Chemotherapy & Your Diet
information should replace medical treatment against cancer. If you are undergoing chemotherapy, it is
strongly important that you talk to your doctor before taking any food or herbal supplement.
Contrary to what most cancer patients think, eating a lot during cancer treatment may not be a
good thing. Reducing certain food intake could improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy while reducing its side
effects. Normally, cancer cells need energy mainly in the form of glucose to divide actively, using a unique
pathway called anaerobic metabolism, the use of glycogen (complex sugar),
without oxygen, with production of lactate. In other words, anaerobic system is favored by high glucose and
especially refined sugars. From this, you can clearly see that all foods that contain refined sugar (and other
ingredients) including ice-cream should not be included in your diet during your fight against
According to Dr. Warburg (winner of
Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine, received in 1931 for his contributions to the metabolism of cancer cells
and cellular respiration), anaerobic metabolism is not normally encountered in the operation of non-cancer
It is, however, essential to the proliferation of cancer cells. In fact, studies on mice have shown that partial or
total caloric restriction activate a series of metabolic pathways that lead to a substantial increase in the
survival of the animals by preventing the onset of disease and
delaying the inevitable process of aging tissue.
According to studies by a team of researchers led by Professor Longo of generontology (science that
studies social, psychological
and biological aspects of aging)
department of the University of Southern California, complete fasting 24 to 48 hours before administration of high
dose chemotherapy allows the animals to be more resistant to the cancer treatment by decreasing the side effects
while not alter drug effectiveness to destroy the cancer cells. According to the same professor, the lack of food
forces the normal cells (noncancerous cells) to adopt a state of defenses in relation to their environment. They
change their behavior to get into a survival mode in which they show a greater presence to outdoor environmental
A recent study conducted in ten cancer patients, who voluntarily followed a complete calorie restriction 20 to 48
hours before administration of chemotherapy, has shown a decreased side effects when the body has lower caloric
intake. Most of those cancer patients have shown increased tolerance to their respective cancer treatment with much
lower side effects: nausea, oral mucositis, hair loss and others.
These studies do not mean that cancer patients should be deprived of food during chemotherapy. In fact, there is no
cancer treatment without a good diet. These studies simply mean eating certain, mainly foods rich in calorie, can
increase the side effects of chemotherapy and even reduce its curative effects. The important thing is to eat a
well balanced diet, at the proper time, composed mainly of anti cancer foods.