Video Transcript: How Ketones Reduce Glucose and Starve Cancer Cells
That’s really the most important part. The insulin. Keeping insulin levels low because insulin is a growth hormone. These cancer cells require the insulin. They require the insulin because they require the insulin for the glucose to help bring it in the cells. If you can keep your insulin requirements and insulin stimulation very low, which is easy to do if you’re following a ketogenic diet, especially a plant-based.
Why do I say especially a plant based? I say that—I’m Jewish. I’m going to answer my own questions. Just, get over it. I say that because animal protein stimulates insulin. So, that was interesting for me to learn about because I started doing ketogenic diets with my patients and I just thought carbohydrates stimulated insulin, and high ketone levels ultimately will stimulate insulin to reduce the ketones, so that you don’t go into ketoacidosis.
But, animal protein stimulates insulin. Even fish; even eggs. There are graphs of how much insulin or how insulinemic or how insulin-producing are foods. There are graphs; and you’ll see that peanut butter produces a lot less insulin for the same amount of protein than a tuna steak or a beef steak. So, animal protein stimulates a lot more insulin than plant protein.
And that’s one reason why a plant-based ketogenic diet, especially for cancer, is better. Another reason that it’s better is because when you cook animal protein, on fire, which is how a lot of people like to cook their animal protein, as opposed to stewing like in water. If it’s in water it’s a different story, but if it’s grilled, and barbecued, which is how most people like to cook their meat and fish, you’re creating something called heterocyclic amines, which are carcinogenic in their own right.
But ketones starve cancer cells of adequate glucose. If you’re predominantly fueling yourself, and it’s never 100%, and that involves biochemistry, but if you are predominantly burning fatty acids and ketones, you’re going to starve your cancer cells of adequate food. That’s a good thing.
Ketones happen to be a more efficient fuel because there’s two less steps to get the ketones into the mitochondria—into the cell to the mitochondria. There’s more ATP production, which is the fuel, and there’s less ROS, reactive oxygen species. So, reactive oxygen species are just a byproduct of burning oxygen, right?
We have to have oxygen. So, there’s always going to be some ROS and there’s a delicate balance between ROS and antioxidants. We produce our own antioxidants, right? But if you can have a lot of energy and produce half the amount of reactive oxygen species, there’s going to be less damage to the mitochondria anyway. Just by doing that.
So, it’s very protective, and we know from studies with MS and with other degenerative neurological diseases, that ketones are neuroprotective. It turns on more antioxidants. You actually require less antioxidants and your CoQ10 levels are better, your requirement for vitamin C is lowered, because those things are required for scavenging the reactive oxygen species.
I’m not going to get into all the biochemistry. I don’t want to lose you guys on that. What you just need to know is that there’s a lot of good things that happen when you become fat adapted and start fueling your body and your brain with ketones and fats.