Can Lowering Your Protein Intake Improve Your Breast Health?

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Blog | Sep, 18 2017

Can Lowering Your Protein Intake Improve Your Breast Health?


I recently read a great new book by Dr. Mercola called Fat for Fuel, which outlines his take on the ketogenic-based diet that he calls “MMT (Metabolic Mitochondria Therapy).”  As many of you know, I have had my own journey with the ketogenic diet and lifestyle. I called it a “Love-Hate Relationship” and you can read why in this BLOG.

Of course, anything that Mercola puts out is sure to be chock-full of evidence-based medical information and Fat for Fuel is no exception. Of all the information provided, one thing I found especially interesting was Mercola’s take on lowering protein consumption and how this can affect “MTOR pathways,” a typical avenue for cancer cell creation in the body.

You may have never heard about MTOR pathways, so this will be essential learning for your Healthy Breast journey!  

What Are mTOR Pathways?

mTOR stands for “mammalian target of rapamycin.  mTOR is the nexus of a massive communication network inside cells. Within the cell, mTOR can influence how cells grow and how they divide,

Limiting your protein may inhibit mTOR activity and reduce cancer risk.

how proteins are produced from RNA and how recycling occurs through a cancer-protective process called autophagy. Most importantly, it can determine how the mitochondria provides cells with energy through glucose metabolism.

How Can mTOR Hinder Your Healthy Breast Journey?

According to Dr. David Sabatini, a professor of biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has been studying mTOR pathways since it was first discovered, cancer is clearly connected with too much mTOR activity, as are many other kinds of chronic diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and certain neurological conditions.

Why the connection between mTOR and cancer? It is because cancer tumors are designed to grow as fast and large as possible. Cancer cells have abnormal “wiring” within them that makes them highly dependent on mTOR signaling. Hence, the higher the mTOR activity within you, the greater your risk of cancer and cancer metastasis.

A 2014 study published in the journal Breast Cancer Research found that inhibiting mTOR signaling could improve the outcomes of patients with hormone receptor-positive or HER 2 positive Breast Cancer. In this study as in many others, conventional researchers focused their results on using mTOR-inhibiting drugs to elicit this response. Dr. Mercola and other forward-thinking MD’s, however, present another way of down-regulating mTOR that is safe and natural.

What Does Mercola Say about Protein and mTOR?

While some experts recommend basic calorie-restriction as a way to inhibit mTOR (and this has certainly proven effective in several studies), Mercola narrows it down even further by suggesting that by limiting protein intake, this can lower the activity of mTOR pathways enough to inhibit its cancer-promoting effects.

According to Mercola and others, eating excess protein has a stimulating effect on mTOR because it disrupts mitochondrial function. Dr. Thomas Seyfriend, one of the leading experts on the metabolic foundations of cancer, states:

“What we have to recognize … is that if cancer is a mitochondrial metabolic disease and you get cancer because of mitochondrial failure in certain populations of cells and certain tissues, if you prevent your mitochondria from entering into this dysfunctional state … [then] the probability of getting cancer is going to be significantly reduced.”

As Mercola explains in Fat for Fuel, by lowering carbs in addition to limiting protein to just what you need, you are able to normalize your pathways of insulin absorption. This provides a “double-whammy” for cancer cells.  

Work with the Body for Healing!

Mercola’s emphasis in Fat for Fuel is on healing the body first and foremost, including how limiting protein intake to just what you need as well as significantly lowering carbs can reduce inflammation and “turn on” the body’s own healing mechanisms.

This is an idea I can stand by! Although I still don’t agree with everything “ketogenic,” I think that dietary protocols like MMT have a time and a place. For those facing severe health challenges, including breast cancer, focusing on a very low carb, moderately low protein and healthy fat way of eating for a set period of time,  may provide a great amount of potential healing.