Sunday, 6 March 2016

Ketogenic diet keeps cancer at bay?

I have probably mentioned this subject before, there is evidence that ketogenic or low carb diet may help to keep cancer at bay. I don't think anyone is suggesting it is a cure but rates of cancer have increased as a carbohydrate rich diet has become popular. Of course it is one of a multitude of factors including smoking, pollution, ageing etc and so you can not even begin to suggest that its involvement is a fact, it is purely speculation. Right from the start I am going to say that I am a massive advocate of a low-carb, high fat diet and feel that not many people are going to suffer from being on it and that many will suffer from not being on it. (I mean suffer in general not cancer).

Today I came across the following link

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/03/05/468285545/fighting-cancer-by-putting-tumor-cells-on-a-diet

I found this really interesting. Having previously worked in cancer research I do not agree with the mutations are not required as there is such a strong link between DNA damage, mutations and cancer. Nevertheless I do find the metabolic aspect of the report very interesting. The article states "the potential of dietary approaches to contain the disease."

Diet is being used to complement traditional approaches and this is a good idea. As I said the idea is that in order to sustain themselves the cancer cells need glucose, they need sugar otherwise they cannot sustain themselves. The thing with cancer cells is that they are growing out of control, they can't very easily (I am not qualified to say they can't at all) stop themselves from trying to replicate so they run out of energy and boom they struggle more than a normal cell would which can switch to using fat as its primary energy source and be happy. 

As is also stated in the article the problem is money. There is money in creating a drug that battles cancer there is no money in creating a diet, even if it is good for the patients. I think the same thing applies to diets in general as there is money in getting people hooked on sugar and there are so many companies that rely on this that a shift to a low carb diet by the masses would ruin them. Hence the reason there are many (failed? as there are not many publications) studies on high carb diets and not so many on high fat diets. 

Anyway I noticed after I started low carb that many things changed and one of these was the slight pain that still came from my foot. You could argue that it was the weight loss by the pain stopped well before I had lost significant amounts of weight, I strongly believe that Ledderhose is another of the many small (it is only a small issue for me since RT) medical issues that going low-carb has helped heal. 

There are actually pilot studies that show that patients have improved their situation using a low-carb diet: 

http://authoritynutrition.com/ketogenic-diets-and-cancer/ - Good review

I think there is room to see whether Dupuytren's and Ledderhose patients could see improvements under this way of eating. After all the conditions

  • Involved tumours
  • Are often progressive and painful so can be tracked by the patient
  • Are not life threatening - so giving a diet a go is not going to hurt? 
  • There is no cure - Currently there is no cure, there is no way to really stop the condition so giving this a try. 
I am not saying that patients should give it a try but I am saying based on the evidence it could be worth a go and perhaps they should track it so we can see the improvement. For me it was an unexpected side effect of trying to lose weight. 

Of course you should see your doctor and if you and they think radiotherapy (for example) is a better treatment option and you can afford it then don't put it off because you want to see if a diet could work. After all I don't think it could be a cure I just think it could help. 

Any thoughts? 

I have also found the following references: 

A low-carb diet kills tumor cells with a mutant p53 tumor suppressor gene



Dietary downregulation of mutant p53 levels via glucose restriction

Mechanisms and implications for tumor therapy