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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

A Modern Metabolic Interpretation of Cancer: Dr. Mel Schottenstein of An Oasis of Healing discusses how this helps with one's treatment plan.

Jul 28, 2017 10:01AM ● By Dr. Mel Schottenstein

In popular media and dominating scientific research, cancer is considered a genetic disease stemming from notable damage to an individual’s cellular DNA. In his book, Cancer as a Metabolic Disease, Professor of Biology at Boston College Thomas Seyfried explains that genetic mutations theorized to cause cancer are instead believed to result from a disturbance in cellular metabolism resulting from damage to our energy-producing cellular organelles known as mitochondria.

Contrary to a machine that obtains its energy from being plugged into a power grid, humans use mitochondria to produce energy that maintains cellular function, and on a larger scale, physiological processes. These potent little powerhouses produce enough energy for the body to power a 70-watt light bulb via aerobic (oxygenated) or anaerobic (non-oxygenated) metabolism. Without mitochrondria, our bodies would cease to function. 

In cancer cells, damage is believed to occur during the last step of cellular respiration known as oxidative phosphorylation. In this stage, energy molecules known as ATP are produced. Unable to complete the last stage of cellular respiration, cancer cells rely on anaerobic respiration, or fermentation. Much like the production of wine, beer and cheese, these cells do not need oxygen for energy production, only glucose. This very limitation can be exploited to treat individuals with cancer.

Understanding the metabolic source for cancer versus chasing an endless rabbit hole of genetic mutations, we can employ a very different treatment plan. Patients can become empowered with the knowledge that they can starve cancer metabolically via dietary modifications, target cancer cells with a variety of oxygenating therapies and reduce external exposure and toxic emotions that promote disease. 

Dr. Mel SchottensteinDr. Mel Schottenstein has studied at Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania and Bastyr University, devoting her studies to holistic ways of improving mitochondrial health and functionality. She recently joined An Oasis of Healing, an integrative oncology healing center, in Mesa. For more information, visit

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