Football is America’s most popular spectator sport. We get irrationally passionate about this game. Football has plenty of competing sports vying for our attention, yet it wins. Why? Is it strategy? No doubt there is a lot of strategy in the game, but that is true of many team sports. Is it something that the average American can relate to personally? Many of us may have played football occasionally, but basketball, baseball, and soccer all have as least as much, if not more, personal participation. What makes football stand apart?
Football is played in all climate conditions. Some other sports are outside, but football is played in all extremes. The NFL plays in rain, sun, warm, cold, and even icy conditions. The climate is a huge wild card factor. Icy conditions or high wind can make the passing game very challenging and unpredictable, and rain or snow can mess with the running game. Two teams, equally matched normally, may be quite unequally matched if prevailing conditions are not as familiar for one team. The teams all train for any condition, but some teams, perhaps those homed in a tougher climate, shine under the harshest conditions. The drama from unpredictability due to field conditions may be the biggest reason for the special appeal of football.
In any aspect of nature, we see that climate favors certain forms of life over others. The polar bear and the penguin thrive in frozen conditions that most animals cannot tolerate well. Certain plants and animals handle hot desert conditions where most would perish. Changing the climate, the environment in which these creatures are living routinely, will change what lives there.
This is true all the way down to the smallest forms of life. Cells in your body respond to their environment, especially when that environment is maintained over a long period of time. That makes them adaptable. When their climate changes, they will try to optimize their behavior to better handle the change. In harsh conditions, a simple change may not be enough, however, and requires a major rewiring of the cell to be a different type of player in the game. Cancer is such a major shift, where the cell changes its nature to such an extent that it is clearly different than normal cells. Cancer is suited to thrive in harsh conditions where other cell types are not. They will seek out that advantage, even attempting to create it so that they can maintain their advantage over other cells. They are very competitive players.
I can’t breathe! OH- no problem
Normally our cells run on oxygen. Take away oxygen and our cells die — they aren’t meant for low oxygen conditions. The most susceptible are brain cells, which die in mere minutes after oxygen is cut off. Cells require oxygen because their metabolic pathways through which they derive the energy to live are designed to use oxygen. Normal cell function is aerobic meaning uses oxygen. But anaerobic pathways also exist. During heavy exercise, muscles exceed the energy available through aerobic pathways, and rely on a temporary and unsustainable anaerobic option, which they can sustain for only a few minutes.
Cancer, however, is able to sustain its anaerobic metabolism. In low oxygen environments, this makes it superior to normal cells, at least in terms of survival. Cancer even opts for a low-oxygen metabolism in the presence of plenty of oxygen. When it forms a tumor, it builds a low oxygen environment to maintain its advantage.
The anaerobic process produces lactic acid, and this also means a tumor is very acidic. Acidity just means that hydrogen ions (H+) are in abundance, rather than hydroxide ions (OH-). The acidity is no more a problem for the cancer cells than is the low oxygen. Normal glucose metabolism performs poorly in a high acid environment though, so once again cancer is more suited to this environment than normal cells. Cancer is a great answer to survival in a low oxygen and high acid environment, except for one problem: cancer stops cooperating with the body and plays by its own rules. The cancer cells thrive, until the body can no longer support them, because they can’t support themselves.
The circle of life
Cells get the energy that they need to live and reproduce from a complex biochemical process known as the Citric Acid Cycle, previously called the Krebs Cycle and sometimes called the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, which is performed by the mitochondria power plant inside each cell. The cycle produces ATP (adenosine triphosphate), consisting of a nitrogen base (adenine), a sugar (ribose), and a chain of three phosphate groups. The bonds of the phosphates, which are phosphorus atoms surrounded by oxygen atoms, release energy when broken. So ATP moves to where energy is needed, then enzymes break the bonds, releasing energy. This release reduces the energy potential of the resultant molecules, and this is replaced when the ATP is reconstructed in the Citric Acid Cycle. This is like charging a battery, putting the battery in a device to use it, then putting the battery back in a charger for its next use. This is an extremely versatile cycle, which can be used with sugars, fats, and proteins to produce energy: being a complex cycle, elements can enter or exit the cycle at a few different points, which is why it can be used as a universal energy-producing process.
A version of the Citric Acid Cycle can also avoid using oxygen — another aspect of its versatility. Normally, through the process known as glycolysis, sugar is converted to the acetyl-CoA used at the first step of the cycle. This requires the use of two ATP molecules, but as the sugar is broken down from a 6 carbon sugar molecule into two 3 carbon sugar molecules, four ATP are created. The 3 carbon sugars are known as pyruvate molecules. But continuing the normal cycle requires oxygen to utilize the pyruvate. Instead, the pyruvate can be turned into lactic acid.
Lactic acid does not get used in the Citric Acid Cycle, but glycolysis has already generated a surplus of ATP. Still, the final output of the normal cycle is 12 ATP, so anaerobic metabolism is less efficient. In muscles, the lactic acid is transported to the liver, where it is reconstituted into glucose. The buildup of lactic acid interferes with the normal glucose metabolism, so the body takes it away and recycles it. Since the production of lactic acid has already released some energy, the liver has to add energy back to create the glucose, so this process requires that the liver has energy to do its job. This process is called gluconeogenesis, and requires 6 ATP to make the glucose, which is now available to be used in the normal Citric Acid Cycle.
But lactic acid can be burned directly to create energy. Understanding this revolutionized sports training. Before, the assumption was that lactic acid buildup is bad and, in excess, could damage muscle tissue. Now, athletes are coached to exercise into lactic acid buildup in short spurts. This, they found, builds the number of mitochondria and expands the anaerobic pathway, so that the muscles could work longer in the anaerobic zone in the future.
Two lactic acid molecules contain the same atoms as one glucose molecule. The lactic acid has more hydrogen atoms though (which is why it’s acidic), but otherwise a lactic acid is essentially half a glucose molecule, containing energy in bonds that can be released when broken. Oxygen is contained within the molecules, but no further oxygen is needed to release the energy, which is why it is an anaerobic fuel source. The extra hydrogen atoms it contains must be disposed of when utilizing lactic acid as fuel, but it is a good, simple fuel source biochemically. In fact, being essentially a half glucose, it is an easy, simpler fuel source. Primitive organisms utilize it as fuel, and by preferring it, cancer is choosing a quick, easy path to get energy. When lactic acid donates the extra proton it has from the hydrogen atom, it becomes lactate. But to simplify the discussion, lactic acid and lactate are essentially treated the same in explaining the fuel production process. An important additional use of lactate is as a signaling molecule throughout the body.
This process is explained in an article published in Cell Metabolism, where researchers from the Department of Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago explain the events leading up to the recognition of lactate as a cellular fuel source, and studies that show cancer utilizing it directly as fuel, rather than reconstituting it into glucose first. For some time, it was believed that lactic acid was merely a waste product and that cancer might be utilizing it as a defense against normal cell metabolism, but research has shown that the lactate is directly being utilized by the cancer cell mitochondria.
So lactate can be used by mitochondria via a different metabolic pathway that could be considered as being more “primitive” than normal glucose metabolism. This pathway can be expanded when needed to become a more substantial pathway, as seen with athletic training studies. This is good for muscle endurance, although only temporarily, but cancer can turn it into a sustainable, ongoing pathway. This gives cancer a clear advantage in low oxygen environments.
If that were the only problem that low oxygen produced, it wouldn’t be enough for cancer to win. There is a greater problem…
Dedifferentiation — the last straw leading to cancer stem cell formation
Muscle cells can enter periods of hypoxia without becoming cancerous. Low oxygen environments are a stress on cells, but the body, thanks to the liver, can deal with the problem and make it temporary. Unfortunately, maintained hypoxia also leads to the rise of cancer stem cells. This is what makes cancer so resilient. Killing regular cancer cells is not much of a challenge, but cancer stem cells (CSCs) are like seeds, fully capable of producing plenty of new cancer cells when conditions are right. Once doubted even to exist, CSCs are now understood to be the real adversary in dealing with cancer.
Stem cells “differentiate” into different types of specific cells that make up the various tissues in the body. These stem cell “seeds” are the start of a new life; rapidly, through steps of making intermediate cell types that are less “stem-like”, creating the various cells specialized cells of the body. However, these steps can go in reverse: cells can dedifferentiate, becoming more stem-like, and they can become CSCs, having the same hardy qualities as normal stem cells but now only able to differentiate into cancer cells.
The body isn’t designed to dedifferentiate cells. It has a supply of stem cells that it uses when needed, and doesn’t create them from tissue cells. Cancer hijacks the process though for its own purposes. The exact process through which it does this is very hard to observe, but many studies have shown it happening. Even though we can observe cells directly, we cannot watch each biochemical reaction happening inside the cell in real time. So we are still constricted to understanding cancer development by indirect observation.
One study showing the dedifferentiation of cells into CSCs is published in the Journal of Cancer(2), where researchers from the Department of Neurosurgery, Chongqing General Hospital, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chongqing, China examined this process through intermediate steps. Their experiments studied glioma cells, found in the brain and spinal cord, which dedifferentiated into CSCs through intermediate steps. First, HIF1? and HIF2? molecules were produced under low oxygen conditions. HIF is “Hypoxia-Inducible Factor”, referring to a DNA-binding complex of proteins which bind to a specific portion of a DNA strand. In binding to the DNA, they alter the genetic expression, and the HIF family can affect the expression of over 100 genes.
HIF1? and HIF2? in this study caused increasing Sox2 expression. Sox2 is “SRY-Box Transcription Factor 2”, which is protein coding gene involved with embryonic stem cell pluripotency, or the ability for the cell to differentiate into various cell types. The increased Sox2 led to changed genetic expression of the glioma cells, leading to dedifferentiation of the next generation. This then led to CSCs, and of course cancer tumors. So the study showed an increase in proteins which coaxed the glioma cells to produce CSCs when in low oxygen conditions.
Is this a game you want to watch?
In football, the tricky environmental conditions lead to unpredictable results in the game outcome. Are you enjoying the “game” in your body, watching to see what kind of health outcome you get with poor internal environmental conditions? Are you rooting for the cancer team, or the health team? This is not the sort of game you want to leave to chance.
You can change the game because you control your environment. Give your team the advantage. The game of life lasts a while, so make the right choices in the game if you want your team to win.
Dr. Nemec’s Review
Environment is the key in health and life. When you look at health of the whole body, you have to break it down into smaller and smaller parts. The body is made of organs, glands, and tissues. These are all made of cells. The cells are the community of the nation called the body, so everything happens at the cellular level. This is where the cells get energy — in the molecule form of either pyruvate or lactate. Lactate, when there’s no oxygen present, forms small amounts of energy; and pyruvate, when there is oxygen present, produces much more energy in the citric acid cycle, which is a biochemical cycle occurring inside of the cell in the cellular power plant called the mitochondria. This is where the base energy units are produced, called ATP. Look at ATP like electricity to run your house or like stored electrons in a battery that run your cell phone.
The CEOs with cancer are the cancer stem cells, and they can form from either normal cells or normal stem cells. When you keep normal cells or normal stem cells in low oxygen hypoxic conditions chronically, this environment induces the transformation from normal to cancer stem cell, which is very suited to survive and thrive in low oxygen and acidic environments. The cancer stem cell is the dictator of the nation. The only problem is this dictator is selfish and self-centered and doesn’t think of the whole nation, only how it can survive. This becomes a short-term gain and a long-term loss. The short-term gain is that cancer stem cells make colonies of non-stem cancer cells, which are the bulk of all tumors in the body, so some cells can survive in this hypoxic environment; but a long-term loss because, even though these cells can survive and thrive in a hypoxic acidic condition, their survival, growth, and expansion comes at the cost of normal cells losing oxygen, nutrients and an alkaline environment to thrive in. So as cancer stem cell colonies increase, normal cell colonies die prematurely, because they cannot compete against the rapidly growing cells that are consuming all the resources for cellular reproduction. This is why, as cancer expands, it appears to deplete the body as it uses all glucose and all amino acids to grow its colonies, and by doing so completely depletes normal healthy cells of vital nutrients needed for their maintenance and growth. In advanced cancer this is called “cachexia.”
What was the cause of the cancer beginning in the first place? It was a low oxygen environment. Patients ask me all the time, “How did I get a low oxygen environment?” There’s many reasons: some of the obvious ones are not breathing properly; and absolutely,of course, not exercising enough — because exercise makes you breathe more heavily, bringing more oxygen into the body and circulating it to all the cells in the body, so exercise is the single most important cause of what we will call macroscopic oxygen source. But much more important than this oxygen source is microscopic oxygen source at the cellular level. Once you breathe oxygen, it must get into the cells. It does that by diffusing through the very small blood vessels called arterioles. And then it can pass through the interstitial spaces between the cells and absorb into the individual cells. The key here is the interstitial spaces, also called the interstitial matrix. This space between the cells, if it gets flooded with too much fluid, it will drastically cut down the oxygen transport into the cell.
How does this get flooded? When there is a lot of inflammation in the body. Remember inflammation is the root of every disease, and inflammation begins at the cellular level. You become hypoxic whenever you’re inflammatory at the cellular level. Even if you exercise a lot, you can still be severely hypoxic if you have high levels of inflammation in the spaces between the cells. This is why, for every patient that we see, we do a complete work-up of the environment that surrounds the cells, because this is the root of all disease, including cancer and the formation of cancer stem cells. If you change the environment then you change the outcome; remember, cancer stem cells only form in a hypoxic and acidic environment. This starts at the cellular level and the cause is inflammation. That’s why all of our Revolution New Medicine Protocol® has helped so many patients over the last 40 years overcome their symptoms, conditions and diseases of all types — including cancer — because we first and foremost address every possible cause of the inflammation at the cellular level. If all of these are not addressed, you do not heal completely: you only get a temporary improvement, a short term gain, which eventually turns into a long-term loss. So make your choices wisely each day of what you think on, what you eat, what you drink, what you breathe, and what you put as a priority in your life. Remember your cells are only adapting to the environment that you are making. Make the right environment in mind, emotions, and body and you will always maintain health throughout your whole life.
Disease is an imbalance in the internal environment — mentally, emotionally, and physically. If you do not address all three areas and all the causes of inflammation that each one of these areas produces, you simply do not heal and stay healed.
So many patients have come to us from other treatment protocols, saying it worked really well for a while but then everything came back with a vengeance. That means it never worked. It never got rid of all the sources of inflammation, which meant chronic hypoxia and acidosis at the cellular level.
Here are the ways we can help you in your health journey:
- Outpatient Comprehensive Teaching and Treatment Program-has the most benefit of teaching, treatment, live classes and personalized coaching. This program has the most contact with Dr. Nemec with 3- 6 month programs that can be turned into a regular checking and support program for life. This is our core program that has helped so many restore their health and maintain that restoration for years.
- Inpatient Comprehensive Teaching and Treatment Program-is our four-week intensive inpatient program for those that are not in driving distance, usually over 4 hour drive. This is the program that is an intensive jumpstart with treatment, teaching, live classes and coaching designed for all our international patients along with those in the US that do not live in Illinois. This program is very effective especially when combined with our new membership program support.
- Stay at Home Program-is offered to continental US patients who cannot come to Total Health Institute but still want a more personal, customized plan to restore their health. This program also includes our Learn Membership Program.
- Membership Program is our newest program offered for those that want to work on their health at a high level and want access to the teaching at Total Health Institute along with the Forums: both Dr. Nemec’s posts and other members posting. And also, to have the chance to get personalized questions answered on the conference calls which are all archived in case you miss the call. The Membership Program has 3 levels to choose from: Learn, Overcome and Master. The difference is at the Overcome and Master levels you received one on one calls with Dr. Nemec personalizing your program for your areas of focus.