How Sugar Can Cause Cancer - Dr. Axe

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How Sugar Can Cause Cancer


How sugar can cause cancer - Dr. Axe

Today, I want to tell you about how addictive sugar can cause cancer. With the number of people getting cancer growing each single year, this is a topic that I’m really passionate about. My mom has gone through cancer twice, and it’s an experience I don’t want anyone to suffer through if possible. I want to help educate the public on one of the major culprits of this disease, and how we can try to prevent cancer. One culprit? Sugar.

Cancer is a complex disease, and researchers are unraveling its mysteries all the time. But one of the things that we know for sure, thanks to medical studies from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and other institutions, is that sugar can increase your risk of cancer (1). We’ve also known for a long time that cancer is linked to diabetes, obesity and heart disease. (2)

Why is that? Well, there are many reasons, but I want to touch on two recent medical studies. The first has to do with how diabetes and cancer are linked. (3) If you’re consuming too much sugar, one of the things that happens is an increase of insulin in the body.

Over time, your insulin receptor sites can burn out, essentially causing something like type 2 diabetes symptoms along with pre-diabetes. When you’re getting more sugar than you need, your body responds by increasing levels of a hormone called GIP,  and also releasing a protein called s-catenin from your pancreas.

S-catenin is a protein that has actually been shown to cause your cells to replicate and then become immortal. These cells don’t die off like normal cells do. Instead, they eventually create a pre-cancerous cell. To reiterate, having too much sugar in your body increases s-catenin, which can lead to the rise of pre-cancerous cells. Too much sugar also can increase insulin resistance, leading to diabetes.


The second study is one published in 2017 in the journal Nature Communications. (4) After nine years, the team made a startling discovery: there’s a link between a key sugar molecule and a gene named Ras. That doesn’t seem like such a big deal, except that Ras is an oncogene, meaning that, when it mutates, it can turn a regular cell into a malignant one.

The researchers found that sugar can activate Ras, which may “lock cancer cells in a vicious cycle causing both persistent stimulation of cell proliferation and continued maintenance of overactive glycolysis.” Basically, having a steady supply of sugar awakens cancer cells and can make tumors more aggressive.

Sugar Can Cause Cancer? 3 Ways to Fight Back

I want to give you some ideas on some ways in the medical literature that may show you on how to naturally fight cancer and some of these cancer-fighting principles. So obviously we know that too much sugar can cause cancer, obesity and diabetes — meanwhile, s-catenin or cancer cells are kind of immortal, so they don’t die or die off like other cells and they self-replicate.

There are certain nutrients that have been shown to cause what’s called cell apoptosis or cell cytotoxicity. That means that those cancer cells die off, and there are specific herbs that have been shown to do exactly that. Therefore, I want to talk about my top three things for naturally preventing and fighting cancer.

1. Get more fruits and vegetables in your diet

Fruits and vegetables are the most nutrient-dense, cancer-fighting foods and the highest in antioxidants. Now, antioxidants protect your cells against free radical damage against proteins like s-catenin. So if you are let’s say, getting too much sugar in your diet, should you eat more blueberries that have tons of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, water and electrolytes even though that it has some natural sugar?

Well, those antioxidants keep things like s-catenin from actually causing cancer because it protects your cells against those proteins and free radicals. That’s how it works, but let me say this, all sugar isn’t bad. It’s not like it’s anytime you eat sugar, it causes cancer. But if I took a blueberry, took out all the antioxidants and fiber, and we just had the fructose left, that single sugar, could that increase your risk of cancer? Absolutely, and that’s why getting your sugar in whole food form, in something like a blueberry or banana, you’re getting fiber with it, you’re getting other nutrients that actually will keep it from causing cancer and in certain ways fight cancer.

In the January 2016 issue of Cancer Research it was demonstrated that high amounts of dietary sugar in the typical Western diet may increase the risk of breast cancer and metastasis to the lungs. (4) According to study authors:

We found that sucrose intake in mice comparable to levels of Western diets led to increased tumor growth and metastasis, when compared to a non-sugar starch diet… The current study investigated the impact of dietary sugar on mammary gland tumor development in multiple mouse models, along with mechanisms that may be involved. We determined that it was specifically fructose, in table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, ubiquitous within our food system, which was responsible for facilitating lung metastasis and 12-HETE production in breast tumors.

Therefore, I recommend doing a berry smoothie for breakfast, juicing vegetables or eating big superfood salads anytime possible, for cancer prevention technique.

2. Get more healthy fats in your body

You can see here that these hormones are so important when it comes to diabetes and cancer. In fact, many cancers today are known as hormonal cancers and that hormone, GIP it’s called, is released when sugar is eaten in your body — and those hormones can actually increase your risk of diabetes and cancer if things like cortisol levels are too high or your progesterone levels are too low and estrogen levels gets too high.

When your hormones get off, it increases your risk of cancer. Part of that is also due to getting unhealthy fats. You know fats are important for cell communication, then you know they’re important for every cell in your body. In fact, you have 75 trillion cells in your body, and every one of those cells has what’s called a lipid bilayer (lipid means fat), and so those fats are responsible for the health of your cell, what gets in your cell and what gets out of your cell. Fat is important for that, so I recommend getting healthy fats.

3. Follow what we call the Budwig Protocol

Now Joanna Budwig was a German researcher, and she found that when your cells were sick, it was due to not having healthy fats in your diet, and she did a protocol mixing cultured dairy like cottage cheese, kefir, also known as cork, and today I use a product like amasai or any cultured dairy beverage that has probiotics, but also has healthy saturated fat.

You consume that healthy saturated fat along with flaxseeds or flaxseed oil, so you get the cultured dairy plus the plant-based omega 3 fatty acids. Those things together have been shown to naturally energize your cell. This has been used in the past for natural cancer treatment by Dr. Joanna Budwig and other clinics.

The key here is getting more of those healthy fats from cultured dairy and coconut, the healthy omega 3 foods from wild-caught fish like salmon and chia and flaxseeds and then also getting some good omega 9 fats from things like avocados, almonds and olive oil. Those are good as well, but those omega 3s and healthy saturated fats have been key in fighting cancer.

Also, look at using certain herbs like curcumin, which is found in the turmeric, and bromelain, which is a proteolytic enzyme that is found in the core of the pineapple and the highest dose is in the core of the pineapple. These nutrients have actually been shown to cause what’s called cell cytotoxicity or cell apoptosis, and can actually fight and kill off cancer cells.


Using turmeric and the bromelain in large amounts, sprinkling them on your food, putting cinnamon in a smoothie for breakfast or supplementing with these herbs, especially in their fermented form, is a great thing to do to naturally reduce your risk of getting cancer according to the medical research.

For myself, having a Mom, family members and patients I’ve taken care of over the years has made me realize the gravity of preventing cancer before it begins. Be proactive, reduce your risk by getting more fruits and vegetables, healthy fats like healthy saturated fats and coconut and cultured dairy products like kefir, getting the omega 3 fats and chia seeds and flaxseeds and salmon and getting more herbs like curcumin from tumeric and bromelain from pineapple. You do that, and you’ll be well on your way to giving your body the best defenses against cancer.

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