Cancer : fasting

Cancer : fasting in addition to the treatment ?

First of all, prudence

Of course, when one reads testimonials enthusiastic patients whose cancer would have melted through fasting or other diets, anti-cancer, one can’t help to dream, once more, to the ultimate weapon against the disease. It is a little premature. First, because it is not a treatment in itself but rather a complement to the treatment demonstrated the cancer (surgery, radiotherapy, medicines).

Then, because the studies in humans are still lacking to confirm the first impressions. “People who are dead do not testify on the Internet,” warned the oncologist Laurent Schwartz, author of Cancer, a treatment that is simple and non-toxic (Thierry Souccar Editions), during the first international conference on the topic, this Thursday, September 21. “The healthy cells know how to adapt very well to fasting, so that cancer cells are unable to do so,” Dr Valter Longo, a researcher and a biologist at the university of Southern California, “many researchers in the world working on various aspects of the role of diet and metabolism in cancer “, said professor Alexander Eggermont, general director of the Gustave-Roussy, in opening the symposium, which was held in Villejuif.

This is not by chance, moreover, since it is at the initiative of a patient of the Gustave-Roussy, Jean-Jacques Trochon, who has associated with the fasting treatment of kidney cancer, and her oncologist, Bernard Escudier, that is born the idea of the symposium.

To understand the potential interest of the fasting, you have to dive into the heart of the cells. This is what is done for fifteen years, Dr. Valter Longo, a researcher and biologist at the university of Southern California, Los Angeles. “The healthy cells know how to adapt very well to fasting, so that cancer cells are unable to do so,” he says.

“There is a synergy between the natural approach, fasting, and the pharmacological approach, the chemotherapy,” says Dr. Longo. At the cellular level, ketone bodies breaking in the body during the fasting brief or a ketogenic diet would thus have multiple effects (on DNA, RNA, chromatin), which would explain the first blow to cancer cells. After a few days of fasting or a ketogenic diet, the healthy cells are like houses locked, doors, windows, which will have the effect of making them more insensitive to chemotherapy to come. Next to them, the cancer cells continue to operate in an uncontrolled manner, which leaves them open and vulnerable to treatment (chemotherapy but also radiotherapy).

The prolonged fasting and a diet of restriction of calories does not retain the attention of doctors because ” they cause weight loss unacceptable in patients with cancer,” It is, therefore, to complement the treatment that the experts of the field contemplating, perhaps, a place for these food strategies, whether it is fasting for short (24 or 48 hours), around sessions of radiotherapy or chemotherapy, or the ketogenic diet for several weeks (five, for example, in a protocol of the university of Iowa).

The ketogenic diet aims to replicate the physiological effect of fasting.

The prolonged fasting and a diet of restriction of calories, in contrast, does not retain the attention of doctors because “they cause weight loss unacceptable in patients with cancer”, reminded of the oncologists of the university of Leiden (the netherlands) in a article of 2015 (BioMed Central, Cancer).

Still, the option of the ketogenic diet is complex to prepare and very difficult to follow for adults. “It is full of fat, but full fat, no sugar, and you should be hypersurveillé by a dietitian trained because there is a risk of deficiency and need for supplementation,” says a mom who cooks ketogenic for her child with epilepsy. A pathology where this regime has clearly demonstrated its effectiveness (with mechanisms different from those of the cancer). We now expect serious studies to confirm the reduction of toxicity of treatment (including less nausea and vomiting) reported by some patients.

Restriction, fasting, ketogenic diet: where does the energy come from?How can the organization to function – and survive – in case of severe calorie restriction, fasting or a ketogenic diet (in which the major part of the calories is provided by fat)? Simply by tapping into its reserves. But where will he find them?Not really on the side of sugars (glucose or glycogen), because if one takes the body of a man of 70 kg, it contains only 210 grams! Just what to make of the short-term needs (the brain uses 120 g per day).

On the other hand, the sugars are easy to mobilize and are sort of “pocket-money” of the body. In reality, the bulk of the stock, to hold on the duration, comes from two other sources. The triglyceride accumulated in a dozen kilos of adipose tissue (fat), and protein, about 6 kg, found in the muscles. The latter are particularly important because a deprivation prolonged protein can lead to death by heart failure.

“The special feature of ľ’adaptation to prolonged fasting observed in ľ’man, but also in some birds (migratory, penguins), is mainly related to the ability ď’savings of body proteins”, explain the physiologists Bernard brother-in-law, and Xavier Leverve in the Treaty of nutrition artificial the adult . . .

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