May 1st, 2016 at 5:01 AM (Last updated on May 1st, 2016 at 5:04 AM)
Hello from Reston,
Earlier in April, I listened to several interviews that were part of The Chronic Lyme Disease Summit. One of the more interesting talks was from Dr. Joseph Mercola (http://www.mercola.com/), who I have mentioned a few times in the past. As you can imagine Dr. Mercola’s time is very limited. However, he mentioned that he reads often, devouring dozens of books annually. He also mentioned that the best book he read in the past year was “Tripping Over the Truth” by Travis Christofferson. I went and bought the book off Amazon and really enjoyed it myself.
“Tripping Over the Truth” is a chronological history of the fight to cure cancer. For those of you old enough to remember President Richard Nixon declaring war on cancer, it is sad that almost 50 years later we have still not been able to eradicate this family of devastating diseases. Some of you may have also recently listened to the documentary series “The Truth About Cancer” (https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/ ). If you did, you truly begin to question the approach we take in battling cancer: surgery to cut out as much as possible, followed by radiation and chemotherapy treatments.
In “Tripping Over the Truth”, Christofferson describes how chemotherapy was invented. At the end of World War II, Germany bombed a fleet of US ships that were stationed in Italy. One of those ships that was destroyed was secretly carrying nitrogen mustard gas. Sailors that were blown from their ships into the water were exposed to the mustard gas and killed. What doctors who autopsied the sailors who perished learned, was the mustard gas all but ceased the division of certain types of cells that were prone to divide fast. The doctors then formulated that nitrogen mustard gas could be injected in humans to try and kill cancerous cells. 70 years later we are still using a variety of chemotherapy drugs, but their downside is that they don’t just target the cancer. Chemotherapy is analogous to dropping Napalm on a jungle. You are going the burn more than just the bad guys.
The key message I got out of “Tripping Over the Truth”, is that we have been looking in the wrong place for the cause of cancer up until very recently. Dating back to the early 20th century, there were two schools of thought on cancer’s cause: genetic or metabolic. Over time the great majority of scientists believed that cancer was caused by genetic reasons and thus based their attacks on cancer down this path. Unfortunately, recent developments from the Human Genome Project and subsequent related gene mapping programs have proven that cancer cannot be caused genetically. Basically, we have been looking at the problem all wrong for almost 100 years for how to cure cancer.
To understand the metabolic cause theory of cancer we need to look back to German Scientist Otto Warburg, who was born in 1883, and his Warburg effect. According to Wikipedia (with some notes from me in parentheses), “In oncology (the branch of medicine that deals with cancer), the Warburg effect is the observation that most cancer cells predominantly produce energy by a high rate of glycolysis (the splitting of glucose molecules to form Adenosine Triphosphate [ATP] energy) followed by lactic acid fermentation, rather than by a comparatively low rate of glycolysis followed by oxidation of pyruvate (an end product of glycolysis) in mitochondria (the cell’s power houses that create ATP) as in most normal cells. Malignant, rapidly growing tumor cells typically have glycolytic rates up to 200 times higher than those of their normal tissues of origin. Otto Warburg postulated this change in metabolism is the fundamental cause of cancer.”
To clarify, food is digested and supplied to cells mainly in the form of glucose. Glucose is broken down further to make ATP by two pathways. One is via anaerobic (without oxygen) metabolism occurring in cells, also known as glycolysis. The major physiological significance of glycolysis lies in making ATP quickly, but in a minuscule amount. The breakdown process continues in the mitochondria, which is more efficient for ATP production. Cancer cells seem to be well adjusted to glycolysis. In the 1920s, Otto Warburg first proposed that cancer cells show increased levels of glucose consumption and lactate fermentation even in the presence of ample oxygen (known as “Warburg Effect”). Based on this theory, the switch to glycolysis promotes the proliferation of cancer cells. Many studies have demonstrated glycolysis as the main metabolic pathway in cancer cells.
More recently in March 2008, Dr. Lewis C. Cantley and his colleagues announced that the tumor M2-PK, a form of the pyruvate kinase enzyme, gives rise to the Warburg effect. Tumor M2-PK is produced in all rapidly dividing cells, and is responsible for enabling cancer cells to consume glucose at an accelerated rate. Forcing the cells to switch to pyruvate kinase's alternative form by inhibiting the production of tumor M2-PK, led to their growth being curbed. The researchers acknowledged the fact that the exact chemistry of glucose metabolism was likely to vary across different forms of cancer, but M2-PK was identified in all of the cancer cells they had tested.
So what are some potential remedies suggested in “Tripping Over the Truth”? Well, since cancer consumes glucose at an accelerated rate, starving the body of glucose is strongly advised. Christofferson talks about using a ketogenic diet, which involves eating mostly fats and thus keeps your body in ketosis. We are not talking about just your run of the mill, low carb Paleo diet either. Christofferson’s ketogenic recommendations are to keep your daily carbs limited to 12 grams and your daily protein to 1 gram for every kilogram (kg) of body weight. As an example, if you weigh 194 pounds, that equates to 88 kgs or 88 grams of protein. Since both carbs and protein are 4 calories per kg, you would only get 400 calories per day from carbs and protein (12 + 88 = 100 grams X 4 calories/gram = 400 calories). All of the other calories you intake will need to come from fat. This fat could come from the fat in meats, eggs, avocados, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, olives, etc. You just need to account for the carbs and protein in whatever you eat and stay below the daily limits.
In addition to a ketogenic diet, Christofferson explains how using a hyperbaric chamber can also be used to fight cancer. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized room or tube. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a well-established treatment for decompression sickness, a hazard of scuba diving. In a hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber, the air pressure is increased to three times higher than normal air pressure. Under these conditions, your lungs can gather more oxygen than would be possible breathing pure oxygen at normal air pressure. Your blood carries this oxygen throughout your body. This helps fight bacteria and stimulate the release of substances called growth factors and stem cells, which promote healing. The argument runs that using a hyperbaric chamber will overcome one of the main influences of cancer, namely that cancer exists in a low-oxygen environment and plentiful oxygen can kill it off.
The dismissal of the Warburg effect, which Otto Warburg discovered 100 years ago, not only has caused cancer researchers to attack the cure for cancer incorrectly, but has also put countless patients through the standard, extremely grueling cancer treatment protocol of invasive surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Imagine instead, just changing to a ketogenic diet and using hyperbaric oxygen therapy, if you learn of a positive cancer diagnosis. Not only would your body not be ravaged, but the cost savings would be phenomenal. Some chemotherapy treatments can cost upwards of $500,000.00. Dietary changes cost almost nothing and hyperbaric therapy is very inexpensive.
I highly encourage anyone, whether you have a cancer diagnosis or not, to read “Tripping Over the Truth”. I also recommend checking out the documentary series “The Truth About Cancer”.
On a related note to my mention of the Chronic Lyme Disease Summit, I’m proud to say that the SES Wellness committee is helping out in the fight against Lyme disease. SES has donated $2,000.00 to the Loudoun County (VA) Lyme organization (http://www.loudounlyme.org/ ). I’m also proud of my 30 coworkers from the DC, Manassas and Reston offices that have volunteered to walk or run the event on May 15th with me. It is for a great cause. If anyone would like to donate, please use this link: https://fundraising.active.com/event/LoudounLyme20165k_10k_1k
Fitness tip of the month: It is never too late to get in shape
The link below is intended to inspire those of you who feel that you are too old or too out of shape to start a journey towards better health. Most people reach their physical peak in their early 20s, then steadily decline as they age. Not Charles Staley. His article lists his story and concludes with helpful health tips such as surrounding yourself with supportive people and taking a long view on nutrition. If you need another example of someone that is more healthy today than years earlier, look no further than yours truly. I was 230 pounds at age 20 and well over 200 pounds for most of my adult life. I’m pleased to report that today at age 51, I’m still at 180 pounds. This is the same weight I got to on April 30, 2012, after losing 25 pounds in two months, upon embarking on a Primal lifestyle. Four years and counting. If I can lose it and keep it off, so can you.
Recipe of the month: Breakfast Smoothie
Smoothies are becoming more popular and can be a great Paleo breakfast substitute when you tire of eggs and bacon (can you really ever tire of bacon though?). The mistake I find most people make with smoothies, is that they use too much carbs and not enough protein and fat. The link below comes from Christa Orecchio’s Whole Journey site. You can see from her recipe that there is carbs from the berries, but also protein powder and fat from coconut oil. Adding avocados or almond butter to smoothies is another great way to get healthy fats. Enjoy!