Ep.18: Brain Cancer, Epilepsy with Andrew Scarborough


Ep.18: Brain Cancer, Epilepsy with Andrew Scarborough

00:00 / 01:16:38
What isn't speculative is the resolution of these horrific symptoms that I'd suffered.


Andrew Scarborough

Episode Notes:

[1:45] Andrew provides his health history. He was diagnosed with an anaplastic astrocytoma after suffering a brain hemorrhage on a train in 2013. (It is 2020 at recording time).

[3:00] Leading in to the brain hemorrhage, he had been feeling symptoms, including migraines. He had been stressed so he chalked the migraines and other symptoms up to the stress.

[5:00] On top of the migraines, Andrew was also suffering from focal seizures, runny noses, and muscular fatigue.

[6:00] What diet had Andrew been eating before (which he thought were perfect to manage his strange symtpoms)? He was eating a “rainbow”, “Mediterranean”, “plant-based” diet with some occasional oily fish.

[7:30] Andrew was in good athletic shape (low body fat, lots of lean tissue) prior to his brain hemorrhage.

[9:30] Leading up to the incident on the train, Andrew had been suffering from some of the aforementioned symptoms for about a year. They had gotten so bad that he could barely cope a couple months before the hemorrhage.

[10:20] Initially his tumor was misdiagnosed as a cavernous hemangioma.

[11:10] Andrew was told that they were going to take out the cavernous hemangioma (that’s what they thought it was at the time). Andrew was suffering from seizures which were causing brain damage and also it was leading to other injuries such as a shoulder dislocation.

[12:10] They were not able to remove the entire tumor and the resulting histopathology report showed that it was not truly a cavernous hemangioma; it was an anaplastic astrocytoma.

[13:35] Andrew adopted a ketogenic diet to manage the debilitating seizures he kept having, which were keeping him from being able to even leave the house. Also, he was on medications which were making him feel like a zombie.

[14:30] Andrew had learned about ketogenic diets in 2012 (just before his diagnosis) while studying for his Master’s Degree in Nutritional Therapy. Ketogenic diets have been in use for children’s epilepsy for about 100 years. Andrew was skeptical it could help him beyond seizure control but he bought the book Cancer as a Metabolic Disease anyway.

[15:50] Andrew found out that some traditional ketogenic foods were still causing seizures for him.

[18:30] Andrew also leveraged the work of the UK group Matthew’s Friends, which promote ketogenic diets (especially for epileptic children).

[20:00] Andrew noticed he had issues with dairy and with a lot of plant foods, especially ones containing salicylates. He ended up cutting out all carbohydrates.

[21:50] Andrew focused on eating nutrient-dense animal foods (carnivore diet) and on improving his fatty acid ratio (lower Omega-6, increase Omega-3).

[23:50] Through his nutrient-dense animal-food diet, Andrew was able to establish a therapeutic zone of blood ketones and blood sugar and completely manage his seizures. Eventually he was able to come off all medications.

[26:00] Andrew also found boswellic acid to be an effective supplement to reduce seizure activity. Likewise, frankincense essential oil under the tongue helped Andrew rapidly mitigate low-level seizure activity when a seizure came on. He also found that magnesium chloride spray was able to help.

[30:30] What was the timeline like for Andrew’s health improvements take?

[31:50] Andrew talks a bit about gadolinium contrast agents for his cancer scans (for visualizing tumors in the body). He describes that gadolinium may be more toxic than conventionally accepted.

[32:40] Over time, Andrew noticed that the tumor activity and/or brain brain damage was getting better over time (in about a year). And his doctors had told him that would not happen. And over time he was able to include more foods back into his ketogenic diet (including some plant foods). His strokelike symptoms and photosensitivity got markedly better.

[34:30] Andrew felt better within a year. And each year, he keeps feeling better than the year before. “At the moment I feel like I’m in my very best health.”

[35:10] Andrew can now control his symptoms without being on a strict carnivorous 4:1 fat-to-protein-and-carbohydrate ratio diet.

[37:10] What was Andrew’s initial prognosis? At first they misdiagnosed his tumor as a cavernous hemangioma so they weren’t worried about the tumor; instead his medical providers were worried about the seizures he was having consistently.

[39:35] Andrew’s brain tumor was the size of a golf ball.

[40:50] Andrew lost speech ability and movement ability on the right side of his face for a while. However, he has regained both speech and movement!

[42:30] “What isn’t speculative is the resolution of these horrific symptoms that I’d suffered.” “I realized over time how powerful the things that I’ve implemented have been because if I diverge from my approach to managing the epilepsy even a little bit, I experience seizures again. So I just carry on doing what I’m doing and I don’t experience anything.”

[43:50] How has Andrew’s doctor responded?

[44:45] After changing hospitals, Andrew became his new doctor’s “human guinea pig”. (Note: Andrew now hosts a podcast named The Human Guinea Pig Project.)

[48:55] What have the challenges been on Andrew’s journey to health?

[51:00] Does Andrew have any recommended resources for people interested in learning more about his approach to healing from cancer? He recommends the book Cancer as a Metabolic Disease, the Charlie Foundation, Matthew’s Friends, Dominic D’Agostino on Twitter, Thomas Seyfried, and Brent Wagner (who researches gadolinium toxicity). Also, Andrew has his own podcast: The Human Guinea Pig Project.

[52:10] Andrew discusses how gadolinium is a highly toxic metal often used in cancer scans as a contrast agent. This could be making the cancer worse. This is not well enough known and conventional practitioners downplay any risk, but Andrew knows there are real risks with it. Andrew is even writing a book on this subject; he hopes to have it finished by the end of 2020.

[58:50] Does Andrew consider himself cured of his conditions?

[59:40] Andrew has relaxed his diet (still keto); he eats more plants now. He still suffers symptoms if he eats too many carbohydrates. But even after adding some plants back in, he can keep his blood glucose low and ketones in a therapeutic range. Andrew also finds great benefit in long morning walks; he often even gets a euphoric feeling during these fasted morning walks.

[1:03:05] Andrew also tried some hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

[1:08:15] Andrew has a blog: My brain cancer story. Specifically, the blog post discussing “air break” technique is: https://mybraincancerstory.blogspot.com/2016/02/epilepsy-and-hyperbaric-oxygen-therapy.html

[1:10:20] Now that he has improved his health, what’s one thing Andrew enjoys doing that he couldn’t do before?


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