The Metabolic Approach to Cancer with Dr. Nasha Winters: Rational Wellness Podcast 190
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Dr. Nasha Winters discusses The Metabolic Approach to Cancer with Dr. Ben Weitz.
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1:31 Dr. Winters got cervical cancer at age 14 and had cryotherapy to remove the cancerous cells. The cancer came back at age 16 and they removed the cancerous cells again with cryotherapy. At age 19 she was in and out of the ER for about 6 months and she was told it was endometriosis and PCOS and IBS, etc. Finally she landed in the ER with a belly full of fluid and an oxygen saturation level in the 70s and having trouble breathing. She had fluid around her heart and fluid in her lungs and a grapefruit size tumor on her ovary. She had lesions on her liver and she was finally sent home with all her organs in end stage failure. She was told she had 3 months to live. They drained the fluid, which did make it easier to breathe and they sent her home with oxygen and pain medications to die. She was a premed student and she went to the library and the first book that jumped out at her was the book Quantum Healing by Deepak Chopra. She realized that even if she was going to die she needed to know why–how she had gotten to this point. She had been sick for so long that she didn’t even know what well feels like. But that was 29 years ago and Dr. Winters is healthy and doing great. When you look at what Dr. Winters did to turn her health around, it wasn’t just one thing or one herbal remedy. It took her 10 years to get stable on her own and it took her another 20 years on top of that to keep changing her terrain to maintain what she had gained. One of the most impactful things she did in the beginning was fasting by default. She had a small bowel obstruction caused by the tumor so for two and a half months all she could eat were tiny sips of water and tea. She drank tons of pau d’arco tea because she saw some research that this was beneficial for ovarian cancer. She got a job at a local health food store so she could get her nutritional supplements at cost.
7:13 She also did a family fast staying away from family since her family was very toxic to her. The best way to assess family related stress is to take the Adverse Childhood Event (ACE) questionnaire. The more yeses you have on this questionnaire the higher your lifetime incidence of cancer and severe chronic illness in your young adulthood. The work of Dr. Robert Ader, Candace Pert, and Bruce Lipton can be helpful to understand this aspect of health, which is psycho neuro immunology.
9:18 Every day our bodies produce 500 to 1000 new cancer cells every day, which are killed by our immune system. Dr. Winters said that no one is actually cancer free and cancer are increasing and expected to double world wide by 2030. Our immune system is based on the 3 R system as it is supposed to Recognize, Respond, and Remember.
11:35 We often think of the mitochondria as the energy powerhouse of the cells, but the mitochondria are very important for immunity. The mitochondria’s job is a signaling sensing mechanism and our heart, our liver, and our muscles contain the most concentrated amounts of mitochondria, but they are 100% dependent upon what information we’re feeding them through food, water, oxygen, thoughts, EMFs, etc.. When we reach for quick sources of energy like sugar such as a power bar or some fruit instead of a hard-boiled egg or some coconut oil, the mitochondria stop signaling, they stop apoptosis, they stop protecting our DNA.
17:28 Alkaline Diet. It’s often said in the alternative/natural medicine world that eating an alkaline diet or drinking alkaline water has anti-cancer effects since cancer thrives in an acidic environment. But Dr. Winters explains why this concept is plain wrong. It’s not that cancer thrives in an acidic environment but that cancer creates an acidic environment. And various parts of our body require a more or less alkaline or acidic environment, such as the stomach which is extremely acidic, the fairly acidic vagina, the moderately acidic skin and the more alkaline small intestine and cerebral spinal fluid in the brain and most of this has nothing to do with our diet. So eating alkaline or drinking alkaline water is not going to help prevent or fight cancer. On the other hand, if by following an alkaline diet you are eating a whole food, organic diet with lots of fruits and vegetables can be helpful but not because of the pH.
22:32 The relationship between diet and cancer. Dr. Nasha explained that 90% of all cancer types are glycolytic to some degree at some point in their expression. So it would make sense that the very first step for everybody with every type of cancer is to just go low carb, such as a keto type diet. It turns out that prior to the industrial food revolution, we were eating about 30% of our calories as carbs, so this would be a normal diet for the Western world. Today, our diet is closer to 70% of our calories as carbs. While in the mid 1800s we were eating 5 pounds of sugar by year, whereas we now eat between 145 and 175 lbs of sugar per person per year. This is the reason for the increasing rates of diabetes and one of the reasons for increasing cancer rates. Diseases like diabetes and cancer are our adaptations to this poor modern diet.
24:44 90% of cancer cells are glycolytic and 70% are driven by IGF, mTOR and things like the PIK3CA gene mutation. [Here is a paper outlining the relationship between this genetic mutation and various types of cancer: Oncogenic Mutations of PIK3CA in Human Cancers] We place so much attention on the possible relationship between the BRCA gene and breast cancer, but this PIK3CA gene is actually much more significant. The MTHFR gene is also far more important than the BRCA gene for its relationship with cancer. Also carbs will raise your deuterium levels, which is another layer to the benefits of such a lower carb diet.
30:18 Diet should change somewhat depending upon the person, the tumor type, tissue type, molecular markers, and the person’s general constitution. And we don’t need to be on the exact same diet forever. For example, prostate cancer patients do not do as well with a ketogenic diet, since higher choline levels, found in red meat and the skin of poultry and in egg yolks, will tend to promote prostate cancer. Dr. Winters said that she likes prostate cancer patients to be on a low carb Mediterranean diet, high in fish and poultry without the skin, egg whites, and lots and lots of veggies but avoid the grains and the legumes. And they should do intermittent fasting at least 13 hours per day. Dr. Winters will test their metabolic flexibility to see how long they can comfortably go without eating. If they struggle to go without eating for even 4 hours, then you know they have poor metabolic flexibility, so you have to slowly ramp them up to a 16-18 hour fast twice per week and eventually get them to do a 3 to 5 day water only fast. For some clients, doing Prolon, the Fasting Mimicking Diet, can be a way to get started. If patients are getting chemo, Dr. Winters will recommend a complete fast before, during, and after the chemo. This also helps them avoid the steroids that are often given prior to chemo.
35:24 Dr. Winters has her patients get lab testing and she watches certain markers monthly, including C-reactive protein, lactate dehydrogenase, and the SED rate. CRP is one of the most prognostic factors in cancer when it is above 1.0. Dr. Winters also feels that serum calcium if it is above 9.5 is a huge marker for prostate cancer. When men are placed on hormone deprivation therapy and bone density becomes a problem and calcium is often recommended in such circumstances, but this is a bad idea. When Dr. Winters sees the serum calcium start to rise, it tells her that a prostate cancer patient is going into recurrence or progression. When patients have metastatic prostate cancer, oncologists often place these patients on hormone deprivation therapy and bone density often becomes a problem, so calcium is often recommended, but this is a bad idea. Dr. Winters’ experience is that prostate cancer patients who have the worse outcomes are the ones that go on androgen deprivation therapy. and it also tends damage their sense of manhood. And many men already had lower levels of testosterone to begin with because they had too much toxic estrogen from the environment. And estrogen tends to stimulate cells to grow, so this may not be a good idea. She has seen that she has the opportunity to work with patients before they go down that road, they often can live forever with their prostate cancer and die of something else. It helps to do a deep dive into your patient’s history, including their family history. For men, the prostate gland and even it it has been removed sits in sort of bowl and it is where all of the “sludge” settles in your body. It is related to feeling secure. It also related to a man’s sexuality and men who have gotten beaten up carry a wound that they often don’t talk about and it may show up as prostate cancer. Besides family history, epigenetics, toxins, and their history of sexually transmitted infections. Dr. Winters has had men with prostate cancer have their prostate milked and sent to pathology and she has treated the infections and seen the prostate cancer go away in some cases. The key is to improve the terrain and not just treat the cancer.
Dr. Nasha Winters is a Naturopathic Doctor and a Fellow of the American Board of Naturopathic Oncology. She is an authority on integrative cancer care and she is currently involved in research using Mistletoe Extract, Hyperthermia, Cannabis, the Ketogenic Diet, and IV Vitamin C to treat cancer. Dr. Winters is a co-author of the best selling book, The Metabolic Approach to Cancer and she is at work on a second book on therapeutic diets for cancer and a third book on Mistletoe therapy. She now consults with clinicians both one on one and through an intensive 4 month mentorship program to learn integrative oncology and her website is Dr.Nasha.com.
Dr. Ben Weitz is available for nutrition consultations specializing in Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders like IBS/SIBO and Reflux and also specializing in Cardiometabolic Risk Factors like elevated lipids, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure and also weight loss, as well as sports chiropractic work by calling his Santa Monica office 310-395-3111 or go to www.drweitz.com.
Dr. Weitz: Hey, this is Dr. Ben Weitz host of the Rational Wellness Podcast. I talk to the leading health and nutrition experts and researchers in the field to bring you the latest in cutting edge health information. Subscribe to the Rational Wellness Podcast for weekly updates. And to learn more, check out my website, drweitz.com. Thanks for joining me and let’s jump into the podcast.
Hello, Rational Wellness Podcasters, today our topic is cancer with Dr. Nasha Winters. Dr. Nasha Winters is a licensed naturopathic doctor and a fellow of the American Board of Naturopathic Oncology. She is also a cancer survivor herself. Dr. Winters is a sought after speaker and an authority on an integrative approach to cancer. And she’s currently involved in research using mistletoe extract, hyperthermia, cannabis, the ketogenic diet, and IV vitamin C to treat cancer. Actually, I wrote that a year ago, so hopefully it’s still accurate. Dr. Nasha is the co-author of the bestselling book, The Metabolic Approach to Cancer. And she’s finishing a second book. I don’t know maybe if you’ve finished that already on Therapeutic Diets for Cancer. Dr. Nasha is on a mission to educate and empower the nearly 50% of the population expected to have cancer in their lifetime. Dr. Winters, thank you so much for joining me today.
Dr. Winters: It’s so good to be with you again. Wonderful.
Dr. Weitz: So for those of us who don’t know, maybe you can tell us a little bit about your personal cancer journey.
Dr. Winters: Yeah. I always say this it’s sort of I don’t think anybody gets into working with people with cancer, just wake up when you’re like, “That seems like a really good vocation. You’ll be an oncologist.” No one does that. So it lands, it’s a calling, right? It truly is. It’s that you’ve either had a personal experience or with a dear loved one or yourself. And in my situation it was myself. I was also spattered with family cancers all around me on both sides of my family of origin. And it was weird because back in the 80s and 90s, you really didn’t see, when I hear people talk about, “Oh, I’ve never known anybody with cancer.” I mean, that was literally the conversations we were having then. I was five years old when my grandfather died of a cancer and seven years old when his wife died of a cancer. My step-grandmother and on and on, it just kept falling out of the sky all around me.
So by the time I was 14, I had cervical cancer, it was surgically cryotherapied off, and then 16 it came back again and they did it again. And everyone was just like, “Ah, just move on. It’s cut out. No big deal. Move on with your life.” By 19 I was in and out of the ER for about six months towards the end of my… I was starting in my freshmen year into my freshman year of college and all through the summer and into the fall of my year in college. And I had so many health issues, but because I’d been sick for so long, I had endometriosis and PCOS and IBS and all kinds of stuff that, it just seemed all my normal symptoms just exacerbated. So that’s what I thought it was. That’s what the doctors thought it was. By the time I landed in the ER with a belly of a 10 month pregnant belly completely hectic, little wiry arms and legs, unable to breathe. My oxygen levels were in the 70s. They were like, “Oh my God, you have fluid around your heart. You’ve fluid in your lungs. Your belly is full of ascites. You have a grapefruit size tumor on your ovary. You have what appears to be lesions on your liver. Everything, it was all [crosstalk 00:03:40]. And they’d been sort of just treating me like, “Here’s an antibiotic, here’s an antifungal, here’s an anxiolytic.” That’s what I was sent home with month after month with a script pad of layering all these drugs on that just made me worse and worse and worse. So by the time it really exploded, which it did, it was too late to the point where they’re like, “We can’t even give you a single treatment of any kind because your organs are in end stage failure.” So they were telling me three months, now as a doctor looking back they didn’t expect me to last three more days. I was literally dying. And so that was kind of the pat, pat, pat, and sent me off for a second opinion. They drained the fluid, I had to go back in multiple times to get lots and lots of acidic malignant fluid. So it looks like brown paste coming out of my abdomen. Very painful process, but it definitely gave me relief. I could breathe better. They sent me home with oxygen and the basic things like that, just to make me comfortable. Pain meds, the whole gamut. That’s when again, I got another opinion. It was like, yep, this is really aggressive. This is 1991 mind you.
So we didn’t have a lot of the information, the type of testing we did today. But fast forward, they sent me home to die. I went to the library, first book that popped out to me and I was a pre-med student. I was very scientific minded, but the first book that just jumped out at me was this crazy book called Quantum Healing by some guy named Deepak Chopra. “What in the hell is this? I had no idea.” I sat down and ingested that book in two hours, sat on the floor of the library and read it. And literally I had my own quantum shift in that moment. It was such this aha of understanding and what it did for me, is it stoked a fire of curiosity. I’d always had that kind of brain. And I’m like, “Well, if I’m going to die, I at least want to why. I want to understand how I got to this point because I’ve been sick for so long. I don’t even know what well looks like. I don’t even know what that looks like.” So that’s where we are, 29 years, October 21st, 2020, sent home to die.
Dr. Weitz: That’s an amazing story. It really is.
Dr. Winters: Thank you. Thank you. And I mean, I went through “Oh, she just did this.” I think everyone thinks you took a couple of different pills, ate some herbal remedies, and you’re good. It took me 10 years to get stable on my own accord. And it’s been another nearly 20 years on top of that to keep changing up my physiology, changing up my biochemistry, changing up my terrain to maintain what I gathered.
Dr. Weitz: What were maybe three or four of the key things that you did at that time?
Dr. Winters: Well, the key thing is because in the beginning I had a small bowel obstruction, so I couldn’t eat. Anything I put in came back up or caused excruciating pain. So in that first, that was by default intermittent fasting. So I will tell your listeners, I did not eat anything but tiny sips of water and tea for two and a half months.
Dr. Weitz: Wow.
Dr. Winters: And that was probably what now we can look back all the study, basically the studies caught up with me 30 years later that that’s probably what saved my life. All right. So my body actually could step into its role to start to help things. Number two, I took a ton of the only thing… Because this is before Dr. Google, there was still a Dewey Decimal System back then. I ran across some literature about the use of pau d’arco tea, tabebuia tea for ovarian cancer. This is back in the, this is 1991. So I started drinking tons of it. I got a job. I took the semester off and I got a job at my local health food store. So I could basically get my supplements basically for free or at cost like very, very low.
And I would started doing that, but the third biggest thing was I did a family fast and for me my trauma history was quite significant. If your listeners are familiar with the ACE score, the adverse childhood event score it’s a 10 question questionnaire. And you basically it’s asking questions of things you experienced before the age of 18. And that questionnaire is what we’ve learned over the past few decades is that it’s very telling of what type of health you’re going to have in your young adulthood and beyond. And basically the more yeses you have on that, the higher incidence you have cancer and severe chronic illnesses in your young adulthood, 10 out of 10 right here. So it was not a surprise. In fact, it was such an eye opening experience for me that it changed my degree from chemistry and biology to biology and psychology. And I constructed my own major around psycho neuro immunology. And in 1991, that was not something anybody heard of. But I ran across the work of Dr. Robert Ader, Candace Pert, Bruce Lipton and others that was just like, oh… And of course that a lot of that stuff I learned in Deepak Chopra’s book. So that’s what led me down these other pathways. So intermittent fasting, family fast and a few basic just supportive herbal remedies. I think those were the things that kind of just gave me a stability in the process no longer a free fall. Yeah.
Dr. Weitz: Interesting side about Dr. Chopra, I was at some sort of a financial conference a number of years ago, and he was speaking at it and they were talking about the financial aspects of healthcare. And he was talking about how when he was in medical school at Harvard and they were doing heart surgery and they took a break in between patients and they went outside and they were smoking cigarettes. And I was like Deepak Chopra?, but.
Dr. Winters: Yeah. So many memes around that, it’s just hilarious. And he had his own quantum shift apparently.
Dr. Weitz: So I was reading your book and I’ve heard it said when explaining the importance of the immune system that from time to time in healthy people, a cell or two becomes cancerous and our immune system knocks it out. But you wrote in your book, even healthy adults produce 500 to 1000 new cancer cells a day. And only one in 1000 people is truly cancer-free. Is that really true?
Dr. Winters: Well, I don’t even believe that any of us are really cancer-free actually, I just think we all have the cells, but as far as-
Dr. Weitz: That many cells?
Dr. Winters: Right. Yeah, it is true. And that’s what’s so incredible is that is the amazing part of who we are. Our bodies are so geared to know what to do when this goes out because cancer cells have co-evolved with us. We’ve been in a symbiotic relationship since the beginning of time. Cancer is not a new phenomenon, but it is new in how much, how more common it is today. And the rates are increasing, we’re expected to have our cancer rates double worldwide by 2030. That’s a decade away. One in two men and one in 2.4 women expected to have cancer in the United States.
Dr. Weitz: That’s crazy.
Dr. Winters: It is crazy. So I’m like, why do we wait, why don’t we just sit around waiting for this? And so what is so amazing as you kind of alluded to, our immune system normally is like, “Hey, you, you stop acting out.” We have our immune system I call it the 3Rs, it’s supposed to recognize. It’s like, “Hey, you’re not behaving the way you’re supposed to.” Then it’s supposed to respond in whatever way it’s supposed, either whichever way and then it’s supposed to remember. So it’s if it runs into it again in a dark alley, it’s going to remember like, “No, no, you can’t get around me this way.” That’s how our immune system is supposed to work. But most of us today on the planet, thanks to all the things that contribute to our mitochondrial bucket, the terrain of who we are. Those 3Rs are sorely lacking. We might be missing one component or even all three components of that. And that’s what’s put us in the pickle with what we’re dealing with with a lot of auto-immune conditions today, of cancers and things like these crazy pesky viruses that have shut down our world.
Dr. Weitz: It’s interesting when you talk about the mitochondria, because in school we basically learned that the mitochondria were the source of energy for the cells, that was the energy powerhouse. But in your book, you talk about all these other important aspects of the mitochondria. You just mentioned importance of mitochondria for immunity. You mentioned some words in your book that it’s where apoptosis occurs. Maybe you can talk a little bit about how important the mitochondria is for things other than just energy.
Dr. Winters: I love that because all of us remember from what sixth grade biology like, “Mighty mitochondria.”
Dr. Weitz: Yeah. It came because we ingested bacteria that got incorporated into our cells. Right?
Dr. Winters: When you really dig into the history of mitochondria, we are theoretically of the same mitochondria. They call it the original mother theory, but it’s not like that’s the original woman. It’s more of this mitochondrial lineage that is moved down through 70,000 years to reach us where we are today. Pretty fascinating of all that it’s gone through. All the climate changes and all the different things. It’s like, wow, it’s survived. And then it makes it to this point and now we’re going to die from it. It’s like, “Oh, this little mitochondria’s traveled really far. We’ve added a lot of load to it. So the mitochondria, their job is a signaling sensing mechanism and they’re 100% dependent on what information we’re feeding them, food, water, breath, so the air, thoughts, energy. So even electromagnetic fields, but also the energetics of being around… I mean you know what it’s like when you’re with someone who’s just kind of yucky. You get that vibe. You don’t even have to know anything about them to be like, “Something’s weird here.” So our cells are listening, they know. And the organelles within those cells, those mitochondria they’re sensing that and they’re adjusting accordingly. And then whatever we’re putting into the system in general, it might be stressing our hearts. Well, our heart, our liver and our muscles are the most concentrated tissues of mitochondria. So if you’re a sloth and you never exercise, or you are over exercising and never resting, or you are chronically in hyper stress and anxiety, or have heart issues, or you have liver toxicity from whatever pharmaceuticals or chemicals you’re getting exposed to in the world around you. Your mitochondria are really taking a beating and they’re taking that in, they’re like, “We can only repair so much.” And they’re doing it thousands and thousands of times a day and every single cell in your body, unbeknownst to you. And they come to a time when they just hit a wall and they start to be less efficient and less effective. And you build up on that over time and you are literally going to change their metabolic profile. They’re going to start to, what I tell people, they stop breathing. They stop respiration. If you want to get into the biochemistry of it, I’ll let you go down that little rabbit hole on your own. But basically they’re supposed to breathe in a particular way. And when they hold their breath, when they stop breathing, they ferment not like your good pickles or good wine. They ferment to that toxic smelly bucket of water that’s been sitting out too long and it’s like, something’s not right in there.
That’s what happens and basically they stop all their important duties. They stop their signaling, they stop apoptosis. They stop taking out the garbage, they stop producing enough efficient and effective energy. That’s where they start to draw on even more. The fast energy of sugar. They’re like, “Okay, we’re just going to flip all the way into sugar, because this is going to get it into us fast.” Just like when you’re bonking, your people listening right now. When you’re hungry no one’s like, “I’m going to have myself a nice hard-boiled egg. Or I’m really hankering for a big old scoop of coconut oil.” That’s what we really need. But instead we’re like, “I’m going to go grab that power bar or that apple or that banana and refuel with that.” And you were just adding insult to injury of that poor suffocated, inefficient, ineffective mitochondria, which when the mitochondria are damaged, they no longer are the gatekeepers of what’s going on with your DNA. And that’s when all hell breaks loose. And that’s when you start to get into all these weird replication, proliferation, what’s the word? Migration into the system that causes problems, which takes an average. A typical cancer patient takes seven to 10 years for those cells to accumulate enough in a big enough clump, in a big enough area to capture our attention. Seven to 10 years. So it’s not like you went to bed one day and like, “I’m cancer free.” And woke up the next morning, “I have cancer.” That’s not how it works.
Dr. Weitz: Right.
Dr. Winters: Yeah.
Dr. Weitz: It takes many years and decades to develop. People get exposed to asbestos and 30 years later, 40 years later.
Dr. Winters: Exactly. Yeah. DES, fairly good example, moms in their ’40s and ’50s who took this… The doctors just gave it off, gave everybody like everyone’s getting DES to prevent miscarriage even if there wasn’t a threat for it, they’re like, “Just take it.” And now then their daughters, the next generation ended up with high rates of vulvar and vaginal cancers. And then their daughters ended up with high rates of breast cancers and their sons ended up with high rates of prostate cancers. And now the next generation is coming out and they’re having failed ovulation and early menses starting at six, seven years old. I mean, it’s a nightmare, the wash effect, the downstream effect is just horrendous. And there’s so many things that we’ve been exposed to newly since World War II that have never been exposed to humankind before that we are literally just finding out how bad it is. It’s like, oops, that was a really interesting experiment gone awry. Yeah.
Dr. Weitz: Yeah. And unfortunately we’re all unwitting participants in this experiment.
Dr. Winters: Exactly.
Dr. Weitz: So it’s often said that alkalinizing your body by eating an alkaline diet or drinking alkaline water has anti-cancer effects since cancer thrives in an acidic environment. Tell me why this idea is wrong.
Dr. Winters: I love this question. I get asked this question probably 10 times a week. It would be wonderful if it was that simple. But the amazing thing about the body is it has so many little different places. It’s like, “Oh, this little spot needs acidity. This little spot needs alkalinity.” And you don’t really have control over that. Drinking a particular alkaline water kind of way, that is happening all the time. Again, those little things your mitochondria cleaning up the damage that’s being hit by constantly. That’s also happening in your cells with the acidic alkaline balance. It’s constantly adjusting and trying to maintain a particular homeostasis. The funny thing is is we’ve missed the boat on this. We’re telling everyone, “Oh, you got to eat an alkaline diet, or you’ve got to drink this alkaline water.” But the reality is cancer itself it doesn’t start in an acidic environment. It creates the acidic environment.
And then when it creates the acidic environment, that’s when it calls in more friends to come and play along. So it’s not the effect of an acidic world. It’s a cause of it. So people are a little bit behind. Just like we’re blaming genetics for cancer. No, that’s where you back it up a few steps. And you’re like it’s actually the mitochondria losing their ability to protect your DNA. And from doing their job, to take out the garbage that the DNA become vulnerable. It’s the same kind of idea there. It’s like, wow, if you are forcing your body into alkalinity, by the way being either alkaline or acid, to extremes is deadly. So the only way you can truly change that acidity is in extreme chronic illness conditions and pharmaceutically induced.
So you can’t really do it with eating a pile of carrots and drinking alkaline water. That’s just not going to do it. And you can take as much baking soda as you want, but you’ll end up causing, you could push yourself in the right situation to too much alkaline which is not good either, but people just need to understand it’s a response. It’s what the tissues are doing with the cancer growing, it’s changing it because when it changes to that acidic environment, that’s when it starts to gobble up all the resources and call in reinforcements and recruit new cells to join it on its cancer journey. So it’s just sad. It’s become such a myth and people are spending enormous amounts of money on enormous amounts of BS. And when you talk to a bio chemist, they’re like, “How is this not been debunked over and over and over again?” I’m married to one, so I love to watch his space when this question comes up, because I’m always waiting for his head to explode, but he’s always very gracious and very calm about it. And we go into that in the book, sure.
Dr. Weitz: So bottom line, if you’re following a alkaline diet to help with your cancer, it’s not going to benefit you at all.
Dr. Winters: And the here’s the funny thing, when you’re eating a whole food, real food, clean food, seasonal food diet, you are getting all the macro and micronutrients you need that are keeping all those leavers, doing their thing in all the right places at all the right times. You don’t have to overthink it. We’ve just gotten so far away from our genetically matched diet intake today that our cells are freaking out and they’re trying to respond to that accordingly. And so when you can sort of get back to what your great-grandparents and your great-great-great, what they were eating was as close to the source as possible in soil. We have to eat three times the amount of produce today to get the same nutrients we got six years ago. I mean, it’s just crazy. We are so malnourished and so overfed today, it’s just incredible. We’re starving for these things that we’re missing in our food sources. And then we then deprive people even further when they think that a certain dogmatic dietary intervention of any kind.
Dr. Weitz: You’re moving to get away from-
Dr. Winters: I am, the timing of our… Told him, The timing, it’s almost over. So apologies for that. It’s like angel light coming in.
Dr. Weitz: I was talking to Dr. Ruscio one time and he had his blinds closed, but the light was coming in through this little tiny set of holes along the blind. This thing was slowly going across his face.
Dr. Winters: Feels like watching the moon phases cross his forehead, well you’re getting that with me today. So, sorry about that. Luckily everyone’s in the Zoom world now that we can get away with a lot more than we could a few months ago.
Dr. Weitz: So let’s talk about the relationship between diet and cancer. And you write about the benefits of the ketogenic diet for cancer patients because cancer cells rely exclusively on glucose for fuel and a low carb diet starves some of their fuel.
Dr. Winters: Well, it’s interesting because that book, our book came out, we turned our book into the publisher in basically Thanksgiving, 2016. It went to print May 2017. There are already, I probably have 200 more pages to add to the book at this point. We will be doing a new edition. And we learned a few new things along the way. At the time our book came out no one was having these conversations. There were a few, I mean, on the clinical side, the research side, there were lots of these conversations happening, but on the clinical very, very few. And sadly, it’s weird to me that there’s still not more than I would expect by now. But either way, what we do know is 90% of all cancer types are glycolytic to some degree at some point in their expression. So it would make sense that the very first step for everybody with every type of cancer is to just go low carb. And when I say low carb, that actually means normal carb because in the Western world, before the industrial food revolution kicked in, we were eating about 30% of our calories were carbohydrate maximum. Today it’s closer to 70% of our calories are that. So again, the context of five pounds of sugar per person per year in the mid-1800s, today it’s an average depending on the research we’re looking at between 145 and 175 pounds of sugar per person per year. We’ve up somewhere along the way, right? We really went off the tracks there, and that is not metabolically sound for us. And it’s also so much so fast in a system that has not been able to adapt to that. And our adaptation is the disease. Our adaptation is we get diseases that try to help correct our problem. That’s the beauty of the body. It’s like, “I’m going to give you diabetes so you have an opportunity to heal. I’m going to give you cancer so you have an opportunity to heal.” But instead we just keep suppressing.
Anyway, so that 90% being very glycolytic, 70% being extremely driven by IGF, mTOR, being driven by things like PIK3CA, which is people talk about the BRCA gene. PIK3CA is actually far more concerning than the BRCA gene, far more. And it’s all about metabolic processes. MTHFR is far more concerning than the BRCA gene. And where do we put all of our research dollars and where do we mutilate women out there to remove body parts, preemptively. And we’re making them think they’re safe and sound when you’re wow, you’ve not corrected anything in that soil. And I’ve unfortunately experienced the women who’ve come to me who did all their preemptive. “I did everything right as standard of care told me to do And now I’m dying of cancer of the very tissue I chopped off my body.” That one pisses me off. That one breaks my heart. Because again, we know that there are other drivers of this, and then people aren’t taught how to correct it. So diet is our first line of defense, our first line of treatment. And if you can get everybody down to the normal like I said, that metabolic genetic match of how they’ve been eating for a millennia. We have a headstart on whatever therapies we put in. So that’s foundational. The other common denominators is I know out there in the world we’ve got the keto camp, we’ve got the paleo camp, we’ve got the vegan, the vegetarian, the raw food vegan, and then we’ve got the carnivore camp. And I am so tired of the dogma of this. And the only reason keto got put on our book is because it was the hot topic. It was the high SEO, even though we use keto as a tool, we use therapeutic ketogenic diet as a tool, much like I’d use mistletoe. But being in a state of ketosis is a natural function of the human body. And in that natural function, we’ve gone in and out of ketosis naturally since the beginning of time. Babies are born in ketosis for crying out loud. This is that place where everyone starts to make it into a diet and the diet itself can be therapeutic like any other surgery or anything else, but a state of metabolic flexibility. I wish I’d gotten the crown of metabolic flexibility, because that’s the key, that’s really what it’s all about. And the studies you’ve seen in the last couple of years have come out showing that 88% of Americans are metabolically broken, 88%.
That means less than 12% of us are doing something right in our body or have some proclivities or genetic dispositions anywhere out there that’s making them be that way. But we all have it in us to be that way, if you just push. So sometimes it takes a drastic dietary change when you’re in that position to move the dial back to center. I love in Dr. Richard Feinman’s book, Nutrition in Crisis. He talks about this. Because he’s like, well, why does the study show that a vegan or a carnivore diet could be very beneficial for cancer? They’re opposite ends of the spectrum. And the point is, is when you make a major change to the system, no matter which direction you’re going to shake it up, right. It’s like shaking up a snow, like one of those snow gloves. And when you sit on the counter and you watch it for a while, some interesting things will happen. You might actually be well, that really shifted. For me when I started in this process, after my fast, two and a half months, I became a hardcore vegan for seven years. And I likely coming from my standard American diet, it was probably what helped clean up some of the crap I was eating though I was still a… I eat more vegetables today as someone who basically follows keto almost all the time now today than I did when I was a vegan and then a 20 year vegetarian. That’s the nature of the beast. And that’s the majority of how vegans and vegetarians eat. They are more carbeterians. But there are ways to do it better and out there. I think that’s the common thread of when we look at a diet for cancer, low carb, plant heavy, right? Not plant only, plant heavy with quality fat on top because quality fat on top is what lowers things like deuterium levels in your body, which make your mitochondria function even better. Carbs will push up your deuterium levels. And that’s a whole nother conversation, I’ll get you the experts on that one, if you don’t already know.
Dr. Weitz: Yeah.
Dr. Winters: Lazlo [Boros]
Dr. Weitz: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ve talked to him.
Dr. Winters: Yeah. All those basic things there, it’s getting the quality fats because we are-
Dr. Weitz: Do you think there’s a lot to that deuterium thing?
Dr. Winters: I definitely do. Well, it’s part of the chemistry of… It’s just the extension of the chemistry that we’re seeing with metabolic flexibility and ketosis and ketogenic diets and mitochondrial function, which is the root of all chronic illness.
Dr. Weitz: It’s kind of another…lower deuterium levels is kind of another explanation for the benefits of the ketogenic diet.
Dr. Winters: By nature. So things like sunshine, being outdoors.
Dr. Weitz: Of course they have a low deuterium water too.
Dr. Winters: Exactly. And you can use that as another tool, but if people are still eating their shitty diet and they’re drinking their deuterium water, that’s not going to do anything. There are some people eating their crappy diets and taking exogenous ketones. Yeah. You can show it, register it on a device, but it’s not making the wiring change. It’s not resetting things in the chemistry ultimately.
Dr. Weitz: Do you think that almost everybody with cancer should follow ketogenic diet or do you think that there are some patients or certain types of cancer that are going to do better if they follow a vegetarian diet or a carnivore diet? In other words, does it depend on the person? Does it depend on the cancer?
Dr. Winters: Yes. And that’s where Jess and I are on our next book, we really want to hone in on what labs, what epigenetics, what heredity, what tumor type, tissue type, what molecular markers, what the person’s general constitution, how do those all match, find, align them with the right diet at the right time? Because we also don’t need to be on this same exact diet forever either. We need to shake that up at different times depending. Now there are definitely certain cancer types that will lend itself better. Prostate cancer is a really good example. I would not want a prostate cancer patient on a carnivore diet or a high dairy, a typical kind of junk food keto diet would be detrimental for that patient.
Dr. Weitz: Should a prostate cancer patient be on a vegetarian diet?
Dr. Winters: I like to go high fish, the high fish, poultry without the skin, you want to avoid that extra choline. But I like a lot of like a very Mediterranean minus the grains and legumes. I still want it low carb. So a low carb Mediterranean, and I want them intermittent fasting to get into ketosis. Right. And that is very powerful. That’s just an example. The other big example that most people are…
Dr. Weitz: When you do intermittent fasting say for prostate cancer patient, are they going to eat in a 12 hour window or 14 hour or eight hour?
Dr. Winters: Yeah. What I typically do with patients is first I kind of test their metabolic flexibility to say, “How do you feel if you’d go without eating for four hours?” And if someone struggles with that, I know that we have some metabolic flexibility issues. So we’re going to go slow into the process. If I have people who say, “Ugh, I routinely skip breakfast every day. It’s not a problem for me.” Then I can be a little more aggressive. So depending where they align up, kind of the rule of thumb is everybody I believe should be doing at least 13 hours a day. Just that’s because the studies are showing. Like that incredible study that came out several years ago about breast cancer patients that they weren’t even looking at what they were eating. They were just finding that the patients that fasted for 13 hours or more every day had a 70% reduction in cancer recurrence. That’s extraordinary, extraordinary. And so it wasn’t about what, it was the when. So if we could get everybody to finishing dinner, kind of keep that in that rule of thumb eat when the sun is out type of thing and finish dinner, say 6:00 PM and not eat again until 7:00 AM. Doing that every day is a great kind of running getting your body tuned up for this. Once they pass that test and they can do that comfortably and effectively, then I push them to doing a 16 to 18 hour fast twice a week. That’s kind of the next step up. It’s give it a little push and they can be separate days. They don’t have to be back to back. And then if those are actively fighting cancer or an autoimmune condition or something that’s causing a ton of inflammation and immune dysregulation-
Dr. Weitz: Right. Let’s say you have a prostate cancer that’s now metastatic.
Dr. Winters: Yeah. I would get those patients on to after that 13, 16 to 18 window, I’d get them on a three to five day water fast a month. And we work into that and some people have to use the ProLon, the Fasting Mimicking Diet piece to start with because it’s definitely more here than the reality. And that really, really invigorates the immune system, really gives the digestion a rest. So if there is a lot of dysbiosis or microbiome imbalances it will help kind of reset that. And then you kind of continue. It’s also if they’re doing treatment, most cancer treatments are given basically every three weeks. So it’s even better when you can pair the fasting around their treatment. So you can avoid the preload drug of steroids, which is pissing in the wind for a cancer patient. I can’t believe it’s legal. Honestly I think it’s totally malpractice. And when we can give someone a fasting routine around it, they don’t need those drugs and they do much better and they recover much faster and they gain their weight back much faster than the patients that are able to eat ad libitum throughout their entire process, as their medical doctors are telling them to do.
Dr. Weitz: So the reason you’re recommending that a patient with prostate cancer not do a ketogenic diet is because some of the literature indicates that higher choline intake promotes prostate cancer.
Dr. Winters: Exactly.
Dr. Weitz: Choline is found in eggs and it’s found in a lot of animal products. Right?
Dr. Winters: Exactly. So that’s why poultry without the skin because the choline is in the skin, and fish are really quality and then loads and loads of veggies.
Dr. Weitz: And no eggs or just egg whites.
Dr. Winters: They can do egg whites in the beginning, that’s where we go to. Now I have also played with it with patients and I watch labs very closely. So I’m looking at their labs monthly. So we go-
Dr. Weitz: What labs are you looking at most closely?
Dr. Winters: I’m always looking at their trifecta, which is my patients have coined, which is the C-reactive protein, the lactase dehydrogenase, and the SED rate sedimentation rate. Those I look at as a team. And so my-
Dr. Weitz: That’s your inflammation panel?
Dr. Winters: It is, but it tells me also mitochondrial function and tumor response in the biggest way. CRP for instance is one of the most prognostic factors in cancer. If you have an elevated CRP, you have a poor prognosis.
Dr. Weitz: An elevated is over one, right?
Dr. Winters: In my world, yes, absolutely. And when it’s elevated over one, these patients have worse side effects of their drugs. They have less response to their drugs and they have shorter life expectancies and poor outcomes. So it’s why-
Dr. Weitz: Now in CRP, if it’s under one is 0.5, is it really beneficial to get to 0.5 versus 0.8 or?
Dr. Winters: Their range is zero to three. So under one makes me very happy, one and under I’m totally good. Because I tell people the average, our labs are based on the average of the population. We are not unhealthy competition. So I want it to be scorched in a ways from that top end number. Once you start to encroach on those top end numbers, you’re already in trouble, you’re already a building engulfed in plants. Yeah. It’s huge. And so that’s one marker that I watch for, that combination. And then of course, serum calcium is a huge marker for prostate cancer. It’s also, I mean, that’s what drives-
Dr. Weitz: Does serum calcium really change much?
Dr. Winters: Big time. You’ll see patients… That’s actually, when I can tell a prostate cancer patient is going into recurrence or progression is when their serum calcium starts to rise.
Dr. Weitz: Now, is it above range or just higher end of range?
Dr. Winters: Well, for me 9.5 is my cutoff and they cut-
Dr. Weitz: Okay.
Dr. Winters: So when I see it go to even 9.6, I’m like, “What’s going on here?” It’s also a marker of acidosis. It’s also a marker of oxidation and inflammation. So it’s a problem already. Right there you’re already going, “Tumor is doing something to change the environment.”
Dr. Weitz: Why is calcium associated with prostate cancer?
Dr. Winters: Well, calcium is just known as, it’s an oxidative factor…
Dr. Weitz: Oh, okay.
Dr. Winters: That’s the main thing, but it also is really well studied. I mean, you can do a couple of… Just go PubMed, Google calcium and prostate cancer. It’s pretty frightening actually. When I pass this information onto my oncologists who were telling my prostate cancer patients to be sure to take their calcium, to keep their bones healthy, to prevent mets there, they freak out. I mean they realize, oh, we could get, I mean, literally I could probably get sued for how much data is out there on this. It’s pretty stellar of the information, but it drives proliferation of those cancer cells.
Dr. Weitz: When men with prostate cancer get put on hormone deprivation therapy and bone density becomes a problem, so calcium is often recommended.
Dr. Winters: Exactly. And it’s completely dangerous to offer. And so that’s where I’m teaching my…. First of all, boy, we were covering some interesting ground. This is going to get me into a lot of trouble. But the only patients I ever see have poor outcomes are the ones who go on ADT, which the androgen deprivation therapy. Those are the only times I see people mets. If I can get hold of them before they go down that road, you can live forever with prostate cancer. You will die of something entirely different in your old age. But once we start to over treat over harvest and go into that maximum tolerated dose and really mess with mother nature, then we really start to change things. We start to change all of the different mineral components in the body and it starts to wreak havoc in a pretty dramatic way.
Dr. Weitz: So you have a patient in there, they’ve had their prostate removed and now the PSA’s starting to go up and up. And the oncologist says they want to put them on androgen deprivation therapy.
Dr. Winters: Yeah. Deep, deep dive. I look at everything. I look at their personal history. I look at their family history. Men it’s the bowl. The prostate is like, even if it’s been removed, it’s like this is where all of the sledge settles in your body. What are you holding onto? It’s all in the first, second shakra. It’s all about feeling secure. It’s about feeling sensual. It’s about your sexuality. It’s about all kinds of things that have gotten beat up. Men carry a huge wound that they don’t get to talk about out there in the world. And I see it show up very, very, very much as prostate cancer. And so I work on that piece with them. I’m exploring their epigenetics. I’m exploring their family of origin. I’m exploring their toxicants, I’m exploring did they have STI, sexually transmitted infections that went undiagnosed that created this brewing, festering thing? There are so many prostate cancers that started out as a good old STI in their youth that just went not properly treated so we can even get samples. We can have the prostate milked and sent off for a pathology to look at infections and what not and treat the infection. Guess what? Goes away. It’s incredible. I’ve had guys with PSA’s that were in the ’60s, and we’ve actually found out it was actually the cancer was being driven by an infectious process instead. So we do a deep dive to evaluate their terrain and we match it to them. And there are so many tools in our toolbox that we can re-adjust the hormone metabolites without full on turning on or off the switch with those blockade therapies that can make a huge difference in these patients. It’s just incredible to me.
It makes me sad when we are putting these men on therapy is that alter who they are as a human being forever. I mean, if you’ve known a man who’s been put on ADT, they’re like, “This isn’t me anymore. I don’t know who I am.” We basically turned them into women. And when we know the irony is we’re telling all these guys to be terrified of testosterone and yet testosterone levels are low in men today because of estrogen. And what are we putting these patients on? More estrogen and estrogen its entire job is to grow baby grow. That’s its job. It grows whatever it’s coming in contact with. So we put them on these ADTs which then make other tissues much more vulnerable, bone, lung, liver, brain. And then it starts to just go off the charts.
Dr. Weitz: At least from what I’m seeing there, they’re pulsing it more. They’re doing small dosages of it rather than doing it super long-term.
Dr. Winters: This is what I love about where oncology hopefully is going. Is these 70 year experiment of maximum tolerated dose treatments we’ve been doing with chemo, radiation, surgery, targeted therapies, hormone blocking therapies. We are now moving into the era I hope and pray of adaptive theory, which is just give enough to push it back just enough so that you can jump in after and clean up the train around it and then hopefully you can hold it back with that. That is what’s happening at places like Moffitt University, University of Arizona. I think University of Utah, there’s a few places where adaptive theory is being worked out. I’ve been practicing adaptive theory my entire career. I just didn’t know that’s what it was called. It’s like there’s a time and a place to wield the sword, but we should wield it more like a scalpel. We should be very thoughtful and careful. And what people that I’ve learned from Dr. Rosenberg in Florida. What I learned from him was when you over harvest the cancer cells, those are called the daughter cells. Those are the fast proliferating cells that respond to chemo, radiation, surgery, targeted therapies, et cetera. When you over-harvest them, you wake up the mother cells and then they’re pissed and then-
Dr. Weitz: The mother cells are the cancer stem cells?
Dr. Winters: Yes, it is. Now you have an entirely different being that is drug resistant, super aggressive. It’s like if you woke up your mom after three nights of bad sleep, how would she respond? This is what’s happening in our body. And so that’s the place where adapted theory push it back no more. Don’t get to the 80% mark. Stay a little back. You really only treat like get in, get out for a while. You talked about the pulsing, that’s where we’re moving that pulse press. We can be elegant with this. We don’t have to napalm the field.
Dr. Weitz: What about the patients who come in and they say, “Look, I’m committed to a vegetarian diet.” And then there are practitioners that argue that a vegetarian diet is better because there’s data showing that methionine is this higher methionine levels is associated with cancer growth.
Dr. Winters: Yeah. So I love this. I mean, first of all, I do have patients who are able to get into metabolic flexibility and even into ketosis with a vegetarian diet. I will tell you from my testing and my experience, no matter how careful we’re being, I do not see that with the vegan population. So I don’t think there is a place, and boy I get a lot of hate mail for this one as you can imagine.
Dr. Weitz: What do the vegetarians do for their protein who get into ketosis?
Dr. Winters: Typically eggs, eggs, and dairy. Yeah. So we can do some stuff with that, but the methionine, glutamine, arginine those questions of these particular proteins that are showing up in the literature. Super simple, it’s called fasting. Okay. It’s free. And so the intermittent fasting of these things you are pulse pressing those as well, because guess what? If you pulled glutamine out of your diet, you’d be dead, period. It is the most important amino acid for you to physically survive. That’s what your healthy cells must have to survive. Methionine you cannot detox anything without methionine, right? When I see this it drives me crazy because we keep looking for the drug to block them. Well do a great job. We will definitely kill the tumor, but you’re going to kill the host with it. Just like we do with chemo. We are so focused in myopic on tumor, tumor, tumor, all the excitement around look at this target and use this drug, whether it’s an off-label drug or whatever. We are barking up the same tree. It’s the exact same failed experiment we’ve been doing for 70 years.
Dr. Weitz: Because the tumor exists in our body and it’s the environment, the milieux of your body that matters.
Dr. Winters: Yes, yes, yes. And when you keep putting it, I don’t care if its lower dose chemo, I don’t care if it’s an off-label drug that’s “safer” than chemo. It is causing harm to the terrain, period. All drugs have side effects, period. All of them, right?
Dr. Weitz: Do consuming antioxidants either through food like eating blueberries or taking nutritional supplements of antioxidants, are these harmful to cancer patients? Do they uncouple the effects of chemo and radiation?
Dr. Winters: Well, I think if you’re going to do, if you’re setting out to do a cytotoxic therapy and the goal of that therapy is to create massive oxidative stress.
Dr. Weitz: You mean conventional chemotherapy.
Dr. Winters: Yeah, but even IVC or anything else. When you’re into those even high pressure hyperbaric oxygen or even high heat hyperthermia. Those are very oxidative, they really-
Dr. Weitz: They are trying to use oxygen to kill cancer cells.
Dr. Winters: Exactly. And they’re using that and they’re just creating a massive amount of reactive [crosstalk 00:46:54].
Dr. Weitz: [crosstalk 00:46:54].
Dr. Winters: Exactly. That’s the goal of those therapies. You don’t want to in the window of their half-life use a quenching therapy. So it’s not that you don’t… First of all, the only way to avoid antioxidants in your diet is to eat cardboard and distilled water. People are so concerned about-
Dr. Weitz: I guess if you follow the carnivore diet you can pretty much avoid them.
Dr. Winters: No, you could still get quite a blunt and there too, it’s just amazing to me. But the thing here’s a perfect example a blueberry, all the oncology are like, go and eat your blueberries. They’re wanting their patients to eat their blueberries and then they telling them-
Dr. Weitz: Take your 500 milligram capsules.
Dr. Winters: Yeah. And your ORAC score of your vitamin C capsule is about 100. I’m pulling this number out of the sky, [inaudible 00:47:41]. A blueberry is 3000. So ridiculous. These conversations are so ridiculous to me. So it’s in that moment of how can we create metabolic flexibility? And that is going to take if you’re not eating a therapeutic ketogenic diet, or you have been wired with particular epigenetic hiccups that make it more difficult for you to re-achieve metabolic flexibility, you may have to use a therapeutic diet for a period of time of keto. Now, for the rest of us who don’t need to eat a high fat, low carb diet to achieve ketosis, we can get there with lower carb. You can get there on just low carb. You can get there on just carnivore. You can get there on fasting.
You can get there on some pharmaceuticals and you can get there on exogenous ketones. There are multiple roads to Rome on this one. And so that’s the funny thing is I see these camps saying, “Well, sometimes ketones feed cancer.” And I’m like you realize that you naturally go into ketosis just overnight when you’re metabolically flexible. If you are metabolically healthy, you should be showing some trace ketones after a 13 hour fast. If you’re not, that’s you needing to push this up a little bit, you want to get back to that fluid, hybrid car engine to make yourself work the best. So then you become fortified in both places. Sometimes you need to be on the offensive sometimes on the defensive depending. And so when we get so dogmatic about certain camps, we miss our commonalities. We miss this place of let’s all focus on achieving metabolic flexibility. Let’s know that quality of food is key. Maybe timing of food is key, and that it probably should have a lot of plants because we need those co-factors as polyphenols. I mean, talk about anticancer, whoppers, polyphenols flavanoids are critical.
Dr. Weitz: Are those antioxidants? So our antioxidants do they help us fight cancer? And if a patient’s going on radiation or chemo, should they avoid either eating antioxidants accidents through diet or take in additional through supplements? Should they avoid them on the days of the chemo? Should they just avoid those days or should they avoid them completely? Is it better to have them, will they protect the healthy cells?
Dr. Winters: Well, first of all, most of my patients are fasting around chemo anyway. Right? Because they’re trying to get the biggest bang for the buck of the chemo while dealing with the side effects while having better outcomes. So that kind of clears up that problem. But if they are still [crosstalk 00:50:14].
Dr. Weitz: You have patient fast the day before chemo, the day of chemo and the day after?
Dr. Winters: I do the two before day or two after. I do the longer one depending on If someone’s having it every three or four weeks, if someone’s having it weekly, we modify it. So let’s say chemo is Wednesday and they’re having it every Wednesday. Some people do dose-dense taxol and other things. Then I get them fasted. So their last meal would be maybe breakfast on Tuesday and then probably dinner on Thursday. So I will kind of straddle it. So it’s really more like a 60 hour kind of a little closer in, that’s totally maintainable. I don’t really want patients who are doing weekly to do five days a week, every week for that period of time. So that’s key. And then to your point about the oxidants, If I have a patient going through now, there are plenty of studies actually showing that it’s probably even fine to do an IV Vitamin C lower dose like the ones that are antioxidant because the higher dose are pro-oxidant on the day of radiation and not cause any harm. But out of just because there are so much unknowns here, there is no problem just pulling high doses of glutathione, NAC, alpha lipoic acid, CoQ10 and regular high doses, oral high doses of vitamin C on the day of therapy. There’s no reason to take them, take a break from that. And then you’re being safe for all accounts because we will never know definitively likely. And the other side of it is that the half-life of these things are short. So I might have my patients kind of load on the weekends of whatever they’re doing. I see no reason why we should pull our foods. Foods should be our first defense always. Right.
Dr. Weitz: Is it the same for radiation?
Dr. Winters: Yeah. I believe that foods are fine in that place. The body is so stink and wise-
Dr. Weitz: Do you have them fast around radiation as well?
Dr. Winters: Well, I want people going into-
Dr. Weitz: Because sometimes radiation they’re doing five times a week.
Dr. Winters: Yeah. So all my radiation patients I encourage them to be fasted going into radiation. So let’s say radiation is 10:00 AM every day five days a week for 40 sessions, that’s kind of a standard. So they’ll fast. I want them to get a 16 hour fast in before every day. And I have them take exogenous ketone bump 20 to 30 minutes before. What that does, first of all radiation won’t work if you have high insulin and high glucose, it actually deactivates, the cancer cells are desensitized to radiation when they’re sugar in the body. Remember radiation is still working six to 12 months after. So great, if you were great about your diet for the 40 sessions of radiation, then you go back to standard American diet after you’ve just unraveled all of that hard work.
And now the radiation, what the radiation does when it’s met with the sugar and the insulin, it makes the cancer cells more resistant, more aggressive and more progressive. And so that’s the piece here. And luckily we have so much literature, I mean people Colin Champ do lots of studies on this percent of data, taking us back to data all the way back from the ’40s and ’50s on this. We’ve known this for some time and yet not a single radio oncologist I’ve ever met… Well, I take that back because they’re changing. Dr. Christy Kesslering in Chicago she now really pushes her patients. She’s like, “I don’t want you in there getting the radiation without your ketones being up.” That’s the place here. We want that because it enhances standard of care outcomes and it protects the patient’s DNA.
And kind of to your point on the vegetables I want my patients eating their liver. I want them eating their leafy greens. I want that folate. I want the vitamin A, there cod liver oil. Those are the things that are going to protect the healthy DNA. That’s what’s amazing. And vitamin A differentiates. Vitamin A’s like, “You guys are crap. Get out of here. You guys are good. Let me fortify you.” That’s what’s really cool about vitamin A, which you’re getting your cod liver oil, your liver foods, your organ meats, things like that. And then your leafy greens, hello, all your foliates and whatnot there. Bringing that together. That’s actually huge. So they get called antioxidants, but my biochemist husband would freak, out it’s redox reagents, right? It knows where to be. It knows where to be, killing things. And it knows where to be repairing things. It’s like the foods are adaptogenic. That’s what’s really cool. Your cells know what to do with that information.
Dr. Weitz: You mentioned vitamin A and of all the antioxidants the one that’s been criticized the most are carotenoids. And I think leaning back to that-
Dr. Winters: You don’t want to take carotenoid. You don’t want to take beta carotene ever. No one should take beta carotene in a supplement, should be only getting it from your food. All of the studies, they said where this is bad and causes cancer were on beta carotene. But the retinol, the palmitate all the vitamin A’s and that form, you have to have that. I tell patients just feel in the back of your arms, rub the back of your arms. If you’ve got little chicken arms, there’s a little chicken skin, you are low in vitamin A. If you have floaters, if you’ve got poor night vision, you are low in vitamin A. It’s incredible how important that is. And there’s so many studies. You could do a PubMed study just on vitamin A and ovarian cancer for instance and how it helps differentiate the stem cells.
It helps them say, “Okay, you guys are good. Keep on going. You guys aren’t, get out of here.” It’s really powerful. But again, our narrative gets you supped by a particular camp in medicine or certain dogmatic food group. And everyone starts to get really weird about it. It’s like let’s just look at the basics. Let’s look at the basic chemistry, physiology. Let’s look at just common sense. Let’s look what our parents and our grandparents, our great grandparents ate. They all ate liver. They all ate cod liver oil. No one was ever toxic on it. And the cancer rates were very different. It’s not to say that that was the reason, but that was a natural part of our every day. Just at least every week diet. And it’s incredible. The stories I hear from my older patients they were like, ” I hate in my liver and onions.” And now we’re, oh, we kind of like you to get them in at a different way. There’s different ways to prepare it and know about it or even encapsulate it and take it in if you’re needing those things. I would much rather people get it from their food than from a supplement.
Dr. Weitz: Well, since you mentioned supplements, are there any supplements that can sort of move the needle on cancer? And I know over the years there’ve been a number of products. We had the fermented wheat germ oil, the Avemar, OncoMAR, which is still out there, I’ve used on patients before. It’s fairly expensive. We have modified citrus pectin. There’s a number of compounds. Are any of these ones that you think can really move the levers?
Dr. Winters: Yeah. And again, it’s all going to depend on the individual, but if I have a patient with a lot of inflammation I might be looking at a combination like boswellia and curcumin, very, very powerful and fish oil, very powerful. I want to get those central, those omega-3 fatty acids up. I want to bring that. I’ll also bring on black cumin seed oil, 300 times more potent than aspirin without poking holes in your gut. Right?
Dr. Weitz: Yeah. I’ve actually seen curcumin having an effect on so many different pathways that [crosstalk 00:57:34].
Dr. Winters: That’s why I love about it. It’s like the smart bomb that goes out there and kind of does it all. But I always tell people too, if you get too much, it can trigger your liver enzymes. So it’s these things. That’s why we test our patients every month. So we’re watching, are we moving that needle or not? And if not, what do we need to do differently? Or what do we need to dose wise? So we go that route. Modified citrus pectin well-known to help in a lot of different situations, but I don’t give it unless someone has elevated galectin-3 levels.
Dr. Weitz: Do you measure galectin-3 regularly?
Dr. Winters: Yep, sure do. And so I want the levels under 10. So if it’s up or even if I haven’t had a galectin-3 and the patient’s getting ready to go in for surgery or a biopsy I’ll front load them and post load them with modified citrus pectin. And it’s a nice little added, fiber although it can pull some of my patients out of ketosis. So I do watch that, but they’re doing their checking so they know what they’re doing there. And it’s also a great binder. So it works really nicely to bind a lot of metals and glyphosate and other things as well. So I think it has a beautiful well-rounded application if I’m going to do it beyond. If I’m using it to [inaudible 00:58:41], if I’m using it to prep for surgery, I don’t really test worry about the galectin-3 but if I’m using it to therapeutically prevent metastasis and lower galectin-3 levels, I want that galectin-3 level. Yeah.
Dr. Weitz: Right. One of the criticisms of the ketogenic diet is that it tends to be lower in fiber and you need fiber to feed the microbiome. And the microbiome is crucial for overall health and even important for cancer control.
Dr. Winters: Yeah. I love that because I think… I don’t know how or why I do it differently, but I eat between 10 and 15 servings of vegetables a day. That’s my-
Dr. Weitz: I guess a lot of people look to legumes and whole grains is one of the important sources of fiber.
Dr. Winters: I mean, my gosh, you get it in so many other things, if people really want it I might grind up some flax seed. Again, if it’s cold pressed and it’s been packed and are ground at the time of use, I think that can be a really powerful boost if people are having issues.
Dr. Weitz: What did you mean by all that, if you go to whole foods and you buy flax seeds, and then you grind them yourself, is that okay or?
Dr. Winters: Yeah. I get them, I make sure that they’ve been vacuum sealed. So they haven’t oxidized.
Dr. Weitz: So you’re talking about the ones that are already ground.
Dr. Winters: Nope. You can buy seeds that are not ground [crosstalk 01:00:02].
Dr. Weitz: Even the seeds can be oxidized?
Dr. Winters: Yeah. And they’re usually in the fridge section at your whole foods.
Dr. Weitz: I don’t think they have flax seeds and I see them in the bins that are not refrigerated.
Dr. Winters: Yeah. They do, the ones that I buy are always vacuum sealed, whole seed, and then I get them home and open it up and then grind them as I need and keep them in the freezer or fridge.
Dr. Weitz: So even the seeds before they’re ground can become oxidized?
Dr. Winters: Well, if they’d been out of the fridge and they’ve been… Who knows how long they’ve been sitting on a shelf, they’re definitely oxidized. Yeah. And they oxidize very easy. That’s why I’m not a fan of flax seed oil at all. There’s no such thing as non-oxidized flax seed oil. You put in your brown Barlean’s containers, it’s just too volatile. So that’s a no-go, but the flax seed can still be very compelling. Chia seed as well. You can bring that on board for folks that doesn’t tend to spike their sugars, a little psyllium seed, if you want, or even milk thistle seed. I like those kind of it a little ground, my little fiber blend. But when I do our macro, when I’m looking at my chronometer or whatnot, I’m taking in about 60 to 70 grams of fiber a day just from my vegetable matter.
Dr. Weitz: That’s a lot of grams of fiber.
Dr. Winters: I know but I love my veggies. But my patients I tell them shoot for 25 or you want to get no less than 25 grams a day of that. So people aren’t, the trick is always that they’re just not eating enough vegetables. And then the key is, is that people get confused because they are like, “Oh.” I’m like, it’s so easy to get in this many vegetables when you turn them into pestos, when you turn them into purees and to soups, when you turn them into mashers. It’s easy to get my dinner tonight before I got on with you is sauteed up onions because I don’t get problems with onions kind of setting out of ketosis, but that with cabbage, some hot chili peppers because I like spice sauteed in a bunch of geese serve as a little bit of leftover chicken from yesterday. On top of that, a little bit of avocado. And then I had some pili nuts that I just kind of sprinkled over the top to get that extra bit of fat. And then I had just some leftover those cute little peppers that are just the sweet ones that you kind of eat by themselves. I had some of those and some cucumber slices. That’s what I had right before I got on. I pretty much, if I’m going to have a protein, I had about 150 grams of protein. Probably I have that about twice a day.
With a cancer patient, you also don’t want to get too much protein, especially because of the mTOR insulin growth factor issue. So I keep mine pretty stable. There’s times when I need more, if I’m being really physically active, but today it was just a walk day. So I didn’t really feel like I needed that much.
But just then I had four or five servings of vegetables just in that one meal. And that’s a ton of fiber. Right there it was probably, I don’t know, 30 grams of fiber just in that. And so people when I hear that I try and coach them, I’m like, okay, tell me what you’re having for breakfast and how do we hide in, how do we sneak in the veggies? How do we start to use your cucumbers as your chips or your radishes as your chips, all your above ground, leafy greens, all your above ground vegetables are tend to be low-glycemic. Just go hog wild, just eat as many of those as you can get in. Be a little bit careful with the tomatoes. Be a little bit careful with the sweet onions, be a little bit careful with some of the root vegetables. But once people are metabolically flexible, I could sit down and eat a whole sweet potato now, and it doesn’t do anything to my blood sugar.
Dr. Weitz: You like the mushrooms for immune system function? You like any of the mushroom supplements for boosting immune function?
Dr. Winters: I do but you got to be a little careful. Most mushrooms can also trigger auto-immunity if you’ve got that tendency. So I’m very careful. The one I feel the most safe to use across board that’s just gorgeous, is ganoderma also known as reishi, that’s kind of my… When I talk about the teeter-totter of the immune system, it sort of sits right in the middle and keeps it nice and balanced. And that’s a divine one to add into everything, saute it, make them into teas, grind them into your coffee. Ganoderma added to your coffee is a really powerful way to keep your adrenals happy and your minerals balanced. That’s a really nice thing. And then the other one that I use it pretty regular amount of time, chaga, chaga mushroom high in betulinic acid. That’s actually one of our best mushrooms specific to the melanoma world because it’s very responsive to betulinic acid, but those are some things I kind of tell people. And then everyone’s all hopped up on wanting to take every mushroom and spend a fortune. Firstly, they spent a fortune and they’re not taking a therapeutic dose. I mean, you’re needing two to four grams a day to get a therapeutic dose, that is very expensive. You’re wanting a particular, you want the whole plant, you want the whole organism, you don’t want just a stem. It’s so much, I tell people just keep it simple when in doubt and you’re not sure if your auto-immune propensity, just stick with reishi.
Dr. Weitz: How do mushrooms stimulate auto-immunity?
Dr. Winters: They push Th1, T helper cell 1 component. Yeah.
Dr. Weitz: Okay.
Dr. Winters: Yeah. It’s pretty cool.
Dr. Weitz: I want to ask one more question about the microbiome. In your book you talked about H. pylori, which is a controversy, H. pylori is a possible cause of lymphoma of the stomach. But there’s also data showing that inhibit reflux and esophageal cancer. So if we see H. pylori on a stool test, do we want to get rid of it or don’t we?
Dr. Winters: So it’s funny, because I kind of think about H. pylori and candida. I think of these all kind of in the same thing that we have a lot of commenserates. We have a lot of these organisms that live in us naturally. And so when we’re like, “Oh, you’ve got candida.” You have to hit it. We’ve been napalmed. The natural medicine community napalms the body for candida, just like the oncologists napalm the body for cancer cells. It is an impossibility to remove all candida and then you always overshoot it and you end up with a patient that’s far worse than they were where they started. That’s been my experience. And that’s coming from a practitioner who did that to their patients for many years until I learned better. So H. pylori I think is very similar. It is not the cause, it is a response, it’s an effect. It’s an inflammation. “It’s saying we have inflammation here. This organism showed up to try and heal that inflammation.” So instead of eradicating that band-aid, if you will, why don’t you understand it and then treat the inflammation, the source of it, which is usually wrongful diet. Pretty simple. And so if we come in and I have a patient with an H. pylori test, I just switch up their diet a little bit. And honestly we retest in a couple of months and it’s gone. We never treated the H. Pylori. Same thing with candida. It’s like we balance this out, it’s beautiful. Just like the B strep of women who get tested right before they deliver a baby, they all get tested. They’re like, “Oh my God.” And here’s your antibiotics. And now you’ve efted up the mother and the baby first go before they even enter the world.
Their microbiomes are destroyed, both of them. And it’s like wow, if you actually just let us basically nourish this woman and nourish her vaginal canal appropriately, she’ll clear it on her own, which she does every single time if I can get her out of there pause long enough to prevent that. And that they will fight you tooth and nail give me two days, give me three days and we reculture. Gone every time. And they just scratch their head. I’ve never once not had it clear on its own, ever. And it’s that’s the place? It’s about an imbalance. It’s just a messenger. It’s not the cause.
Dr. Weitz: So what kind of gut imbalances or what kind of dietary changes would you make to help H. pylori if?
Dr. Winters: Honestly, one of the simplest is just fasting. I mean, really you have to remember what’s so… I love I grove out on Viome and all those, and I really think they’re really powerful tests, but what I know of the body is three days of a different diet you’ve changed your microbiome, in three days. So if I have a patient with an acute gastritis or esophageal reflux, and it’s secondary to an H. pylori processor and ulceration. I’m going to fast them for a couple days and just give them loads of slippery elm tea. Things to soothe the fire, maybe some aloe vera just soothe it, just let it calm down and then introduce, look at what their diet diary was before, help see what their blind spots were and help them encourage them back into something different.
So, it depends again on what the patient was eating and ingesting before that sort of [inaudible 01:08:41] refinements discussions. It’s like, if they’d been on this camp for a while, take them over to this camp for a while. And that’s where you can see people having extraordinary outcomes with just carnivore or just vegan, because it’s enough of a shift in the system that it kind of writes itself. And then your body starts to say, “Feed me Seymour. I need a little bit more than that.” And you need to heed that warning and you need to monitor the labs to say, you’re becoming malnourished in this department now let’s bring you more back into balance of that. So that’s the place that I’m the person who’s a rabid tester. So I don’t run by dogma. I run by data and myself and my patients, so great things look can look really great on paper, but in the patient it can look very different.
Dr. Weitz: So are you looking at nutrient levels when you’re seeing that the patient’s malnourished?
Dr. Winters: And often a good old CBC can tell me a ton. If someone’s chronically got a low hemoglobin hematocrit, there’s definitely some leaky gut going on, some irritation. If they have elevated MCV and MCH on CBC, that’s telling me they’ve got typically B12 deficiency. If they have really low MCB MCHS, that’s typically magnesium zinc and B6 deficiency. If they have chronically low white blood cells, that’s usually say maybe a parasitic infection, chronic stress, or a toxic metal burden is usually to blame or co-infection to blame. So we might look down that alley. And if their monocytes eosinophils and basophils are all three elevated, I know we had a parasite on board and that could be their problem. And so then I’ll do send off to Dr. Ammons testing out of Arizona, parasitetesting.com and take a look at what we have on board, because the typical parasite testing, parasite and ova testing, and standard labs, miss most of the boat.
And what we’re out there and he does a little deeper dive looks into other specialty organisms has a different platform that can test a little bit different information, but he also is looking at are we seeing fats in the store? Are we seeing proteins in the store? He’s looking at some of those components as well. And you can. You can run a red blood cell zinc or a serum vitamin A, you can run some basic, just in general chemistry panels. You don’t have to spend a fortune on a NeutraEval or any of those to get some general understanding. You can do what I call my nutritional physical exams.
I talked about the bumps on the back of the iron cracks on the heels of this omega 3, floaters in the eyes, white spots on the nails, bleeding gums. There is so much that the body tells us, the quality of the hair, the skin, the nails, the tongue, is looking at what’s going on there. How did they smell? Did they have a good sense of smell? Those are all clues to nutrient imbalances. Are they constipated? Do they have anxiety? Do they have problems sleeping? Magnesium. Do they crave chocolate? Do they chunk on ice? There’s your iron deficiency? These are how did we lose these basic skills? Tapping on the back of someone’s Achilles heel was the way we tested for thyroid. Do you remember that? That was the two generations ahead of us. That’s how they tested thyroid.
Dr. Weitz: Achilles reflex you mean?
Dr. Winters: Yeah, exactly. And then the pupillary dilation tests in a dark room, hand between, see how the eye responds, or the iris response, or the pupil response. If it’s like, that’s what we want. It should kind of open and close, but if it goes, and stays over. Do you like the sound effects? That’s when we know their adrenals are dead. We don’t have to spend a fortune, you can do a five minute thing. You can look at specific gravity in our urine. You can do a couple of basic things just in the lab, you can have them go off and do a guaiac test it if you want. There are so many that we can do in the lab very basic, look at their basic hydration level is what you’re doing on this specific gravity. I mean, my God, it’s incredible what we can do for pennies of diagnostic testing and assessment.
Dr. Weitz: Cool. This has been an awesome discussion.
Dr. Winters: I love your questions. I hope that’s okay.
Dr. Weitz: Absolutely.
Dr. Winters: The special effects are no extra charge. They’re no extra charge.
Dr. Weitz: [inaudible 01:12:44].
Dr. Winters: I Love it. I love it.
Dr. Weitz: How can our listeners get a hold of you?
Dr. Winters: They can find me on drnasha.com, D-R-N-A-S-H-A.com. You can also find me on all the social media channels of Dr. Nasha Winters or The Metabolic Approach to Cancer. Those are the places where you can find me as well. I have our lovely previous conversation up on my events page, I have tons of great interviews and podcasts and articles and blogs. I’ve done all free content. There’s literally thousands of hours’ worth of material you could just go down any rabbit hole you want. And then the book is available in all the typical book sale places. Jess and I are hoping to get a second edition out in early 2022. We postponed because we were working on another book all through COVID. Is ready, we’ve shelved it because our both of our lives we’re we got to do some… There’s bigger fish to fry right now. But I do have with a couple of colleagues a mistletoe book coming out this summer. So I’m very excited about that with some of my co-authors experts in the field from all over the world on mistletoe. So maybe we get to have a conversation about that later.
Dr. Weitz: Yeah, definitely. Let’s do that. Okay.
Dr. Winters: Thank you.
Dr. Weitz: Thank you.
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