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How a keto diet supercharges prostate cancer treatment

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A keto diet could supercharge prostate cancer treatment.

Immunotherapy is becoming the treatment of choice for the cancer, but it’s not very effective.

But start eating a low-carb, high-fats ketogenic diet at the same time you’re having the treatment, and the results are startling.  The combination ‘cured’ 23 percent of sufferers—which means they were completely tumour-free—and the tumours were dramatically shrinking in the rest.

The sufferers, however, were laboratory mice, and so it’s still to be seen if the approach would have similar results in people, say researchers at the University of Notre Dame.

The magic ingredient wasn’t the lack of carbs in itself, but the release of ketones, which are produced by the liver and used as an energy source when there’s little or no glucose to process.

The ketones disrupt the cycle of cancer cells, allowing the immune system’s killer T cells to do their job.

The researchers tried a variety of combinations with immunotherapy and the keto diet—including pre-ketone supplements that mimic the effects of the diet.  They found that the supplement with immunotherapy worked the best, which made them realise that it was the ketone release that made the therapy effective.  Without the supplements, immunotherapy on its own had little or no effect on the prostate cancers.

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Cancer Research, 2024; doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-23-2742
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