Cancer Cells Feed on Glucose and Glutamine – Avoid These Foods
People often ask, what does cancer feed on? Well, anaerobic (without oxygen) metabolism primarily consumes glucose as a fuel source. Cancer cells respire anaerobically, consuming 7-8 times more glucose than normal cells. Since it is so inefficient compared to aerobic metabolism, cancers have a voracious appetite for glucose to sustain them. This is why excess consumption of sugars tends to promote cancer growth. But there is also a relationship between glutamine and cancer! There are studies being done to analyze this relationship, and how to handle to effects of starving out a cancer by reducing glutamine.
It is less well known that cancers have an equally voracious appetite for glutamine, an amino acid. Briefly, glutamine is the most important “nitrogen shuttle” in the blood. It brings the organic nitrogen to the cancer cells so they can use it to make the essential amino acids and thus proteins required to make more cancer cells. As the glutamine supply goes to zero, tumor growth goes to zero.
In order for cancer cells to survive they basically require three conditions:
- Availability of glucose
- Anaerobic surroundings – less oxygen
- Availability of glutamine
One avenue to reduce the growth of cancer cells is simply to starve their food sources such as glucose and glutamine-rich foods, and then increase the amount of oxygen in the blood, which they hate.
A rich dietary source of glutamine is red meats. This is why excess consumption of red meats and other concentrated sources of animal protein tend to promote tumor growth. Since normal cells also require both glucose and glutamine, reducing the intake of either to zero would have an undesirable outcome. Consumption in moderation (small quantities), along with fruits and vegetables seems to be the best approach.
Read more about how glutamine feeds cancer.
Other Foods That Should Be Avoided – Glutamine and Cancer:
GLUTAMINE-RICH FOODS SUCH AS:
- Red meats (fish and eggs is better in small quantities)
- All dairy products except cottage cheese
- Wheat (which is rich in glutamine)
SUGAR-RICH FOODS SUCH AS:
- All refined sugar products
- All refined foods (white flour products, white rice)
- Fruit juices (homemade vegetable juices are fine and highly encouraged in the Gerson Therapy program which we highly recommend!)
FOODS THAT ARE DISEASE-CAUSING IN GENERAL:
- High saturated fats (animal fats)
- Trans fats from fried foods and hydrogenated fats in margarine
- All food additives, coloring agents and preservatives
With regards to a cancer treatment, every food that we eat or drink can be categorized into several different categories:
1) Foods that feed and strengthen the cancer cells and/or the microbes in the cancer cells and body. Examples would be: refined sugar, refined flour, soda pop, dairy products, etc.
2) Foods that cause cancer (e.g. trans fatty acids [margarine, French fries and virtually every other processed food you buy], aspartame [Diet Coke, NutraSweet, Equal, etc.], MSG, polyunsaturated oils [e.g. corn oil], etc.)
3) Foods that directly interfere with alternative treatments for cancer (e.g. chlorine, fluoride, alcohol, coffee, etc.)
4) Foods that occupy and distract the immunity system from focusing on killing the cancer cells (e.g. beef, turkey, etc.)
5) Foods that contain nutrients that kill the cancer cells, stop the spread of cancer, or in some other way help treat the cancer (e.g. purple grapes with seeds and skin, red raspberries with seeds, strawberries with seeds, broccoli, cauliflower, several herbs, carrots, pineapples, almonds, etc.)
Sugar and Glutamine
I’ve stated above that the Cancer Diet should decrease sugar and glutamine consumption and here are a few reasons. Researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah have uncovered new information on the notion that sugar “feeds” tumors. The findings may also have implications for other diseases such as diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome. The research is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
“It’s been known since 1923 that tumor cells use a lot more glucose than normal cells. Our research helps show how this process takes place, and how it might be stopped to control tumor growth,” says Don Ayer, Ph.D., a Huntsman Cancer Institute investigator and professor in the Department of Oncological Sciences at the University of Utah.
Glucose and glutamine are both essential for cell growth, and it was long assumed they operated independently, but Ayer’s research shows they are inter-dependent. During both normal and cancerous cell growth, a cellular process takes place that involves both glucose (sugar) and glutamine (an amino acid). Ayer discovered that by restricting glutamine availability, glucose cannot be well utilized by cancer cells. “Essentially, if you don’t have glutamine, the cell is short circuited due to a lack of glucose, which halts the growth of the tumor cell,” Ayer says.
The research, spearheaded by Mohan Kaadige, Ph.D., a post-doctoral fellow in Ayer’s lab, focused on MondoA, a protein that is responsible for turning genes on and off. In the presence of glutamine, MondoA blocks the expression of a gene called TXNIP. TXNIP is thought to be a tumor suppressor, but when it’s blocked by MondoA, it allows cancer cells to take up and utilize glucose as its primary energy source, which in turn drives tumor growth.
Ayer says the next step in his research is to develop animal models to test his ideas about how MondoA and TXNIP control cell growth. “If we can understand that, we can break the cycle of glucose utilization which could be beneficial in the treatment of cancer,” Ayer says.
So, make sure you are not taking any glutamine in your supplements. Since this is an amino acid, you would most likely find it in a protein powder. Another common source of glutamine would be in products to heal the gut. Glutamine is a primary player in intestinal healing and though healing intestinal permeability issues (leaky gut syndrome) is important for cancer patients, do NOT use a product with glutamine!