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Ketogenic Diet and Cancer Treatment
Written by Dr Vasilev   
Tuesday, 13 October 2009 14:10

One of the most prominent metabolic abnormalities in cancer cells is an increase in glucose consumption and the conversion of glucose to lactic acid (via the reduction of pyruvate for the tecchies out there) even when oxygen is present. This is known as aerobic glycolysis or the Warburg effect and may provide a plausible strategy to  inhibit tumour growth. Aerobic glycolysis is an inefficient way to generate adenosine 5'-triphosphate (ATP "energy packets" for cells), and the advantage it confers to cancer cells has been unclear but is exploitable.  Regardless of the actual advantage mechanism, it is definitely an advantage for cancer cells.  One can potentially affect this process by using a ketogenic diet with average protein amounts  but extremely low in carbohydrates and high in fat enriched with antioxidant omega-3 fatty acids and medium-chain triglycerides (MCT).  This is not a new suggestion, but one that has gathered some research steam over the years. 

This is not only plausible but has been proven to work in animal models, and to a limited extent in small human clinical trials for some cancers, notably prostate cancer and certain types of brain cancer. While there are some peculiarities to different types of cancer, a basic metabolic alteration like this is present in most, if not all, cancers. Therefore, even though it has not been proven (or even tested) in the vast majority of cancers there is a significant degree of scientific plausibility here.  It is also a "scalable" approach, which means that it can be done to varying degrees with likely SOME benefit, but here is where the scientific information is lacking.  Exactly how low and for how long does the blood sugar need to be reduced etc. 

WARNING:  I would not advise trying this at home without physician supervision.  Having said that, this approach has been studied in greater detail in seizure control where numerous medical reports attest to it being safe and effective.

This is NOT something that is proven or likely to cure cancer all by itself.  However, the ketogenic diet modification is plausible as a complementary approach and/or for use AFTER primary anti-cancer treatment has been completed.  In other words, if you are like many cancer survivors (if not most), the question after treatment is "what can I do to help prevent the cancer from coming back"?  Most physicians will advise some type of watchful waiting.  The only other "proven" approach is adding exercise, which does extend survival on average in patients with all types of cancer.  Dietary modification is a plausible but unproven approach and this one deserves a look-see by you as well as further research, which is ongoing.  

As always a strong reminder.  Discuss EVERYTHING that you do, or are considering, with your trusted physician before trying anything new. 

Last Updated on Monday, 22 February 2010 21:10
Whey Protein Way Good Against Cancer
Written by Dr Vasilev   
Tuesday, 22 September 2009 19:01

Glutathione (GSH) concentration is high in most cancer cells and this may be an important factor in resistance to chemotherapy.  Several studies have shown that  whey protein concentrate paradoxically might deplete tumor cells of GSH, making them more susceptible to chemotherapy while inhibiting a wide range of free radicals in normal cells.  Taking whey protein boosts your red and white blood cells and hemoglobin levels, making it easier to tolerate chemo and fight off cancer.  Since it is a highly bioactive protein it also directly enhances immune function. 

There are really no downsides to this approach and the cost is modest.  Make sure that the brand you pick does not contain refined sugars and that it is "cold processed" which avoids "denaturation" of the protein that reduces its biological activity and  effectiveness.  The dose?  Given the presence of cancer, approximately 30 grams, several times a day is reasonable.  Add it to a shake or smoothie or other foods. 

Last Updated on Saturday, 10 October 2009 20:49
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