Saturday, December 4, 2010

Cancer: some more thoughts

I am trying to help a friend who might have cancer. It is a horrible disease. Hopefully even if it exists it will be in very early stages. It can be controlled when it is in early stages, with proper diet control and supplements.

As I wrote before, cancer feeds on glucose.
The trick to control is to keep the glucose in the system to bare minimum.
Also we want to keep the stress and inflammation to bare minimum. The above requirements mean a very accurate diet. Any diversion will feed the cancer.

First things first
1) Increase vitamin D3 to acceptable levels, ie 60ng/ml
Vitamin D3 and Cholesterol fight cancer cells. Supplement Vitamin D3 to atleast 5000IU, and get your serum level tested for 25OH Vitamin D levels. The best way is to get it partially from Cod Liver oil and partially from gelcaps. Testing is necessary because different people react differently to vitamin D. Some people raise their level very fast, but others don't do so. Some even might get some reaction to it, which would point to some other metabolic defect in the body like kidney problems or parathyroid problems.

Cholesterol will increase with more Coconut oil and ghee.

2) D3 increases blood serum calcium
We want to increase Vitamin K2 to help calcium to go where required, in bones. K2 is available from pastured butter and ghee, and aged cheeses. Luckily my friend likes blue cheese the richest source of vitamin K2, and can get kerrygold butter which is a very good pastured butter. Ghee can be made from the butter. Blue cheese is also very good for immunity as it replenishes gut bacteria. Gut bacteria are a very big factor in immunity.

3) Reduce Inflammation
Improve Omega3:Omega6 ratio. Get rid of all big sources of omega6, and get about 1gm of Omega3 from fish oil. You don't want to overdo omega3 as high PUFA in diet is not very good. Cod Liver oil is a good source, but you need to check the Vitamin D and Vitamin A levels in it. It will be best to get half of the omega3 from CLO and half of it from some other low Vitamin A oil like krill oil. Getting rid of all big sources of omega6 means avoiding all oils that contain higher omega6 content, basically limit yourself to ghee.

Limit carbs.
Humans all have very similar brain and neuron mass. Since brain and neurons are the only cells that need glucose, so we want to limit the glucose consumption to exactly what the brain and neurons require. Glucose requirement is around 100gm. It can be reduced by getting the brain to use more ketones. The method of providing ketones is to use coconut oil and fast. Coconut oil is very very rich in medium chain fatty acids. There is nothing as rich as Coconut oil. The MCFA get converted to ketones.

To reduce carb requirement, it is good to add one tablespoon of coconut oil to both meals of the day.

Use fasting to increase your ketone generation. The best way is to skip breakfast and do a 16 hour fast everyday.

With adequate combination of coconut oil and fasting the carb requirement can be reduced to below 50gms/day.

When counting carbs do not count fibers, because they do not convert into glucose. They are not processed by the liver or intestines enzymes, but by the gut bacteria. Gut bacteria convert them to short chain fatty acids. The SCFA's are anti-inflammatory. So it is good to add some fibers in the diet. Avoid insoluble fibers, as they damage the intestine. Good sources of soluble fibers are vegetables.

The best way to test whether you have enough ketones is to check urine with ketostix. If you have more than required ketones, then the excess will be discarded in the urine and will be detected by ketostix. Later when the body adapts to ketogenic diet, it will start storing the ketones as fat, then it will be difficult to measure ketones.

Divide your carb requirement into the two meals nearly equally to reduce too much glucose availability in the blood. It would not be a problem if sufficiently insulin sensitive.

Moderate proteins.
Proteins in excess convert to glucose. We do not want excess protein in the body. Still we need enough to prevent catabolization of muscles. We need enough for body's need. Calculate protein needs by finding out your lean body mass. The lean body mass is calculated by first finding out the body fat percentage, and then substracting the body fat weight from the body weight. A good way is to use those weighing machines with metal strip that calculate body fat percentage using the impedence method. Impedence method can be fairly accurate. Another way to calculate is to find your minimum weight at your maximum height. If you were very thin then assume 15% for men and 20% for women. If not thin enough then it will be difficult to estimate this way.

LBM is calculated in the following way.
LBM = WT(1-BF/100)

Once you have your LBM then calculate your protein requirement as 1.4gm/kg/day. The protein is best if it comes from animal sources. Fish/Meat/Eggs/Cheese are the best sources.

Fish will also provide vitamin D and Omega3s. So they will reduce the need for supplementation.

Whey powder should be added to the daily diet as it helps in producing more ketones. (Thanks Paul)

Fat requirements
To calculate fat requirements. Find your calorie requirements. Use this
calculator. Body fat % calculated above will be useful here.

Calculate your calorie consumption from Protein and Carbs calculated above using 4kcal/gm. Then add enough fat at 9kcal/gm to achieve the calorie requirement. You must also include the around 30-40gms of coconut oil that you are required to have in this requirement.

If you think you have excess fat on your body then reduce your calorie requirement by max 500kcal or 20% of your calorie requirement, whichever is lower. The reason is that with this diet the body will start using your own body fat also, reducing your caloric needs. Depending on the excess weight you can lose the weight at a rapid rate.

Other supplement requirements.
Very low carb increases requirement for electrolytes. The best electrolyte for the body is potassium. Make sure that you are getting more potassium than sodium intake from salts. Higher potassium requirement makes it necessary that you get all carbs from vegetables, because they are rich in potassium. Higher potassium from foods will reduce the need for supplementation. Avoid grains/legumes/milk as they will reduce your daily quota of carbs. Yogurt might be OK if sufficiently fermented. Fruits with higher carb content should be kept low.

Actually Potassium requirements are 4 times that of sodium. Try to mix potassium chloride in your salt. If you are falling short then supplement with potassium chloride or potassium gluconate. (Note: Need to determine daily potassium and sodium requirement, I know only the ratio).

Magnesium is also a very important requirement. Supplement about 400mg per day in two parts with meals.

Drink a lot of water 4-5 litres, as you want to get rid of the oxalates generated due to protein to glucose conversion.

Take 100-200gms of kidneys per week to provide selenium. Also add some more selenium as supplement.

Get Lugol's solution. Add it to your daily routine. Increase slowly doubling weekly, starting from 150mcg, reaching 12.5mg. If any problems are seen stop. It sometimes causes problems to people. My brother found that he had Hashimoto's due to the reaction he got from iodine supplementation.

You want to do some weight lifting or body weight exercises to prevent muscle catabolism. Consult the exercising article I wrote. This will also help in reducing any excess glycogen stores.

Extended fasting.
For dealing with cancer extended fasting is very important. Extended fasting gets the body into a state where it will try to utilize its proteins for fuel. In this case it attempts to use malfunctioning proteins over the well functioning ones.

Extended fasting has been known to help the body prepare for chemo therapy. It is also known to help kill cancers.

16hours daily fasting will prepare your body for extended fasting in addition to providing you with ketones. When you are comfortable with 16hour fasting then introduce extended fasting into your routine. It will be best to add one extended fast every week. Start with a 24 hour fast every week. Then introduce a 48 hour fast alternate weeks. Once you are comfortable with the 48 hour fast extend one of them every month to 72 hour or 3 day. Once you are comfortable with 3 day fast add one 7 day fast in 6 months. If you have to go in for chemo, plan it before the chemo.

In these fasts you are not trying to get any calories. But add salt preferably with potassium chloride, and lemon juice for vitamin C and some more nutrients. You wouldn't need any Omega3 or Vitamin D supplements. Make sure to get enough food and supplements to compensate when the fast is over.

Continue doing your exercises during the fasting. That will reduce the harmful effects of the fast.

Ultimately you are the best judge of everything. You live in your body and know best how your body is reacting to the diet plan. No doctor can understand your body better than you. If an advice does not feel good to your body it will not be good.

Caveat is that sometimes you do need about 2-3 weeks for a dietary change to become acceptable to the body. This change has everything to do with gut bacteria adaptation. So wait for 2-3 weeks before passing judgement on a dietary change.

You cannot rely on anybody to provide you with all the answers. This job rests on doctors, but unfortunately the doctors are too busy to care about their patients. You might have better luck with naturopaths and other alternative medicine practitioners, that use a holistic approach and are aware of the recent advances in biochemistry. These doctors/holistic practitioners are rare, and may require several attempts or luck to find one. It is well worth the effort to find one.


  1. Received the following reply from Paul Jaminet of He is one of the 3 bloggers that I like reading very much for their science based approach. I have updated the article based on these comments.

    Dear Anand,

    Your article is excellent.

    I do generally recommend our version of the ketogenic diet for cancer. This has about 200 calories starch; no fructose; and lots of coconut oil or MCTs to assist ketone production. Protein should be limited (to limit glutamine, another cancer substrate) but ketogenic amino acids such as are relatively abundant in whey protein are beneficial. So a whey protein drink each day would probably be a good idea. Omega-6 PUFA need to be strictly limited.

    Gastrointestinal cancers are a little special, they benefit from plenty of berries, traditional cooking herbs, and other plants with cancer-inhibiting toxins. Low fructose berries like cranberries are best.

    Nutrients that are especially important for cancer include vitamin D3, vitamin K2, magnesium, iodine, and selenium. I would try to work up to at least 12.5 mg/day iodine, but work up very slowly so as not to impair thyroid function. Vitamin K2 intake should be high, mg/day doses. Mid-day sun exposure is highly desirable.

    Intermittent fasting (a 16-hour daily fast, only food coconut oil or MCTs with zero-calorie plant foods like spinach) is highly desirable. Occasionally longer fasts may be beneficial.

    Resistance exercise to build muscle is very important. Exercise should be intense, e.g. sprinting, jumping, heavy weights. Avoid endurance / lengthy aerobic exercise, but walking is great.

    Sleep, melatonin, and circadian rhythm optimization are also important.

    I will try to do a cancer series next year, but this is the gist of my thinking.

    Best, Paul

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Hi Anand,

    Great post. Left a comment for you on my blog!

  4. Hi Anand,

    I like what you have presented in this article. I think the ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting is the best way to address cancer. I am more skeptical of the need for 12.5 mg iodine; although familiar with the work of Abrams et al, I haven't been convinced by their claims and have difficulty belieiving that our ancestors had a daily supply of iodine of this magnitude.