Cancer cells

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S., and is one of the most dreaded diseases anywhere.

It typically strikes older people more; some 90% of cancer is diagnosed in people over the age of 50, and incidence increases with age. Could we be looking at the end of cancer?

While many of the causes of cancer have been identified, the exact manner in which cancer starts and why it does so remains an open question in science. While the lay person may consider the origin of cancer to be of academic interest only, the way that cancer starts, and even precisely what cancer is, has great relevance to prevention and treatment. A new line of thought on cancer has emerged in recent years, backed by compelling evidence, that the prevalent theory of how cancer starts and what it is are wrong, at least in part.

This new way of looking at the problem is the metabolic theory of cancer.

Is cancer caused by genetic mutations?

The prevailing theory of cancer is that it’s caused by genetic mutations, which lead to uncontrolled growth, metastasis, and death. The Mayo Clinic flatly states, “Cancer is caused by changes (mutations) to the DNA within cells.” A scholarly review, The Hallmarks of Cancer, argues that the “enabling characteristic” for these hallmarks of cancer is “genome instability”, that is, the increased propensity of the cell’s genes to mutate.

But seemingly, there’s a paradoxically low rate of mutations together with a high rate of cancer. Even the authors of the review cited above state:

But mutation of specific genes is an inefficient process, reflecting the unceasing, fastidious maintenance of genomic integrity by a complex array of DNA monitoring and repair enzymes. These genome maintenance teams strive to ensure that DNA sequence information remains pristine… Yet cancers do appear at substantial frequency in the human population, causing some to argue that the genomes of tumor cells must acquire increased mutability in order for the process of tumor progression to reach completion in several decades time.

Mutations are rare, they say, because cells strive to repair their DNA, but cancer occurs frequently.

There are a number of other paradoxes of cancer.

The discovery that cancer cells collectively manifest millions of different types of gene mutations led to the idea that all cancers were different, or different in type, and required complex treatment.

But what if cancer cells all had a remarkable similarity, one that had nothing to do with genetic mutations?

The Warburg effect

Otto Warburg, who won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1931, first proposed that cancer is due to a metabolic defect.

Just as there are many remote causes of plague, heat, insects, rats, but only one common cause, the plague bacillus, there are a great many remote causes of cancer-tar, rays, arsenic, pressure, urethane- but there is only one common cause into which all other causes of cancer merge, the irreversible injuring of respiration.

In most normal cells, energy is burned in the mitochondria in the presence of oxygen to produce ATP, the currency of energy. Cancer cells have a severely diminished, or no, capacity to do this. Instead, they burn glucose for energy in a process known as aerobic glycolysis. The mitochondria of cancer cells appear to be severely damaged, so the only way they can obtain energy is through this alternative and relatively inefficient method.

Cancer cells burn glucose, as opposed to the mixture of fat and glucose burned by normal cells. Furthermore, non-cancerous normal cells can use ketone bodies for energy, and most cancer cells cannot.

Cancer as a metabolic disease

If genetic mutations don’t cause cancer, what does?

Thomas Seyfried, the most well-known scientist in this area, postulates that cancer is a metabolic disease.

In Seyfried’s view, metabolic dysfunction in the mitochondria of cancer cells is the initial event in cancer formation. The result is genomic instability, leading to the gene mutations seen in cancer; but the mutations are not causal, the metabolic dysfunction is.

Cancer cells burn sugar as a result of their dysfunction.

Therefore, treatment partially consists of depriving cancer cells of glucose. One way to do that is to lower blood glucose levels by the ketogenic diet. In fact, Seyfried has advocated just this approach. It appears to be effective, though much more clinical research would need to be done.

2-deoxyglucose, a compound that is taken up by cells but which cannot be metabolized, and which essentially jams up the metabolic machinery, inhibits cancer cells in vitro. So it appears that depriving cancer cells of glucose, their main fuel, inhibits their growth and may kill them.

Is there any other way to jam the molecular machinery of cancer cells?

Inhibiting cancer metabolism

Enter Dr. Laurent Schwartz, French physician and oncologist, who has been working on this problem for many years and treats patients using the metabolic theory of cancer. (In addition to conventional treatment.)

Schwartz and colleagues have developed a compound called Metabloc, which consists of two over-the-counter (in the U.S. at least) supplements, hydroxycitrate and alpha lipoic acid. These two compounds interfere with the metabolism of cancer cells, but have little effect on the metabolism of normal cells.  Below is a chart showing various strengths of both compounds either alone or in combination against cancer cells in vitro. The highest concentrations of the combination, though still in the micromolar range, reduced cancer cell viability to zero, i.e. no surviving cells.

This treatment, in contrast to standard cancer treatment, is non-toxic, with few side effects.

In vivo, in mice, the combination works too, greatly inhibiting tumor growth. Interestingly, adding another common compound, capsaicin, the substance that gives hot chili peppers their heat, inhibited cancer cells even more. The addition of a fourth compound, a peptide drug called octreotide, further diminished cancer cell viability. Octreotide is a potent inhibitor of growth hormone.

Schwartz has published several papers on the effects in actual patients; the most recent (as far as I know) is “Combination of Metabolic Treatment of Aggressive Primary Brain Tumour and Multiple Metastases of the Brain”.

Background: The combination of hydroxycitrate and lipoic acid has been demonstrated by several laboratories to be effective in reducing murine cancer growth. In previous article in 2014, we reported the fate of 11 patients treated for metastatic cancer unresponsive to chemotherapy. As of today, 32 months after inclusion, five of these patients (45%) are still alive.

Patients and Methods: We report the cases of 12 patients with advanced brain tumor. They were all treated with conventional treatment and a combination of sodium R lipoate (800 mg bid), hydroxycitrate at 500 mg tid and low-dose naltrexone at 5 mg at bedtime. Eight patients had primary brain tumour (n=8 including five glioblastomas) four patients had multiple brain metastases.

Results and Discussion: The combination of conventional and metabolic treatment was well tolerated. Four out of five patients with gliobastoma are still alive and well. The longest follow-up is 7 years.The four patients with disease widely metastatic to the brain have experienced long-term survival. A randomized clinical trial of metabolic treatment associated with conventional treatment is warranted.

The conclusion of the paper states:

To our knowledge, this is the first attempt to treat cancer using a combination of molecules targeting abnormal cancer metabolism. None of these patients experienced major side effects of metabolic treatment. At this stage of development, not a single case proves the efficacy of treatment. But at the time of writing, most patients were alive and well several months after having been sent home to await their death. Several months of life without symptoms strongly suggests that targeting cancer metabolism may be a reasonable option in therapy of advanced brain cancer. The role of metabolic treatment and its association with existing therapy remains to be explored in well-conducted trials.

The end of cancer?

It’s obviously too soon to say whether this new treatment for cancer will be so much of a success that the treatment becomes widely accepted and used. Apparently, Dr. Schwartz is the only oncologist in the world who is using it. His new book is “Cancer: Un Traitement Simple et Non Toxique.”

The number of cancers is increasing and, despite what we hear about medical progress, mortality has not dropped since 1960 , especially for tumors of the pancreas, lungs, liver, brain …

And if, instead of merely seeking to destroy cancer cells with aggressive treatments, they were also rendered functional again? This approach can improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy and the survival of patients.

This is the conviction of Dr. Laurent Schwartz, shared by many scientists around the world. This brilliant physician and researcher in cancer has spent his career gathering evidence that the mechanisms that cause cells to multiply in an anarchic way are essentially related to a sugar burning problem .

In this book written for patients and caregivers, he proposes to normalize the metabolism of cancer cells by a combination of non-toxic and inexpensive foods and supplements, or even a diet low in carbohydrates.

This metabolic treatment has already benefited many patients.

I can only say that if I had cancer, I would definitely seek out the expertise of Laurent Schwartz. He appears to be little known in the U.S., but his latest book will be translated into English and published here. It’s also being translated into Spanish and Italian.

Dr. Laurent Schwartz

While Dr. Schwartz has patented Metabloc, the fact that it’s comprised of two OTC supplements means it’s cheap and that huge pharmaceutical industry profits can’t be made on this treatment. That’s an obstacle to it becoming more widely adopted, since cancer treatment is big business.

PS: If you liked this article or my website in general, check out my books, Dumping Iron, Muscle Up, and Stop the Clock.

PPS: You can support this site by purchasing through my Supplements Buying Guide for Men.

Share this post with your friends

Want to look and feel great in your 40s, 50s, 70s and beyond?

Discover how to avoid chronic disease, excess body fat, and enjoy limitless energy


  1. Max says:

    Great post, thanks Dennis. I’d only add that water fasting (extended) and the FMD (fasting mimicking diet) are high on my list for cancer prevention and if it ever came to, treatment, complementary to standard treatments.

    One MD, perhaps the only one in the US, who uses a similar protocol to Laurent Schwartz is Burt Berkson MD in New Mexico. He literally wrote the book on ALA, and uses it intravenously with hydroxycitrate and low dose naltrexone for cancer – good stuff.

  2. Jeremy says:

    This podcast that just came out two days ago has an expert who strongly disagrees with the metabolic theory of cancer. Going on a ketogenic diet could cause a cancer to go into metastasis, so the ketogenic diet is not safe at all.

    • P. D. Mangan says:

      Has he ever treated patients dying of cancer? NO.

      • Lamm says:

        Umm… He’s an actual cancer researcher involved in researching and developing the testing and treatment protocols.

      • Lamm says:

        Nevertheless, I would like to hear your opposing criterias to the research findings that he presents. I partially lack the medical background to fully comprehend the referenced research, but from what I have been studying, the rationale is perfectly sound.

        • P. D. Mangan says:

          It seems absurd to say the ketogenic diet could cause problems when Americans eat 60% of their calories as processed junk food, not to mention 22 teaspoons of sugar a day. That’s the real cancer problem.

          • Samia says:

            We have to make a distinction between a ketogenic diet as a cure for various problems VS thinking that eating this way forever is a good thing.

    • eah says:

      “could cause”

      What does that mean? What is the likelihood?

      The info you post seems to be diametrically opposed to what Mr Mangan has posted here — what is one to make of that?

  3. Jay Campbell says:

    Great Job Dennis. I have a SHIT TON to say about this topic but I will be extremely precise. Of course cancer is a metabolic disease. What disease isn’t caused by cellular inflammation from chronically elevated insulin levels? 68% of people in America are now OBESE. Chemo-receptors in the pancreas fail now at about 15 years for most Americans. Especially those who are carb sensitive/Endomorphic.

    That doctor should be looking over his shoulder at all times. Big Pharma will NEVER allow for a cure for Cancer. The money is in the medicine not the cure.

    People who subject their bodies to the draconian treatment of “chemo therapy” are just ignorant and highly brainwashed by the Medical community. In very rare cases does it do anything to actually change the body’s akalinity to prevent metastasis at a molecular level. Sure it will kill the most invasive pathogen (along with all of the good/healthy gut biome)but most of the time the true cause of the cancer is not addressed and the cells lie dormant until the next massive episode of cellular degradation to shitty food and insulin over production.

    A very wicked and sinister situation. To detailed to discuss here. 🙂

  4. Arren Brandt says:

    Cancer will be cured using specific cell killing tech within about two more decades. Until then every sufferer would do good with this kind of advice coupled with fasting, sauna, chelation. Still some cancers will kill you no matter what, some even depend on ketones.

  5. Stefan Sladecek says:

    While you gathered interesting information, you are partly mixing up cause and effect. While the effect of Metabloc is impressive, I question it would be sustainable, as cancer cells (through their genomic instability) could quickly mutate and thereby circumvent the detrimental effect of Metabloc on them – a process similar to bacteria which mutate in response to antibiotics to develop resistance. In the end, you need only one single cell to acquire the “right” mutation to escape the effect of Metabloc and repopulate the tumor. This is a pretty general problem with all cancer treatments. I’d be more convinced if they would actually show that tumors did indeed shrank instead of just stating that several patients are still alive well beyond their residual life expectation as cancer patients. Moreover, since this was a single-armed study, it is impossible to say what effect is due to the conventional or metabolic treatment, respectively.

    And this leads us to your misconception: While it is nowadays beyond any doubt that cancer cells change their metabolism towards glycolysis, cancer is STILL a genetic disease. Cancers adapt their metabolism once they are formed, but without prior mutations, cancers would not occur, period. The changes in metabolism are a consequence of cell transformation, NOT the cause. Mutations in critical genes are still the cause of cell transformation towards cancer and are not that rare. Mutations physiologically occur at a rate of approx 2.2 × 10−9 per base pair per year in mammals ( This equals 6 mutated bases per year in humans in an ideal setting, without any harmful environmental influences that many people are exposed to (smoking, radiation, some viruses, etc), thus in many people the mutation rate is greatly elevated. Btw, these 6 mutated bases is what is left AFTER repairing/correcting/fixing the genome after each round of cell division, the actual mutation rate is MUCH MUCH HIGHER, but the overwhelming majority is corrected straight away during cell division itself.

    And while most mutations are either fixed by genomic safeguards (eg p53, Rb,…) straight away or have no consequence at all – even if not repaired -, if you get a function-changing mutation in one of the genome safeguards themselves, further mutations will remain unnoticed and since the intrinsic correction process now doesn’t work anymore, you are dealing with a highly increased mutation rate and no corrective process anymore, thus facilitating mutations in further critical genes.

    Thus, if you really want to treat cancer, you have to treat the cause (mutated gene products, ie proteins), not only one of the consequences of it, the metabolic changes. However, and unfortunately for cancer patients, cancer cells adapt via their hyper-mutagenicity as easily to causative treatments as they adapt to symptomatic treatments.

    Still, you definitely found a very interesting new approach to potentially treat cancer and I am very much looking forward to the foreseen well-conducted comparative trials!

    Best regards and keep up the great work

    • Allan Folz says:

      Based on my reading, the case being made is that unregulated gene expression is NOT a random act of mutation from an unknown environmental factor, which I take to be your position, but a _consequence_ of the cell switching to aerobic glycolysis on account of impaired mitochondrial function. The latter being brought on by a state of chronic hyperglycemia.

      Call it a mutation if you like, but judging on their (lack of) results, the working assumption of cancer researchers for past 20+ years as to what is cause and what is effect appears to be backwards.

    • Ole says:

      Agree with you Stefan. I’m always skeptical when some scientist claims to have found a “silver bullet” for cancer. We see this in e.g. pancreatic cancers, which have become ROS resistant to chemo- and radiation therapy. You can eat all the curcumin in the world and drink gallons of green tea, but once cancer has mutated and start to exploit the Nrf2 pathway and become ROS resistant, these polyphenols will do nothing.

      James Watson has an excellent in-depth explanation, which also discuss the use of parthenolide:

    • P. D. Mangan says:

      Basically most of your comment is assertion: that I’m mixing up cause and effect, “your misconception”. The whole point of my article is that the conventional wisdom on cancer is wrong, and you argue against it by reasserting the conventional wisdom. That’s illogical.

      Another point about genetic mutations: how do millions of different mutations all end up with the cancer cell using aerobic glycolysis? Quite a coincidence. Furthermore, strange that these cells can even function with all the mutations. In nature, most mutations are either neutral or harmful, not beneficial, yet every mutation in a cancer cell leads to its evasion of host defenses and uncontrolled growth.

      As for Metabloc resistance, since mutations don’t drive cancer (according to the argument), it’s just more assertion to say that a mutation will help a cell escape Metabloc. If virtually all cancer cells use anaerobic glycolysis, then only by evolving new enzymes, a near impossible task, could it escape Metabloc. Besides, chemo resistance is a problem in conventional therapy, so you can’t use that to argue that cells will develop resistance to Metabloc.

      • Allan Folz says:

        “The whole point of my article is that the conventional wisdom on cancer is wrong, and you argue against it by reasserting the conventional wisdom.”

        +1 I hope it was clear, but in case not, that’s exactly what I wanted to say.

      • Stefan Sladecek says:

        Hi PD

        As you may know me from previous comments, you know that I a a big fan of your work and similar to you I am convinced that the influence of nutrition on overall health cant be overstated.

        However, in this case, when I reassure conventional wisdom, I do this simply because I am still convinced that the majority of the conventional wisdom is not wrong (btw, I have a background in cancer biology). However, I fully agree with you that the impact of metabolism on cancer has been underestimated for decades.

        As you point out correctly, most mutations in nature are neutral or harmful. But similar to a whole organism (imagine a tumor as a mini-organism), beneficial mutations are selcted for, and since tumors divide faster than normals cells AND have a much higher mutation rate, tumors acquire more mutations in general and consequently also more of the rare positive mutations.

        I also agree with you that chemo is a very unspecific treatment that often causes more harm than good. However, targeted molecular therapies (such as Herceptin, Keytruda, Gleevec,…) are also part of what you call “conventional therapy” and their efficacy is well documented. And they work, because they target the mutated gene products (proteins) which cause the respective tumor.

        However, we are not as much at odds at it seems, I am also very much looking forward to well-designed, prospective, long-term trials for Metabloc, as it could easily be an effective adjunct to targeted molecular therapies.

        • P. D. Mangan says:

          Hi Stefan,
          I agree that cancer mutations that work would be selected for in the context of the body, by analogy with the environment. However, my understanding is that the mutations found in different cancer cells are so diverse and so numerous, that even in the context of selection it would be unlikely for them all to cause cancer and to allow the cancer cells to evade growth limits and immune surveillance. Furthermore, even if cancer mutations do come first, targeting the anaerobic glycolysis of cancer cells makes more sense (to me, no background in cancer biology) than the toxic methods of cut, burn, and poison that are currently used. Chemotherapy has a high death rate on its own, not to mention a fairly low cure rate; last I checked, some 50% of all cancers were fatal.

          Laurent Schwartz is treating people with metastatic brain cancer (among others), people who were sent home to die, and as far as I can see, appears to have a decent record doing so.

  6. eah says:


    Hello Dennis, I wanted to ask if you are familiar with the work of Dr Steven Gundry? — here is a video of him (as an example — there are other videos, and he has also published a book):

    • P. D. Mangan says:

      Thanks, eah, I watched the video, not previously familiar with him. On the whole, he’s spot on.

    • Ole says:

      Interesting. This is very much in line with what Dr. Adiel Tel-Oren speaks about. Basically, we should get our protein (in the form of amino acids) from leafy greens like spinach, kale etc. Excess animal or vegan protein leads to loss of important minerals and the formation of toxic acids, which burdens our kidneys and the body as a whole. I like the comparison to gorillas. They eat huge amounts of greens and after all, they do resembel us a lot more, than the countless number of mice, which are always reffered to in science. Dr. Adiel also speaks about the importance of fat for detoxification. He argues that we need significant more fats than in the past due to increased demand for detoxification.

      • Samia says:

        Lots of spinach might not be a good idea because of its oxalate content. I recall reading a health author saying that traditionally it was consumed with dairy products, which would replace the calcium-depleting aspect of spinach. Makes sense to me, anyway.

    • David Clark says:

      Not sure I agree with the fruit thing, many people who are even diabetic do well on fruits, not grains, but fruits. He neglects to mention that we were also designed to eat fruits as well as greens in nature and evolution. I will buy the white food thing because it is a bastardized food cultured by man and not nature, but meats, fruits, greens, are food for humans based on our digestive design, etc. We are not apes!

  7. Steve says:

    Actually mortality from Glioma has been improved 3-5X by treating for cytomegalovirus.

    Definitely Interesting for this special case.

    Agreed the latest papers comparing chemo with 5 year survival show that for 90% of cancers chemo is no better than placebo, 98% failure!

    I agree the Warburg effect is a driver for many cancers, so reducing sugar and high glycemic carbs should be first on the list of anti-cancer dietary advice? Maybe cycling on ALA & HCA a month or two per year?

    Seems like a simple and inexpensive way to keep cancer away.

  8. Bill says:

    PD I have an off topic question that’s been rolling around in my head re autophagy and arteriosclerosis.

    I was rrecently told that I have a partially blocked artery. The cardioologist wanted me on statins & beta blockers but I said no to that and he said good bye to me.
    An arsehole !! Not willing to even discuss alternative, more natural methods.

    I had already started reading your posts &decided on a changed diet, gym work & supplements like K2, magnesium, D3, l-Glycine, Alpha Lipoic acid, Niacin, fish oil. I have also been fasting for 36 hours the past three weeks. And things are looking up : lost 8 kg in the last 2 months and I am again getting fit.

    Now my question : fasting leads to increased autophagy. the cells in the body which are disfunctionial are broken down and either disposed of or reused in new cells. I wonder does this happen also with the arteries; are they also rebuilt maybe during autophagy.? And if so does this get rid of the calcified plaque that narrow the lumen of arteries ?

    I have looked around by here and elsewhere on this but so far not discovered that much.

    Finally just a word to say thanks for the great research job you are doing here.And thanks for translating the research you discover into something that we can all understand. That is very rare indeed !!


  9. Ted says:

    Bill, for reversing atherosclerosis look into

    -Alpha lipoic acid
    -GliSODin (bioavailable form of SOD)
    – work by Dr Seneff on sulfur

    • Bill says:

      Thanks Ted. I will look through the links you have suggested.
      But I am still interested in knowing if autophagy, ( the body’s own natural replacement/ healing process ) can also heal arteries.

      • Ted says: – Fuhrman says atherosclerosis is reversible through fasting. Also:

        This should have to do with autophagy, but I haven’t read his books tbh

      • Allan Folz says:

        Dr. Davis, is a cardiologist and authored Wheat Belly, back when Paleo was the label du-jour for low-carbing. He was very adamant that his patients _reversed_ their arterial calcification.

        At the time (and apparently still) that was considered impossible, so it was kind of a big deal. Funny how it’s been memory-holed, no… “here, take yer statin and shut-up.”

        So, short-answer is yes, you can reverse calcification. Whether it’s strictly and specifically autophagy doing the repair vs. some other mechanism probably less important, though, maybe not in you’re regularly doing 36 hr fasts. 😉

        Sounds like you’re doing everything right. If it were me, unless you have a large amount of weight still to drop, I’d keep the fasts to 24 hours once a week and ~16 the rest of the time. (Totally my opinion.) There’s definitely a diminishing marginal time return once you’ve got the autophagy machinery turned on. I reckon like cleaning up the shop, there’s only so much autophagy that can be done, eventually you have to get to work and build something too.

        Give it 6 or 9 months and retest. Then send your ex MD a nastgy gram with a copy of your new results telling him he’s a worthless hack and ultimately just another well-worn, unimportant cog in today’s health industry. Dr’s think very highly of themselves, so be sure to drop that part about “unimportant” if you really want to get his attention, which is to say under his skin.

        Good luck!

        • P. D. Mangan says:

          Lol. But seriously, I agree with what you’ve said there.

        • Bill says:

          I’m aiming to drop another 6 -7 kg so I am back to my optimal weight of 82 kg. So a fair bit to go yet. And
          fasting comes easy to me. I once decades ago did a 5 day fast & felt absolutely great at the end…So a 36 hour fast is easy…especially with tea & coffee 🙂

          The reason I am keen on autophagy is that Dr Attia in his blog mentions that calcium caps on arterial plaque are part of the body’s attempts to heal arterial problems. So de-stabilisation of calcium plaque caps may have ‘unfortunate’ consequences. But autophagy seems to work from within cleaning up the plaque and repairing the artery. At least that’s my take on it.

    • Bill says:

      I like the link to the Alpha Lipoic study.It seems like sound science. I take a capsule of Best’s ALA 600 each day.But this study indicates 20 mg per kg. which works out at around 1800 mg a day. And that leads me to wonder if there are any contra side affects at this level.

      The Mercola interview is also interesting.But it attempts to deal with far too much and is this confusing. Her comments about supplemental D3 versus natural D3, also seem odd.

      In addition I spent 10 years from 2004-2015 commercially growing & of course eating organic garlic, one of the listed high sulphur foods mentioned. Even now I am retired I still grow my own organic garlic. So I doubt that a lack of sulphur is part of the causation process.

      • Bill says:

        Postscript : On Alpha Lipoic Acid toxicity notes that ALA is toxic at high doses. It also states that ALA supplementation is relatively safe for humans in doses of 1800mg/day and 2400mg/day with no side-effects over a 6-7 month period.

  10. Frank Liu says:

    Another weak spot of cancer cells : ATP citrate lyase inhibition

    When cancer is deprived of essential nutrients Acetate is the fuel

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.