Updated: Apr 12
Few people know more about the healing benefits of cold water than Dean Hall. In 2013, he became the first person to swim the entire 184 miles of the Williamette River that flows through Portland, Oregon. Then, in 2017, he swam the entire length--over 150 miles--of the Shannon River in Ireland.
It took him over 3 weeks.
Dean has taken cold water swimming to an extreme level that most people don't even begin to contemplate. But then, Dean Hall is not "most people."
In 2010, after nearly 30 years of marriage, Dean lost his wife Mary to brain cancer. By 2011, Dean--already a leukemia survivor--was diagnosed again with leukemia, and lymphoma, too.
Nevertheless, Dean lived to tell his story, in his own words, on his website swimminginmiracles.
How did Dean Hall beat an incurable double-diagnosis of cancer, and achieve complete remission?
Dean tells us that it was his cold water swimming that saved his life, and Morozko agrees.
Dean isn't the first person to claim that cold exposure caused complete remission of incurable cancer. Russian mystic Porfiry Ivanov famously claimed that cold exposure cured him of terminal cancer back in the 1930s. He lived to the age of 85, dying in 1983 after gaining a cult-like following to whom he proselytized about the health benefits of cold exposure, hunger, and exercise.
But neither Dean's nor Ivanov's experiences suggested anything about the mechanisms by which cold exposure could work. For months, we wondered just how the cold might cause inoperable, untreatable tumors to whither away to nothing.
Tripping Over the Truth (2017), by Travis Christofferson summarizes a devastating critique of genetic theories of the origins of cancer, and postulates instead a convincing metabolic theory. According to Christofferson, cancer cells are unique in that they obtain energy exclusively by fermenting glucose (a simple sugar), whereas normal cells can metabolize either glucose or fat. Whereas the genetic theory of cancer claims that cancer originates from mutations in the cell DNA, the metabolic theory states that it originates from defects in the mitochondria that provide energy to the cell.
One of the leading advocates of the metabolic theory of the origins of cancer is Dr. Thomas Seyfried, Professor of Biology at Boston College, and author of several books and journal articles including 'Cancer as a metabolic, mitochondrial disease' (2016).
In other words, you don't have to take Christofferson's word for it. You can read more about the metabolic origins of cancer directly from the scientists and medical doctors who are investigating it. According to this theory, mutations are a symptom of cancer, not a cause. The real cause of cancer is related to alterations in cell metabolism that originate in the mitochondria.
Christofferson doesn't explain what causes the complex chain reaction that creates cancer, but he does describe how you can stop it.
No radiation, no chemotherapy, no surgery.
That's the simplest way to put it: don't eat.
Fasting does two things that promote the destruction of cancer cells:
Fasting starves the cancer cells of the glucose they need to metabolize. As a consequence, the cancer cells die and are reabsorbed into the body in a process called autophagy.
As blood glucose levels drop, the body switches to fat metabolism instead -- i.e, burning lipids released from white fat cells to sustain body operations in a process called ketosis -- producing ketone bodies that are toxic to cancer cells, but healthy for normal cells.
Well documented cases of people on hunger strikes indicate that even lean people can survive for weeks without eating, metabolizing fat alone. At the extreme, one obese man maintained a medically supervised fast for over a year without eating any food at all. Fortunately, most people can achieve a state of ketosis in just a few days, by eating only healthy fats and protein, in what is called a ketogenic diet. For example, ketosis has long been prescribed for controlling epileptic seizures in children. Evidence of the beneficial effects of ketosis for cancer patients is still accumulating.
Nevertheless, the relationship between cold exposure and cancer remission is still comparatively under-investigated. Allow us to detail Morozko's hypothesis.
There are three mechanisms by which deliberate cold exposure will help defeat cancer:
1. mitochondria restoration
2. glucose starvation, and
3. ketone body production.
Cold exposure for mitochondria restoration
It is already well established that cold exposure recruits brown fat, to increase metabolic capacity for thermogenesis -- i.e., burning white fat for the generation of heat. For example:
Cold acclimation recruits human brown fat and increases nonshivering thermogenesis. J Clinical Investigation. (2013).Short-term cold acclimation recruits brown adipose tissue in obese humans. Diabetes. (2016).
Moreover, brown fat contains extra mitochondria that govern cell metabolism, supercharging the capacity of the brown fat cells to burn the lipids stored in white fat cells. Therefore, cold exposure may cure cancer that originates in defective or malfunctioning mitochondria by inducing new mitochondria production in brown fat. Essentially, cold exposure induces the conditions by which the body repairs the defects in mitochondria that are at the beginning of a complex causal chain resulting in cancer. It may stop cancer at its source.
There are two thermogenesis mechanisms by which the body produces heat in response to cold exposure. The first is shivering, which burns glucose in muscle fibers. The second is brown fat thermogenesis.
Because most subjects in human clinical trials live in Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic ("WEIRD", Henrich et al. 2010) countries where climate control is ubiquitous, by the time these subjects reach adulthood, they have very little brown fat remaining in their bodies. So, their only remaining mechanism of thermogenesis is shivering, and this shivering reduces blood glucose levels, cutting off energetic sources of metabolism for cancer cells. Therefore, cold exposure may cure cancer by reducing blood sugar levels, and starving cancer cells of their only energy source.