In recent years, society has come to the consensus of seeking out alternative and complimentary methods to treating devastating diseases. One of the most prevalent complementary treatments is the use of a ketogenic diet for the treatment of cancer. Specifically, a ketogenic diet involves replacing unhealthy carbohydrates with healthy proteins and fats, such as unsaturated fats. Diet and Cancer are closely linked so lets take a closer look.
How Does a Ketogenic Diet Benefit Cancer Treatment
Chemotherapy, the most common go-to treatment for cancer, relies on toxic chemicals to treat the condition. Unfortunately, these chemicals can kill the patient. This is the great con of chemotherapy: kill the cancer before the treatment kills the patient. A ketogenic diet reduces the amount of glucose available in the blood. Now, all cells require glucose to survive, but the ketogenic diet virtually eliminates the excess amounts of glucose, which allow cancer cells to flourish. Glucose is combined into more complex sugars, such as ketones. This is where the ketogenic diet derives its “keto-” root.
Over time, the body becomes starved and starts using these ketone bodies for fuel. However, cancer cells are unable to access the complex sugar construction of ketone bodies, which starves the cancerous cells. Cancer forms when a cell becomes immortal and does not undergo apoptosis, or natural cell death. Traditional treatments focus on trying to kill all of the cancerous cells, but the ketogenic diet kills these cells by starvation.
Additionally, healthy proteins mean reducing the chances for extraneous factors to influence the outcome of the ketone bodies within the bloodstream. For example, organic foods have less antibiotic and pesticide treatments, which have been linked to cancer in the past.
Dr. Hatfield Becomes the Ultimate “Lab-Rat”
In stark contrast to public perception, studies have found cancer cells responded to the ketogenic diet treatment with more positive results than when used in combination with traditional cancer treatment methods. One physician, Dr. Hatfield decided to use his body as the ultimate science experiment when he was diagnosed with cancer. Having studied metabolic therapy, which is another name for a ketogenic diet, he began following the diet while awaiting his cancer-laden death sentence. It worked. The diet contributed to his cancer-free status of more than a year. Furthermore, extensive studies of the ketogenic diet in mice revealed those receiving a carb-free diet for the treatment of aggressive cancers survived at higher rates than those treated with chemotherapy.
Other Factors in Diet and Cancer as it Relates to Lifestyle Changes
Although diet plays a major role in the use of alternative cancer treatment strategies, you should take the following into consideration for reducing recurrence and development of cancers.
- Uninterrupted, full nights of sleep (approximately eight hours) and not sleeping in excess.
- Obtain Vitamin D from exposure to sunlight and drinking Vitamin D milk.
- Healthy stress management instead of alcohol, drugs, or irrational behaviors.
- Maintaining an exercise regimen, nothing extreme, but simple like walking for 30 minutes a few times a week.
With a healthy diet and these factors, you have the power to defeat cancer. However, a proactive approach to preventing cancer is always the best policy for facing the second leading cause of death worldwide: cancer. There are new studies coming out regularly that find the link between diet and cancer so always keep your ears to the ground!