When a doctor makes a statement that an amino acid – found in most protein foods (seafood, meat, milk, eggs) and many veggies – feeds cancer… commonsense dictates that there’s likely a more complex, multi-factorial, interdependent sequence happening, and perhaps another mechanism or two, or three, going on.

The reductionist thinking of pharma-care trains people to think in terms of 1 substance = 1 result. 1 symptom requires 1 drug. But anyone who has even an elementary understanding of the body knows that virtually nothing happens in isolation; healing or dis-ease is a wholistic picture.

I think you would need to be a PhD researcher; specializing in a specific type of tumor research to be able present an adequate picture of what is actually happening with the interaction of L-glutamine (or other amino acids) and the various substances and mechanisms involved in tumor growth.

To give you a quick example, let’s look at this study – and I’ve chosen this piece because the layperson can actually understand what’s being said here. This paper is referring to a similarly over-simplified statement that “antioxidants feed tumors”:

“Accordingly, studies on the effects of antioxidant supplements for cancer prevention and treatment showed opposed and mainly unpromising results, giving rise to confusion and the “antioxidant paradox” (1). Another redox consideration for cancer treatment includes increased ROS levels in cancer cells that already “walk on the edge of oxidative abyss” (23–25). This stand point arises from the very well know concept of hormesis that has been recognized since the XVI century by Paracelsus’s—“Die Dosis macht das Gift” or “the dose makes the poison” (26). The concept of hormesis, which revolutionized modern toxicology, claims that the dose–response curve is U-shaped, generally meaning that a drug/stimulus can have opposite effects in small and large doses [for more details refer to Calabrese and Baldwin (27) and papers stemming from it]. Indeed, it has been shown that a mild oxidative state promotes all hallmarks of cancer cells; however, if the threshold is exceeded (reaching the top of the arm of the U-shaped curve), influence of the oxidative environment can easily become anti-carcinogenous, promoting cell-cycle arrest, senescence, programmed cell death, or necrosis (Figure 1). Thus, it has been shown that increased oxidative pressure in the blood, if not adequately balanced by internal AOD, may limit the efficiency of melanoma cells to form distant tumors (28). These results are a textbook example of the antioxidant paradox suggesting how dietary supplementation of antioxidants may promote the metastatic potential of the cancer cells.”

Translation: a lower level of antioxidant supplementation (eg. Vit C, bioflavonoids, grapeseed extract, pycnogenol etc) promotes cancer growth, BUT high levels of those same antioxidants are anti-carcinogenous; killing cancer cells.

You can spend a couple hundred hours delving into the super complex effects and interactions of L-glutamine (and all the other amino acids) on cancer cellular processes, but for starters take a look at this “easy” diagram:

Figure 5. Glutamine/glutamate fates in cancer cells.

And take a look at the detailed explanation here and here.

But this article doesn’t say anything about eliminating L-glutamine, instead it looks at the whole pathway of interactions and domino-effects and says, “Indeed, ME1 suppression increased ROS [reactive oxygen species] accumulation and decreased tumor cell growth both in vitro and in vivo, while suppressing glutamine utilization and sensitizing cells to oxidative damage.”

So you can use gene suppression to suppress glutamine ulitization…what else might suppress glutamine utilization in cancer cells? How about epigenetics (thoughts, beliefs, stress, emotions affect gene expression)? How about trusting the body’s deep wisdom about its extreme complexity and interdependency, and just doing what your body asks?

Of course, with any new trend in health info, it doesn’t take much digging to find opposing information, like this study on rats which showed L-glutamine reduced tumor growth and restored the intestinal mucosal lining. This article brings up the valid point (viewing the body as an interconnected whole) that if you restrict your diet, your body can manufacture glutamine on its own anyway.

If you don’t know how to connect with, or listen to your body’s wisdom, I encourage you to start with this guided meditation if you have no experience with meditating or using your intuition. And if you’re already walking that pathway of deeper relationship, then use this guided meditation to go deeper.

Do you even have cancer?

The really crazy thing that happens with statements like, “cancer cells feed off L-glutamine” is that people without cancer hear that and think, “Omg I’d better stop taking L-glutamine because I’ll get cancer!”

So you have IBD and you’re already malnourished from a super-restrictive diet, and now you think you have to cut out most protein sources to avoid L-glutamine? Or you’re using L-glutamine on an empty stomach to firm up your stool; so instead of having 20 bowel movements per day, you’re having 3 – and you stop taking it just in case you get cancer?

Keep in mind that several studies have also suggested that avoiding serine and glycine, or phenylalanine and tyrosine can also inhibit tumor growth in animal models. Now what are you going to do? Especially those of you who don’t even have cancer.

Let’s say the tumor growth process involves 10 different substances (that we know of at this moment) does that mean that healing or avoiding all possibility of cancer means you should avoid ingesting all those substances and survive on select veggies, fish oil, and spring water? Keeping in mind that we live in this chemical soup of a world where we wear, breathe, drink and absorb carcinogens all day long. We carry around Class 2 carcinogenic devices and blast those radiation waves through our homes 24/7. I can feel my immune system lowering even as I write this.

In my experience, there is nothing that will knock out your immune system faster than stress – no food, chemical or toxin will have more damaging effects than stress in the form of fear and/or despair.

So many people spend so much time and energy searching for the latest health information – just in case they might miss something that’s harmful – that their focus is in the wrong place. The Dalai Lama said that you can eat any food you want, as long as you eat it with love. He’s talking about real, agape, unconditional, compassion-for-myself-and-the-world type love.

Health scares will come and go…

How much time in each day do you spend DOING things that produce health? Exercise in fresh air, getting your hands into healthy soil (microbiome), swimming in lakes, rivers, or oceans.

How about cuddling with pets or people, setting healthy boundaries around your time and energy, meditating, yoga, and tai chi?

Instead of talking about this supplement or that supplement, let’s talk about growing your own food in healthy soil full of compost and worms (microbiome again), taking the time to go for a walk with someone, rather than just texting them, finding 3 things each day you think are good/cool/blessed.

Do you have hobbies, activities or create art each day that brings you into JOY? Do you do something that you love so much you enter flow state (where time disappears)? If not, then start there… find that thing! Health begins today!

How much time do you spend researching health issues versus developing your own intuition? Developing and building your ability to listen to your body, listen to your gut… receiving information and dialoguing with your body’s deep wisdom is probably the most health-protective thing you could do.

How much time do you spend each day using an integrated mind/body/spirit healing therapy (like Lazer Tapping) to heal those deeply-rooted childhood woundings and traumas you carry around; locked into your tissues and cells?

As you read this, are you even inside your body? Or have you dissociated… if you don’t know, then you’ve at least partially dissociated, due to pain or trauma.

I encourage you to focus your time – both mentally and physically – on all the elements listed above that we know are hugely protective against cancer. These same things are front-line protection for any health imbalance, and the key to healing any current imbalances. You get to choose where you focus your time and energy. Choose freedom.