A ketogenic diet (KD) has been used to successfully treat epilepsy, but can this diet be beneficial for other conditions? The ketogenic diet seeks to replace carbohydrates (glucose) with high fat foods (macros), which in turn causes the body to burn stored fat. It is this ‘metabolic state’ that provides the benefits of the diet, as the body converts fat into fuel.

In 2012, a group led by Dr. Vahid Tarzian, professor of surgery at the University of Michigan, added a diet rich in vegetables and low-carbohydrate foods to patients who were receiving treatment for brain cancer. There is plenty of evidence to support the idea that a ketogenic diet could fight cancer by depriving tumors of glucose, which fuels them. Indeed, some studies have shown that a keto-based diet can be used to treat childhood epilepsy and even slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

I’m going to be honest. I’ve never been much of a health reporter, or even a health writer for that matter. I’ve always been more of a journalist or a photojournalist. I enjoy telling stories, and my goal is to do just that, so I’ll explain what I’ve been up to for the past few months.. Read more about ketogenic diet cancer success stories and let us know what you think.


Can the ketogenic diet assist those with brain cancer, such as Senator John McCain? It can be done, according to new studies and some spectacular patient tales.

Denial: Using a ketogenic diet to cure cancer is a contentious subject with no conclusive evidence from human research. Many of the suggestions are based on animal studies. This guide does not claim that the keto diet has been scientifically proved to aid in the treatment of cancer. We offer current data and research in this area, however, to emphasize its potential therapeutic significance.

Discuss any dietary changes with your doctor, and if he or she is opposed beginning a keto diet, share this article with him or her and have a conversation about it. Disclaimer in its entirety

When U.S. Senator John McCain was diagnosed with an aggressive type of brain tumor in the summer of 2017, neuro-oncology researcher Adrienne K. Scheck, PhD, was attempting to inform McCain’s family in Arizona. She mentioned studies she conducted as an assistant professor of neurobiology at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, where McCain resides, on her daughter’s Facebook group page.

McCain should try a ketogenic diet in addition to conventional treatments including surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, according to Sheck.

Dr. Scheck has spent the last decade researching how changing cancer cell metabolism, such as via a ketogenic diet, may increase survival and reduce side effects in patients with malignant brain tumors. McCain was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) on July 14, 2017, a famously fatal disease that arises in the glia, the brain’s connective structure. The prognosis for GBMs is dismal, with a median survival time of 18 months following diagnosis. McCain’s nine-hour operation to remove a big tumor over his left eye was done the same day he received his cancer diagnosis. In the first week of August, he started radiation and chemotherapy, according to media accounts.

Ketogenic diet and cancer

Sheck (right photo): Based on the findings of our research, I am confident that patients with GBM should begin a therapeutic ketogenic diet as soon as feasible as a supplement to conventional therapy. It improves the effects of radiation and chemotherapy, and it may also improve the anti-tumor immune response, according to our preclinical research. In cell culture, ketones themselves may have this effect. You have nothing to lose if you give it a go.


Scheck had never heard of the McCains, but she believes this is due to the fact that they’ve been bombarded with all sorts of advice and that many people, including physicians, misinterpret the ketogenic diet for a fad with no scientific backing. (Senator McCain died of a brain tumor in August of this year.) The ketogenic diet for GBM, according to Scheck, is not a fad. It isn’t a diet in the traditional sense. She claims that it is a scientifically validated metabolic treatment.

Scheck is not only the lead investigator of an ongoing clinical study of GBM patients on a ketogenic diet coupled with radiation and chemotherapy, but she has also performed a number of promising research in mice models of the illness. The clinical study has two goals: to demonstrate that patients can tolerate the diet and maintain low blood glucose and high blood ketone levels, and to determine whether it increases patient longevity.

Scheck’s research is one of 13 clinical studies exploring the function of the ketogenic diet in the treatment of glioblastoma that are presently listed on clinicaltrials.gov, with eight of them continuing recruiting patients. The research is being carried out by teams in three additional US cities, as well as China, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

There are presently 44 clinical studies listed on clinicaltrials.gov investigating the ketogenic diet as an addition to conventional cancer therapy for various malignancies, including lung, breast, pancreatic, prostate, and melanoma cancer. More than 360 studies or theoretical papers on the ketogenic diet’s involvement in fundamental cancer research and novel treatments have been published in the scientific literature during the last decade. Every month, their number grows.

What role do carbs play in cancer?

The rationale for adopting a ketogenic diet to treat cancer is that cancer tumors need a lot of glucose to fuel their fast development. In reality, a PET scan is used to detect cancer in this way: Because malignant cancer cells eat glucose more quicker than normal cells, an infusion of radioactive sugar exposes them. Glutamine, an amino acid generated during protein breakdown, may also play a role in cancer development.

The fact that cancer cells are glucose-dependent does not, however, imply that the ketogenic diet is a guaranteed successful treatment. But it’s enough to pique the interest of many scientists.

The ketogenic diet as a supplementary cancer therapy works by denying cancer cells the glucose and glutamine they need to thrive and instead utilizing ketones to feed our cells. According to Boston College biology professor Thomas Seyfried (shown right), normal cells may convert to ketones for energy, but malignant cells cannot.


Seyfried is the author of the important book Cancer as a Metabolic Disease, which was published in 2012. He provides evidence that cancer is a disease of cellular energy metabolism, especially linked to anomalies in the structure and function of mitochondria, in this book and subsequent scientific studies.

Seyfried and colleagues advocated for the adoption of a ketogenic, low-calorie diet as a therapy for glioblastoma in a 2015 paper. The aim is to limit GBM cells to glucose, which is their primary source of energy, according to Seyfried. Chronic hunger, coupled with a lack of growth fuel, puts pressure on and weakens cancer cells, making them more vulnerable to therapies such as radiation, chemotherapy medicines, and hyperbaric oxygen. Stress, hunger with ketones, and then a hit when they’re gone, as Seyfried described it.

This notion of a one-two punch, dubbed the press-and-pulse hypothesis by Seyfried and colleagues, was recently expanded in a study published in February 2017. The idea is to put the tumour under stress by depriving it of glucose and inhibiting insulin signals (press), then hit it with hyperbaric oxygen, metabolic medicines, or lower dosages of chemotherapeutic medications and radiation all at once (pulse).

Laboratory of Professor D’Agostino

According to Dominic D’Agostino, associate professor of molecular pharmacology and physiology at the University of South Florida and researcher at the Institute for Human and Machine Learning, denying cancer cells glucose is like slamming on the brakes. Several films show D’Agostino’s considerable study on the ketogenic diet (see right and below).

D’Agostino has spent decades studying the neurology of eating, specifically how the brain changes in reaction to food consumption. He started researching the potential of a ketogenic diet and ketone supplements to prevent seizures in the central nervous system caused by oxygen poisoning, which is a problem for US Navy SEAL divers who use rebreathers.

Her lab is now researching the function of nutritional ketosis as an adjuvant in cancer therapy, especially alongside her research partner, Dr. Angela Poff. Dr. Poff’s video on utilizing cancer metabolism in conjunction with ketosis is one of the most popular on the site.

According to D’Agostino, glucose, insulin, and inflammation are intimately connected to cancer development, therapy, and prevention; they are intimately linked to cell metabolic health. Under the supervision of an expert physician, he thinks that a ketogenic diet combined with targeted intermittent fasting may be a useful complement to conventional treatment.

According to D’Agostino, research on the ketogenic diet and cancer is still in its early stages. More clinical evidence on how to apply these ideas to GBM patients is needed, he says. However, for individuals diagnosed with GBM, who have an average life expectancy of 12 to 18 months, adding a ketogenic diet to conventional therapy (with the help of a trained nutritionist) makes perfect sense.

Stories of how keto has helped people battle brain cancer.

Individual success stories are provided to demonstrate the potential of what individuals can accomplish. We don’t want to portray these triumphs as the norm or the normative reaction. Always with your doctor before making any changes to your diet, lifestyle, supplements, or medicines.

Pablo Kelly, a 28-year-old Devon resident (shown right), agrees wholeheartedly. In 2014, he was diagnosed with GBM, and he thinks that the ketogenic diet saved his life. Kelly, who started a ketogenic, low-calorie diet soon after her diagnosis, says her GBM was considered inoperable since it was situated in the parietal lobe of the brain and a tendon had reached the motor cortex.


He thinks that the tumor shrunk so significantly over the course of three years of rigorous keto eating, as well as using exogenous ketones, MCT oil, and anti-inflammatory vitamins, that it was removed via craniotomy 90 percent earlier this year. Kelly, who interacts with people via his public Facebook page, Pablos’ Journey with a Brain Tumor, and through tales shared by hundreds, said an MRI exam in May indicated the cancer had not advanced. Kelly, who is now frequently approached by individuals from all over the globe wanting to obtain more information and assistance in attempting the ketogenic diet to treat brain tumors, says she had to work extremely hard three years ago to locate people who were following a ketogenic diet to treat GBMs. I want to reach as many individuals as possible with my message.

Another inspirational anecdote is the experience of Adam Sorenson (right, with his father Brad), a Canadian adolescent with GBM, and the ketogenic diet. One day after his 13th birthday, in September 2013. She was diagnosed with stage IV GBM on her 60th birthday. The tumor was the size of a baseball, with a terrible prognosis.


Doctors performed surgery to remove as much tissue as possible, but Brad, his father, undertook several tests to improve his son’s prospects of life. The primary criteria I used were that the medication must be safe, have at least some published clinical trial data, and be readily accessible. Dr. Jong Roh, an epilepsy specialist and Dr. Scheck’s former mentor at the Barrow Neurological Institute who was hired to work at Alberta Children’s Hospital at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary, was also consulted by her parents. Drs. Seyfried, D’Agostino, and Scheck have also been consulted by the Sorensons.

They devised a treatment plan that included a ketogenic diet consisting of 80% fat, 15% protein, and 5% carbs, as well as radiation therapy, hyperbaric oxygen, and the medication metformin. In February 2014, four months after starting therapy, Adam had an MRI, which revealed no visible tumors. So far, thirteen more MRIs have shown no malignancy. Adam has continued to eat a ketogenic diet and take metformin since then. Her father claims it’s a low-carb meal with plenty of whipped cream, eggs, bacon, almonds, and seeds.

Adam explains in an interesting video that dieting as a teenager isn’t always simple, particularly when you’re around your pals. I was disappointed when I learned I wouldn’t be able to eat my favorite foods, such as pizza and sweets, any more. But I reasoned that it would assist me in surviving.

Adam was the main speaker at Charlie’s Ketogenic Therapy Foundation’s Global Ketogenic Therapy Symposium in Banff, Alberta, last November. The foundation started as an epilepsy-focused organization, but it is now interested in utilizing the ketogenic diet to treat brain tumors, autism, and other cognitive problems.

Brad Sorenson, when asked what advice he would provide to families dealing with GBM, stated, “I’m very hesitant to behave as a doctor.” I’m worried I’m exacerbating an already difficult issue. I don’t want to instill false optimism in them.

Sorenson, the CEO and creator of two biotech businesses, thinks that beginning a keto diet before radiation therapy and avoiding steroids, which are nearly routinely given to brain cancer patients, were crucial to Adam’s treatment. Doctors have raised many concerns to Adam’s approach. Sorenson just informs them what they did for Adam, shows them a slide presentation of his procedure and rationale, and advises them to seek out a competent nutritionist.

I don’t believe nutrition is a game changer in and of itself, but Brad believes it can assist enhance the potency and efficacy of other cancer therapies. I realize Adam’s tale is just anecdotal. If we’d followed the usual path, I’m confident Adam wouldn’t be alive today.

Ann Mullens is a writer who lives in the United States.

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Did you know that a ketogenic diet can help treat cancer? That’s right, a ketogenic diet can help stop cancer from spreading, and it’s not just a theory. Studies are showing that a ketogenic diet can help treat many different types of cancer, and in some cases, stop the spread of cancer cells entirely. While some people think that a ketogenic diet is too extreme for cancer patients, others believe that it can be a lifesaver to cancer patients. Although there is not yet enough evidence to suggest that a ketogenic diet can cure cancer, it can help prevent cancer from spreading by starving the cancer cells.. Read more about ketogenic diet cancer food list and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is keto diet good for brain cancer?

I am not a doctor and cannot answer this question.

Does keto heal the brain?

Yes, keto is a diet that helps with brain health.

Can you cure cancer with keto diet?

I am not a doctor, so I cannot answer this question.

This article broadly covered the following related topics:

  • what vegetables is good for brain tumours
  • best diet for treating brain cancer
  • brain tumor diet recipes
  • ketogenic diet brain tumor
  • special diets for brain cancer
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