Longevity, Fasting, and Ketosis

The Feb 22 and 29th issue of Time magazine has several articles on longevity.  One entitled "It's the Little Things" dances around the concept of fasting and ketogenic diets.  Valter Longo of the USC Longevity Institute studied fasting.  But there was no mention of ketosis.  It now seems clear that the main reason fasting can prevent cancer is that cancer cells cannot metabolize ketones.  A fasting diet puts a person into ketosis, and there is not enough blood sugar for cancer cells to survive.  Cancer starves to death in ketosis.  If there are large tumors it's probably too late for ketosis to help.  If there are small tumors ketosis may be an effective weapon.  If there are not yet tumors then ketosis may prevent cancer.

Why are scientists and doctors ignoring the ketogenic diet as a weapon against cancer?  Here is a study of the use of ketosis for advanced cancer patients.  But it's not clear if they proved the patients were in ketosis with blood testing.  Trusting people to be honest about their diet is not scientific.

Cancer, Ketones, and Fasting

Here's one of the best and most important podcasts in history.  Tim Ferriss interviews Dr. Dom D'Agostino on ketones, fasting, and cancer.

I think I know the reason that oncologists can't recommend a ketogenic diet to their patients.  The reason is that it will only work if the diet is truly ketogenic.  People are notorious for lying about their diet.  I would guess that as many a 80% of patients who claim to be in ketosis are actually lying about the amount of carbohydrates they eat.  

A personal blood ketone monitor would help.  But in the end it's almost impossible to force people to stay on any specific diet.

A ketogenic diet is a weapon against cancer.  Unfortunately we may never know if it's a powerful weapon or a weak one.  I for one will be in ketosis within hours of the first suspicion that I have cancer.  Hopefully I'll never have to find out how well it works.

I also like the idea that a hard fast 2-3 times per year may be a cancer preventative.  Again, we may never find out.