An Introduction: A Ketogenic Diet for Cancer

 

Caveman Doctor often discusses ketogenic diets in his posts and podcasts (whatever a podcast is).  However, he frequently gets questions regarding a ketogenic diet as well as those asking for a simple description.  Therefore, he set out to explain a ketogenic diet and cancer in less than 1,000 words.
 
 

A Ketogenic Diet for Cancer: In Fewer than 1,000 Words:

A ketogenic diet is one in which carbohydrates, and to a lesser extent, protein are restricted in the diet and replaced with fat.  This treatment has been effective for seizure control in epileptic children for over a century1 and more recently for the treatment of obesity-related disorders.2  It may also provide a benefit in cancer subtypes with outcomes closely related to obesity and metabolic risk factors, such as breast cancer.3  It generally implements a ratio of 4:1 fat to protein and carbohydrates.  However, many people will reach significant ketosis when their carbohydrates are limited to less than 50g per day, and others at around 20-30g.

 
 

What are Ketones?

Ketones are energy sources produced by our liver that can freely cross our blood brain barrier to provide a source of energy for our neurons (brain cells).  These ketones replace glucose when it is not available, such as during fasting, during the winter months in traditional societies, and all the time in modern hunter-gatherer societies like the Inuit Eskimos or Maasai tribesmen, who consume very little carbohydrate sources.4  Frankly, many readers of this blog likely have a significant amount of ketones floating around in their blood some mornings, and the low-carb followers even more often.

 
 

How Can a Ketogenic Diet Help Cancer Treatment?

Much like most things in cancer, including chemotherapy, biologic agents, and even radiation therapy, we do not quite know exactly how a ketogenic diet works.  However, there are several potential mechanisms:

 

  1. First and foremost a ketogenic diet may work simply through decreasing available glucose to tumor cells.  Many decades ago, Otto Warburg stated that a hallmark of cancer was the uptake of glucose by cancer cells.5  Cancer cells rely on glucose for energy; therefore any method of limiting this may help to “starve” cancer cells.  Recent data from several universities, including Johns Hopkins have shown that in brain tumors, the higher a patient’s blood glucose level, the lower their survival.6,7
  2. GBM 300x292 An Introduction: A Ketogenic Diet for Cancer

    A right frontal lobe glioblastoma multiforme. A devastating disease. Retrospective data has shown that in patients with GBMs, the higher their blood glucose, the worse they do with treatment.

  3. Other data has shown that this occurs due to deficient and defective mitochondria.  Since mitochondria can create energy from proteins and fats, this deficiency leaves cancer cells reliant on glycolysis, or the breakdown of sugar, for energy.  Interestingly, our cells use this process as well, especially when oxygen is not available.  This is what occurs in muscle cells during sprinting or lifting heavy weights.  Lactic acid is released, resulting in a burning sensation within the muscles.  Cancer cells, on the other hand, appear to use glycolysis for energy regardless of whether oxygen is present or not.  This process is very inefficient for energy production, and mitochondria can create around 20 times more ATP than the process of glycolysis.  A ketogenic diet allows the body to rely on the mitochondria for energy.  Lastly, mitochondria are the organelles within our cells that can recycle old parts or kill cells that appear to be malfunctioning, or in other words mitochondria are used to kill cells in our body that may turn malignant.  Upregulating the mitochondria may serve as a way to increase our body’s housekeeping processes that can eliminate potential cancerous cells.  Also, while our normal cells can use ketones for energy, data shows that cancer cells are unable to effectively derive energy from ketones.8
  4. Due to their faulty mitochondria, cancer cells also rely on glucose to fix free radical damage.9-13  Much like our normal cells, cancer cells are constantly experiencing bombardment with free radicals, and maybe even more so than our cells.  Since their mitochondria do not function properly, they rely on even more uptake of glucose, which is used to counter free radical damage.  Limiting this glucose will inhibit their cell damage repair.
  5. Cancer cells require more than just fuel to survive, much like our normal cells, they use signaling hormones that tell them to grow and survive.  Cancer cells have receptors on them, like the insulin growth factor receptor (IGF-1R).  Insulin growth factor (IGF) can bind to this, as can insulin, which is secreted in our bloodstream in response to carbohydrate consumption.  Insulin then activates several pathways that increase cancer growth and survival.  A recent study in advanced cancer patients confirmed the ability of a ketogenic diet to significantly decrease the insulin pathway in tumor cells.14  Another pathway that has received much attention is the AMP-K pathway.  When upregulated, it inhibits several pathways that are activated by insulin.  Studies in humans have shown that the diabetes drug Metformin can activate AMP-K, as can intense exercise and carbohydrate restriction.15  In fact, there are now trials supplying breast cancer patients with metformin as part of their treatment.  Therefore, minimizing the pathways that lead to cancer growth and activating those that limit it is another potential mechanism by which a ketogenic diet works.
  6. autophagy pathways copy An Introduction: A Ketogenic Diet for Cancer

    Abbreviations: IF = intermittent fasting, IRS = insulin receptor substrate, IGF-1 = insulin-like growth factor 1, IGF1-R = insulin like growth factor 1 receptor, PI3K = phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, mTOR = mammalian target of rapamycin, LKB1 = liver kinase B1, AMPK = AMP-activated protein kinase. Molecular Pathways Affected by Intermittent Fasting. The IF icon indicates pathways affected by IF. IGF-1R, AKT, IRS, mTOR and PI3K are decreased with IF. LKB1 and AMPK are increased with IF, and AMPK activation increases autophagy.


     

  7. Finally, several of the pathways listed above can decrease chemotherapy and radiation sensitivity of cancer cells, or in other words, make cells more resistant to these treatments. There are the same pathways that can be induced by intermittent fasting, to turn on autophagy.  Activation of the insulin receptor and several pathways downstream within cancer cells allows them to more readily fix damage from chemotherapy and radiation.  However, keep in mind that radiation therapy works mostly by interacting with the water molecules in and around cancer cells to create free radicals that attack the cancer cells, causing DNA damage.  Restricting glucose through a ketogenic diet may take advantage of this inability to counter damage from free radicals, making radiation more effective.  A study in mice has shown that radiation therapy efficacy is significantly increased in the face of a ketogenic diet when treating brain tumors.16
  8. Last but not least, some people have hypothesized that ketones themselves may fight cancer.  This is more speculative with little data, but reports on many societies, most notably those in Africa17 and the Inuit Eskimos reveal few cases of cancer.  Dr. Urquhart served as the district surgeon of the far north, and  in 7 years with all the x-rays and surgical equipment of his day, has published that he never say a single case of cancer, and this was in people of all ages.18

 

In the next decade, the power of diet, exercise, and specifically ketogenic diets in the prevention and treatment of cancer may take a front seat within the field of oncology.  A ketogenic diet is just one of many nutritional and lifestyle interventions that may prove valuable in the fight against cancer. Further studies must assess this potential.

 

P.S. I went over by about 45 words.

 

References:

1.            Groesbeck DK, Bluml RM, Kossoff EH: Long-term use of the ketogenic diet in the treatment of epilepsy. Dev Med Child Neurol 48:978-81, 2006, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=17109786

2.            Hite AH, Berkowitz VG, Berkowitz K: Low-carbohydrate diet review: shifting the paradigm. Nutrition in clinical practice : official publication of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition 26:300-8, 2011, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21586415

3.            Champ CE, Volek JS, Siglin J, et al: Weight Gain, Metabolic Syndrome, and Breast Cancer Recurrence: Are Dietary Recommendations Supported by the Data? International Journal of Breast Cancer 2012:9, 2012, http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/506868

4.            Kaplan H, Hill K, Lancaster J, et al: A theory of human life history evolution: Diet, intelligence, and longevity. Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues, News, and Reviews 9:156-185, 2000, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/1520-6505(2000)9:4<156::AID-EVAN5>3.0.CO;2-7

5.            Warburg O: On the origin of cancer cells. Science 123:309-14, 1956, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/13298683

6.            McGirt MJ, Chaichana KL, Gathinji M, et al: Persistent outpatient hyperglycemia is independently associated with decreased survival after primary resection of malignant brain astrocytomas. Neurosurgery 63:286-91; discussion 291, 2008, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18797358

7.            Derr RL, Ye X, Islas MU, et al: Association between hyperglycemia and survival in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma. Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology 27:1082-6, 2009, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19139429

8.            Maurer GD, Brucker DP, Bahr O, et al: Differential utilization of ketone bodies by neurons and glioma cell lines: a rationale for ketogenic diet as experimental glioma therapy. BMC cancer 11:315, 2011, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21791085

9.            Aykin-Burns N, Ahmad IM, Zhu Y, et al: Increased levels of superoxide and H2O2 mediate the differential susceptibility of cancer cells versus normal cells to glucose deprivation. Biochem J 418:29-37, 2009, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=18937644

10.          Lee YJ, Galoforo SS, Berns CM, et al: Glucose deprivation-induced cytotoxicity and alterations in mitogen-activated protein kinase activation are mediated by oxidative stress in multidrug-resistant human breast carcinoma cells. J Biol Chem 273:5294-9, 1998, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=9478987

11.          Lin X, Zhang F, Bradbury CM, et al: 2-Deoxy-D-glucose-induced cytotoxicity and radiosensitization in tumor cells is mediated via disruptions in thiol metabolism. Cancer Res 63:3413-7, 2003, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=12810678

12.          Simons AL, Ahmad IM, Mattson DM, et al: 2-Deoxy-D-glucose combined with cisplatin enhances cytotoxicity via metabolic oxidative stress in human head and neck cancer cells. Cancer research 67:3364-70, 2007, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17409446

13.          Spitz DR, Sim JE, Ridnour LA, et al: Glucose deprivation-induced oxidative stress in human tumor cells. A fundamental defect in metabolism? Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 899:349-62, 2000, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10863552

14.          Fine EJ, Segal-Isaacson CJ, Feinman RD, et al: Targeting insulin inhibition as a metabolic therapy in advanced cancer: A pilot safety and feasibility dietary trial in 10 patients. Nutrition http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0899900712001864

15.          Ristow M, Schmeisser S: Extending life span by increasing oxidative stress. Free Radical Biology and Medicine 51:327-336, 2011, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0891584911003121

16.          Abdelwahab MG, Fenton KE, Preul MC, et al: The Ketogenic Diet Is an Effective Adjuvant to Radiation Therapy for the Treatment of Malignant Glioma. PLoS ONE 7:e36197, 2012, http://dx.doi.org/10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0036197

17.          Fouché FP: Freedom of Negro Races from Cancer. Br Med J 1, 1923,

18.          Urquhart JA: The most northerly practice in Canada. 1935. CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association journal = journal de l’Association medicale canadienne 147:1193-6, 1992, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1393934

 
 

 
© Caveman Doctor 2012. All Rights Reserved.

Comments
135 Responses to “An Introduction: A Ketogenic Diet for Cancer”
  1. doctorsh says:

    nice article.
    let me know when you will be out in your own private practice.

    • cavemandoctor says:

      Thanks!
      I will be out in 6 months.

      • Sharon says:

        I have 2 large tumors, one in neck and one in tonsil that has grown over the last year and a half to the middle of my throat. I don’t think they are spreading and I am trying different things and this ketogenic diet sounds like it might work. I have been also looking at the Gerson method. I am doing one or two coffee enemas per day and am juicing. I would like to know what you think about carrot, apple, wheat grass, turnip greens and other greens in juicing. Should I omit the carb laden vegis? I have read that carrots may be an exception. I take no medication and feel healthy and happy but realize I must keep looking for tumor reducing solutions. Is it possible to get a telephone consultation with you? Thanks for all the info you have provided. I just today learned about the ketogenic diet on Dr. Mercola’s site.

  2. Katalin says:

    Very interesting. Thanks for posting Colin.

  3. kem says:

    Nice thousand words. Are there some cancers that respond better to carbohydrate restriction?

    • cavemandoctor says:

      Thanks haha. Not sure, but likely the more metabolically active tumors like high grade glioma, head and neck squamous cell, lung, and cervical. Hopefully studies can tell us the answer to this in the near future. CNS lesions may have an advantage due to the blood brain barrier, which ketones get shuttled across.
      -CC

      • kem says:

        I was a serious sugar/carb person when diagnosed with that Stage IV squamous cell caricinoma in my neck. I guess I had been feeding the little buggers for a while.

        The surgeon did inform me that the ulimate cause was viral (HPV) and that was why he was confident of a good outcome. Get it from smoking is more problematic, I guess.

        • cavemandoctor says:

          Kem, Yes HPV+ in nonsmokers is much different than HPV- in smokers and has a much better prognosis.

          Take care!
          CC

          • Layale says:

            I’m a non-smoker with HPV driven Cervical Cancer–and they didn’t give me a better prognosis! I’ve never smoked my entire life! I’ve never done drugs, and I have rarely ever had alcohol. So, that doesn’t make me very happy :-(

  4. Thank you! You were kind enough to provide some references on a different occasion but this piece is shorter, simpler and more to the point for discussion with my affected family members.

    Chris Kresser started a wave on his blog by asking “What are you Thankful For?”. I’ll repeat my thought here — I appreciate the work that people like you put into this. It allows people like me to un-learn some previous education and take control of my own health. While I can’t say I agree with absolutely everything, your podcasts are thought provoking and entertaining, and I can finally say I’ve ploughed my way through all of them on ipod. Now for the website…..

    In any case – Thank you.
    Meghann

    • cavemandoctor says:

      Meghann,

      Thanks so much for your very kind comments. I am glad you like the article and podcasts. Hopefully I have time to whip up some more soon.

      Thanks again,
      CC

  5. Good stuff Dr Champ. I am forwarding this on to my gastroenterologist friend. I keep telling him to read up on ketogenic diets and cancer and it is great to have a short (ish) write up to send him that is written by someone credible.

    Although, over by 45 words? Come on now, you could have done it!

  6. Lauren says:

    I should pass this out to the RDs on staff where I work (they should be up on their research given it’s one of the top hospitals in the country). In our weekly metabolic support meeting, the metabolic attending did not even know what a ketogenic diet was when it was prescribed to a patient with seizures! He then proceeded to review metabolism and discuss the dominant fuel (he claims glucose) for us while barely mentioning ketones as fuel for our brain. I love working with the oncology population, but it’s so frustrating providing TPN with dextrose and amino acids (due to a lipid shortage at the moment)! Great article!

    • cavemandoctor says:

      Thanks for the comments. In my personal experience few docs, nutritionists, or rds actually know what a ketogenic diet is. This has only been my personal experience and I am sure not the case everywhere (I hope). IV fluids with D5 are pretty frustrating too, as are most dietary recommendations given to cancer patients to “keep up the calories” i.e. eat ice cream and any other sugar-laden food under the sun.

      • Guy Van Elsacker says:

        One of the many paths to eradicate cancer.- – you could also mention the revival of the “knock-out” mito’s.

        I should add complementary the use of hyperthermia.
        Cancer cells have lost a big part of their heat protection. – the Heat Shock Proteins or HSP’s (only 55% left)

        Introducing vibrational heat to the tumor region will destroy the already weakened oncogene cells leaving the healthy cells unaffected.

        Prof. Guy Van Elsacker Dr.Sc.

        • Lane Lester says:

          Can you provide further support to the value of vibrational heat? I think I have a tumor in my right lymph node and need to find alternative therapy, lacking insurance or money for doctors. I’m starting the ketogenic diet today, but I’m looking for anything else that might work. I have a Ph.D. in genetics, which is irrelevant to this topic, but is an indication that I don’t mind reading technical references.

  7. Gez says:

    Great write up Dr Champ,

    I read recently that a prominent cancer researcher (unfortunately I can’t remember who..) stated that restricting carbohydrates/ketosis may help with cancer re reducing insulin/ IGF etc as you explained above, but a common misconception is that the blood glucose is reduced enough to make any difference to cancers since the body keeps it at a high enough level to “feed” the cancer (presumably by gluconeogenesis)

    Can you please comment on this

    Thanks for the great podcasts..

    Regards

    Gez (Wales, UK)

    • cavemandoctor says:

      Thanks Gez and great question.

      I have actually been getting similar comments from my colleagues over the past 5 years, and I have given a presentation on this topic many times. It is a great point. However, data shows that the blood glucose levels in many cancer patients are elevated to very high levels (especially the high grade glioma data I listed). Some of this is due to steroid usage, but there is clearly other factors as well. Likely tumor-related, I hypothesize IGF-2, the glucose levels of cancer patients appear to go on a roller coaster ride throughout treatment. This may be “stress” related as well. I have retrospective data, albeit small numbers, that may answer your question. We will see if the reviewers of my paper agree… Also the retrospective data from JCO would hint that the lower the blood glucose the better. I have patients with GBMs with glucose in the 150s (nondiabetics, on steroids) so I would assume any method to lower this should help. This is all retrospective though, so until we have a randomized trial, we will likely continue to hypothesize rather than answer the question. If my data gets published, I will post immediately on here (but don’t hold your breath, as the review process takes forever).

      Thanks,
      CC

      • sten b says:

        First thank you for your excellent overview!
        Re BS on ketogenic diet: With my ketones hoovering around 1.5 -3 , BS is always close to 5, never over 5.5. I had thought some lowering of BS with higher ketones would take place but cannot see any!

        There is however an other quite prominent factor affecting BS availability when swithching from standard diet to low carb or ketogenic diet: The postprandrial blood sugar peaks after meals disappear! Considering that we probably (?) feed all our cells mainly in the two hours following a meal and that a standard diet often easily would raise BS over 7 and higher, depending on indivudual blood sugar contro and meal size, low carbers instead go into a state of nearly constant blood sugar, or less than 10% of peaks.
        A switch to strict low carb will therefore probably immediately slow cancer growth due to this simple effect, considering that cancer cells would be the ones to fastest gobble up excess.

        In cancer the immune system is also heavily involved. L ower after meal blood sugar immediately enables higher vitamin C cell uptake – from same normal blood levels – due to less competition with glucose as both use same cell receptors.

  8. Ants says:

    Wonderful article! can you tell me of anyone in the UK that would help my dad with advanced colorectal cancer, who are into Ketogenic diets as this is the last hope I feel. I don’t want to go to a dietition who is going to persuade my dad that sugar laden stuff is the answer :(

  9. Lauren says:

    Every word you wrote was wonderful… glad you didn’t edit a single one! As someone who both works in health and has had cancer, I can tell you that neither patients nor doctors know anything about this information. I have chosen to make my own decisions in this realm, whether my doctors like it or not. I don’t think that something free, independent and universally available, as ketogenic eating is, will ever be embraced by the health system. But that doesn’t have to stop us from doing it regardless. Medicine can tout the fictitious benefits of low fat diets, statins, whole grains, antacids and whatever else they want. Articles like this are priceless and will save lives! Thank you.

    • cavemandoctor says:

      Thanks Lauren. I am glad you enjoyed it and think that it’s useful.
      Take care!
      CC

    • Susan M. says:

      Glad I visited your site. My husband was just diagnosed with a GBM this week after suffering a seizure. He starts radiation treatments and chemo by mouth next Wednesday. We have just come from his oncologist who says not to bother with a keto diet. My husband and I are not going to be discussing this with his doctor anymore, we are just going to implement the dietary ketosis diet ourselves. Really, I don’t think we have anything to lose as we don’t believe the diet will do any damage. We have already been LC for about 4 years, so the adjustment should not be so bad if we go lower. We might need to get a blood ketone meter to be sure he is becoming keto adapted. He takes the least amount of Metformin available in half tablets. He only takes it so that the VA will give him test strips for his glucose meter. He will be increasing his Metformin dosage as of tonight, again, nothing to lose.

      His doc also wasn’t keen on beginning prebiotics and probiotics to help his gut. My understanding is that chemo is hard on the gut. We will see.

      Would it be possible for you to list a sample of a one day keto diet so we could get a better idea. Thank You.

      • cavemandoctor says:

        Hi Susan,

        Sorry to hear about your husband’s diagnosis and good luck with treatment. Here is a sample day for me:

        Breakfast: 4 eggs, sautéed kale, and several slices of organic bacon with coffee and heavy cream
        Lunch: spinach salad with feta cheese, olive oil, balsamic vinegar dressing, and shrimp, chicken, or beef
        Snack: 2 avocados, macadamia nuts, or unpasteurized cheese
        Pre-workout: whey protein with few blackberries and coconut oil
        Post-workout: whey protein with macadamia nuts
        Dinner: grass-fed beef, Brussels sprouts cooked in grass-fed butter, glass of red wine
        Snack (optional): Dark chocolate or berries with cream (rarely)

        I hope this helps and take care,
        CC

        • Judy says:

          Thanks for the informative site, but my problem is information over-load. My husband was diagnosed with oral squamous cell and had surgery last October. We opted out of the radiation/chemo thing and went to Tulsa for IV DMSO/Laetrile/C therapy. His three month PET was clean.

          I just heard the “C” word and freaked out…put us both on a radical ‘cancer diet’. He lost about thirty pounds and he was only slightly overweight to begin with and I went from 138 to 117. We both lost muscle mass and I’m not sure that we can regain it at our ages.

          I guess my question is this: should we go on a diet as rigid as a keto or paleo at this time? For sure, neither one of us needs to lose any more weight.

          Thanks,
          Judy

          • Helen Wenley says:

            Hi Judy. May I butt in here and suggest that you read Dr Steven Gundry’s book “Diet Evolution” to help you discover that eating a keto/paleo diet will not necessarily make you lose more weight. I have been on Diet Evolution for almost a year, not to lose weight, but to get healthier, and I have only dropped a dress size whereas my husband who started off overweight has dropped 20kgs (44lbs). We have more energy and don’t feel hungry!

  10. Larry AJ says:

    Here is an email I sent to Prof. Noakes after reading his post on twitter.

    **************
    Dear Prof. Noakes,

    I read your post on 17 Dec. 2012 on twitter, “@Skinny_60 @DrEades Keto-diet cannot starve cancer cells of glucose since blood glucose still 4-5mM on keto-diet. Insulin/other mechanism?” I too have had this quandary since I had remission of my prostrate cancer. Here is a link to a file (now out of date) where I told of my cancer.
     http://www.intergate.com/~berts8nford7/PCa/CANCER-My_Story.TXT
    If you remove the part of the URL after the last / you will have a directory containing a scan of my biopsy and folder that has scans of my annual blood tests as well as individual PSA tests monitoring my status.

    I decided to e-mail you to tell you my theory of why a Ketogenic Diet worked for me. While, as you point out, the body attempts to hold serum glucose in a relative narrow range so there is enough glucose to supply the red blood cells (and the few other cells missing mitochondria), the cancer is a “local” sink for that glucose but the red blood cells are a global sink. I think that the glucose created by gluconeogenesis is taken up by the global sinks before much gets to the local ones. Another way to say the preceding is, gluconeogenesis takes place mainly in the liver, which usually remote form the cancer, the blood must carry the glucose to the cancer, thus the blood gets the first access to the glucose and the cancer gets what is left. BUT, with the huge amounts of glucose that ingested in the typical diet, gluconeogenesisis not needed to keep the blood serum levels up, and there is always more than enough for the cancer.

    Also the cancer cells are very inefficient at extracting energy (or making ATP) from the glucose it does capture. Yet they need lots of energy to grow at the rates many cancers grow. I think that the action is similar to a fire to burn brush or yard waste. The branches in the middle where there is sufficient fuel will completely burn, but limbs and twigs that are around the periphery will burn where they are close to the main fire but as the flame progresses out along them it will sputter out and die at the edges because there is insufficient fuel for the flames to survive. (I am an engineer and think often in analogies.)

    If you add to that something that inhibits the combustion of the wood or slows the growth of the cancer, then the fire or the cancer can/will slow to a stop. A search of PubMed and other web sites like the universities and cancer advocacy group sites yields a number ot things like vitamin D and curcumin that have shown cancer inhibitory properties. These things would stress the cancer cells such that they would need added energy to undo the stress damage so they could continue to grow.

    This is a rough skeleton of a possible mechanism for the effectiveness of the keto-diet. I am sure that there are many aspects to this that I have only touched on ot completely missed. So I am offering it as a potential new way to view the keto-diet effect.

    A bit about me:
    I have a BS in Electrical Engineering in 1961.
    I have a BS in Mechanical Engineering in 1962.
    These were both from Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.
    I am a follower of the Drs. Eades Protein Power books,
    and credit following the precepts of his books with resolving my cancer.
    I attended the US TOO Prostate Cancer Support Group at the Fairfax, Virginia, INOVA Hospital and became interested in learning about cancer and nutrition.
    As such I have obtained a number of books including;
    Textbook of Human Physiology by Guyton
    Good Calories, Bad Calories by Taubes
    The Great Cholesterol Con: by Malcolm Kendrick

    Thanks for reading this.
    Regards,
    Larry Jensen

    **************
    Since I see you are also a ChemE, I am sure you know that engineers like to think in analogies. I have long tried to come up with a suitable one that answered the question that Prof. Noakes posed. The fire one has most of the variables that are similar to the cancer/glucose relationship. Particularly, the variability of the fuel supply and the difficulty in stopping the fire/cancer. I have rethought the analogy some and now would use grass as the fuel and water in small quantities such that the fire could not be extinguished in one application, rather it would take very many to control the fire – similar to the fact that you cannot kill all the cancer cells all a once but rather some percentage each time period. The number killed would have to exceed the reproduction rate to achieve a cure.

    Grass can burn wildly when dry or smolder a long time as it dries out than burst into flame and then burn rapidly. The dry grass is like very aggressive cancers and the wet grass is like the slow growing ones that suddenly become aggressive, especially ones that gave been in the body for a long time and thus have metastasized, then being in so many places they overwhelm the body.

    • Larry AJ says:

      Should have added.

      Another point to make; the body tries to maintain blood serum glucose levels in a narrow range, BUT it often fails and fails miserably – this is what is called type II diabetes ! I know a person that is a brittle diabetic whose serum glucose is rarely under 150 and is often in the 200s, no where near the 90 mg/dl. So that is like having a big quantity of grass added on a regular basses – three meals a day PLUS snacks which are usually sugary things. So the “bucket brigade” has to work hard to just keep the fire under control much less put it out !

    • Carol B says:

      Larry, my brother has prostate cancer and has been using diet to eradicate it. A low carb diet but very high in raw veg. A year on he is still battling. Please contact me to let me know what your protocol was and your situation,
      Regards, Carol

      • Larry AJ says:

        Carol, and CDBee,

        First of all is the fact that I am trying to follow the books Protein Power and Protein Power Lifeplan by the Drs. Eades. It is a adequate protein (books give how to determine your minimum protein daily requirement) low carb ( preferably less than 20 grams per day) and HIGH fat of the good type like cream, butter, coconut oil (what I use – about three table spoon full a day) oilve oil and the like – NO soybean, cotton seed, rape, or other seed oils. Generally most LCHF followers eat over 65% of their calories as fat. That is because they are substituting fat for carbs to get the energy the body needs. I would suggest that you transition from a high carb low fat diet over about two weeks so your body can adjust to the new diet. Here is a good forum to read and post questions on about low carb dieting. http://forum.lowcarber.org/
        Here is quick summary of my case;
        http://www.intergate.com/~berts8nford7/PCa/CANCER-My_Story.TXT
        it was written 29-Oct-2006 so is out of date in that I have now told my family and not added my recent PSA tests – they are still down but not as low as I would like, but that is because being almost 75 years old, I think I have some BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia – prostate enlargement consistent with aging for many men – PSA is directly related to the size of the prostate. Here is a list of the supplements I took;
        http://www.intergate.com/~berts8nford7/PCa/PCaVitaminList.TXT
        I would now take more vitamin D. Go here;
        http://www.grassrootshealth.org/daction/index.php
        and sign up to get test kits in the mail that you can mail back to have your blood level tested. You then get the results via email. For active cancer, I would want the blood serum level well above 100 – higher than the Vitamin D Council recommends but a level of 160 is safe – my highest levels were 135, 151 & 165.

        Carol, I would tell your brother to get off the vegetarian diet, it is not a good one. Here is website that has a bunch of posts that expose the fallacious reasoning of the vegetarian/vegen crowd.
        Here is one post that is a sample of Tom’s posts.
        http://www.fathead-movie.com/index.php/2013/03/13/analysis-of-the-meat-kills-study/
        On the left at the bottom of the page are links to;

        Recommended Reading – all links to other sites with good information

        Cholesterol Does Not Cause Heart Disease
        Dr. Malcolm Kendrick on the Cholesterol Myths
        Gary Taubes: The Soft Science of Dietary Fat
        Gary Taubes: What If It’s All Been A Big Fat Lie?
        High Insulin Dangers (lecture transcript)
        Jacob Sullum on the Food Police
        Jacob Sullum’s review of Super Size Me
        Low-Fat Diet Myths
        Malcolm Kendrick on Cholesterol (YouTube)
        Review of Dr. Ravnskov’s “The Cholesterol Myths”
        Review of Eric Oliver’s book “Fat Politics”
        Sally Fallon and Dr. Mary Enig on The Truth About Saturated Fat
        The Cholesterol Crock
        Vegetarian Myths
        What if “bad” fat is really good for you?

        Categories of posts on http://www.fathead-movie.com/

        Bad Diets
        Bad Medicine
        Bad Science
        Good Science
        Government Foolishness
        Low-Carb Experts
        Low-Fat Nonsense
        Media Misinformation
        News and Reviews
        Random Musings
        Real Food
        Study Spotlight
        The Food Evangelists

        *************
        This is a lot to read BUT you have to take you own health in YOUR own hands.

        Hope the above helps.
        Larry

        • CDBee says:

          Hi Larry,

          Thank you for such an in depth response. I will pass the email to my brother and we will both get reading. One other question I have is to do with the heart? My brother began to get water retention in his ankles and legs and had no energy. My father died from an heart attack at 56. Is the high fat diet dangerous if you have heart problems? I note that you say you are 75, are you still on the Ketogenic diet? Is it a life change as opposed to a temporary diet? You will tell by my questions that I have done no reading as yet other than the above introduction and the posts which follow. Thank you for your patience and kindness.

    • CDBee says:

      I would be interested to know much more of what you did to reverse your prostate cancer, as my brother has it and is trying to reverse his with diet also, but a year on could do with some encouragement .

  11. Dawa Dawa says:

    Nice article and exchanges. As some are already aware, last Spring the book Cancer as a Metabolic Disease was released. The author, Dr. Thomas Seyfried, is quite accomplished in this space. It is pricey and technical, but provides a universe of helpful research on the origin and treatment of cancers.

    • cavemandoctor says:

      Thanks. Dr. Seyfried is a pioneer in the field and it’s a good read for those who are interested. It is a text book.

      • Lane Lester says:

        Ah, required textbooks, what a wonderful cash cow! Now I understand how he can get $75 for a Kindle book. I’m not casting any stones; when I was teaching I required my biology textbook… but it only cost $30.

  12. JYS says:

    Thank you for this very helpful summary, Dr. Champ.

    I will soon be having labs drawn for my six year oncologist check-up. Have been mostly ketogenic for the past 3 years. Oncologist will test glucose level and all the other standard cancer markers. Would adding the fasting insulin test be useful? If so, is there an optimum level for cancer protection? I do plan to add Vit D to recheck its level in winter. Are there any other blood tests beyond the standard list related to my nutritional status, diet and cancer protection you consider useful when following patients on a ketogenic diet?

    • cavemandoctor says:

      I think it would be. There are no values for appropriate or optimal levels, etc, in this case. However, it would be interesting to see what the insulin levels and sensitivity would be.

      • JYS says:

        Results of a fasting insulin test were not the low number hoped for, but higher as I feared. After six months on a ketogenic diet, insulin was 5.4, now at 30 months it is up to 9.3. Fasting blood glucose has been slowly rising as well, starting under 90 to now slightly above normal at 101. I understand these numbers are not alarming, nor are they indications of pathological insulin resistance, but of “Physiological Insulin Resistance.” I’ve read a few studies and articles on this topic, but still these numbers raise the concern that long-term VLC is a stress to glucose regulation. “Safe starches” are looking good today; I may need to remain low carb but not ketogenic. Any comments on Physiological Insulin Resistance would be appreciated.

  13. Surviving Cancer says:

    Thanks for such a great summary! I was diagnosed with breast cancer last May. It was estrogen/progesterone positive. After surgery and radiation, I chose NOT to take the hormone-killing drugs that were being pushed really hard because of the side effects and the low percentage of supposed “gain” in keeping the cancer from reoccurring.

    But what really kicked me into refusing to take the powerful, side-effect laden drugs was the fact that I was already eating a low-carb diet and getting my blood sugars down. From what I was reading, I was pretty sure that my chronic on-the-edge-of-T2-diabetes level blood sugars for decades had contributed to the cancer.

    In July, I discovered nutritional ketosis and have been doing that ever since, testing my blood ketones every morning along with my blood glucose. My glucose is now in the 70s and 80s every morning, rarely rising above 100 during the day. My ketones are about 1.0 most morning.

    In December, 2011, my A1c average was 6.9 (before getting totally serious about low carb in January, 2012); by June it was 4.9. Haven’t had it tested since then so I don’t know if a ketogenic diet has lowered it more.

    Both my oncologist and cancer surgeon think I’m nuts and deny the fact that diet or nutrition could play ANY part in keeping the cancer from reoccurring. They still want me to take the drugs. However, I’m not messing around with it….my mother died of breast cancer and I’m not going there. My father died of complications from T2 diabetes because he followed the ADA diet to a T–low protein/low fat and high carbs. No one could figure out why he kept getting worse and worse. Geez.

    I’m on a ketogenic diet for life now. How can it be bad when it controls my blood glucose so beautifully, I get to eat really good butter, and I feel better!

    The world needs more docs like you who are looking critically at the data and not just blindly accepting the “conventional wisdom” that says fat is bad/carbs are OK (and sugar is ignored).

  14. Deanie says:

    This is such a great article, thanks for putting this together! So here’s my question: Obviously in the case of using a ketogenic intervention in the treatment of cancer, I don’t think you’d get any objections to a long-term state of ketosis (the same with ketosis functioning as a treatment for epilepsy).

    But why is it that outside of an intervention for epilepsy, cancer, or any other treatment, does there seem to be such a general aversion to being in ketosis long-term for the generally healthy person? The fact is I just simply feel so much *better* when I’m in ketosis (~50grams of carbs a day), and I respond very poorly to even a moderate amount of carbohydrate (~100-150g); I feel sick, bloated, less energetic, and struggle to maintain my body comp.

    I hear people warn against doing this for the long-haul (although I just watched an interview with Dr Stephen Phinney and he’s been in ketosis for 7 years now!), yet I never get a clear answer as to why. This seems to be a really hot button topic in the ancestral health community right now, and I’ve read Robb Wolf’s series on thoughts on low carb. I understand if you do this long-term there are certain considerations to take into account, but assuming you have a well formulated ketogenic diet, is this truly dangerous to do long-term if my only reason is that one simply feel better and hasn’t seen their performance suffer?

    • cavemandoctor says:

      Scientifically, it hasn’t been strictly proven to be without health detriments over the long term (though frankly no diet regimen has). I agree with you that some people really tolerate very little carbohydrate and look and feel better on it, so why not stay on it.

      I actually go in and out, but I think I may feel better on it overall as well. Once again, it’s individualized, but the Paleo backlash against low-carb is unfounded by many.

      I think it is more an issue of confusing motion with progression, i.e. we always have to be going in some direction, even if we are spinning our own wheels.

      Also, the medical community is so biased as it goes directly against recommendations from the authorities: low-carb, high-fat, so it must be incredibly dangerous (though there is no evidence to support this).

      • Deanie says:

        Thanks for the response. I’m going to continue to tinker and see what works best for me. I’ve started to dabble in a cyclic low carb approach, but thus far it just is bouncing me quickly between being in and out of ketosis throughout the week. I don’t feel as good, and it doesn’t seem like I’m really functioning well as a glucose or fat burner, but out in no where land between the two. Admittedly I may need to give that more time as I know many people express they see great success with that (however the truth may just be that my body and carbs just don’t jive so hot).

        I just reread Wolf’s articles (part 1 and 2) about his thoughts on low carb. The big debate in the community right now just seems so odd, and it seems that people on both sides can be a bit extreme. In fact, in rereading the articles, it seems to me at least, that his main point is that:

        1. A ketogenic diet isn’t going to be ideal high level athletes going significant glycolytic based work (such as Crossfit, MMA, Jiu-jutsu)

        2. If you manage to “bypass normal satiety mechanisms, or if one can find some combinations of highly palatable, but low-carb foods, it’s still a ticket to Fat Camp” ie – you can still shove enough calories down your pie-hole to gain weight (just like biggest loser contestants can starve their bodies of calories to lose weight).

        It seems like some people are interpreting this as him saying that it is never okay under any circumstances for a ketogenic approach, while we have other people who swear that it is the right fit for everyone. I’m not sure either extreme has it correct (though I’m certainly no expert).

        I don’t think I’m a ‘unique snowflake’ by any means, but I’ve tinkered enough and recorded the data enough to reach my current conclusion that I just run better in a ketogenic state. I’m more than willing to alter my plan if things start to go differently, but I’m really thinking I just need to stick with what is working. Do I crossfit? Yes. Are the metcons/WODs very glycogen demanding? Yes. But the thing is, I’m not a high level, competitive crossfit games athlete. Additionally, half of my time at the gym is spent on weightlifting classes, and only half of my days there do I do the “WOD”/actual crossfit class. I’m just not convinced that doing crossfit at these amateur level is going to render a ketotic state worthless and/or damaging.

        In the meantime maybe it’s best to avoid discussing my nutrition plans with others (though I often have people asking me what I’m doing when they notice my fat loss), because it too often leads to getting lectured about how this isn’t a safe approach.

  15. Linda K. says:

    Thanks for the information. I was diagnosed in Sept 2012 with stage IV endemetroid cancer. Extensive lung mets. Sent home on 3.0 litres of oxygen and unable to walk more than a few feet. It was recommended to me (by a very reliable source) to eliminate sugar, dairy, and grains. The discussion was to keep my blood sugar as level and low as possible. After 2 chemotherapy treatments, I was off the oxygen. (I still use it at night as I know the cancer cells do not like O2) and no more wheel chair after 3 treatments. I feel better and better after each treatment. I have now completed the 6 chemotherapy treatments and I am considering going back to work in a month or so!!!! In September, I was wondering if I should be making funeral arrangements.
    I would recomment the book by Dr. William Davis ” Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health” Dr. Davis does a really good job in explaining carbohydrates (to the lay person) and how to control them. Since most wheat/grain products are high in carbs, it is not easy to eliminate them without this extra knowledge.
    Feeling so much better and optomistic, I just had to share!!!
    Thanks again for the amazing article.

  16. Susan Tapper says:

    After 60 days of ketogenic diet, my husband’s GBM4 tumor has decreased almost 40%. The first MRI (before keto diet) but after surgery, radiation and chemo showed tumor growth. We are so happy this tumor is responding to the loss of glucose -thank you Dr. Champ for your encouragement.

    • cavemandoctor says:

      Susan,
      Congratulations, this is amazing and great to hear. I hope this good progress continues!!!

      Take care and good luck with everything!!
      CC

    • Susan M. says:

      Susan,

      You have just given me and my husband a little more hope! My husband also was just diagnosed with a GBM IV brain tumor. We have been low-carb for about four years, but now I am trying to get hubby into Nutritional Ketosis. We began chemo (Tremodar) and radiation three days ago. So far so good. Still need to gather more information about pre/probiotics for his gut and find the best way to keep his blood counts good. We finally got the go-ahead that it won’t hurt him to use his multi-vitamin. We meet with the dietitian next week for a consult. We will listen with and open mind, but if they will not work with us to keep him in ketosis, then I guess we will tackle it on our own. Because, as you know, we have absolutely nothing to lose.

      Keep up the good fight! Our prayers are with you!

      Susan M.

      • Susan Tapper says:

        Thank you Susan M.
        Although this can be a challenging diet for most, my husband is also a retired physician and he’s known about this diet for other ailments. He is very motivated to keep his ketones high and glucose low. Just before he was diagnosed in August 2012 with GBM4, he weighed 200 lbs on a 6 foot frame, looked great. However, he was much heavier than the rest of his family who tend to be skinny. Not just thin, but skinny. Now my husband is skinny too at 170 lbs and no longer needs his blood pressure meds. Its my opinion that his body “wants” to be very thin. And if “killing” his cancer off means being very thin, I’m all for it.

        This diet is a meal at a time, a day at a time. I’m doing it now too to improve my health and keep my husband company.

        Susan T in NJ

        • JYS says:

          Susan,
          In the Trackback below is another website by Dr. Georgia Ede, who has a private consulting practice in Cambridge. She has a number of good articles on cancer and diet, but what might be of most interest is that she herself has recently started a fast to to achieve Seyfried’s “zone of metabolic management” to be followed by a ketogenic diet. She is blogging how she feels, notes her ketones and glucose, everything about the process which started on 2/2/13. http://diagnosisdiet.com/blog/
          Maybe Dr. Champ can comment on fasting to start a ketogenic diet. Dr Ede’s direct experience with and observations about the diet will be interesting to follow.

          • Susan M. says:

            JYS,

            Thank you so much for the link to Dr. Ede’s site. I will be checking out directly. I need all the ammo I can collect.

            Susan M.

        • Susan M. says:

          Susan Tapper,

          Thank you for your support in mine and my husband’s efforts to attack this “beast” the only way that WE know how! We contacted the Cancer Care Seattle Alliance (not sure of the title) for some ketogenic nutritional guidance and they referred us to a specialist in Portland, OR who does Ketosis guidance for epileptic children world wide. She has been doing this for over 15 years, and she seems very knowledgeable. She was very gracious with me on the phone, and I believe she gave me good advice. Although epileptic children are her specialty, she was recently contacted by another, younger, GBM IV. She and I agreed that even though this is supposed to be such a rare tumor that perhaps the stats are no longer accurate on it’s occurrence.

          If you are interested, her name is Carrie Loughran at the Center for Neuro- Nutrition, Inc.

          I read your reply to my husband and he is all into the diet plan. He needs to lose about 95 pounds and he is more than willing to stick to this for life. My biggest challenge is getting him out of his recliner! Spring will be here soon, probably right when he is done with radiation therapy, and then I’ll get him outside and walking. :)

          You and your husband take care.

          Susan M.

    • Susan Tapper says:

      Hi Doctor Champ and Everyone,

      My husband had another MRI last week. The GBM4 tumor looks to be another 20% smaller. My husband is still on the ketogenic diet. August was surgery followed by radation and temodar protocol. November there was significant regrowth of the tumor. January MRI showed an almost 40% reduction in tumor and now more reduction.

      He is very encouraged and I am doing a very Paleo type diet to keep him company. Protein and greens. I feel much better and I see my husband getting better each day (except when he is taking temodar). This is miraculous. Its a shame more doctors don’t educate their patients about the dangers of sugar/glucose and its connection to cancer.

      Susan T in NJ

      • cavemandoctor says:

        Hi Susan,

        So great to hear! Nice to see you are keeping him company on a Paleo diet. Good luck to you both!
        -CC

      • Kevin Smith says:

        Susan,

        Thanks for sharing your husband’s progress with a ketogenic diet. My father was recently diagnosed with a GBM4 so your husband’s results to-date are extremely encouraging to me! Can you pass along some additional details about his ketogenic diet?

        If so, I’m curious if his diet is calorie restricted like Thomas Seyfried recommends or ad libitum? Is he doing any form of intermittent fasting? Also, is he monitoring blood glucose and ketone levels? If so, what ranges does he maintain? Does he take steroid medications like the typical GBM patient?

        Any additional info would be greatly appreciated!

        Thanks,
        Kevin

        • Susan Tapper says:

          Hi Kevin,
          By virtue of the diet, he is calorie restricted because the diet itself creates a lack of appetite. He has lost 40lbs, he is very thin, but feels great. He is actually doing weight training to build strength now. We purchase KetoCal through a prescription our GP doctor wrote. It is a perfectly balanced ketogenic meal that really fills him up and he finds the taste to be very good. He puts Green Vibrance into the shake too because he likes the nutrients that Green Vibrance provides.

          His blood sugars are usually in the 80s, but go up to 100. He checks ketones with urine sticks and takes MCT Oil to provide the needed correct fat. He’ll take a teaspoon of it with food. We are low on supplements right now, but he does like to also take curcumin. And is just about to start taking the mushroom extracts. Does this help? Feel free to contact me at suzieta44@gmail.com

  17. Matt says:

    hello Dr. Champ,

    I learned about ketogenic diet approach from a few sources including your website.
    thank you very much for the great article!

    I want to recommend this diet to my friend’s wife who is struggling with “metastatic breast cancer”.
    cancer grew quickly, breast has been removed but the cancer cells still remain, therefore they have started chemotherapy :(

    the problem is:
    as you might guess, we’re really afraid of any alternative treatment (ketogenic diet).
    with all the evidence and logical conclusions I have so far, still I think: what if my recommendation would worsen her situation?
    well I’m not a doctor!! I might not know about some circumstances with blood pressure, metabolism or whatever else!
    I wish my friend’s wife to live, but at the same time I don’t want to cause her early death either!

    so my questions to you are:

    1- first and the most important question *: are there any severe side-effects or precautions about ketogenic diet that we should be aware of?

    2-a) do you approve of the following diet I have prepared?
    * should I add or remove “salt” from the diet?
    mainly got the idea from a cbn tv news about ketogneic diet and cancer treatment [1]
    one healed patient reports his experience.

    so, here is my recommended diet for her:
    a) no sugar (of course!)
    b) no carbohydrates (no wheat, rice, bread, etc.)
    c) no milk or any dairy product
    diet should include:
    d) natural protein: eggs, meat (fish, beeft, chicken)
    e) natural fat: olive oil, avocados, nuts, coconut oil
    f) green tea

    2-b) I’m worried that the diet might make her even much weaker (therefore with less energy to fight the disease)
    she is already very weak because of chemotherapy!
    one of the case studies show average 2kg reduction of weight with ketogenic diet. [2]
    do you have any experience and recommendation in this regard?

    3- in another reference I learned that “glucose” and “glutamine” are both fuel for cancer cells! [3]
    well we know how to fight “glucose” now that is by ketogenic diet.
    but that article states that “glutamine” can come from eggs and meat as well!! this would mean a total deadlock!
    (the article is long and very technical so I cannot understand and analyse all)
    do you agree with this study? or maybe “glutamine” is much less important comapred to “glucose”, thus there’s no need to fight is at current situation?
    are there any drugs to fight generation of “glutamine” in the body?
    the only natural remedy mentioned in this article is “green tea”

    seems like we are short in time …
    I would sincerely appreciate any comments and suggestions,

    all the best,
    Matt

    PS:
    I hope this can be useful to some other patients as well :)

    here are my main references:

    [1] CBN News, Starving Cancer: Ketogenic Diet a Key to Recovery
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxhNMzIzs3M
    http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/healthscience/2012/December/Starving-Cancer-Ketogenic-Diet-a-Key-to-Recovery/
    [2] “Effects of a ketogenic diet on the quality of life in 16 patients with advanced cancer – A pilot trial”, Melanie Schmidt, Nadja Pfetzer, Micheal Schwab, Ingrid Strauss and Ulrike Kämmerer* – 2011
    [3] “Cancer as a metabolic disease”, Thomas N Seyfried*, Laura M Shelton, 2010 (http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/7/1/7)

    • Ellen Davis says:

      Matt, in collaboration with Dr. Seyfried, I have written an eBook which details the use of a ketogenic diet to treat cancer. It answers most, if not all of your questions, and explains why a ketogenic diet works to destroy cancer cells, how to do the diet and monitor your progress, what blood glucose and ketone levels have to be reached to destroy cancer, the details on what to eat and how much to eat, why certain foods must be restricted, why calorie restriction is important, whether alcohol is allowed and includes other information such as a section on the debate on acidity vs alkalinity.

      The eBook is available here: http://www.ketogenic-diet-resource.com/cancer-diet.html
      There is a contact page on my website and I would be happy to answer any other questions you might have.

      And thank you, Dr. Champ, for allowing me to share this information.

  18. Kami says:

    Hello,

    Just hoping that you have info on the ketogenic diet and women with estrogen positive breast cancer. I want to start the diet, but I’m a little weary….just a little! Thank you so much

  19. SJ says:

    Just wanted to let you know that my mum was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer 2 years ago and I immediately got her to go on a ketogenic diet after hearing about the possibility of it when I did my MSc back in 2006. Within 2 weeks of starting it (and BEFORE she had started chemo) she had stopped coughing up blood and she said her skin felt smoother. She has just had her 25th round of chemo and she is still healthy, with no pain or shortness of breath and no weight loss.(The doctor at her last appointment said she had never met anyone who had had that many chemos). She has maintained this diet all the way through it. I know she has not been strictly counting the carbs but has massively reduced them to such an extent that she can’t be eating more than 50-100g a day. At her last scan the primary tumour was almost immeasurable. She has not informed her doctors about the diet for fear of them being dismissive and has made her own choices regarding what supplements she takes after being informed that certain ones weren’t recommended with chemo (I think one was selenium) and just took them anyway! A lot of it is based on the Anticancer a new way of life book. Hope this give hope to people thinking of trying it.

  20. Mary says:

    my mom was diagnosed with a stage IV inoperable bile duct cancer in Oct 2012, she has mets throughout the peritoneal cavity and and cystic duct encased in tumor. All the docs, 2nd and 3rd opinions gave her 5 to 8 months to live with chemo adding just a few more weeks. She was a very active woman even at 81, she had a very active life with alot of community volunteering. She opted not to do the chemo and has been adhering to a strict ketogenic diet.
    So far so good, we’ll see how it goes but one thing I know for sure, chemo would have surely killed her by now,especially the kind they wanted to give her. Like other folks stated in their comments, my mom has to ignore the comments of her doctors who tell her she should eat whatever she wants for the time she has left. They all say ” boy it’s a shame, you look so healthy”!! They basically tell her to go have a party and eat ice cream and pasta. Is is so annoying to be at these appointments with her and hear these close mined doctors try to influence my mom. Thank God for naturopathic docs and the few nutritionists who know how advice on this metabolic therapy. And also to the caveman doc who offers some encouragement and research backup for those who are trying to save their lives without killing themselves with poisen. i thought the doctor’s oath was ” first do no harm” . My younger sister died from leukemia when she was 40. I used to tell her that the chemo was natural, from the bark of the tree, ( yeah, a poisenous tree) of couse I didn’t tell her that. She survived the leukemia but not the breast cancer that followed shortly thereafter. so you can see why my mom didn’t not choose the chemo. It’s a shame there is not more reasearch on keto diet, but poly pharma has control over all the docs and has brainwashed them. I have no cancer but probably do more than a modfied keto diet just to keep it away!!!

  21. John says:

    Hi Dr Champ.
    Thanks for a really informative article. I’ve heard you speak of this many times on your podcast and I found it interesting. Now, it is rather close to me because my uncle has now been diagnosed with liver cancer.
    I am curious to know if a ketogenic diet would be recommended for him considering that the liver produces ketones.
    Maybe it has to do with how he got it – I’m not sure. He is obese so it could have been fatty liver disease, and I think he was diagnosed with cirrhosis too (there are a lot of family folks that speculate so the story seems to change every time I hear it). He has a lot of the signs of cirrhosis except the yellow flesh. Anyway, he didn’t get it from drinking but he could have contracted hepatitis.
    I tried to convince him about taking wheat out of his diet a little over a year ago, but dismissed it like I was crazy – as many family members do when you tell them that wheat is bad for us.
    Anyway, thanks again and I hope to hear back from you or some of your informed readers.

    • cavemandoctor says:

      Hi John,

      This is tough to say as there is very little data. I think eating healthier can only help though.

      Take care and good luck to your uncle,
      CC

    • cavemandoctor says:

      Hi John,
      Thanks and sorry to hear about your uncle. There is not good data for a ketogenic diet and liver disease, though there is some with fatty liver disease. Other concerns come about with the diet and liver or GI dysfunction.
      Take care,
      Colin

  22. Iyksusie says:

    Hi. Your article was very helpful. I started a ketogenic diet a few days ago. I had read that it was the tx for cancer, which I am always looking for.. This revelation impressed me because I know, through Hulda Clark literature, that
    Starving the facialopsis buskii can be accomplished by not eating anything in the Lily family. I mean that it just made sense to me.

    I have a question for you: you say the ratio of fats to carbs AND proteins should be 4:1. In that statement, are you
    Meaning GRAMS or CALORIES? Also, do you mean carbs + proteins? Or do you mean 4:1 with carbs AND 4:1 with proteins?

    Thanks. Just trying to improve my longevity.

    My comment was not accepted because I left a space in my email address, then when I corrected that my comment was not accepted because “it was a duplicate of my 1st comment.” Silly.
    Susie

    • Larry AJ says:

      Let me try to answer your question/
      The general rule for people following a low carb high fat (LCHF) diet is to have fats make up over 60% of calories, and protein in the 20% range. This often still leaves too much carbs in the diet so I am seeing some with 80% fat, 20% protein and less than 20 grams of carbs – yes that is over 100% so the carbs amount would subtract from the fat. Think of it this way, carbs can ONLY be used for energy, fats also can be used for energy and become the main source in a ketogenic diet. You use up protein every day making skin, hair, nails, the lining of the digestive tract, and for signaling molecules. Protein does not get stored like fat and carbs so the daily needs must come from what you eat each day. You body will break down muscle cells to get the protein it needs if you are not eating enough. Assuming a 1800 to 2400 calorie diet, about 20% of that is usually enough to provide the necessary protein. Thus the ratios are in the range of 80% fat, and 20% protein with little on no carbs. That gives the 4:1 number Caveman Doctor is using which is is calories. Remember a gram of fat is 9 calories and a gram of protein or carbohydrate is just 4 calories.

      Hope that helps.

      • Iyksusie says:

        I’ve been gaining more and more energy on my very low carb diet (100 grams of carbohydrate) I’ve been on this for 12days though, without loosing weight since the initial 3#. Now I think I understand how to get it right. .

        My new plan: Rib steaks, chuck steaks, chicken and broth, and bringing the necessary fat level up with butter and olive oil. then for carbs: soups and salads of asparagus, mesclun, cucumbers and pretty colored bell peppers (all having ~ 1 carb gram per ounce of weight). Leaving me extra carbs for a cup each of tomato juice and cream if i choose (5 grams per cup). Thanks, Larry, for clarifying for me an understanding of what my problem was. . It was trying to get half of my protein from nut butters. . Doesn’t work at this level.

        I still may have a problem from putting lemon slices in my Britta filtered drinking water, since carb delivery in water may have more impact. As purely a carb count It adds up to only 3 grams of lemon a day. . So a total possibility of 23 carbs on an 1100 calorie diet.

        • JYS says:

          Other high fat foods to consider are avocados, olives, macadamia nuts, and coconut.. I make a bone broth which has fat, though difficult to “count’ (the recipe on Balanced Bites). Dairy products can increase fat ratios; butter, but also sour cream, cream cheese, and heavy cream. I mentioned Dr. Edes’s website in a previous post, and it has a new post from a friend five months in Nutrional Ketosis…what she ate is in the comment section.

        • Larry AJ says:

          Susie, not many of the low carbers I know would call 100 gm. of carbohydrate a low carb diet much less and very low carb diet. I must have not been clear enough. The diet would have to be under 100 gm. before you would be in the range of low carb. Very low carbers are those who eat less than 10 gm. per day.

          23 carbs is 92 calories and 100 gm. is 400 calories which is 36% of 1100. I don’t know how active you are, but 1100 calories seems low to me. I would also recommend coconut oil to up your fat intake. Lookf up coconut oil to see the added benefits of it besides just the energy.

          I would suggest you go to http://forum.lowcarber.org/ and read the posts there to learn more about low carbing. Most of the posters there are actively doing it and have more experience than I, especially with the difficulties that some people have doing low carb. It also has a section on recipes for low carb eating that may help you find good low carb things to eat.

          • cavemandoctor says:

            Compared to standard dietary recommendations, I would consider anything less than 150 low carb with less than 50 very low carb. I think these definitions vary though, and some say 130 or less is low carb.
            -CC

      • Iyksusie says:

        Thanks Larry, I was surprised when I analyzed my initial attempt at the diet to realize that I hadn’t quite hit the mark I’d been aiming for. Your reply to me made me realize that I’d have to get to a more purified level..
        By eating protein and fat that don’t also supply sneaky unnecessary carbs, thereby leaving me free to eat carbs
        From more important sources.

        However the gain in energy has been really significant, since it gave me at least a couple of hours more per day of activity.. Still, my main goal is to lose several pounds of extra weight, and that wasn’t happening.

        I had been on a sugar free diet for years, so the extra push to get this right is not a difficult adjustment, just
        A tad tricky to figure out. Now I’ll need to appropriately restock my freezer.
        Susie

  23. grumpus says:

    My wife has ME. She has had it for 40 years (though no one had thought of ME back then). Last April she was diagnosed with Lung Cancer & Breast Cancer (no symptoms). Three lung lumps were removed in June, then she started Chemo in August. She couldn’t tolerate the chemo (presumably due to the ME) and was taken off it after one cycle. She then struggled, lost about 20 pounds in weight, had no energy and felt awful (or worse) and found eating very difficult. She was given carbo rich booster foods by her hospital dietician and was also put on a steroid. These sort of worked – she has put on some weight and feels a lot less ill but has no energy and is not doing much, although it could be a lot worse, eg she has washed and dressed herself throughout and can walk 400 yards (mornings only). She has not taken the booster foods for 3-4 months now and came off the steroids in January.
    She is now on prescribed Arimedex to remove oestrogen, the idea being that she gets a bit stronger, then they will remove the breast lump which is quite small. Of course, this causes hot flushes which in her weakened state she finds very debillitating.
    She is improving at a very slow rate and i think they will remove the lump in the next few months.
    What she would like now is energy!
    A friend has suggested a ketogenic diet and in trying to find out about it I came to this very interesting site.
    One thing that concerns me is that she has always had very low blood pressure and I suspect this diet might be inclined to lower it, which would not be a good thing. She says her blood sugar level is normally OK.
    Any comments or suggestions please anyone?

    • Kami says:

      I’m doing the Cantin Ketogenic Diet for cancer and I belong to a FaceBook site called: Elaine’s Alternative Tips for cancer, type 1 diabetes. It’s been a God send for me! Some people report great results and others are still working on it. If you post a question on the site, so many people respond and they’re very caring and everyone is going through the same thing. My keto diet involves No sugar and very low carbs along with supplements. I’ve been on it for 3 weeks now and I don’t know if it’s all in my head or not, but my breast tumour feels a little smaller. I have estrogen positive cancer. There is much to learn about the diet before starting it. If you have FB, look up Elaine’s page, it’s a great resource. I also watched Professor Thomas Seyfried’s video on Youtube. Jimmy Moore’s site: Living La vida low carb is a good site to listen to podcasts etc.

      • Kami says:

        I also want to say that, I felt weak for about a week and a half while my body was adjusting. It sounds like your wife should move slowly on it. I would see if she has any food sensitivities or cross reactive food sensitivities to gluten. A few things that she can eat on this diet should be tested and I’ll give you a site that uses Cyrex Labs Arrays 2, 3 & 4. I can’t afford the tests at this time, but the great thing is, you don’t need a doctor to get the results. Anyway, since I can’t get the tests at this time, I cut out a few things that they test for so that I can give my body every chance at recovery. I cut out eggs and hemp and I also cut out all night shade vegetables because they’re very high in lectins and lectins wreak havoc on the immune system. You’re wife could start taking Modified Citrus Pectin with Alginates. MCP helps pull toxins out of the body without depleting minerals. It seems like everyone is taking it! I like the product that I sent you because of the added algenate that lectin will bind to. http://www.econugenics.com/showproduct.aspx?ProductID=70&SEName=pectaclear&affiliateID=10062

        Here is the link for testing her gluten intolerance etc. If you type Cyrex Labs in your search enging, you’ll see that alot of doctors are recommending labs from them because Cyrex is ahead of the game. If she doesn’t get tested, just cut out eggs and hemp when she does the Cancer Ketogenic Diet.
        http://www.ovitaminpro.com/clinical-services-and-lab-tests-cyrex-labs.html

      • grumpus says:

        Kami, Thank you for your thoughtful comments. My apologies for taking so long to reply. last week my wife saw the lung specialist for a review and that is still clear. However the main problem now is her lack of energy. She also finds eating difficult – she has trouble eating enough as she finds eating not pleasant. As before we think this is due to the effect of chemotherapy on her ME.
        As she is finding eating almost anything so difficult and she has very little energy, she does not want to try the ketogenic diet right now. Whether that’s the right approach who knows?
        I asked the lung doctor about diets. She wasn’t totally anti, but said nothing had been proved and not to spend vast sums on expensive diets. We will leave the diet alone for now but maybe in the future……
        Thank you again for your kind thoughts.

    • kami says:

      also want to say that, I felt weak for about a week and a half while my body was adjusting. It sounds like your wife should move slowly on it. I would see if she has any food sensitivities or cross reactive food sensitivities to gluten. A few things that she can eat on this diet should be tested and I’ll give you a site that uses Cyrex Labs Arrays 2, 3 & 4. I can’t afford the tests at this time, but the great thing is, you don’t need a doctor to get the results. Anyway, since I can’t get the tests at this time, I cut out a few things that they test for so that I can give my body every chance at recovery. I cut out eggs and hemp and I also cut out all night shade vegetables because they’re very high in lectins and lectins wreak havoc on the immune system. You’re wife could start taking Modified Citrus Pectin with Alginates. MCP helps pull toxins out of the body without depleting minerals. It seems like everyone with cancer is taking it! I like the product that I sent you because of the added algenate that lectin will bind to. It’s called Pectaclear. We should see what CaveMan Doctor thinks about it! http://www.econugenics.com/showproduct.aspx?ProductID=70&SEName=pectaclear&affiliateID=10062
      I hope that some of my info is helping you! The best thing that I have done was to get on Elaine’s FB page. She is the one who wrote the book “Cantin Ketogenic Diet for Cancer”

      Here is the link for testing her gluten intolerance etc. If you type Cyrex Labs in your search enging, you’ll see that alot of doctors are recommending labs from them because Cyrex is ahead of the game. If she doesn’t get tested, just cut out eggs and hemp when she does the Cancer Ketogenic Diet.
      http://www.ovitaminpro.com/clinical-services-and-lab-tests-cyrex-labs.html

      • grumpus says:

        Kami
        Thanks again. i somehow never saw your second post until now. We will look more carefully at some of these products and also at Elaine’s facebook site. As you said, there is so much to learn before starting thr diet.
        I hope things are going well with your breast and that the diet is benefiting you.
        Good luck in the future.

  24. John says:

    Now my sister has been diagnosed with epilepsy.
    This is all too weird.
    Her meds make her crazy and she is still having seizures so she is going to start the ketogenic diet. I am doing it with her so we can share the experience.
    I’m already Paleo so its really easy for me, but i figured I would do it anyway.
    If anybody has any advice for epilepsy and the ketogenic diet, i would love to read your thoughts and experiences.
    Thanks very much.

  25. Fantastic summary, I read the book seyfrieds, but your summary helped alot.
    I am doing the diet to heal my stage 4 colorectal. this is a great resource.
    I am in a top german cancer clinic, they are implementing the ketogenic for me.
    My tktl1 is 139, its a tumour protien marker that responds to this diet in theory.
    I will update my blog as long as i am here. I hope so. this diet is fun.
    I am doing weight training as well and am keen to see how to achieve fat loss, muscle gain and tumour loss all at the same time.
    It good to have a goal, this diet gives me something to put my teeth into.

  26. Ethan says:

    Great article. Is there any research on ketogenic diet for non-hodgkins lymphoma? A family member was just diagnosed (he is about 20 years old)

    Thanks,

    Ethan

    • cavemandoctor says:

      Hi Ethan, Sorry to hear about your family member and good luck to him during treatment. Thus far this question has not been asked in the research world and to my knowledge no data on. Most of the preclinical data lies in the brain tumor world.

      Take care,
      CC

    • Kami says:

      The best thing that I can tell you to do is, if you have a Face Book account, like “Elaine’s alternative tips for Cancer and other ailments” Once your accepted into the site, ask the people in the group if anyone has had any success with non hodgkins lymphoma. There are about 1100 people in the group with different types of cancer and you shoulc get a good response, most likely many responses. Cancer patients post their results, supplements etc. on the site daily. The site is very active!!

      Best Wishes, Kami

    • cavemandoctor says:

      Hi Ethan, sorry to hear that. I am unfamiliar with any KD info looking specifically at lymphoma. Sorry and good luck to your family member.
      -CC

  27. Dan Noyes says:

    I read this trying to gain some insight as to the general nature of cancer, causes, and its determinate nature.

    My heart goes out to everybody affected by this curse.

    In 1999, both my older sister and my dog were diagnosed with myocelialgia leukemia. My sister was given 6 months whilst my dog was given 6 weeks to live.

    Sorry, but I looked at this problem from an engineers point of view.

    I read as much as I could about cancer and concluded that a) cancer cells were, in fact, fragile requiring special conditions, b) a change within the body’s environment, , could retard it, and c) cutting off their food supply would further limit their growth.

    I wanted to starve the cancer / change the body’s pH / and provide enough protein for the healthy cellular activity. A shot in the dark, I know, but this is what I did.

    I started exclusively feeding my dog boiled hamburger meat with all the fat removed; the resultant concoction was a protenaceous gel which tasted, oddly enough, like hamburgers. Along with this dietary change, we walked as often and long as we could; I wanted maintain as much aerobic activity as possible. The dog was also given aspirin on a regular interval.

    The result was pretty good for my dog; not so good for my sister who underwent chemotherapy at M.D. Anderson here in Houston.

    My sister passed away in 4 weeks.

    My dog, on the other hand lived for another 3 years. A subsequent annual examination by my vet, revealed the cancer, to my surprise, was nowhere; gone.

    Now I am in the same situation with another dog, but this time with an aggressive osteosarcoma.

    After reading this and other information, I will be employing the same strategy.

    It appeared to work before, and I have found nothing to contradict it.

    Just my 2 cents. and thank you so much for the information you provided.

    • cavemandoctor says:

      Dan thanks for your note and good luck during this trying time.
      -CC

    • kami says:

      Dan,
      I’m very sorry to hear of your losses and about your dog that has cancer. I also had a mom who died from chemo and she also was being seen at MD Anderson in Houston. I have cancer and I’m going to the same place, but I’m only going there for check ups and tamoxifen and maybe surgery if the keto diet doesn’t work for me.

      I just wanted to let you know that I wondered the same thing about dogs and so I searched on the internet for it and I found this company that will make keto meals for a pet depending on it’s disease. I’m sure that you can make the meals yourself, but maybe you could call them and see if they have anymore insight to help you out. I have a dalmatian who, just yesterday, began to twitch his whole body. Maybe it’s something neurological and maybe he should be a ketopet too. I wish you the best of luck and please let us all know how it all turns out.

      Here is the link: http://ketopet.com/

      “Ketopet Meal Plan

      We’re pet nutritionists specializing in ketogenic diets. As such, we can work in concert with your veterinarian just as a “people nutritionist” would work with your physician if you, yourself, were using a ketogenic diet.

      You begin by telling us about your pet’s medical condition – this is done using the “Request Free Consultation” link at the bottom of this page. Ketopet will go over your pet’s information and send you an email with questions to clearly understand your pet’s condition and your hopes for her or his treatment. We’ll follow up with a telephone call to give you an opportunity to have your questions and concerns addressed before handing your case off to a ketogenic diet pet nutritionist. The pet nutritionist will ask about your pet’s current food, eating habits, and likes and dislikes, and use the information to design a meal plan that fits your pet’s medical condition. This will include the meal’s ingredients, number of calories per meal, and the feeding schedule. We’ll also provide a scientific summary to let you how the formulation should help your pet.”

  28. Dee says:

    My mom has opted not to do the chemotherapy. She was given 3 months to a year to live. Does the ketogenic diet only work with cancer treatments such as chemotherapy or can it fight the cancer on its own?

    • cavemandoctor says:

      Preclinical data has shown both. Sorry to hear that. Good luck to you both.
      -CC

    • Sorry to hear about your mum, no chemo is the decision I also made when I was given 12 months to live 10 months ago, I had mets to lung, liver and peritoneum. no chemo means you have an intact immune system still, if you interested in breakthrough cancer medicine in germany using immunotherapies let me know. I have no evidence of disease, its documented on my blog.

  29. joe goh says:

    I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer 9 years ago and underwent 3 surgeries to remove the nodules over the years due to recurrences. Radioactive iodine was administered to determine that the remaining cells were killed. Recently my doctor found 2 lumps and I’m adamant in not going through another round of surgery and treatment. I searched the Web for alternative treatment and found your site which I find very interesting. Would like to know how effective this diet be to my case as I really want the lumps to go away? Thanks

    • cavemandoctor says:

      Hi Joe,
      There is no data that I know of connecting this condition with a ketogenic diet. The most common thyroid cancers are not very agressive and are curable through surgery and radioactive iodine, which likely explains the paucity of data.
      Good luck!
      CC

  30. Jack says:

    Just starting the Cantin Ketogenic diet as I’m taking chemo for the 3rd time. I’m also about 9 weeks into DCA all on the advice of my Naturopath. Good news is my CEA has dropped 15 points after just 1 chemo a 4-5 times greater response than the previous 20 treatments. I’m battling stage IV colon cancer with mets to liver & both lungs for about 3 1/2 years now. I’m hoping & praying my next labs will show normal & I’ll be able to stop chemo, its pretty nasty stuff & its trashing my body. 1st day on this site, look forward to hearing & sharing.

    • cavemandoctor says:

      Jack,

      Good luck during treatment! It’s great to hear you are this far out and hopefully the CEA keeps dropping.
      Stay strong and best of luck,
      CC

  31. Pat says:

    Hi There
    I am interested in starting on a Ketogenic diet, but want to eliminate Dairy,what other sources of fat will substitute Dairy fats and is it possible without Dairy?
    Cheers
    Pat

    • cavemandoctor says:

      Hi Pat,
      Animal fats, avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil, eggs, macadamia nuts, and almonds.
      Good luck,
      CC

  32. Victor Walker says:

    Cells require insulin to facilitate active transport of glucose from outside the cells through the lipoprotein membranes to inside the cells, ketogenic diets lack significant levels of carbohydrates, so insulin levels dip even though glucose blood levels are normal. Normal cells can use Ketone Bodies for energy, and they pass through cell membranes using passive transport, but cancer cell anaerobic respiration is dependent on glucose and if cancer cells do shift to ketone metabolism they have to slow down their reproduction. Cancer cachexia is likely part of a natural host defense mechanism against runaway cellular regeneration, cancer, and spontaneous remissions are likely the ketone-induced re-specialization of undifferentiated cells facilitated by histone acetylation and DNA repair – like a resolving regenerative stump of an amphibians truncated limb or lizards tail. Acetone and other ketones are natural chemo agents. Of course this is just a theory.

  33. JYS says:

    Two exciting new developments involving Ketogenic Diets and Cancer:

    One is a new foundation; Single Cause, Single Cure, Helping to Realize the Promise of Metabolic Cancer Research.
    http://www.singlecausesinglecure.org/metabolic-theory-of-cancer/
    This article clearly and thoroughly explains the Metabolic Theory of Cancer. Their website is new, but already has helpful information to share on the topic. When 501c status is in place, they will accept donations toward this research.

    The other is a new eBook “Fight Cancer with a Ketogenic Diet”. Its author, Ellen Davis, posted a reply to Matt’s comment above.
    http://www.ketogenic-diet-resource.com/cancer-diet.html
    The eBook is based on the work of Dr. Thomas Seyfried and his book “Cancer as a Metabolic Disease: On the Origin, Management and Prevention of Cancer.”  Ten percent of the profits from the eBook will go to support the ketogenic research of Dr. Seyfried and his team at Boston College, and Dr. Dominic D’Agostino’s work on ketone esters at the University of South Florida.

  34. Ann Severa says:

    The classic therapeutic ketogenic diet was developed for treatment of paediatric epilepsy in the 1920s and was widely used into the next decade, but its popularity waned with the introduction of effective anticonvulsant drugs. In the mid-1990s, Hollywood producer Jim Abrahams, whose son’s severe epilepsy was effectively controlled by the diet, created the Charlie Foundation to promote it.’::^

    Please do take a peek at our own web site <http://healthmedicinejournal.comew

  35. Jonna says:

    I have a family member who was diagnosed with cancer last year. Although it was removed, she is still afraid it will come back, so to ease her fears we put her on this diet. She has been on this diet for a few days now and is doing wonderfully, but I am just wondering whether there is a certain recommended time period a patient must be on this diet to starve off the cancer. So far I have been researching this and have come up empty handed. Is this a permanent change on must make to their diet or should one stay on this diet for a few weeks/ months and then go to a low-carb diet? Please help!!!

  36. Doug says:

    I have a couple questions regarding actual implementation of the diet. After reading this and watching Thomas Seyfried’s video, it seems total calorie restriction is as important as limiting carbs in managing cancer (I read on yet another site that blood glucose should be 3). Is there at least an estimate to go by, such as total calories / kg of body weight which can sufficient calorie restriction while still getting enough nutrition? Also, in the 4:1 fat : p+c ratio, is that by weight or by calories? Thanks for your help.

    • Doug says:

      Typo… (blood glucose should be less than 70, blood ketones above 3)

    • cavemandoctor says:

      Calorie restriction is controversial and I don’t subscribe to it as I have found no supporting evidence and it can have significant side effects in patients. I don’t think sufficient calorie restriction often leaves enough for nutrition, frankly.

      Also, the ratio is by calories.

      I hope this helps and good luck.
      Colin

  37. Bekka141 says:

    My partner has a Glioblastoma Multiforme and is just about to have his 4th surgery. Originally the tumour responded to chemotherapy but the last 2 chemos have failed and the tumour has kept growing at an alarming rate. After this surgery he will have another dose of chemo but I get the impression from his oncology team that we are running out of chemo drugs to try. I want to put him on the keto diet along with this round of chemo, anything is worth a go, and while he was on the first chemo (that worked) he restricted his refined carbs. I have a couple of questions:

    Does the diet need to be as strict as the keto diet used to control seizures (using ratios etc) or can you just limit the carbs and protein and increase the fats. I have worked out that around 60g or protein and less than 10g of carbs should put him into ketosis.

    How do I know he is in ketosis, some articles say that using urine keto sticks is not accurate. I cannot find a nutritionist that will support him and his oncology team do not think it is worth doing so no support there either.

    Any advice would be very welcome.

    • cavemandoctor says:

      Hi sorry to hear about your partner. I can’t give specific medical advice but keto strips generally work for 2 weeks and then finger sticks via glucometers with ketone strips can be used at home. Labs checking for ketones are the best if they are going to be done with chemo.

      Good luck,
      CC

  38. Deborah says:

    Hi Dr. I have cirrhosis and now they have found a baseball side milignant tumor in the left lobe. I see you did not mention cancer in livers but do you think this diet will help in any way? I started the diet today. Hoping for a reply.
    Deborah

  39. Ben Stone says:

    Dear Dr. Champ,

    In large part because of your writing, and that of other proponents of nutritional ketosis, I have implemented a ketogenic diet (to help thwart Hodgkins). Thank you for sharing so freely of your knowledge.

    I have recently come across a compelling series of articles by a well known physician who treats blood cancers with high fat diets, but solid tumours with a plant based diet. While it is reassuring given my risk profile, I am most curious for your thoughts on the well written narrative that on the potential problems applying a ketogenic diet to solid tumours.

    http://www.naturalhealth365.com/ketogenic_diet/

    Thank you in advance.

    Ben

    • I skimmed these. Interesting, but they criticize others for lack of data then make these recommendations based on no data whatsoever. Seems like they are creating the same problem that tey are trying to fix.

      I think it will clearly be individualized, but plant based for solid tumors has no data to back this that I know of.

      Take care,
      CC

  40. Larry A J says:

    Dr Champ,
    I think your readers will find this post most interesting.
    http://robbwolf.com/2013/09/19/origin-cancer/
    It explains why my biopsy confirmed prostate cancer went into remission – it has now been ten years
    since then so I am now claiming that the cancer is GONE not just in remission.
    Regards,
    Larry

  41. ptrx says:

    Would this work for colon cancer that has spread to the intestinal wall and slightly to the liver? How about for stomach cancer that has sone the same. I’m not sure which I’m dealing with yet. Are there any contraindications of glucose inhibition with these types? Thank you for this article. It makes a lot of sense in a very concise and clear way.

    • Unfortunately, there is a lack of data as to which cancer types will respond in humans. This info is definitely needed. Contraindications very, but difficulty digesting fats would be one. Good luck.
      -CC

  42. Marrianna says:

    I would like to know if there is a specific recommended time period a patient must be on this diet to starve off the cancer. And if so, how long?

    • Great question and unfortunately we really don’t know. One mice in the glioma study was switched back to a normal diet and no tumor was seen, hinting that the keto diet and radiation eliminated any cancer cells. Other people would see it as a more permanent change (Seyfried’s case study). Tough to say how long and how much it even works based on the limited data.
      -CC

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