Nutrition in cancer

Nutrition in cancer

Nutrition in cancer

Alone with a diet, no tumor can be defeated. However, researchers have found that a low carbohydrate and high fat diet can help inhibit the growth of cancer cells .

ketogenic diet
ketogenic diet

Ketogenic diet in cancer – ketogenic diet in cancer

After diseases of the cardiovascular system cancer is the second most common diagnosis in Germany. In 2010, according to the Robert Koch Institute, around 450,000 people will contract cancer in Germany. Cancer is not a homogeneous disease. To date, more than 200 different cancers are known, which differ for example by affected organs or cell structures and therefore can have completely different effects on the organism. Equally different are the complaints that emanate from them.

All malignant tumors have one thing in common: they are immortal in contrast to healthy cells. While normally cells build and break down in a controlled manner, tumor cells are not subject to programmed cell death (apoptosis), which is used by healthy tissue to reject diseased cells. Tumor cells are free to multiply and spread their destructive genetic defect. Unlike healthy cells, they can even invade adjacent tissue and pass daughter cells (metastases) through the bloodstream to other organs. All of this happens at the expense of the body because the tumor cells alter the metabolism in their favor to promote their growth. They form messengers such as cytokines and thus accelerate the protein breakdown of the body. This can be twice as high as in healthy people and is mainly at the expense of muscle protein (wasting). In addition, the degradation of body fat increases and the glucose utilization is significantly reduced by a tumor-induced insulin resistance.

ketogenic diet
ketogenic diet

Enable good nutritional status

At the same time, the patients also suffer from various tumor-specific messenger substances with loss of appetite and change in the taste sensation. The often very serious side effects of various cancer treatments can further significantly affect the nutritional status. In addition to pain, the most dreaded consequences of cancer are tumor-related loss of appetite (anorexia) and resulting wasting (cachexia). After all, cachexia is second only to sepsis (infection with immune system failure) and even the only cause of cancer in 10-20 percent. An important goal of nutritional therapy in oncological patients is therefore to maintain or re-establish a good nutritional status and thus to improve tolerance to therapies,

active against cancer

Patients’ fear of the disease and the desire to do something themselves often leads to dubious “cancer diets” that are supposed to starve, destroy or cure the cancer. Many of these diets are detrimental to health because they further weaken the already exhausted organism or lead to deficiency symptoms and undersupply. At best, they are insufficient or poorly adapted to individual needs. It is known that on the one hand a good nutritional status can significantly improve the prognosis and on the other hand a deficiency condition can lead to the discontinuation of necessary therapies. Unfortunately, for a long time, little or no attention was paid to this finding: “Eat what you want” or “eat as you always have”, were the general recommendations.

Carbohydrates, especially glucose, play a major role in the metabolism of oncological patients and tumor cells. Until recently, sugar solutions such as maltodextrin or sugar fortified foods and drinks were thought to be a very good source of energy for patients. Today, it is known that muscle and liver do not sufficiently utilize glucose at all and tissues can not create adequate glycogen stores. The much-needed energy evaporates, so to speak unused. In contrast, however, muscle cells can absorb, store, or use fatty acids much better than healthy people. The protein metabolism and requirements are also changing. Since the protein turnover rate is greatly increased by tumors, the protein requirement increases to about

20 EFFECTIVE FOODS AGAINST CANCER
20 EFFECTIVE FOODS AGAINST CANCER

Tumor cells like glucose

Not only the metabolism of the body’s tissues is changed and has an impact on the need. The tumor itself has a metabolism different from a healthy cell. Although malignant cells consume glucose for their energy production like healthy cells, unlike these, most tumor cells “ferment” sugar. That is, they metabolize it with virtually no oxygen (aerobic glycolysis), even when oxygen is available. The energy yield is thus 15 times lower than by a normal oxidation, but the same tumor cells by a 20-30-fold higher intake of glucose, regardless of the food supply. The end product of this aerobic glycolysis is lactate, which simultaneously performs protective functions for the tumor cells. Fats and their building blocks, the fatty acids,

Ketogenic diet as a therapy?

This metabolic abnormality of “fermentation” has already been described in 1924 by the Nobel Prize winner Otto Heinrich Warburg. The findings are the basis for the theory of the ketogenic diet. In an extremely high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet, ketone bodies are formed, which in high concentrations can reduce the glucose uptake and utilization of malignant cells and thereby kill them. This observation is all the more important as tumors with increasing aggressiveness use more and more glucose as the only possible source of energy. That is, obstruction of glucose degradation can inhibit tumor growth. At the same time prevent the ketone body protein breakdown and thus the dreaded muscle wasting. There are also no insulin spikes due to the extremely low carbohydrate diet – insulin and the related insulin-like growth factor (IGF1) are considered to be growth promoters of tumor cells. Fat or fatty acids can also counteract inflammatory reactions: omega-3 fatty acids or their plant relatives, the alpha-linolenic acid, have a high anti-inflammatory potential.

Cancer: How Food Can Protect
Cancer: How Food Can Protect

No long-term studies on “cancer diets” yet

Based on these findings, radically low carbohydrate, so-called ketogenic diets are promoted to combat cancer. About 10 grams of carbohydrates are allowed per 1000 kcal, while 70-75 percent of calories should be consumed as fat, of which 20-30 percent are medium-chain fats (MCT) and about 0.5-1 g eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). an omega-3 fatty acid. The protein intake should account for 21 percent of calories. In vitro and in animal experiments, some successes have already been recorded. At the University of Würzburg, a study was conducted with breast cancer patients. Single observations of cancer patients give rise to hope, the researchers said that this form of nutrition could halt or at least slow down the progression of a tumor disease.

However, long-term results of such a ketogenic diet as a cancer therapy are not yet available. It is also not yet known if the altered metabolic state can lead to interactions with drugs or other therapeutics. Researchers at the University of Würzburg therefore recommend that patients who wish to try out this diet have a three-month observation period under strict medical supervision. Also considered to be a ketogenic diet is the TKTL1 anti-cancer diet (Dr. Johannes Coy. His thesis is that the TKTL1 gene in cancer patients influence the energy metabolism of the tumor cells and can be counteracted with appropriate nutrition. Scientifically controversial here, however, the question of whether the detection of the gene can actually give an indication of the effectiveness of the diet, to which Coy special food and nutritional supplements are needed. The German Cancer Society warns in a press release in March 2010 before a ketogenic diet as an anti-cancer diet, since apart from animal experiments so far no clinical studies are available. It is also regarded by other scientists as “dishonest and unsound”, especially since this diet may only be carried out under strict medical supervision and possible adverse effects on the tumor patient can not be ruled out.

Adapt nutritional recommendations to patients

The recommendations to eat particularly high in fat and protein, so today seem undisputed. But what do these findings mean for practice? We do not eat proteins or carbohydrates, but we have quark, eggs, meat, potatoes or bread on the plate. Taste preferences, aversions, appetite, mood or social environment determine the choice of food. In oncological patients, the choice of food is also crucially influenced by their individual constitution, such as nausea, odor and taste change, loss of appetite or discomfort. To meet these personal preferences or aversions is the ultimate goal of nutritional therapy – to adapt it to scientific findings is the royal road to individual counseling. Additions of, for example, linseed oil, Butter, cream or MCT fats at all meals in foods and drinks bring caloric benefit and meet the requirement for a high-fat diet. In addition, fats and oils can neutralize unpleasant taste and odor. Snacks such as fruit yoghurt or quark enriched with cream provide the patients with protein and fat. Very important is the quality and composition of fats and fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids (in linseed, rapeseed and walnut oil, fatty fish such as mackerel or herring) inhibit tumor growth and improve nutritional status, while omega-6 fatty acids (eg sunflower oil, arachidonic acid in meat) inhibit tumor growth and growth rather stimulate metastasis. Cream or MCT fats at all meals in food and drinks bring caloric benefit and meet the requirement for a high-fat diet. In addition, fats and oils can neutralize unpleasant taste and odor. Snacks such as fruit yoghurt or quark enriched with cream provide the patients with protein and fat. Very important is the quality and composition of fats and fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids (in linseed, rapeseed and walnut oil, fatty fish such as mackerel or herring) inhibit tumor growth and improve nutritional status, while omega-6 fatty acids (eg sunflower oil, arachidonic acid in meat) inhibit tumor growth and growth rather stimulate metastasis. Cream or MCT fats at all meals in food and drinks bring caloric benefit and meet the requirement for a high-fat diet. In addition, fats and oils can neutralize unpleasant taste and odor. Snacks such as fruit yoghurt or quark enriched with cream provide the patients with protein and fat. Very important is the quality and composition of fats and fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids (in linseed, rapeseed and walnut oil, fatty fish such as mackerel or herring) inhibit tumor growth and improve nutritional status, while omega-6 fatty acids (eg sunflower oil, arachidonic acid in meat) inhibit tumor growth and growth rather stimulate metastasis. Snacks such as fruit yoghurt or quark enriched with cream provide the patients with protein and fat. Very important is the quality and composition of fats and fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids (in linseed, rapeseed and walnut oil, fatty fish such as mackerel or herring) inhibit tumor growth and improve nutritional status, while omega-6 fatty acids (eg sunflower oil, arachidonic acid in meat) inhibit tumor growth and growth rather stimulate metastasis. Snacks such as fruit yoghurt or quark enriched with cream provide the patients with protein and fat. Very important is the quality and composition of fats and fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids (in linseed, rapeseed and walnut oil, fatty fish such as mackerel or herring) inhibit tumor growth and improve nutritional status, while omega-6 fatty acids (eg sunflower oil, arachidonic acid in meat) inhibit tumor growth and growth rather stimulate metastasis.

Cancer: How Food Can Protect
Cancer: How Food Can Protect

Supplementary food can compensate for deficits

There are now supplementary foods for oncologically and malnourished patients with high fat (omega-3 fatty acids) and protein content. The additional foods can be served as a snack or mixed in desserts or main courses. They are offered in various acceptable flavors. Also, it is available as coffee or salty soup. With a high calorie content, they also have a low volume, so they are suitable as a small snack even for non-appetite patients. Most of these additional foods can also be used to enhance normal food.

When loss of appetite or aversion to the desirable amount of fat, especially fish oil, is not achieved, fish oil capsules can be helpful as a dietary supplement. With other supplements such as vitamins and minerals, however, caution is advised as they are easily overdosed. For example, high doses of antioxidants can reduce the effect of radiation. For oncological patients, there are special combination preparations during the therapy, which should not be recommended in general, but only after individual examination by the doctor or nutrition therapist. There is a special need for fat-soluble vitamins after surgery in the gastrointestinal tract and permanent diarrhea. Here supplements should be given according to the special requirements. Selenium plays a special role, which can even reduce the side effects of chemotherapy. The amount of dosage should be determined by the attending physician.

Defeat the cancer with food?

Also noteworthy are the foods called “nutraceuticals” which are said to have both anticancer and immunomodulatory effects. Oncologists Richard Béliveau and Denis Gingras have compiled a series of studies in their book “Cancer cells like no raspberries”, which show that foods such as cabbage, onions, garlic, soy, fat fish, berries, turmeric or green tea, either alone or together, form cancer cells can fight. To what extent this prevention and therapy overlap, is an open question; It is certainly not a mistake to include these foods in nutritional therapy. For all dietary recommendations and possible restrictions, however, the patient’s quality of life has priority. When a patient feels like some chocolate, a piece of cake or an ice cream, he should and can eat it with pleasure and pleasure. This pats the psyche a bit, suffering from the disease and the therapy as much as the body.

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