OK. Claiming a ketogenic (extreme low carb) diet can cure or even slow cancer may be a stretch. But I agree with Dr. Mercola that a diet featuring lean, high quality protein and targeted beneficial fats is probably good for most of us.
Here is an excerpt from a long, involved post I found on Dr. Mercola’s website:
Ketogenic Diet May Be Key to Cancer Recovery
March 10, 2013 – Dr. Joseph Mercola
To some, a ketogenic diet amounts to nothing less than a drug-free cancer treatment. The diet calls for eliminating carbohydrates, replacing them with healthy fats and protein.
The premise is that since cancer cells need glucose to thrive, and carbohydrates turn into glucose in your body, then cutting out carbs literally starves the cancer cells.
This type of diet, in which you replace carbs with moderate amounts of high quality protein and high amounts of beneficial fat, is what I recommend for everyone, whether you have cancer or not. It’s simply a diet that will help optimize your weight and health overall, as eating this way will help you convert from carb burning mode to fat burning.
Ketogenic Diet May Be Key to Brain Cancer Recovery
The featured video shows Thomas Seyfried, Ph.D, who is one of the leaders in teasing the details of how to treat cancer nutritionally. I am scheduled to interview him shortly and hope to have that interview up later this year. In the video, Professor Seyfried discusses how, as a metabolic disorder involving the dysregulation of respiration, malignant brain cancer can be managed through changes in the metabolic environment.
“In contrast to normal neurons and glia, which transition to ketone bodies (beta-hydroxybutyrate) for respiratory energy when glucose levels are reduced, malignant brain tumors are mostly dependent on non-oxidative substrate level phosphorylation due to structural and functional abnormalities in mitochondria. Glucose and glutamine are major fuels for malignant cancer cells.
The transition from glucose to ketone bodies as an energy source is an ancestrally conserved adaptation to food deprivation that permits the survival of normal cells during extreme shifts in nutritional environment. Only those cells with a flexible genome, honed through millions of years of environmental forcing and variability selection, can transition from one energy state to another.
We propose a different approach to brain cancer management that exploits the metabolic flexibility of normal cells at the expense of the genetically defective and metabolically challenged. This evolutionary and metabolic approach to brain cancer management is supported from studies in orthotopic mouse brain tumor models and from case studies in patients.
Calorie restriction and restricted ketogenic diets (R-KD), which reduce circulating glucose levels and elevate ketone levels, are anti-invasive, anti-angiogenic, and pro-apoptotic towards malignant brain cancer.”1
Current conventional cancer treatment typically involves chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Chemotherapy is a cytotoxic poison, and radiation is devastating to the human body. More often than not, the treatment is what eventually kills the patient. This can no longer be accepted as “the best we can do.” As Dr. Seyfried says:
“The reason why we have so few people surviving is because of the standard of care. It has to be changed, if it’s not changed, there will be no major progress. Period.”
Metabolic Therapy/Ketogenic Diet Being Investigated as Cancer Treatment
CBN News recently published an article on the ketogenic diet.2 Clearly, many people are realizing that what we have been doing in terms of fighting cancer is simply not working, and we cannot afford to continue in the same way. Prevention must be addressed if we ever want to turn the tide on the growing incidence of cancer across all age groups. But even more astounding, in terms of treatment, is that cancer may respond to diet alone.
“Dr. Fred Hatfield is an impressive guy: a power-lifting champion, author of dozens of books, a millionaire businessman with a beautiful wife. But he’ll tell you his greatest accomplishment is killing his cancer just in the nick of time,” CBN News writes. “The doctors gave me three months to live because of widespread metastatic cancer in my skeletal structure,” he recalled. “Three months; three different doctors told me that same thing.”
Dr. Hatfield was preparing to die when he heard of metabolic therapy, also known as the ketogenic diet. He had nothing to lose so he gave it a try, and… it worked. The cancer disappeared completely, and at the time of his interview (above), he’d been cancer-free for over a year…
Click-on the link below to access a series of video reports, interviews and charts about ketogenic diets and the possible benefits for cancer patients:
I eat a very low carb diet myself. If I don’t, drug interactions spike my blood sugar and I retain a lot of water and carry a lot of painful inflammation. But no way would I dump my anti-cancer drugs and try the diet by itself–no matter how stringent and controlled. Pattie and I like to share different perspectives here on HWC. But no way can we endorse something like this if a patient is considering using a ketogenic diet in lieu of an oncologist’s prescribed therapy regimen.
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat