In one of our recent posts titled  March Is National Nutrition Month: Heart Disease, Cancer and Diabetes we talked about healthy eating and how different foods can help reduce the risks of acquiring any of these three different diseases.

As a follow up to that post, we would like to continue the cancer discussion by referring to a recent article that appeared on CTV's Health News titled "New Lung Cancer Screening Guidelines Released For High Risk Canadians."

In that article is was recommended that "smokers between the ages of 55 and 74 who are at high risk of developing lung cancer, should be screened annually for up to three years with low-dose CT scans."

The article goes on to explain that thee new recommendations "apply to current smokers, or those who have quite within the past 15 years, with a '30 pack year history' - that means smoking a pack per day for 30 years, or two packs per day for 15 years." The articles continues by saying "the group does not recommend lung cancer screening for all other adults, regardless of their age or smoking history."

(Read article) New Lung Cancer Screening Guidelines Released For High Risk Canadians


The Statistics

85% of lung cancer cases in Canada are linked to tobacco smoking

In Canada, in the year 2015, just over 26,000 Canadians were diagnosed with lung cancer, 21,000 died.

New Kava Study On Lung Cancer Prevention

According to an 8 January 2014 member advisory  release by the American Botanical Council (ABC), in Austin, Texas, researchers from the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy and Masonic Cancer Center reported findings of a study published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research yesterday which found daily consumption of a kava-derived dietary supplement prevented the formation of 99 percent of tumors in a mouse lung tumor model used to predict lung cancer  in humans. Positive animal studies usually suggest further research leads, but this study shows such a significant benefit that further development will be accelerated. The levels of success is reported with a patent-pending extract of Kava components, not currently available off-the-shelf Kava dietary supplement products.

A traditional ceremonial beverage of South Pacific societies, Kava (Piper methysticum) is widely consumed in Vanuata, Fiji and Western Somoa, whose populations have lung cancer rates just 5-10 percent of U.S. lung cancer rates despite similar levels of tobacco consumption. Here are links to our photo galleries of the Kava plant, the root of Kava, and a Kava ceremony.

According to Stefan Gafner, Chief Science Officer of ABC, “The fact that the researchers were able to find evidence of the ability of a kava fraction to prevent the formation of tumors in mice, in support of epidemiological data showing a lower incidence of lung cancer in people living on the South Pacific Islands where kava is traditionally used, makes this study very compelling. If confirmed in human clinical studies, the results could have a big impact on human health and may lead to a greater emphasis on prevention rather than cure.”

In the January 8th member advisory  release, the Austin, Texas-based American Botanical Council, quotes Prof. Bill Gurley PhD, professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the College of Pharmacy of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock and a leading expert on herb toxicology. Prof Gurley reviewed the study and commented to ABC, “…the findings are both compelling and certainly merit further research in order to translate them into the clinic. The findings are a breath of fresh air for kava, in particular, and botanical supplements, in general. Recently supplements have suffered quite a bit of negative publicity — some of it deserved, some not — but the kava study from the University of Minnesota emphasizes what good science coupled with quality botanicals can produce.”

“This is highly interesting research and suggests a potential new use for certain preparations made from kava root and rhizome,” said Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of the nonprofit American Botanical Council (ABC).

Rick Kingston, PharmD, a clinical professor of pharmacy at the University of Minnesota and president of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs at SafetyCall International in Minneapolis, commented “This research is truly unprecedented in its potential impact. A 99% cancer prevention efficacy is unheard of with this very sensitive research model and paves the way for future clinical trials to assess human applications. Another fascinating aspect relates to identifying kava components likely responsible for rare cases of liver toxicity associated with kava dietary supplements. Fortunately, the risk of kava liver complications is low, but this will allow development of supplement preparations devoid of [compounds that may cause] adverse liver effects that can be used for both anti-anxiety and wellness applications in the supplement arena.”

Scientists collaborating in this research include lead authors Pablo Leitzman and Sreekanth Narayanapillai in the U of M College of Pharmacy (Chengguo Xing Group), and their peers in the U of M Masonic Cancer Center (Stephen Hecht Group), U of M College of Veterinary Medicine (M. Gerry O’Sullivan) and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (Junxuan Lu). Funding for this research was provided by National Institutes of Health grant no. R01 CA142649.

Those interested in keeping up-to-date on timely,  important developments in herbal medicine research, authoritative information on herbs, and who wish to  receive the award-winning, graphically-compelling journal, HerbalGram, are encouraged to join the American Botanical Council.

Life Choice® And Kava Kava

Life Choice® pioneered the legal reintroduction of Kava Kava supplements into the North American market. After ten years out of the Canadian market, it is lauded as a great achievement for the health food industry.

Kava Kava is best-known as a ceremonial South Pacific beverage. The earliest European knowledge of Kava Kava dates back to the late 1700s, with the journeys of Captain Cook

Kava Kava beverage use in tropical climates is similar to the use of alcoholic beverages in the West.  However, kava has useful properties to aid anxiety, reduce inhibition and create greater sociability.


Why Kava?

According to studies; [kava] may prevent against lung cancer for smokers.

According to studies, kava as an analgesic “superior to aspirin” and can “make the pain of an aching  back, a sore neck, or any other cramped, sore, or injured muscle disappear.”

Its diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties have also made it useful as a natural treatment for gout, rheumatism, bronchial congestion and Prostatitis

According to clinical studies for anxiety, researchers discovered a whole lot more than calming nerves. Kava soothed anxiety and was also acting like jumper cables to their sex drive — especially for women. In the study they experienced significant libido boosts, and the more their anxiety decreased, the more their sex drive skyrocketed.

According to clinical studies, a medicinal dose of kava containing 180 mg of kava lactones did not impair driving ability, whereas 30 mg of the drug oxazepam showed some impairment.

A Duke Medical University – [Kava] more effective with clinical anxiety that prescription drugs for clinical anxiety, without the risk of dependency and side effects.

Safety Issues?

Safety issues surrounding Kava only came to light when it became a consumer product here are the reasons why.

The plant cultivar – Traditionally used cultivars are expensive to import, therefore suppliers were using cultivars that had no evidence or history of safe use.

The part of the plant – Traditionally the rhizome was used, with no hepatotoxic side effects; suppliers were using aerial parts as well

The age of the plant – The kava root has to be 5 years before being harvested, Chinese suppliers are using very young plants.


"New Lung Cancer Screening Guidelines Released for High Risk Canadian." Health News, CTV News, Sonja Puzic

"Exciting New Kava Study on Lung Cancer Prevention", Steven Foster


"Kava Kava", Eldon Dahl, Life Choice Ltd.



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