Cancer and Ketogenic Diet | Ketogenic Diet Side effects

Cancer and Ketogenic Diet | Ketogenic Diet Side effects

A ketogenic diet as the name suggests- is a diet where ketones are generated in the body. This occurs when you eliminate carbohydrates from the diet and use fat as your main calorie source. A ketogenic diet derives approximately 90% of dietary calories from fat, 8% from protein, and just 2% from carbohydrates.

When you eat less than 50 grams of carbs a day, your body eventually runs out of fuel (blood sugar), this typically takes 3 to 4 days. Then you’ll start to break down protein and fat for energy, which can make you lose weight. This is called ketosis. It's important to note that the ketogenic diet is a short-term diet that's focused on weight loss rather than the pursuit of health benefits. It has many health benefits. It helps in weight reduction, reduced acne, polycystic ovarian disease, cardiovascular disorders, improved glycemic control, and seizure control.

Now a role in cancer control is coming up. Cancer cells use glucose as a preferential energy source. Due to defective metabolic pathways – they require a larger amount of glucose compared to the normal cells.

Since the ketogenic diet lacks carbohydrates- there is less glucose reaching blood and consequently these cells.

In the absence of sugars, cancer cells are forced to use fats as energy sources which produce a huge amount of oxidative stress on these cells. Fat metabolism is a lot more complicated than glucose metabolism and these cells already have defective metabolic pathways. So, cancer cell growth and metabolism are slowed.

Many animal studies suggest that a ketogenic diet for cancer could have preventive benefits. A meta-analysis of 12 studies that evaluated an unrestricted ketogenic diet compared with a standard high-carbohydrate diet found that the ketogenic diet resulted in decreased tumor growth in animals and prolonged their mean survival time

Most in-human data come from case reports and small studies, and though the results are mixed, most studies suggest a potential benefit. Importantly, all in-human studies to date show that the ketogenic diet is safe, with few adverse events. Most side effects that may occur are transient and mild and include fatigue, constipation, or diarrhea.

Preclinical data suggest that the ketogenic diet may be an effective adjunct to cancer treatment, though some cancer types, such as kidney cancer, may not benefit. No in-human studies have found that the ketogenic diet is harmful to patients, even while undergoing conventional treatment, though a rise in cholesterol levels may occur.

Patients who wish to adopt the ketogenic diet should seek the help of a nutritionist to ensure that their micronutrient needs are satisfied and that they are consuming the appropriate proportions of macronutrients. Patients may need to supplement their diet with vitamins, minerals, or other micronutrient supplements depending on their dietary patterns or comorbidities.

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