Category Archives: 13. Killing Cancer with Nutrition

Cancer Free? Get the “Ivy Gene” Test

Cancer Free? Get the “Ivy Gene” Test

References: Jenny Hrbacek’s Cancer FreeProceed Natl Acad Sci USA,

This might be the best test of them all, so please concentrate on this week’s cancer test: The IvyGene. The science if a bit dense, but not incomprehensible. The core function that is being measured is the patterns of signaling placed on DNA in cells. Your body attaches a carbon atom, with three hydrogens on it, called a methyl group, to DNA as a marker for something to happen. The proteins that read your DNA are designed to be able to interpret what those little nubbins of carbon and hydrogen mean when they are present, or absent.

Here is the rub. Cancer cells have a reliable pattern of methylation that differs from regular cells. If we have a sample of cancer cells in a blood test, we can measure their DNA and now find that those patterns are present, or absent, as the case may be to indicate either cancer is there, or no. And we can do that all years and years before the cancer is large enough to be detected on a CT scan or a physical exam.
Remember, go back to cancer physiology. A cancer colony that you can feel or see is often 1 cm in size, which is a billion cells. And a billion cells represents 30 doublings or generations of cancer. We want to catch those little buggers when they are at the 10 generation stage, not the 29 generation stage. And that’s what the IvyGene test does.

How accurate is it? The sensitivity is said to be 86% and the specificity is 88%. This is amazing for a medical test that is now allowing us a sneak peek years before our current testing methods.

What does it cost? Well, it has been $ 400 in the past but depending on where you get it drawn, the draw and shipping fee can add a bit to that. It has to be ordered by a physician, but to date insurance doesn’t pay for it. It should
www.What will work for me. I think this is the best test with the best science for managing the success of therapy. It has only been scientifically validated for colon, breast, liver and lung but others are on the list to become validated, so it’s worth asking about. I’ve got it in my office.

Pop Quiz:

  1. How does the IVYGENE test work?                                                  Answer: It measures unique to cancer methylation patterns on DNA.
  2. What on earth is methylation?                                                         Answer: How DNA is marked so that cells know how and when to copy genes. Cancer cells do dysfunctional growth which is visible on the methylation pattern seen on their DNA. Nifty. Gets right to the heart of the problem with cancer.
  3. How early can it be positive?                                                             Answer: We believe as much as 7 years before clinically visible cancer shows up
  4. Why is it useful?                                                                                   Answer: Two reasons. It rises and falls as a cancer grows or recedes, and it tells you if the cancer is even there. With that information you can make decisions about whether you think your therapy decisions are working or not.
  5. The IVG Gene is widely available? T or F                                         Answer: Well, you can get it anywhere you can find a doctor to order it for you. The traditional oncology system hasn’t used it widely yet.



Cancer Free? The AMAS Test

Cancer Free? The AMAS Test

References: Jenny Hrbacek’s Cancer Free?Andrew WeilCancer LettersScience DirectPeptides of Biological Fluids,

Right up front, read the standard, balanced, traditional medical world’s assessment of the AMAS test by Andrew Weil, and wonder why on earth I would write a column about it. Well, consider that Dr. Weil is ensconced in a medical school and is getting his advice from oncologists who make the vast, vast majority of their income from selling traditional chemotherapy, that you know and I know, in solid tumors doesn’t work very well. I admire Dr. Weil deeply, but I’m also skeptical of the pervasive influence of money.
I’m doing this column because I keep having clients asking for it because it makes sense to them, and as part of a basket of testing, it makes sense to me. The question is, is it valid? Does it say what it says it will do?
So, what is the AMAS test? It is a blood test, approved by Medicare, that measures for the presence of the antibody to a protein called malignin, present on most cancers. It is non-specific. It goes up and down with successful treatment. And it rises and falls with immune function. So, as the cancer overwhelms your immune system, which inevitably it does, it turns “false” negative. So a negative test may be an indicator of grave prognosis.

Its accuracy goes roughly as follows. Of 1,026 known cancer patients, 92.7% had a positive test with a mean level of 273. Normal controls have a mean level of 59 and outpatients out of a hospital without cancer are around 64. Up to 135 is considered normal.

Now, if you take known cancer patients whose level is below 135 (the so-called false negative), out of 135 patients, 90 will be dead within a year. Their immune system is being overwhelmed and they are in trouble. The cancer is winning.

This appears to me to be an interesting test. The antibody shows up when you have cancer. It can kill the cancer cell in a petri dish but inside your body, the cancer cell can hide and escape. It goes down when you are successfully treated. Where would you be helped with its use? How about when you have a positive mammogram and are skeptical that you’ve been fully evaluated? How about before you start taking estrogen therapy if you are worried about having cancer being initiated by the hormones. How about when you are losing weight and can’t find any reason for it. How about when your doctor says your cancer was successfully treated, and you want to make sure.

It’s a tool. It should be part of a basket of ideas that you know how to follow and monitor. It may not be the best, most precise, most accurate, but don’t let perfect be the enemy of good enough.

The problem is the dry ice. It has to be shipped on dry ice. That’s a bit hard to do. But where there is a will, there is a way.

WWW: What will work for me. I’m really curious about this one. It certainly appears to raise some people’s ire, but like all medical tests, it is a tool. I’m interested to see what they track record we can generate. In any case, I have the kits on order and found a source of dry ice that you can buy by the pound.

Pop Quiz

  1. What does the AMAS test test for?                                                   Answer: The presence of an antibody to a protein called malignin.
  2. What is malignin?                                                                                Answer: A protein put out by just about every cancer.
  3. When your cancer is very advanced, what happens to the test?            Answer: It starts to fall and drops off as the cancer overwhelms the immune system and races out of control.
  4. How can you tell the difference between an early cancer and one that is getting out of control?                                                                                                  Answer: You can’t. You have to get a series of tests and see what the slope of change is.
  5. Is this test useful?                                                                                 Answer: You bet, particularly when you are in a position of wanting to know early about the presence of a cancer. Example: you have had a mastectomy at age 35 and were told you were cancer free. You have just gotten married and met the man of your dreams, and you want to have a child. Is there cancer still in you. Would you be reassured?



Cancer Free? Check your Metabolic Profile

Cancer Free? Check your Metabolic Profile

References: Cancer Free HrbacekWikipediaCancer ResearchBr J CancerOncotargetWorld Jr Biol ChemJournal of Cancer,

When cancers start they tend to become “less mature” in an increasing fashion. It shouldn’t be surprising that cancers have immature fetal proteins in them. Humans start as immature fetuses. Your first marker of being pregnant as a woman is having HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) in your urine. That’s the little line that shows up on the pregnancy test you bought at Walgreen’s. It logically follows that the immature cells of cancers might make HCG, a fetal protein. Indeed, some unique cancers that start in the placenta skyrocket their HCG levels, but a lot of cancers have a little bit of HCG. By itself, that little bit might merit a shrug. The core idea of the American Metabolic Profile is to combine all the markers that show up in small amounts in various cancers into a panel of tests. Each one of them is not so remarkable. However, all of them put together combine to make a uniquely sensitive test. This may not tell you what you have, but it’s quantity may be useful in expressing how much you are progressing or regressing.

Here are the separate markers in the test.
1. HCG. As mentioned, the pregnancy test. Normal is less than 1 mIU/ml. 1-3 is a gray zone. Anything above 3 is something to be concerned about and monitor. This can show up as early as 10 years before an x-ray or physical exam will find the cancer. How does it relate to pregnancy? Less than 5 is “not pregnant” and greater than 25 is “pregnant”. It doubles every couple of days in pregnancy. Cancer is a different beast. A level of 2.2 might not merit a fire alarm. When it changes to 2.6 in this profile, it does!
2. PHI, Phosphohexose isomerase. Funny little protein that helps glucose shift back and forth with fructose. No big deal. But somehow it also ends up playing a role in helping cancers spread, metastasize. That’s exactly what you want to know. Normal is under 34 and the gray zone is 34-40. But any change is meaningful.

3. CEA: Carcinoembryonic Antigen. This has been found to be present in many folks with cancer, and rises and falls with the amount of the cancer. It shows up early. It is another of those embryonic ones we mentioned. Normal is under 3 and gray is 3.1-5 ng/ml.

4. GGTP: Gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase. This enzyme is bound to membranes in the liver and reflects damage to the liver. Its action is to break down glutathione into its individual amino acids. We like glutathione. Losing it is bad. Why cancer does this might be in part because cancers don’t like glutathione. So they try to make more GGTP to get rid of it. So let’s measure it and see how much you have. It’s part of that early detection thing.

5. TSH. Thyroid stimulating hormone. Go figure! For whatever reason, many folks with cancer have high TSH because their thyroid just poops out. Again, not dramatic, but combined with the others, makes for a red flag. Could this be why some folks advocate for more iodine to lower cancer risk?

6. DHEA-S. Dehydroepiandrosterone. It’s sort of thought of as the anti-stress hormone but curiously, again, it’s oddly low in many folks with cancer. You don’t want to be low. It’s a predictor of trouble. By itself, not certain, but nevertheless, a yellow caution sign. Normal ranges are: Females 35.0 – 430.0 µg/dL, Males 80.0 – 560.0 µg/dL.
That’s the list. Not remarkable in itself with its individual test, but combined has a close to 90% predictive accuracy. Its changes with therapy are useful. It is not specific to what type of cancer, but it helps to tell if you if your diet is helping you, your supplements, your IV Vitamin C etc.

WWW: What will work for me. I’m going to get this one on myself. I’ve just ordered a bunch of tests for my office. It’s going to be on the list of tests I offer my new clients who want to get a screening test just to know. Its cost of $ 549 is a slightly sobering fact.

Pop Quiz

  1. A high TSH means you have cancer. T or F                                      Answer: Heck no. It means your thyroid is struggling and not keeping up. But combined with the other tests in this screen, it may indicate you are at some risk. Consider taking some iodine just on general principles. Go for about 1 mg a day. Sea weed in any form. (Hurray, Sushi tonight!)
  2. Taking DHEA as a supplement will help prevent cancer. T or F Answer: We don’t know that. We do know that folks with cancer almost always have a low DHEA. Taking a supplement? Well, I do and I prescribe it to virtually all my clients. Evidence of rock solid proof is thin.
  3. Which one of these is the enzyme that encourages cancers to spread?            Answer: PHI
  4. Cancers all tend to be pretty mature cells? T or F                         Answer; Oops. Backwards. Pretty immature. Which is why CEA or carcino-EMBRYONIC-antigen is an indicator of a very immature cell.
  5. The validity of this test comes from what?                                     Answer: No individual one but the combination of all of them and their mutually supporting snap shot. To be used to measure the success of your efforts to bring the wicked disease to heal.




Are You DEAD Certain You are Free of Cancer?

References: Cancer Free

You had a breast lump and your surgeon did a lumpectomy. Your oncologist gave you six months of chemo and you lost your hair. Folks from church brought over casseroles and you wore a scarf for 4 months while your hair grew back. Are you cancer free? Are you safe? You had a mass in your ovary and had a hysterectomy? You had a melanoma on your thigh and had a 2-inch margin incision. Are you safe? You had your prostate taken out. Are you safe? Your PSA is 0.05. Is that good enough? Are you safe? What’s it worth to you?
Here is the dilemma. There are huge numbers of us living with this awful uncertainty and the answer isn’t as clear as we would like. We all hear about cancers coming back. You get emails from dear friends with comments like, “They found a hot spot on my PET scan in my pelvis”. “The CT of my lung showed a mass.” My sore elbow has a hole in the bone and the doctor wants a biopsy.”
Here are some facts about how cancer behaves. First of all, visible cancer by eyeball techniques is a centimeter or so in size. That comes to about 1 billion cells. One billion is about 30 generations or 30 doublings of cells. Each generation takes about 3-6 months, so you have a 7-15 year time frame for that to have happened. You can’t “see” generation 25 and earlier. They are too little by eyeball techniques.

Most chemotherapies will kill the 90% of rapidly dividing cells of a cancer, but not the slow-growing cancer stem cells that learn from each sequence of chemo to be resistant. So, chemo doesn’t really work on most solid tumors and has the price of making you feel sick, reducing your remaining quality of life with all its side effects. You die when the total mass of cancer is about a kilogram.
Cancer cells have some vulnerabilities. First of all, all cancers have broken mitochondrial membranes as their core defect. They have lost the ordered structure of their “energy factories” with their membranes effectively looking like curdled milk instead of orderly sequenced proteins. They can only burn glucose by making lactate, and the acidic quality of lactate drives the growth of high flow blood vessels. They need acid to encourage blood flow. All this translates into needing lots of glucose, being unable to burn fat, and hating alkaline foods. (Vegetables.)
More intriguing, cancer cells hide from the immune system by coating themselves with a bunch of novel proteins that have no business being on the surface of the cancer cell. And they generate all sorts of genetic defects we are learning how to interpret. Their DNA markers on histone proteins get characteristic patterns that reflect these changes. These “methylation” defects can be identified.
Finally, cancer cells don’t hold together as healthy tissues do. They break loose and spread like Viking raiders, spreading mayhem and carnage. Now, single cells aren’t able to establish a colony but bundles of cells can. We all have a certain level of “circulating cancer cells”. Yes. All of us. All the time. (Terrifying, isn’t it?) But folks with active cancers have more. If you have 20 cells make a colony, how long will that colony have to grow before it is visible? (Answer, 26 generations or 7-13 years).

Would you like to know that? Can you imagine counting your circulating cancer cells, then changing your diet, getting more IV Vitamin C, adding IV Ozone, taking more curcumin, adding tetrathiolmolybdate, eating a pure ketogenic diet, doing some fast mimicking…….then recount your circulating cancer cells. What would you think if your CTCs went down when you did that? Would you feel encouraged?

Your nascent cancer is vulnerable to lifestyle manipulations when it is in its first 15 generations, less so in the last 15. Can you imagine a sure and steady hand to help you through that frightening thicket of fear and uncertainty?

Next three-four weeks, we are going to explore the new and emerging tools of cancer biology testing to look at tests that help you do just that. Read the next four for five weeks of blogs and learn this material. Get good at it. Show these blogs to your oncologist. Read the book Cancer Free. Celebrate your life.

WWW: What will work for me. Well, I’m a cancer survivor times two. I’ve had two types of minor skin cancer but I had a lung APUDoma (rare endocrine tumor of the lung) that surgery fixed. But I had to wait for 10 years to be sure I was cancer free and never knew for sure. I’ve lived with that uncertainty all through my forties. Not so fun. I’m doing these tests because I’m running them all on myself just for starters. Join me. Want to know if you are cancer free?

Pop Quiz

  1.  A typical 1 cm cancer has been around for how long?                     Answer : At least 7-10 years
  2. Why?                                                                                                          Answer: because a cancer you can detect on exam or x-ray ( 1 cm) is about a billion cells big, which is 2 to the 30th power, or 30 doublings. Each doubling takes 3-6 months.
  3. Chemotherapy for most solid cancers fails in what fashion and why? Answer: It appears to succeed as it shrinks the cancer to so small you can’t see it anymore. But that is only killing the rapidly dividing cells (90%) but not the stem cells which subsequently learn from the chemotherapy how to be resistant to it. 10-15 doublings, generations, later, the cancer is back, meaner and more resistant than ever.
  4. Would you do something different if you knew you had cancer still inside you? Answer: It’s your life, your choice, but lifestyle changes are more likely to be effective when the cancer colony is tiny than when it’s big.
  5. Can you think of one test you just read about that will give you a measure of your cancer, and the effectiveness of your lifestyle changes?                                    Answer; Circulating cancer cells, for one.

Vitamin D and the Risk of Cancer – “Disappoints” 

Vitamin D and the Risk of Cancer – “Disappoints” 

References: NEJMScienceAJCNPLOSVitamin D Council,

It was all over the news last week, “Vitamin D Doesn’t Help Reduce Your Risk of Cancer”. Published in the prestigious New England Journal, (lead article, no less) this smacks of credibility. It was randomized with 25,871 Americans from all over the country and intentionally designed to include 20 percent African-Americans. Folks were given 2,000 IU of Vitamin D or placebo for a median range of 5.6 years. The results were “disappointing” in that there was no statistical reduction in cancer.
What’s my take on this? Wow, there are so many flaws, I’m just stunned that this made it into the NEJM. This reflects all the classical problems of nutritional research. Let me give it a try to see if I can convince you with a reasonable argument.
First, cancer is not a 5 year disease. It is a 15-20 year disease. Here is why. A 1 cm nodule, big enough to be seen on an x-ray is about 1 billion cells. That is about 2 to the 30th power, or 30 generations, or 30 doublings. If a doubling takes 6 months, you have 15 years for that cancer to grow from one cell to its current size. The time you want to be affecting cells is at the very beginning of their life. Vitamin D’s core function is to tell immature cells to mature. A mature cell is programmed to die at the end of its “time”. Cancer cells don’t grow wildly as much as they don’t die. A five year study is way too short. And if I were to do the study, I would first do the new generation blood testing studies that can show cancer cells circulating 5-7 years before clinically apparent. We’ll talk about those next week.
The key problem with this study is then that the cancers that do show up in 5 years will already be 10 years down the road from getting started and no longer modulated by vitamin D levels. As cancers progress from generation 1 to generation 30, they add more mutations to allow them to grow with their primary genetic defect in their mitochondria. They are now autonomous and on the road to aggressive disease. Any study that looks at generation 22-30 is looking at inevitable disease. Vitamin D is going to work at generation 1-10.

Second problem. Way too low a dose. We know that you have Toll Receptor Proteins that are sensitive to Vitamin D and they are not activated until your D level is 32. Since that research study by Liu in Science came out there has been an explosion of research all linking low Vitamin D to a sluggish immune response to TB and just about everything else. You need enough Vitamin D to fight cancer, or anything else. 2,000 IU of Vitamin D will get you to a blood level of 30. Just. We’ve shown that with a study in Antarctica over winter where you get NO Vitamin D for 6 months, guaranteed. Worse, African Americans have pigment which keeps Vitamin D out. They start with levels of 5.5 ng – 15 ng, whereas Caucasians start with 20. This study didn’t get blood levels. Arrghhh. Two thousand units of D is what a healthy young Caucasian will make in 2 minutes of sun exposure in June. Get their blood level to 50, for goodness sakes! And go read Garland’s study in PLOS1, that showed a 67% reduction in cancer when your blood level gets closer to 50 than 20. This study likely had folks D levels around 25, way, way, way too low. If you look at folks who live on the Equator in Africa, the Masai and the Hadzabe, both who are very dark skinned, wear very little clothing and have abundant sunshine, you find a D level of 45-55 range. That’s what we should aim for. And by the way, they have very little cancer.
I can go on….finally. Any new dose of D takes about a year to reach a new homeostasis without a starting loading dose. This wasn’t a four-year study at a stable dose, it was a three-year study. Your body thinks of D’s “volume of distribution” of D as about 1,000 gallons, not the 20 gallons you think of yourself representing. That is because D dissolves into fat.
And D isn’t a vitamin in isolation. It is critically linked to K2. You can’t do foods in isolation. You need ecosystems……I can rant on and on. But this study doesn’t help me much. It just gets me steamed up.

WWW: What will work for me. Just out of pique, I went and took my monthly dose of 100,000 a few days early. My blood level runs around 50 ish when I take 100,000 a month. But the war on cancer is just getting wound up. I want to learn all the technology of advance warnings on cancer and show that lifestyle can reduce your risk when we catch those early cancer cells when they are still capable of being modulated.

Pop Quiz

  1. Cancer cells that you find by physical exam are usually at least 1 cm in size. How many cells does that represent?                                                                Answer: about a billion, which is 30 generations of cancer cells, which is about 7-15 years of disease.
  2. Humans have toll receptor proteins on immune cells regulated by Vitamin D. They are activated by what level of D? n                                                Answer: above 32
  3. Two thousand units of D is the equivalent of how much sunshine in a middle European young person?                                                                           Answer: 2 minutes. (Africans need 12 minutes to get the same amount. Arabs and South Asians need about 6 minutes to make that much D. Finns, Russians and Celts need less than a minute, and then they burn.
  4. A study of Vitamin D and cancer should run for how long? Answer: At least 15 years and then you are just getting started. And throw in some K2 while you are at it.
  5. It’s possible to weed out folks who might be getting cancer in the next 7 years by what?            Answer: read next week. The science of circulating cancer cells is coming soon.


Mitochondrial Primer 5: Beta-hydroxybutyrate, The King of Ketones

References: Front Mol MedWikipediaPerfect KetoAm J PrimatologyPeer JBiochemical Journal,

When you burn fat (the stuff that’s in your belly and cellulite and second chin) you produce two ketones primarily. Ketones are what we make from fat burning as we break down stored energy and ship it around the body. The primary one is called beta-hydroxybutyrate, or BHB. The other is called acetoacetate (ACAC). ACAC is what you measure in your urine to show ketones but can be changed to BHB, and thereby not show up in urine. Hence, measuring urine for ketones is iffy and can have false negatives. BHB takes a blood test and is more reliable.
Now, what I find interesting is the enzyme that switches ACAC to BHB and thence into the electron transport chain is actually in the wall of mitochondria. Ketones are such an important part of normal metabolism that mitochondria have all the normal enzymes to incorporate ketones into our energy flow. Did you get that? Our body has all the tools to burn ketones, all the time. It is built in. Through all of human history, ketones were our main fuel source to fall back on in lean times.

What happened in our rich, 21st-century environment? We never, ever run on ketones. There are no lean times. We always run on carbs. We store up what and corn in giant silos, formulate them into delicious foods and provide them to ourselves three times a day in exquisitely flavored recipes. And our body has a default switch that has us burning and running on carbs preferentially. It’s the universal signal to turn on fat making, storage.
This is the key to weight gain and weight loss. Our natural tank of carbs is only 1500 calories. That’s it. Anything over that and we signal our hormones that we have too many carbs. That means it must be September or October when carbs ripen – at the end of the growing season. Our blood sugar rises. We turn on insulin. Insulin switches everything into storage mode. We make triglycerides in our liver and ship those extra fats all over our body in little lipid bundles called LDLs. LDLs then deliver that newly manufactured fat to storage warehouses called your butt, your chin, your muffin top.

Think this through teleologically. We had to be designed like this to survive in a world where carbs show up suddenly, just before the starvation season. We would then evolve a hormone to store those calories when they showed up in abundance. (That’s where insulin comes in.) And we would be favored to have sweet flavor in the middle of our tongue so that we seek carbs avidly, whenever we find them.
But most of the year, we should be running on ketones. Normally. When you are surviving through winter, you are meant to be burning your fat stores. That’s ketones. When you eat green vegetables (present from April till August), your colon turns spinach into ketones. Gorillas, eating 15 pounds of green leaves a day turn those into 70% ketones.
Now there is a whole raft of websites touting the increased performance of athletes on ketogenic diets, how to induce ketogenesis etc. But most importantly, we are proving that inducing ketosis turns on stem cells. It’s so important to run on ketones, Bredesen is insisting we all do it every day for 12 hours and every month for 5 days. Gundry has jumped on board. The tide is changing.

Ketones, otherwise known as Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), are your main, proper food source. BHB rules. It’s the boss! And teaching your body, encouraging your body, forcing your body, manipulating, managing, teasing…..whatever you want to call it…..but do it. Get your body to run on ketones. That means, no grains, no sugar and lots and lots and lots of green vegetables.
WWW. What will work for me. I’m wrapping my head around this technology. I’ve done the Fast Mimicking Diet 8 times and found that it jump starts me into ketosis in three days. I’m going to try taking some Beta-hydroxybutyrate supplement the next time and see if it eases me into ketosis with a little less stress. What I do believe is that this is the pathway forward. Our bodies are aching for us to break our addictive habit of carbs. It just wasn’t meant to be so. The only time we were meant to gorge on carbs was at the end of the growing season when getting ready for winter. Brings a whole new meaning to Halloween candy. Doesn’t it? So, we ended up at the Pancake House for breakfast. I ordered the Eggs Benedict with spinach on the side. Didn’t eat the English muffin. Double spinach please, no potatoes.

Pop Quiz

  1. The human primary fuel is?                                             Answer:  Beta-hydroxybutyrate. The ketone you make from burning fat, your colon digesting green vegetables, the ketone you make from digesting coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil……
  2. Exposed to carbs, your body will switch to what fuel? Answer: Glucose. Instantly. The microsecond you put out insulin. Three french fries will do it.
  3. Running on insulin instantly is incredibly important. Why? Answer: Because through most of human history, carbs were rare, and present just before the lean, starvation system. Remember, pears and apples ripen in October; right now. So sugar is on our tongues as our preferred taste so we gorge, turn on insulin, store calories and then…survive through winter.
  4. How big is your carb fuel tank?                                                   Answer. 1500 calories, called glycogen. Fill up that tank with…….one plate of pasta, rice, flour.
  5. And what happens to green vegetables?                                 Answer. Your colon bacteria break them down into beta-hydroxybutyrate. The King (or Queen) of Ketones. BHB rules. You’ll have BHB anytime you fast 12 hours or more. You will have a blood level of 3 and more if you do the fast mimicking diet for 3+ days. The Fast Mimicking Diet: best way yet to get you in ketosis.

The Alkaline Diet IS the Keto Diet of Choice

The Alkaline Diet IS the Keto Diet of Choice

References: Pure WowDr AxeBook of DanielSaddleback ChurchU of BCJournal of Nutrition,

There has been a recent flurry of articles in the media about the alkaline diet with a few “expert dieticians” poo-pooing it and suggesting you should just follow the Mediterranean diet instead. What’s the confusion for? Let me straighten this out for your so that you get the gist of it.

First of all, the alkaline diet isn’t anything new. The Book of Daniel in the Bible talks about it with the first recorded RCT (Randomized, Placebo-Controlled) experiment in history. That was from 3,000 years ago. Daniel and his fellow observant Jews ate vegetables, (alkaline) and the members of Nebuchadnezzar’s court ate meat. Daniel’s crowd did better. Even got published in a reputable journal that is still read avidly (Bible). And as best I can tell, is still helping people lose weight.
What is the Daniel Diet? Or the Alkaline Diet? Vegetables. Vegetables are filled with potassium and magnesium salts which participate in making your urine pH positive, or greater than seven, which is neutral. Your blood doesn’t change its pH in any measurable fashion, but just that tiny amount enough to switch buffers. You have a complex system of buffers in your blood that helps balance your pH very precisely and exquisitely. You breathe every breath as part of that balance, so it is virtually impossible to measure the changes on a second by second basis in your blood. But you can see it in blood samples of folks eating an alkaline diet. Their red cells are coated with alkaline salts and flow separately from one another. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. And your kidneys just pump out the acid or alkali as fast as they can. In meat/animal based America, everyone’s urinary pH is quite low, around 5.5 We have kidney stones, osteoporosis, vascular disease, cancer all as possible resulting outcomes. Very very few of us eat an alkaline diet. The guy who invented, Robert Young, got way ahead of the curve and ended up in prison for practicing medicine without a license. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t right, just not licensed.

Why is this so valuable? For most of mammalian/hominid history, we were vegans and our kidneys (which control your acid-base flow, and eliminate acid or base) were designed to rid you of alkaline salts, most notably potassium or magnesium. That’s because we ate massive amounts of alkaline foods. All hominids except humans eat mostly raw plants. Gorillas eat 15 pounds of leaves a day. Orangutans, 20 pounds of green leaves (except in fruit season). Their urine is alkaline. Your kidneys can still excrete massive amounts of potassium and sodium. But not acid. With acid, we struggle a little. Humans living a hunter-gatherer lifestyle today (Hazda in Africa) still eat mostly alkaline foods. They know some 250 edible plants in the forest, which they eat. But our brains require more calories to support their energy needs, and animals became more important. About 5 million years ago, we started adding animal to our diet. We like animal. We thrived with more of it.
But animal-based foods have more sulfur salts in them, which are acid. The more animal we eat, the more acid we become. That includes cheese, milk, eggs, fish, and yes, meat. Cheese is the most acid of all because it also has lots of salt added to it. And grains are also acidic, altho a little less so.
All that acid has to flow through you, in your blood. Your blood pH can’t change and doesn’t. But your buffers do. The balance of buffers is read with exquisite sensitivity by your bone cells and every membrane in your body. You start giving up calcium carbonate to balance the buffers, which is the slippery slope of beginning osteoporosis.
What about fat? Fat is neutral. Neither acid or base. Just pH neutral. It has some baggage though. Saturated fat, when from animals, comes with animal protein, which is acidic. Unsaturated fat, from seeds, is high in omega six fats which start inflammation.
And here is the kicker. Remember, gorillas digest green leaves into short chain fatty acids. So do we. A diet rich in green vegetables is a high-fat diet. Then add olive oil and you are even better off. A green salad diet smothered with olive oil is an alkaline, healthy, Daniel diet. Get that? A vegetable-based diet is a keto diet, provided you avoid the roots and the grains. Eating spinach is actually getting fat. Keto redux. You lose weight. You have less cancer. You have less heart disease. You have fewer autoimmune diseases. Your body can heal.
That leaves you with an alkaline diet rich in leafy, green vegetables with lots of safe fats as the diet of choice. The alkaline diet is the purest form of the keto diet. The only question is whether you can be so pure. Ah, there is the rub!

www.What Will Work for me. I’m shifting my animal proportions to more vegetable. Instead of two eggs for breakfast, one egg in spinach. For lunch on the plane, I took an avocado, cut in half at home. Made a great lunch. And I’m fascinated by the Fast Mimicking diet. It’s vegan with nut oils. It’s a keto diet too. In time, we will let Robert Young out of prison and say sorry. (There’s a lot of Robert Young’s work that is pure quackery, but the alkaline part is not.)


Pop Quiz

  1. A diet of mostly vegetables, olive oil and a tiny bit of fish is currently called? Answer: The Mediterranean Diet (whatever that is, as all the countries around the Mediterranean have different cuisines, except for their abundant use of olive oil and vegetables)
  2. To be on an alkaline diet, you have to do what? Answer: Eat enough vegetables and little enough meat and cheese to shift your urinary pH to something greater than 7. Very hard to do. Almost no meat.
  3. How does your body balance acid flowing through the system to be excreted by your kidneys? Answer: by a system of buffers, by giving up a tiny bit of Calcium Carbonate from your bones, and by breathing a little more deeply.
  4. The first advocate for the alkaline diet has been elevated to hero status in the annals of medicine. T or F Answer: Are you kidding, he is in prison for reaching way beyond the core truth of his alkaline diet idea.
  5. What is the most recent evidence-based diet, beyond the Mediterranean Diet, that is taking the literature by storm? Answer: The Fast Mimicking Diet that adds fasting to the mix




Simple Bicarb May Help Autoimmune Diseases

Simple Bicarb May Help Autoimmune Diseases

References: J. Immunology,

Fascinating! When you drink simple bicarb (Yes, Arm and Hammer cheap stuff) you send several messages in your body we didn’t know about. The first is to make more acid the next time around to help digest the next meal. And the second is for mesothelial cells on the spleen to signal to all the immune cells inside the spleen to chill out. “Don’t make an immune response.”
What are mesothelial cells? They are the lining of your guts, your abdominal cavity. Every organ is lined with them on the outside. We thought they were there primarily so that the organs can slide over each other with no friction. That feature allows you to move without things being caught up inside. But the surface of mesothelial cells have an interesting feature. They have tiny little fingers called microvilli that signal messages internally to the organ beneath about invasion or intrusion. Mount an immune response, or not!

Here is what this study found. Drinking bicarb for a couple of weeks changed the internal splenic macrophages from a population of mostly M1 macrophages (turn on inflammation) to M2 macrophages (Turn off inflammation). Considering that the spleen is the main repository for immune cells waiting for dispatch, that effect is pretty meaningful. What is unique is that the message is transmitted through the wall of the stomach, via these mesothelial cells, into the wall of the spleen via its mesothelial cells with a result of lowered inflammatory response. Macrophages are typically known for gobbling up garbage from old, dead, dysfunctional tissue and they are some of the first to arrive on the scene in inflammation to clean up the “battlefield” of dead and dying tissue. Autoimmune diseases are thought to be a whole scene of dysfunctional, overreactive inflammation and activation of macrophages. Turning them off is a key thing.

It’s not just macrophages but also Treg cells that get altered with bicarb. Treg cells are supposed to be regulators of immune response and help dial it down. This dialing down is helpful at controlling weird autoimmune reactivity too. And this also occurs because of the messages from those mesothelial cells putting out acetylcholine, acting almost like nerve cells even though they are lining cells of organs. Strange cross over reactivity.

Where does alkaline predilection come from? Through most of human history, we were vegans, starting to eat meat just a few million years ago when our brains started getting bigger and needed animal energy to power them. Animal protein has lots of sulfur in it making for a biological ash of acid when all is digested and done. Plant sourced food ends up making alkali with all the magnesium and potassium salts. Most of our biological processes evolved in an alkaline environment. The range and intricacy of our immune function is all founded on an alkaline milieux. Animal food, hence acid, is new. You can measure this in yourself. Eat a diet of pure green vegetables for a week and measure your urinary pH. It will be above 7. Have some cheese and steak and watch your urine pH plummet to 5.5. Every drug store carries pH sticks you can measure on your own.  Ten servings of vegetables is about 1 tsp of bicarb.  Simple

WWW.what will work for me. Considering how much of the Longevity Diet by Longo is based on vegetables, we may find that part of its power comes from shifting the immune response from inflammatory, to anti-inflammatory. Here is a clue that we are probably all better served with more vegetables. Their alkaline salts help you out. So, I ordered doubled vegetables for dinner last night instead of a potato. Then the blooming onion hors d’oeuvres did me in. I’m not sure it really counts as a vegetable.


Pop Quiz

  1. Your internal organs are lined by what type of cells?                         Answer: Mesothelial cells
  2. Mesothelial cells are lined by what cellular feature?                          Answer: Tiny fingers called “microvilli”.
  3. This article says these cells do what?                                                    Answer:  The communicate across organs and down regulate inflammatory immune response
  4. What class of diseases is this particularly useful?                               Answer:  Autoimmune in which there appears to be unregulated inflammation.
  5. You can get the same effect of a tsp of bicarb by eating what type of food?                 Answer:  LOTS of vegetables, green in particular.  Roots won’t do it as well, if at all.

Fast Mimicking Diet 5: Cancer and the Magic Shield

Fast Mimicking Diet 5: Cancer and the Magic Shield

References: CellBMC CancerCancer CellPLOS Biology,

Last week we learned about reversing diabetes. This might be the Holy Grail of modern medicine. The prevention and treatment of cancer might be just as important. Cancer frequency increases with age, essentially equating aging with more disease. How to prevent it?
The first key concept is to understand how cancer comes about. It takes a key mutation, or probably several mutations or changes in the DNA sequence of a cell, for the cancer cell to develop “oncogenes”, cancer favoring genes. Cancer cells stop obeying orders, which in fact makes them weaker and more vulnerable to damage from external toxins. This is why Vitamin C, ozone, and many chemotherapy drugs have a deterring effect. It’s as though cancer cells are race cars with the accelerator stuck to the floor: they can’t slow down.

Longo recognized that key characteristic of cancer cells, and the essential response of healthy yeast/worms/mice to the fast mimicking diet. When you deprive healthy cells of key nutrients for a fixed period of time, they recognize that they are in trouble. The “get the memo” and respond by hunkering down. Longo called it the “magic shield”. Cancer cells can’t do that. The cancer cell tries to keep growing, even with no nutrients around.

In an experiment with mice, one of Longo’s graduate students gave mice chemotherapy and compared a group with normal daily diet versus some fed no food for two days prior to the chemo. The differences were striking. The fasting mice were dandy, the normally fed mice all got sick. In a week or two, 65% of the regular diet mice were dead. The same dramatic effects were found when micewith lung cancer were given chemo with or without fast mimicking: the fasting mice had 60-70% remission rates compared to much lower in the normally fed mice.
It appears there are two key dynamics going on with this cancer effect: the first is that the fasting weakens the cancer cells, making them more vulnerable. The second is that it renews and “revs” up the immune system, making it more aggressive against the cancer cells..

And the effects go beyond just making the immune system stronger. The use of potent steroids is a part of many chemo regimens with mixed blessings as the resulting elevation of glucose adds to toxicity. The FMD reduces glucosedramatically, suggesting that the use of steroids should be reconsidered.

Where are we with randomized clinical trials in cancer? Considering that there are several hundred types of cancer scattered all over, it takes a while to conduct studies on any one cancer with this strategy, so there are very few studies completed. The three or four that Longo refers to in his book make the strong argument for safety of the strategy, reduction of side effects, increased ability to complete chemo regimens. With that in hand, Longo suggest the following guidelines in his book. 1. If the oncologist agrees, the patient may fast or do the FMD for three days before chemo and 1-2 days after standard chemo drugs. 2. If fasting, make sure you don’t resume regular eating immediately following the chemo as the rebounding growth of liver cells at a time of lingering blood levels of chemo lead to liver toxicity. Weather it out with fasting at least 24 if not 48 hours after the chemo. And start slowly on vegan food, with lots of olive oil: rice, bread, pasta, vegetables and soups. Finally, try to return to normal body weight between cycles. If on any diabetes drug, please, please consult a knowledgeable physician first.

WWW. What will work for me. And just what do you want to do if you have high risk for cancer? Start by reading Longo’s book. If I had the BRCA gene, I would be doing this diet for the rest of my life. I do have diabetes genes in my genetic code, so I probably will be doing this the rest of my life, just like all of us should be. Your blood tests will tell you how often you should be doing it. In the meantime, I’ve now seen three people with dramatic success in just a few months with their diabetes getting better. Want to join that list?

Pop Quiz


  1. The Fast Mimicking Diet is called what by Longo?                                                Answer: The Magic Shield
  2. Cancer cells disobey orders and can’t do what?                                                   Answer: Take their foot off the accelerator and stop growing when there are no nutrients around.
  3. What happens to your immune system against cancer after you FMD?            Answer: Rev Rev.
  4. What’s the likelihood of your doing better if you do FMD while getting chemo? Answer: Fewer side effects and likelihood to get more chemo in you.
  5. Do we want you to lose weight via the FMD when you have cancer?                 Answer: NO! In between cycles we want you to gain it back.


Fast Mimicking Diet 3: The Fasting Part

Fast Mimicking Diet 3 The Fast Mimicking

References: Longo: The Longevity Diet, [Science], Science DirectCellCell Metabolism,

I like to eat. I get hungry. What is it about fasting that makes me do better? Let’s review. Valter Longo found that there were two processes in yeast (very primitive organism) and mice (sophisticated mammalian organism) that respond in the same way. RAS and TOR. Those are the two pathways that appear to accelerate aging. Sugar turns on RAS-PKA and extra protein turns on TOR-6SK Growth Hormone Pathway. If you can down regulate the RAS pathway, you increase the rate of clearing out old, dead, malfunctioning tissues and organelles. That’s called autophagy. TOR is an internal monitor of nutrient density and controller of cell growth. Can’t grow if you don’t have enough food. Dial TOR down and cells stop dividing and go into hunker down mode. Alter those two pathways and presto, chango, you have gotten to the root cause of aging in humans. That discovery, that these two pathways are fundamental to all life on this planet, starting with yeast and moving all the way up to humans, is Longo’s key contribution to modern understanding of aging.
Fasting turns both those pathways in the right direction. It takes about 24 hours to use up the glucose in your liver, stored as glycogen. The human body then switches to burning fat from stores in fat cells. The brain and body utilize ketone bodies in a process termed ketolysis, in which acetoacetic acid and 3-β-hydroxybutyrate are converted into acetoacetyl-CoA and then acetyl-CoA. In yeast, glucose, acetic acid and ethanol, but not glycerol which is also generated during fasting from the breakdown of fats, accelerate aging. Not glycerol. Did you get that? There is one carbon source that doesn’t turn on the nutrient recognition pathway. Glycerol is the 3 carbon fragment that holds fats together in tri-“glycerides”.

Fasting for 3 or more days in humans causes a 30% decrease in circulating insulin and glucose, as well as a reduced level of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), the major growth factor in mammals, which together with insulin is associated with accelerated aging and cancer. Fasting for five days results in a 60% decrease in IGF-1and a 5-fold or higher increase in one of the main IGF-1-inhibiting proteins: IGFBP1. This effect on IGF-1is mostly due to protein restriction, and particularly to the restriction of essential amino acids, but is also supported by calorie restriction since the decrease in insulin levels during fasting promotes reduction in IGF-1. In humans, chronic fasting does not lead to a decrease in IGF-1 unless combined with protein restriction.
Did you get all that? It’s the protein restriction that matters. Five days appears to be the time period in which maximum reduction of cancer growth factors and insulin occurs. You can trick the system with some glycerol which doesn’t register as a sensed nutrient. And we have some markers of metabolism to show your success. 5 days. Reduced protein, animal in particular. Cut the calories down to low enough to turn on and maintain ketogenesis. Sounds like about 800 a day will work. The goal isn’t to lose weight but to turn on anti-aging genes.

WWW. What will work for me. Well, I’ve finished one cycle for myself and lost 6 pounds while doing it and another two pounds over the subsequent three weeks. Not bad. I’m going to do two more cycles and then repeat my own lab tests. Glycerol makes an interesting little sport drink. It’s slightly sweet and with a bit of flavor added from a tea, it’s not so bad. I’ve bought some hibiscus tea.

Pop Quiz


  1. What nutrient can you consume that is slightly sweet and doesn’t trigger calorie sensing? Answer: Glycerol
  2. What amino acid turns on aging, and absence turns off aging? Answer: leucine in particular.
  3. Five day fasting results in a 60% decrease in what? Answer: IGF-1 or our Growth Hormone surrogate marker.
  4. Along with that, you get up to a 5 fold INCREASE in what IGF-1 inhibitor? Answer: IGFBP1.
  5. What lab tests might you want to know if you were getting success in your fasting methods? Answer: Glucose, insulin, IGF-1 and IGFBP-1