A Love Letter to John McCain: Seyfried and Co.’s Anti-Cancer Formula

thomas seyfried anti-cancer

Boston College biology professor Dr. Thomas Seyfried

May 2018 update: The answer to my question at the end of this post is “Yes  it seems that you can get into ketosis on a plant-based diet.” Check out Miriam Kalamian and her “Keto for Cancer” book here.  Long overnight fasts seem to be a good way to kickstart the process.  Lupper, anyone?

For more on the metabolic approach to managing cancer, start with this very short summary of the New York Times’ recent piece.  Talk with your oncologist and share Seyfried’s most recent article . Ask your oncologist to contact Seyfried at thomas.seyfried@bc.edu.

Dear Senator,

Meet the Moses of the metabolic movement, Dr. Thomas Seyfried. 

He’s leading a tribe of distinguished scientists who are looking at cancer with a new lens. Their anti-cancer approach treats cancer as a metabolic disease.

Cancer cells metabolize, or burn, fuel for energy in a faulty manner. They have a defective engine, their mitochondria, and burn glucose and glutamine, an amino acid, in a way that supports cancer cells’ eternal growth. Their cell messaging systems–the pathways through which cells send messages to multiply and divide and ultimately die, like all normal cells should– have gone kerflouey.

That’s what happens in cancer, say Seyfried and others. And here’s how they suggest treating aggressive tumors, including metastatic cancers and your glioblastoma, to kill off tumor cells and restore your mitochondria to good health:
1/ Get your body into ketosis–the state in which your cells burn fat bodies (ketones) for fuel. While normal cells can survive on fats, ” (t)umor cells have difficulty using ketone bodies and fats for fuel when glucose is reduced,” he says.
2/ Get metabolic health practitioners on board, and add drugs (such as 2 deoxy-D-glucose) and dietary changes to reduce glucose and glutamine. Reach out to

  • Dr. Adrienne Scheck, PhD, a brain tumor researcher in Phoenix 
  •  Dr. Craig Thompson, the president and chief executive of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, or his colleague, Dr. Lewis Cantley, director of the Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medical College, or Dr. Chi Van Dang, director of the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Naturopath Dr. Kara Fitzgerald in Newton, CT or naturopath Dr. Natasha Winters
  • Dr. Jeanne Wallace, PhD, a nutritional consultant who has been treating patients with brain cancer for two decades.  She’s got many success stories. Remember Dr. David Servan-Schreiber, the MD/PhD author of “Anti-Cancer:  A New Way of Life” who survived 19 years with a deadly form of brain cancer? Wallace was his guru.
3/ Then, once you’re in ketosis, add some hyperbaric oxygen therapy to kill tumor cells. Intravenous vitamin C and the drug dichloroacetate (DCA) may also be helpful, he says.
He also suggests some yoga or deep breathing or meditation or whatever you may need to manage psychological stress. It’s a killer. Stress increases the underlying inflammation that drives cancer growth.
Therapeutic Ketosis: How to Get There?
A long fast will surely kick start the ketosis process. “It usually takes about 72 hours of water-only fasting to reduce glucose and elevate blood ketones, ” Seyfried says. 
Other suggestions include:
  • a calorie-reduced, low carbohydrate, high fat ketogenic diet–in which you eat fats only, and a small amount, or
  • intermittent fasting (IF)–such as fasting a few days a week or long, overnight fasts several times weekly (16 hours a day of fasting, to hedge your bets, leaving an 8 hour window for food. ) 
You will also need one of these— a way to calculate your glucose ketone index (GKI) to know if your body is in what doctors call “therapeutic ketosis.” 
And what about a plant-based diet?
Senator, have you seen the research showing that certain compounds in plants–certain polyphenols, such as the flavonoids quercetin, kaempferol, myricetin and fisetin–selectively target tumor cells, including stem cells, for destruction? Many polyphenols along with plant fiber also help slow absorption of glucose. Many inhibit glutamine or induce autophagy, the housekeeping process by which your body sweeps up bad cells. In short, phytonutrients in plants and their fiber work together to extinguish the inflammation that underlies much modern disease, including the proliferation of cancer cells. 
So here’s the million dollar question: Let’s say you stick to eating nonstarchy plants and combine that with some intermittent fasting. Can you get into ketosis that way?
Nobody I’ve asked seems to know the answer to the question.
Let’s put it to this blog’s 3000+ followers.  Has anybody achieved ketosis with a plant-based diet and intermittent fasting? If so, please ante up your love notes for the Senator. 

4 thoughts on “A Love Letter to John McCain: Seyfried and Co.’s Anti-Cancer Formula

  1. Pingback: Brain Tumor Treated Naturally – Wellness Jim

  2. Pingback: Anti-Cancer News: The New York Times on Feeding Cancer | Eat and Beat Cancer

  3. Just use some exogenous ketones such as ketone esters or ketone salts like beta-hydroxybutyrate, this will increase the number of ketones in your blood system regardless of what your diet is.

    Obviously, for cancer, you want to reduce your glucose as much as possible, so its best to eat a ketogenic diet, but a vegetarian diet without fruits or starches with exogenous ketos will also provide low glucose – high ketone blood levels.


  4. Many years ago I cared for a friend who had leukaemia. She had a bone-marrow transplant but unfortunately died about 6 weeks later. I have been studying LCHF way of eating to reverse type 2 diabetes and came across this post. I wish I’d known about fighting cancer with low carb & fasting. I believe she would have recovered if this information had been available for her. Keep up the great work you’re doing. Regards Carol


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s