The Budwig Diet Revision

Germany's Dr. Joanna Budwig is widely credited for discovering that 2 simple food items, cold-pressed flax seed oil and low-fat cottage cheese, will cure or prevent many forms of cancer and a long list of other degenerative diseases including cardiovascular and skin diseases. The 50-year old book can't reflect newer data. Johanna Budwig, a scientist herself, would be pleased with the Budwig Diet Revision.

Sulfur-rich protein and calcium required by the Budwig protocol is provided by cottage cheese. But many people can not take "dairy", and a closer look at cow's milk reveals it's dissimilarities to human milk. Caseins in cow milk contain a lot more alpha-casein than human or goat milk, which is the main cause of milk and dairy indigestion in humans. Beta lactoglobulins can also be problematic. 

When the milk components are removed the result is low-fat whey, most of which is an exact match for all mammals, assimilated almost without digestion, and does not produce sensitivity or allergy issues. The Physicians Desktop Reference for Prescription Drugs lists a pure whey isolate as "well-tolerated by even severely milk-sensitive individuals", and practice corroborates that. 

Bottom line - although biological incompatibilities do exist in foreign milk, comments that lump 'dairy' products together as problematic are sloppy and incorrect; the statement does not apply to high-quality whey, and it is widely acknowledged to be the most healthy fraction of milk.


So, getting out our health sciences books, the Budwig Diet revision replaces cottage cheese with undenatured whey, which is superior to cottage cheese for the purpose. It contains the sulfur-bearing amino acids methionine, cysteine, and cystine; methionine is transformed into cysteine by the liver. Cysteine availability is the rate-limiting factor in production of glutathione, the body's master antioxidant and detoxifier. Glutathione is crucial to life; it's involved in ATP energy generation, immune system support, liver and other organ support, reducing toxin load and oxidative stress, and importantly, it shrinks tumors when levels are maintained.


Cottage cheese doesn't boast those benefits, and it's only a sulfur amino acid source through its bio-incompatible casein. The Budwig Diet revision swaps out the bio-incompatible cottage cheese for cold-processed whey that is compatible across the whole mammalian order, very bioactive, and profoundly healing on its own. It adheres to the principles of the Budwig Diet perfectly and will provide huge additional benefit. And, unlike the acidifying cottage cheese casein, cold-processed whey is mildly alkalizing to the body. Moreover, several cold-processed wheys are listed in the US Physician's Desktop Reference a specific anti-cachexia (anti-wasting) formula in cancer therapy.


The flaxseed oil in the original plan provides the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is thought to be a 'good' omega-3 oil; however, more recent science has revealed that it's a common but faulty assumption that ALA is physiologically equivalent to omega-3 essential fatty acids EPA and DHA, and that there is no known need for alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) independent of its conversion to EPA/DHA. And in adults ther is less than 1% conversion of ALA to EPA, according to the USDA (some sources say somewhat higher), and <0.01% to DHA.


The devil is in the details, and some of the most important details that escaped Joanna Budwig and Udo Erasmus are revealed by fatty acids expert Dr. Floyd Chilton in his book Inflammation Nation, (page 97) "I wish I could tell you that the (ALA) in flaxseed oil could replace wild fish as a rich source of EPA and DHA but the scientific literature simply does not support this contention. ...We do the conversion but very slowly, and we also eat a lot of fatty acids such as LA that 'compete' for enzymes that convert ALA to EPA and DHA, further limiting its conversion." This competition is most pronounced in the common condition of low EPA/DHA and higher omega-6 fatty acid intake seen in the modern diet. Thus the omega-6 content of the flax oil, (25% of the amount of ALA) seen in the table below, also inhibits the conversion.

Composition of flax seed oil fatty acids: Alpha linolenic (ALA-omega-3), 55%; Linoleic (LA-omega-6), 13.8%; Oleic; 21.5%; Stearic, 2.2%; Palmitic (saturated), 7.1%.


While both Budwig and Udo Erasmus maintain that flax oil may supply the needed ALA to rebuild cell walls so they can carry more oxygen and etc., cell walls actually contain negligible ALA but are high EPA and DHA. This explains why one may need vastly more EPA and DHA than an ALA supplement can ever provide with its tiny conversion rate, and why fish oil supplements are much more popular for inflammation than flax oil. Flax oil seems a less brilliant choice for biological support in humans than it did 50 years ago.

On the other hand EPA and DHA are essential to health and can reverse illness including coronary heart disease, skin disorders and cancer. The Budwig Diet actually denies one EPA and DHA. Wild salmon oil, wild fish oil, and cod liver oil provide of EPA and DHA, and wild salmon oil, even minimally refined oil, has almost no impurities. Inflammation can be further reduced by adding GLA or Borage oil.

Some people may feel safer by staying closer to the original diet by adding these EFAs rather than replacing the flax oil of the original Budwig diet, but it is unwise to not include them at all, thus this Budwig Diet revision was probably inevitable.


Essential fatty acids references


"Specific inhibitory effect of dietary eicosapentaenoic acid on N-nitroso-N-methylurea-induced mammary carcinogenesis in female Sprague-Dawley rats" (Carcinogenesis; 11(11): 2015-9, Nov 1990) found that EPA significantly reduced (60% versus 93.3%) mammary tumour incidence and number in rats and significantly reduced prostaglandin levels, suggesting that the breast cancer inhibition by EPA may be mediated via lipid metabolism and associated reduction in prostaglandin synthesis.

Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil significantly reduced weight loss and tumour growth rate in an experimental colon cancer cachexia system in this study: (Tisdale MJ and Dhesi JK. Inhibition of weight loss by omega-3 fatty acids in an experimental cachexia model. Cancer Res; 50(16): 5022-6. Aug 15 1990)

"Anticachectic and antitumor effect of eicosapentaenoic acid and its effect on protein turnover" (Cancer Res; 51(22): 6089-93. Nov 15 1991) studied the effect of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) on weight loss and tumour growth in mice with cachexia-inducing colon cancer. EPA inhibited both weight loss and tumour growth rate in a dose-related manner; body weight was effectively maintained (weight loss did not occur even when tumour growth resumed), there was delay in tumour progression of growth, and overall survival was approximately doubled in EPA-treated acids, were equally efffective in inhibiting growth of these same prostate cancer cells in a dose-dependent manner, with a 65% reduction in growth.

In the small double-blind, placebo-controlled study, "Effect of omega-3 fatty acids on rectal mucosal cell proliferation in subjects at risk for colon cancer", (Gastroenterology; 103(3): 1096-8. Sep 1992) 20 patients with sporadic adenomatous colorectal polyps were given omega-3 fatty acid supplementation for 12 weeks. While there was no change in the controls, the group of 10 that received fish oil containing EPA and DHA the "S"-phase cells (a reliable marker of colon cancer risk) significantly dropped in 2 weeks and stayed lower throughout the trial. Arachidonic acid (inflammatory) levels also decreased.