Chronic diseases, such as cancer, continue to take numerous lives in spite of the advances in modern medicine. This suffering can’t be met at the same growth rate in genetic therapy, pharmacology, or surgery.
Many cancer patients are trying alternative cancer treatment methods that can be as simple as regulating the metabolic functions within their bodies.
Western countries typically consume a diet that includes grain, starch, and sugar on a daily basis. Studies show that sugar is actually the main source of fuel that contributes to cell growth and an inflammatory environment. In simple terms, research suggests sugar increases the risk of cancer and disease.
What is a Ketogenic Diet for Cancer?
A metabolic state, referred to as ketosis, is the process where your body burns ketones to make its energy instead of depending on carbohydrates or sugar.
Fatty acids metabolize ketones in the liver for energy. The absence of glucose in the body creates ketones. This process was developed as an adaptation for the human body when food wasn’t available.
However, this isn’t the only way to produce ketones. They also develop when you limit your diet to less than 80 grams of carbohydrates daily and no more than 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of your body mass.
By doing this, the body adapts to the ketone metabolism and a hormone in the liver, known as FGF21, becomes more efficient.
What is the Science Behind Keto Diet and the Fight Against Cancer
The keto diet comprises foods that are in fats, low in carbohydrates and have mid-level protein availability. This means the diet targets the Warburg effect, the process of cancer cells using glycols to produce ATP, instead of oxidative phosphorylation. Moreover, some types of cancer do not have the ability to utilize ketone products due to dysfunction of the mitochondria and down-regulation of enzymes required to process ketones. The ketogenic diet by providing a low-carb and fat-rich diet reduces glucose levels circulating in the blood stream. This induces ketosis and causes cancer cells to die of energy starvation, while regular cells are able to adapt their metabolic activity to use ketones. A reduction in blood glucose also causes a reduction in insulin and its growth factor, which further causes a reduction in cancer cell proliferation. (Ketogenic diet in cancer therapy; Aging (Albany NY), 2018)
How the Ketogenic Diet for Cancer Weakens Cancer Cells
When you are on a ketogenic diet for cancer, the reduced carbohydrates will lower the levels of glucose that feed the cancer cells. This process puts your body into ketosis and helps to exhaust the cancer cells of their energy supply.
One of the cancer cells’ traits that are unlike normal cells is the insulin receptors. On the cellular surface, cancer cells have ten times more insulin receptors in comparison to a normal cell. This property allows the cancer cells to take in nutrients and glucose, when they enter the bloodstream, at an increased rate. As more glucose enters the systems, the cancer cells will continue to spread and thrive.
Cancer cells can’t create energy from aerobic respiration and damage the mitochondria. This means that cancer cells can’t metabolize fatty acids for the energy they need, which is why they turn to amino acids and glucose. By restricting their energy source, you can essentially starve off cancer.
Effects of Ketogenic Diet on Cancer Cells
Numerous studies conducted into the effects of low-carbohydrate diets have shown benefits in cancer therapy. Research suggests the diet can help:
- Slow down the growth of the tumor
- During chemotherapy and radiation treatment protect healthy cells from damage
- Improve effectiveness and response times of anti-cancer drugs
- Reduce inflammation (something that encourages cancer growth)
- Reduces weight gain during and after breast cancer chemotherapy (additional weight increases the risk of tumors coming back)
Ketogenic Diet Foods for Cancer Treatment
Ketogenic diet foods for cancer revolve around health fats, which include the following:
– Olive oil
– Coconut oil
– Raw seeds and nuts
The ketogenic diet for cancer treatment also includes low carbohydrate vegetables, including the following:
– Brussels sprouts
– Collard greens
The protein found in a ketogenic diet cancer generally comes from the following sources:
– Fermented dairy
– Organic pastured poultry
– Wild game
– Grass-fed beef
– Fish and seafood
– Grass-fed, raw, organic dairy (full fat)
Antioxidants, organic acids, and enzymes are also recommended to help your body create an alkaline environment. When you absorb organic acids, it helps to weaken cancer cells by counteracting the acidity with cellular oxygenation. This effect occurs from foods in a ketogenic diet such as apple cider vinegar, lemons, low-sugar fermented drinks, limes, and dried herbs.
Protein-high diets also pose a risk of feeding cancer cells. On a ketogenic diet for cancer, it is recommended that a moderate protein diet accompany to weaken the cancer cells. Studies show that you can starve cancer cells by introducing a ketogenic diet for cancer that consists of 75% healthy fats, 20% protein, and no more than 5% carbohydrates.
While on a ketogenic diet for cancer treatment, accompany it with probiotics, high-quality multivitamins, and omega-3s. The supplementation of omega-3 has been found to stimulate the anti-cancer effects of the ketogenic diet.
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