Healthy cells are aerobic, meaning that they function properly in the presence of sufficient oxygen. Healthy cells metabolize (burn) oxygen and glucose (blood sugar) to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the energy “currency” of the cells. This process is referred to as aerobic respiration (or aerobic metabolism). This cycle of creating energy, called the Krebs cycle, takes place in the mitochondria, which are organelles composed of an outer membrane and an inner membrane. The enzymes used to produce energy lie on top of the inner membrane.
However, if something happens which either inhibits the bloods ability to transport oxygen, lowers the amount of oxygen in the blood, decreases our carbon dioxide, prohibits the cells from absorbing the oxygen in the blood, or damages the mitochondria’s ability to produce ATP, then the Krebs cycle has been disrupted, the cells have no energy, and we have a serious problem. Since there is not enough oxygen for the cell to breathe, it changes to anaerobic (i.e. “without oxygen”) respiration to survive. The cell stops breathing oxygen and starts fermenting glucose (sugar) to make energy.
The waste byproduct of the fermentation process is a sea of lactic acid, which further inhibits the cell from receiving oxygen. German born Dr. Otto Warburg, a cancer biochemist and the 1931 Nobel laureate in medicine, first discovered this fact that cancer cells are anaerobic, thus whatever causes this anaerobic respiration to occur is the cause of all cancers. He believed that cancer occurs when there is hypoxia (lack of oxygen) at the cellular level. He believed that if you deprive a cell of 35% of its oxygen requirement for 48 hours, the cell would turn cancerous. Some causes of hypoxia include a buildup of toxins within and around cells, which blocks and then damages the cellular oxygen respiration mechanism.
Clumping up of red blood cells slows down the bloodstream and restricts flow into capillaries, which also causes hypoxia. Even lack of essential fatty acids, which are the proper building blocks for cell walls, restricts oxygen exchange and leads to hypoxia. This is the foundational concept behind the Budwig Diet (a combination of cottage cheese and flaxseed oil) which provides the cells with the essential omega-3 fats that enhance cellular oxygen uptake.