Can a diet low in polyamines be reconciled with the Anticancer diet ?

Polyamines are a fascinating discovery among the new approaches to fighting cancer. For many people, a low-polyamine diet leads to a measurable reduction in tumor growth, and, especially, in cancer-related pain. (According to current research it is more effective in controlling pain than it is in controlling the illness itself). This is yet another proof that nutritional factors can have a deep influence on the progress of the disease – including on the molecular and genetic mechanisms of cancer.

However, as soon as you take a close look at the “anti-polyamine diet,” there’s an evident problem. Many of the recommended foods are not the same as those which I advocate in my book Anticancer: A New Way of Life. For example, some meat and sausage products are low in polyamines and are “recommended” in low-polyamine diets, whereas from my point of view, the presence of nitrites and excessive omega-6 fatty acids (especially arachidonic acid) makes them “pro-cancer” foods that one should avoid. Secondly, numerous plant-based foods, which are rich in phytochemical “anti-cancer” ingredients, are also rich in polyamine precursors, and are therefore banished from the “anti-polyamine” diet.

This means it’s almost impossible to eat a diet that is both “anti-cancer” and “anti-polyamine”. So how can we reconcile the two?

Personally, I feel that in the case of pain linked to the progression of cancer, it is completely reasonable to demarcate a period of two to four weeks during which only low-polyamine solutes will be ingested, to help control the illness. You can then return to a diet based on low-polyamine solids (rather than my book’s “anticancer” diet) for a further two weeks. My feeling is that you should then return to the core Anticancer diet, which is a good basis for all-round cancer prevention founded on the widely recognized benefits of the Mediterranean diet and on recent discoveries in anti-cancer foods (green tea, turmeric, berries, herbs etc).

I hope this will be useful to those among you who would like to try Prof. Moulinoux’s low-polyamine diet.