Can a Ketogenic Diet Help Fight Cancer?

This article was originally published by our friends at Authority Nutrition.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States (1).

Researchers estimate that 595,690 Americans will die from cancer in 2016. That means about 1,600 deaths per day, on average (1).

Cancer is most commonly treated with a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.

Many different diet strategies have been studied, but none have been particularly effective.

Interestingly, there is some early research suggesting that a very low-carb ketogenic diet may help (2, 3, 4).

Important note: You should never, ever delay or avoid conventional medical treatment of cancer in favour of an alternative treatment like the ketogenic diet. You should discuss all treatment options with your doctor.

A Brief Overview of the Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that shares many similarities with Atkins and other low-carb diets.

It involves drastically reducing your intake of carbs and replacing them with fat. This change leads to the metabolic state called ketosis.

After several days, fat becomes your body’s primary energy source.

This causes a significant increase in the levels of compounds called ketones in your blood (5).

In general, a ketogenic diet used for weight loss is about 60-75% of calories as fat, with 15-30% of calories from protein and 5-10% of calories from carbs.

However, when a ketogenic diet is being used therapeutically to treat cancer, the fat content may be significantly higher (up to 90% of calories) and the protein content lower (6).

ketogenic-diet-macro-split

Bottom Line: The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet. For cancer treatment, fat intake may be as high as 90% of total calorie intake.

The Role of Blood Sugar in Cancer

blood-glucose-meter-and-strips

Many cancer therapies are designed to target the biological differences between cancer cells and normal cells.

Nearly all cancer cells share one common trait: they feed off carbs or blood sugar in order to grow and multiply (2, 3, 7).

When you eat a ketogenic diet, some of the standard metabolic processes are altered and your blood sugar levels go way down (2, 3).

Basically, this is claimed to “starve” the cancer cells of fuel.

As in all living cells, the long-term effect of this “starvation” may be that the cancer cells will grow more slowly, decrease in size or possibly even die.

It seems possible that a ketogenic diet could help reduce the progression of cancer because it causes a rapid decrease in blood sugar levels (2, 3, 4).

Bottom Line: A ketogenic diet can lower blood sugar levels. This may help reduce tumor growth and even starve cancer cells of energy.

Other Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet to Treat Cancer

avocados

There are several other mechanisms that may explain how a ketogenic diet can aid in cancer treatment.

Firstly, eliminating carbs can quickly lower calorie intake, reducing the energy available to the cells in your body.

In turn, this may slow down tumor growth and the cancer’s progression.

In addition, ketogenic diets can provide other benefits:

Lowered Insulin

Insulin is an anabolic hormone. That means when it’s present, it makes cells grow, including cancerous ones. Therefore lower insulin may slow tumor growth (8, 9).

Increased Ketones

Cancer cells cannot use ketones as fuel. Research shows that ketones may reduce tumor size and growth (10).

Bottom Line: Beyond lowering blood sugar, the ketogenic diets may also help treat cancer via other mechanisms. These include lowering calories, reducing insulin and increasing ketones.

The Effects of a Ketogenic Diet on Cancer in Animals

piece-of-raw-meat-and-two-pronged-fork

Researchers have studied the ketogenic diet as an alternative cancer therapy for more than 50 years.

Until recently, most of these studies were done in animals.

A large number of these animal studies have shown a ketogenic diet can reduce tumor growth and improve survival rates (11, 12, 13, 14).

One 22-day study in mice looked at the differences between the cancer-fighting effects of ketogenic and other diets (11).

Strikingly, the researchers found that 60% of mice on a ketogenic diet survived. This increased to 100% in mice that got a ketone supplement in addition to the ketogenic diet. None survived on a regular diet (11).

Another study in mice tested a ketogenic diet with or without oxygen therapy. The photo speaks for itself (12):

ketogenic-diet-tumor-size

Compared to a standard diet, a ketogenic diet increased survival time by 56%. This number increased to 78% when combined with oxygen therapy (12).

Bottom Line: In animals, the ketogenic diet seems to be a promising alternative treatment for cancer.

The Ketogenic Diet and Cancer in Humans

three-eggs (1)

Despite the promising evidence in animals, research in humans is only just emerging.

At present, the limited research does seem to show that a ketogenic diet may reduce tumor size and rate of progression in certain cancers.

Brain Cancer

One of the few documented case studies was performed on a 65-year-old woman with brain cancer.

Following surgery, she received a ketogenic diet. During this time, the tumor’s progression slowed.

However, 10 weeks after returning to a normal diet, she experienced a significant increase in tumor growth (15).

Similar case reports examined the reactions to a ketogenic diet in two girls who were undergoing treatment for advanced brain cancer (16).

Researchers found that glucose uptake was decreased in the tumors of both patients.

One of the girls reported improved quality of life and remained on the diet for 12 months. During that time her disease showed no further progression (16).

Quality of Life

One quality-of-life study investigated the effects of a ketogenic diet in 16 patients with advanced cancer.

Several people dropped out of the study because they did not enjoy the diet or due to personal reasons, and two patients died early.

Out of the 16, five remained on the ketogenic diet for the entire 3-month study period. They reported improved emotional well-being and reduced insomnia, without any negative side effects caused by the diet (17).

Although the ketogenic diet showed benefits for quality of life, the relatively low compliance rate indicates that it may be hard to get people to stick to the diet.

Other Cancers

One study monitored tumor growth in response to a high-carb versus a ketogenic diet in 27 patients with cancer of the digestive tract.

Tumor growth increased by 32.2% in patients who received the high-carb diet but actually decreased by 24.3% in the patients on the ketogenic diet. However, the difference was not statistically significant (18).

In another study, three out of five patients on a ketogenic diet combined with radiation or chemotherapy experienced complete remission. Interestingly, the other two participants found the disease progressed after they stopped the ketogenic diet (19).

Bottom Line: A few small studies and case reports in humans suggest that a ketogenic diet may help slow the progression of cancer. However, a lot more research is needed.

Could a Ketogenic Diet Help Prevent Cancer?

mixed-nuts

There are also some mechanisms that suggest a ketogenic diet may help prevent the development of cancer in the first place.

Primarily, it may reduce several of the main risk factors for cancer.

A Ketogenic Diet May Decrease IGF-1 Levels

Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) is a hormone that is important for cell development. It also reduces programmed cell death.

This hormone may play a role in the development and progression of cancer (20).

The ketogenic diet is thought to reduce IGF-1 levels, thereby decreasing the direct effects insulin has on cell growth. This may reduce tumor growth and cancer risk over the long term (21, 22).

It Can Help Lower Blood Sugar Levels and Risk of Diabetes

Other evidence suggests that people with elevated blood sugar levels and diabetes have an increased risk of developing cancer (23).

Research shows that a ketogenic diet can be very effective at lowering blood sugar levels and managing diabetes (24).

It May Decrease Obesity

Obesity is also a risk factor for cancer (25).

Since a ketogenic diet is a powerful weight loss tool, it may also help reduce the risk of cancer by fighting obesity (26).

Bottom Line: The ketogenic diet reduces IGF-1 levels, blood sugar levels, diabetes and obesity. These factors may lead to a reduced risk of developing cancer in the first place.

Take Home Message

A ketogenic diet provides many benefits for health.

According to animal studies and some early research in humans, it may also help treat or prevent cancer.

However, it is important to keep in mind that the current research is still weak.

You should never, ever avoid conventional cancer treatment in favor of an alternative treatment like the ketogenic diet.

Your best bet is still to follow the advice of your doctor and oncologist. Mainstream medical treatments are very effective at treating many common types of cancer.

That being said, perhaps a ketogenic diet could be a good choice as an “adjuvant therapy” – meaning that it is used in addition to the conventional treatments.

Most importantly, the ketogenic diet seems to produce no significant side effects when combined with conventional cancer treatments.

Therefore, there is probably nothing to lose by trying it if you are interested. Just make sure to consult with your doctor first.


11 pounds in 22 days?

baking soda

Is it REALLY possible to lose 11 lbs. of fat in 22 days?  Actually yes… BUT only when you’re a level 4 fat burner.  Unfortunately, most people are stuck as level 1 fat burners.  So, how do you become a level 4 fat burner to lose up to 11 lbs. in 22 days?  Simply eat these foods daily:

==> Lose up to 11 lbs. in 22 days by eating these foods daily (upgrades you to level 4 fat burning status)


Best stretch before bed (1 minute)

Did you know that one of the best times to stretch is right before bed? However…

What stretches should you do? Here’s a 1-minute stretch routine you can do before bed...

=> Best stretch before bed (takes 1-min)

Enjoy!

Lisa, Yoga Coach
eatlocalgrown / wisemindhealthybody


Stop Snoring in 3 Minutes - Starting Tonight

...easy, 3-minute exercise that completely cured his horrendous snoring! We can both finally sleep!

Today is a good day. Tonight will be even better. Why?

Because you're about to learn easy throat exercises that cure (not just treated) your stubborn snoring – in 3 minutes – starting TONIGHT!

...even if straps, sprays and even torturing CPAP masks have failed you in the past.

Most people heal their snoring in just a few minutes per day using these powerful throat exercises. And they're so easy, you can do them, regardless of your age or physical shape.

Use them anytimeanywhere... even while stuck in traffic or watching TV.

Plus the results are permanent!

To learn more and test-drive the easy snoring and sleep apnea exercises for yourself, click here...

To a good night's sleep,
Rick + Lisa
eatlocalgrown / wisemindhealthybody


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

weight loss solved

Did you know that your bodyfat can become "calorie-resistant"?

True. And it's completely unaffected by even the strictest diets... and most intense exercises.

However, there's good news- Calorie-resistant bodyfat can be now removed...

It's a little-known, calorie-burning hormone we all have... just waiting for the right spark to come alive. It's not thyroid, leptin, ghrelin, insulin, adiponectin, HGH or any other "fat loss" hormone you may know. Read more to find out precisely how to unleash its calorie-burning power:

==> How to Activate Your #1 "Bodyfat-Eating" Hormone...

To your health!

PS - Studies show that 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...


#1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat

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. This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.

If this “hidden” most powerful primal muscle is healthy, we are healthy.

Is it…

a) Abs

b) Chest

c) Glutes

d) Hip Flexors

Take the quiz above and see if you got the correct answer!


How to Wipe Out Chronic Inflammation (Free Book)

inflammation

In April, 2009, researchers stunned the medical community when they reported chronic inflammation as the root cause of several major diseases.

See, every year 610,000 people in the U.S. die of heart disease. Cancer claims another 584,000...stroke 130,000...Alzheimer's disease nearly 85,000 — and the list goes on.

Truth is, we now know... chronic inflammation is responsible for 7 out of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States! Hundreds of studies and scientific reviews prove it.

inflammation book

Fortunately, newer research shows you can prevent-even reverse-most major diseases by "turning off" inflammation. And in our new book, we show you how to do just that.

If you or a loved one is suffering from a debilitating condition-and you"re not sure what the culprit is-now's the time to find out...while you can still do something about it!

Get the Free Inflammation Book

--> Grab your FREE copy of this groundbreaking soft cover book today (while supplies still last.)


Free Paleo / Keto Cookbook

Over the past year, my friend Dave over at PaleoHacks has been working on a super secret cookbook project with our good friend Peter Servold ­­ a Le Cordon Bleu trained Chef and owner of Pete's Paleo...

And today, this new incredible Paleo Cookbook is finally available to be shipped right to your door for FREE!

paleohack chart

The cookbook is called Paleo Eats, and it's filled with over 80 chef ­created, insanely tasty Paleo recipes ­­ which means they are free from gluten, soy, dairy, and refined sugar.

Get your FREE copy of Paleo Eats Here. (Grab this today, because they only ordered a small batch of these cookbooks for this freebie promotion, and they will sell out FAST!)

>> Get The Free Cookbook

Enjoy!


Sponsored Health Resources

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!


1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…

--> "Red" Smoothie Helps Alabama Girl Shed 80lbs!


2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.

--> Get the 1 Day Cleanse (better than 7-day detoxes!)


3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.

--> #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat


4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!

--> Your Birth Date + Name - Free Report


5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!

--> The best way to get maximum effects of Turmeric


6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.

--> Why Some People LOOK Fat that Aren't


7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.

-->  Unlock Your Hip Flexors


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.
wisemindhealthybody.com