It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is a topic that’s near and dear to my heart because breast cancer runs in my family—not only am I a nutrition therapy counselor, but I’m also a patient.
I believe I would have had a very high likelihood of getting breast cancer had I not learned about my own biochemical imbalances along with the help of my guest today, Dr. Albert Mensah.
There is so much confusion about the underlying causes of breast cancer. Genetic and epigenetic factors that contribute to breast cancer are key, so in today’s episode, we are going to expand on the conversion that we started in Episode 03 with Dr. Mensah and Episode 10 with Dr. Bowman by going deep into uncovering two major factors that contribute to susceptibility—undermethylation and copper toxicity.
Dr. Mensah is the co-founder of Mensah Medical in Warrenville, Illinois, a clinic that specializes in the treatment of biochemical imbalances and the cognitive and physical disorders caused by those imbalances. Since 2005. Dr. Mensah has treated over 30,000 patients using all-natural non-pharmaceutical targeted nutrient therapy and is a world-renowned leader in orthomolecular medicine.
In this episode, we discuss:
- The role methylation plays in cancer development
- How all forms of folic acid create cell division and are pro-cancer agents
- How copper toxicity and its relationship to estrogen increases cancer risk
- The supportive role nutrient therapy plays during radiation and chemotherapy treatments
Listen to the podcast here:
Within the below transcript, the bolded text is Samantha Gilbert and the regular text is Dr. Albert Mensah.
Breast Cancer And The Truth About Folic Acid In Cell Division With Dr. Albert Mensah
In this special episode, Dr. Albert Mensah and I talk about the genetic and epigenetic factors that contribute to the development of breast cancer, such as methylation and copper toxicity, as well as the role all forms of folate play in cell division. Dr. Mensah is the co-founder of Mensah Medical in Warrenville, Illinois, a clinic that specializes in the treatment of biochemical imbalances and the cognitive and physical disorders caused by those imbalances.
Since 2005, Dr. Mensah has treated over 30,000 patients using all-natural non-pharmaceutical targeted nutrient therapy. His practice focuses on the management and treatment of cognitive disorders, such as autism, behavior and learning disorders, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, anxiety, syndromes, childhood and adult schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease, as well as family medicine. Dr. Mensah regularly presents at international conferences, trains physicians, and advanced nutrient therapy techniques, and is Board Certified in Integrated Pediatrics by the American Association of Integrative Medicine.
Thank you for joining me, Dr. Mensah. It’s always a pleasure to have you. I’m excited to dive into this topic.
Absolutely, Samantha. Thanks for having me.
It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month and this topic is near and dear to both of our hearts. For me, because breast cancer runs in my family, and for you, with the loss of two close colleagues to breast cancer. We also see a lot of confusion around susceptibility as well as genetic and epigenetic factors that contribute to these types of cancers.
Breast Cancer, Undermethylation, Copper Toxicity, and Folic Acid
Two factors that we are going to explore are undermethylation and copper toxicity. Let’s start with undermethylation. If you’ve never heard of undermethylation, please see episode three. In that episode, Dr. Mensah and I go into great detail about this condition. Dr. Mensah, I’d love it if you would start us off with a look at one of the most powerful elements in cell division that has been used for years in food fortification and supplements and how it’s a pro-cancer agent.
You’re talking about folic acid.
We’re going to start with that big one.
There’s been so much misunderstanding about folic acid and tremendous understanding about folic acid. First of all, folic acid is not a bad element. It is one that has to be well understood, however, it is a powerful creature. What we did not understand in our immortal wisdom as physicians in science is that a little bit is fine. It doesn’t mean that a lot of it is good and without consequence. What we did not know back in the days when we were making recommendations around folic acid use is that folic acid affects the area outside of what we call the nucleus of the cell.
Imagine the nucleus as the control center, where all the important information, secret logs, and databases are. It’s like the inner circle of control in the government location. That’s the nucleus of the cell. It’s where all the active DNA is. Outside of the nucleus of the cell, that’s the rest of the city and country. Everybody goes about their business. It’s no big deal.
Outside of the cell, folic acid is a very powerful methyl-donating agent. It’s a great contributor to a good regulatory molecule we call methyl. However, it acts like a double agent. Once it donates methyl in the cytoplasm where everybody else hangs out, it then goes into the nucleus of the cell, the control center, and it removes ten times as much methyl as it ever donated. This is a critical place where it is removing that methyl.
Remember, methyl is regulatory. Meaning it’s like a switch. It turns on and turns off DNA, enzymes, hormones, and neurotransmitters. For those of you who ordered neurotransmitter testing, you think you’re fine, it doesn’t mean a whole heck of a lot, quite honestly, if you don’t know what your methylation status is.
That’s like saying you got a box from Amazon with your favorite electronic device in there, but you haven’t checked to see if there are any batteries. Methyl is the battery that activates. Methyl is the battery that allows you to turn on and off and regulate the entire system. Folic acid in the nucleus of the cell where your DNA is can remove methyl and a lot of it. It does not behoove us to take high dosages of folic acid.
The other piece is that folic acid is necessary for cell division. When you’ve got a cell, it can’t separate and multiply without having appropriate levels of folic acid, and that’s wonderful. That’s how we all grow. That’s how babies are developed and so forth. The problem is when we’re talking about cancer. Cancer is uncontrolled cell division. If you take lots of folic acid, what you’re doing is you’re feeding cancer growth. You’re not inhibiting it. You’re feeding it.
Some of you may be shocked to know this because recommendations are coming from all of our wonderful doctors. Part of the problem is that sometimes as physicians, we get so used to doing things that we forget some of the inner consequences and inner workings of the very elements we’ve been using every day. We think, “Let’s eat lots of dark green leafy vegetables and get a great diet going because that’s going to provide us with beautiful antioxidants to fight cancer,” and then what we’re not realizing is that all those dark green leafy vegetables are high in folic acid (folate).
They may be promoting cancer growth as opposed to the antioxidants, which deal with free radical destruction. That’s a different story. We may not be doing ourselves a great benefit with folic acid and high vegetable (folate-based) diets when we’ve got cancer issues going on. We may be complicating the problem. In other words, we may be fighting against the fight against cancer when we do that.
Thank you for that. That’s a wonderful way to start us off and speak into how one-size fits all protocols do not work and we’re still seeing a lot of that, especially in the area of cancer. Most of the time, what’s being promoted are plant-based diets because meat is supposedly “bad.” The oils are “bad.” You need to get rid of all of that stuff and focus on plants.
There’s this myth that’s going around and has been going around for quite some time that naturally occurring folate from our wonderful whole foods are fine to consume. It’s the synthetic folic acid that we need to stay away from because that’s the bad guy. We know that over time, all forms of folate, whether it be folic acid, folinic acid, or methylated folate, and the folate that we get in our wonderful whole foods, over time strip methyl at the level of DNA, as you described.
Breast Cancer and Methylation
I love starting us off with this conversation because this is a myth that’s hurting a lot of people. Since we’re talking about breast cancer and this is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, what is a woman’s methylation status? I want to park the car around this topic of methylation. We talked about this before in episode three. If we’re going to take a little detour and go into the supplementation route, methylated folate is something that has been very popular. We’ve dived into this before, but it doesn’t work the way that people think it does. I’d love for you to explain how it works.
The real question is, does it work? For most people, it doesn’t. Let me explain this. I’m not saying that you absolutely derive no benefit or a feeling with regard to this particular product, but the problem is that it’s a temporary indulgence. It’s not even a fix. You go out and spend whatever it is you spend on that bottle. Please understand me. Right now, there’s a great deal of misunderstanding and no understanding for the vast majority of practitioners out there.
What they’re doing is that they’re going by the recommendations of the laboratories, the people who do this testing, and the people who designed this with the assumption that it’s correct. I want to be very clear and I’m going to go on record saying this, the entire methylation testing process would not have happened if it weren’t for the tutelage of Dr. William Walsh, PhD, my mentor. He brought to the powers or the authorities that be the information about methylation. They decided to research from there and went in the wrong direction, but ultimately, they came out with the MTHFR testing and methylated folate.There is a great deal of misunderstanding among healthcare practitioners about folic acid. They go by laboratory recommendations with the assumption that they are always correct. Click To Tweet
Dr. Walsh told them this was moving in the wrong direction and this is not how methylation works, but it became highly popularized. The reason you don’t hear us going too overboard on this is that, for the most part, it doesn’t work. You take this stuff because it’s based upon assumptions that MTHFR is the main piece of methylation that benefits people in the long term. MTHFR is a backup pathway, not the main pathway. The doctor’s data test even confirms that the MTHFR sequence is a backup pathway.
We’ve got objective evidence stating that, but it’s the pioneers that came before us that already knew this. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We already know what the wheel looks like. Other people are trying to put on backup tires that don’t fit their square. For us, it’s not even a question. You don’t believe it. That’s fine.
The reason we’re having this conversation is because the ramifications as far as breast cancer is concerned are serious. We don’t have time to be politically correct and to play games. We’re telling you what is going on because of the research that started all this methylation discussion in the first place and the experience of seeing what happens over the course of millions of patients worldwide. Thanks to the pioneers that be.
When we’re talking about methylated folate, MTHFR, folic acid, and folinic acid, it boils down to if you are an undermethylated individual, which this testing process seems to indicate you are, then you might want to take this methylated folate, but methylated folate is partial methyl and a lot of folates. It’s like saying, adding kerosene to a fire, that’s a blaze and you want to put out the fire.
It doesn’t work that way. The other side is that it only lasts maybe 2 to 3 months. Some people have talked about the wonderful benefits. They said, “When I first took it, I felt great, and then it petered out and did nothing.” I always tell them, “Let’s say that for a minute that we’re correct here at methylated folate or MTHFR is part of the backup pathway.
What happens when you use your backup pathway as your primary pathway? What do you have left to support yourself without fixing the primary pathway?” That’s exactly what happens when you use methylated folate. You’re charging up the backup pathway. A lot of people do well for a couple of months, and then they peter out and that’s because they’re moving the wrong side of the pathway. Not the primary side that they should be paying attention to.
Folic acid (all forms) is a de-methylating agent in the nucleus. Many people are using it as a backup pathway. The real bottom line truth is that if it has FOL in it, it doesn’t matter if it’s folic, folate, or folinic, don’t get fooled, it’s all turning into the same thing once it gets inside the cell. You don’t have to believe me. This lovely little tidbit didn’t come from me. It came from one of the industry’s nutraceutical sales reps and recent research.
Sales reps are people who have got science backgrounds, by the way. These are scientists too. They’re the ones who said, “Dr. Mensah, it all turns into the same thing once it enters the cell,” and I said, “Interesting,” we already knew it didn’t work, but now they’re talking about the mechanisms here. It’s not just us. We want you to know these are the facts.
On the other hand, if you’re an overmethylated person, it doesn’t matter which one of these you take, folinic or folate, whether it’s natural or not. Let me tell you about natural stuff. I’m sorry for going out off on a tangent, but if you take anything that’s been touched by man, it’s no longer natural. It’s synthetic. You’re taking a capsule, it’s synthetic. If you’re taking a pill, it’s synthetic. I don’t care where you got it from. It’s synthetic. Unless you’re eating food naturally that hasn’t been touched by man, then it’s not synthetic. For diet? Yes. You got your wonderful natural folates. They’re great for the overmethylated person, but watch out for the undermethylated.
The key with regards to cancer and I want to share with you exactly how this works when you’ve got cancer. The gene that is expressing the cancer is highly active. The way methyl works is that it protects that gene from exposure to activation. Methyl basically stops some genes from being turned on and protects other genes from being turned off. You don’t want to have your cancer genes turned on. You want them off, but what happens is that if you take folic acid, you’re going to remove the methyl that’s protecting you from getting those cancer genes turned on, in many cases.
There are some cancers where the opposite mechanism works. It’s challenging to have methionine and other methyl donors on board, but when we’re talking about cancer in general or as a general construct, if you don’t want a gene to turn on, don’t use folic acid. If you want to protect your genes, you need your methyl. Folic acid strips you of methyl.
Methylation and BRCA1 And BRCA2 Genes
I appreciate you breaking that down and explaining in a way that’s easy to understand how methyl is a switch and that’s the key here. When we’re talking specifically about the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes and that relationship, especially as it relates to undermethylation and how methyl is that protective substance. Can you speak to that as well? What’s the correlation there?
BRCA gene 1 and gene 2 are there to protect you from breast cancer. They’re your guardians. What happens in some people is that there’s a mutation, a change, or a shift, and these genes don’t work properly anymore. They now begin to show proteins and chemicals that make you vulnerable to the development of cancer. That’s when these genes are not working properly.
The reason why we started this conversation with methyl is so that we can now bring these two concepts together. Remember, we said that methyl acts like a switch for certain genes. Let’s talk about the BRCA genes specifically. You’ve got two genes that are there to protect you from cancer. Those genes need to be active to protect you against cancer. Methyl molecules protect those genes so that they can do what they do the way they’re supposed to do, but then folic acid or high concentrations of folate strip that gene of its protective shield known as methyl.
Now, the wrong stuff starts to happen because of the de-methylating effect of folic acid. These genes don’t function quite so well. Not only you but entire family lineages can become vulnerable to an increased risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, or other cancers as well. Undermethylation, in other words, not having enough of this protective methyl. Let’s take these words apart. Under which means you don’t have enough methyl is the stuff that protects you. Action is a process. The process of joining with that which protects you, but you don’t have enough.
People who have undermethylation become more vulnerable without any help at all. They’re already more vulnerable to the potential of breast cancer than other cancers because they, by themselves, don’t have enough methyl to regulate the system properly. You add folic acid into the equation or any of the folates, and you make individuals more vulnerable. By the relationship of methyl to folate and what folates do to methyl in the system and what methyl is supposed to do to genes, namely protect them.
We then add the other insult, which many doctors forget and many doctors don’t, in order to have a cell divide, you need to have folic acid. If you are someone who’s eating high amounts of folic acid and you’re undermethylated, now you’re not only removing your protection, but you’re saying, “Cells, we can divide some more.”
If you’ve got the seeds of cancer brewing, you need folic acid for those cells to divide. If you consume high-density folate foods, whether blended in smoothies or taken as nutrients, in the foods themselves, you’re now giving your blessing for that cancer to grow. You’re making the conditions a lot more ripe and fertile for that cancer to grow.If you've got seeds of cancer brewing inside you, eating high-density, folate foods is like giving your blessing for cancer to grow. Click To Tweet
I’ve had conversations with oncologists. They’ve called me with regard to methylation and what they were doing. Many of them were quite shocked. I didn’t tell them, “You guys are doing the wrong thing.” I simply asked them a very few questions that were very key, which is, “What are you doing? What’s required for cell division? Where is this stuff found?” They came to these conclusions themselves because they’re beautiful, brilliant scientists, and they’re trying to help people and they’re good at it, but sometimes we forget little details. It’s those little details that can make our lives a lot more challenging.
I want you to remember a few things. Number one, folates, they’re important for cell division. Cancer is uncontrolled cell division. That’s not Dr. Mensah. That’s in the book molecular cell biology and biochemistry that’s taught to every medical student on this planet in their first few weeks or the first year of med school. We don’t need to hear any questions directed at us. I’m more than happy to entertain them, but ask any doctor what’s important in cell division. They’ll go back and say, “It’s folic acid.” It doesn’t make sense then to give folic acid to treat cancer. It’s the wrong thing.
That was powerful. I appreciate you speaking into that with great clarity and detail. A lot of people also don’t realize that methylation got its start in the area of cancer research. They started to realize and see the connection between folic acid and how that’s associated with increased cancer incidence and cancer mortality, especially, around the conversation of a very powerful cancer-treating drug methotrexate. You and I have talked about that previously and that drug acts by inhibiting the metabolism of folic acid. It’s a great cancer agent, but because folic acid was added back in after that treatment, many people lost their battle with cancer, sadly.
I remember as a student in pharmacology class, we were being taught about this wonderful drug methotrexate and how it was a great treater for certain cancers. They said, “However, it has a flaw. It seems to remove folic acid, so what we do is we give you the methotrexate, and then you make sure students that you add folate back into the equation.” We then knew it was a folic acid inhibitor or remover. It never dawned on us to add 1 plus 1 to get 2 in the world of common sense. That’s why it worked so well because it removed the folic acid in the first place. Now, the science and the research you’re talking about confirm that.
I’ve had this conversation with so many clients. Mensah Medical has this wonderful cancer protocol. We’ll get into that in a moment because we want to make sure that we stress that we want to be supportive of whatever treatment a patient’s oncologist is recommending. I want you to speak into that as well, but this is such an important conversation to have because we want people to be informed and the concept of, “Do no harm.”
I loved it when you shared with me how the late great Carl Pfeiffer wouldn’t double-blind studies because he didn’t want people to be denied treatment. “Here’s the science. Here’s what we know and learn.” The research is out there and you can go on Google Scholar and you can google methylation, cancer, and folic acid. You will find a lot of studies circling back to what you said about all of our wonderful, beautiful plant-based foods that are high in folate. We love them and they’re wonderful for our overmethylators, the people that make too much protective methyl.
If I can relate this back to my story and my family, breast cancer runs in my family, so undermethylation is an inherited condition. For the longest time, I was vegan. I was basically pumping my body lots of folate/folic acid. I was juicing lots of spinach and other green leafy veggies that are very high in folate, and many of them are also very high in copper. I’m so passionate about this topic and you are too because there’s so much information out there about plant-based diets and cancer and how that’s always the way to go.
It breaks my heart because we want people to understand and know your chemistry. You need to understand how these agents work and how they impact you cellularly. That’s why we’re having this conversation. For me, to have this realization and have been on this journey for several years now and realizing that they’re harmful to someone like myself.
We’re speaking very generally, but when we’re looking at cancer, that’s such a broad topic. Each cancer has its own strengths and susceptibilities. It’s not a one-size fits all paradigm. What we’re sharing with everyone though is that if you happen to be one of those challenged individuals, it doesn’t mean that folic acid is the thing you need to take. That’s a big challenge. Certain methylating agents may not be appropriate for you either, depending on your cancer, but when we’re talking about breast cancer right now, and ovarian cancer, or those types of things, here we’re saying, “This is not a good idea for you to be on these other agents.”Each cancer has its own strengths and susceptibilities. It's not a one-size-fits-all paradigm. Click To Tweet
That’s the strong introduction we want to give. We would not be this vehement if it weren’t for the fact that so many women die from this. Look at all the organizations that are fighting. With all this fighting, we’ve got to have the truth. There’s simply no way to put this. You’ve got to have truth and understanding because people die for lack of understanding.
Breast Cancer and Nutrient Therapy
I’d like to shift into how we can support cancer patients and how we can work as a team with their oncologist, but I would love for you to share how a nutrient therapy approach can be supportive of the patient.
We’ve often talked about the crossover benefits of nutrient therapy. When we look at a person’s individual chemistry, we can see where they’re lacking or weak and where they need support. The great part I like about this is there’s a tremendous crossover between nutrient therapy and diet. Most people who are on some type of chemotherapeutic regimen or undergoing radiation, how hungry are they?
They’re not hungry. They don’t eat, so they become nutritionally deficient. Nutrient therapy can help to take that above and beyond the results of what can be attained by diet alone. It’s hard when you’re not hungry to eat, so you deplete your system. You can’t fight. How do your cells fight without the appropriate zinc levels? That’s crucial for immune health, wound healing, and DNA to do what it normally does.
When you’ve got the toxic effects of chemotherapy, nutrient therapy can help with antioxidant potential, regulating the appropriate amino acids that are there and providing the specific nutrients that you need as opposed to Jane down the street or Edgar up the road there. It’s individualized. We can look at what’s missing and provide key dosages of those key elements as support.
Please understand this is not a conversation about replacing traditional chemotherapy, radiation, or traditional treatment of cancer. This is about supporting and working with it in helping you have the best potential to win this battle. We’ve been using this one approach. I’ve talked to doctors and oncologists and said, “Let me ask you a question. How on earth are these people expected to fight a good fight when this cancer’s eating them alive, using the body as its fuel? What’s happening to the fuel for the patient?”
The doctors say, “It’s difficult. We use Ensure and do things with IVs. We do our best,” but we see patients becoming more and more cachectic. It’s not about calories. They’re becoming cachectic because the body is starting to eat them. The cancer is eating them because it’s using the body as fuel. Your body doesn’t have the fuel it needs to fight.
I’ll be very honest with you. We haven’t talked about this one yet, but if there were an IV bag of nutrients in high density being added to all these other things going on in the hospital, this is me saying it, but I’m suspecting we would have some tremendous results in terms of a patient’s energy level, capacity to fight, and we would see better outcomes.
One of the reasons why we don’t recommend multivitamins is that there are always going to be components in a multivitamin that are not going to be appropriate for a patient’s chemistry. Folic acid and copper are two of the big components. There are others as well, but what we’re talking about and what you’re speaking about is a customized protocol.
I always cringe when I hear about Ensure, that’s popular in the hospital system, again, to your point, there’s no nutritional value there. I loved how you brought up the fact that so many cancer patients and I don’t think I’ve known one that hasn’t lost their appetite because the therapy is so intense. They have no desire to eat and they’re nauseated most of the time and in pain. There’s no desire there, but there’s a lot we can do with blended foods.
I’m not talking about your dark green leafy blended smoothies, but there are other options out there that can be incorporated so that there’s some nourishment. I love the idea of an IV option in the hospital when appropriately administered so that the patient has that support. It makes me think of all those chelation protocols that people go on. Often in the same setting, they will also receive an infusion of nutrients because of the way that that process strips everything. Dr. Mensah, let’s go into the copper conversation. How do you feel about that?
Copper is not just about mental health. Many women with postpartum depression start off with a conversation about postpartum depression. Something there that is mental in nature, but then the more you talk to them, the more you realize that they had certain body challenges, horrible menstrual cycles, ovarian cysts, fibroid tumors, and endometriosis. These are all related to an inability to process and get rid of copper.
Copper is a very strong agent that is necessary to build blood vessels and it is responsive to estrogen. That’s why women tend to have these specific challenges. Men tend not to because men aren’t designed to carry babies. Not originally, anyway. What happens, though, is that with this increased sensitivity that females have, if they can’t get rid of copper every time there’s a menstrual cycle, hormones being given, after menopause, or any oral contraceptive that has an estrogen component, it further aggravates the levels of copper in somebody who can’t get rid of that copper. Remember, the key piece being, as far as our conversation is concerned, if you don’t have copper, you can’t make blood vessels.
I’m going to tell you a quick story. I had an insomniac moment a few years ago and was overseas getting ready for a conference. I was watching a program that was called The Man with the 100-Pound Tumor. This gentleman had a huge abdominal tumor. You could measure it in feet. I was being human and my first thought was, “How did it get that big? Why don’t they just cut it off?” I forgot all about being a physician and anatomy.
When they started to do surgery and they had tons of surgeons in the room and I kept thinking, “What’s the big deal?” They then started cutting into this tumor and you could see blood vessels as thick as pipes connecting the man’s body to the tumor in his abdomen. I was shocked. You could grab these cords. That’s how thick they were.
I remembered something from simple anatomy and physiology. You need blood vessels to feed the tumor. The tumor had grown so large, it had been working out and been in the gym. It was now creating all these powerful pumping mechanisms so that it could feed off of this man. If you cut that blood vessel, the man could bleed out and die. It was not a simple thing to cut the tumor off. The tumor had tons of blood vessels because it needed to feed off of the man. This is what we’re talking about with any tumor that is a female tumor, not a blood tumor, but a solid tumor, it will feed off of the host or the person through blood vessels.
Let’s go back to the idea that you need copper in order to make blood vessels. Estrogen-dominant females who have high copper levels, who can’t get rid of them, may be undermethylated, got a genetic defect, and are taking lots of folic acid, they become more susceptible to cancer, specifically breast and ovarian cancers. Any solid tumor, as a matter of fact, becomes more susceptible to it.
This is why we go back to knowing who you are because as many of these variables that we can eliminate or at least identify, then we can work against each of those variables to help the survivorship of the patient or person. We’re talking about moms, daughters, and spouses, ridiculously precious people in the great scheme of life.
I always say the greatest blessing God ever gave man was a woman. I don’t want to hear any folks who are going to argue with me about sexism. That’s not where I’m trying to go. I’m trying to go with the idea that every woman is precious. Every woman is so key and vital. They are also our friends and family. It goes in both directions, but here is something that seeks to destroy the fabric of all those relationships, which is why we pay such huge attention and why we’re talking now. When a mother’s absent, the daddy doesn’t get kept on his toes. The kids are missing that vital key piece of a nutritional heartwarming person. In other words, moms feed children in the soul as well as the body and the heart.
We get all that, but we need to understand where this particular group is vulnerable in ways that men aren’t. 10% of men get breast cancer as well. We can say that, but men are not as challenged with getting rid of things like copper as females are. When males are copper toxic, that tends to be more behavioral in pathology and is seen very early in males.
Whereas with females, it can be hidden up until the time that they have their first menses, menstruating after children with postpartum depression, and things like that. It’s a very complicated web, but we can see now their actual identifiable pieces that can give us some great clues to help fight that fight along with traditional modalities, not in abstention.
Thank you for making sure to speak about that because it’s important to us to partner with your oncologist. It’s important to us to support you in this process. We’re not saying disregard traditional therapies in the area of cancer specifically. One thing that struck me when you were talking is this concept of a double whammy. When you are especially a female who is undermethylated and copper toxic, we then say to them, “Please get tested. That’s the first step.”
Losing Colleagues To Breast Cancer
With that knowledge and information, we start the process of nutrient therapy and then dietary therapy. We want to make sure that you are not eating high folate and high copper foods. That’s one of the reasons I wrote my low copper and low folate cookbooks because I wanted people to have those resources and know what to stay away from and what is safe to include. You had two colleagues that passed away from breast cancer. I would love it if you would share those stories with us.
They were my inspiration for having my ears tuned and primed for anything that I would find later on that would help women with cancer. The first was one of my young friends from med school. She seemed to follow me from one institution to another institution. I started off as the upperclassman, then transitioned, and then she showed up in that transition the next year. She’s a lovely young lady.
Her name was Nermine Messiah. She was from Egypt. I always found it interesting when people from the same continent show up in certain locations, but she was a sweet young lady. She married a young man, and his name was Amir. They were a beautiful young couple. She graduated and was going to pediatric residency, and then I found out she had breast cancer. She did not survive her residency. She didn’t survive long enough to have children and to complete that family unit, as many people would look at it from a traditional perspective.
There wasn’t a single person in our class who would not have described her as being the sweetest young lady that you can possibly think of. She’s genuine. She graduated right behind me in med school. Her last name began with M and my last name began with M, so we walk across the stage, “There’s Dr. Mensah and then there’s Dr. Nermine Messiah.” There were so many connections there. She’s one of the sweetest young ladies you ever want to meet.
A few years go by, we’re in practice. A young lady that I’d not seen in a long time, Dr. Beatrice Mounts, another good friend from med school, we met at a friend’s residency party. One of my colleagues threw a party and this person was there. I looked and said, “How do you know this person over here? How’d you get invited to this party?” She was saying, “We’ve known each other through this and we’re both in the obstetrics world.”
It’s interesting that Nermine was somebody who treated children, and then our other colleague was somebody who brought babies into the world who would later become children. She was a breast cancer survivor and I didn’t know it. She became a breast cancer thriver. She was so proud of that and talked about how she had kicked breast cancer. We were also excited and very happy.
I then found out some very disturbing news. It was a few months after that party that one of our intermediate colleagues told me that her breast cancer had resurfaced. At this point in time, I had gotten wind. I had an understanding of how we might be able to help support her through this process through nutrient therapy. Yet her family was very traditional and honorable people gathered around her and cloistered her. They removed her from public view. They wanted her to go peacefully.
I remember describing it this way, I had this thought about how to try to help, but I could not get to her. It was seeing someone through a very thick glass window suffering and you’re banging on the outside of the window and you can’t get them to even hear that you’re trying to help. You can’t get them to see that there’s hope instead they’ve reconciled themselves to giving in. That was extremely difficult for us.
Beatrice was another sweet young lady. She spent her time bringing people into the world and there was some creature that took her out of the world way before her time. Dr. Mounts had so much more to give and to do. After that, I got ticked off, and I said, “If there is ever a time that I find anything scientifically to help women, especially women with breast cancer, ovarian cancer, or any cancer for that matter, I didn’t care. I was going to do something about it.” If it’s nothing more than sharing information, I was going to do something about it. If it’s being able to participate in therapies, I was going to do something about it. I could no longer sit back and let this information simply settle there.There is medical information all over the planet, and many people ignore it. Scientists just hope people will read about them in a journal one day and do something. We cannot afford to do that. Click To Tweet
One of the real difficulties is that there’s information all over this planet and many people don’t pay attention to it. Many people who are scientists find these things out and don’t say anything. They hope somebody will read about it in a journal one day and do something about it. We cannot afford to do that. We have to speak out.
One of the things that many of you may know about me is that I’m not exactly the shy type. Not when it comes to disseminating information because I can’t have it on my bosom to know something and to watch someone not at least be aware that it exists. If I know this, I become responsible for the information and I don’t particularly care to leave this planet one day and have the question brought to me. Why didn’t you use that information to go to bat for your fellow humans? Why did you keep that?
Everybody’s got their perspective on the present and the afterlife in religion. I’m not here to get into all that, but for my conscious, it weighs heavy on me if I hold something back that could help everything from COVID to anxiety to cancer. We’re at least open to the conversation. If we can’t have a conversation, we can’t do much.
After Dr. Mounts and Dr. Messiah, both of them graduated after me on stage in med school, that was enough. I said, “Never again.” When someone comes to me and says, “You’re not quite correct in your assumptions about such and such,” and I say, “For you, it may be purely academic. For me, it’s not. I am not just talking because of a reputation or ego, neither one of which is quite so relevant for me anymore. “I am talking because I’ve lost people. If I’m going to say something that is geared to help protect individuals and lives, I’m not saying it because of something I just read.”
We’ve taught doctors these therapies and they’ve been extremely successful all over the world, except in the United States because we don’t have training programs here. We have seminars that people attend. That’s not training. Those are seminars. When we sit down and talk about training, take a doctor aside and explain, “This is how this works. It’s not about theory on paper. It’s about what the body does with this statistically on average for people who are being treated.”
Folks can sit down and talk about what they read in some document. This is life. This is not about a piece of paper. Nobody is dying because of a piece of paper. People are dying because of what they do with information on that paper. If it is wrong and untested and unproven, this is a problem. We also have the problem and we’ve talked about this. If we don’t talk, whether you agree or disagree, there’s no conversation about it. If there’s no conversation, people can’t sit and rethink and consider possibilities and different approaches or even other support mechanisms that could be present.
This is my charge. I’m here to disseminate information. This is not about, “The all-brilliant. Dr. Mensah,” not even close. I’ve met people who make me feel like I’ve got a brain the size of a pinhead, but what I can talk about is spreading the word, that much I can do and so I will. I’m not saying I’m a moron, either. Let’s get that straight.
You’re not a moron.
It’s very humbling to say, “We have to take this apple and turn it upside down. We have to take this glass that we think is holding water and realize that water needs to flow.” We have to look at this differently. Again, we’re not saying, “Chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and all that stuff is bad.” It’s far from it. We’re talking about what else we add to that armor to protect us and to help us heal better. The more comprehensive approach.
There’s no oncologist who does not talk about people literally wasting before their eyes physically because of the malnourishment factor. I’ve seen it with patients. The idea here is you might not be able to eat, but remember what is the purpose of food in the first place? It’s to be broken down into nutrients that your body can use to do what it needs to do. You may not be hungry, but if we can get nutrients into your system, then your body’s got what it needs to fight. It may be skinnier doing it, but it gets to do it as opposed to getting nothing at all and having no strength to fight. We can’t let that happen.
I appreciate you speaking into that. You made several points that I want to circle back to. We spoke about this in episode three with regard to MTHFR. You also expanded on that beautifully again here. There’s this academic, “I read this book or paper and so it must be true.” We’re trying to impress upon people that there is research, which states things in fairly black-and-white terms, and then there’s a clinical application that is another ballgame because we’re humans. Humans respond differently to a variety of different things all the time.
We’ve expanded on this in previous episodes, but we have patients with the exact same chemistry, same age, and same weight, and they respond very differently to types of nutrients and need a different type of protocol. It wouldn’t be the same protocol. That’s what we want to impress upon people is that we’re looking at the clinical application that we have a very long track record of, rather than purely looking at the research and data.
Again, going back to Carl Pfeiffer, he refused to do double-blind studies for a reason. He saw the challenge with that. He didn’t want anyone to be denied treatment. In this sense, we want to provide that support to people and help them understand what copper toxicity is and the relationship between copper, estrogen, and breast cancer. Also, with uterine and ovarian cancers.
In episode ten, Dr. Bowman, your co-founder, has spoken to this beautifully. If you’re reading this and you want to go back and see that episode, that’s a good primer on copper and how that impacts women. With you, Dr. Mensah, speaking into the connection between cancer and these relationships. I appreciate that. I love the analogy of nutrients as our armor and how they protect us. They protect us from things like coronavirus. They protect our brains from high oxidative stress that can lead to things like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and dementia.
In our young people, we see schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or things like that, where there’s a large amount of oxidative stress in the body and the impact and the power that nutrients have and the armor that they create for us. I’m a testament to that. That’s why I’m so passionate about this work and in our work that we do together because I’m also a patient.
I have this innate sense that had I not found you and started on this healing path, which completely changed the way I practice, I don’t know if I would be here now. I had a very high likelihood of getting cancer and my struggles with depression, anxiety, OCD, and all the relationships that we have with these underlying chemistries like undermethylation and copper.
I appreciate your time, Dr. Mensah and your wisdom in this regard, and your passion. You lost two people that were wonderfully gifted physicians that you were in medical school with. They died fairly quickly and that is such a sad loss that we lost them and their gifts to the world. I love that this propelled you to create a cancer protocol within Mensah Medical and to be so passionate about helping women diagnosed with breast cancer. Once again, thank you for your wisdom. We appreciate all that you have to share.
Thank you, Sami. I appreciate the conversations always and keep up your good work.
I loved how Dr. Mensah spoke about the importance of looking at methylation status and copper levels as important aspects of treating breast cancer and the truth about folic acid and cell division. If your loved one has breast cancer, please know you are not alone. Nutrients can be powerful allies in supporting you during this time. You can find Dr. Mensah at MensahMedical.com.