How Metabolic Therapies Prevent and Treat Chronic Diseases

This article was originally published by our friend Dr. Mercola

Cancer has become Americans’ No. 1 health concern. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 1,600 people die every day from cancer in the U.S. That’s over 600,000 people each year. When you include the entire world population that number climbs tenfold to over 7.6 million. Statistics suggest half of all men and 4 out of 10 women will develop cancer during their lifetimes.

Alzheimer’s disease is another major health threat that has dramatically increased in recent years. Between 1999 and 2014, the death rate from Alzheimer’s increased by 55 percent. According to the latest statistics, Alzheimer’s claims the lives of more than half a million Americans each year, and unless there are radical changes, many experts project half of the population will eventually develop it.

These are grim statistics, but there is hope. Mounting evidence shows both of these conditions — as well as many other top killers — are metabolic diseases. This is actually good news, because that means you can prevent, treat and recover from them like other metabolic conditions, such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Ketogenic Diet Shows Tremendous Promise as Tool Against Chronic Disease

A number of experts and researchers are now convinced the answer to our burgeoning cancer and Alzheimer’s epidemics is a ketogenic diet and other metabolic support. Nutritional ketosis is the metabolic state associated with an increased production of ketones in your liver; i.e., the biological reflection of being able to burn fat, and is defined as having blood ketones in the range of 0.5 to 3.0 millimoles per liter.

Personally, I believe metabolic therapy — starting with a ketogenic diet — is an absolutely crucial facet of dementia and cancer prevention and treatment, and hopefully some day it will be adopted as a first line of treatment by mainstream medicine. The two videos included in this article feature Dominic D’Agostino, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of South Florida College of Medicine.

He teaches courses in molecular pharmacology and physiology, and maintains involvement in several studies researching metabolic treatments for neurological disorders such as seizures, Alzheimer’s, ALS and cancer, all of which are metabolically linked.

What Is Metabolic Therapy?

Metabolic therapy is an umbrella term that includes nutrition (primarily in the form of a ketogenic diet), dietary supplements, drugs that have a therapeutic influence on energy metabolism, fasting, hyperthermia, hyperbaric oxygen therapy and more. The focus of D’Agostino’s talk is the biological effects of nutritional ketosis and ketone supplements. The first 15 minutes or so are spent explaining the background of how he got into looking at fasting as a therapeutic aid to improve brain metabolism.

The second half of the video goes into practical applications of nutritional ketosis, and its anticancer effects. In my latest book, “Fat for Fuel,” I present a program called metabolic mitochondrial therapy (MMT), which is a form of metabolic therapy.

MMT includes not only cyclical ketosis, but also a variety of other strategies to improve your mitochondria other than diet, such as cold thermogenesis, photobiology, detox, exercise and electromagnetic field (EMF) avoidance. As noted by D’Agostino, metabolic therapies have the ability to treat a broad range of pathologies, not just cancer, making it all the more valuable from a clinical standpoint.

Ketones Fuel Your Body and Brain During Starvation

As explained by D’Agostino, it had long been thought that the brain could only function on glucose, but studies looking at the effects of starvation showed otherwise. In fact, during starvation, such as a bout of fasting, your brain switches to using ketones  derived from dietary fats, as its primary fuel, and ketones actually enhance brain function. If you eat a regular diet, which tends to be higher in net carbs than fats, your brain will almost exclusively use glucose as its primary fuel.

D’Agostino cites a study in which overweight participants fasted for 40 days. After the first week, their ketones  skyrocketed, overtaking glucose as the primary fuel source for the body (and brain). Studies have also shown that during fasting, at least two-thirds or more of the energy your body produces is derived from ketone bodies. “So, ketones function as an alternative fuel for the brain [when] glucose is not available,” D’Agostino explains.

Now, putting your body into starvation mode through longer water fasts is not an attractive option for most people. The good news is a ketogenic diet mimics the effects of fasting in that it elevates ketones and lowers blood glucose. The key to nutritional ketosis is twofold: You need to dramatically reduce the amount of net carbohydrates you eat (total carbs minus fiber), and you need to eat a significant amount of healthy dietary fats.

Ketogenic Diet Often Better Than Drugs for the Treatment of Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder marked by abnormal electrical discharges in the brain that trigger seizures. The Epilepsy Foundation suggests epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological condition, with an estimated 65 million people worldwide affected by it.1

Some 150,000 Americans are diagnosed with epilepsy annually, with children and older adults experiencing the highest incidence rates.2 Nutritional ketosis has been shown to be a very effective treatment for many epileptics, especially children who do not respond well to the medications used.

Research shows administration of synthetic ketone ester raises seizure resistance in rats by a whopping 575 percent, “which is above and beyond any anti-seizure medication that has been tried in this model,” D’Agostino notes. He then goes on to describe and explain the anticonvulsant and neuroprotective mechanism of ketones. In summary, both a ketogenic diet and synthetic ketone supplementation alters the ratio of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate in your brain.

Conditions and Diseases That Can Benefit From Ketones

Ketones — whether from nutritional ketosis or use of a ketone supplement — also enhance brain energy metabolism and increase the energy reserves in your brain. These therapeutic effects can be exploited for the benefit of many different conditions and diseases, including:

Hypoxia (which can result from a stroke, space flight or even just exposure to high altitude) Glucose transporter deficiency syndrome (a genetic seizure disorder) Angelman’s syndrome (a seizure and motor dysfunction disorder) Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) Alzheimer’s disease
Parkinson’s disease Epilepsy Traumatic brain injury Impaired wound healing Cancer

Some of these syndromes, glucose transporter deficiency syndrome and Angleman’s syndrome specifically, require patients to remain on a very strict ketogenic diet to avoid seizures. D’Agostino’s research suggests supplemental ketones may be used, allowing these patients to be less strict with their diet, without forgoing the benefits of strict nutritional ketosis. In terms of wound healing, ketones have been shown to increase profusion of blood into the wounded area, thereby facilitating healing.

How Ketones Affect Cancer Cells

D’Agostino has shown that oxygen, at levels that are nontoxic to healthy cells, are toxic to cancer cells. In essence, cancer cells are more vulnerable to oxygen toxicity. His team has also demonstrated that ketones are toxic to cancer cells. When cancer cells are placed in a petri dish and fed only ketones, they simply die. Healthy cells, on the other hand, will thrive in the presence of ketones without glucose.

What this and other research tells us is that healthy cells, including brain cells, have a very high degree of metabolic flexibility and are able to thrive on either glucose or ketones (obtained through your diet from carbohydrates and healthy fats respectively). Not so with cancer cells. Defects in their metabolism due to having damaged mitochondria prevent them from metabolizing ketones. For this reason, glucose is the predominant fuel that allow cancer cells to thrive.

Research by Thomas Seyfried, Ph.D., professor of biology at Boston College and a leading expert and researcher in the field of cancer metabolism and nutritional ketosis, shows that tumor growth is tightly correlated with blood glucose levels.

When glucose and glutamine levels are low, and ketone levels are high, very little tumor growth occurs, and as glucose levels rise, tumor growth increases right along with it. In fact, the fluorodeoxyglucose PET scan is a technology that shows glucose consumption in tissue, allowing you to identify and track the aggressiveness of cancer tumors.

All Cancers Arise From Mitochondrial Dysfunction

According to D’Agostino, in rats, the best results were obtained from a combination of ketogenic diet, ketone supplementation and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. In summary, the rationale for using a ketogenic diet and other metabolic therapies is to address and repair the mitochondrial defects causing the condition or disease in the first place. Again, nutritional ketosis prevents and combats cancer by:

Optimizing mitochondrial function, mitochondrial biogenesis and energy production Decreasing blood glucose, glycolysis and glucogenesis
Decreasing your insulin level Increasing tissue oxygenation
Decreasing ROS generation and secondary free radicals Downregulating oncogenes and upregulating tumor suppressor genes


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How to Wipe Out Chronic Inflammation (Free Book)


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The #1 "bodyfat-eating" hormone...

weight loss solvedTo begin, I apologize for the dark nature of today's email.

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How to Activate Your #1 "Bodyfat-Eating" Hormone

PS - Studies show that not only can healthy levels of this powerful calorie-burning hormone devour bodyfat and fortify soft muscle, but it can also reduce your risk of diabetes by 53.7%, a heart attack by 83.3% and stroke by 51.4%. Here's more of the scientific proof...

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I bet you can’t guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat.

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The 5 Most Dangerous Lies You’ve Been Told About Bread


Is Bread Really the Staff of Life… or the Stuff of Disease?

For most us, there are few foods more comforting than bread.

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The Bible practically commands followers to eat it: “Give us this day our daily bread…” The government put it at the base of the food pyramid. And for centuries, it has been called “the staff of life.”

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Well-known cardiologist, Dr. William Davis, calls wheat “the perfect chronic poison.”

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The average American consumes 55 pounds of wheat flour every year, making refined flour the #1 source of calories in the American Diet – a situation that nutrition expert Chris Kresser describes as, “a public health catastrophe.”

So, what is the truth about bread and wheat?

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The answers to these questions may surprise you!

The 5 dangerous lies about bread…

Be sure to read #5 – the biggest surprise of all!

Do You Know Your Body’s Most Important Weight Loss Secret?


Recently, Doctor of Naturopathy, weight-loss expert and best-selling Amazon author Liz Swann Miller, creator of the Red Smoothie Detox Factor, revealed 2 of the secrets to easy, steady weight loss. Secrets the big food corporations do their best to hide from us.

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“That stuff is just a lot of calories your body can’t use,” Liz told me, “Some are poison. And all these foods are stripped of the anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories that help your body detox. The result? Your body expends huge amounts of calories to eliminate some toxins—the rest, it stores in your fat to protect you. This is why most people are hungry all the time. They’re not getting energy they need.”

“So… what’s going on with me? Why am I losing weight but not going hungry?”

Liz paused, then dropped the bombshell.

Your body is designed to burn fat. You just have to let it.

“What? I thought we were designed to store fat?!?” We were Skyping and I was practically shouting. Then I heard Liz say…

What good is a fat reserve if you can’t burn it?

Mind blown.

Liz continued: “You’re drinking smoothies packed with phytonutrients, anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories that pull toxins out of you like a tractor beam. Allowing your body to burn those toxin-filled fat stores… and releasing tremendous amounts of stored energy.”

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In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.

NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!

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Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.

Rick D.