How the immune system affects liver cancer
In 1992, Hannibal Lecter left an indelible impression on moviegoers. While recounting the murder of a census worker to Dr. Clarice Starling, the antagonist in Silence of the Lambs noted, “I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.”
In real life, your liver is much more than part of a psychopath’s main course …
The liver is a gland and is one of the largest organs in the body. The liver has four lobes and it fills the upper right side of the abdomen, inside the rib cage. Its major functions include: 
- Bile production, which helps the small intestine break down and absorbs fats, cholesterol, and some vitamins.
- Absorb and metabolize bilirubin, which is formed by the breakdown of hemoglobin. (The iron released from hemoglobin is stored in the liver or bone marrow and used to make the next generation of blood cells.)
- Metabolize carbohydrates, which are stored in the liver where they are broken down into glucose and siphoned into the bloodstream to maintain normal glucose levels.
- Vitamin and mineral storage, as Vitamins A, D, E, K, and B12 are held in the liver; in some cases, years’ worth of vitamins are held as a backup.
- Filter the blood to remove compounds from within the body (hormones such as estrogen and aldosterone) and compounds from outside the body (alcohol and other drugs).
- Immunological function, as part of the mononuclear phagocyte system. The liver contains high numbers of immunologically active Kupffer cells, which destroy pathogens that enter the liver via the gut.
It is important to understand that your liver is a large part of the immune system.
According to the American Cancer Society, about 42,220 new cases (30,610 in men and 11,610 in women) of primary liver cancer and bile duct cancer will be diagnosed in 2018. About 30,200 people (20,540 men and 9,660 women) will die of these cancers. 
Cancers of the liver often spread to other organ systems, such as the breasts or lungs. The Cancer Research Institute surmises approximately 80 percent of liver cancers start in the hepatocytes, a type of liver cells.
The human body cannot survive without a functioning liver. Thus, these cancers present an urgent need for effective treatments. There are several immunotherapies in initial clinical trials, including checkpoint inhibitors/immune modulators, monoclonal antibodies, adoptive cell transfer, and oncolytic virus therapy.
However, there is proactive natural and holistic measures you can take to help prevent liver cancer.
Did you know: The liver is the only visceral organ with the capacity to regenerate. The liver can completely regenerate as long as at least 25 percent of the tissue remains. The liver can grow to its previous size and return to normal health without any loss of function while it is regenerating.
This means you can begin building a healthier liver now.
The Encyclopedia of Medical Breakthroughs and Forbidden Treatments authored by Medical Research Associates President David Allen offers insight on how to boost your immune system and, in turn, get on the path to regenerating your liver in a healthier manner.
“Years ago, I got into holistic nutrition and complementary medicine and set up a holistic program for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, liver disease, and the list goes on and on. But my challenge was finding the resources for all this valuable information … because conventional medicine, conventional doctors, and journalists don’t have this information,” said Dr. Paul Beals of Georgetown University School of Medicine.
“I was really fortunate a few years ago to come across ‘the gold standard,’ ‘the bible’ for alternative medicine and nutrition – The Encyclopedia of Medical Breakthroughs and Forbidden Treatments. Over my 30 years of alternative medicine, I’ve never seen a resource like this one.
“What’s exciting about this is that it’s written for the layperson,” said Dr. Beals, a certified clinical nutritionist. “In other words, when you don’t respond to drugs and surgery, where do you turn? You can’t expect your traditional doctor to have this information. You’ve got to have it yourself. This is the one source I’ve found to be phenomenally helpful … actually saving people’s lives … giving information you won’t find anywhere else.”
How to treat liver and bile duct cancers
A healthy immune system is the body’s best defense. Not only is a weak immune system a major reason patients have cancer – but cancer itself can further weaken the immune system.
Beta glucans help regulate the immune system, making it more efficient. In addition, beta glucans stimulate white blood cells (lymphocytes) that bind to tumors or viruses and release chemicals to destroy it.
Beta glucan has been approved in Japan, Australia, South Korea, and Taiwan as an immunoadjuvant therapy for cancer. In fact, helping with cancer is just the beginning with beta glucan.
There have been thousands of studies showing the product can protect against infections, lower your cholesterol, lower blood sugar, reduce stress, increase your antibody production, heal wounds, help radiation burns, overcome mercury-induced immunosuppression (like Thimerosal, used as a preservative in vaccines), help with diabetes, and even naturally prevent metastasis (the spreading of your cancer).
The Cellect-Budwig Protocol is recommended for liver cancer and bile duct cancer; it is a good detox protocol. However, being a good detox protocol actually places a burden on the liver (which cannot be avoided if you want to detox the liver). It is critical to use a coffee enema to stimulate the liver to help flush toxins.
- Primary: Cellect-Budwig Protocol
- Also Consider: Ellagic Acid, Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), Vitamin D3, IP6 (Inositol)
Understand that detox does not target your immune system. Detoxing is for the lymphatic system, the body’s first line of defense against disease, including cancer.
Alex Bradford, a natural health researcher and co-founder of Daily Superfood Love, noted that the immune system, digestion, and even the central nervous system depend on an efficient lymphatic system.
It is imperative that you detox the lymphatic system first to help jumpstart the immune system while fighting liver cancer or bile duct cancer.
Also, the amino acid L-Arginine has been shown to improve detoxification by the liver. Other benefits of L-Arginine include a lower risk of cancer, improved immune system responses, help with gastrointestinal function, and lower blood pressure, according to Dr. Ronald Klatz. 
‘There is no such thing as a healthy diet’
“When most people start their natural health journey, they approach it like regular modern medicine,” Prof. Keith Scott-Mumby said. “They want to know what pills they can take to make them feel better.
“They’ll shove six 1500-mg capsules of omega-3 oil down their throat morning, noon and night without flinching. They’ll eat herbs with unproven safety. They’ll take the advice of any wacko they can find.
“I’ll tell you right now. This is the wrong approach,” he said.
Mumby was one of the pioneers in the food allergy “movement” in the 1970s and ’80s. He proudly noted, “I had more fun as a doctor and cured more real disease than I ever did with the stuff I learned at medical school.
“I learned that probably the most important thing about nutrition is not what you are lacking but what you are eating that you shouldn’t. This is a complete 180-degree turnaround from usual teaching.
“The truth is that most of us in the developed world eat far too much anyway. It’s not a question of food lack or nutrient deficiency but of overload.”
The result is inflammation.
“Today we understand that this goes far beyond just ‘food allergy,’ ” Mumby noted. “We know about small genetic variations, called SNPs [single nucleotide polymorphisms], which handicap our ability to metabolize certain select foods.
“We are all different – that’s the No. 1 lesson I have for the world. There is no such thing as a healthy diet. What is good for one person will make another seriously ill.
“So how do we deal with that? You need a system that will enable you to work out what’s right for your body and what foods to avoid. If you take the trouble to do this, the rewards are enormous. You’ll feel decades younger, sharper mentally, it’s great for the complexion and great at staving off aging.”
Dr. Sunil Pai, a renowned Integrative Medicine physician, has spent his career uncovering triggers that cause inflammation and, in turn, expose people to diseases that are preventable.
“Everyone suffers from inflammation – everyone,” Dr. Pai said. “They may think they just have another chronic illness, but I can guarantee it started with inflammation. … The key is to correctly treat inflammation triggers through diet, lifestyle, and the right kinds of anti-inflammatories.
“It’s time to finally prevent and treat disease – rather than simply managing it.”
Nutraceuticals to improve immunity
Nutraceuticals – a food or dietary supplement believed to provide health benefits – have been shown to improve health, prevent chronic diseases, and support the body’s functions. 
In recent years, nutraceuticals have become more prevalent because of their potential nutritional, safety and therapeutic effects.
There are nutraceuticals to help to reduce or shut off the body’s inflammatory immune response:
- Primary active ingredient in turmeric
- Potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant effects
- Interferes with viral cellular processes, prevents viral replication
Epigallocatechin Gallate (ECCG)
- A catechin (natural antioxidant) found in green tea
- Inhibits the binding of an essential viral protein to cell-surface molecules
- Binds to the viral envelope, inhibits transcription of the virus
Glutathione And N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)
- An amino acid that helps the body replenish glutathione
- Glutathione is an antioxidant that strengthens cells and builds the immune system
- NAC also inhibits virus replication (fights off viral infections)
- Reduces inflammation in airways, acts as an expectorant
- Helpful for anti-inflammatory effects in the body
- May be effective at increasing immune function
- Decreases pro-inflammatory cytokines
- A fatty acid amide naturally produced when the body battles inflammation
- Relieves symptoms associated with influenza and the common cold
- A flavonoid with antioxidant benefits
- Helps reduce various kinds of inflammation
- As an antiviral, interacts with specific viral proteins, inhibits viral entry into cells
Specializing Pro-Resolving Mediators (SPMs)
- Derived from polyunsaturated fats (omega-3 fatty acids)
- Critical in switching off an inflammatory response
- Ascorbic acid (aka ascorbate) is an antioxidant essential for the growth and repair of tissues
- Strengthens the capillaries that carry oxygen, nutrients to all parts of the body
- Vitamin C supplementation can prevent and treat systemic infections
- May decrease pro-inflammatory cytokines in lung tissue
- Triggers the release of peptides that destabilize the viral envelope
- Promotes respiratory health and immune system benefits
Vitamin B3 (Nicotinamide)
- Niacin is an antioxidant
- Helps regulate cholesterol levels
- Can potentially reduce lung inflammation by inhibiting the immune response of neutrophil infiltration into the lungs
- Antioxidant that boosts immunity by reducing oxidative stress
- Vital in the function of T cells (white blood cells, a key to immunity)
- May help inhibit the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines (proteins important in cell signaling)
Maintaining liver health
Recommendations from Medical News Today to help keep your liver working as it should: 
Your liver is responsible for digesting fats; an excess of lipids can overwork it and disturb it from other tasks. In addition, obesity can cause fatty liver disease.
Avoid drinking more than two drinks at a time. Excess consumption causes cirrhosis of the liver over time. The breakdown of alcohol produces chemicals that are toxic to the liver, such as acetaldehyde and free radicals. For serious damage to occur in men, it takes the equivalent of a liter of wine every day for 20 years.
If some prescription drugs are mixed, they can interact negatively, even natural remedies; “herbal” does not mean “safe.” Mixing drugs with alcohol puts significant pressure on the liver; alcohol and acetaminophen can lead to acute liver failure, for instance.
If painting or using strong cleaning or gardening chemicals, the area should be well ventilated or a mask should be worn. Because the liver has to deal with any toxins that enter the body, it can be damaged by airborne chemicals.
If traveling to an area where hepatitis A or B might be a concern, vaccination is essential. Hepatitis C does not have a vaccination. Exercise caution in regard to safe sex, tattoos, and piercings. Malaria grows and multiplies in the liver, and yellow fever can lead to liver failure (the “yellow” in the name comes from one of its most obvious symptoms – jaundice). Both diseases can be prevented by oral medication and vaccination respectively.
Hepatitis C can be transmitted through sexual contact with someone infected with the virus (although the condition is more commonly spread through sharing needles and syringes, needlestick injuries in healthcare settings, and being born to a mother with the virus).
The liver is made up of different types of cells which means different types of tumors can form in the liver or bile ducts.
The different types of cancers include:
- Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)
- Cholangiocarcinoma (cancers of the bile duct)
The average age of people diagnosed with cancer of the intrahepatic bile ducts (within or originating in the liver) is 70, and for cancer of the extrahepatic bile ducts (situated or originating outside the liver), it is 72.
Bile duct cancer is more common in men (13 cases per 100,000 people) than women (4.4), and among Asian / Pacific Islander (20.8 for men), Hispanic (19.5), and American Indian / Alaska Native (18.5) populations.
In general, if the cancer is found only in the part of the body where it started it is localized (Stage I). If it has spread to a different part of the body, the stage is regional (Stage II or III) or distant (Stage IV). The earlier liver cancer and bile duct cancer is caught, the better chance a person has of surviving five years after being diagnosed. For liver cancer and bile duct cancer, 43.2 percent are diagnosed at the local stage. The 5-year survival for these cancers is 31.1 percent.
As noted, because the liver can regenerate you can treat or even prevent liver cancer. Beginning with detoxing, improving your immune system health, and eating wisely – remember, eliminating triggers for inflammation is key – you can get on a path to natural health and healing.
- Altered gene expression patterns of innate and adaptive immunity pathways in transgenic rainbow trout harboring Cecropin P1 transgene | Jay H Lo, Chun-Mean Lin, Maria J Chen and Thomas T Chen | BMC Genomics 201415:887 | 11 October 2014 | https://bmcgenomics.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2164-15-887
- Key Statistics About Liver Cancer | American Cancer Society | https://www.cancer.org/cancer/liver-cancer/about/what-is-key-statistics.html
- Grow Young with HGH: The Amazing Medically Proven Plan to Reverse Aging | Ronald Klatz and Carol Kahn | https://www.amazon.com/Grow-Young-HGH-Amazing-Medically/dp/0060984341/ref=as_li_ss_tl
- New Concepts in Nutraceuticals as Alternative for Pharmaceuticals. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4336979/
- What does the liver do? | Tim Newman | Medical News Today | https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/305075.php