The link between oxygen and cancer is clear. In fact, an underlying cause of cancer is low cellular oxygenation levels.
In newly formed cells, low levels of oxygen damage respiration enzymes so that the cells cannot produce energy using oxygen. These cells can then turn cancerous.
In 1931 Dr. Warburg won his first Nobel Prize for proving cancer is caused by a lack of oxygen respiration in cells. He stated in an article titled “The Prime Cause and Prevention of Cancer… the cause of cancer is no longer a mystery, we know it occurs whenever any cell is denied 60% of its oxygen requirements…”
“Cancer, above all other diseases, has countless secondary causes. But, even for cancer, there is only one primary cause. Summarized in a few words, the prime cause of cancer is the replacement of the respiration of oxygen in normal body cells by a fermentation of sugar. All normal body cells meet their energy needs by respiration of oxygen, whereas cancer cells meet their energy needs in great part by fermentation. All normal body cells are thus obligate aerobes, whereas all cancer cells are partial anaerobes.”
Poor oxygenation comes from a buildup of carcinogens and other toxins within and around cells, which blocks and then damages the cellular oxygen respiration mechanism. Clumping up of red blood cells slows down the bloodstream, and restricts flow into capillaries. This also causes poor oxygenation. Even lack of the proper building blocks for cell walls, Omega 3 essential fatty acids, restricts oxygen exchange.
Warburg and other scientists found that the respiratory enzymes in cells, which make energy aerobically using oxygen, die when cellular oxygen levels drop to.
When the mitochondrial enzymes get destroyed, they’re host cell can no longer produce all its energy using oxygen. So, if the cell is to live, it must, to some degree, ferment sugar to produce energy. For a short period of time, like when running a race, this anaerobic fermentation of sugar is okay. Your legs build up lactic acid from this fermentation process and burn, and you stop running. Then your cells recover and produce energy using oxygen. However the problem comes when your cells cannot produce energy using oxygen because of this damage to the respiratory enzymes. Then they must produce energy primarily by fermentation most of the time. This is what can cause a cell to turn cancerous.
According to Warburg, cells that produce energy by fermenting sugars may turn cancerous. Warburg’s contention is this…
The cells that cannot produce energy aerobically, cannot produce enough energy to maintain their ability to function properly. So they lose their ability to do whatever they need to do in the body.
Fermentation allows these cells to survive, but they can no longer perform any functions in the body or communicate effectively with the body. Consequently, these cells can only multiply and grow. And may become cancerous. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say, they degrade into cancer cells that no longer serve your body, but live to survive…
Decades ago, two researchers at the National Cancer Institute, Dean Burn and Mark Woods, (Dean translated some of Warburg’s speeches) conducted a series of experiments where they measured the fermentation rate of cancers that grew at different speeds. What they found supported Dr. Warburg’s theory.
The cancers with the highest growth rates had the highest fermentation rates. The slower a cancer grew, the less it used fermentation to produce energy.
Naturally Warburg’s contention about oxygen and cancer was challenged and tested by other scientists.
Some researchers claimed his theory was not valid after they had measured a particularly slow growing cancer, and found no fermentation at all. And if cancer could grow with no fermentation, then fermentation, or lack of oxygen respiration, was not the cause of cancer. Dean Burn and Mark Woods checked those results.