Scientific proof emerges from the heart of the conventional scientific establishment, not from the fringes of alternative medicine. A book published two years ago called Cancer as a Metabolic Disease, written by Thomas N. Seyfried, PhD.
Thomas N. Seyfried, PhD – Academic Profile – Boston College
“Our research program focuses on mechanisms by which metabolic therapy manages chronic diseases such as epilepsy, neurodegenerative lipid storage diseases, and cancer. The metabolic therapies include caloric restriction, fasting, and ketogenic diets. Our approach is based on the idea that compensatory metabolic pathways are capable of modifying the pathogenesis of complex diseases. Global shifts in metabolic environment can neutralize molecular pathology. In the case of cancer, these therapies target and kill tumor cells while enhancing the physiological health of normal cells. The neurochemical and genetic mechanisms of these phenomena are under investigation in novel animal models and include the processes of inflammation, cellular physiology, angiogenesis, and lipid biochemistry.”
Dr. Seyfried exposes the failure of the DNA theory and reveals the true cause of cancer. He was formerly a cancer researcher at Yale University, is currently a full professor of biology at Boston College, and is the author of more than 150 PubMed-indexed scientific articles. He doesn’t advocate or practice alternative medicine. As far as I can gather, he doesn’t have much interest in it. He’s “just” an unbiased scientist seeking the truth, wherever it may lead.
What he’s found is that cancer is caused by damaged mitochondria, not damaged DNA. Mitochondria are sometimes called the cell’s batteries or energy factories. They are delicate, complicated pieces of cell machinery that convert the foods we eat – fats, proteins and carbohydrates – into horsepower that enables us to move, breathe, think – to do everything we do.
In some ways, a car engine might be a better analogy than a battery. Your food is like gasoline in a car. It makes the car move – but how? By way of an engine that converts gasoline into energy, similar to the way mitochondria convert food molecules into energy. Healthy mitochondria break open food molecules and use their electrons – their electrical energy – to create ATP molecules that store the energy until the cell needs it to do something. At the end of the ATP assembly line that exists inside a mitochondrion, oxygen waits to bind with the electrons to form water, a harmless byproduct of this energy production process.
The process is called oxidative phosphorylation or simply respiration. Respiration is the process by which a healthy cell generates energy. As Dr. Seyfried demonstrates in his book – almost beyond doubt – the fundamental difference between a healthy cell and a cancer cell is the way they make energy.
In other words, cancer is not a genetic disease, it’s a mitochondrial disease.
Cancer cells are different: They make energy by fermentation, not respiration. In this process, the mitochondria turn glucose i.e. sugar (mainly from carbohydrates) into small quantities of energy.
Can a cancer cell live on anything else besides carbs? Yes, to some degree. The mitochondria can ferment certain parts of proteins (specifically an amino acid called glutamine), but it can’t ferment fats at all. Carbohydrates and especially sugar are the foods cancer needs to feed on.
Fermentation is a primitive, fallback process for generating energy that the mitochondria will use only when they’re damaged and unable to perform respiration – or when there’s a temporary lack of oxygen, a key component in the normal respiration process.
Here’s a neat fact: deep sea diving mammals like whales generate energy by respiration – using oxygen – when they’re on the surface. But when they’re under water for long period they generate oxygen by fermentation. As I said, it’s a backup energy generator.
No cell that’s working right would ever fall back on fermentation when oxygen is available. Fermentation is inefficient. It doesn’t produce nearly as much energy and creates toxic byproducts – lactic acid and ammonia.
Cancer cells are different – they’re sick – not because their DNA is damaged but because they use fermentation even when plenty of oxygen is around. That’s what Dr. Seyfried means when he posits that cancer is a metabolic disease rather than a genetic disease.
Why do good mitochondria go bad?
So what is it that causes the mitochondria in healthy cells to go haywire and resort to the second-rate fermentation process? According to Dr. Seyfried, the most likely source of the damage is the same list of carcinogens we’re all familiar with – tobacco smoking, radiation, toxic chemicals, viruses… the usual suspects.
The respiration “machinery” inside the mitochondria is just as delicate as the famous DNA double helix inside the cells’ nucleus. When it’s disabled, the cell may die, but some cells are able to fall back on fermentation and stay alive. Cells that turn permanently to fermentation become chronically inflamed and flooded with toxic lactic acid.
But these damaged – cancerous – cells are able to thrive and replicate as long as the patient provides them with an abundant supply of glucose. In essence, people who eat a carbohydrate-rich diet are making themselves fertile ground for cancer. If you deny them glucose, it’s a challenge for cancer cells to stay alive. Those that do survive can most likely be managed (i.e. eliminated) by your immune system.
So what’s the proof?
Dr. Seyfried’s book cites over a thousand scientific references. All I’ve given you is a quick gloss of what he has to say. But his most telling piece of proof is easy to explain and understand.
When mitochondria from cancer cells are fused with normal cells – those with healthy DNA in their nuclei – and then injected into animals, 97% of them develop tumors. In other words, cancerous mitochondria turn healthy cells into cancer cells. No genetic damage needed. DNA didn’t cause these cancers.
And the process works in reverse: If you transfer mitochondria from healthy cells into tumor cells, it reduces cancerous behavior and reduces tumor formation.
He cites other research showing that if you transplant a nucleus containing mutations from a cancer cell into a normal cell from which the nucleus has been removed, the process does not produce cancer cells. But if you put a normal nucleus into a cancer cell, the cell remains cancerous and can generate tumors.
Case closed. There’s no question about it: When it comes to cancer, damaged mitochondria are in the driver’s seat, not damaged DNA.
“But wait,” you might say, if you know anything about mainstream cancer research. “The DNA in cancer cells is loaded with mutations. How can it be that DNA damage has nothing to do with cancer?”
The most likely explanation is that most of the damage to DNA comes AFTER the damage to mitochondria, when the cell is sick and the fermentation process is bombarding the nucleus with massive amounts of toxic fermentation byproducts.