#197: Nasha Winters, ND: Fasting, Ketosis & The Metabolic Approach to Cancer

by Deanna Mutzel, DC



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About Dr. Pratt

Dr. Nasha Winters, ND, FABNO, L.Ac, Dipl.OM is board certified and licensed in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from International Institute of Chinese Medicine in Albuquerque, NM 2000, her Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences in Tempe, AZ in 2003 and received her FABNO (Fellow of the American Board of Naturopathic Oncology, an honor less than 100 have obtained in North America to date) in 2013. In addition to consulting, Dr. Winters is available for speaking engagements and has a Terrain TenTM Training program launching for both doctors and patients in the near future.


Optimal Terrain Consulting

FaceBook: The Metabolic Approach to Cancer

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Books Mentioned in This Episode


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

Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World

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

Show Notes


02:23 Shifts in the View of Cancer: For the past 70 to 75 years, DNA damage has been seen as the root of cancer.  For the past 10 years, scientists have been looking to mitochondrial dysfunction as the cause of that DNA damage.  Mitochondria are your armor against DNA damage.

04:25 Dysfunctional Mitochondria and DNA Repair:  Mitochondria have a biochemical respiration. When your mitochondria stop breathing appropriately, they get sick and ferment. At that point, everything changes and becomes vulnerable to damage. This mitochondrial damage can come from dietary, environmental or emotional influences. If your mitochondria are hearty, you don’t get the DNA damage. It depends upon what you feed them.

08:10 Ketogenic Diet as a Cancer Therapy:  Ketones make more ATP more efficiently with fewer steps than glucose.  A ketogenic/low carb diet treats fatigue and makes other treatments for cancer or chronic illness more effective.

10:01Testing for Mitochondrial Dysfunction: The simple blood test lactase dehydrogenase is one of the simplest, least expensive and most telling lab to run.  Depending upon the lab, it may have a range of 600 or just over 200. In the 200, you want levels below 175. In the 600 range, you want levels under 450.  If the LDH is functionally elevated, our mitochondria have stopped breathing, moving into fermentation to be able to absorb more nutrients from our bodies. This is a dangerous metabolic shift where cancer becomes the driver. LDH can be elevated where you have bone breakdown, kidney or liver dysfunction, sugar metabolism issues, so it is not a standalone test. It is run in conjunction with C-reactive protein, sedimentation rate and other big picture labs. If LDH is elevated along with CRP and SED rate, the metabolic process has shifted into a cancer environment. If Dr. Winters finds high functional LDH, she orders the isoenzyme test to see where the breakdown of communication is happening within the cell. More labs can be added for specificity.

16:54 Significance of High LDH (Lactase Dehydrogenase):  High functional LDH levels reflect lactic acid, which enables adaptations within the cancer cell. At this point cancer cells become resistant to treatment and do not respond to signaled cell death.

20:20 Antioxidants and Cancer Treatment: Multiple studies say that antioxidants are not a problem with cancer treatments. Cancer treatment should be about redox, both breaking down and building up simultaneously, depending upon what the body needs. Cancer cells are metabolically inflexible, so they can be hit with high dose vitamin C or oxygen or ozone, making cancer cells vulnerable.  A diet rich in phytonutrients is a smart bomb. Your body will use antioxidants to protect healthy cells and kill off unhealthy cells.

22:10 Hormesis for Healing: In our culture, we are never uncomfortable. Hormesis is the process where stressor to the body produce a beneficial effect.  For millennia, humans did this as a matter of living.  The best anticancer nutrients are poisons. They stress the cells a little. Healthy cells adapt and unhealthy cells cannot.

25:05 Diversifying the Microbiome: Our food supply is now down to a few main crops. It has happened in our microbiome as well. Microbiome diversity gives us health and vitality. Find heirloom seeds, forage, eat foods that you’ve never heard of. We have removed the constituents out of many old time foods and turned them into pharmaceuticals.

31:49 Cancer Rates: In the late 1800s we ingested 5 pounds of sugar per person per year on average. As of 2014, we ingest 175 pounds of sugar per person per year on average. Your mitochondria cannot handle that change that fast. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the US.  Twelve countries in the European Union list cancer as their number one cause of death. It is predicted to be the number 1 cause of death in the US by 2020. One in 2 men and 1 in 2.4 women in the US will have cancer in their lifetime. We have to make changes.

33:40 Men vs Women Cancer Rates: There is a theory that men have higher rates because, along with high sugar/carb consumption, they are being bathed in estrogen for the first time ever and their bodies cannot compensate. Possibly because women hand down their mitochondrial DNA, their mitochondria tend to be a bit stronger. Women also tend to be more health conscious then men.

36:09 Link between Autoimmune Disease and Cancer: Your immune system consists of the Three Rs: Recognition (that there is a problem), Response (treating the problem), Remembrance (memory of the problem when it reoccurs). In autoimmunity one or more of the Rs is amped and out of balance. In cancer, often all three Rs are depressed. In an extreme autoimmune flare you tend to be TH1 dominant and in extreme cancer process, you tend to be TH2 dominant. Dr. Winters is finding that 80% of her severe cancer patients are contending with a simultaneous autoimmune process. You can be both TH1/TH2 dominant or TH1/TH2 depleted. Our immune modulation starts in our gut. Diet and lifestyle impact the TH1/TH2 balance.

38:48 Addressing TH1/TH2 Swings: With her patients that have swings between TH1 and TH2, she aims for the center and keeps it simple. Vitamin D helps with the T Helper 3 regulatory cell that immunomodulates. A ketogenic diet or just low carbohydrate diet helps to create metabolic flexibility, helping to stabilize the immune swings. Vitamin A, vitamin K, fish oil, probiotics, mistletoe extract, low dose naltrexone help as well.

41:10 Dr. Winters’ Cancer Diagnosis:  She grew up near an air force base, an area extremely high in toxicants. She was a sick infant, a sick child and experienced abuse. Her genetic SNPs were greatly impacted and finds it amazing that she is still alive. By the time she was 14, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer, again at 16 and at 19 she was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. She has been her own living lab. The first book she picked up to research her own care was Quantum Healing by Deepak Chopra. She changed her major to psychoneuroimmunology and it became her life’s work.

48:07 Making Small Changes: Use a glass water bottle. Don’t handle your receipts. Anything you can do to lower your toxicant exposure makes a huge difference in how your mitochondria respond. Even aspirin or other NSAIDs are mitochondrial poisons.

51:36 Mental Recovery from Cancer: It takes neutral self-inquiry. Look for contributors. With awareness, changes can be made. People in support groups far outlive those who do not. The bigger nuisance you are to your doctor, with questions, suggestions and involvement, the more likely you are to survive. Knowledge is power and awareness changes the outcome drastically.

56:13 Epazote, Apricot Seeds and Avocado Seeds:  In Chinese medicine, bitter herbs treat cancer. Epazote has a bitter component and is high fiber, for feeding our microbiome. It is used in South America, Central America and Mexico. The bitter is also effective for treating digestive disorders. Dr. Winters suggests weaving this into your diet. Apricot seeds and even apple seeds and almond cores, to some extent, have a component in them called laetrile or B17. It contains a small amount of cyanide to stress the cells (hormesis) so they respond favorably. You only need a few now and then. You can also eat the inside of the avocado seeds. Grind them in a blender or roast them so they taste like chestnuts. There may be anticancer components to the avocado seed.

01:02:25 Toxin Storage in the Liver Myth: Your liver filters toxins out of your body. It doesn’t store it. It is a pass-through. Liver is the ultimate superfood. It is loaded with vitamin K2, selenium, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin D and other nutrients that are harder to access in our diets.

01:05:14 Cyclical Ketosis Bases Upon Seasons: It is natural to be more ketotic in the winter when fruits and vegetables were unavailable to our ancestors. The ketogenic diet has been shown to be proapoptotic, anti-inflammatory, and effects at least 6 hallmarks of cancer. However, you may not want to be on it forever. Naturally, we were not always in ketosis. In the summer we can tolerate more carbs because we have longer lighter days and are, theoretically, more active.

01:07:11 Benefits of Fasting: A recent study showed that women who fasted 13 hours a day/night had a lower recurrence of breast cancer than those who did not fast. This brings you into low grade ketosis. Fasting extends length of your life, upregulates mitochondria, and promotes the health of stem cells. You can turn your immune system around in 3 days of not eating.

01:09:52 Dr. Winters’ Morning Routine: Morning is Dr. Winters’ self-care time. She is up at 5 a.m. and gets her first cup of coffee. She stands on her vibration plate for 15 minutes, then hops into her far infrared sauna for 30 minutes of meditation. She then takes a steam sauna and a shower. Then she walks and starts to work. She does not eat until around 11 a.m. On other mornings, she may do a high intensity workout for 30 to 40 minutes and then do cryotherapy, followed by a green drink.

01:11:54 Dr. Winters’ Favorite Herb or Nutrient: Olives are her choice. They are her favorite food. They are nutrient dense and full of fat. Her herb choice would be mistletoe in an injectable form.

01:12:48 Dr. Winters’ Choice of Exercise for Cancer Prevention or Fighting: High intensity intervals are her choice. We did more burst type exercise when we lived in nature.

01:13:42 Dr. Winters’ Elevator Speech: We need to think about food quality, getting back to what our grandparents and great-grandparents were eating. Step away from the industrialization of food and get people growing their own.





  1. In the late 1960’s my mom had breast cancer. She went in for a biopsy and came out disfigured and without a breast! (This was before they had to ask permission.) They told her not to worry, they got it all. Well, they lied, they spread it. She had another diagnosis a couple of years later. They told her she would be lucky to live 4 – 6 months because she walked away from treatment. She spent one day shifting from the typical mid-western diet to enemas, fresh vegetable juice and raw food. She outlived alllll of her doctors and died at 83 of cardiovascular disease. She discovered the grand slam breakfast at 80 and decided she was tired of the way she had been eating. She began eating out daily ~ it took 3 years for the Standard American Diet to kill her.

    • Sorry to hear about your mother, Susan.

      Sounds like she had a nice quality of life for quite a while though, glad to hear a real-food diet worked for her.



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