Can Ketones Feed Cancer?

Can ketones feed cancer? I asked an expert, and here’s what he told me. 

Professor Thomas Seyfried’s Discussion on Cancer: (Layperson’s Version)

Professor Thomas Seyfried’s Discussion on Cancer:


0:12 Professor Thomas Seyfried
1:12 Can cancer cells use ketones? 
3:47 Ketones and tumors 
3:58 Can ketones feed cancer?

In this video, we’re going to talk about ketones and cancer. I want to answer the question, “can ketones feed cancer?”

I actually contacted professor Thomas Seyfried to help me with this question, and this video is based on what he told me. Professor Thomas Seyfried is an expert on cancer and ketones. 

Ketones and fatty acids might be used in some slow-growing tumor cells that have retained some level of respiratory capacity. 

What does that mean?
There is one big difference between a cancer cell and a normal cell. That difference is how that cell is using its fuel. In a normal cell, you have this machine called the respiratory chain that basically takes fuel and turns it into something the body can use to run all of the different metabolic processes. Oxygen is the key thing in this process. 

When this system is damaged, there is no oxygen. So, how do the cells turn oxygen into energy? They have a plan B. They convert over to a different mechanism where they ferment glucose and glutamine, which is a specific type of amino acid. So, cancer cells ferment glucose and glutamine. This alternative mechanism doesn’t need oxygen. 

In other words, unless the cancer cell has retained some of the respiratory chain function, it could potentially use some ketones and fatty acids. 

From all of his research, Professor Thomas Seyfried has found that all tumors show this pattern of the damaged respiratory chain. 

Professor Thomas Seyfried also said that ketones and fatty acids could support the cell’s plan B. But, fatty acids can not support in vitro (outside of the body) tumor cell growth in the absence of glucose-glutamine. 

So, if you were to raise your carbohydrate level and provide glucose or glutamine, and you were also burning ketones, or taking ketones, some tumor cells could potentially use ketones as part of the fuel. But, if you keep the glucose and glutamine very low, the cancer cells can’t support tumor growth.

Dr. Eric Berg DC Bio:
Dr. Berg, 53 years of age is a chiropractor who specializes in Healthy Ketosis & Intermittent Fasting. He is the author of The New Body Type Guide and other books published by KB Publishing. He has taught students nutrition as an adjunct professor at Howard University. He no longer practices, but focuses on health education through social media.


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Dr. Eric Berg received his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1988. His use of “doctor” or “Dr.” in relation to himself solely refers to that degree. Dr. Berg is a licensed chiropractor in Virginia, California, and Louisiana, but he no longer practices chiropractic in any state and does not see patients so he can focus on educating people as a full time activity, yet he maintains an active license. This video is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Berg and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The Health & Wellness, Dr. Berg Nutritionals and Dr. Eric Berg, D.C. are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services or product you obtain through this video or site.

Thanks for watching! I hope this video helps you better understand ketones and cancer, and also answers the question, “can ketones feed cancer.”
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