An increasingly popular, although admittedly not mainstream theory – is that cancer is a metabolic disease. This article is not intended to be a comprehensive presentation of the theory but intended to serve as a basic overview to introduce you to the subject. Much like the theory that some cancers are parasitic in nature, the idea that cancer is a metabolic disease – is not widely examined or acknowledged by the mainstream medical system. Outspoken advocates in support of the theory assert that this approach is not being recognized as an effective alternative to the radiation and chemotherapies that are currently being utilized – because there is little money to be made.

Chemotherapy and radiation bring in billions of dollars in revenue and some experts believe that the financial incentives to continue to recommend these treatments keep the scale tipped in their favor despite the fact that they are extremely toxic. One is a money generating approach, the other is not – so why would they engage in research that could potentially cut into (or decimate) the profits of a multibillion-dollar industry? Further, while chemo and radiation can be very effective, the side effects can cause a number of other issues including an increased likelihood of recurrence of cancer. Cancer does kill and chemo/radiation do frequently work well to stop it but what if there is another way that had fewer side effects? Drugs or supplements that could cure cancer without the need for other drugs to combat their side effects? It is certainly unseemly to discuss but it is inarguable that it would be a financial disaster for those making money from cancer if something like that were to become available.

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Many physicians and oncologists are completely unfamiliar with the concept of cancer as a complex metabolic disease. It’s simply not taught, or it’s just dismissed outright. Most cancer research today is focused on gene mutations and the concept of “personalized medicine” in cancer involves the development of drugs and things like mRNA gene therapies. These gene therapies and drugs are being developed – presumably -to target specific mutations that are found in various tumors – with the hope of correcting the disease.

Some experts, like Dr. Thomas Seyfried will tell you that the problem with that is that there are thousands, possibly millions of mutations in tumor cells which makes targeting them a daunting task that comes with toxic adverse effects. Dr. Seyfried received his Ph.D. in Genetics and Biochemistry from the University of Illinois and boasts impressive credentials. He published Cancer as a Metabolic Disease: On the Origin, Management, and Prevention of Cancer and in his book, Dr. Seyfried presents an alternative origin of cancer based on the theories of Dr. Otto Warburg, who found that the root cause of cancer is a combination of low cellular oxygenation (hypoxia) and acidosis. In his “On the Origins of Cancer Cells” publication Warburg summarized that “the cause of cancer is the replacement of the respiration of oxygen in normal body cells by a fermentation of sugar.” Normal body cells meet their energy needs by respiration of oxygen, whereas cancer cells meet their energy needs – in great part – by fermentation.

Warburg showed that cancer cells are fermenters of glucose. Dr. Seyfried expands on that theory and asserts that cancer is a disease of cellular metabolic dysfunction due to damaged mitochondria.

He claims that glucose is metabolized to the point of pyruvate which is then fermented. Almost all cancer cells have this property because tumor cells must ferment either glucose (or amnio acids like glutamine) for survival and growth since they are anaerobic and cannot survive without oxygen.

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Dr. Seyfried concludes that cancer is not a genetic disease and that the mutations are merely ‘downstream epiphenomenon of damaged respiration’. Simply put, he asserts that the genetic mutations are red herrings caused by mitochondria that have suffered some sort of insufficiency or damage. If the mitochondria are healthy – you will not get cancer. Different chemicals, radiation, toxins, inflammation, hypoxia, viruses and inherited genes can damage functionality of mitochondria.

Cell Death & Disease published Hypoxia Regulates the Mitochondrial Activity of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells through HIF/HEY1/PINK1 Pathway’ and revealed the following:

“Hypoxia is commonly found in cancers. Hypoxia, due to the lack of oxygen (O2) as the electron recipient, causes inefficient electron transfer through the electron transport chain at the mitochondria leading to accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) which could create irreversible cellular damages.”

A 2023 review ‘Hypoxic Microenvironment in Cancer: Molecular Mechanisms and Therapeutic Interventions tells us that ‘hypoxia damages the cellular genome and drives carcinogenesis’.

“Hypoxia plays a central role in cancer progression and resistance to therapy by promoting various changes in the biology of stromal cells in the TME, including immune cells.”

Ask yourself, how much does genetic manipulation (gene therapy) affect the functionality of mitochondria? What is the effect of inserting experimental mRNA (modRNA) into the genes of the recipients and their offspring?

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The metabolic theory of cancer claims glucose, oxidative stress, and mitochondrial health affect the onset and spread of the disease. In addition to pointing to new directions of research, Dr. Seyfried elaborates on a non-toxic mode of treatment, therapeutic fasting and a ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet is a low carb/high fat diet and was originally used as one of the first treatments of epilepsy in children. The ketogenic diet (KD) capitalizes on the inability of the damaged cancer cell mitochondria to metabolize ketones, thus starving them while maintaining healthy cells.

Because cancer cells develop quickly on glucose and glutamine, it has been demonstrated that a ketogenic diet can effectively deprive malignant cells of glucose. Ketogenic diets have a fairly straightforward concept. In the simplest way I can explain it – if glucose serves as the main fuel for cancer, then reducing your consumption of carbohydrates and substituting them with other fuels, like fats, will force your body to enter a state of ketosis. Tumors that are fueled by glucose will have difficulty trying to compete with normal cells for the restricted source of glucose. Tumor cells can’t utilize the ketones for energy like the normal, healthy cells can. The body should be restricted from the primary fuels for the tumor while the body transitions to the ketones to fuel the body. Simply put, if you starve the malignant cells of its fuel, the theory is that it will kill tumor cells.

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