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CLINICS FOR GERMAN INTEGRATIVE CANCER MEDICINE

The Ketogenic Diet and Cancer

Dr Gunes Dr Hossami

Dr. Adem Günes & Dr. Abdulla El-Hossami

05.11.2022
The Ketogenic Diet and Cancer

While the use of “ketogenic diet” has hit peak buzzword in health and fitness circles around the world, most people are still unaware of its origins and how it was initially developed back in the 1920s, as powerful method for treating epilepsy.

In recent years however, these findings have further evolved to encompass many other significant and chronic diseases, most notably cancer.

Under normal conditions, the body is in a state of glycolysis, which means that energy is sourced by burning glucose in the blood. As most of us know, this glucose is derived from carbohydrates. When the body is starved of glucose, the body switches its primary fuel consumption from carbohydrate to fat and protein. This process is called ketosis.

Fairly Safe to Use Ketogenic Diet for Cancer
Data from case reports that trials suggest that ketogenic diet use is safe for most patients with cancer. Yet, more research is required on this as this diet may not be suitable for some patients and all types of cancers. It should, therefore, get applied with caution. Research results are promising, and work on this is still evolving. Studies on this topic may hopefully end, giving us a ketogenic diet cancer complaint sooner or later.

At the University of Boston, Professor Thomas Seyfried has been leading research in this field for a number of years. In his groundbreaking book, Cancer as a Metabolic Disease: On the Origin, Management, and Prevention of Cancer (Wiley, 1st ed., 2012) Seyfried argues that cancer can be best defined as a mitochondrial metabolic disease rather than as a genetic disease and that by altering the body’s metabolic environment, molecular pathology can effectively be neutralised. In the case of cancer, his findings have shown that when the body is in a state of ketosis, cancer cells are targeted and neutralised or eradicated, while the physiological health of normal cells is enhanced.

Classically, the ketogenic diet is typically proportioned into 70% fat, 25% protein, and 5% carbohydrates. However, while results are effective, the strictness of the diet can also lead to weakness, constipation and most notably, the loss of muscle mass. It also a regime that is difficult to maintain, especially for those who may be already severely impaired through illness.

What we presently know is that a ketogenic diet is helpful for weight loss. Under the observation of a medical practitioner, it can be used for some kinds of cancer that reduce fat mass and increase insulin sensitivity.

A ketogenic diet has not been used in all typical clinical trials to starve cancer. The application is still at a hypothetical level. So, there is a need to design a safe, sustainable, and tolerable plan tailored to the individual patient's requirements.

Ketogenic Diet at Verita Life Clinic
At Verita Life’s Integrative Cancer Clinics, a modified version of the Ketogenic Diet has been developed, which lessens the rate of muscle weakening, without providing cancer cells with any additional fuel. In short, the slightly higher rate of protein is allowed, and is calculated per patient’s body weight at a rate of 1.2 grams per kilogram.

“The most significant aspect of our modified Ketogenic Diet is that we tailor make the menu to each and every patient. No two patients are the same, they have different body weights, different cancers and will be at different stages in their cancer journey, so we must take every aspect into consideration”, says Verita Life Naturopath Dr Brian Kunakorn. “We do not subscribe to a one size fits all approach”.

For the patients at Verita Life clinics, the modified Ketogenic diet also helps them stay positive and well nourished throughout their integrative treatment programme.

“I have to commend the cooks here as they make the food very palatable, very delicious and very easy to transition into”, says Dr Louis Grondin, a recent patient at Verita Life’s clinic in Baja, Mexico. “I’ve been here for six weeks and I have to say my energy level is almost back to normal, I exercise an hour a day, which I usually did before my diagnosis, I’ve put on weight and my BMI indicates that it’s mainly muscle mass, which is what I had lost prior to treatment. I’m feeling good”.

For all its benefits however, managing and maintaining the diet is not a “magic pill”, explains Dr. Kunakorn.

“It takes time, dedication, and discipline and requires, for many, significant lifestyle changes and it also takes time for ones body to adapt. The first few days may be especially rough and most people will experience what is commonly known as ‘Keto-Flu’ which refers to fatigue, dizziness, irritability, sugar cravings, and nausea. This is an indication that the body is adjusting to the absence of carbohydrates. Staying motivated and disciplined is crucial”.

What Is the Ketogenic Diet Cancer Patients Can Consume
A typical keto diet is high in fat and low on carbs; and an adequate amount of protein. This diet can sensitize most cancers to standard treatments by exploiting the reprogrammed cancer cells' metabolism. It makes the diet a promising candidate as an adjuvant cancer therapy.

Ketogenic diet cancer food list
Foods that make it to the ketogenic diet list are

  • Fish and seafood
  • Low carb veggies
  • Cheese
  • Avocados
  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Nuts, seeds, and healthful oils
  • Plain and Greek yogurt and cottage cheese.

Ketogenic Diet Helpful in Many Ways
Studies have shown that when cancer patients follow the ketogenic food list, the diet may work in several ways like

  • Slow tumor growth
  • Protect healthy cells from damage during radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
  • Help anti-cancer drugs work faster and better.
  • Ease inflammation which can encourage cancer growth
  • Assist in preventing weight gain during and after chemotherapy for breast cancer.

Yes, following this diet can help you heal from cancer faster. Nonetheless, it is not a balanced diet as per standard practice. You should know what a ketogenic diet is and how to make it more balanced. It will help you to prevent other disorders after adhering to a somewhat imbalanced diet. You can properly plan a keto diet and make it healthy too. You can follow these tips for this.

  • Do not get stuck in a rut but make the diet more variable by consuming different foods daily.
  • Maximizing your carbs is essential, so make them nutrient dense. Avocado and nuts are a better choice than a cookie here.
  • Do not forget to focus on the quality of food. Try to buy more organic food.
  • Use diverse fats to add variety. It will not bore you and also give you the required nutrients.
  • Measure your foods in the initial stages to adhere to the high fat, low carb, and moderate protein formula for every meal.

Verita life modified ketogenic diet
To learn more about Verita Life or to get in touch, contact us.

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