Cancer cells have damaged mitochondria and lack the ability to create energy from aerobic respiration. They cannot metabolize fatty acids for energy. For this reason, cancer cells thrive in oxygen-depleted environments. Instead, cancer cells metabolize glucose and amino acids. Restricting glucose or the amino acid glutamine is essential to starve off cancer.
What is the ketogenic diet exactly? The classic ketogenic diet is a very low-carb diet plan that was originally designed in the 1920s for patients with epilepsy by researchers working at Johns Hopkins Medical Center. Researchers found that fasting — avoiding consumption of all foods for a brief period of time (such as with intermittent fasting), including those that provide carbohydrates — helped reduce the amount of seizures patients suffered, in addition to having other positive effects on body fat, blood sugar, cholesterol and hunger levels. (1)
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.

“There is an ion channel in the membrane of neurons which makes membrane less excitable; a potassium channel which is activated specifically by adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The more ATP is generated, the more this channel is active and the less excitable the neuron becomes,” said Pavel Klein, MD, of the Mid-Atlantic Epilepsy and Sleep Center in Bethesda, Maryland. “It has also been shown that ketone bodies also act directly to reduce the release of glutamate, the main excitatory neurotransmitter. When less glutamate is released by a neuron, neighboring neurons are excited less and less prone to generate a seizure.”


In the absence of glucose, which is normally used by cells as a quick source of energy, the body starts to burn fat and produces ketone bodies instead (it’s why the keto diet is often referred to as the ketone diet). Once ketone levels in the blood rise to a certain point, you enter into a state of ketosis — which usually results in quick and consistent weight loss until you reach a healthy, stable body weight. See this keto diet review, a before and after trying keto for 30 days.

The goal of a ketogenic diet is to transition the body’s primary fuel supply from carbohydrate to fat, creating a state of nutritional ketosis and, eventually, fat adaptation. The degree to which dietary carbohydrates need to be reduced to reach nutritional ketosis varies from person to person. Finding the optimal macronutrient ratios for getting your body into ketosis requires some self-experimentation. I recommend playing around with the ranges listed below to find the ones that work best for you.
This uncoupling of glycolysis from the citric acid cycle and electron transport, and the supposed fundamental dependency of cancer cells on anaerobic metabolism, has been studied extensively since Warburg’s day, with many scientists around the world claiming to confirm, then adding to, Warburg’s hypothesis. As Dr. Seyfried correctly points out, in more recent times, cancer researchers have begun drifting away from the study of disordered cellular physiology, enamored as they are of genetic abnormality as the primary and only driving force in cancer formation and growth.
Ketogenesis has existed as long as humans have. If you eat a very low amount of carbohydrates, you starve your brain of glucose, its main fuel source. Your body still needs fuel to function, so it taps into your reserve of ketones, which are compounds the liver creates from fat when blood insulin is low. This process is known as ketosis: It’s like when a hybrid car runs out of gas and reverts to pure electricity.
I was a Corpsman (not a corpse-man as some recent somewhat fanatical president would say), and I can tell you many stories of Marines and Sailors who maintained restrictive diets (aka picky eaters). Most obvious was lack of sustaining energy (hypoglycemia) at mile 15 (with 80lbs of gear including a 6.5lb rifle and 200 rnds of ammo, etc.) and depletion of essential vitamins, electrolyte imbalance. They were always the first to collapse and have to hear me scold “see I told you so.” An IV of D5W usually does the trick (D is for dextrose, OMG!)
But there is evidence that low-carb diets may increase metabolism, according to a paper published November 14 in BMJ. Researchers found that overweight adults who lowered carbohydrates and added more fat into their diets burned about 250 calories more each day than people on high-carb, low-fat diets. The study is impressive because it's the largest, most expensive, and controlled study of its kind.
Anticonvulsants suppress epileptic seizures, but they neither cure nor prevent the development of seizure susceptibility. The development of epilepsy (epileptogenesis) is a process that is poorly understood. A few anticonvulsants (valproate, levetiracetam and benzodiazepines) have shown antiepileptogenic properties in animal models of epileptogenesis. However, no anticonvulsant has ever achieved this in a clinical trial in humans. The ketogenic diet has been found to have antiepileptogenic properties in rats.[56]
Researchers also observed that the size of VLDL particle size did not change in either of the groups. However, they noted that the total number of VLDL particles decreased by 19% from 76.2 nmol/L to 61.7 nmol/L. [22] More specifically, large VLDL particles reduced by 40.2% from 3.33 nmol/L to 1.74 nmol/L, medium VLDL particles decreased by 4.8% from 46.2 nmol/L to 44 nmol/L. [22]
Weight loss is the primary reason my patients use the ketogenic diet. Previous research shows good evidence of a faster weight loss when patients go on a ketogenic or very low carbohydrate diet compared to participants on a more traditional low-fat diet, or even a Mediterranean diet. However, that difference in weight loss seems to disappear over time.
Another study from 2014 suggests that the ketogenic diet is a safe, effective treatment to manage aggressive cancers when used with conventional therapies. For their retrospective study, researchers reviewed 53 patients with glioma, a tumor that starts in glial cells in the brain and spinal cord. These patients were treated with chemoradiotherapy and other standard treatments from August 2010 to August 2013. Six of these patients also consumed a ketogenic diet while on treatment.
Clearly, ketogenic diets are not ready for prime time as a treatment for cancer, either alone or in combination with conventional therapy. Unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped it from being touted by all manner of alternative cancer practitioners (i.e., quacks) and others as a cancer cure that “they” don’t want you to know about or saying things like, “…it’s nothing short of medical malpractice and negligence to fail to integrate this type of dietary strategy into a patient’s cancer treatment plan,” as Joe Mercola did. Dr. Seyfried himself has contributed to the hyperbole quite a bit as well. For example:
If your LDL cholesterol has significantly increased on a keto or low-carb diet, it's completely understandable if you're at least somewhat concerned. However, you might be reluctant to make any changes to your diet given the benefits you've experienced. On the other hand, you may decide that you want to try to lower your LDL values while still following a keto/low-carb lifestyle.
Usually the body uses glucose (a form of sugar) from carbohydrates (found in foods like sugar, bread or pasta) for its energy source. Chemicals called ketones are made when the body uses fat for energy (this is called ‘ketosis’). With the ketogenic diet, the body mostly uses ketones instead of glucose for its energy source. Research has shown that a particular fatty acid, decanoic acid, may be involved in the way the diet works. 
Rami co-founded Tasteaholics with Vicky at the start of 2015 to master the art of creating extremely delicious food while researching the truth behind nutrition, dieting and overall health. You can usually find him marketing, coding or coming up with the next crazy idea because he can’t sit still for too long. His favorite book is The 4-Hour Workweek and artist is Infected Mushroom.
The mbg Collective is a curated group of our most trusted wellness advisers. Since 2009, we’ve had the brightest, most passionate, and mission-driven leaders in wellness share their intimate stories and world-class advice. Now, we’re giving you unparalleled access to the people who, alongside mbg, are putting the “WE” back in wellness. Consider them your personal guides, there to support you and sustain you on your journey.
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.
A recent study found that ketone supplementation extended survival in mice with metastatic cancer. But while it’s true that most cancers have a highly anaerobic metabolism, this in not universal. If proven to be effective, it’s likely that ketone supplementation would be an additional treatment rather than a stand alone treatment for cancer, because of its robust nature.

The ketogenic diet is calculated by a dietitian for each child. Age, weight, activity levels, culture, and food preferences all affect the meal plan. First, the energy requirements are set at 80–90% of the recommended daily amounts (RDA) for the child's age (the high-fat diet requires less energy to process than a typical high-carbohydrate diet). Highly active children or those with muscle spasticity require more food energy than this; immobile children require less. The ketogenic ratio of the diet compares the weight of fat to the combined weight of carbohydrate and protein. This is typically 4:1, but children who are younger than 18 months, older than 12 years, or who are obese may be started on a 3:1 ratio. Fat is energy-rich, with 9 kcal/g (38 kJ/g) compared to 4 kcal/g (17 kJ/g) for carbohydrate or protein, so portions on the ketogenic diet are smaller than normal. The quantity of fat in the diet can be calculated from the overall energy requirements and the chosen ketogenic ratio. Next, the protein levels are set to allow for growth and body maintenance, and are around 1 g protein for each kg of body weight. Lastly, the amount of carbohydrate is set according to what allowance is left while maintaining the chosen ratio. Any carbohydrate in medications or supplements must be subtracted from this allowance. The total daily amount of fat, protein, and carbohydrate is then evenly divided across the meals.[37]
[6:35] – Dave’s experiments and data show how cholesterol scores can be manipulated. How these cholesterol results can cause concern and uncertainty in individuals following the low carb high fat diet and how whilst feeling better than ever on a low carb diet, Dave is researching any possibility of potentially negative effects from raised cholesterol levels.
Also, consider supplementing with the amino acid leucine, as it can be broken down directly into acetyl-CoA, making it one of the most important ketogenic amino acids in the body. While most other amino acids are converted into glucose, the acetyl-CoA formed from leucine can be used to make ketone bodies. It’s also present in keto friendly foods like eggs and cottage cheese.
As you will see, simple keto meals begins with the healthy fat consideration first, making sure plenty of low-starch veggies surround the fat along with a moderate protein source. Wild-caught salmon, as a high-fat fish, is a perfect keto choice, and easy keto meals can be a fatty cut of healthy protein like salmon or lamb served with plenty of green veggies.

To identify which genes might be involved, the researchers used microarray "gene chips" to examine changes in gene expression for more than 7,000 rat genes simultaneously. They focused on the hippocampus, a region of the brain known to play an important role in many kinds of epilepsies. More than 500 of the genes they examined were correlated with treatment with the KD. The most striking finding was the coordinated up-regulation of genes involved in energy metabolism.


A Cochrane systematic review in 2018 found and analysed eleven randomized controlled trials of ketogenic diet in people with epilepsy for whom drugs failed to control their seizures.[2] Six of the trials compared a group assigned to a ketogenic diet with a group not assigned to one. The other trials compared types of diets or ways of introducing them to make them more tolerable.[2] In the largest trial of the ketogenic diet with a non-diet control[16], nearly 38% of the children and young people had half or fewer seizures with the diet compared 6% with the group not assigned to the diet. Two large trials of the Modified Atkins Diet compared to a non-diet control had similar results, with over 50% of children having half or fewer seizures with the diet compared to around 10% in the control group.[2]
The MAD aims to provide increased flexibility and palatability, with a 1:1 ratio of fat to carbohydrates and protein, and contains around 65% fat, 25% protein, and 10% carbohydrate (Payne et al., 2018). Fat is encouraged and the carbohydrate intake is limited to 10–20 g/day in children and 15–20 g/day in adults (Kossoff, 2004; Kossoff and Dorward, 2008). Because of carbohydrate restriction, the MAD can also produce urinary ketones (Carrette et al., 2008). The MAD does not require weighing food on a gram scale, or restriction of calories, protein or liquids, and may be a good option for patients who are unable to tolerate a more restrictive diet such as the classical ketogenic diet (KD) (Cervenka et al., 2012). Low-carbohydrate multivitamin and calcium carbonate supplementation is recommended in the MAD (Kossoff et al., 2009).
In the first week, many people report headaches, mental fogginess, dizziness, and aggravation. Most of the time, this is the result of your electrolytes being flushed out, as ketosis has a diuretic effect. Make sure you drink plenty of water and keep your sodium intake up.6One of the fathers of keto, Dr. Phinney, shows that electrolyte levels (especially sodium) can become unbalanced with low carb intake.
Typically known as the “bad cholesterol” to its healthy counterpart HDL cholesterol, increased levels of LDL cholesterol are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). [14] Some studies show a strong correlation between LDL cholesterol and the risk of cardiovascular diseases in both men and women. [15] Evidence also suggests that decreasing blood levels of LDL-C reduces the risk of CVD. [16]
In my monograph One Man Alone, I included a case report of a patient treated by Kelley, diagnosed with an inoperable and very aggressive form of brain cancer that had spread into the spinal canal. After failing radiation, the patient began treatment with Dr. Kelley in 1981. At the time, the patient’s wife actually had to administer the treatment, even the coffee enemas, since the patient himself was largely incoherent and wheelchair bound.
Excessive ketone bodies can produce a dangerously toxic level of acid in the blood, called ketoacidosis. During ketoacidosis, the kidneys begin to excrete ketone bodies along with body water in the urine, causing some fluid-related weight loss. Ketoacidosis most often occurs in individuals with type 1 diabetes because they do not produce insulin, a hormone that prevents the overproduction of ketones. However in a few rare cases, ketoacidosis has been reported to occur in nondiabetic individuals following a prolonged very low carbohydrate diet. [4,5]
In some ways, it’s similar to the Atkins diet, which similarly boosts the body’s fat-burning abilities through eating only low-carb foods, along with getting rid of foods high in carbs and sugar. Removing glucose from carbohydrate foods will cause the body to burn fat for energy instead. The major differences between the classic keto and the Atkins diet is the former emphasizes healthier keto fats, less overall protein and no processed meat (such as bacon) while having more research to back up its efficacy.
Hi. Glad to see my bad cholesterol is not the only one that’s gone up. The day before I started Keto my bad cholesterol was 93 and my “good” was 107. A month later, I got my blood taken again and my bad had increased to 137 but my good thankfully had only decreased by 2, to 105. The Dr. said that the good news about that was that the “good” cholesterol was the one that protected the heart so nothing needed to be done, as yet. I also have no intention of taking cholesterol meds. Want to go to my grave with as few meds as possible. However, yes, my plan has been to increase eating more “healthy” fats, like Extra Virgin Olive Oil, avacadoes (one a day is prime) and nuts like manademias (which are considered the “wonder nut”). I still eat bacon, butter and eggs but am hoping the increase in healthy fats will show good results in the cholesterol levels. We’ll see.
Aggressive tumors typically demonstrate a high glycolytic rate, which results in resistance to radiation therapy and cancer progression via several molecular and physiologic mechanisms. Intriguingly, many of these mechanisms utilize the same molecular pathways that are altered through calorie and/or carbohydrate restriction. Furthermore, poorer prognosis in cancer patients who display a glycolytic phenotype characterized by metabolic alterations, such as obesity and diabetes, is now well established, providing another link between metabolic pathways and cancer progression. We review the possible roles for calorie restriction (CR) and very low carbohydrate ketogenic diets (KDs) in modulating the five R’s of radiotherapy to improve the therapeutic window between tumor control and normal tissue complication probability. Important mechanisms we discuss include (1) improved DNA repair in normal, but not tumor cells; (2) inhibition of tumor cell repopulation through modulation of the PI3K–Akt–mTORC1 pathway downstream of insulin and IGF1; (3) redistribution of normal cells into more radioresistant phases of the cell cycle; (4) normalization of the tumor vasculature by targeting hypoxia-inducible factor-1α downstream of the PI3K–Akt–mTOR pathway; (5) increasing the intrinsic radioresistance of normal cells through ketone bodies but decreasing that of tumor cells by targeting glycolysis. These mechanisms are discussed in the framework of animal and human studies, taking into account the commonalities and differences between CR and KDs. We conclude that CR and KDs may act synergistically with radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer patients and provide some guidelines for implementing these dietary interventions into clinical practice.
Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders after stroke,[7] and affects around 50 million people worldwide.[8] It is diagnosed in a person having recurrent, unprovoked seizures. These occur when cortical neurons fire excessively, hypersynchronously, or both, leading to temporary disruption of normal brain function. This might affect, for example, the muscles, the senses, consciousness, or a combination. A seizure can be focal (confined to one part of the brain) or generalised (spread widely throughout the brain and leading to a loss of consciousness). Epilepsy can occur for a variety of reasons; some forms have been classified into epileptic syndromes, most of which begin in childhood. Epilepsy is considered refractory (not yielding to treatment) when two or three anticonvulsant drugs have failed to control it. About 60% of patients achieve control of their epilepsy with the first drug they use, whereas around 30% do not achieve control with drugs. When drugs fail, other options include epilepsy surgery, vagus nerve stimulation, and the ketogenic diet.[7]
In the first week, many people report headaches, mental fogginess, dizziness, and aggravation. Most of the time, this is the result of your electrolytes being flushed out, as ketosis has a diuretic effect. Make sure you drink plenty of water and keep your sodium intake up.6One of the fathers of keto, Dr. Phinney, shows that electrolyte levels (especially sodium) can become unbalanced with low carb intake.
Chris: Okay. Thanks, Kelsey, for sending that question in. It’s a really great question, one that’s been on my mind a lot recently, actually, and I’ve been diving into the research on. Most of you probably know that cancer dogma holds that malignancies are caused by DNA mutations inside the nuclei of cells and that these mutations ultimately lead to runaway cellular proliferation, which is the hallmark feature of cancer.
In addition to neuroblastoma, various researchers have investigated the efficacy of KDs as an adjuvant therapy for other types of cancer. The strongest evidence (> 3 studies) for a tumor-suppressing effect has been reported for glioblastoma, whereas little or no benefit was found for two other brain tumors (astrocytoma and medulloblastoma). Good evidence (2 - 3 studies) is available for prostate, colon, pancreatic and lung cancer [1]; neuroblastoma also falls into this category (Figure 1). Some of those studies report a tumor-suppressing effect of KD alone and/or in combination with classic therapy and/or caloric restriction. One study on prostate cancer applied the KD in a preventive, instead of a therapeutic, study setting. Only limited evidence (1 study) supports the anti-tumor effect of an unrestricted KD on breast, stomach, and liver cancer.
In a recent meta-analysis, eight studies were identified that used the MAD in adult patients with refractory epilepsy, aged between 15 and 86 years, with treatment times ranging from 3 to 36 months. In these studies, the proportion of patients who showed >50% seizure reduction ranged from 20 to 70% and the rate of seizure freedom ranged from 7 to 30%. The rate of abandonment of the diet varied between 12.5 and 82% of the patients (Liu et al., 2018).
But there is evidence that low-carb diets may increase metabolism, according to a paper published November 14 in BMJ. Researchers found that overweight adults who lowered carbohydrates and added more fat into their diets burned about 250 calories more each day than people on high-carb, low-fat diets. The study is impressive because it's the largest, most expensive, and controlled study of its kind.
In my book "Fat for Fuel," I sought to educate readers about the benefits of using healthy fats as a catalyst to bring about improved mitochondrial function, thus allowing you to achieve better health. In essence, the book answers WHY it is important for you to consume healthy fats. However, you still need to know HOW to prepare the right ketogenic foods in an appetizing way.
Essentially, the keto diet for beginners works by “tricking” the body into acting as if its fasting (while reaping intermittent fasting benefits), through a strict elimination of glucose that is found in carbohydrate foods. Today the standard keto diet goes by several different names, including the “low-carbohydrate” or “very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet”(LCKD or VLCKD for short).
A clinical trial at Great Ormond Street Hospital in 2008, and other studies since then, showed that the diet significantly reduced the number of seizures in a proportion of children whose seizures did not respond well to AEDs. After three months, around 4 in 10 (38%) children who started the diet had the number of their seizures reduced by over half, and were able to reduce their medication. Although not all children had better seizure control, some had other benefits such as increased alertness, awareness and responsiveness.
This describes me, too. I am not a doctor, but after months and years of research, have decided to follow the ketogenic lifestyle and the naturopathic cancer treatments prescribed by my physician. It took a few months to find a doctor who embraced this, but he is worth it. Keto had my diabetes under control long before we realized that cancer was trying to get me as well. I take no chemical drugs for anything. Diet, exercise, and a few supplements take care of my health needs. You don’t know me, but three years ago, I needed a walker and a wheelchair. Today at 60, I walk under my own power and ride a bicycle as much as possible. Go as natural as you can, it helps. Stay away from “products” and just eat fresh, whole, natural food. (The article shows these.)
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