Dr. Otto Warburg won the Novel Prize Physiology or Medicine in 1931 for his discovery that cancer cells have a fundamentally different energy metabolism compared to healthy cells. How does the metabolic inflexibility of cancer cells differ from healthy cells? Energy can be produced by a cell in two ways: aerobically in the mitochondria, or anaerobically, in the cytoplasm, which generates lactic acid and is a toxic byproduct. In the presence of oxygen, cancer cells overproduce lactic acid known as The Warburg Effect.
The prime cause of cancer was the reversion of energy production from aerobic energy generation to a more primitive form of energy production, anaerobic fermentation, according to Warburg. He believed you had to disrupt the energy production cycle that is feeding the tumor to reverse cancer, and that by reverting back to aerobic energy metabolism you could effectively “starve” it into remission. Before his death in 1970 he was unable to conclusively prove it and, sadly, his theories were never accepted by conventional science – until now. A long and detailed article was recently published in the New York Times about the history of modern cancer research, including Warburg’s theories on cancer.
Cancer cells are primarily fueled by the burning of sugar anaerobically. Without sugar, most cancer cells simply lack the metabolic flexibility to survive and Warburg’s effect is estimated to occur in up to 80% of cancers. When scientists turned their attention toward genetics, Warburg’s theories vanished. In 1953 cancer research began to primarily focus on genetics.
The Cancer Genome Atlas project came to an astonishing conclusion that the genetic mutations are actually far more random than previously suspected. Scientists have discovered that a number of genes known to promote cancer by influencing cell division, including a gene called AKT, regulates cells’ consumption of nutrients. Certain genes do appear to play a role in cancer cells’ overconsumption of sugar.
A Korean biochemist named Young Hee Ko Ph.D., working with Peter Pedersen, a professor of biological chemistry and oncology at Johns Hopkins, made a remarkable discovery in the early 2000’s that offers a great deal of hope for cancer patients. Ko continues her work in the field of cellular metabolism in cancer and neurodegenerative disease at the University of Maryland BioPark. They noticed that when cancer cells overproduce lactic acid, they have to produce more pores, called monocarboxylic acid transfer phosphates, to let lactic acid out, or else the cancer cell will die from the inside out. A compound called 3-bromopyruvate (3BP) might be able to slip into the pore that’s allowing the lactic acid to be expelled from the cancer cell, preventing the lactic acid from spilling out. Her finding was correct. Therefore, 3BP melts tumors away by preventing the lactic acid from leaking out of the cancer cell, thereby killing it from the inside.
The foundational aspect that must be addressed is the metabolic mitochondrial defect, and involves radically reducing the non-fiber carbohydrates in your diet and increasing high-quality fats. Without doing this, other treatments including 3BP, will not work. When you go from burning glucose as your primary fuel to burning fat for fuel, cancer cells really have to struggle to stay alive, as most of their mitochondria are dysfunctional and can’t use oxygen to burn fuel. Healthy cells are given an ideal and preferred fuel, which lower oxidative damage and optimizes mitochondrial function. Healthy cells begin to thrive while cancer cells are “starved” into oblivion.
Avoid all processed and bottled oil with the exception of third-party certified olive oils, as 80% are adulterated with vegetable oils. Do not exceed 5% of your calories as omega-6 fats. Healthy fats are olives and olive oil, coconuts and coconut oil, real butter from grass-fed organic milk, raw nuts, organic pastured egg yolks, avocados, sesame, cumin, pumpkin and kemp seeds, grass-fed meats, lard, tallow and ghee and animal-based omega-3 fats, such as krill oil. Choose high-fiber carbs. Optimizing mitochondrial function is the key for cancer prevention and treatment.
–Dr Fredda Branyon