STILL ON THE FENCE ABOUT THE
SUGAR / CANCER RELATIONSHIP?
"The Warburg effect states that the main source of energy for cancer cells is not aerobic respiration [oxygen], but glycolysis-even in normoxia [normal levels of oxygen]. Anaerobic metabolism of cancer cells [without oxygen] promotes cell proliferation, local tissue immunosuppression, resistance to hypoxic conditions, and metastatic processes." From last March's issue of Nutrition and Cancer (Glucose Metabolism in Cancer and Ischemia: Possible Therapeutic Consequences of the Warburg Effect)
Why do I mention Mitochondria? Listen to what a popular online encyclopedia says about the relationship of Mitochondria to O2. "A dominant role for the mitochondria is the production of ATP, by oxidizing the major products of glucose. This type of cellular respiration known as aerobic respiration, is dependent on the presence of oxygen. When oxygen is limited, the glycolytic products will be metabolized by anaerobic fermentation, a process that is independent of the mitochondria." Cancer lives and eats in a completely different fashion than normal tissues. Instead of using oxygen to create energy via the mitochondria (aerobic metabolism), cancer hijacks the cell's metabolic machinery, forcing it to make energy in an extremely inefficient manner --- without oxygen (anaerobic metabolism). This is called the 'Warburg Effect,' named after Nobel Prize winner (1931), DR. OTTO WARBURG, who back in the early 1920's, figured out that cancer feeds itself by fermenting sugar (anaerobically), even in the presence of adequate amounts of oxygen and properly functioning mitochondria.
In the same way that all diseases share common bonds (HERE), all cancers share a common bond as well --- the ability to commandeer metabolism and ferment sugar. French and American authors, writing in one of last year's issues of Anti-Cancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry (The Warburg Effect and the Hallmarks of Cancer) stated "It is a longstanding debate whether cancer is one disease or a set of very diverse diseases. The goal of this paper is to suggest strongly that most of (if not all) the hallmarks of cancer could be the consequence of the Warburg's effect." In other words, the debate around cancer cannot diverge from the fact that the primary trait that makes cancer, cancer, is the 'Warburg Effect.'
Today we are going to revisit the Warburg Effect ("SUGAR FEEDS CANCER") for many different reasons. One of those has to do with the lies being propagated by the medical profession. Although "lies" sounds rather harsh, the average cancer doctor (let alone GP) never mentions the Warburg Effect to their patients, either by name or description. In fact, the link shows that the biggest of the big of the heavy-hitters in cancer treatment (Johns Hopkins, MD Anderson, Mayo, etc) all have official statements on their clinic's websites denouncing the relationship between sugar and cancer. It's essentially like waving a scared, trusting, and often gullible public right on through a red light and into heavy traffic --- OR THE DONUT SHOP. Follow along as I make my case, showing you a few of the specific types of cancer that have been associated with increased sugar.
- DIABETES AND CANCER: As we could write a book on this topic, I am only going to give you one study --- an Italian study that was published just days ago in the journal Metabolism (Adverse Glycemic Effects of Cancer Therapy: Indications for a Rational Approach to Cancer Patients with Diabetes). "Diabetes and cancer are common, chronic, and potentially fatal diseases that frequently co-exist. Observational studies have reported an increased risk of cancer in patients with diabetes. Furthermore... coexisting diabetes confers a greater risk of mortality for many malignancies." In July of last year the CDC revealed a shocking statistic via an article title on their website (New CDC Report: More than 100 Million Americans Have Diabetes or Prediabetes). That's about 1/3 of our total population, and for the record, prediabetes, also known as CARDIOMETABOLIC SYNDROME, is almost the equivalent of having diabetes. According to Diabetes dot org, the disease kills over 250,000 people a year and currently sits just outside the "Top 5" causes of death, looking to move up. And as reported by the American Cancer Society, Cancer is now number one in mortality (recently surpassing heart disease), responsible for over 600,000 annual deaths in the U.S.
- SUGAR IGNITES CANCER STEM CELLS: November's issue of the British Journal of Cancer (Glucose Insult Elicits Hyperactivation of Cancer Stem Cells....) showed that sugar does exactly what the study's title says it does --- it hyper-activates cells that are already primed to become cancerous. "Meta-analysis shows that women with diabetes have a 20% increased risk of breast cancer and also an increased risk for distant metastasis and mortality. Hyperglycemia leads to hyperactivation of cancer stem cell pool and enhances invasive ability of breast cancer cells." The great bastion of truth and knowledge (gulp, Wikipedia) says of CSC's, "Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are cancer cells that possess characteristics associated with normal stem cells, specifically the ability to give rise to all cell types found in a particular cancer sample. CSCs are therefore tumor-forming." These are the creatures that chemo often fails to completely kill off. "The population of CSCs, which gave rise to the tumor, could remain untouched and cause relapse."
- COLON CANCER AND SUGAR: This is probably the type of cancer that has the greatest number of studies attesting to this unholy relationship. Less than two months ago, BMC Cancer (High Blood Glucose Levels are Associated with Higher Risk of Colon Cancer in Men: A Cohort Study) stated what we already know. "High levels of blood glucose are thought to be associated with colorectal cancer (CRC) and hyperinsulinemia, an interstage in the development of CRC." Did their study show this to be true as many others have? After looking at the records of 6,000 patients, 145 of whom developed CRC, the authors (from Sweeden's Lund University) concluded that "High levels of blood glucose in men are associated with risk of colon cancer." According to the American Cancer Society, over 50,000 Americans are expected to die of colon cancer in 2018.
- BREAST CANCER AND SUGAR: In October of last year, Cancer Prevention Research (Early Exposure to a High Fat/High Sugar Diet Increases the Mammary Stem Cell Compartment and Mammary Tumor Risk in Female Mice) showed that there are certain times in developing mouse pups that increased sugar intake dramatically increased their chances of developing BREAST CANCER. My opinion is that this study needs to be repeated with sugar alone, as the crappy dietary fats used in many scientific studies are confounders. Just days ago, Matrix Biology published a study called UDP-Sugar Accumulation Drives Hyaluronan Synthesis in Breast Cancer. Listen to how this phenomenon affects an important component of connective tissues, including FASCIA, HYALURONIC ACID (Hyaluronan). "Increased uptake of glucose, a general hallmark of malignant tumors, leads to an accumulation of intermediate metabolites of glycolysis. The results reveal for the first time a dramatic increase of UDP-sugars in breast cancer, and suggest that their high supply drives the accumulation of hyaluronan, a known promoter of breast cancer and other malignancies. In general, the study shows how the disturbed glucose metabolism typical for malignant tumors can influence cancer microenvironment through UDP-sugars and hyaluronan." For more on this relationship, check out my post called FASCIA & CANCER. It also helps explain why sugar is one of the major risk factors in the thickening of fascia known as "DENSIFICATION". For the record, Breast Cancer dot org says that there will be 266,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer this year, with 41,000 individuals expected to die of the disease.
- LIVER CANCER AND SUGAR: Primary Liver Cancer (PLC) --- cancer that starts in the liver, as opposed to cancer that ends up there due to metastasis from somewhere else --- carries a poor prognosis. Last October's issue of the British Journal of Cancer (The Association Between Fasting Blood Glucose and the Risk of Primary Liver Cancer in Chinese Males...) carried a study by 17 Chinese researchers that followed almost 110,000 Chinese men for over a decade, determining that, "Compared to the males with normal fasting blood glucose, the males with impaired fasting glucose and diabetes had a 60% and a 58% higher risk of incident PLC, respectively. Increased fasting blood glucose may be an important and potentially modifiable exposure that could have key scientific and clinical importance for preventing PLC development." According to Cancer dot org, about 42,000 Americans are diagnosed with PLC each year, with about 75% of those dying. Just last month the journal Cancer published a study on survival rates that concluded "Some progress has occurred in survival for patients with liver cancer, but 5-year survival remains low, even for those diagnosed at the localized stage." BTW, the number one cause of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is obesity, both of which are heavily linked to liver cancer (primary and metastatic).
- SUGAR AND BLADDER CANCER: This past November, the British Journal of Nutrition published an Italian / Canadian collaboration (Associations of Dietary Carbohydrates, Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load with Risk of Bladder Cancer) by a team of a dozen researchers showing that high glycemic index carbs (carbs that convert rapidly to blood sugar) are associated with increased risk of bladder cancer --- a disease that kills over 17,000 annually here in America, most of them men. "This case-control study showed that bladder cancer risk was directly associated with high dietary glycemic load and with consumption of high quantity of refined carbohydrate foods, particularly bread. These associations were apparently stronger in subjects with low vegetable consumption." BTW, pasta was listed just under bread.
- SUGAR AND GASTROESOPHAGEAL CANCERS: A study from November's issue of the European Journal of Epidemiology (Dietary Sugar/Starches Intake and Barrett's Esophagus: A Pooled Analysis) showed that developing the pre-cancerous condition known as Barrett's Esophagus (BE) could be slowed down by controlling blood sugar. "Adjusting for age, sex, race, total energy intake, study indicator, body mass index, frequency of gastro-esophageal reflux, and fruit/vegetable intake, both studies showed intake of sucrose [table sugar] and added sugar were higher in cases than controls. BE risk was increased 79% and 71%, respectively. Intake of sweetened desserts/beverages was associated with 71% increase in BE risk. Limiting dietary intake of foods and beverages that are high in added sugar, especially refined table sugar, may reduce the risk of developing BE." December's issue of the International Journal of Epidemiology (A Pooled Analysis of Dietary Sugar/Carbohydrate Intake and Esophageal and Gastric Cardia Adenocarcinoma Incidence and Survival in the USA) concluded that sugar is the reason that, "During the past 40 years, esophageal/gastric cardia adenocarcinoma (EA/GCA) incidence increased in Westernized countries, but survival remained low. Limiting intake of sucrose, sweetened desserts / beverages, and foods that contribute to a high glycemic index, may be plausible EA risk reduction strategies." Cancer dot net estimates that almost 16,000 Americans will die of Esophageal Cancer in 2018.
- SUGAR, STOMACH CANCER, AND THE WARBURG EFFECT: The February 2016 issue of the World Journal of Gastroenterology (Glucose Metabolism in Gastric Cancer: The Cutting-Edge) revealed that, "Gastric cancer is one of the most common cancers worldwide and ranks second in cancer-related deaths. Glucose metabolism in gastric cancer cells differs from that of normal epithelial cells. Upregulated gycolosis (Warburg Effect) in gastric cancer meeting the demands of cell proliferation is associated with genetic mutations, epigenetic modification and proteomic alteration." We know what GENETIC MUTATIONS are, and we've already discussed epigenetics --- but what are "proteomic alterations"? This term indicates that cancer is deranging the stomach's protein structure, which often means that it will be trying to hijack the stomach's PROTON PUMP MECHANISM as well (in similar fashion to heartburn drugs), CREATING A LOW-ACID ENVIRONMENT in the stomach where H. Pylori (a bacteria associated with both gastritis and gastric cancers) can grow and thrive. "Compared with normal cells that mainly generate energy via mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, cancer cells predominantly obtain energy via increased glycolysis even under aerobic conditions. Converting glucose into lactate via glycolysis is inefficient in generating ATP, but it produces a large number of intermediate products driving cell proliferation. The accumulation of lactic acid causes acidic microenvironment, and has a protective effect on tumor cells. The prognosis of advanced gastric cancer is still poor." In the last link I show you the normal / healthy relationship (inverse relationship) between stomach pH and the pH of the body in general.
- OTHERS: If you notice, these studies are all rather new (most no older than 3-4 months). Had I spent the time or gone far enough back, I could have come up with any number of others. Bottom line: find me a disease --- any disease, including cancer --- and in some form or fashion it can usually be linked back to BLOOD SUGAR.
CANCER & SUGAR
IMAGING, INTERMEDIATES AND INDUSTRY FRAUD
"Altered glucose metabolism is a hallmark of gastric cancer. About 80 years after Warburg presented his hypothesis on aberrant glucose metabolism in cancer cells, his viewpoint has been confirmed using positron emission tomography (PET) with the glucose analog tracer in clinical oncology. Based on the increased glucose uptake in cancer cells, PET/CT scan can reflect cancer cell glucose metabolism using 18F-FDG as a tracer and has been widely used in the diagnosis and monitoring of human cancers. 18F-FDG is the most commonly used radio-labeled glucose analog in clinical practice."
When I plugged the term "18F-FDG" into PubMed, I saw that there were over 28,000 studies on this specific subject. Read that again and let it sink in. It's why no one knows better than cancer doctors that sugar feeds cancer. PET Scans (a type of CT SCAN which are actually themselves a significant cause of cancer) use glucose laced with a radioactive dye ("tracer") to make it 'glow' on the CT Scan. Because tumors or areas of metastasis metabolically require mass quantities of sugar (anaerobic metabolism is 1,300% less efficient than aerobic metabolism), they appear as "hot spots" on the scan (HERE) as the cancer sucks up glucose the way that Joey Chestnut sucks up hotdogs (HERE). Thus, when a cancer doctor or website of a cancer treatment facility says that dietary sugar doesn't matter in the big scheme of things, it can't be chalked up to 'Aw shucks, I wasn't aware of that'. It can only be classified as lying.
How is your metabolism being hijacked by sugar? In May of 2016, Oncotarget (Role of Multifaceted Regulators in Cancer Glucose Metabolism and their Clinical Significance) provided a number of the different metabolites / pathways that are affected by as well as affecting the process. "Aberrant glucose metabolism or 'Warburg effect' is a hallmark of human cancers. There is a cluster of 'multifaceted regulators, which plays a pivotal role in the regulation of glucose metabolism." Although I found numerous studies listing more of these regulators and intermediates than you can shake a stick at, I'll only bother to talk about one; AGES. AGES (Advance Glycation Endproducts) are a significant factor in tumorgenesis as confirmed by a study from November's issue of Seminars in Cancer Biology (Do All Roads Lead to Rome? The Glycation Perspective). Just remember that glycation is the process that causes the tissue damage done by sugar. After kicking things off by saying "...glycative stress has gained substantial attention recently for... alleged influence on cancer progression," the authors talk about many of the complex pathways that get taken hostage by the process. The bottom line is that it can all be tied back to INFLAMMATION due to over-consumption of sugar and processed carbohydrates.
Few things tick me off more than big fraud in big industry. And as I have shown you in OVER FIFTY POSTS, the problem is rampant and getting worse instead of better. You can cut off one of Hydra's heads, but with hundreds of billions of dollars at stake annually, two rapidly grow back to take it's place. In other words, in far too many industries the potential rewards are worth the risks. I twice wrote about this phenomenon concerning the sugar industry (they paid scientists from Ivy League and other big time universities to fake research, which was then published in prestigious peer-reviewed journals --- HERE and HERE). Below are a few sentences concerning "Project 259" from the November issue of PLoS Biology (Sugar Industry Sponsorship of Germ-Free Rodent Studies Linking Sucrose to Hyperlipidemia and Cancer: An Historical Analysis of Internal Documents).
"In 1965, the Sugar Research Foundation (SRF) secretly funded a review in the New England Journal of Medicine that discounted evidence linking sucrose consumption to blood lipid levels [CHOLESTEROL & TRIGLYCERIDES] and hence coronary heart disease (CHD). A study comparing conventional rats fed a high-sugar diet to those fed a high-starch diet suggested that sucrose consumption might be associated with... bladder cancer in humans. SRF terminated Project 259 without publishing the results."
They got away with it folks. Unfortunately, not publishing study results you don't like is so common in industry that it has its own moniker --- INVISIBLE & ABANDONED. It also happens to be why I am the current world record holder for consecutively made free throws (HERE). But seriously, aren't you curious about what else you might not be aware of concerning the sugar / cancer relationship? Don't you wonder why the medical profession is not talking about Dr. Warburg? Why not take ten minutes to read The Warburg Effect: 80 Years On from the journal Biochemical Society Transactions? Or maybe you would like The Warburg Effect as an Adaptation of Cancer Cells to Rapid Fluctuations in Energy Demand from September's issue of PLoS One? As the quote from the top of the page said, "The Warburg Effect has been documented for over 90 years with thousands of papers reporting to have established either its causes or its functions." In other words folks, the jig is up. There are no more excuses for doctors not sharing this information with their patients!
SUGAR CONSUMPTION'S EFFECTS ON CANCER THERAPIES
How can anyone, whether mainstream or ALTERNATIVE, successfully treat cancer, while consuming this much sugar? That's just it; they can't. This can be seen in several studies showing that drugs don't work well when one is consuming this mass quantities of sugar. A study from the British Journal of Pharmacology (The Warburg Effect and Drug Resistance) showed shows why. It also showed that the mainstream medical community knew of this almost a century ago!
"In 1924, Otto Warburg reported the observation that cancer cells used glycolysis more than mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation for their energy requirements. More recently, data have emerged indicating that the Warburg effect could also influence drug efficacy. Attrition rates for anticancer drugs are high compared with other therapeutic areas. The fact that the effectiveness of drugs is tested in models that poorly simulate the tumour microenvironment should be considered as it is also likely to have a role in the attrition."
This is especially true of chemotherapy. A study from the October issue of Anticancer Research (Effect of Hyperglycemia on Antitumor Activity and Survival in Tumor-bearing Mice Receiving Oxaliplatin and Fluorouracil) showed that, "Cancer chemotherapy with oxaliplatin and fluorouracil was less effective and survival was shorter in hyperglycemia." Likewise, research from the November issue of the same journal (A Simple Method to Optimize the Effectiveness of Chemotherapy: Modulation of Glucose Intake During Chemotherapy) revealed that "the modulation of glucose intake during chemotherapy" could make said therapy far more effective. "The proposed scheme is simple, surely easier to follow than a strict chronic diet, and should avoid weight loss."
I guess the bottom line is that when it comes to cancer; whether talking prevention or treatment, you need to modify your immediate risk factors. Everyone knows that things like SMOKING, OBESITY, CHEMICAL EXPOSURE, etc, are risk factors for cancer, but what about modifying intake of sugar and high glycemic (processed) carbohydrates? The September issue of the American Journal of Preventative Medicine (Prevalence of Modifiable Cancer Risk Factors Among U.S. Adults Aged 18-44 Years) stated that "Carcinogen exposure and unhealthy habits acquired in young adulthood can set the stage for the development of cancer at older ages." Among the 'preventative factors' listed included not consuming "sugar-sweetened beverages daily." A starting point I guess, but rather wimpy in light of today's post. Let me to show you something that's not wimpy.
Although I would never in a million years claim that I have the cure for cancer, I have a good generic protocol that's helpful for restoring health and preventing the loss of HOMEOSTASIS that can lead to so many chronic conditions (HERE). I would also suggest that you start exploring the KETOGENIC DIET as well since it forces the body to burn fat instead of sugar (and be sure to watch the incredible anti-cancer video at the end of THIS POST). As always, the research quoted in this post is cherry-picked, and nothing I write is meant to diagnose, treat, or cure anything, cancer included. The FDA says.....