First Do No Harm

The Ketogenic Diet

Today, hospitals and clinics around the world, including the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins, use the ketogenic diet to control epilepsy.

Here is how it works.

The ketogenic diet is very high in fat and very low in carbohydrates. The ration of fat to carb/protein is 4:1. Neurons (in the brain) are normally fueled by glucose. When we cut off glucose to the brain but feed the neurons through fat metabolism, the neurons become stabilized and epilepsy is controlled.

By-products of this extreme fat metabolism routine are betahydroxybutric acid and acetoacetic acid, or ketones.

Like many discoveries in science (discoveries by accident) it was accidentally discovered that this diet also played a significant role in fighting cancer.

Cancer loves sugar. Cancerís metabolic process is fermentation and fermentation requires sugar. Cancerís metabolism is, approximately, eight times greater than normal cells. Thus cancer requires a lot of sugar to keep growing. In China, the first therapy a cancer patient does when admitted to a hospital is a water fast. Cancer stops growing when the patient fasts. Fasting also puts the body into a ketogenic state very quickly, within 48 to 70 hours.

However, when a cancer is starved, a process of glycogenesis can start up; a process by which proteins in the body are turned into glucose to feed the cancer. The ketogenic diet feeds the body by fat metabolism and keeps the body from turning its protein into sugar (through glycogenesis).

Normal cells can use ketones, but not cancer cells.

All in all, the ketogenic diet starves cancer to death. Additionally, the ketogenic diet does not supply enough energy for the tumor to grow more blood vessels to feed upon (angiogenesis), which would also stop metastases since metastases require new blood vessels to establish themselves.

This diet, you would assume, is anti-inflammatory. IT IS NOT. See below.

Now For the Downside

DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS DIET ON YOUR OWN. It is very, very dangerous.

You need to find an expert, a professional who can monitor your progress. Additionally, you must monitor your blood sugar and ketone levels (in the urine) several times a day as if you were a type one diabetic.

Additionally, research has shown that a low carb, high fat diet increases your C-Reactive Protein, which will create inflammation, so anti-inflammatories are called for while on this diet. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17536128#]

You must work with a nutritionist knowledgeable in this area who can help you plan meals and recipes. Once you get started and are being monitored by a professional, you can go use the KetoCalculator (click the link) to aid you in your diet. Another site you can learn from was made by a nutritionist who managed her sonís brain tumor with the ketogenic diet: DietaryTherapies.com.

Editorís Note: Since your author is currently (Aug, 2013) working on an article about the history of the American Cancer Society, it should be that the ACS fought nutritional therapies for decades claiming that cancer does not respond to diet. In fact, the official stand of the American Medical Society in 1978, just 35 years ago, was that nutrition had nothing to do with our health.


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