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Nutrition
is at the core of
everything your body
does for you.

From health to sickness,
from energy to lethargy,
from happiness to depression –
the necessary nutrients your cells
receive or do not receive affect
everything about you. If only one cell
in your body is deprived, it slowly affects
the rest of you.

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How should you
clean your teeth?
Let me count the ways!
When I was a kid
going to the dentist,
my dentist always told me
I had to brush harder.
What did that mean?
When my family moved to another city,
my new dentist told me totally different
things about brushing my teeth.
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BUT NEED TO KNOW
A LITTLE MORE?
Use the handy contact form and
I’ll get back to you soon.
While I cannot answer
treatment-specific questions,
I can respond to your general concerns!
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I Eat Meat!

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist
March 4, 2019

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I Eat Meat

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I eat meat. I never excluded meat from my diet. However, the only meat I eat is from pastured or wild-caught animals who consume their natural diets with no chemicals added. In addition to meat, I eat their organs and consume their bone broth – nose to tail. (As an aside, the farmer I visit at my Farmers’ Market every Saturday morning provides grass-fed, grass-finished ground beef mixed with ground kidney, liver, and heart in one-pound packages: 70% ground beef; 30% ground organ meats.)

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However, now that I am on a journey to fight my incurable aggressive bone marrow cancer, I have been asked by many, “Why do you eat meat or animal protein? Don’t you know they cause cancer?”

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Well, healthy animal protein as part of a diet containing plant-based foods does not cause cancer. And healthy meat and organs are critical for humans to eat.[1] Healthy humans are omnivores![2]

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Let’s get into it.

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Essential Amino Acids

Humans require 20 amino acids to create all the proteins that life requires. This includes 9 essential amino acids (which cannot be made by the body) and another 11 non-essential amino acids (which can be made by the body). The 9 essential amino acids are easily supplied by animal protein.

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Animal protein provides the best and most biologically complete source for these building blocks. Amino acids are critical for proper immune function, muscle integrity, DNA manufacturing of the body’s necessary proteins, and gene expression.

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Vegans can mix various plants to get all the essential amino acids, but the quantity of legumes required to get the right mix also provides too many grams of carbohydrate to the diet. Too many carbohydrates in the diet creates excess glucose, which feeds cancer cell growth.

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Acid Environment

Some critics of animal products state that animal protein is acidic, which they claim encourages cancer growth. However, that is not entirely correct. Cancer cells actually create their own acidic environment by way of their production of energy.

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Healthy mitochondria are responsible for efficient energy production. However, the mitochondria in cancer cells are dysfunctional. Therefore, cancer cells must use fermentation to create the energy they require. Cancer cells use a tremendous amount of glucose and some glutamine to produce energy by this inefficient method. A by-product of the fermentation process is the production of a large quantity of lactic acid. In turn, lactic acid bathes the cancer cells making the environment acidic around tumors.

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Observational Studies

Other critics of eating meat cite studies showing the consumers of meat have a higher risk of cancer. However, these studies are mostly flawed.

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These studies are basically observational. They only look at the consumption of meat and the incidence of cancer. This can demonstrate a “correlation” but not a “causation”. The problem is that observational studies cannot eliminate the many other factors (some known and some unknown), which could significantly affect the outcome of the study.

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Another problem is that most studies do not control the quality of meat. There is a difference between pastured animals and conventionally raised animals. There is a difference between animals grazing on organic grasses and animals fed chemically produced grains. There is a difference between processed meats and unprocessed meats.

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Also, other studies show many people who eat large quantities of red meat have unhealthy habits and unhealthy lifestyles. Examples are smoking; consuming excess alcohol; eating large quantities of processed foods made from grain flours, sugars, and unhealthy fats; ingesting very few fruits and vegetables; and living relatively sedentary lives. These confounding factors significantly increase the risk of cancer in their own ways.

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Gut Microbiome

Different research shows that an unhealthy gut microbiome might increase the risk of cancer when large quantities of meat make up the diet. Refined-carbohydrate and low-fat diets can cause gut dysbiosis, which in turn could create metabolites from meat that might be carcinogenic. However, a healthy gut microbiome may prevent the production of unhealthy metabolites from meat. And, a diet including a large percentage of organic plant foods along with healthy meats will improve the health of the gut microbiome and may thereby decrease the risk of cancer.

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Necessary Nutrients

And then there are the biologically active nutrients that are abundantly supplied by animal proteins. These nutrients are necessary for healthy bodily function but are not readily available in a vegan diet. Some of these missing nutrients of a vegan diet include vitamin B12, vitamin D, zinc, heme iron, retinol (preformed vitamin A), and DHA.

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My Thoughts

Basically, a limited amount of unprocessed and pastured meat is healthy and doesn’t promote cancer.[3] A proportioned diet (less than 25% naturally-sourced animal proteins including all their healthy fats AND more than 75% non-starchy vegetables, berries, and seeds) may be the ideal diet for cancer patients. That is the diet I incorporate in my extensive Protocol to treat my IgA Kappa Light Chain Multiple Myeloma.

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For more information, I recommend two excellent books. The Metabolic Approach to Cancer by Dr. Nasha Winters and Cancer as a Metabolic Disease by Dr. Thomas Seyfried.

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[1] https://academic.oup.com/af/article/8/3/5/5048762

[2] https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2016/12/23/how-humans-evolved-to-be-natural-omnivores/#671a630b7af5

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4549221/

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3 Comments

  • Elba Cruz

    Dr. Danenberg, I’ve been reading your post for a few months now. I commend you on your journey. I did notice you said “fight” against cancer. Usually that implies a negative situation. I have learned that any uneasiness our bodies display is usually due to unresolved issues we may be holding on to. I think it may be a good idea to work with the cancer and allow yourself to receive the message it is sending you and then work to resolve it. You come across as such a peaceful and kind person. I am rooting for you and send positive energy to you each time I read your updates. Thanks for sharing your journey. I hope to be reading your post for many many years!

    Reply
  • George Reichel

    Perhaps “Hope4Cancer.com” has some good ideas. God Bless

    Reply
  • Robyn Owens-Miille

    I’m currently in remission from stage 4 colon cancer (metastatic to liver). After 10 rounds of chemo and 3 surgeries, I’m working to heal my body. Prior to my diagnosis, I had a diet very heavy in conventional meat products. How many ounces of meat protein do you recommend for a 46 year old female daily? I’m currently trying to not exceed 6-8 ounces daily.

    Reply

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