"The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease."
Even though various cancers appear very different, they all share this feature of mitochondrial damage and can be attacked by means of this defect.
Blood glucose is easily measured. The strategy is to create low blood glucose together with high blood ketones. High blood ketones protect the cells from damage that would otherwise come from low blood glucose.
Chronic inflammation causes cancer. There are many causes of inflammation.
The ketogenic diet is anti-inflammatory.
Sugar and high glycemic foods are inflammatory.
Anti-inflammatory oils include:
Pro-inflammatory oils include:
FDA moves to ban trans fats from food.
Breastmilk is high in fat, so newborns spend a lot of time in mild ketosis.
Animal studies indicate that the ketogenic diet "reverses age-related deficits in learning and other cognitive measures".
Ketogenic diet, calorie restriction plus oxygen shrinks tumors
Calorie restriction as a means to augment cancer therapies
Honey has too much sugar, but propolis produced by bees everywhere in the world is a cancer fighter.
Cancer cells crave sugar
Cancer cells have about 10 times more insulin receptors than healthy cells, and cancer cells can even produce their own insulin. When insulin binds to insulin receptors, the result is uptake of glucose by the cell. Compared to healthy cells, cancer cells require an enormous amount of glucose in order to function.
The reason why cancer cells require so much glucose is because their metabolism is inefficient. The defining characteristic of cancer cells is damaged mitochondria. Mitochondria are "power houses" for healthy cells, producing about 30 ATP molecules for every glucose molecule. A cancer cell uses fermentation of glucose to produce only 2 ATP molecules for every glucose molecule. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is a molecule that distributes chemical energy throughout the cell. See our oxygen page for expanded discussion of cancer metabolism.
All cells in the body, including cancer cells, have similar total energy requirements in order to remain alive. Since cancer cells produce energy from glucose so inefficiently, they require far more glucose compared to healthy cells.
Cancer cells cannot metabolize fats
The three macronutrients the body can use for fuel are carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Both carbohydrates and surplus proteins can be broken down to glucose. Fats are broken down to ketones. Therefore, at the cellular level two fuels are available: glucose and ketones.
Surplus glucose is stored as body fat. This transformation from glucose to fat is done in the liver. However, when the time comes for the body to utilize the energy stored in body fat, the fat is not converted back to glucose. Rather the fat is broken down by the liver to water soluble "ketone bodies" that are transported throughout the body by the blood. These ketone bodies are used by mitochondria in cells to produce energy.
Since the ketones do not ferment, there is no way for cancer cells with their damaged mitochondria to derive energy from ketones.
"Without a doubt the most powerful essential strategy I know of to treat cancer is to starve the cells by depriving them of their food source. Unlike your body cells, which can burn carbs or fat for fuel, cancer cells have lost that metabolic flexibility. Dr. Otto Warburg was actually given a Nobel Prize over 75 years ago for figuring this out but virtually no oncologist actually uses this information." - Dr. Mercola
Ketogenic diet kills cancer cells by starving them
A ketogenic diet is comprised of minimal carbohydrates, moderate protein, and abundant fat. This diet was developed by Johns Hopkins Medical Center as a means to control childhood epilepsy because it has a calming effect on the nervous system. However, variations of the diet are increasingly being used to control other diseases as well, including cancer.
When the body receives a diet of minimal carbohydrates, moderate protein and abundant fat, the result is low blood sugar and high blood ketones. After three to four days the cells of the body adapt to this new situation and begin to metabolize the ketones for energy.
Healthy fats include:
- of particular importance are sources of omega-3 fatty acids such as chia, flax and fish oil.
For more information see our healthy fats page.
At the cellular level, it makes no difference if the ketones come from body fat or diet. Therefore, at the cellular level this type of metabolism is the same as during periods of starvation or fasting, which have been a normal occurrence throughout human history. The advantage of using a ketogenic diet is that the state of ketosis can be maintained for an extended time without harming the body. However, cancer cells cannot adapt to the lack of glucose and quickly starve. Elaine Cantin 1, 2, 3 reports that her breast cancer disappeared within two weeks of beginning her ketogenic diet.
Use Keto Sticks to monitor ketosis
Surplus ketones will be discarded in the urine. Keto sticks offer a simple way to measure the amount of ketones in the urine.
Keto Sticks are available from drug stores, amazon.com, and other sources on the Internet. Follow the instructions on the package carefully. Try to maintain a moderate or higher level of ketosis.
During the first few days most of your ketones may be discarded in the urine, resulting in a deep purple color on the Keto sticks. As the body adapts to the new diet and begins producing enzymes needed to utilize ketones, then more will be used and less will be discarded.
According to Dr. Seyfried, the "ketogenic state" is when the amount of ketone in the blood is greater than or equal to the amount of glucose. Most people will be able to get their blood sugar down to 2.5 or 3 millimolars (45 to 55 milligrams per decaliter mg/dl) and ketones up to 3 or 4 millimolars (55 to 70 milligrams per decaliter mg/dl). When using the ketogenic diet to treat disease, it is helpful to measure both glucose and ketones daily. There are meters available to measure both blood glucose and blood ketone.
Watch the movie "First Do No Harm" free on the Internet. In this 1997 movie, Meryl Streep portrays a mother with an epileptic child. After drugs failed to help, the doctors wanted to operate on the child's brain. At this point the mother learns about the ketogenic diet and asks the child's doctor if it would be worth a try. The doctor refuses. The mother tries to remove her child from the hospital without the doctor's consent and the possibility arises that the child may be removed from the mother's custody. However, Meryl Streep prevails and the child is helped by the diet.
The website www.epilepsy.com has a list of doctors using the ketogenic diet with their patients.
http://lowcarbdoctors.blogspot.ca/ List of low-carb doctors
www.ketonutrition.net offers metabolic strategies for neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.
Online Articles (from list at ketonutrition.net)
More Online Information
The Anti-Cancer Diet
Cantin, Elaine, et al, "The Cantin Ketogenic Diet for Cancer, Type 1 Diabetes and Other Ailments", CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2012. Elaine Cantin avoided glucose/fructose and allergens such as dairy, soy, grains, and red meat. The healthy natural oils she ate were extra-virgin olive oil and organic extra-virgin coconut oil, plus her diet included fish which is a source of omega-3 oil.
Gerson, Charlotte, Healing The Gerson Way, Totality Books, Carmel, California, 2009.
Seyfried, Thomas, "Cancer as a Metabolic Disease: On the Origin, Management, and Prevention of Cancer", Wiley, 2012. Watch a video of Dr. Seyfried on this page.
Budwig, Dr. Johanna, The Oil-Protein Diet Cookbook, Apple Publishing Company Ltd., Vancouver, 1994.
Budwig, Dr. Johanna, Flax Oil As a True Aid Against Arthritis, Heart Infarction, Cancer and Other Diseases, Apple Publishing Company Ltd., Vancouver, 1996.
Budwig, Dr. Johanna and Nexus Hirmeise, Cancer - The Problem and the Solution, Nexus Gmbh, 2008.
For more information and videos, search the Internet and youtube.com for "ketogenic diet cancer" and "Dr. Johanna Budwig". Dr. Budwig wrote 15 books and many articles, however they are all in the German language. Unfortunately, not much of her work has been translated into English.
Cancer loves sugar. The modern cancer-causing diet favors carbohydrates (sugar, grains and starchy vegetables such as potatoes). The cancer-preventing ketogenic diet favors healthy fats and minimizes carbohydrates. Both diets require a moderate amount of protein.
When following a high fat diet as a treatment for disease it would be wise to have a good look at Dr. Budwig's findings. Dr. Johanna Budwig spent a lifetime studying fats and their role in health and disease. Ketone bodies are made of fat and protein. Dr. Budwig found that flax oil blended with cottage cheese creates a health building food that would be of great benefit to everyone. Most people consuming the typical modern diet will be deficient in the essential omega-3 oils found in flax oil. This is perhaps the most wide-spread and dangerous nutritional deficiency today.
Let the Keto sticks tell you when you are eating enough fats. Try to maintain a moderate or higher level of ketosis.
Carbohydrates, fats and protein are the three macro-nutrients in the diet and it is important to find the right balance for your health condition. However, in addition to the three macro-nutrients there are thousands of micronutrients that the body requires for good health. We suggest the micronutrient-dense diet advocated by Dr. Joel Fuhrman is an ideal companion to a ketogenic diet. Search the Internet for more information.
We have now two home tests - alkaline pH test for saliva and ketone test for urine - to help prevent cancer and maintain health. Later in this web site we will examine another test using a device called a "refractometer". The refractometer provides a simple way to measure the nutritional value of food. Would you believe that sick food creates sick people? More on this later.
Now let's move on to an overview of 8 things you can do to prevent or remove cancer. As you will see, these same 8 steps will probably prevent or remove most other degenerative diseases as well. By the time you have learned how to deal effectively with cancer, you will have created a firm basis for a life free from all degenerative disease. So, to learn what else you can do let's move on to Cancer Self-Treatment.
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