Depression, Cardiology and more Anti-Cancer Diet Theory

No news on the treatment front yet, so this is mostly going to be a boring blog about cancer metabolism theory and me trying to implement it. If you have cancer it might be vaguely interesting to you. If you don’t it will probably bore the socks off you.

Bit of Depression

It’s been my roughest few days mentally since diagnosis; I’ve slipped into depression for a couple reasons. My girlfriend started her job five hours away from my home so that means seeing a lot less of her. My current year group is back in university this week after 6 months apart from each other away on placement, whilst my old year group have all started their careers all over the UK and all over the world.

It feels like the life that I should be having has left the station without me on board. Also, It doesn’t take many negative thoughts to let the rest of them come flowing in.

I’ve known this week would be rough. But it’s harder than I thought. I know there’s a chance that I will be able to re-join university in 2014, but I’ll be moving into my 4th different year group in 5 years. As much as I love meeting new people, I miss the people I’ve already met. And I know everyone else’s lives aren’t as fine as they may look on facebook but my self-centeredness has taken over and I’m having myself a pity party.
I need to get over myself and refocus.


So cardiology got back to me and I need to have an adenosine ECG to measure my arrhythmia  I’ve seen enough of these to know they are horrible. They inject adenosine which raises your heart rate really high and they measure the electrical signals in your heart.

Anti-Cancer Nutrition: Ketogenesis, Fasting and Calorie Restriction

Yes, it’s as awful as it sounds. This is the point where most of you will think I’m going mad or getting desperate. My healthy eating diet has been going okay. Lots of vegetables, fruits, the right spices, anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatories and zero refined sugars and nutrient absent carbohydrates such as pasta and rice. But I’m still comfort eating on healthy foods to the point where they are no longer healthy. Nuts and dark chocolate and bananas being the culprits here. I need to be stricter. Becoming obese will only speed up the tumour growth.

After doing far more research I’ve started to realise that perhaps sugar elimination isn’t enough with regards to brain tumours. Helpful, but a lot more can be done. There are a lot of theories out there about nutrition for cancer such as vegan and juicing, and the grape diet. However they seem very high carbohydrate and high sugar diets to me and when you read about the metabolism of cancer cells you begin to understand that perhaps those healthy diets although being perhaps quite healthy, they’re still feeding cancer cells with plenty of carbohydrates to grow.

This led me on to Ketogenic diets. There is some of ‘decent’ research about ketogenic diets and better cancer prognosis. Ketogenic basically means no carbohydrates at all and living off fats. You’ve probably heard of the atkins diet. I’ve done ketogenic for about a week two years ago and then again for six weeks about a 4 years ago. I lost a lot of weight both times but had to stop because my tummy couldn’t cope with the almost pure fat and fibre diet. However this is about survival. Worth a try again perhaps. Ketones are the compounds your body uses for energy when it’s starved of glucose by the way.

“Very recently, Maurer et al. demonstrated that glioma cells - although not negatively influenced by b-hydroxybutyrate- glioma cells are not able to use this ketone body as a substitute for glucose when starved of the latter, contrary to benign neuronal cells [128]. This supports the hypothesis that under low glucose concentrations, ketone bodies could serve benign cells as a substitute for metabolic demands while offering no such benefit to malign cells.”

Klement and Kämmerer Nutrition & Metabolism 2011, 8:75

"Ketogenic Diet alone significantly decreased blood glucose, slowed tumour progression and increased mean survival time by 56.7% in mice with systemic metastatic cancer. While Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy alone did not influence cancer progression, combining the Ketogenic Diet with Hyperbaric Oxygen elicited a significant decrease in blood glucose, tumour growth rate and a 77% increase in mean survival times compared to the controls (Ref: PLOS One).

a. Researchers Seefried and Mukherjee from the Biology Department of Boston College first proposed in 2005 that brain tumour cells were inflexible in that they could use glucose but not ketones as an energy source, unlike flexible healthy cells which could use either. They argued that metabolic therapy was the way forward as little progress had been made with drugs for five decades.

b. Researchers from Ohio State University Cancer Center showed that a molecule miR-451 switches off in the absence of glucose and shuts down ´the engine of the tumour´ but causes the brain tumour to grow and spread where there is an abundance of glucose.

c In January 2009 researchers from Johns Hopkins noted that there was a strong link between hyperglycemia and cancer risk; and after following brain cancer patients they concluded that those with the highest blood glucose levels survived least. They also concluded this was likely to hold true for most cancers (Cancer Watch 2009; Click Here).

So I’m learning that sugar and processed flour elimination is probably not good enough. And that low-zero carb is necessary. Eugh. What’s the point right? Anyway ketogenic diets aren’t particularly fun, they are very limiting. I don’t want to do a diet where even most fruits at least half veggies, and all nuts and seeds are either eliminated or strictly limited. Not mention no bread, pasta, rice or even the health grains aren’t allowed ever again.

It is so awe inspiringly anal that you could be doing great for 5 days and know that one slip up will ruin all your hard work by throwing you out of ketosis (the bodily state of burning fats for energy because no carbohydrates are left). Even if it’s something as healthy as an orange or a sweet potato. So you just wouldn’t do it. No cheating. Your state of ketosis is too important to you. It does take over your life though. So do all the toilet trips. But the theory is the tumour won’t grow as much or as fast. No-one is making any claims of tumour shrinkage though. Just slowing down progression.

I’d like to point out that even in ketosis your body maintains a level of glucose in the blood that could easily feed the tumour. But blood glucose is drastically reduced and therefore so is tumour growth (in theory) from reading studies tumours still grow, just not as fast.  So either this natural level of blood glucose is enough for moderate tumour growth or tumours are merely inefficient at using ketones rather than completely inept at it. But that’s just my opinion; I need to do a lot more reading. There is also some evidence to suggest that ketones are able to have a somewhat protective effect on healthy brain tissue against the tumour.

7 Days into Keto diet
My first four days were spent trying to get the hang of the diet. I went over my carbohydrate allowance due to eating too many almonds that were slightly higher in carbs than I thought. I kept calories very high for the first few days in order to give my body enough fat to kick start the change in metabolic pathway from glucose to ketones. I consumed almost 1800 calories a day from fat alone. In the past 3 days I’ve brought my calories down a bit for two reasons, firstly, ketones are an appetite suppressant and I’m not hungry and secondly because calorie restriction is extremely important with this diet for cancer purposes which I’ll explain later.

 It supposedly takes about a week to enter a state of ketosis because your body uses its glycogen stores in your liver and muscles as energy before it starts burning fat in large amounts. Anyway. On day 6 I pee’d on a stick that told me I had enough ketones in my body to be considered in a state of ketosis. I did it! this doesn't necessarily mean my blood glucose levels are low though. it just means its more likely to be.

Coincidently the scales say I lost 10lbs in 7 days. Which will mostly be water weight lost that is always the  case on extremely high  fat and low carb diets because the glycogen stores release loads of water when they are being used. I don’t look that different so I know it’s mostly water but I shouldn’t have lost much real weight because most of the week my calories were really high.

Example of current Diet, this was my 6th day food log: it could really do with being lower in protein and higher in fat.

Breakfast: 50g of pulled pork + 1/4 red onion + garlic in 2 scrambled eggs 25g protein/40g fat/ 3g net carbs
Lunch: 1 scoop  whey,  10g flaxseed, 5g chia seed, raspberries in almond milk shake 22/10/1
Dinner: cod + green veg + olives 35/9/15
Snacks: 2 x celery +15g peanut butter 4/7/1   x2  Wheatgrass + greens 0/0/3 whey/pb/chia 22/7/1 20g of macademias 1/15/1
Drugs:  500mg keppra, 30mg propranolol,
Supplements: probiotic x2 , turmeric x3, fish oil x2 , selenium ,green tea , wheatgrass + greens
113/81/26    452/729/104 = 1285kcal

Fasting and Calorie Restriction
Perhaps most importantly calorie restriction and fasting has shown to have maybe an even larger effect on tumour growth than Ketogenesis. Throughout many studies this has proven to have a profound effect on tumour growth rate, especially when combined with keto. For the same reasons as keto, lower total calories means lower total blood glucose. But I think something else is going here because it seems to have much better results than ketosis on its own in some studies. One of these other things is suggested to be angiogenesis, which is the shutdown of blood vessels to the tumour, or at least the reduction of new growth of blood vessels. This has been proven in mice studies in which they dissected the mice post mortem to analyse the tumour.

I’m tired and can’t be bothered to reference everything right now. Apologies. I will one day. Anyway the plan is to follow the keto/restriction diet for as long as possible.

Reading all this stuff about calorie restriction made me a bit nervous as I’ve been progressively putting on weight for the past year due to comfort eating because of my anxiety and depression issues. And lack of exercise because of my dizziness, loss of balance and coordination. I’ve been feeding it lots of lovely cookies and cake. Not to mention the steroids they mistakenly put me on that made me so hungry I was easily consuming 4000cals a day. There have been two stories on TV recently about two men who have serious health problems from putting on gargantuan amounts of weight due to these steroids. One man put on 12stone in 9 months. Glad I’m off them now. Although I know I’ll be back on them soon.

I know how terrible this blog post has been. But there is a lot of waiting now between now and whenever something happens. And everyone has bad weeks. I’ll make sure the next blog post is chirpier.

all the best


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