For the last year or so, there has been emerging research suggestion sugar is the culprit for everything from wrinkles to cancer. However, despite good intentioned information, the truth is that sugar does not feed cancer cells.
CELLULAR FAT METABOLISM AND CANCER
There are distinct changes in metabolism where cancer cells are present. Cellular proliferation, a common feature of all cancers, requires fatty acids for synthesis of membranes and signaling molecules.
In other words, cancer cells do not use sugar for energy, they utilize free fatty acids, which is why cancer is so common amongst diabetics, whom poorly metabolize glucose and have an excess of free fatty acids.
When you give cancer cells sugar, they burn the sugar and convert it into free fatty acids and burn the fat. They do it inefficiently and also convert it into lactic acid, which is what diabetic cells do also. Diabetics and cancer patients have bodies that breakdown proteins to convert it to sugar, but not to use the sugar, to further break down the sugar into fat.
Therefore, a more viable approach to treating cancer is to inhibit lipid peroxidation and lipolysis while promoting metabolic efficiency and the proper metabolization of glucose into carbon dioxide. 1
SYSTEMIC CANCER TREATMENT
Avoiding sugar consumption isn’t going to cure cancer, as it doesn’t address the underlying factor, which is poor metabolic function and specifically, the inability to properly oxidize glucose. Interestingly enough, years ago, sugar was used to actually treat diabetics. The reason it worked was simple; if the body cannot handle something, you give it more, not less. In the case of diabetics, if sugar isn’t being properly metabolized, increasing the demand will more or less increase the body adaptability and enforce the body into metabolizing it.
So, it may actually be counter productive to entirely remove sugar from the diet if you are trying to heal from cancer or other severe metabolic diseases. However, there are some foods you are going to want to avoid if you are trying heal from cancer, mainly polyunsaturated fats. You can learn more about the dangers of PUFAs in this earlier blog post.
Getting into some tips for a systemic approach to healing cancer or simply preventing it, here are some things that can help:
Eliminate PUFAs: The two most carcinogenic factors in cancer are the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and estrogen. However, these closely interact with each other, where PUFAs usually raise estrogen levels. This is because PUFAs are toxic to the liver and suppress the thyroid. If the liver is impaired, it poorly metabolizes and eliminates estrogen, causing the build up of aromatase in the tissues. This causes the thyroid to further down regulate, decreases body, which further increases the formation of not just estrogen, but also lactic acid, serotonin, nitric oxide, prolactin, and prostaglandins, all which are inflammatory, suppress oxidative metabolism and involved in the pathology of several types of cancer.
Eliminating polyunsaturated fats from the diet is essential for optimal thyroid and metabolic function, which are impaired in the pathogenesis of cancer. Some of those effects are direct, others are the result of blocking the toxic effects of the PUFA. Keeping the stored unsaturated fats from circulating in the blood is helpful, since it takes years to eliminate them from the tissues after the diet has changed. Niacinamide inhibits lipolysis. Avoiding over-production of lipolytic adrenaline requires adequate thyroid hormone, and the adjustment of the diet to minimize fluctuations of blood sugar.
Saturated Fats: Saturated fats have a variety of antiinflammatory and anticancer actions, mainly by promoting the health of the thyroid, improving metabolic rate, detoxification and circulation. The best sources of saturated fats include coconut oil, grass-fed ghee, raw butter, raw grass-fed milk, pastured animal meats, pastured egg yolks and liver.
Vitamin A, D & K2: All of these have pro-thyroid and pro-metabolic effects, which lower the inflammation-promoting parathyroid hormone (PTH). These fat-soluble vitamins are also key players in healthy thyroid function and in the most basic sense, poor thyroid will result in poor metabolic function and potentially down the line, cancer. Due to potential allergenic and digestive disrupting effects of supplements, along with the general complexity of vitamin synthesis, it is best to get these fat soluble vitamins from food. Also, plant-based carotenoids for example, are poorly absorbed in the body and must be converted into retinol to be assimilated. Animal sources contain the retinol form of vitamin A and usually have accompanying fat-soluble D and K2 – the best include grass-fed ghee, milk, butter, eggs, and liver.
Caffeine: Caffeine has numerous and profound health promoting effects on the body, just to name a few:
- Coffee drinkers has lower incidence of thyroid disease, including cancer, thannon-drinkers.
- Caffeine protects the liver from alcohol and acetaminophen (Tylenol) and other toxins, and coffee drinkers are less likely than people who don’t use coffee to have elevated serum enzymes and other indications of liver damage.
- Caffeine protects against cancer caused by radiation, chemical carcinogens, viruses, and estrogens.
- Caffeine synergizes with progesterone, and increases its concentration in blood and tissues.
- Cystic breast disease is not caused by caffeine, in fact caffeine’s effects are likely to be protective; a variety of studies show that coffee, tea, and caffeine are protective against breast cancer.
- Coffee provides very significant quantities of magnesium, as well as other nutrients including vitamin B1.
- Caffeine “improves efficiency of fuel use” and performance.
- Coffee drinkers have a low incidence of suicide.
- Caffeine supports serotonin uptake in nerves, and inhibits blood platelet aggregation.
- Coffee drinkers have been found to have lower cadmium in tissues; coffee making removes heavy metals from water.
- Coffee inhibits iron absorption if taken with meals, helping to prevent iron overload.
- Caffeine, like niacin, inhibits apoptosis, protecting against stress-induced cell death, without interfering with normal cell turnover.
- Caffeine can prevent nerve cell death.
- Coffee (or caffeine) prevents Parkinson’s Disease
- Caffeine stops production of free radicals by inhibiting xanthine oxidase, an important factor in tissue stress.
- Caffeine lowers serum potassium following exercise; stabilizes platelets, reducing thromboxane production.
You can supplement with caffeine pills; however, I would recommend good quality coffee because well, its delicious.
Aspirin: Because aspirin has been abused by pharmaceutical companies that have competing products to sell, as well as by the original efforts to promote aspirin itself, people can easily find reasons why they shouldn’t take it. So while a controversial supplement, the fact of the matter is, aspirin has many protective qualities on the liver and can block many of the carcinogenic effects of the PUFA. Just be sure to get adequate vitamin K2 into the diet if you choose to supplement aspirin, because it depletes this vitamin. Also, to avoid potential stomach upset, you can dissolve the aspirin in water and take with food. 2
Niacinamide: Supplementation of niacinamide has been shown to greatly sensitize cancer cells to chemotherapy and stimulates apoptosis (cancer cell death). 3
WHY BLAME SUGAR THEN?
Why this research emerged in the first place is anyone’s guess; however, I suspect it was in spite of the ASA (American Sugar Association). Perhaps some anti-capitalistic researchers with the knowingness that refined sugar conglomerates are a key player in the denaturing and processing of industrial packaged foods had an intention to hinder the success of the industrial food system.
To close, I am personally not an advocate for capitalism nor the industrialization and denaturing of food; however, sugar is not unnatural and it seems the more research I do, the more I find that sugar is not the devil it is claimed to be.
Lastly, remember that a healthy metabolism starts with healthy digestion (digestion is senior to metabolism). So, the first step to improving metabolic efficiency, is to improve digestive ability, the most important physiological action there is. For a complete and thorough guide to optimizing your digestive health, be sure to check out my online course Perfect Digestion.
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