April 25, 2015

Metabolic Theory of Cancer: Video Lesson!

Since I've fallen behind in churning out new posts in the cancer series on this blog, I wanted to share a little something with you to whet your appetite for more, and to remind you of all the amazing things we've covered so far. (I’ll get back to posting once I’ve written a few and have them in the hopper, ready to go, but I hope you’ll agree that finishing my Alzheimer’s book constitutes a “good cause” for having put things on hold.) 

I have quoted a ton from the work of Thomas Seyfried, PhD, and his colleagues & students. Here, you’ll get to see the man, himself, in action. If you’ve followed along in the series so far, you will be able to understand it all. In fact, you’ll know even more details than Dr. Seyfried goes into here. He only had 55 minutes, after all, and he wasn’t speaking to a room of molecular biologists or biochemists, so he kept things pretty general.  

Still, he managed to cover a lot of ground in less than an hour. He touches on the following, which you are now familiar with:

By the way, Seyfried is a great speaker. He’s engaging, funny¸ and appropriately angry, too. (I love how he gets worked up when he talks about how poisonous the standard chemo drugs are.) He explains complex biochemical principles in plain English, and he’s so casual and easygoing, you almost forget he’s a brilliant scientist, rather than someone you want to have a beer with and watch a hockey game. (Not that he can't be both!) Seriously, though, if you’ve understood what we’ve covered so far on the blog, listening to him go through the highlights will be a breeze!

Be sure to watch all the way through and listen to the Q & A at the end. Seyfried is HILARIOUS!

My thanks to Ivor Cummins (the “Fat Emperor”) for bringing it to my attention.

Here’s a little guide to some of the abbreviations on his slides, since he doesn’t always explicitly define the terms:

SD = standard diet (i.e., high-carb)
KD = ketogenic diet
UR = unrestricted (ad libitum feeding – no caloric restriction)
R = restricted (calorie-restricted diet, whether a calorie-restricted standard diet or a calorie-restricted ketogenic diet)
HBO2 = hyperbaric oxygen

One last thing: if you’re curious about the “raw vegan diet” mentioned briefly, my opinion is this: if they’re effective, it’s because the individuals are basically starving themselves. Even with a higher carbohydrate intake from, say, fruit juices and green smoothies, overall, they are probably still running at an enormous calorie deficit compared to how they were eating before. (And my even stronger opinion: why do that when you can do a ketogenic diet instead, which will rob the cancer of fuel while also feeding and supporting healthy tissue, whereas the raw vegan diet would end up starving everything? One of the biggest goals of cancer treatment is to keep you alive long enough and your body strong enough for you to beat the cancer, right? Cachexia [whole-body wasting] is enemy #1 here. The more of your healthy mass you can hang onto, the better you’ll likely hold up against the treatments. Ensure shakes might not be so terrible if they were coconut milk & low-ish protein fat bombs, rather than sugar bombs.)

Remember: Amy Berger, M.S., NTP, is not a physician and Tuit Nutrition, LLC, is not a medical practice. The information contained on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical condition.


  1. Thanks for ruining my day..... again !!! Just kiddin, fantastic stuff from our guru T Seyfried. Thanks for sharing !

  2. Can you expand on the Cancer-Glutamine connection ?
    I never heard that one before.
    I Googled it and there it is...even PubMed has a study on it.
    My concern is that I take Glutamine powder as part of an anaerobic exercise program as well as helping to keep blood sugar levels in the norm.
    I'm sure that many others use this supplement as well.
    Could supplementing with it be dangerous ?

    1. I don't feel comfortable saying much about it yet, since I haven't really looked at the research. From what I do know though, medical opinions are mixed. Some doctors say it's not a problem and encourage cancer patients to use protein shakes, especially if they have a decreased appetite or trouble chewing/digesting (common side-effect of treatment) while others feel glutamine is a pretty good fuel for certain kinds of cancer cells -- not as effective as glucose, but better than some other substrates. Seyfried's got some stuff on it...I'll have to look into it a little more. I've used protein shakes in the past (post-workout), and they typically have lots more glutamine than any other amino acids, and I wasn't concerned. Don't want to say more until I understand the issue a little better, but at the moment, I see it this way: for a healthy person, glutamine supps are probably not an issue. (They're often recommended to stop sugar cravings, in fact...might be something telling there...) For someone who *has cancer,* I probably wouldn't go out of my way to give them *extra* glutamine, above that which they'd find in protein-rich foods.

  3. Where do you talk about glutamine?

    1. I haven't addressed glutamine yet. If I ever get around to writing about the ketogenic diet and hyperbaric oxygen therapy, I'll address gluatmine at that time. But obviously, this is part of why Dr. Seyfried and his colleagues recommend a calorie-restricted ketogenic diet (not ad lib intake) - with an eye on limiting protein somewhat as well.