Dr. Dominic D’Agostino did not set out to find a treatment for cancer. Yet, during his research into the treatment of seizures, he found a possible non-toxic alternative approach to cancer management. D’Agostino discovered that eliminating carbohydrates from the diet could starve cancer cells.
An Unexpected Discovery
Dr. D’Agostino is an Assistant Professor at the University of South Florida College of Medicine, Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology. He was commissioned by the Navy Seals to help solve the problem of unexpected seizures that occur in a high-oxygen and high-pressure environment (ie. such as deep-sea diving).
His research led D’Agostino to compare the brain to a hybrid engine. It typically uses glucose as its primary source of energy. When glucose is limited, it can use ketones as an alternative fuel source. This why the ketogenic diet is effective in treating seizures in individuals suffering from certain types of neurological disorders associated with the inability to transport glucose.
The keto diet adheres to certain dietary restrictions. Predominately, it severely limits carbohydrate intake. As a result, the body can elevate and sustain high blood levels of ketones.
D’Agostino estimates that a typical diet consists of about 65% carbohydrates, 25% fat, and only about 10% protein. On the other hand, the ketogenic diet is very low in carbohydrates. It consists of about 75% fat and 23% protein.
Role that Carb Elimination Could Play in Cancer Management
In a TEDx Talk (posted below this article), D’Agostino states that most healthy cells in the body can use ketones as an alternative energy source, just like the brain. What he surprising discovered during his research is that cancer cells do not have this ability.
Cancer cells rely heavily on glucose for energy, more so than regular human cells. Yet, it seems that they are incapable of using ketones as an alternative fuel source.
Have you ever heard that sugar feeds cancer? D’Agostino agrees:
“Sugar addiction is the Achilles heel of cancer cells.”
Other scientists have also discovered this connection between sugar and cancer. For example, Otto Warburg, discovered that cancer cells are different from healthy cells, in that they are damaged from high-amounts of sugar uptake. Warburg won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1931.
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More recently, Dr. Thomas Seyfried, author of Cancer as a Metabolic Disease, showed in his experiments that cancer has a glucose dependency. Because of this, he claimed that we could potentially treat cancer with a variety of alternative approaches that exploit this dependency.
D’Agostino and his colleagues tested the effectiveness of the combination of the ketogenic diet and hyperbaric oxygen therapy in a mouse model of metastatic cancer. He claims their study demonstrated the therapeutic efficacy of a new, non-toxic alternative approach to cancer management.
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