Rates of mesothelioma have increased nearly four-fold since the 1980s. This aggressive cancer is typically deadly with no known cure for most people diagnosed.
However, a new study sheds light on one strategy that helps to slow down tumor growth called arginine starvation diet, which I believe, it is a great find.
The ‘Achilles’ Heel’ of Mesothelioma?
Researchers from Queen Mary’s Barts Cancer Institute have revealed that cells of cancer which are deprived of amino acid arginine may deprive you from growing, and surviving.
The study, which was presented at the World Conference on Lung Cancer in Sydney, Australia, found that about half of the tumor cells lacked the ability to make arginine (as cells are normally able to do), and had to be ‘fed’ the amino acid in order to survive. Arginine is produced in your body via the food you eat and digest.
In this research, treatment with an arginine-lowering drug extended progression-free survival and slowed down disease progression by nearly six weeks compared to those who were on typical support treatment.
Regularly the cells can make arginine, however the cancer cells have a metabolic defect that makes them unable to do so. As noted by; manufacturer of cancer pharmaceutical company Polaris.
“Because arginine is one of the 20 amino acids that are essential for protein synthesis and survival of cells, it is believed these cancer cells become dependent upon the external supply of arginine to survive and grow.
ADI-PEG 20 is designed to systemically deplete the external supply of arginine, which kills arginine-dependent cancer cells and does no harm to healthy cells. Most cancers have a high degree of arginine-dependency, which supports this research.”
While the featured study did not discuss this, a far safer but likely equally effective alternative to dangerous drugs to lower arginine would be to use the amino acid lysine. It is used to cure oral herpes.
How Arginine Starvation Can Be Lethal for the Cancer Cells
L-arginine is a precursor to nitric oxide and is actually the only known nutritional substrate in your vessel lining available to endothelial cells (a layer of cells that line the interior surface of blood vessels) for nitric oxide production. In other words, the lining in your vessels requires L-arginine to make nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide is mainly a dynamite component chemical and a common air pollutant released by automobile exhaust. Ironically, nitric oxide is also the gas released in your body as a cellular signaling molecule to help promote healthy blood vessel flexibility and dilation — a discovery that earned three scientists the 1998 Nobel Prize in Medicine.
The use of a gas, in this case nitric oxide, for signaling between cells in your body, was an entirely new concept until just over a decade ago, but now it’s known that nitric oxide:
- Enhances your blood flow when produced by blood vessel cells
- Helps support healthy blood pressure levels that are already within the normal range
- Is used as a signal molecule in your brain and immune system
Anti-Cancer Can Be Treated By Intermittent Fasting
It is a good idea to replicate our ancient ancestor eating patterns and “starve” yourself just a little bit each day, or a couple of days a week. This is called intermittent fasting and could have a highly beneficial impact on your health and longevity. It is not an extreme form of dieting or binge eating followed by starvation.
Instead scheduling your meal-times, so that you get regular time for fasting.
I typically use intermittent fasting about 75-90% of the time, but you could also fast a couple of days a week if you prefer, or every other day. There are many different variations.
Dr. Stephen Freedland, associate professor of urology and pathology at the Duke University Medical Center, said that under nutrition without malnutrition is the only experimental approach that consistently improves survival in animals with cancer, as well as extends lifespan overall by as much as 30 percent. Alternate-day fasting has also been shown to reduce cancer rates by reducing cell proliferation.
Dr. Thomas Seyfried holds that cancer can be treated and prevented by overall calorie restriction or intermittent fasting which mean eating less of everything.
Similar to this, intermittent fast complimenting with compensatory overeating did not delay prostrate tumor growth nor improve survival rates in mice. Essentially, by gorging on non-fasting days, the health benefits of fasting can easily be lost.
I view intermittent fasting as a lifestyle, not a diet, and that includes making healthy food choices whenever you do eat. Also, proper nutrition becomes even more important when fasting, so you really want to address your food choices before you try fasting.
Using the Ketogenic Diet to Starve Cancer Cells
A ketogenic diet calls for eliminating all but non-starchy vegetable carbs, and substituting them with good fats (nuts, avocados, eggs, butter, olives, olive oil and coconut oil) and limited amounts of high-quality protein.
The reason is that since cancer cells require glucose to grow, and carbohydrates turn into glucose in your body, then one medium to lower glucose in your blood is via restricting protein and carbs completely as doing so, causes oblivion of the cancer cells.
Interestingly, arginine is found in foods high in protein, so by limiting your protein intake, you may also naturally limit some cancer cells’ external arginine source. Plus, cell proliferation is accelerated by low protein intake that tends to minimize mammalian target of rapamycin—-mTOR.
The technique Dr.Seyfried suggests is a high-fat, low to moderate protein, a low-carb diet, which will effectively lower your blood sugar.
Diabetic blood glucose meter is an easy marker to check. This ketogenic diet will also elevate ketone bodies, as fat is metabolized to ketones that your body can burn in the absence of food. Combination of intermittent fasting or calorie restriction , will lead to cancer cure/prevention.
In case of not so chronic disease, I recommend implementing intermittent fasting gradually for eight weeks and you can start off by not eating for three hours before you go to bed, and then gradually extend the time you eat breakfast until you have skipped breakfast entirely and your first meal of the day is at lunchtime. Of course, you are only consuming non-starchy vegetables for carbs, low to moderate protein and high-quality fats. One of the things I’ve noticed is that once you’ve made the transition from burning carbs to burning fat as your primary fuel, the desire for junk foods and sugar just disappears like magic, making this a lifestyle that is easy to maintain.
A ketogenic diet along with intermittent fasting can be easily integrated into whatever cancer treatment plan you decide to follow. Personally, I believe it’s absolutely crucial, no matter what type of cancer you’re trying to address.
By Syeda Kiran Zahra Hussain
Syeda Kiran Zahra Hussain is a certified Health Coach IIN, U.S, Holistic Nutrition Therapist, SNHS, U.K, Food Investigator, Published Health Expert. She is a graduate of Psychology, Philosophy and English Literature. She was also nominated for “Full-Bright Scholarship Program,” from St. Joseph College for women. She is originally from Pakistan; but she stayed in Oman where she studied ahead to become “the First-Health Coach from the Sultanate.”
She believes: “Food is the best form of preventive medicine.”
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