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#235: Fasting, Protein Restriction & Keto For Cancer w/ Miriam Kalamian, MS, CNS

by Deanna Mutzel, DC


Ketones VS Glucose in the Brain, Press Pulse Therapy

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Keto for Cancer: Ketogenic Metabolic Therapy as a Targeted Nutritional Strategy

The Metabolic Approach to Cancer: Integrating Deep Nutrition, the Ketogenic Diet, and Nontoxic Bio-Individualized Therapies

Tripping over the Truth: How the Metabolic Theory of Cancer Is Overturning One of Medicine's Most Entrenched Paradigms

About Miriam Kalamian:

Miriam Kalamian is the author of Keto for Cancer, a guide with tips and strategies for using the keto diet for cancer management.


Keto for Cancer book

Charlie Foundation
Dietary Guidelines recommendation feedback link

Miriam’s TEDx

Show Notes

04:30 Miriam accidentally discovered the therapeutic ketogenic diet as her 7 year old son, with a brain tumor, was about to enter palliative care.

05:33 After 3 months of a ketogenic diet and a weak chemo drug, the tumor shrank by 10 to 15%. The tumor had been out of control and growing rapidly.  Neither chemo nor surgery had slowed the growth.

07:24 They were doing the diet incorrectly, using keto and caloric restriction, yet it worked. Her son had hypothalamic obesity from damage from the tumor, so the calorie restriction worked for her son by keeping his insulin lowered. This  was despite the ongoing damage to the hypothalamus.

09:26 Caloric restriction during ketosis impacts angiogenesis. The nutrient sensing pathways are being told that there are not the proper nutrients for growth, so shut down the aberrant network that was created to feed the tumor.

10:48 Starving cancer of glucose is the simple view. There are metabolic pathways that are dysregulated in cancer, like the mTOR pathway. The IGF-1 pathway is upregulated. It signals the cancer cell to grow.

12:10 The ketogenic diet is a systems approach. For any intervention to be successful, it must be a systems approach.

13:08 Limiting protein is essential to a successful ketogenic diet for cancer. If protein is not limited, mTOR is stimulated throughout the system. With cancer treatment, keep mTOR upregulation specific to muscle tissue. Do resistance training and some cardio. Even athletes do not need as much protein as they think they do. You can still build muscle with limited protein.

17:12 There is room for eating seasonal fruit, berries and vegetables on the ketogenic diet. Once the diet is dialed in, even with cancer, there is leeway.

18:14 Miriam has seen the worst cancer outcomes in people who eat 10 to 12 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. We are designed to take in a number of different foods.

21:35 There is more thermogenesis when you burn fat.

23:38 1.0 grams per kilogram of body weight is sufficient protein. Lean body mass is a better gauge for determining the dietary allowance of protein.

25:32 Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding need to work with a specialist if they are doing a ketogenic diet for any reason. Protein needs will be greater and have micronutrient needs that may not be met.

29:14 High fat diet studies do not use ketogenic diets. A high fat diet in mouse studies is generally around 45% fat and 30% carbohydrate. 15% of the carbohydrate is glucose and fructose and 15% is straight starch, glucose. They use mice that are genetically modified to become obese and diabetic.

36:27 There is a short comment period for the government dietary guidelines that ends that the end of March. Comment!

37:38 The brain needs the energy equivalent of 130 grams of sugar, not 130 grams of carbohydrates. Sixty to 70 percent of this need can be met with ketones. Our bodies make the needed glucose.

39:34 A modified Atkins or a more liberalized ketogenic diet, is about 12 milligrams per deciliter higher in glucose on the average, which may mean the difference between a tumor growing or not growing.

40:05 Cancer robs glutamine from its neighbors.

42:29 Press Pulse Therapy is being researched for management of glutamine. You press with the diet and pulse with things that restrict glucose further: 2-deoxyglucose or dichloroacetate. Glutamine is needed by our immune systems.

45:26 Keto is not the cure for cancer. It is an adjunct therapy.

45:50 In brain cancer, the results of ketogenic diet therapy is dramatic and people live many years past the initial prognosis.

47:20 You change the terrain to be inhospitable to cancer growth. It is not just about doing the ketogenic diet, but changing the lifestyle.

49:37 The ketogenic diet brought Miriam and her husband 6 ½ years of good quality of life time with their son before he died.

51:12 There may be cancers that do not respond to the ketogenic diet.

53:22 Drug therapies cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is of little cost to upgrade the quality of your food and adjust your diet.

56:17 Fasting helps with housekeeping, clearing out dead cells. A 12 day fast will not get rid of your cancer, but it may help prevent cancer by wiping out cells before they start to build up to cancer. A week or 5 day fast before cancer surgery can be helpful.

57:45 In a case study in Egypt of glioblastoma multiforme, a very aggressive form of brain cancer, after a few weeks of fasting, caloric restriction and ketosis, the surgery to remove the tumor had much better results than the tumors that are removed immediately upon discovery.

01:00:07 Temozolomide (Temodar) may give methylating patients 2 ½ months. Ketogenic diet can give you years. Temodar can turn a tumor with 50 to 60 mutations, classic in a GBM, into a tumor with over 1000 mutations.

01:07:44 A Diet Skeptics and Saboteur presentation is on Miriam’s website. It is empowering.

01:08:42 A ketogenic diet has potential for improving quality of ageing. The ketogenic diet mimics fasting. Fasting is a state of low nutrition availability.

01:15:02 Strong abs or a daily walk makes for less constipation. Fiber should be a natural part of your diet. Ketogenic diet is no more constipating than a regular diet. For constipation, supplement with magnesium oxide or, better yet, magnesium citrate.

01:18:06 How you sit on the toilet makes a difference in defecation. Drink enough water. Take in enough salt to keep your electrolytes in balance. It is whole body regulation.

01:19:09 The advised morning routine for someone with cancer. Get up at the same time every day. Drink water when you get up. If you drink coffee or tea, make it a Bulletproof style coffee or tea. Allow this to delay your first meal. Meditate in some way, even if it means just following your breath.

01:26:12 Miriam’s favorite herbs or nutrients are MCT powder and ketone supplements.

01:27:48 Miriam’s elevator pitch is that we have been raised in an environment with too much sugar and too many refined carbohydrates. Our nutrition guidelines are not helpful.  Better education is key.

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