Ketogenic or keto diet is one of the most popular diet around the world. It is high in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbohydrates (carbs) food. It is wildly used for weight loss, prevention and treatment of diabetes, cancers and many other diseases. Keto diet is one of the most debated food for cancer prevention and treatment.
Keto Diets Are Not Approved For Cancer Treatment
Based on the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) law, before any agents can be used to treat diseases, they have to pass safety and efficacy clinical trials.
So far, there is no keto diet passing the clinical trials and no keto diet is approved for cancer treatment by FDA.
There are some keto diets for cancer treatment clinical trial registered under government website: clinicaltrials.gov, a database of privately and publicly funded clinical studies conducted around the world. But none of the trials uses keto diet alone. They are in combination with chemo and radiation therapies.
Keto diets are being tested for breast cancer, glioblastoma, head & neck cancer, lung cancer, and pancreatic cancer. All these clinical trials are in phase 1.
Apparently, for some time from now we are not going to see FDA approved keto diet for cancer treatment.
However, this does not indicate that we cannot use keto diet for cancer prevent and treatment without government approved keto diet.
There are a number of anecdotal case reports supporting that keto diets bring benefits for cancer patients.
Keto Diet For Cancer Treatment Case Reports
There are a lot of reports that show keto diets can be helpful for cancer patients.
David Jockers is a doctor of natural medicine and a functional Nutritionist. He struggled with digestive issues despite being athletic. In his 20s, his digestive issues were full blown. He dealt with irritable bowel syndrome and lost weight. His adrenals also were not functioning properly.
When he was 27 years old, he developed skin cancer on his nose. After extensive investigations, he found the keto diet and practiced keto diets wholeheartedly. His skin cancer on his nose went away completely. This remind him that keto diet can be a powerful cancer treatment remedy.
He paid great attention and performed extensive research on the keto diet and keto lifestyle, which eventually became his tool to help many cancer patient healing naturally.
He also credited the keto diet for curing his wife’s endometriosis.
Dr. Nasha Winters is a CEO, bestselling author, naturopath, and oncology specialist. Her journey with keto diet began after her own battle with cancer.
She was diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer at the age of 19 and was given only a few months to live.
She fought for her life through the metabolic approach, including keto diet, to cancer treatment, and survived the late stage cancer.
Stemming from her three decades of personal and professional experience in the field of integrative oncology, she is becoming a global healthcare authority in integrative cancer research.
Logan Sneed was diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma brain cancer at the young age of 20. Despite a successful surgery, his doctor gave him less than 1 year’s life due to the severity of the cancer.
He was incredibly motivated to fight for his life and carry out extensive research on ways to enhance his health. He identified keto diets as tools. His transition to keto diets post-surgery has improved his conditioning beyond what was thought possible.
Three years after his brain cancer diagnosis, he is healthier and happier than ever before. Cancer and keto diets help him becoming the best version of himself.
Based on his personal experience, he established a company named Fusion Lean, through which he transforms people’s lives worldwide.
Sara Karan was diagnosed with breast cancer late December 2012. All her doctors went on their Christmas vacations and she had a two-week window to do the research that saved her life. Otherwise, she would have been herded into surgery, chemo, and radiation therapies.
She chose keto diets to fight her cancer. After two years of steady research and experimentation, her cancer was completely disappeared. She not only cured her breast cancer, but also had a full understanding of keto diet for cancer treatment.
She is now operating a blog on cancer and share her personal experience and knowledge on keto diets with other cancer patients.
Scientific Foundation Of Keto Diet For Cancer Treatment
One hallmark of cancer is the deregulated metabolism. Most cancer cells use abnormal metabolic pathways to generate energy, a phenomenon called Warburg Hypothesis, postulated by Nobel laureate Otto Warburg in 1924, that the driving force of tumorigenesis is insufficient cellular respiration caused by insult to mitochondria.
The cancer cells exhibit glucose fermentation even when enough oxygen is present to properly respire. Instead of fully respiring in the presence of adequate oxygen, cancer cells ferment.
Cells create and store usable energy in the form of the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) molecule. Production of ATP is a complex process involving three distinct and sequential series of cellular reactions that begin with the breakdown of the six-carbon sugar glucose.
The first of these processes, glycolysis, does not require oxygen and occurs in the cytoplasm.
The second, the citric acid cycle, occurs within the mitochondria, the oval shaped organelles dispersed within the cytoplasm, and requires oxygen.
And the third, the most productive in terms of ATP generation, electron transport, proceeds in the membranes of mitochondria and also needs oxygen.
In normal cells, glycolysis represents the starting point of energy synthesis. Its end product, pyruvic acid, is in turn shunted first into the citric acid cycle, then ultimately into the electron transport chain. Along the way, a complex series of step-wise reactions release multiple energy-rich ATP molecules.
Cancer cells, unlike normal cells, rely exclusively on anaerobic glycolysis for energy. Such cells do fine in the absence of oxygen, since the metabolic machinery of glycolysis doesn’t require it.
The abnormal cell glycolysis uncouples from the citric acid cycle and electron transport, leaving the cells dependent solely on this rather inefficient mechanism for survival.
Keto diets teach the cells in the human body entering ketosis, resulting in the production of ketone body, which are the source of energy.
Cancer cells are not adapted to ketosis and have no capacity of using ketone body as energy and thus cannot survive under ketosis.
Besides the direct effect, keto diets benefit cancer patients in the following ways:
- Reduce the circulating blood glucose, leading to the reduction of insulin.
- Insulin is pro-inflammatory factor, reducing insulin helps to keep inflammation under control.
- Insulin is a growth factor for cancer cells, reducing insulin assists in inhibiting cancer cell growth.
- The cancer cells are weak under state of ketosis, it is easier for immune system to target and destroy the cancer cells, chemotherapy or any other therapy will be more effective.
- Keto diet reduces visceral fat, associating with improvement of overall well-being.
How To Apply Keto Diets For Cancer Treatment?
There is solid scientific foundation for use of keto diet for cancer treatment. It works because cancer cells are dependent upon a constant supply of blood glucose to stay alive and normal cells can make energy from both glucose and ketones creating from burning fat.
Keto diet restricts carbs while enjoys delicious and healthy protein and fat, leading to ketosis and generating ketones. It lowers blood glucose and increases blood ketones, starving cancer cells while nourishing normal cells and strengthening total body health.
Nevertheless, the research is still in the early stages. Based on the current pharmaceutical development environment, we don’t expect to see the FDA approved Keto diet for cancer treatment soon.
To approve safety and efficacy of keto diet for cancer treatment, we need to carry out extensive phase 1, 2, and 3 clinical trials. Since the keto diets are natural products, it is not feasible to claim patent of the keto diet. Without patent protection, any one can assume keto diet business and it is no possible for pharmaceutical companies to gain their return of investment.
There are some small-scale clinical trials on keto diets for cancer treatment. Here are some examples listed in the clinicaltrials.gov:
- Ketogenic Diet and Prostate Cancer Surveillance Pilot
- A 2-Week Ketogenic Diet in Combination With Letrozole to Modulate PI3K Signaling in ER+ Breast Cancer
- A Study of Ketogenic Diet in Newly Diagnosed Overweight or Obese Endometrial Cancer Patients
- Ketogenic Diet in Children With Malignant or Recurrent/Refractory Brain Tumor
- Ketogenic Diet and Chemotherapy in Affecting Recurrence in Patients With Stage IV Breast Cancer
- Strict Classic Ketogenic Diet as a Therapy for Recurrent or Progressive and Refractory Brain Tumors in Children
If you like, you can contact the clinical trial site and join the clinical trial. There is almost no risk to join clinical trial like the above. You have a number of benefits:
- You play a more active role in your own health care
- Researchers provide you with free medical care and more frequent health check-ups as part of your treatment
- You may be able to get information about support groups and resources
- You may get a new treatment for a disease before it is available to everyone
- You may have the chance to help others get a better treatment for their health problems in the future.
The best approach is that you take control of your own situation and prepare for your own therapeutic keto diets.
No one knows your body better than you do. Based on your conditions, you need to come out a thorough plan:
- Complete keto food list, refer to the food list: The Keto Diet Food List
- The detailed mean plan, daily, weekly, and monthly, refer to the keto meal plans: Keto Diet Meal Plans
- Keto-friendly drink, snack, and dessert
- Tool to measure the state of ketosis, refer to measurement of the state of ketosis: What Is A Keto Diet?
- Regular evaluation by your physician
- Have a pre-defined goal
Be flexible with your keto diet for cancer treatment. You are looking for integrative treatment. Keto diet should be part of your overall cancer treatment. You need to constantly search the best for your cancer fight.
You will enter the state of ketosis in about one week after employing your keto diet, meaning you should feel the effect of the diet in relatively short time.
If it is effective and keto diets improve your situation, you should stick to the diet until reaching your pre-defined goal.
If you don’t obtain the expected outcome, discuss with your dietitian and/or physician as early as possible. Modify your keto diets accordingly. If necessary, stop the keto diets and start a better treatment for your cancer. Always seek the best overall cancer treatment for yourself.
Keto diets teach cells in the human body entering into ketosis, creating ketones as energy. Normal cells use both ketones and glucose as energy source, while cancer cells use glucose exclusively as energy. It is thus possible to employ keto diets for cancer treatment, since keto diet deprives glucose from blood and exhausts the only energy source for cancer cells, leading to cancer cell death.
Although there is no FDA approved keto diet for cancer treatment, initial clinical trials and numerous case reports indicate that it is worthwhile to employ keto diets for cancer treatment to achieve the positive outcome.
You may like to learn more about keto diets. Here are some suggested readings:
- What Is A Keto Diet?
- 10 Healthy Benefits of A Keto Diet
- How To Start A Keto Diet For Beginners
- Keto Diet Tips – Going On A Keto Diet Is Easier Than You Think
- Keto Diet Cheat Sheet
- The Keto Diet Food List
- Keto Diet Meal Plans
- What Is The Best Diet To Lose Weight?
- Keto Diet and Soda
- Egg For Keto Diet
- What Is Pork Rind?
- How To Lose Belly Fat Naturally
If you want to have complete understanding of keto diet for cancer treatment, I suggest the following two books for your references: