Diet May Be the Key to Prevention and Treatment of Brain Tumors

Wednesday, April 02, 2008 by: Barbara L. Minton
Tags: brain tumors, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) Malignant brain tumor persists as one of the major causes of morbidity and mortality in adults and is the second leading cause of cancer death in children. There is little in the way of prevention offered by the medical establishment. Any current therapies for malignant brain tumors do not provide long-term management. Prescribed treatment ineffectively targets tumor cells while negatively impacting the health and vitality of normal brain cells. People are never again the same after receiving these therapies. Two new studies underscore the conclusion that diet may be the key for prevention and management of brain tumors.

Studies and Results

The Journal of Pharmacological Science, February 2007, reports a study in which researchers evaluated the ability of isothiocyanate iberin, a bioactive agent in the Brassicaceae species (cruciferous vegetables), to reduce proliferation and promote programmed cell death (apoptosis) in human glioblastoma cells which are malignant brain tumor cells usually occurring in the cerebrum of adults. The human glioblastoma cell cultures were treated with different concentrations of iberin and tested for growth inhibition, cytotoxicity, induction of apoptosis, and activation of caspases, enzymes that promote apoptosis.

Results indicated that iberin inhibited growth of tumor cells in cell proliferation assays, enhanced cytotoxicity, and induced apoptosis by activation of caspase. Findings from this study may provide a basis for potential usefulness of diet derived isothiocyanate iberin as a promising therapeutic micronutrient in the prevention and intervention of brain tumors.

In the February 2007 issue of Nutrition and Metabolism researchers report that in contrast to brain tumor cells, which lack metabolic flexibility and are largely dependent on glucose for growth and survival, normal brain cells can metabolize both glucose and ketone bodies for energy. Ketone bodies are three water soluble compounds that are produced as by-products when fatty acids are broken down for energy in the liver and kidney, and become sources of energy for the brain and heart.

This study evaluated the efficacy of KetoCal, a new nutritionally balanced high fat/low carbohydrate ketogenic diet for children with epilepsy, on the growth and vascularity of a malignant mouse astrocytoma and a human glioblastoma.

Adult mice were implanted with malignant brain tumors and KetoCal was administered to the mice in either unrestricted amounts or restricted amounts. The effects of KetoCal on tumor growth, vascularity, and mouse survival were compared with that of an unrestricted high carbohydrate standard diet. Results indicated that KetoCal administered in restricted amounts significantly decreased the intracerebral growth of the tumors by 65% and 35%, and significantly enhanced health and survival relative to that of the control groups receiving the standard low fat/high carbohydrate diet.

The restricted KetoCal diet reduced plasma glucose levels while elevating plasma ketone body levels.
Tumor microvessel density was less in the calorically restricted KetoCal groups than in the calorically unrestricted control groups. Additionally, gene expression for certain mitochondrial enzymes was lower in the tumors than in the contralateral normal brain suggesting that these brain tumors have reduced ability to metabolize ketone bodies for energy.

Researchers concluded that KetoCal has anti-tumor and antiangiogenic effects in experimental mouse and human brain tumors when administered in restricted amounts. The therapeutic effect of KetoCal for brain cancer management was largely due to the reduction of total caloric content, which reduced circulating glucose required for tumor growth. A dependency on glucose for energy together with defects in ketone body metabolism largely account for why the brain tumors grow minimally on either a ketogenic-restricted diet or on a standard-restricted diet. Researchers concluded that genes for ketone body metabolism should be useful for screening brain tumors that could be targeted with calorically restricted high fat/low carbohydrate ketogenic diets. They found KetoCal to be a safe and effective diet therapy that should be considered as an alternative therapeutic option for malignant brain cancer.

About the author

Barbara is a school psychologist, a published author in the area of personal finance, a breast cancer survivor using "alternative" treatments, a born existentialist, and a student of nature and all things natural.

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