Intermittent Fasting and Cancer - Fred Evrard

About four months after being diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal cancer, Fred Evrard was told by his smiling doctor: “Mr. Evrard, you are cancer free.” A lot had happened in just four months.

Stage 3 Colon Cancer Hit When His Body Was at Its Peak

On Sept. 10, 2020, Fred Evrard, aged 48, experienced a devastating blow in his life—he was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer, and the tumor in his body reached 10 centimeters in length.

The news came as a real surprise to Evrard, a strong athletic martial arts instructor.

Evrard has been practicing martial arts since he was a child. Over the past few decades, he has been active in various fitness activities such as boxing, parkour, tai chi, qigong, and meditation, in addition to teaching martial arts classes. His body was in prime shape when he was diagnosed, weighing 70 kg (154 lbs) with only nine percent body fat.

His lifestyle and diet were also extremely healthy in the eyes of ordinary people. Evrard has been a vegetarian for many years—he only eats natural and organic food and never consumes junk food. In addition, he rotates various diet plans all year round, such as ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting, paleo diet, etc. He does not smoke or drink and lives a disciplined life. He goes to bed between nine and ten at night and wakes up between five and six in the morning.

intermittent fasting

However, Evrard inherited the colon cancer gene, and both his father and grandfather died of colon cancer. He once thought that his lifestyle was so healthy that he could fight against the influence of unfavorable genetics.

Nevertheless, it was not all for nothing. Evrard’s healthy lifestyle and eating habits have indeed supported his body. In his book “How My Immune System Beat Cancer,” he wrote, “doctors told me that without my clean and organic diet of the past 20 years and my strong athletic body, I would probably have been dead already. My lifestyle stopped the cancer from spreading.”

Evrard believes that “stress was probably the trigger” for the cancer outbreak despite having an extremely healthy lifestyle and diet. Evrard traveled all year round to teach martial arts and attend events around the world and the process of obtaining a green card in the U.S. is long, difficult, and expensive. Also, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all of his international martial arts schools had to cease operation, and various other of his businesses were also suspended, resulting in a sudden loss of income.

With so much weighing on his shoulders, his body eventually collapsed.

Evrard was overwhelmed by the fact that his colorectal cancer had reached stage 3. He said he was “frozen” and lay dead in bed for three days without eating or drinking. At the same time, his pain was “multiplied a hundredfold” by the tumor that was oppressing the nerve and the tremendous psychological pressure brought about by the diagnosis. He said that on a scale of zero to 10, the constant pain he experienced was at 9.9.

Fight Plan: Fasting and Ketogenic Diet

Three days later, Evrard, who was born a fighter, chose to get back on his feet, and set three beliefs for himself:

  • First, I’m going to survive this.
  • Second, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
  • Third, let food be thy medicine. (Hippocrates)

He eagerly searched and read everything he could find about cancer, natural treatments, fasting, and various diets and found that there are numerous cases of successful reversal and treatment of cancer through fasting.

After reading the materials, Evrard began to discover and agree with the theory that cancer is a metabolic disease and decided to treat his cancer with fasting. The theory suggests that when mitochondria in the cells are damaged and switch to an anaerobic metabolic mode it eventually leads to cancer. In other words, carcinogenesis is the result of damaged mitochondria, not the cause of cancer. Cancer cells do not need to break down oxygen for respiration—they survive and grow uncontrollably by anaerobically breaking down glucose and glutamine (an amino acid). Correspondingly, fasting can cut off the food of cancer cells, and they will starve to death without glucose and glutamine.

In addition, Evrard learned that the body will start a cleansing and autophagy process during fasting, which can maximize the removal of toxic and harmful substances from the body.

In an exclusive interview with The Epoch Times, Evrard said that when he learned that cancer is a metabolic disease, he also realized that it is a disease mainly caused by lifestyle and toxins. Therefore, his first thought was to “reduce toxins in the body and try to remove them.”

However, the more he looked into it, the more he realized that “there is a huge gap between scientific and biological research and the field of medicine.”

When he consulted with his oncologists about the possibility of using fasting and the ketogenic diet to treat cancer, the doctors were either unconvinced or unwilling to discuss them. Instead, they told him that he needed immediate treatment by conventional means: 24 sessions of chemotherapy treatment, followed by several months of radiation therapy, and the final step of surgery. The end of his colon would be removed along with his anus, and he would not be able to control his bowel movements and would have a bag hanging outside his body for the rest of his life. Evrard did not want to accept such treatment.

The decision to fight cancer with fasting put Evrard under tremendous pressure because most cancer patients tend to accept the traditional cancer treatment methods provided by the hospital. His emotions often fluctuated during this process, but he stuck to his decision.

So, Evrard embarked on a 21-day fast, during which he drank only plain water and some wheatgrass juice once a week. His strong desire to survive kept him going.

A miracle was shown on the MRI image after 21 days of fasting—the length of the tumor on his colon shrank from 10 cm to 6 cm, and its diameter also shrank significantly. That’s when Evrard knew he was “on the right path.”

After the fast, he adopted a ketogenic diet, or more precisely, a carnivore diet. This was because he couldn’t eat anything with fiber due to severe intestinal inflammation. In addition, any food with processed ingredients also caused pain in his body—he couldn’t even eat chicken or pork. He found that the only food he could eat without feeling miserable was 100 percent grass-fed beef. Rib-eye steak, in particular, had the perfect balance of protein and fat for him.

During that period, he adopted intermittent fasting and ate only one meal a day. Just like that, he ate rib-eye steaks for months on end. Recognizing the nutritional benefits of vegetables, he later added cold-pressed vegetable juices that had been stripped of fiber to his diet.

Fasting Combined With Chemotherapy Was Miraculous

The pain caused by the cancer tumor continued to be unbearable for Evrard, and none of the pain relief methods worked. It was so painful that he curled up on the ground and cried, even hitting his head against the wall. In the end, Evrard decided to follow his doctor’s advice and undergo a six-session chemotherapy regimen.

Evrard had read some research and data on how fasting could ease chemotherapy. Therefore, he decided to fast the day before and after each chemotherapy session, and three days during the session, that is, a total of five days. The results were excellent, and he experienced minimal chemotherapy side effects such as nausea and fatigue.

During the second chemotherapy session, Evrard did not fast completely. He tried to eat some food the day before chemotherapy, and he fell ill immediately during the session. He was so ill that he vomited repeatedly and even developed a bowel obstruction. He said in his book that “he was sick like a dog.”

Evrard then fasted again for his third chemotherapy session. This time, he completed the session without experiencing any side effects: no hair loss, nausea, vomiting, headache, or dizziness. The immune indicators in his blood were also normal, which surprised the nurses.

Studies found that intermittent fasting can be helpful for people who are undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

After his three chemo sessions, he continued to implement the ketogenic diet, and gradually added physical training, such as tai chi, boxing, and high-intensity interval training(HIIT), in December of the same year.

During the holiday week of Christmas and New Year in 2020, Evrard’s mother visited and his body no longer felt bad, so he resumed his normal diet for a week, eating all kinds of desserts and delicious food.

Beginning again on Jan. 2, he embarked on a second round of fasting as he was worried about his upcoming MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) examination. However, this time he did not fast for 21 consecutive days like in the first round. Instead, he completed the second round of fasting with a five-day fast and a two-day ketogenic diet on weekends. Furthermore, his weekend ketogenic diet consisted of only one meal.

On Jan. 10, 2021, he underwent another MRI and blood test, leading to back the opening of this article—the doctor announced that he was officially cancer-free, and the cancer cells in his body disappeared.

Combining Multiple Approaches

In addition to starving cancer cells to death with fasting and a ketogenic diet, Evrard, as a martial arts practitioner who understands the essence of fighting, adopted multiple approaches at the same time to fight cancer. Apart from these anti-cancer approaches, it was his strong willpower and positive beliefs that kept him going.

As Evrard regained his strength, he began exercising to boost his immunity against cancer. For the first two months after his diagnosis, he was too weak to perform any exercise. Two months later, he began to practice tai chi for 10 minutes a day to slowly recover his strength. He also pointed out in his book that tai chi as a fitness exercise is very suitable for cancer patients due to its simple and slow movements. Since then, he got back to high-intensity training, such as boxing and HIIT. On top of that, he insisted on exercising on an empty stomach to maximize the effectiveness of the body’s cleansing and autophagy mode.

Evrard values the benefits of meditation for the mind and body and read a lot of sources pointing to the positive effect of meditation on fighting cancer. He stresses that meditation has no risks or side effects, and has helped him boost his energy, and reduce stress and fear—factors that often hasten death in cancer patients. Meditation has many other benefits, such as relieving chronic pain, improving sleep quality, reducing fatigue, and improving cognitive function.

Evrard also jumped on a mini-trampoline to help the lymphatic system flush out toxins from the body. Unlike the heart, which pumps blood around the body, the lymphatic system relies entirely on the movement of muscles and joints to complete circulation. Jumping on the trampoline can help the lymph flow back to the lymph nodes, thereby successfully completing the filtration and detoxification, and boosting the body’s immunity. Trampoline exercise brings ample oxygen to the body, thus changing the hypoxic environment preferred by cancer cells. At the same time, trampoline exercise can also increase the number and activity of white blood cells in the blood, which can help eliminate cancer cells.

In addition, Evrard also used therapeutic hypothermia to mobilize the body’s immune function to fight cancer. He exposes his body to low temperatures for a short period of time by taking cold water baths and waterfall baths, meditating in the snow, walking his dog wearing minimal clothes in cold weather, etc. He has also read in the literature reviews that therapeutic hypothermia can help cancer patients reduce inflammation in the body.

In addition to these physical activities and practices, Evrard is also focused on healing his mind. He sees a psychologist regularly and keeps strengthening his positive belief. In his daily meditation, he uses the prayer: “I am thankful for my full and final healing. I am healed and healthy.” “Faith is an essential part of my journey,” he wrote in his book. He also strives to practice the law of attraction in his spiritual journey. The law of attraction believes that positive or negative thoughts can lead to positive or negative experiences in one’s life.

Last but not least, there is also love from relatives and friends that supported Evrard along the way. He said that his wife, mother, close friends, and even his dog have brought him endless warmth and comfort, and they are the most important support in his healing process.

A Typical Day for Evrard in His Battle With Cancer

Evrard shared his typical daily schedule and various recipes he used while fighting cancer in his book “How My Immune System Beat Cancer.” Here are a few:

  • 06:00: Wake up and stay on intermittent fasting until 14:00.

About 20 minutes of cold exposure training.

  • 07:00: Meditation, deep breathing, tai chi.
  • 09:00: HITT training three or four times a week, three minutes of mini trampoline exercise every day.
  • 10:00: Cold exposure training—waterfall bath three times a week. Cold shower for the rest of the week.

See psychologist once a week.

Full body massage every two weeks.

  • 12:00: Physical training (45 minutes each session, four times a week).
  • 14:00: Drink vegetable juices and take supplements (Vitamin D3, vitamin C, curcumin, zinc, and fish oil)
  • 15:00: Drink a cup of wheatgrass juice with matcha.
  • 16:00: Ketogenic meal (typically fried rib-eye steak with olive oil and garlic), and take supplements (Vitamin D3, vitamin C, curcumin, digestive enzymes, etc.)
  • 16:30: Drink matcha and take melatonin.

Start intermittent fasting until 14:00 the next day.

  • 21:30: Go to bed.

As Evrard’s family physician, Dr. Charles Gibert was actively involved in his treatment. Having witnessed the whole story, he wrote the foreword to “How My Immune System Beat Cancer.”

“We live in a time of ‘one problem, one pill’ and Fred’s adventure is an incredible testimony that things could be different. We need to truly understand what cancer is telling us. Those people begin to dream that what has been tied up in a tumor can be untied with a natural cure. And they are right! One of those people is my friend, Fred Evrard, and he did it.”

How Does Intermittent Fasting Fight Cancer?

Since the early 1900s, scientists have noticed the positive effects of diet control on the health of organisms. Research at the time had already shown that diet control can slow or even stop tumor growth in laboratory mice, as well as delay cancer recurrence. Scientists have conducted hundreds of studies on different types of organisms, including yeast, nematodes, fruit flies, mice, rhesus monkeys, and so forth. After animal trials, small-scale human experiments were carried out. Preliminary studies suggest that prolonged fasting is safe for certain cancer patients and may reduce chemotherapy-related toxicity and inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors.

1. The Anticarcinogenic Actions of Fasting

Fasting and a ketogenic diet can put a person into a state of ketone body metabolism. Cancer cells can only survive by metabolizing glucose and glutamine, and they can’t metabolize ketone bodies. Therefore, such regimens are equivalent to cutting off the food ration of cancer cells.

Fasting and caloric restriction can reduce the production of growth factors, inflammatory cytokines, and anabolic hormones. That prompts corresponding changes in the body’s metabolism and hormone levels, such as decreased insulin secretion, increased insulin sensitivity, and decreased testosterone and estrogen secretion.

Fasting and restricting calories can also reduce oxidative stress even as they enhance antioxidant effects, reduce free-radical-induced DNA damage, and activate various DNA repair processes. Experiments on cells have also demonstrated that fasting and restricting calories can enhance autophagy, a process in which the body recycles cellular “garbage” and removes damaged cell parts. Fasting can also inhibit cell proliferation and slow down cellular aging.

These well-studied mechanisms may help the body fight cancer—as many studies suggest.

An animal study at the University of Wisconsin showed that monkeys that ate 30 percent fewer calories had a 50 percent reduction in the incidence of sporadic cancer (the most common of which is gastrointestinal adenocarcinoma) compared to monkeys on an unrestricted diet.

study conducted by Johns Hopkins University (2020) with a median follow-up of 11 years found that intensive lifestyle intervention (reduced caloric intake and increased physical activity) can reduce the risk of obesity-related cancers (including esophageal cancer, colon cancer, rectal cancer, kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer, liver cancer, gallbladder cancer, thyroid cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, postmenopausal breast cancer, and multiple myeloma) by 16 percent. The researchers believe that this is due to the lifestyle intervention that led to the weight loss of the subjects.

joint study conducted by scientists in the United States and France found that a fasting diet combined with vitamin C can treat certain types of cancer more effectively.

2. Fasting Can Enhance Chemotherapy, Reduce Side Effects

Clinical research on fasting in cancer patients is still in its infancy. However, growing evidence shows that short-term fasting can reduce the toxicity of chemotherapy while enhancing the efficacy of chemotherapeutic agents, thereby improving the quality of life of cancer patients. This is because fasting increases the stress resistance of healthy cells, while tumor cells become more sensitive to chemotherapeutic agents due to a shortage of nutrients.

Animal experiments have shown that fasting combined with chemotherapy has the best anti-cancer effect. (The Epoch Times)

Animal experiments have shown that the inhibitory effect of fasting on tumors is comparable to that of chemotherapy; the combination of fasting and chemotherapy achieved the best anticancer effect and the most significant reduction in tumor volume. Moreover, such an approach produced the highest level of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes. The experiments demonstrated that fasting also stimulated the production of common lymphoid progenitor cells.

A small-scale clinical trial showed that short-term fasting reduces hematological toxicity in breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy compared to the control group. The red blood cell and platelet counts increased significantly after chemotherapy, while the markers reflecting DNA damage increased relatively little, indicating that fasting may reduce the DNA damage caused by chemotherapy and promote its recovery.

A study involving 20 patients with various tumor types (mainly breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and uterine cancer) showed that compared with patients who fasted for 24 hours before chemotherapy, patients who fasted for longer periods (48 hours and 72 hours) had reduced rates of neutropenia and neuropathy, in addition to fewer increases in markers of DNA damage.

Another trial involving more than 30 gynecologic cancer patients showed chemotherapy patients who fasted experienced fewer headaches, weakness, and stomatitis. They also had significantly lower chemotherapy toxicity scores and fewer chemotherapy postponements. Additionally, patients who fasted had improved quality of life and reduced fatigue after chemotherapy compared to those on a normal-calorie diet.

To Fast or Not to Fast Dilemma

Dr Joseph Mercola used to intermittently fast and eat a ketogenic diet until he discovered the work of the late Ray Peat, which convinced him the high-fat/low-carb science had it all backward. When you don't have enough glucose to fuel the mitochondria, when you deplete your glycogen level, then stress hormones — adrenaline and cortisol — are released to trigger endogenous production of glycogen.

Those stress hormones are pathologic, and if they’re continuously released at high levels to compensate for insufficient glucose, it will accelerate disease and premature death. There's no question that these stress hormones are bad news. Cortisol, for example, drains the amino acids, the protein, from your tissues, thereby decreasing bone density and muscle mass, which is bad news.

So, to rephrase, a key part of the answer to this to-fast-or-not-to-fast dilemma is that your liver stores glycogen, and if you have sufficient glycogen stores, you can easily intermittently fast for 16 hours and not activate your stress response hormones like glucagon, cortisol and adrenaline. 

If you go for a lot longer, certainly after two or three days, then your glycogen stores will be completely depleted and your stress hormones will be activated, because that’s the only route left to remain alive. The stress hormones will prevent your glucose level from dropping too low, as that could cause you to go into a coma and eventually die. 

The problem is that 30% of adults in the U.S. have non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which impairs your body's ability to produce glucose through gluconeogenesis. You also can’t store as much. If your liver function is impaired, you will not be able to store as much glycogen in your liver. Then you have to be more careful about not letting your glucose level drop for too long, because then the stress response will kick in as there is less reserve glucose in your liver.



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