Protease and Cancer


Protease, the enzyme that digests proteins, has been known to help break down the protein elements of cancer tumors. It's part of a common complementary therapy for cancer which uses digestive enzymes to replenish enzymes needed to attack and control tumor tissue and to improve the immune system.

Some sources, however, such as Eat to Beat Cancer, by J Robert Hatherill, have sparked confusion about the role of protease in fighting cancer. Hatherill's position is that when protease breaks down the tumor, it enables tumor particles to spread through the blood stream, then anchor and grow in other parts of the body. To help prevent this from happening he recommends eating nuts for their protease inhibiting properties. [Nuts contain small amounts of pro-tease inhibitors to protect against environmental stresses.]

However, Leo Roy, MD, a complementary practitioner in British Columbia, advises that breaking down a tumor the way Hatherill describes would require a far larger amount of protease than is commonly found in enzyme therapy. Even so, Roy says these large amounts would probably be enough to digest the small fragments of tumor. He stresses the importance of enzyme therapy in fighting cancer.

The bottom line? We recommend soaking most nuts and throwing away the soak water. This will remove protein inhibitors and any doubt that they may interfere with enzyme therapy.

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