Book Review
Moss, RW. 2000. Antioxidants against cancer.
Equinox Press, Brooklyn NY

Book review by: Jim Duke

Jim Duke is a world expert on herbs, and although you would have to import the book he has reviewed, I have included the review for his comments as much as anything else. This is published with his permission.

Is it a herb, a berry, a fruit, a medicine, a spice, a vegetable?

It’s all of these if you consider a herb is a useful plant or even a plant that doesn’t grow any wood (hence herbaceous), and if you consider tomato paste and ketchup and sun-dried tomatoes a spice. All that reminded me that I hadn’t included tomatoes in my series on berries. But this new book had so many good things to say about tomatoes and other berries mentioned in my berry series, that I though I should share my review with you. It’s a good little book, chock full of useful health-generating statistics.

This book is all bullet, all anticancer bullet. And it came on just the right day, the day when the first issue of Natural Pharmacy (4[1]:p.4, 2000) came, carrying the headline. Vitamin C Feeds Cancer. . .. “Vitamin C and other antioxidants destroy free-radical oxygen, which is introduced in chemotherapy to destroy cancer cells.” Dr. David Golde, source of this information, physician in chief of Memorial Sloan- Kettering generated a headline late last year in my Science News too. “Vitamin C treatment might make cancer treatment less effective.” Moss chides “This conclusion is based on fear, not fact.” Based on observations that cancer tissues are high in Vitamin C. Earlier work by Dr. Golde showed that  vitamin C is high in HIV infected cells too, but Golde said “extremely high levels of the vitamin are more toxic to the HIV-infected cells than to healthy immune cells.” Dr. Moss concludes concisely “Dr. Golde’s fears are a reflection of the prevailing attitude among oncologists, who use drugs of exceptionally high toxicity, but balk at their patients’ use of non- toxic nutritional supplements.

As always, the same oncologists who deride the safe antioxidants our genes have known for millions of years, routinely prescribe synthetic antioxidants, unknown to our genes, along with their poisonous chemo and radiotherapy.  Synthetic antioxidants do not negatively impact chemo and radiation. “Synthetic antioxidants preserve the effectiveness of conventional treatments while reducing their harmful side effects.”

If the synthetics are OK with the oncologists, why not the safer natural antioxidants? Allopathic synthetiphilia and naturophobia! The synthesists still think they can outsmart Father Nature! But “Dietary antioxidants protect against harmful side effects, without interfering with the cancer killing ability of conventional treatments.” And the natural antioxidants do this cheaper without toxic side-effects (Moss, 2000)

Going in the face of modern oncologists, Moss generally recommends that patients take antioxidants along with radiation and chemotherapy.  “The data overwhelmingly supports using antioxidants before, during, and after toxic treatments.” (Moss, 2000)

Moss’ conclusions:

1. Antioxidants reduce the risk of cancer.

2. Supplements are a necessary part of antioxidant programs

3.”Antioxidants generally improve conventional cancer treatments by decreasing side effects without decreasing effectiveness.”

One might think from the table of contents that grape-seed extract was the only plant mentioned, as the book does lean more towards the nutritional supplements than to whole foods. Of  grapeseed extracts (“very similar in composition to Pycnogenol) he says (depending on the brand) they are usually more potent, containing about 92 to 95 % bioflavonoids, compared to 85% for Pycnogenol. Many of the 40 antioxidants in Pycnogenol have been isolated and identified, but the whole is better than the sum of these parts, working together synergistically. In 1999, Japanese ophthalmologists looking to prevent retinal damage found that “Pycnogenol was the most powerful of all the antioxidants they studied, protecting the retina 61% of the time.” It was even better combined with Vit. E and CoQ10.