong cancer protection. Humans are programmed to live to 120 years not because mother nature literally meant for us to be around for that long, but because evolution endowed us with enormous reserves of strength and a safety margin intended to overcome the harsh realities of human existence.

This is why just a few generations ago a high-quality of life and longevity was attainable only by the sheltered wealthy. Status, power, and wealth spared upper classes from physical and mental abuse, military risk, exposure to the elements, malnutrition, infective disease related to poor sanitation and overcrowding, hard labor, and trauma.

Here is a good analogy with a far less complex object than human longevity. A large-block V-8 designed to cruise hours-on-end at highway speeds will always outlast and outrun a comparable state-of-the art V-4 revving alongside because eight cylinders run at a significantly lower temperature, require a considerably smaller compression rate, and less revolution cycles throughout the same lifespan.

So when people ask me, — Konstantin, what's the secret of youthful looks and practical longevity?  I invariably respond, — All other things being equal, run your overbuilt V-8 as if you are an under-built V-4. Treat it yourself with the TLC reserved for your beloved car — pour in knock-free gas, supply top-notch oil, keep tires properly inflated, park in a dry garage, seek out shade when parking outside, take time to warm-up the engine, drive around potholes, and keep a safe distance to avoid hard braking.

Since most people I come across treat their cars (carpets, furniture, lawns, credit rating) better than themselves, this must be a very simple concept to grasp. Imagine yourself bumping your car against the wall each time you park, skipping on good oil, or leaving it under the elements for years on end. In these conditions, it isn't going to enjoy showroom condition or retain value for too long, that is for sure! And neither will you...

Author's note

Are all of these steps enough to protect you 100% from colorectal cancer? Alas, considering any prior damage and the times we live in, they probably aren't. Still, this approach is good enough to enjoy a good quality of life, a decent shape, an intact mind, and last as long as humanly possible without becoming a burden to yourself or your loved ones. This is what my work is all about.

If you still want a full-proof warranty, pray to God, bargain with the Devil, or just hold your breath until the “war on cancer” is won “any day soon...”

Wishing you good looks, good luck, and good health!

Konstantin Monastyrsky