Episode #2


Why Cancer May Not be What You Thought; Ketogenic Diets, Intermittent Fasting, and Synergistic Drug Diet Combinations for the Prevention and Treatment of Cancer -- A Morning with Thomas Seyfried, PhD

Written by Travis Christofferson

This episode features cancer researcher Thomas Seyfried. Dr. Seyfried has constructed a new theory of cancer contending that cancer originates from metabolic dysfuction rather than genetic mutations. He summerized his theory in his 2012 book Cancer as a Metabolic Disease. His ideas may someday completely reconfigure cancer therapy as we know it -- for the better.

In this episode you will learn:

  • About the Somatic Mutation Theory of Cancer [8:00]
  • The events that led Dr. Seyfried to believe that the consensus view of cancer was wrong [13:19]
  • The discovery that ketogenic diets slow the growth of cancer in mice [13:19]
  • The compelling series of nuclear transfer experiments that support the metabolic theory of cancer [18:20] (see explanation of experiments below)
  • Mitochondrial transfer experiments provide evidence that cancer is driven by mitochondrial dysfunction [20:34]
  • Why the theory of cancer matters so much [28:30]
  • How, sadly, economics and personal incentives might be inhibiting progress [29:00]
  • Good therapies will incite change [30:24]
  • What is metabolic cancer therapy [34:45]
  • The Press Pulse model of cancer therapy [38:15]
  • Ketogenic cancer therapy clinical trials are difficult and need to be done cautiously [42:00]
  • How far can we push the ketogenic diet; can blood glucose be brought to extremely low levels and ketones be supplemented to bring cancer cells to a metabolic “tipping point” [45:40]
  • How the ketogenic diet can potentially make other cancer drugs and therapies more effective and less toxic [49:23]
  • What would Dr. Seyfried do if he was diagnosed with a cancer that was nonresponsive to standard of care cancer therapy [51:20]
  • Metabolic therapies to prevent recurrence [55.00]
  • Metabolic therapies for cancer prevention [54:00]
  • A new way to reign in health care spending while improving outcomes [59:25]

Listen Now!


Glossery of Terms Used:

Cytoplasm: the space within the cell outside of the nucleus where mitochondria exsist.

Gangliosides: Gangliosides are a class of lipid molecules (fats) that are concentrated in the brain. They are typically involved in cell to cell communication.

Germline: The germline is simply the chromosomes (genes) you inherited from your mother and father.

Somatic: The word somatic refers to the soma, also known as your body. Somatic tissue is all body tissue outside of the germline.

Nucleus: The spherical membrane containing all of your DNA.

Mutations: Damage to your DNA. Naturally, this comes in a variety of forms and Tom mentions a few of the types.

Fermentation: Energy generation that does not require oxygen and occurs outside of the mitochondria. This accounts for about 10% of the energy generated within normal cells. Cancer cells, however, rely much more heavily on this method of energy generation.

Mitochondria: Cellular organelles where oxidative (requiring oxygen) energy generation takes place. The cell generates 90% of its energy requirements this way. The cell has on average about 2000 mitochondria. The Metabolic Theory of Cancer contends cancer begins with damage to mitochondria followed by a loss of oxidative energy generation within the mitochondria. The illustration below summarizes the Metabolic Theory of Cancer. Critically, it contends that mutations begin after cancer has already begun.

The Metabolic Theory of Cancer


 Nuclear Transfer Experiments: These are the series of experiments that provide the most compelling evidence for the Metabolic Theory of Cancer. They consist of transferring a nucleus from one cell (cancerous or normal) into a cell with its nucleus removed (cancerous or normal). The results provide evidence as to what is driving cancer, the nucleus, with all the DNA, or the cytoplasm, where all the mitochondria reside. The illustration summarizes the experiments:

Nuclear Transfer Experiments