Is there a role for carbohydrate restriction in the treatment and prevention of cancer? Yes, of Course!

ExtinctionofCancer

The relationship between carbohydrates and cancer has been studied and discussed during the last century. In the wake of a rising prevalence of various cancers during the recent decades, more researchers have paid attention to the said relationship. Rainer J Klement & Ulrike Kammerer at University Hospital of Wurzburg, Germany published a review article, “Is there a role for carbohydrate restriction in the treatment and prevention of cancer?”, in the online journal, Nutrition and Metabolism, on October 26, 2011. [1]

Based on this author’s writings and podcast programs, [2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11] the short answer to the article’s title by Klement & Kammerer is a sound one, “Yes, of Course!”

Meanwhile, Klement & Kammerer took the time in examining 162 articles listed in their references. They cited numerous mechanisms, in which many factors and enzymes are involved either positively or negatively impacting the initiation, survival, growth or proliferation of cancer cells. They concluded that carbohydrate restriction seemed favorable in both the treatment and prevention of cancer with a very interesting summary: (1) Most, if not all, tumor cells have a high demand of glucose. (2) Hyperglycemia (and hyperinsulinemia?) in metabolic syndrome is a favorable condition for tumor initiation. (3) In the advanced stage of cancer, its victim’s metabolic functions are altered for producing more glucose to help grow and proliferate cancer cells. (Author’s note: The cancer victim is cachetic in the advanced stage of cancer, because his body exhausts the resource of glucose as if he had been on carbohydrate-restricted diet.) (4) Carbohydrate restriction simulates calorie restriction or fasting through ketosis without actual calorie reduction or weight loss for the victim. (5) the possibility of anti-tumor effects of ketone body with ketogenic diet.

A high blood glucose level or hyperglycemia is obviously the culprit, which affects the production, secretion, and perhaps, the quality or molecular structure of insulin from beta cells, likely as a result of mutation. Hyperglycemia is not only inflammatory but also pro-inflammatory, [12] thus, is capable of triggering a cascade of reactions by numerous factors and enzymes, with which is a maze for the laymen to catch up. Even without the knowledge about the maze, studies have implicated hyperglycemia as a result of different conditions increases the risk of cancer. These conditions include, but not limited to, diabetes mellitus, obesity, stress [13], and excess carbohydrate consumption.  Thus, preventing hyperglycemia is the most important key to preventing and treating diseases including cancer.

Contrary to the common practice, the pathological impact of hyperglycemia occurs when a blood glucose level is rising away from a normal range, say between 70 mg% and 100 mg% or 120mg%, at any time point, but not just at fasting and/or at two-hour after meal, as which we have falsely thought [14]. This serious misconception has been reflected in many study results that, while the studies found a strong correlation between abnormal fasting and/or two-hour postprandial blood glucose readings and the prevalence of diseases including cancer, they could not explain why the study participants with normal fasting and/or two-hour postprandial blood glucose readings would still have the risk of diseases.

Restricting carbohydrates helps maintain a stable blood glucose level within the normal range. A stable blood glucose level is accompanied with a low serum titer of C-reactive protein, which reflects a low level of inflammation and a low risk of development of diseases including tumor initiation. There are few clinical reports on the effectiveness of carbohydrate restriction in helping halt the progress of cancers.

It indeed makes sense to employ carbohydrate restriction in the treatment and prevention of diseases including cancers.

Robert Su, Pharm.B., M.D.

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References:

  1. Klement R & Kammerer U “Is there a role for carbohydrate restriction in the treatment and prevention of cancer?” Nutrition and Metabolism. 2011, 8:75. October 24, 2011.
  2. Su RK “Carbohydrates and Cancer: The Fact.” The BLog. Carbohydrates Can Kill. October 25 1, 2010.
  3. Su RK “Carbohydrates and Cancer: The link.” The BLog. Carbohydrates Can Kill. November 1, 2010.
  4. Su RK “Carbohydrates and Cancer: More link.” The BLog. Carbohydrates Can Kill. November 8, 2010.
  5. Su RK “Carbohydrates and Cancer: The Prospect.” The BLog. Carbohydrates Can Kill. November 15, 2010.
  6. Su RK “Inflammation and Cancer: The Nutshell.” The BLog. Carbohydrates Can Kill. December 6, 2010.
  7. Su RK “Inflammation and Cancer: The Kernel.” The BLog. Carbohydrates Can Kill. December 13, 2010.
  8. Su RK “Extinction of Cancer: The Basics.” The BLog. Carbohydrates Can Kill. December 20, 2010.
  9. Su RK “Extinction of Cancer: Deny The Growth of Cancer!” The BLog. Carbohydrates Can Kill. December 27, 2010.
  10. Su RK “39: Lu Cai, M.D. On Hyperglycemia and Cancer.” The Podcast. Carbohydrates Can Kill. March 9, 2011.
  11. Su RK “Hyperglycemia Induces Cancer.” The BLog. Carbohydrates Can Kill. March 11, 2010.
  12. Su RK “Blame Hyperglycemia, But Not Hyperinsulinemia, For Inflammation.” The BLog. Carbohydrates Can Kill. June 9, 2010.
  13. National Cancer Institute “Psychological Stress and Cancer: Questions and Answers.” FactSheet.
  14. Su RK “A Silent Killer: Hyperglycemia At Anytime But Fasting and 2-hour Postprandial.” The BLog. Carbohydrates Can Kill. August 22, 2011.

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