Cancer Cells and Amino Acids

by Dr. David Minkoff November 05, 2021 2 min read

Cancer Cells and Amino Acids

In a 2016 study in the journal “Developmental Cell, some cancerous cell growths were linked to other amino acids, not glucose and glutamine consumption as previously thought. The study found that non-glutamine amino acids act as the building blocks of tumor cells, supplying abundant carbon and nitrogen to fuel growth. The findings serve to reframe the way scientists look at cancer cell metabolism and offer new insights for patients. Here is my perspective on the study and the accompanying article in MIT News, How cancer cells fuel their growth.

Study: Cancer Cells Convert Amino Acids Into Fuel

The cancer cell has a different type of metabolism than a healthy cell and uses the fermentation of sugar to produce its energy, according to the German biochemist Otto Warburg, who discovered in the 1920s that tumor cells use a less efficient metabolic strategy than healthy cells. These cancer cells make heavy use of catabolized amino acids for fuel.

For cancer patients in my practice, I have my clinical team recommend very low protein diets with very high fat content and very low carbohydrate content. The average person who has cancer is given less than 12g of carbohydrate per day and a calorie restriction of about 1,200 per day. This aligns with the recommendations of Dr. Seyfield in Cancer As A Metabolic Disease.

Combatting the protein deficiency and protein digestion issues common in these patients requires a combination of diet and supplementation.

In an average steak, for example, the protein calories would be broken down into amino acids and about 67% of the protein calories would be targeted and used as fuel by cancer cells. If you’re looking at vegetable proteins, up to 90-95% of the protein content in vegetables would be targeted and used for fuel by cancer cells, which is not good.

Anabolic vs. Catabolic protein source - Maximize your protein with PerfectAmino at 99% or more utilized by the body for protein synthesis

This same study has also led to some confusion, with some people thinking that simply taking amino acids can feed cancer. That, however, is not the case, since it is the resulting nitrogen waste from un-utilized amino acids that feed the cancer. Properly utilized amino acids are highly beneficial to the body, as they are the building blocks of protein and are essential to the human body, which is mostly comprised of proteins.

So, when you’re looking for an amino acid supplement, it is important to consider the utilization factor. How much of the amino acids are utilized for body protein, compared to how much nitrogen waste can be expected.

The Role of PerfectAmino®

PerfectAmino is a supplement that the body can almost completely utilize, with virtually no nitrogen waste, meaning 99% of it will go into cell structure and, therefore not as fuel for cancer.

By giving our body amino acids that are completely utilized, we also supply nutrition that healthy cells can use to support the immune system and continue to keep our lean body mass.

No other form of protein comes close to the formula in PerfectAmino, with its 99% utilization rate. Finding a quality protein source is essential, particularly in light of this study that shines a light on the role played by dietary protein sources in cancer cell metabolism.