Ketogenic Diet, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy & Cancer

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Ketogenic Diet, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy & Cancer

It has long been understood that cancer has a glucose dependency created by cell metabolism (glycolytic-dependency). Researchers1 discovered that this dependency can be utilised against the tumour by lowering the available glucose. The ketogenic diet is a low carbohydrate, high fat diet which decreases blood glucose, elevates blood ketones and has been shown to slow cancer progression in mammals.

The abnormal blood supply to tumours creates ‘hypoxic pockets’ (pockets where there is no oxygen and a lower pH) that promote cancer progression and further increase the glycolytic-dependency of tumours (in an oxygen starved environment the cancer cells need glucose in greater quantity to replicate).

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy saturates the body and tumours with oxygen which neutralises the cancer-promoting effects of these environments. Since these non-toxic therapies exploit overlapping metabolic deficiencies in cancer, researchers2 tested their combined effects on cancer progression in a natural model using mice.

The results were so impressive that human trials are now going ahead.

In the study researchers used a Ketogenic Diet (KD) along with three 90-minute sessions of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy per week.

Under normal conditions just 8% of the mice with metastatic cancer survived. The researchers stated that a “KD alone significantly decreased blood glucose, slowed tumour growth and increased mean survival time by 56.7% in mice with systemic metastatic cancer. While HBOT alone did not influence cancer progression, combining the KD with HBOT elicited a significant decrease in blood glucose and tumour growth rate, and a 77.9% increase in mean survival time compared to controls.” 

The final statement of the published research report states “KD and HBOT produce significant anti-cancer effects when combined in a natural model of systemic metastatic cancer.”

Chris Woollams, former Oxford Biochemist and CANCERactive founder said, “There is a word of caution however, in that HBOT absolutely must be used with a low carb diet. There is a little evidence that it can make matters worse if used with high carbs”.


1from the Dept. of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of South Florida and the Dept. of Biology at Boston College

2Angela M Poff, Csilla Ari, Thomas N Seyfried and Dominic P D’Agostino and the results published in PlosOne