When you hear the word cancer, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Panic? Fear? Cancer is a terrifying disease. No one should ever have to face a diagnosis of cancer. It is a mysterious disease that scientists have struggled to understand, let alone conquer fully. However, there is a new way of looking at cancer that was recently popularized by Thomas Seyfried. Seyfried is a biology professor at Boston College who thinks that cancer is not a genetic disease but a metabolic disease. Let us take a closer look at what that means and why this new perspective could lead to a breakthrough in treating this most dreaded of all diseases.

The Traditional View of Cancer

Most of us have been taught that cancer ‘starts with a mutation’ – a change in the DNA that causes cells to start dividing out of control. This genetic-centric ‘driver’ model has led to approaches that target these genetic defects with chemotherapy, radiation, and a myriad of drugs. While these treatments have saved many lives, they also cause severe side effects and often fail.

Seyfried’s Metabolic Theory of Cancer

Dr Seyfried’s research shifts the spotlight from genes to metabolism. He says it all begins with damage to the mitochondria, which are the energy-producing parts of our cells. Mitochondria are the furnaces of our cells, so to speak. When they become damaged, the cells start to produce energy less efficiently, requiring higher amounts of glucose. As metabolism changes in this manner, uncontrolled growth results.

The Role of the Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet, which is rich in fat content and low in carbohydrates, is one of the most promising areas of Seyfried’s current research – for good reason. He says that by significantly reducing the carbohydrates one consumes, the body can be ‘forced’ to use ketones, a substance produced in the body when fats are metabolized for energy rather than glucose.

Since damaged mitochondria render cancer cells unable to harness the energy from ketones, this method can be used to effectively ‘starve’ cancer cells without harming healthy cells. It has been reported that this regimen can slow the growth of cancer and even shrink tumors.

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Benefits of a Metabolic Approach

Less toxic side effects: it is not nice to be a poisoned host, but cancer treatment is typically rather harsh to the body, causing plenty of toxic side effects. Part of why the ketogenic diet shows promise as a metabolic approach is that it only attacks cancer cells and has less toxic side effects than other approaches.

Complementary Therapy: It does not need to replace conventional treatments but can be used alongside them as part of a multifaceted cancer attack.

Empowerment: ‘The patient can take more responsibility for their treatment through dietary changes than they can with pharmaceuticals. I’ve found that the more empowered they become through their actions, the better they feel.’

Challenges and Considerations

The metabolic approach to cancer therapy will work for most cancers, and will not produce the same effects for all patients. Such a carefully calibrated treatment needs to be administered under the supervision of an experienced healthcare provider.

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The Future of Cancer Treatment

The work of Dr Thomas Seyfried and others suggests that we can harness this knowledge to create better and safer therapies by tackling cancer through its metabolic roots. The ketogenic diet is but one example of how we can translate our new understanding of cancer as a metabolic disease to improve the way we treat patients.

With additional research, we will see more of the same and achieve a world where cancer is as manageable a disease as diabetes or hypertension. Dr. Seyfried’s research is a salient reminder that perspective can often matter more than we realize.

If you are seeking guidance to help you through a difficult time, Celluvive is here for you. We will collaborate with your doctor to develop a naturopathic strategy to complement your treatments, providing a holistic approach to health and healing. We offer a free health assessment and consultation. Simply click the link to begin your journey.