Cancer. Know thy enemy.

Although I’m not fond of warfare language, I think Western Medicine (called ‘allopathic’) and Eastern Medicine (referred to as naturopathic, functional, integrative, regenerative) can agree on a common enemy. Cancer. Recently bumped to the #2 rank for all-cause mortality after being on top of the list for several years. Let’s make now the time we combine the best of both worlds and bring innovative health-centric solutions to solve these awful problems.

Chriss Kresser, MD., says it best:

“Working together to save humanity from the scourge of chronic disease.”

A healthy human immune system is sophisticated and ruthless at killing cancer cells. Our weapons and defences include autophagy (clearing out and recycling cellular garbage) and apoptosis (killing off mutant cells and replacing them with new ones). These natural defences can be amplified safely without interfering with conventional chemo treatments (for those already engaged in this battle).

Cutting off cancer’s energy supply – the power of periodic fasting*

*The main biochemistry pathway of interest is the insulin-signalling pathway which is reduced during fasting and low-carb intake.

Cancer cells evolved in high-nourishing environments and have a preference for sugar and the amino acid glutamine. The added stress from fasting may be enough to push cancer cells ‘over the edge’ towards cell death. Healthy cells on the other hand, can adapt to fasting by shifting their energy production from glucose (glycogen) to fatty acids. It’s therefore possible to essentially weaken (starve) cancer cells with diet strategies.

For those wanting to geek out. I introduce you to the Warburg effect: cancer favors energy production by high glycolysis followed by lactic acid fermentation (in the cytosol) as opposed to low glycolysis followed by the oxidation of pyruvate (in the mitochondria) in normal cells. Fasting induces an ‘anti-Warburg’ effect essentially forcing cancer cells to produce their energy via oxidative phosphorylation (fat) instead of aerobic glycolysis (sugar). Even this is an overly simplistic description. Dr. Peter Attia and Dr. Valter Longo are excellent references on the subject.

Steps you can take right now to promote your anti-cancer immunosurveillance:

  • Respect a 10-11 hour eating window every day (13-14 hours of daily fasting). This article reports a 36% reduction in breast cancer recurrence using this approach.
  • Perform a 24 hour water-fast every week or every 2 weeks (or whenever you can).
  • Molecules to look into: sulforaphane, nicotinamide riboside, glutathione, magnesium, and beta-glucans (nutritional yeast).

Obviously what and when you eat has a huge effect on the amount of sugar (glucose) available in your system.

“General guideline for increased longevity: carbohydrates should be limited.”

A note of caution – there is nothing simplistic about human cellular biochemistry, no magic bullets and the learning seems endless. Please do your homework and engage in honest conversation with trusted health professionals.

Sleep.
Exercise.
Nourish.
Supplement.
Evolve.

Time to make SENSE.
Time to live life to the full.
Thanks for reading.

Paul

Next Article: “Take your vitamins!” and other stuff I heard growing up.