A Metabolic Approach to Cancer – Bridging the Gap with Alternative Therapies

I recently listened to an inspirational podcast on the Diet Doctor podcast by Dr. Nasha Winters. She is a naturopathic physician and author of the popular book, “Metabolic Approach to Cancer”. Her story is remarkable – she was diagnosed with end-stage ovarian cancer at the tender age of 19 and through her experience, transformed her life and in the process, became a clinician to help navigate people through cancer. Her approach to medicine is aligned with Wholistics’ principles which I embrace; she understands the importance of bridging the gap between alternative/natural and conventional therapies. And for cancer, her belief is that both chemotherapy and radiation treatments have their place but we need to utilize these modalities in conjunction with complementary therapies to maximize effectiveness and minimize recurrence and devastating side effects. 

Here are some of the salient points from the podcast:

  • There is a strong body/brain connection that influences epigenetic expression and this is called psychoneuroimmunology. For example, studies have shown that trauma in a person’s past generations will impact and can change the epigenetic expression of the current generation. Our thoughts and traumas change our immune system and our physiology in a profound way as there is a brain/body connection; hence negative experiences can impact our immunity and susceptibility to diseases like cancer.  
  • There are two camps of thoughts on cancer. The somatic camp states that cancer is based on genetics with a pre-determined fate. However, science is showing that this is not true. The metabolic approach to cancer explains that the energy processing level of the body – our mitochondria – is where magic happens. Our mitochondria and its cellular energy level is our fountain of youth and longevity mecca. So, the genes load the gun but our choices and lifestyle impact the health and behavior of our mitochondria that will pull the trigger. 
  • A well known Adverse Childhood Event score (ACE score) based on 10 questions about your life experience before the age of 18 was shown to have a direct correlation to cancer. Every question you respond yes to will raise your chance of cancer by 10%. So, if you responded yes to 4 out of the 10 questions, your chance of getting cancer will increase by 40%. (See  the link at the bottom of this page to access the questionnaire.)
  • Studies on ACE scores show how stressors impact real physiologic changes like brain mapping and brain wave changes.
  • We know that each cigarette smoke takes seven seconds off your life, changes your glutathione status, wipes out immune function and increases inflammation, but people still smoke. Our lifestyle choices (like diet, purpose, connections, faith) can build new pathways to avoid bad behaviors.
  • We now have studies in how the gut microbiome impacts brain wave changes – these are causative changes at the cellular level that directly impact the mitochondrial processes.
  • Dr. Winters contends that autism, cardiovascular disease and diabetes all sprout from a broken metabolic fuel system.
  • Up until about 1850, we were all essentially eating low carb diets and derived about 30% of our food from carbohydrates. Today, our average intake is about 70-80% which essentially reversed our energy system. Add to that all the environmental toxins like glyphosate and GMOs that effectively speed up the broken processes leading to cancer.
  • It is well known that cancer cells need glucose to survive and that insulin is a key growth factor for breast cancer cells. Sugar wipes out our natural killer cells for up to seven hours and brain tumors are super glucose sensitive. So it’s important to combine standard of care treatments with a low-sugar, ketogenic diet to starve cancer cells.
  • Now we see radiation oncologists that put all their patients on a ketogenic diet prior to treatment and up to six months to one year after. Studies have shown that patients with elevated insulin and glucose levels desensitize their cancer cells to the radiation treatment; this increases radiation scatter and damage to the healthy tissue around the tumor. This has been known since the 1980s and should be the standard of care yet only ‘elite’ oncologists are aware and practicing this. All patients should have their insulin, insulin growth factor, and hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) assessed before treatment to avoid negating the good effect of radiation and increasing the progression and recurrence of cancers.
  • These ‘elite’ oncologists understand how to harness radiation and focus it for a higher tumor kill rate with lower side effects and recurrence.
  • It’s also known that metabolic muscle wasting (cachexia) does not occur with fasting and chemotherapy. In fact, cachexia is fueled by inflammation and sugar – a high carbohydrate diet stimulates more rapid metabolic weight loss through muscle wasting as the body prefers to store fat and break down muscle as a fuel source. Feeding patients anything they want to eat as often recommended by the American Chemical Society is one of the worst things for patients. In fact, patients who fast two days before, the day of and two days after chemotherapy recover more quickly and have a better response to therapy.
  • Dr. Winters recommends that six months post-chemo and radiation, patients should be doing five-day fasts every month to clean up the effects of these toxic treatments. She also indicates that 5-7 day fasts once or twice a year for EVERYONE is the gateway to longevity
  • So don’t ask a doctor for advice on nutrition as they did not receive that training in school.  Instead, read up on options and educate yourself and your family.
  • Check out her website www.drnasha.com. It has lots of information, podcasts and research available. She offers a free guide on the five steps to take after a cancer diagnosis along with a free keto poster titled: Beyond Keto: Restoring Metabolic Flexibility In Our Patients To Enhance Clinical Outcomes 
  • You can buy her book on her website: The Metabolic Approach to Cancer (also available on Amazon)
  • Dr. Nasha is on the Board of advisors of the Believe Big Institute of Health. Believe Big Institute is a fully licensed residential cancer research hospital and will be a state of the art, green-certified facility enabling the best of modern science and technology along with ancient therapies and wisdom procured from around the world. It is currently supporting Johns Hopkins on a clinical trial using intravenous mistletoe as an integrative cancer therapy.

www.Believebig.org

Listen on Youtube:

Adverse Childhood Event Questionnaire :

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