Ketogenic diet and oxygen cure cancer in mice
Mice with potentially fatal, very aggressive cancer that has spread through
their bodies live 78 percent longer on a combination of a ketogenic diet
(severely restricting carbohydrate foods) and breathing very
highly-oxygenated air (PLOS One, published online June 6, 2013).
Last year, Philipp Mergenthaler and Andreas Meisel, of Charité -
Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany, and McMaster University, Canada showed
that depriving a cancer cell of sugar, while giving it plenty of oxygen can
stop cancer cells from growing and spreading through the body (Proceedings
of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, January 2012). See my
report in the January 15, 2012 issue
In 1922 Otto Warburg showed that cancer cells are different from normal
cells because they depend primarily on sugar as their main source of energy,
and suggested that preventing sugar from getting into cancer cells could
cure cancer. A ketogenic diet is one that severely restricts carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are single sugars or sugars grouped together as doubles,
triples, or chains up to millions. A diet that restricts all carbohydrates
is very difficult to follow and will prevent you from exercising at full
capacity as muscles require sugars to contract efficiently.
Normal Cells Have Two Sources of Energy, while Cancer Cells Have Only One
Every cell in your body except red blood cells have little tiny
compartments in them called mitochondria. Normal cells in your body get
their energy primarily from two sources:
• Glycolysis: the use of sugar in the cells themselves, and
• The Krebs Cycle: the use of sugar, fat and protein inside the
Cancer cells have defective mitochondria, so their energy comes primarily
from the use of sugar.
What Are Mitochondria?
In the 1970s, Lynn Margulis proposed that mitochondria were originally
bacteria that invaded living cells billions of years ago and set up a
symbiotic relationship. The bacteria could supply the most efficient
source of energy for cells, and the cells would give these bacteria a
place to live and multiply. We know this because mitochondria have genetic
material, DNA, which is similar to that of bacteria and is much different
from the DNA of other parts of cells in the human body (Trends Microbiol,
What Happens When Normal Cells Are Deprived of Sugar?
Your brain gets more than 98 percent of its energy from sugar. If your
body is deprived of sugar, you can still protect your brain from starving
to death by having mitochondria in normal cells burn fat for energy. When
fat is used for energy, large amounts of ketones are produced and flow
into the bloodstream. The brain then uses these ketones as its energy
source. Normal healthy cells readily adapt to using ketone bodies for fuel,
but cancer cells can only use sugar and can even become normal cells when
deprived of sugar.
How Restricting Carbohydrates May Cure Cancer
Normal cells have a programmed cell death called apoptosis, which means
that cells divide so many times and then they die. Cancer cells are
different because they do not have apoptosis and try to live forever. They
kill by invading other tissues. For example, breast cancer cells can
invade your brain cells, and kill you by destroying your brain. Cancer
cells lack apoptosis because they have defective mitochondria, so they are
forced to use glycolysis (sugar) for energy.
Since cancer cells require sugar as their main energy source, depriving
cancer cells of sugar forces them to seek other sources of energy. Cancer
cells then try to use fat for energy and this revives their mitochondria.
Once a cancer cell revives its mitochondria, it acts like a normal cell
that can live only for a limited number of doublings and then dies.
How Oxygen May Help to Treat Cancer
Solid cancers grow and spread faster when they are deprived of oxygen.
Breathing 100 percent oxygen saturates cancer cells with oxygen and makes
them more susceptible to the effects of a low-carbohydrate diet. Thus
cancer may be cured by depriving cancer cells of sugar while providing
them with oxygen, reviving mitochondria and regaining the ability to use
the Krebs Cycle.
I believe that eventually we will find a way to cure cancer using this
information. Meanwhile, the best we can do is avoid the high blood sugar
levels that increase risk for cancer:
• being overweight,
• not exercising,
• being diabetic,
• eating sugar or refined carbohydrates when you are not exercising,
• lack of vitamin D,
• not having enough muscle,
• eating read meat,
• storing fat in your belly,
• not eating enough fruits and vegetables, and so forth.
At this time, EXERCISE is the best way we have to increase the number and
efficiency of mitochondria in our cells.
Dr. Gabe Mirkin's Fitness and Health e-Zine