3

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Why does ketogenic fasting work?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 08, 2012 at 8:28 PM

Anyone know why cancer cells are harmed by ketogenic fasts? I can see why cancer cells fail to thrive during periods of fasting, as their reproduction halting mechanism is broken and they will burn through all their energy when none is available. Why is it that health cells can function off ketones but cancer cells cannot however? Where is the evidence that it works as well?

5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on February 09, 2012
at 08:56 AM

Link for the arguments against that ketone research. http://livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/do-ketones-fuel-cancer-the-low-carb-experts-respond/10124 Link for really cool report: Brain Cancer -> Ketogenic diet -> No Brain Cancer -> Back to regular diet -> Recurrence of Brain Cancer http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20412570/ http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1743-7075-4-5.pdf

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on February 09, 2012
at 03:43 AM

This is the diet we are best adapted to......that is why.

76f3ead3aa977d876bcf3331d35a36e9

(4620)

on February 09, 2012
at 12:24 AM

I think I read on Lucas Tafur's blog that some cancers may be able to utilize ketones, and some can utilize glutamine. Not sure if there are any studies about them.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on February 08, 2012
at 10:43 PM

But yeah, nice answer.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on February 08, 2012
at 10:42 PM

Tiny correction: "For his discovery of the nature and mode of action of the respiratory enzyme, the Nobel Prize has been awarded to him in 1931. This discovery has opened up new ways in the fields of cellular metabolism and cellular respiration. He has shown, among other things, that cancerous cells can live and develop, even in the absence of oxygen." http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1931/warburg-bio.html

De267f213b375efca5da07890e5efc25

(3747)

on February 08, 2012
at 10:38 PM

Wasn't aware of the fructose link previously. Thanks for the links.

De267f213b375efca5da07890e5efc25

(3747)

on February 08, 2012
at 10:36 PM

Awesome reply (except the typo)! Can you link the studies? Do we have an idea of which cancers function this way? Or at least an estimation of the likelihood that an unknown cancer would respond to such a therapy?

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on February 08, 2012
at 08:44 PM

Balor, I corrected the spelling of ketogenic. Hope you don't mind.

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2 Answers

6
5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on February 08, 2012
at 10:32 PM

My understanding is that the idea that cancer uses glucose for energy is from Otto Warburg (who got a Nobel Prize on it). Basically he found that cancer cells don't metabolize the way normal cells do. They breakdown glucose in the cell cytoplasm and their mitochondria are disfunctional. Regular cells use the mitochondia and cytoplasm to metabolize glucose. Ketones are metabolized in the mitochondria only.

So, based on this, if you throttle the food source by lowering the glucose and go ketogenic, you provide energy to your cells that can't be used by the cancer cells. Since there's little to no glucose for the cancer cells to thrive off of, they stay the same or shrink. You never go to 0 blood glucose due to gluconeogenesis. But you can definitely restrict the amount available.

There have been studies showing this works. However, there is not one type of cancer. There's actually tons, all doing different things. So the potential exists for some variants that could live off ketones. Apparently there's a study indicating this, but there's some serious outstanding questions on their methodology.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on February 08, 2012
at 10:43 PM

But yeah, nice answer.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on February 08, 2012
at 10:42 PM

Tiny correction: "For his discovery of the nature and mode of action of the respiratory enzyme, the Nobel Prize has been awarded to him in 1931. This discovery has opened up new ways in the fields of cellular metabolism and cellular respiration. He has shown, among other things, that cancerous cells can live and develop, even in the absence of oxygen." http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1931/warburg-bio.html

De267f213b375efca5da07890e5efc25

(3747)

on February 08, 2012
at 10:36 PM

Awesome reply (except the typo)! Can you link the studies? Do we have an idea of which cancers function this way? Or at least an estimation of the likelihood that an unknown cancer would respond to such a therapy?

76f3ead3aa977d876bcf3331d35a36e9

(4620)

on February 09, 2012
at 12:24 AM

I think I read on Lucas Tafur's blog that some cancers may be able to utilize ketones, and some can utilize glutamine. Not sure if there are any studies about them.

5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on February 09, 2012
at 08:56 AM

Link for the arguments against that ketone research. http://livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/do-ketones-fuel-cancer-the-low-carb-experts-respond/10124 Link for really cool report: Brain Cancer -> Ketogenic diet -> No Brain Cancer -> Back to regular diet -> Recurrence of Brain Cancer http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20412570/ http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1743-7075-4-5.pdf

4
A5410f987b53c5dc97e8a457c6832ed7

(434)

on February 08, 2012
at 09:46 PM

From what I recall cancer cells thrive when there is a readily available source of sugar. A ketogenic diet drastically reduces blood sugar levels, thereby "starving" the cancer cells.

Here are a few links from a quick Google search on 'cancer glucose':

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090817184539.htm

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20012601-10391704.html

http://www.cancer.gov/newscenter/pressreleases/2011/StanfordStudyPotentialCancerTherapy

Hope this helps...

De267f213b375efca5da07890e5efc25

(3747)

on February 08, 2012
at 10:38 PM

Wasn't aware of the fructose link previously. Thanks for the links.

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