Megamin

Abstract

This information is compiled by the Anticancer Fund and is based on the professional information.
 Last Updated: August 2016.

 

Megamin is a specially prepared quartz mineral for dietary use. The manufacturers claim that Megamin can be used to improve general well being, relieve or prevent adverse effects associated with chemotherapy, and treat malignant and blood (haematological) diseases, especially cancer. Pre-clinical/experimental studies with Megamin do not reliably substantiate the claimed benefits of Megamin.

What is it?

Megamin is the brand name for TMAZ (tribomechanically activated zeolite clinoptiloite), a specially prepared quartz mineral marketed as a dietary supplement since 1998. Megamin consists of a naturally occurring mineral called clinoptilolite, which is a type of zeolite. Zeolites are minerals that act as absorbents and have a wide range of industrial and agricultural uses. They have been used in livestock feed to absorb toxins that could be fatal to the growth of the animals. Zeolites are also used in detergents and as water softeners in the treatment of water before public consumption in most municipal water supplies.

Does it work?

Pre-clinical studies

A number of pre-clinical studies have been conducted to investigate the effects of Megamin on cancer cells in animals. Two experimental studies with cloned cancer cells have shown that Megamin is able to suppress cancer growth. A few other studies have shown that Megamin may be able to lessen symptoms of vomiting or nausea in rats with breast cancer. However, none of these studies used proper methodological protocols to minimize biases and errors, such as control groups.

 

Clinical studies / case reports

The only clinical study conducted on Megamin does not show that Megamin has anti-cancer effects.
In 2001, the manufacturer submitted for review 32 cases of cancer treated with Megamin. Of the 21 cases of complete disappearance of cancer and 11 cases of partial disappearance of the cancer reported by the manufacturer, the research group conducting the investigation confirmed only six cases of partial disappearance, which were attributed to conventional cancer treatment the patients were taking during use of Megamin. The findings of this clinical analysis could not confirm the claimed anti-cancer effects of Megamin.
 

Is it safe?

Contraindications

There is no reliable data on whether Megamin can be taken during pregnancy or breast feeding.
 

Adverse effects

Extensive studies have been conducted on the use of synthetic zeolite in humans because of its use in consumer products. Studies show that synthetic zeolite is not harmful when ingested, inhaled, or exposed to the skin and eyes.
Clinoptilolite, the naturally occurring zeolite found in Megamin, has also been investigated in laboratory settings. Experimental studies do not show toxicity in animals. However, no studies on its potential adverse effects have been conducted in humans.

 

Interactions

Megamin may interact with medicines or drugs that share similar mechanisms of action. No data is available.
 

More info

How to use Megamin?

Megamin is available in powder and capsule form. It is marked in different combinations with calcium, magnesium, ascorbic acid, herbal additives (green tea, nettle, pollen) and phytochemicals (chemical substances, such as beta-carotene, derived from plants). The provider recommends an oral intake of up to 16 capsules (500 mg) per day.

 

Mechanisms of action

Zeolites are biologically neutral and they effectively bind to toxins such as ammonia. It is therefore claimed that TMAZ can increase the capacity to absorb toxins such as ammonia. As a result Megamin is said to exhibit strong antioxidant activity in the human body. It is also claimed that it can stimulate the immune system by activating T-cells, a type of cell that plays an important role in immunity. However, it has also been shown that use of Megamin in immune diseases results in the death of T-cells.

 

Prevalence of use

According to the manufacturer, from 1997 to 2001, 30,000 patients purchased and used Megamin, including 7,000 cancer patients in Austria, Croatia, Germany, Italy and Slovenia.

 

Claims of efficacy

It is claimed that Megamin is able to stimulate the immune system, enhance general well being, reduce/prevent adverse effects of conventional cancer treatment, such as anaemia, pain, vomiting, nausea, weight loss and hair loss, and loss of appetite. The manufacturer also advises that Megamin may be used to treat malignant and blood (haematological) diseases, especially cancers of the glands (adenoma), brain/spinal cord tumours (glioblastoma) and skin cancer (melanoma). Proponents regard Megamin as potentially useful not only in cancer patients but also in diabetes mellitus, chronic wounds and liver diseases.

 

Cost and expenditures

Megamin may cost from 100 Euro to 150 euro per person per month.

 

Legal issues

Despite being marketed with treatment claims, Megamin is classified as a dietary supplement.
 

Abstract

This information was compiled and reviewed by the CAM-Cancer consortium. Last Updated: August 2016.

 

Megamin is a brand name for tribomechanically activated zeolite clinoptilolite (TMAZ), which is a special prepared framework quartz mineral. As a result of so-called “tribomechanical activation”, these silicates are claimed to have a distinct antioxidant effect. The manufacturer recommends TMAZ as a dietary supplement. TMAZ is sold throughout Europe under the brand name Megamin.

There is no evidence that Megamin (TMAZ) has a direct anticancer effect, can lessen side effects of chemotherapy or relief symptoms in cancer patients. Although data exist regarding the safety of zeolites for oral exposures, TMAZ could potentially cause deficiencies of trace elements or disorders of homeostasis.

Its antioxidant activity is claimed to improve the health of those with malignant diseases (and other conditions). It is suggested that TMAZ supports the normalisation of anaemia, improves general health, decreases pain, improves physical condition and palliates side-effects of chemotherapy like nausea, vomiting, hair and weight loss and improves appetite.

A search for trials confirming these claims was conducted. There is a lack of good quality clinical evidence. The only existing reference is an unpublished best-case-analysis, which was carried out in collaboration with the manufacturer in 2001. This could not confirm the claimed anti-cancer effects. In addition to that, there are no data to confirm the claimed improvements of general health.

Therefore, at present there is no convincing evidence regarding the efficacy of TMAZ supplementation against cancer, regarding the improvement of side effects of cancer therapy by TMAZ or regarding its safety.

What is it?

Megamin has been offered in Europe as a dietary supplement since 1998. Megamin is the brand name for TMAZ (tribomechanical activated zeolite clinoptilolite), a special prepared framework quartz mineral.

Ingredients

Megamin consists of a micronized natural mineral named clinoptilolite, one of numerous zeolites (tectosilicates). Zeolites are oxides with three-dimensional, microporous, crystalline and well-defined structures that contain aluminium, silicon, and oxygen in their regular framework. Cations and water are located in the pores, cavities or channels.

Mechanisms of action

Zeolites act as absorbents, have catalytic properties and are commonly used as ion exchanger in the detergent industry. Zeolites added to livestock feed have been shown to absorb toxins that are damaging and even fatal to the growth of the animals, while the basic structure of the zeolite is biologically neutral. Aquarium hobbyists can find zeolite products in pet stores as they make remarkable binders of ammonia and other toxins. Most municipal water supplies are processed through zeolites before public consumption.

By applying a special procedure, the so-called dynamic tribomechanical activation of zeolite (TMAZ), the properties of clinoptilolite are claimed to be enhanced. It is claimed that the active surface and the electrostatic charge are enlarged and the particle-size is diminished, which in turn increases the capacity of absorption and ion exchange. As a result the mineral is said to act as a strong antioxidant, with the ability to intercept and neutralize free radicals in the human body (1).

Claims of efficacy/alleged indications

For the above reason TMAZ is claimed to sustain the immune system. That is why proponents regard it as potentially useful not only in cancer patients but also in diabetes mellitus, chronic wounds and liver diseases. In particular, the manufacturer advises its use for malignant and haematological diseases. During the application of chemotherapy TMAZ is said to strengthen general health, inhibit adverse effects of cytostatic agents, enhance general physical condition, reduce anaemia, lessen pain and therefore minimize the use of analgesics, reduce vomiting and nausea, improve appetite, weight and hair loss (1) as it is stated at the manufacturer’s homepage (2). Furthermore, TMAZ is suggested to exhibit a direct anti-tumour effect (3,4). The provider claims “best effects” for adenoma, glioblastoma and melanoma (5).

Application and dosage

Megamin is available in powder and capsule form and in different combinations with calcium, magnesium, ascorbic acid and herbal additives (green tea, nettle, pollen), as well as phytochemicals (Lycopenomin). The provider recommends an oral intake of up to 16 capsules (500 mg) per day.

Prevalence of use

According to the manufacturer, from 1997 to 2001, 30,000 patients have taken self-administered Megamin In particular, it claims, 7,000 cancer patients have used the supplement in Austria, Croatia, Germany, Italy and Slovenia (6).

Legal issues/costs

Despite the manufacturer’s claims for the benefits of Megamin, the product is not licensed but is sold as a dietary supplement. Costs are approximately € 100 to € 150/month for the user.

Does it work?

Six overviews and five preclinical trials exist. Only one study was identified as a clinical trial (6), as the majority of the studies were not published by independent scientists. No randomized controlled trials were found.

Clinical trials

The only trial retrieved from PUBMED did not confirm the preclinical assessment on adverse or anti-tumour effects. Ivkovic reported an increase of total antioxidant status by significantly increased CD4+, CD19+, and HLA-DR+ lymphocyte counts and a significantly decreased CD56+ cell count (6).

Case series

The manufacturer reports remissions in 80% of about 250 documented cancer histories within three to five months of treatment with TMAZ (personal communication). Therefore, in 2001 the AGBKT Study Group conducted a best case series (13) in collaboration with the only TMAZ provider (14).

In this study, the provider selected 32 cases of various cancer cases showing the best response to treatment. These were examined subsequently by the AGBKT Study Group. There was a distinct discrepancy between the judgement of the provider and the study group regarding the course of the disease. The provider reported 21 complete remission and 11 partial remission whereas the AGBKT Study Group could only confirm sufficient documentation of partial remissions in six cases, which were attributed to previous or concomitant conventional therapy (chemotherapy or/and radiation). None of these remission cases were exclusively attributable to the effect of TMAZ.

Pre-clinical studies

In in-vivo studies, TMAZ has shown a direct effect on malignant cells. Zarkovic showed a reduction of pulmonary metastases in mice by administration of a combination of doxorubicin and TMAZ (7). Pavelic reported an antimetastatic and immunostimulatory effect (NK-cell-activation and induction of apoptosis) of TMAZ in mice, as well as TMAZ inhibition of protein kinase B and induction of expression of tumour suppressor proteins (8).

TMAZ has shown a potential to improve adverse effects of conventional therapy modalities in rodent models. Muck-Seler reported a decrease of binding to serotonergic receptors in the brain of mice with mammary carcinoma, which indicates a likely antiemetic effect (9). Martin-Kleiner reported an influence of electrolytes and erratic effects on haematopoiesis in TMAZ-treated mice (10). Tatrai could not show any carcinogenic activity of clinoptilolite type zeolite in rats (11).

Because of the absence of controls, the quality of all cited preclinical studies is poor. There is no convincing evidence for the claimed effects by clinical research (12).

The results of preclinical studies and hypotheses put forward for the mode of action are not conclusive and do not provide evidence about pharmacokinetics resorption/elimination) or toxicology in humans. The only clinical trial does not prove any claimed anticancer effect.

According to the provider, Megamin can “stimulate the immune system by activating T-cells” (5). Paradoxically it also binds T-cell-receptors and –antigens in autoimmune diseases resulting in death of the T-cells“ (5).

In addition it remains unclear, in what way the antioxidant properties can take effect, since the manufacturer claims that the “particles do not enter the body in high concentrations”. TMAZ shall rather “be taken up by lymphoid tissue into liposome” (personal communication with the provider).

Is it safe?

Digestibility

Extensive studies have been carried out on the synthetic zeolite A due to its use in consumer products. These studies have demonstrated that type A zeolite is essentially non-toxic via oral, dermal, ocular, and respiratory routes of exposure (15).

Clinoptilolite, the natural zeolite contained in Megamin, was studied thoroughly as well and according to the provider is non-toxic (7,8). But only preclinical toxicological research exists about TMAZ, which showed no harm to animals (8). Toxicological research in humans has not been performed; harm to humans cannot therefore be excluded.

Pharmacokinetics / pharmacodynamics

Regrettably, no data are available on the gastrointestinal resorption or oral bioavailability of TMAZ in humans. No clinical research on pharmacokinetic exists. There are several potential dangers that can be associated with TMAZ:

1. Ion exchangers containing zeolites are well known for being used as water softeners – this softening process is due to exchanging sodium for calcium. Because of the different ways sodium can bind to trace elements a deficiency of potassium, sodium, selenium, iron, calcium, magnesium etc could occur in humans, if there is no enteral absorption of the TMAZ-complex.

In the same way, trace elements like potassium, selenium, iron, calcium, magnesium etc could be exchanged for sodium (which is bound to TMAZ). If there is no enteral resorption of these formatted TMAZ-trace-element-complexes, the deficiencies of trace elements will result. Such deficiencies can cause diseases, e g anaemia (due to deficiency of iron) or hypocalcaemic hyperventilation (due to deficiency of calcium).

2. On the other hand, there are data that clinoptilolite can bind/remove ammonia or toxins, whereby it could possibly have a positive effect, for instance, in liver diseases (16,17). But for that reason interactions with (orally taken) medicine or drugs are plausible by binding, catalysis or ion exchange catalyzed by TMAZ. This again causes reduced effects of the respective drug/medicine.

3. In contrast to this, if there should be any considerable resorption of TMAZ bound with calcium, calcification of blood vessels (with consecutive diseases like arteriosclerosis, coronary heart disease, occlusive arterial diseases etc.) or homeostasis disorder (hypercalcaemia) is possible, because the exchange process is reversible (18).

Carcinogenetic / teratogenitic effects

Data exist that clinoptilolite exhibits carcinogenic activity if it is inhaled (19, 20), although there are preclinical suggestions disproving this (11). No long-term observations exist. Furthermore, there are no reliable data available about TMAZ use during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Pavelic reported a decreased pup’s weight and consequently a higher mortality of pups of mice treated with TMAZ during pregnancy. The author points to an increased number of pups per litter as the reason for this (8).

Megamin

TMAZ

Tribomechanically activated zeolite clinoptilolite

Zeolite