Protein is necessary for body maintenance, growth and repair for all individuals. Protein is present in almost all body cells and has many functions including:
- Formation and maintenance of muscles, connective tissues, red blood cells, enzymes, and hormones
- Transporting many body compounds as well as medications
- Maintaining the balance of body fluids
- Fighting infections and strengthening immunity
Generally, your diet provides adequate protein; however while undergoing surgery and treatment for cancer your protein requirements may increase. It is important to be aware of the food sources of protein and to include these foods at every meal and snack.
However, Cancer patients need to take a second look at protein consumption for several reasons:
- Proteins, and more specifically, the amino acids that make up all proteins, may be a fuel for your particular cancer. Some cancers feed directly off of some amino acids, particularly glutamine, methionine, serine, and others. These patients need to severely reduce all protein intake, especially animal proteins.
- Animal based proteins tend to stimulate the mTOR pathway (the body’s growth cycle) which can stimulate cancer growth.
We recommend using plant-based proteins when taking/consuming protein sources and utilizing a plant-based protein source if using a powder.