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" diets are 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. It is a lacto-vegetarian diet that is probably harmless. The signature piece is freshly ground flaxseed or flaxseed oil, mixed with cottage cheese or quark. It emphasizes meals high in fruits, vegetables, and fiber, preferably raw or lightly cooked. It avoids sugar, refined grains, animal fats, salad oil, meats, butter, and margarine, plus caffeine, liquor, tobacco, and all processed foods.
There is no scientific evidence that it kills cancer cells, slows disease progression, or provides any other medical benefit to cancer patients. However, a diet high in fiber and vegetables and low in alcohol, tobacco and processed foods may prevent cancer from forming in healthy people. The core idea behind the diet is that cancer cells could be killed by changing the type of fats in the diet. Her specific proposed mechanism has been proven wrong through further study of fat metabolism.
Following this diet independently may be cheaper than following a high-fat, high-meat diet.
- 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.
- Geeraert, Luc (29 January 2015). "Budwig diet". CAM-Cancer Consortium. Retrieved 2015-04-29.