Cancer and the Warburg Effect


Contributing Writer
Jeffrey Barkstrom

Cancer is currently the second leading cause of death in the USA. It is right behind heart attacks (#1) and slightly head of medical errors (#3). What does the research say that we can do to help starve cancer for a better chance?

Otto Warburg in 1922 found out that cancer cells are different than regular cells. He found that they had a different metabolic (the process to maintain life) pattern. Normal cells use the oxygen respiration process to reproduce. Cancer cells use the sugar fermentation process to grow. The research was published and then ignored… Until recently.

If we look at modern diagnosis of cancer, contrast agents that include sugar are used to find tumors. Why is sugar used? Cancer cells, as determined by Warburg, use 100 times to 1000 times more sugar to grow than normal cells. The cancer cells suck up all the sugar in the contrast agent and store it until needed. Wherever the sugar is stored, that is where the cancer is.

Using this knowledge, a new treatment strategy is for cancer patients to make small changes in their diet that can starve the cancer cells to make any other treatments more effective. The diet involves cutting out foods such as grains and sugars that can be used by the cancer cells to grow and adding in more foods that promote an oxygen-rich environment in the body.

With any changes, work on getting the bad out at the same time as getting more good in. With my patients, we take a look at what a person is eating and start working on those sugars and grains first. It seems tough to change, but if you have a diagnosis, the sooner you change the better. Start by looking at processed foods, 80 percent of processed foods have some type of sugar added to them.

Foods to start increasing in your diet that help increase the oxygen in your blood. Foods that contain vitamin C increase your bodies ability to absorb iron that then increases the oxygen in your body, include things like tomatoes, onions, strawberries, bell peppers and nuts. Foods that contain B vitamins that increase the bodies ability to carry oxygen include foods such as fish, chicken, vegetables, nuts and beef. Strict vegetarians are often B deficient. Vitamin A deficiency makes iron deficiency more severe. Vitamin A is in meats, cod liver oil, carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, and pumpkin. Vitamin A from food sources doesn’t lead to toxicity, but you can easily become toxic from dietary supplements containing vitamin A, so eat real food.

Cancer treatments are looking to change dramatically in the next generation. Current research is pointing to a path that is going to look more spa- like with people changing their diet and getting oxygen treatments. If you have any questions, call our office at 716-665-5015 or come to one of our workshops.

Yours in Health.

Jeffrey Barkstrom has been helping people with health and weight loss issues for more than 12 years. He has spoken at colleges, businesses, non-profits, national conferences and on television about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. He currently practices at Barkstrom Acupuncture PC, Natural Health Improvement Center in Jamestown, NY. Learn more at or at