The NORI protocol, or NORI diet

The NORI protocol, or NORI diet

The NORI protocol, or the Nutritional Oncology Research Institute protocol, is a fruit-based diet also involving selenium, genepin and vitamin E succinate, on the logic that cancer needs methionine to grow and fruits are methionine-free, so if you only eat fruit you will starve cancer; unfortunately this logic is dreadfully flawed as the diet has to be broken repeatedly because methionine is an essential amino-acid, meaning without it you could die.

The NORI Protocol - Methionine-deprivation and cancer restriction

1. Your body needs methionine

The diet was popularised by people such as Chris Wark a few years ago, but It is worth saying right up front that there is a fundamental and overwhelming problem in the Protocol theory - normal, healthy cells NEED methionine. Like cysteine, it is a sulphur-containing amino acid and, as humans cannot make it, It is an essential amino acid - you would die without it!

It is known to stimulate cartilage formation, it is important in the generation of new blood vessels, in liver health, and it helps in the formation of other sulphur-containing amino acids, peptides, proteins and RNA. A lack of methionine, especially in seniors, can result in muscle loss and even fatty liver and liver degeneration. The University of Pittsburg Medical School has shown that people vary in their needs but usually the daily requirement of methionine is 800 to 1000 mg.

However, you can consume too much methionine, in which case research (2007, Journal of Biochemistry) has shown that the result is actually a loss of muscle mass, weight and protein. 

Excess methionine converts to homocystein, a thiol containing compound formed during methionine metabolism and methionine can be recycled through homocysteine in the body. But the build up of homocysteine is associated with strokes and heart disease risk and increased DNA methylation (causing Epigenetic effects) and thus an increased risk of diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer's, through blockages of DNA expression. 

A 1974 paper showed that while healthy cells could use homocysteine, without methionine cancer cells die.

Methionine is also involved in the production of polyamines, and these are involved in cell division and found in high levels in tumour cells.

Go To: The Rainbow Diet and how it can help you beat cancer

2. Methionine-deprivation

Methionine and cancer is a well-researched subject. Methionine is essential to cancer cells. For example, a 2015 study by Lamb et al shows its importance in forming Tumour Initiating Cells (TICs). And in vitro studies show methionine restriction leads to cancer cell death. The withdrawal of methionine thus aims to starve cancers in much the same way as calorie restriction does. Like calorie restriction, methionine restriction increases longevity in animals; and it improves insulin sensitivity.

Methionine-rich foods - beef, lamb, pork, chicken, turkey, prawns, fish, eggs, dairy, soy, nuts, grains and even seaweed.
Methionine-depleted foods are basically typified by a vegan diet - fruit is low with legumes actually lowest. However, the NORI protocol argues for fruits saying that green vegetables are higher in protein. This is not borne out on websites like Wikipedia.

Other elements used in the NORI Protocol - high dose selenium

Selenium has a number of effects. It is a detoxifier (or rather a displacer) of heavy metals. The NORI protocol uses Sodium Selenite - the NORI people say that this is the most active form and kills the most cancer cells at low levels. However, Dr. Mercola says that sodium selenite and sodium selenate are dangerous to the environment and highly toxic being carcinogenic and genotoxic. In one study, sodium selenite was shown to induce substantial DNA damage. In conditions where a body has low selenium, the maximum dose should be no more than 200 micrograms.

And Genepin and vitamin E succinate in the NORI protocol

These are used because they are believed to cause apoptosis (cancer cell death) - obviously the diet alone is lacking!

The NORI PROTOCOL - a high fruit diet

So, the bottom line is the NORI protocol focuses on starving the body of methionine by feeding the patient a substantially fruit-only diet. Another part of the thinking runs that a high fruit diet also contains enzymes that attack cancer cells; and a high fruit diet does not fill your body with sugar - quote 'The natural sugars will not feed cancer or cause tumours to grow'.

The methionine restriction sensitises the cancer cells and the methionine and genepin/sodium selenite finishes them off.

The diet has to be broken every now and then to allow the healthy cells to recover.

The NORI DIET - the CANCERactive view

Chris Woollams founder of CANCERactive and former Oxford University biochemist summarised by saying, "There were just a few too many claims on their website, with too few scientific references. I can see the whole logic and theory about methionine. That is clear and there are quality research studies. But then most analyses show vegetables are lower in methionine than fruits. And some of the other elements rely too much, in my opinion, on views not research.

I'd also like to see a few real-life epidemiology studies or a study where people who adhered closest to the diet survived longer. There was no research in connection with the protocol, for example, that showed people who adhered most closely to the diet developed less cancer, or were more likely to be cancer-free, as there is with the Rainbow Diet. Unfortunately the whole world of cancer falls down all too frequently between theory and practice.

I also think the science behind methionine-deprivation is interesting and just as supporting of the Rainbow Diet and the idea of Eat a Rainbow. I see no reason to modify the CANCERactive view that the Rainbow Diet is the best anti-cancer diet available to people who want to protect or correct. More information and research can be obtained on The Rainbow Diet and cancer, diabetes, heart disease, strokes, Alzheimer's etc. via the links below".

Go To: The Rainbow Diet - and how it can help you beat cancer

Go To: The Rainbow Diet significantly reduces the risks of cancer

Go to: Eat a Rainbow - prevent and correct chronic diseases

An assessment of the NORI protocol
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