Book Review: The Metabolic Approach to Cancer April 25 2018

For almost a century, cancer research and treatment development have focused on the genetic theory of cancer that says extensive damage to the genetic material we call DNA eventually causes the cell to go rogue from its intended function and become cancerous. Yet cancer today directly affects half of the US population; 1600 cancer patients in this country die each day; and almost 40 percent of children have been affected by cancer in the past sixteen years. The cancer industry in America is thriving, but patients are not.

metabolic approach to cancer book coverIn The Metabolic Approach to Cancer, authors Nasha Winters and Jess Higgins Kelley discuss an alternate theory to think about. They tell of researchers devoting careers to furthering understanding of the metabolic approach to cancer introduced in the 1920s by Otto Warburg. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for his insight that damage to a cell’s mitochondria causes a cell to behave cancerously. In other words, cancer is a metabolic disorder.

What is metabolism? Short answer is that it’s how the body uses the food we eat to get energy. Longer answer is that mitochondria inside the cells are in charge of converting food to energy the body needs (through aerobic respiration; i.e., using oxygen) and of telling the cell when to reproduce and when to die. Metabolism takes place inside the mitochondria, and it’s damage to the mitochondria that begins the cancer process. Gene mutations follow.

Damaged mitochondria cannot use oxygen to convert food to energy the body needs, so the cell reverts to an evolutionary mechanism of fermentation to get energy from glucose and glutamine instead of oxygen. The problem is that the cell then reproduces when it shouldn’t, forgets to “die” when it should, and sets off the cancer process.

A leading researcher in the metabolic theory of cancer, Dr. Thomas Seyfried, at Boston College, has solid science to support that “most cancers, regardless of cell or tissue origin, are now recognized as a single metabolic disease that feeds on fermentable fuels like the sugar glucose and the amino acid glutamine.” This is where diet comes into Seyfried’s cancer management approach, specifically a strict ketogenic diet individually tailored to get the body into ketosis in order to starve the cancer cells and protect normal cells to thrive.

Winters and Kelley developed a Terrain Ten approach for cancer patients that incorporates the research of Warburg, Seyfried, and others. They integrate deep nutrition, ketogenic diet, and nontoxic bio-individualized therapies. Winters was diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer at age 19. She is now going strong in her mid-40s because at 19 she chose neither the standard of care offered to live a few more months, nor the suggestion she go into hospice.

Why the ketogenic diet? Read The Metabolic Approach to Cancer or Travis Christofferson’s Tripping Over the Truth, which presents the details of Seyfried’s 2012 Cancer as a Metabolic Disease to the average reader. If you want good YouTube links of interviews with Seyfried, Winters and Kelley, and others, let me know in the comments box.


Phyllis (dedicated local food eater and BBK customer)