A ketogenic diet, which calls for minimizing carbohydrates and replacing them with healthy fats, can help in cancer treatment.
|Scooped by Graham Player Ph.D.|
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet which forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. If there is very little carbohydrate in the diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies. The ketone bodies pass into the brain and replace glucose as an energy source.
Cancer cells consume large amounts of glucose for their survival. Unlike cancer cells, healthy normal cells are able to burn fats if there is insufficient glucose available. Therefore, as cancer cells are inefficient in processing ketone bodies for energy, the ketogenic diet has been suggested as a treatment for cancer. There have been several studies confirming that depriving cancer cells of glucose produces positive results. Fasting can also temporarily produce this effect as it reduces plasma glucose levels, as well as benefiting the immune system and reducing the production of glutamine, insulin and IGF-1.
Without glucose some cancer cells seem to be able to use glutamine as an alternative energy source. Although this may not be the case for all cancers according to some researchers.
The ketogenic diet has received considerable attention in the epilepsy community as a first line of approach, and is recognized as an important component for the management of refractory seizures in children.
Dr. Thomas Seyfried is one of the recognized authorities on the ketogenic diet and its effects on cancer. He has been teaching neurogenetics and neurochemistry as it relates to cancer treatment at Yale University and Boston College for the past 25 years, and has also published a book, Cancer as a Metabolic Disease: On the Origin, Management, and Prevention of Cancer. If you have time (1ht 16mins) you may want to listen to him being interviewed about his cancer research.
According to Dr. Seyfried if the levels of ketones in the blood are equal to or higher than the levels of glucose, then you will have achieved a ketogenic state. He suggests the targeted level of glucose is probably 55 to 65 milligrams per deciliter, and advises that it may be simple in concept but much more difficult in implementation, and should be under professional supervision. Calorie restriction using the ketogenic diet is at the heart of the therapy.
Dr. Seyfried has found that saturated fats containing medium-chain triglycerides - such as coconut oils, butter, macadamia nuts, etc – are converted to ketones much more readily than polyunsaturated fats.