Cancer cells have abnormal metabolism. Mainly, this is because they use a process called aerobic glycolysis for energy. (Normal cells use a different process called the electron transport system.)
Glucose is the main fuel for cancers, and therefore all carbohydrates feed cancers. But cancer cells have other fuels. It turns out that they can use the amino acid glutamine just as efficiently as they use glucose.
In fact, some tumors are voracious glutamine consumers. Within cancer cells, glutamine is converted into another amino acid called glutamate, which is used for energy production and to stimulate receptors on the cancer cell membrane, triggering increased proliferation of cancer cells and invasion into surrounding tissues.
The list of cancers that have been shown to have glutamate receptors include:
• Colon cancer
• Breast cancer
• Prostate cancer
• Thyroid cancer
• Lung cancer
• Bone cancers
• Pancreatic cancer
• Nasopharyngeal cancer
• Brain cancer
Some cancers, such as melanomas and medulloblastomas, have very high numbers of glutamate receptors. Blocking glutamate receptors has been shown to inhibit the growth and invasion of these tumors and greatly enhance the effectiveness of conventional treatments.
Most diets, even those advocated by cancer center dietitians, contain high levels of glutamate, glutamine, and sugar. Unfortunately, cancer patients are rarely told that they should avoid foods naturally high in glutamate and glutamine, and processed foods containing powerful glutamate additives, such as MSG, whey protein, hydrolyzed protein, soy protein, caseinate, natural flavors, carrageenan, and autolyzed yeast.
Foods naturally high in glutamate include all meats, fish, many cheeses, green peas, all soy products, beans, tomatoes (especially pureed or as a sauce), and many salad dressings, as well as milk and milk products.
While a ketogenic diet has powerful anticancer effects, high glutamate foods should be excluded from that diet.
Inside cells, glutamine is converted into glutamate by the enzyme glutaminase. Research has shown that inhibiting this enzyme slows cancer growth.
The highest concentration of glutamine in the body is found in muscles. Terminal cancer patients lose a great deal of muscle and become emaciated (cancer cachexia) because the tumors steal the glutamine from their muscles in massive amounts.
The answer to this problem seems to be blocking the glutaminase enzyme, as that prevents the cells from manufacturing glutamate. But you also have to eliminate glutamate from the diet.
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