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How keto diet may help treat cancer

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    Posted: Aug 14 2019 at 8:47pm
How might the keto diet help treat cancer?

New research in mice suggests that keeping blood sugar under control using either the ketogenic diet or a diabetes drug could help treat certain cancers by boosting the efficacy of standard chemotherapy.

The ketogenic diet consists of high fat foods, foods that contain an adequate amount of protein, and a very low amount of carbohydrates.

Normally, the human body gets its main source of energy (sugar) from carbs.

However, the ketogenic diet deprives the body of glucose, inducing a state of "ketosis."

During ketosis, the body is forced to break down stored fat instead of sugar to produce an alternative source of energy.

The ketogenic, or "keto," diet has been around for centuries. Traditionally, some have used it as a therapy for conditions such as diabetes and epilepsy.

Newer studies have started to examine the therapeutic potential of the keto diet for other conditions, such as cancer, polycystic ovary syndrome, and Alzheimer's disease.

The keto diet's potential as cancer treatment

For instance, recent research has suggested that the keto diet could complement standard cancer therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Other studies have also suggested that certain cancers are heavily reliant on glucose for energy. So, restricting cancer cells' access to sugar may be a valid way of sensitizing them to chemotherapy.

New research explores the keto diet as a potential avenue for cancer treatment. Jung-Whan Kim, an assistant professor of biological sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas, is the corresponding author of the new study.

Using a mouse model of lung and esophageal cancer, Kim and colleagues restricted the rodents' levels of circulating glucose by feeding them a ketogenic diet and administering them a diabetes drug that stops the kidneys from reabsorbing blood sugar.

The researchers have published their paper in the journal Cell Reports. Meng-Hsiung Hsieh is the first author. . . .

. . . .

Paradigm shifting findings

The researchers also studied blood sugar levels in samples from 192 people with SCC of the lung or esophagus. They then compared them with those from 120 people with lung adenocarcinoma.

"Surprisingly," says Kim, "we found a robust correlation between higher blood glucose concentration and worse survival among [people] with [SCC]."

"We found no such correlation among the lung adenocarcinoma patients. This is an important observation that further implicates the potential efficacy of glucose restriction in attenuating [SCC] growth," he adds.

Although the authors recognize that this study was preclinical and that more extensive research is necessary, the findings, they say, point to a "paradigm shift" in cancer treatment.

"Manipulating host glucose levels would be a new strategy that is different from just trying to kill cancer cells directly," Kim says.

"I believe this is part of a paradigm shift from targeting cancer cells themselves. Immunotherapy is a good example of this, where the human immune system is activated to go after cancer cells."

"Maybe we can manipulate our own biological system a little bit or activate something we already have in place in order to more effectively combat cancer," he concludes.

DX IDC TNBC 6/09 age 49, Stage 1,Grade 3, 1.5cm,0/5Nodes,KI-67 48%,BRCA-,6/09bi-mx, recon, T/C X4(9/09)
11/10 Recur IM node, Gem,Carb,Iniparib 12/10,MRI NED 2/11,IMRT Radsx40,CT NED11/13,MRI NED3/15

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