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Understanding The Link Between Cancer Cells And Glucose

cancer cells and glucose

The important things to know about cancer cells and glucose.

What is the link between cancer cells and glucose? The mitochondria require oxygen and glucose to produce ATP. Known as the powerhouses of the cells, mitochondria are organelles that absorb nutrients, break them down and create molecules for the cell to keep it full of energy.

ATP or adenosine triphosphate is the “energy currency of life.” It is a molecule that stores energy necessary for just about everything we do. ATP is produced using energy stored in the food that we eat in a process called respiration. Respiration is an efficient process for making ATP using food energy.

A typical animal cell has 1,000 to 2,000 mitochondria. According to Dr. Lodi, when a person has cancer, about 40 to 50% of the mitochondria are destroyed, and the cell can only make energy through fermentation.

Fermentation is an anaerobic cellular process wherein certain cells convert organic food into simpler compounds. In fermentation, cells use organic compounds such as carbohydrates whereas cells use molecular oxygen in respiration. Fermentation also generates ATP, albeit less compared to cellular respiration.

“Cancer cells are less efficient at energy production,” he said. “How do they get more energy? They need more fuel. And what’s the fuel? Glucose. Cancer cells need glucose. Cancer needs sugar.”

Dr. Lodi further explained that it is the reason why during a PET scan, patients are injected with radioactive glucose to see how the cells are quickly picking it up. A PET (positron emission tomography) scan is a nuclear imaging technique that shows how the body is functioning and reveals areas with “abnormal metabolic activity.”

Cancer Cells and Sugar

This, however, does not mean that patients should ditch carbohydrates altogether. All the carbohydrates we consume are broken down into simple sugars and are absorbed into the blood, thus increasing blood sugar levels. In response, the pancreas releases insulin which then travels to the bloodstream. Insulin is important in signaling the glucose to enter the cell, where it is used for energy.

Research shows that the effect of sugar in driving up insulin levels may affect the growth of cancer cells, as well as increase the risk of other chronic diseases. While insulin has an important role to play, it is crucial to manage it so that it does not fall too low or go too high. Regular physical activity or exercise is a great way to keep blood sugar levels in the normal range and clear excess blood sugar to avoid more insulin production than necessary.

It is also important to choose “quality carbohydrates” and to avoid high glycemic food like sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup and the “-oses” like fructose and sucrose. These can be found as ingredients in various processed food items we tend to buy often.

Sugary beverages like sweetened teas, lattes and soda are also best avoided whenever possible. As pointed out by Dr. Lodi in a previous video, water is a universal cure and as such, is the healthiest option for the body.

To find out more about a sustainable diet that will properly nourish the body and help keep it cancer-free, contact An Oasis of Healing to book an appointment.

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