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Fasting, Vitamin C and Whole Foods and it's role in treating aggressive cancers

Scientists from USC and the IFOM Cancer Institute in Milan have found that a fasting diet could be more effective at treating some types of cancer when combined with vitamin C.


"For the first time, we have demonstrated how a completely non-toxic intervention can effectively treat an aggressive cancer," said Valter Longo, the study senior author and the director of the USC Longevity Institute at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology and professor of biological sciences at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. "We have taken two treatments that are studied extensively as interventions to delay aging -- fasting and a fasting-mimicking diet with powdered vitamin C -- and combined them as a powerful treatment for cancer."


A true fast should involve nothing but drinking Distilled Water for the duration of the fast. Most extended fasts last been 1 to 14 days. Another option which I recommend adding in addition to strict fasting is a fasting mimicking diet. This is simply a low-calorie, plant-based diet that causes cells to respond as if the body were fasting. Findings suggest that a low-toxicity treatment of fasting-mimicking diet plus powdered vitamin C has the potential to replace more toxic treatments.


Some of the problematic foods in our western diet include:

  • Dietary fats – Diets high in dietary fats are linked to high levels of sex hormones, carcinogens, and mutagens. The compounds live in fat and don’t metabolize out of fat easily, so obtaining cancer-promoting compounds through these high fats, fried and processed foods with fats can be damaging. Omega-6 fats that are highly processed are soybean oils, sunflower oil, corn oil, and cottonseed oil. Not all fat is damaging; as the Omega-3 fats help reduce inflammation and are found in wild fish, grass-finished animals (in moderation), free-roaming, cage-free chickens and eggs, seaweed-like kelp, raw walnuts, pumpkins seeds, hemp and chia seeds.

  • High sugar, processed foods – Cancer cells are primary sugar feeders and uptake glucose at 10-12 times the rate of healthy cells and they also suppress the immune system.

  • Foods with animal origin are showing a strong connection in certain cases of an increased risk of cancer.

The top foods that have been found to be protective for all cancers include the alliaceous family which includes garlic, leeks, and scallions.

Immediately following is the cruciferous family which includes broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale, arugula, bok choy, collards, watercress, and radishes. These vegetables have a profound ability to shield cells from several processes that can transform healthy cells into malignant tumors. The phytochemicals in those veggies are somewhat fragile so chewing and how you prepare them is important to protect some of these protective chemicals.

Some of the other many protective plants that have been found include wild blueberries, organic apples, blackberries, raspberries, red beans, artichoke hearts and many more.

Spices and herbs such as turmeric, garlic, ginger, chili peppers, mint, marjoram, thyme, basil, oregano and rosemary all have amazing food phytochemicals that add flavor to our foods at the same time protect our cells.

Other protective constituents have been discovered in plants such as green tea, pomegranates, many varieties of mushrooms and dark chocolate.

All of these foods have important fiber that assists the body in removing toxins and waste as well. Gluten-free grains including quinoa, millet, amaranth as well as nuts, seeds and flaxseeds, chia and hemp seeds are all very beneficial.


In this new study, the research team wanted to find out whether a fasting-mimicking diet could enhance the high-dose vitamin C tumor-fighting action by creating an environment that would be unsustainable for cancer cells but still safe for normal cells.

"Our first in vitro experiment showed remarkable effects," said Longo. "When used alone, fasting-mimicking diet or vitamin C alone reduced cancer cell growth and caused a minor increase in cancer cell death. But when used together, they had a dramatic effect, killing almost all cancerous cells."


Longo and his colleagues detected this strong effect only in cancer cells that had a mutation that is regarded as one of the most challenging targets in cancer research. These mutations in the KRAS gene signal the body is resisting most cancer-fighting treatments, and they reduce a patient's survival rate. KRAS mutations occur in approximately a quarter of all human cancers and are estimated to occur in up to half of all colorectal cancers.


The study also provided clues about why previous studies of vitamin C as a potential anticancer therapy showed limited efficacy. By itself, a vitamin C treatment appears to trigger the KRAS-mutated cells to protect cancer cells by increasing levels of ferritin, a protein that binds iron. But by reducing levels of ferritin, the scientists managed to increase vitamin C's toxicity for the cancer cells. Amid this finding, the scientists also discovered that colorectal cancer patients with high levels of the iron-binding protein have a lower chance of survival.

"In this study, we observed how fasting-mimicking diet cycles are able to increase the effect of pharmacological doses of vitamin C against KRAS-mutated cancers," said Maira Di Tano, a study co-author at the IFOM, FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology in Milan, Italy. "This occurs through the regulation of the levels of iron and of the molecular mechanisms involved in oxidative stress. The results particularly pointed to a gene that regulates iron levels: heme-oxygenase-1."


The research team's prior studies showed that fasting and a fasting-mimicking diet slow cancer's progression and make chemotherapy more effective in tumor cells, while protecting normal cells from chemotherapy-associated side effects. The combination enhances the immune system's anti-tumor response in breast cancer and melanoma mouse models.

The scientists believe cancer will eventually be treated with low-toxicity drugs in a manner similar to how antibiotics are used to treat infections that kill particular bacteria, but which can be substituted by other drugs if the first is not effective.

To move toward that goal, they say they needed to first test two hypotheses: that their non-toxic combination interventions would work in mice, and that it would look promising for human clinical trials. In this new study, they said that they've demonstrated both. At least five clinical trials, including one at USC on breast cancer and prostate cancer patients, are now investigating the effects of the fasting-mimicking diets in combination with different cancer-fighting drugs.


Additional authors include Franca Raucci and Claudio Vernieri of IFOM, FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology, Milan, Italy; Irene Caffa and Alessio Nencioni of the Department of Internal Medicine, University of Genoa and IRCCS Ospedale Policlinico San Martino, Genoa, Italy; Roberta Buono, Maura Fanti and Sebastian Brandhorst of the Longevity Institute, USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology and Department of Biological Sciences; Giuseppe Curigliano of the University of Milan, Department of Oncology and Hemato-Oncology and Division of Early Drug Development, European Institute of Oncology, IRCCS, Milan; Filippo De Braud of the University of Milan, Department of Oncology and Hemato-Oncology, and Medical Oncology Department, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale Tumori, Milan, Italy.



NOTE: While I have been studying Health and Nutrition for 10 years, I am not a doctor. It is recommended to get your doctors advice. I do highly recommend Holistic Doctors who take a more natural approach to sickness and disease.

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