In contrast to the safe application of KDs reported in various cancer models, our research group recently reported that mice bearing renal cell carcinoma xenografts and with signs of Stauffer’s syndrome experienced dramatic weight loss and liver dysfunction when treated with a KD . Another study investigating the effect of long-term KD treatment on kidney cancer described a pro-tumor effect of the KD in a rat model of tuberous sclerosis complex . Most concerning is the observation that, in a mouse model of BRAF V600E-positive melanoma, tumor growth was significantly increased under the KD . Moreover, the study also demonstrated that the ketone body acetoacetate stimulated the oncogenic signaling of the BRAF pathway. In contrast, the KD had no effect on the progression of NRAS Q61K-positive or wild-type melanoma xenografts . Notwithstanding these observations, in a feasibility trial involving a limited number of patients with advanced malignancies, a patient with BRAF V600E-positive/BRAF-inhibitor resistant melanoma seemed to benefit from the KD .
Hi I’m new to Keto. I have been reading about it, and understanding what to eat and what not to eat. My problem is I’m not sure if I’m doing it correctly. I’m constantly hungry whereas information reads that I will never be hungry. I use fats as required along with topping up with vegetables in my meals yet this does not fill me up. I haven’t experienced the Keto flu and I’ve even put on weight! I have been doing this for about 3 weeks now. Any ideas where I am going wrong.
The anti-angiogenesis love affair not only affected conventional researchers and oncologists, but infiltrated deeply into the “alternative” cancer world. During the late 1990s, I read numerous articles lauding the anti-angiogenic effect of various herbs. Some ten years ago or more, a number of alternative physicians began promoting artemesinin, an herb from Africa long used as a treatment for malaria, as a “natural” anti-angiogenesis supplement.
Differences between ketosis and ketoacidosis Ketosis and ketoacidosis both involve increased levels of ketones in the body. However, they are not the same thing. Nutritional ketosis is the aim of the ketogenic diet, and it is generally safe, whereas ketoacidosis is a complication of type 1 diabetes that can be life-threatening. Learn more here. Read now
I get many questions about intermittent fasting, the health benefits, the weight loss benefits, and the like. People normally use intermittent fasting for both the energy and mental clarity it can offer. But it’s not just good for that. It can offer breakthroughs of plateaus and even benefits in nutrient uptake in exercise. We go more in depth to intermittent fasting in Week 3 and 4, so keep your eyes peeled!
Usually when the classic ketogenic diet is prescribed, the total calories are matched to the number of calories the person needs. For example, if a child is eating a 1500 calorie regular diet, it would be changed to a 1500 calorie ketogenic diet. For very young children only, the diet may be prescribed based on weight, for example 75 to 100 calories for each kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight. If it sounds complicated, it is! That’s why people need a dietician’s help when using this diet.
The ketogenic diet is indicated as an adjunctive (additional) treatment in children and young people with drug-resistant epilepsy. It is approved by national clinical guidelines in Scotland, England, and Wales and reimbursed by nearly all US insurance companies. Children with a focal lesion (a single point of brain abnormality causing the epilepsy) who would make suitable candidates for surgery are more likely to become seizure-free with surgery than with the ketogenic diet. About a third of epilepsy centres that offer the ketogenic diet also offer a dietary therapy to adults. Some clinicians consider the two less restrictive dietary variants—the low glycaemic index treatment and the modified Atkins diet—to be more appropriate for adolescents and adults. A liquid form of the ketogenic diet is particularly easy to prepare for, and well tolerated by, infants on formula and children who are tube-fed.
When there is ample glucose available (derived from dietary carbohydrates), the body will use that glucose as its main fuel source for producing ATP (the body’s main energy currency). Small amounts of glucose can be stored, but once incoming glucose has been used up and those stores run out, the body shifts gears and increases the use of fatty acids (derived from body fat stores or dietary fats) to produce energy. While most cells can directly use free fatty acids in order to produce sufficient energy, fats cannot cross the blood-brain barrier making them inaccessible to the brain as a fuel source. To overcome this, the liver converts fat into acetoacetate, acetone and beta-hydroxybutyrate (a.k.a. ketone bodies or ketones) which can be used by red blood cells and cells of the central nervous system (including the brain) as an alternative energy source when glucose levels are low. Importantly, the vast majority of other bodily tissues can also use ketones to produce energy. In fact, ketone production is a normal part of healthy metabolism and small amounts of ketones are produced regularly—such as during extended exercise or during an overnight fast. If glucose supplies continue to remain low, the body will increase its production of ketones. Using ketones as an alternative energy source reduces muscle protein breakdown, when carbohydrate is low. In addition to being used for energy, ketones have signaling functions that positively regulate genes related to aging, oxidative stress and healthy sympathetic nervous system activity. 6 7
Animal data suggest a role for the ketogenic diet in protection against trauma and ischemia, as ketones may be a preferred fuel in the injured brain . Prins et al.  studied the role of the ketogenic diet in a controlled cortical impact model in rats. Young rats of varying postnatal ages underwent a small craniotomy and then, with the dura intact, were subjected to a standardized piston cylinder injury. Immediately after the impact, the rats started a standard diet or the ketogenic diet. After 1 week, a postmortem measurement of cortical contusion area was performed. The contusion area was significantly decreased in postnatal day-35 and day-45 rats that had been fed the ketogenic diet, but not in younger or older rats.
Often caused by lymph node removal or damage due to cancer treatment, lymphedema occurs because there’s a blockage in the lymphatic system and results in the swelling in leg or arm. A 2017 study involved patients who suffered from obesity and lymphedema and who embarked on a 18-week ketogenic diet. Weight and limb volume was significantly reduced. (5)
First of all, the “lipoprotein” in this scenario is a special molecule that has one job, transport cholesterol. So when you hear someone talking about HDL or LDL cholesterol, they aren’t really talking about cholesterol, they’re talking about the protein that is wrapped around the cholesterol. These lipoproteins come in different sizes. HDL is a larger protein particle and LDL is a smaller protein particle.
A recent systemic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials comparing the long-term effects (greater than 1 year) of dietary interventions on weight loss showed no sound evidence for recommending low-fat diets. In fact, low-carbohydrate diets led to significantly greater weight loss compared to low-fat interventions. It was observed that a carbohydrate-restricted diet is better than a low-fat diet for retaining an individual’s BMR. In other words, the quality of calories consumed may affect the number of calories burned. BMR dropped by more than 400 kcal/day on a low-fat diet when compared to a very low-carb diet.
Duchess was diagnosed with cancer in her right anal gland. When the cancer was removed it had spread to her left anal gland and was attached to her bowels. She was given 3 months to live. Since then I have had 2 vets check her glands and have had complete physical. She has a clean bill of health. I am so grateful to you. We are going to start on a maintenance program. I tell everyone how she has done. Thanks
Type 2 Diabetes: Although the current mainstream diabetes treatment advice to eat 45-65% of calories from carbohydrate is starting to change, many practitioners are still giving out the old advice. Since carbohydrate is the prime driver of higher blood sugar, this advice is detrimental to diabetic health because it results in blood sugar spikes and crashes, which in turn causes a greater need for medication and insulin. Those high blood sugars also result in the complications of diabetes. In contrast, a ketogenic diet reduces and in many cases, eliminates the need for diabetic medications and lowers the number of insulin units needed to manage blood sugar. For people with Type 2 diabetes, ketogenic diets remove the trigger (carbohydrate intake) and reverse the underlying insulin resistance which causes the disease. As a result, long term complications are reversed or avoided. Learn more in our Conquer Type 2 Diabetes e-Book or click on the book cover.
Dr. Jockers, thank you so much for this clear and detailed article! I began a keto-style diet around August 2019. By late November, I had fallen from 197 lbs. to under 175 lbs., dropped from 28% to 18% body fat, and anecdotally felt much better in all aspects of my health. All of this occurred exclusively due to diet, I believe– I had almost no exercise routine to speak of, and my desk-based job is pretty sedentary. My family practice doc was surprised and happy with the results as well when I met with him in January… until my blood work came back showing total cholesterol at 257, triglycerides at 236, LDL-C at 162, and HDL at 50.
Though Dr. Folkman’s research was all based on laboratory experiments and animal studies, the powerful NCI publicity machine took up the cause, with the smell of “miracle” again in the air, despite the lack of any evidence that Folkman’s anti-angiogenesis drugs worked against human cancer. Nonetheless, with the NCI and NIH on board, the media, large and small, local and national, seemed transported into a state of frenzy.
These affect your brain and spine, as well as the nerves that link them together. Epilepsy is one, but others may be helped by a ketogenic diet as well, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and sleep disorders. Scientists aren’t sure why, but it may be that the ketones your body makes when it breaks down fat for energy help protect your brain cells from damage.
Let me say out front I have no problem with scientists who propose a theory, in short papers or in the case of Dr. Seyfried, in long, detailed books. I do have a problem when scientists go a step further, insisting in the absence of any significant human data or even impressive case histories they have unraveled the mystery of cancer. I am also quite surprised, in the case of Dr. Seyfried, that both alternative and conventional practitioners have risen up in a loud chorus of enthusiasm, as if indeed Dr. Seyfried’s theories are correct, and that he has solved the cancer riddle.
If you have a history of hypothyroid issues, you may also struggle with unhealthy cholesterol levels as well — and the keto diet can make them even worse. However, for those of you who are being treated for your hypothyroid condition or who have an autoimmune thyroid condition, you may be able to follow the keto diet without any problems. In fact, many keto dieters with autoimmune thyroid conditions have found that the keto way of eating improved their quality of life more than any other diet.
Interventions with keto diet have proven their effects on plasma lipoproteins both in short-time and long-term studies and among adults with various characteristics, such as age, body mass, gender, type of disease. Moreover, ketogenic diets result in weight loss and fight obesity, one of the main risks of high cholesterol. Therefore, keto diet could eventually decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
In fact, some researchers believe that the keto diet may be one of the best diets for preventing the growth of most cancers — especially those that are linked to obesity. This is because restricting carbs is a simple and effective way to improve mitochondrial function and protect our cells from the damage and inflammation that can lead to genetic mutation.
HDL is still low and stuck on 45 even after hoping strongly with more healthy saturated fats organic bone broth from lamb bones, etc. LDL way up 170 and triglycerides a a record high of 170, Non HDL choleseterol at 203. Kinda surprizd I cannot more that HDL number aftyer all the keto stuff. And unsure why the LDL has exploded since stress has always been with me these last 9 years.
Contemporary researchers like Dr. Thomas Seyfried and Dominic D’Agostino have argued that this dysregulated cellular energy production, or cellular metabolism, is actually what induces malignancy and that by extension, if we limit the fuels available for this process of fermentation, and the fuels are glucose, which is derived from carbohydrate in the diet, and glutamine, which is derived from protein in the diet, then we can actually starve cancer cells and either improve the results of conventional treatment or perhaps even address some cancers independently without conventional treatment.
The vast majority of claims regarding the ketogenic diet and cancer are drawn from lab and animal studies. Findings from animal studies are revealing. A study published in July’s Nature found that in mice, the ketogenic diet enhanced the effects of a specific cancer treatment. The drugs in that treatment targeted a signaling network guided by an enzyme (abbreviated P13K), which is commonly mutated in cancers.
For patients interested in Ketogenic diet, it is vitally important that you talk with your health-care providers, says Alice Bender, MS, RDN, AICR’s Director of Nutrition Programs. “A dietitian is best positioned to talk with you about what is known regarding the pros and cons – especially to learn if this diet has any research showing the reasonable application with your particular type of cancer and if the ketogenic diet may even be harmful for you.”
Disclaimer: The content of this website is based on research conducted by TTAC Publishing, LLC, unless otherwise noted. The information is presented for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or prescribe for any medical or psychological condition, nor to prevent, treat, mitigate or cure such conditions. The information contained herein is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a doctor or qualified healthcare professional. Therefore, this information is not intended as medical advice, but rather a sharing of knowledge and information based on research and experience. TTAC Publishing encourages you to make your own health care decisions based on your judgment and research in partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
In terms of seizure recurrence among children, the risk of seizures returning in those who are seizure free and stop the diet is 15 to 20%, according to Kossoff. In children who experience less frequent seizures, but are not seizure free, about one-third will have some worsening of seizures when the diet is stopped, though this is sometimes transient.
It is important to emphasize, however, that the ketogenic diet had a variable response. Some patients were able to comply with it better than other patients were. Additionally, of those that completed the trial, some had changes that are more favorable in certain parameters such as CRP. This suggests that the ketogenic diet is not suitable for everyone.
Solomon L. Moshe, MD. Professor of Neurology, Neuroscience and Pediatrics, Director of Clinical Neurophysiology and Child Neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York; past president of the American Epilepsy Society. William R. Turk, MD. Division Chief, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neurology, The Nemours Children's Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida.
Dietary treatments for diseases have probably been used for over 2000 years (Yuen and Sander, 2014). Fasting is the only therapeutic measure against epilepsy recorded in the Hippocratic collection. Two Parisian physicians, G Guelpa, and A Marie, recorded the first modern use of starvation as a treatment for epilepsy in 1911 (Wheless, 2008). The modern use of this form of therapy began in the early 1920s (Lima et al., 2014; Yuen and Sander, 2014), when Drs. Stanley Cobb and W.G. Lennox of Harvard at Harvard Medical School observed the effects of starvation as a treatment for epilepsy, noting that seizure improvement typically occurred after 2–3 days (Wheless, 2008). In the same period, Dr. Russel M. Wilder a physician at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, suggested that a specific diet could produce similar benefits to fasting, and proposed a diet that produced ketonemia. He studied a series of patients with epilepsy and demonstrated a result equivalent to fasting and that was maintained for a much longer period. This new concept of diet was designated the “KD.” Peterman, also at the Mayo Clinic, described a composition of the KD similar to that used today (Wilder, 1921).
Ketogenic diets (KDs), being high in fat and low in carbohydrates, have been suggested to reduce seizure frequency in people with epilepsy. At present, such diets are mainly recommended for children who continue to have seizures despite treatment with antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) (drug‐resistant epilepsy). Recently, there has been interest in less restrictive KDs, including the modified Atkins diet (MAD), and the use of these diets has extended into adult practice. This is an update of a review first published in 2003 and last updated in 2016.
The research on how extended intermittent fasts affect cancer patients backs up our biochemical understanding as well. In initial case studies, cancer patients who were undergoing chemotherapy voluntarily fasted for anywhere between 48 to 140 hours (much longer than the intermittent fasts that keto dieters typically do). Each person reported fewer side effects and an improved quality of life regardless of how long they fasted.
A randomised, controlled clinical trial among 120 overweight adults with high levels of cholesterol compared the effects of a ketogenic diet against a low-fat diet. After 24 weeks, the group following the keto diet reported greater weight loss and declines in the triglyceride levels and higher increases in the HDL cholesterol levels compared to the low-fat group (11).
Despite what we’ve all heard, there’s actually no such thing as “good” or “bad” cholesterol; there is only one type of cholesterol. Your LDL and HDL values refer to how much cholesterol is carried in your HDL and LDL lipoprotein particles. In fact, the same cholesterol is continuously transferred among these and other types of lipoproteins as they make their way through the bloodstream.
So far the research has found energy restriction to significantly reduce growth and progression of numerous cancers including mammary, brain, colon, pancreas, lung, and prostate cancer. However, it is important to note that the best results are achieved from severe calorie restriction (<1,000 calories per day). If you are considering using calorie restriction along with your cancer treatment, make sure you consult your cancer care team first.
The understanding of the mechanisms of action of KD is incomplete; however, some theories have been advanced about how it modifies the neuronal metabolism and excitability in order to reduce the seizure frequency. Possibly, the real mechanism of reduction of cortical hyperexcitability involves multiple factors. Some of the systems involved in seizure reduction are related to metabolic changes in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), including a decrease in glucose levels and an increase in KB. The mitochondria function and energy reserve may also play a role in the KD mechanisms, resulting in synapse stabilization and excitatory decrease.
Recent findings Although most preclinical studies indicate a therapeutic potential for ketogenic diets in cancer treatment, it is now becoming clear that not all tumors might respond positively. Early clinical trials have investigated ketogenic diets as a monotherapy and – while showing the safety of the approach even in advanced cancer patients – largely failed to prove survival prolonging effects. However, it gradually became clear that the greatest potential for ketogenic diets is as adjuvant treatments combined with pro-oxidative or targeted therapies initiated in early stages of the disease. Beneficial effects on body composition and quality of life have also been found.
What really matters here is how you feel when eating a particular way. Your mood, energy levels, lab results, and mental sharpness (to name a few) are powerful indicators of whether a diet works for you both short- and long-term. Body awareness is key as well as not following a specific diet because you think it’s the "right" diet to follow. Listen to your body. And most importantly, if you feel off, seek the help of a functional medicine practitioner to assist you in uncovering the root cause of your malaise or diet resistance. Sometimes all it takes is a few small tweaks to improve your health.
Senior moments. They joke about, “Oh you’re just getting older so you’re going to get dementia, you’re going to get Alzheimer’s, that’s just normal of getting older.” No! No it’s not. They’re taking these very drugs that are robbing the body of exactly what it needs to stay mentally sharp. I’m in my early forties now, I’m hoping twenty, thirty years from now … having all that butter I eat, and healthy fats is going to keep this noggin sharp. I think it will and I’ll be danged if I ever take anything that will take away the very key element that’s making my brain sharp.
If you want to take a deep dive, Dr. Gonzalez masterfully dismantles the ketogenic diet for cancer in the lengthy article below. This is not a scientific rebuttal, quibbling over theories about Warburg, glycosis, cell respiration, and ATP, rather it is a thoughtful, well-reasoned reflection from a medical doctor who was in the trenches of nutritional cancer treatment for nearly three decades. His real world experience with patients, insider knowledge, historical perspective and common sense put him head and shoulders above the lab-rat researchers and theorizers, no offense guys/gals.