Johanna Budwig (30 September 1908 – 19 May 2003) was a German biochemist and author. Budwig was a pharmacist and held doctorate degrees in physics and chemistry. Based on her research on fatty acids she developed a diet that she believed was useful in the treatment of cancer. There is no evidence that this or other highly specific "anti-cancer" diet is effective.
While working as a researcher at the German Federal Health Office she noted many cancer drugs being evaluated in the 1950s contained sulphydryl groups. Budwig believed sulphydryl compounds were important to cellular metabolism and cellular respiration. Budwig researched the theory that a low oxygen environment would develop in the absence of sulphydryl groups and/or fatty acid partners that would encourage the proliferation of cancerous cells. With H.P. Kaufmann she developed paper chromatography techniques to identify and quantify fatty acids. Budwig used these techniques to compare the fatty acid profiles of sick and healthy individuals. This made her one of the first scientists to consider the health implications of fat consumption, according to Mannion et al. in a 2010 paper in the journal Nutrients.
The Budwig Diet
She developed the Budwig protocol, a purported anti-cancer diet, in 1952. The basis of the diet is modifying dietary fats. It is rich in flaxseed oil, mixed with cottage cheese and meals high in fruits, vegetables, and fiber and avoids sugar, animal fats, salad oil, meats, butter, and especially margarine.
Budwig claimed that within 3 months, some patients on this diet had smaller tumors, some had no tumors left, and all felt better. However, there is no reliable evidence supporting Budwig's claims, and no scientific evidence that the Budwig diet helps people with cancer. There is no indication for using anti cancer diets and they can cause adverse effects. Patients who delay or forgo cancer treatments as a result of using diets such as the Budwig Diet might suffer relapse, experience unnecessary disease progression, and suffer from cancer-related symptoms.
- Mannion, C.; Page, S.; Bell, L.H.; Verhoef, M. (2010). "Components of an anticancer diet: Dietary recommendations, restrictions and supplements of the Bill Henderson Protocol". Nutrients 3 (1): 1–26. doi:10.3390/nu3010001. PMC 3257729. PMID 22254073.
- "What is the Budwig diet?". cancerresearchuk.org. Cancer Research UK. 2013-02-04. Retrieved 2014-03-18.
- "Flaxseed". cancer.org. American Cancer Society. 2011-10-14. Retrieved 2014-03-18.
- "Omega-3 Fatty Acids". cancer.org. American Cancer Society. 2013-01-17. Retrieved 2014-03-18.
- Hübner, J.; Marienfeld, S.; Abbenhardt, C.; Ulrich, C.M. et al. (2012). "Wie sinnvoll sind 'Krebsdiäten'?" [How useful are diets against cancer?]. Deutsche Medizinische Wochenschrift (DMW), [German Medical Weekly] (in German) 137 (47): 2417–22. doi:10.1055/s-0032-1327276. PMID 23152069.
- Huebner, J.; Marienfeld, S.; Abbenhardt, C.; Ulrich, C. et al. (2014). "Counseling patients on cancer diets: A review of the literature and recommendations for clinical practice". Anticancer Research 34 (1): 39–48. PMID 24403443.