An Unexpected Benefit of Ketosis


The ketogenic diet is unique in its ability to simultaneously put cancer cells under metabolic stress while ‘supercharging’ normal cells capacity to deal with a variety of insults.

Chemotherapy is responsible for numerous side effects that significantly detract from the patient’s quality of life, leaving people sick and exhausted.

  To date, few therapies have been able to attenuate the side effects of chemotherapy.

Recent work by Longo and colleges provide preliminary evidence that entering ketosis through fasting may ameliorate the deleterious side effects of chemotherapy.  In the study, the authors describe 10 cases in which patients diagnosed with a variety of malignancies had voluntarily fasted prior to (48-140 hours) and/or following (5-56 hours) chemotherapy.  The average patient response shows a reduction of side effects in virtually every category reported – with the only side effect from the fasting itself being hunger and lightheadedness.

Although the 10 cases presented in the study suggest that fasting in combination with chemotherapy is feasible, safe, and has the potential to ameliorate side effects caused by chemotherapies, the authors are careful to point out the study is not meant to establish practice guidelines for patients undergoing chemotherapy.  Only controlled-randomized clinical trials will determine the effect of fasting on clinical outcomes including quality of life and therapeutic index.

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