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How Ketogenic Diet Helps in Cancer Treatment

April 22, 2018 4 min read

How Ketogenic Diet Helps in Cancer Treatment

Cancer is one of the most chronic and life-threatening diseases. When someone suffers from this disease, he/she often get scared and look for the most effective and quick treatment. With so many effective treatments out there, it has been researched that keto diet also helps in the treatment of Cancer. How? Let’s have a look in detail-


Keto diet has grabbed the attention of many people because of lots of benefits it avails. Be it for the treatment of obesity or seizure, this diet has helped many people with the right treatment.

Indeed, with so many healthy diets available ketogenic diet has become one of the most popular diets to date. In this diet, carbs and proteins are restricted and replaced with fat, which is also an effective treatment for controlling seizure in epileptic children and also for the treatment of obesity. Recently, it has been noted that keto diet provides benefits in cancer subtypes with results related to metabolic risk factors like breast cancer and related to obesity.


What are ketones?

Ketones are energy sources produced by our liver that can cross our blood-brain barrier without any restrictions to provide an energy source for our brain cells known as neurons. These are then replaced when it is not working or available such as during winter months, fasting or during modern hunter-gatherer societies such as Maasai tribesman and the Inuit Eskimos that intake a less carbs.


The keto diet and cancer


How can keto diet help in treating Cancer?

Just like the cancer treatments such as biologic agents, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, no one knows exactly how keto diet works. Actually, this diet works against the cancer cells present in sugar and glucose. The tumor cells need glucose to feed their spread and aggressiveness.


Let’s have a look at the different mechanisms-

Keto diet works simply by diminishing the level of glucose to the cancer cells. The tumor cells depend on glucose for energy so therefore any process may help to starve cancer cells.

According to recent data, cancer is caused due to defectiveness and deficiency of mitochondria. Since it can make energy from fats and proteins, this deficiency can leave the tumor cells dependent on glycolysis or sugar breakdown. The human cells use this method especially when oxygen is missing. This is what happens in muscle cells when lifting heavy weights or sprinting. Cancer cells appear to utilize glycolysis for energy regardless if oxygen is available or not. This process is not sufficient for production of energy and mitochondria that can make 20 times more ATM compared to glycolysis process.

A keto diet enables the body to depend on the mitochondria for energy. The Mitochondria are the organelles in our cells that can kill cells or revamp old parts that are not working properly or can turn malignant. Mitochondria upregulating can serve as a way to enhance the housekeeping of our body that can remove the potential of tumor cells. Also, as our normal cells use ketones for energy, some data shows that tumor cells are not very effective to derive energy from ketosis.

Because of their faulty mitochondria, the tumor cells also dependent on glucose to fasten free radical damage. Just like our normal cells, the tumor cells are also experiencing continuous attacks with free radicals. As their mitochondria are malfunctioning, they depend on glucose uptake that is used to counter the damage of free radicals. This limits the glucose and it helps in repairing cell damage.

Like our normal cells, cancer cells need more than just a fuel to survive. They provide signals to hormones telling them to grow and survive. According to a recent study, a number of cancer patients confirmed that keto diet decreases the insulin in cancer cells.


keto diet and cancer treatments


How keto diet weakens Cancer Cells

Chronic diseases like Cancer continue to rise in today’s world. Medical approaches are somehow not very successful in treating a number of chronic diseases. The truth is, treatments for cancer are not found in pills and other man-made medication but found in regulating metabolic functions of our bodies.

Today, Western cultures enjoy health and rich diet in different cuisines. According to research- sugar is the main reason for cancer and another inflammatory environments in our bodies.

The keto diet was actually developed to treat epilepsy, but now it is also helping in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes and weight loss.

With the average diet, there are sufficient amounts of glucose which our body uses for energy. When the body goes into ketosis mode, this indicates there is no sufficient glucose in the body to meet energy needs. So, the body needs fat for the energy to create molecules called ketones. However, you should not confuse this process with ketoacidosis that is a life-threatening condition related to Type 1 diabetes and occurs when the levels of ketones are higher than the diet permits.

As ketosis is an important and essential element of a keto diet, it does not mean that every reduced or low carb diet is ketogenic. The amount of carbs consumed while maintaining ketosis depends on the person’s metabolism and activity level. Generally, anyone can consume 50-60 grams of carbs and maintain ketosis. Compared to less physically active people, more active people consume more carbs than those who have lower metabolisms.

Undoubtedly, it is not wrong to say that keto diet can do wonders for a number of chronic diseases like cancer and diabetes. This diet provides a number of benefits to make cancer cells weak and also help to treat with a combination and conventional therapies.


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