Of Ketones and Cancer, Low Carb Research Earns Prize
Originally published in the May 2013 issue of CarbSmart Magazine.
131 Pages. Articles by Dana Carpender, Amy Dungan, Ed Stockly, Susie T. Gibbs, Tracey Rollison, Misty Humphrey, and many more. Also includes 24 low carb/high fat recipes.
A few years back, I was fortunate enough to make it to New York City for a meeting of the Nutrition and Metabolism Society, which you all should go join right this second. http://www.nmsociety.org/ Don’t forget to come back here afterward!
Okay, now that you’re back: At that meeting, Dr. Eugene Fine, Adjunct Professor of Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, spoke on the topic of carbohydrate restriction and cancer. In keeping with the fact that most of the people at the meeting were doctors, this lecture was at a very high level, and quite honestly I only understood the general drift of it: While it is true that many cancer cells are glucose hogs, one cannot starve cancer by eating a ketogenic diet, because – as I trust you know – the liver creates glucose as needed from protein. On the other hand, Dr. Fine said, the ketogenic state created shifts in hormones, and especially a reduction in insulin and related hormones that made the body an inhospitable environment for cancer cells, and thus was the focus of his study.
At the same meeting I met Dr. Richard Feinman, Professor of Cell Biology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. Dr. Feinman is a founder and the director of the Nutrition and Metabolism Society, which right there makes him one of my heroes. He is one of the first to do serious research on ketogenic diets.
I’m pleased to announce that the journal Nutrition will be announcing that Dr. Fine and Dr. Feinman were awarded the 15th Annual John M. Kinney Award for original research in nutrition and metabolism. They have been given this award for their article “Targeting insulin inhibition as a metabolic therapy in advanced cancer: A pilot safety and feasibility dietary trial in ten patients.”
The gist is this: Drs. Feinman and Fine took twelve patients with advanced, incurable cancers, who otherwise had normal organ function and no diabetes, and put them on a ketogenic diet, restricting carbs to just 5% of calories. Two of them dropped out after a couple of weeks, but the remaining ten continued with the diet for 26-28 days. Those who quit a couple of days early did so for varying reasons – going on a vacation, a dental abscess, not wanting to eat meat – but none because of the adverse effects of the diet.
The patients were monitored for ketone levels, and PET scans showed that those with lower levels of ketones had progression of their disease, while those with the highest levels of ketones were stable, or even showed tumor regression. While this was a small study, and conclusions would be premature, this is still exciting stuff.
Our heartiest congratulations to Drs. Feinman and Fine!
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