Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Fasting Weakens Cancer in Mice

Even fasting on its own effectively treated a majority of cancers tested in animals, including cancers from human cells.
The study in Science Translational Medicine, part of the Science family of journals, found that five out of eight cancer types in mice responded to fasting alone: Just as with chemotherapy, fasting slowed the growth and spread of tumors.
And without exception, “the combination of fasting cycles plus chemotherapy was either more or much more effective than chemo alone,” said senior author Valter Longo, professor of gerontology and biological sciences at the University of Southern California.

You can see why the scientists might be confused; first they do studies that show fat or meat or industrially processed milk proteins makes mice have cancer, then they do a study that shows fasting helps mice survive cancer.  But considering the model of cancer described in yesterday's post, in the context of the paleolithic model of nutrition, and as applied to humans and the ways that mice and humans are similar, there is a coherent picture.

What I like about this model and its apparent validity is that it implies that your most powerful cancer avoidance strategy is to eat the food your body was built for - meat and vegetables.  You don't have to sweat all the weird chemicals in the neolithic world, you don't have to be anxious about eating an occasional hotdog or piece of salami, you don't have to get freaked about eating a good piece of steak.  Instead, you eat to feel good, look good, and maintain the glycemic control that you must maintain to be healthy anyway.  In short, you do what you would do to avoid getting fat, having freaky blood sugar crashes, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, or heart disease.

This is a strategy which consists of eating good food that you like to eat anyway.  This is a strategy in which - if perchance you end up being wrong or getting one of the non-sugar fueled cancers - you wouldn't look back and think you wasted your energy or your time.  This is a strategy that - once you get off the sugar addiction - you end up eating the foods you like most anyway.  It's a win-win.

Another interesting cut from the linked article:

While normal cells deprived of nutrients enter a dormant state similar to hibernation, the researchers saw that the cancer cells tried to make new proteins and took other steps to keep growing and dividing.
The result, Longo said, was a “cascade of events” that led to the creation of damaging free radical molecules, which broke down the cancer cells’ own DNA and caused their destruction.
“The cell is, in fact, committing cellular suicide. What we’re seeing is that the cancer cell tries to compensate for the lack of all these things missing in the blood after fasting. It may be trying to replace them, but it can’t,” Longo said.

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