Ketogenic diet for cancer and neurodegenerative disease – Scientific research and Pilot trials

“No disease that can be treated by diet should be treated with any other means.”

– Maimonides, Philosopher and Physician,
path-breaking scientist, 12 century

One of the strong therapeutic tools in my work with cancer is Restricted Ketogenic Diet (RKD).

Restricted means that it uses two complementary protocols Intermittent Fasting (IF) with Caloric Restriction (CR).
My clients get daily supervision that makes transition to the new eating habits much easier.

This page shows some of the existing scientific research and pilot trials for use of ketogenic diet for advanced cancer management.

  • The Ketogenic Diet as a Treatment Paradigm for Diverse Neurological Disorders –  There is now compelling evidence that The Ketogenic Diet’s efficacy is likely related to the normalization of aberrant energy metabolism.
    • We provide an overview of studies using the KD in a wide panoply of neurologic disorders in which neuroprotection is an essential component.
    • This review article explores the rationale for using the KD and related dietary treatments in neurological disorders.
  • Role of glucose and ketone bodies in the metabolic control of experimental brain cancer – The results of this study suggest that experimental brain cancer is manageable through principles of metabolic control where plasma glucose levels are reduced and ketone body levels are elevated. Dietary energy restriction reduces tumour growth through effects on angiogenesis, apoptosis, and inflammation. Moreover, this dietary therapy may be effective for brain cancer management in humans and can be designed according to established standards

    • The study suggests that dietary restriction could reduce tumour-derived levels of procachexic factors by reducing tumour size. Dietary caloric restriction may also be effective against recurrent human gliomas or could be used as an adjuvant with radiation or chemotherapy. We contend that dietary therapy may improve the clinical outcome of brain tumour patients and enhance their quality of life.
  • Mutations in the transketolase-like gene TKTL1: clinical implications for neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes and cancer – Transketolase proteins or transketolase enzyme activities have been related to neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, and cancer. We furthermore postulate a novel metabolic concept for the understanding, prevention and therapy of neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes and cancer. The next study establishes the link between ketogenic diet and the transketolase pathway:
    • Fructose Induces Transketolase Flux to Promote Pancreatic Cancer Growth – Carbohydrate metabolism via glycolysis and the tricarboxylic acid cycle is pivotal for cancer growth, and increased refined carbohydrate consumption adversely affects cancer survival. These findings show that cancer cells can readily metabolize fructose to increase proliferation. They have major significance for cancer patients given dietary refined fructose consumption, and indicate that efforts to reduce refined fructose intake or inhibit fructose-mediated actions may disrupt cancer growth.

  • The Restricted Ketogenic Diet (RKD): An Alternative Treatment Strategy for Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) This study suggests that RKD is less toxic and potentially more effective in managing GBM than the conventional standard of care.
    • Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is considered the most malignant of primary brain cancers with only about 12% of patients living beyond 36 months (long-term survivors). Emerging evidence suggests that metabolic therapies using ketogenic diets that lower blood glucose levels can help retard GBM growth in younger and older patients.
  • Effects of a ketogenic diet on the quality of life in 16 patients with advanced cancer: A pilot trial
    • These pilot data suggest that a KD is suitable for even advanced cancer patients. It has no severe side effects and might improve aspects of quality of life and blood parameters in some patients with advanced metastatic tumors.
  • The glucose/ketone ratio: a simple tool to monitor therapeutic efficacy for metabolic management of brain cancer
    • Maintaining optimal blood glucose to ketone ratios for cancer management. Dr. Thomas Seyfried’s research sets out the zone of metabolic management recommended for using the Keto Diet to manage tumour growth. The idea behind using KD to manage or limit tumour cell growth – to “starve” tumours – is to take away the tumour cell’s favourite fuel, glucose, and replace it with something the cell cannot use – ketones.
  • The low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet can replace chemotherapy and radiation for even the deadliest of cancers, said Dr. Thomas Seyfried, a leading cancer researcher and professor at Boston College.
  • According to Dr. Dominic D’Agostino, a low-carb, high-fat, calorie-restricted ketogenic diet literally starves cancer cells.
    • Dr. D’Agostino’s research during the past decade indicates that a high-fat ketogenic diet successfully manages even advanced cancer. KetoNutrition – Dr. Dominic D’Agostino’s site.
  • Caloric restriction and cancer: molecular mechanisms and clinical implications
    • The study suggests that CR-mediated elevation of ketone is central in protecting normal cells, possibly by restricting ROS (reactive oxygen species) production. Therefore, an ideal CR is not only be able to reduce blood glucose, insulin, and IGF-1 but also enhance ketone body formation.
  • This preclinical study indicates that restricted ketogenic diet is a safe and effective diet therapy
    • Restricted ketogenic diet should be considered as an alternative therapeutic option for malignant brain cancer.
  • Long-term effects of a ketogenic diet in obese patients – The present study shows the beneficial effects of a long-term ketogenic diet. It significantly reduced the body weight and body mass index of the patients. Furthermore, it decreased the level of triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and blood glucose, and increased the level of HDL cholesterol. Administering a ketogenic diet for a relatively longer period of time did not produce any significant side effects in the patients. Therefore, the present study confirms that it is safe to use a ketogenic diet for a longer period of time than previously demonstrated.

    • The data presented in the present study showed that a ketogenic diet acted as a natural therapy for weight reduction in obese patients. This is a unique study monitoring the effect of a ketogenic diet for 24 weeks. There was a significant decrease in the level of triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and glucose, and a significant increase in the level of HDL cholesterol in the patients. The side effects of drugs commonly used for the reduction of body weight in such patients were not observed in patients who were on the ketogenic diet. Therefore, these results indicate that the administration of a ketogenic diet for a relatively long period of time is safe. Further studies elucidating the molecular mechanisms of a ketogenic diet are in progress in our laboratory. These studies will open new avenues into the potential therapeutic uses of a ketogenic diet and ketone bodies.
  • Anti-inflammatory mechanism of ketogenic diet and fasting. It is well known that fasting and calorie restriction reduces inflammation in the body. This study reveals the mechanism of immune cells adaptation to reduced availability of glucose.
    • The study proved that the inflammation was reduced with ketogenic diet, which elevates ketone levels in the bloodstream produced from fat oxidation.

Low Carb Dieting Myths – The myths about low carb dieting and specifically ketogenic diets abound in the western collective consciousness. These are 12 of the most pervasive myths, with explanations as to why they are incorrect and simply don’t make sense, scientifically.

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