Oil bubbles in water

Rethinking the Budwig Protocol

by Maggie Jones

My plan had been to start the Budwig Protocol Dec 31 when we’re back from Thailand. As I’ve been prepping, however, I’ve begun to have second thoughts.

This morning I made a test batch of Budwig’s sulphurated protein and flaxseed oil mixture. While my long-term plan has been to make my own quark cheese from homemade organic kefir, I made this test batch from some organic cottage cheese I found at a health food store that clearly caters to Budwig enthusiasts – they had an entire shelf of dedicated to organic lowfat cottage cheese and flaxseed oil.

The mixture came together as expected and I tried a small bite. It was my first time having dairy in over two months and it just didn’t feel right or healing to to me. (I won’t lie, it was also disgusting though I hope that’s not the main reason I’m giving so much weight to my skepticism.)

The foundation of Budwig’s theory is that when the highly unsaturated fatty acids of flaxseed oil interact with the sulphydryl groups in the cheese, the fatty acids can cross the cell membrane and increase oxygen levels in the oxygen-poor environment of cancer cells. This is legit science – the combination of the sulfurated protein in the cottage cheese with the flaxseed oil create a lipoprotein and lipoproteins are the building block of the phospholipid bilayer of our cell membranes. It therefore makes sense that this mixture allows the hydrophobic oil to cross the cell membrane.

However, her belief that fatty acids can only permeate the cell membrane as part of a lipoprotein was disproven in 1974 with the discovery of the LDL receptor. The science simply wasn’t available to Budwig while she was doing her research in the 1950s. Modern science does acknowledge that sulfur atoms are important to fatty acid digestion but not in the way Budwig proposed.

As a side note, laypeople often describe the Budwig mixture as making the flaxseed oil “water soluble”. I tested this by whisking a small amount of the mixture into a cup of water. It quickly separated. I don’t question the science that the sulfurated protein will increase the solubility of the oil but my results suggest that 1) there was something wrong with my preparation or ingredients – something I don’t know I can consistently solve., and 2) a lot of Budwig proponents probably aren’t being rigorous in their evaluation of the protocol.

I still think there’s enormous value in Budwig’s research and I’m so glad that modern scientists are starting to investigate and build on her discoveries.

There’s a lot about her protocol that I’ve adopted. I’m just not read to buy in completely.

Valuable Takeaways from the Budwig Protocol that I’m Incorporating

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables; no sugar, meat, or processed food I’m already doing this and it feels fantastic.
  • Daily sauerkraut juice or other probiotic I’ve been culturing my own kefir water and eating a quarter cup of sauerkraut each day. I intend to keep at it and am excited to make my own sauerkraut to keep costs down.
  • Sunshine I’ve been hiding out away from the pollution of Hong Kong but the few times I’ve stepped out for sunshine my skin feels like parched man drinking ice water. I intend to take Budwig’s advice and get daily sun when possible – with suitable sunscreen, of course.
  • Rest No argument here. I’ve been taking it easy and letting my body rest as much as it wants.
  • More flaxseed oil Flaxseed is now my oil of choice. There were two studies from 2010 that show it increased the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs tamoxifen and trastuzumab and the research is just getting started.

What Isn’t Right for Me Right Now

  • The Budwig Mixture
    For all the reasons above.
  • Alcohol
    It’s not like Budwig requires drinking alcohol but her standard protocol does include a glass or two of champagne in the afternoon and a glass of red wine in the evening. I fully intend to enjoy the occasional glass of wine someday but I can tell it does more harm than good at this point in my recovery.
  • Grains and Legumes
    Like alcohol, I intend to incorporate raw, whole grains and legumes into my diet eventually but right now I think it’s critical to keep my carbs as low as possible to starve those greedy cancer cells.

What I Need to Research More

The one aspect of the Protocol that is intriguing is Budwig’s insistence on not taking artificial supplements or antioxidants. While her primary argument seems to be that antioxidants will counteract the oxygenating mechanism of her protool, she brings up a secondary point that these man-made extracts are generally not beneficial to the body. My initial research supports this stance and has been really interesting. I’ll save it for another post.

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Heidi February 27, 2020 - 4:06 am

If you put an egg in a bowl, add a little oil, and whisk it, will you make mayo? No. To emulsify, you have to make it the right way as Budwig protocol describes with the stick blender. And then it DOES become water soluble and does not separate, which is how it get that flax seed oil into the body so well. I don’t mind that it doesn’t work for you because you don’t like it, but please don’t discourage other from using it with bad science or protocol knowledge. The protocol saves lives.

Maggie Jones February 27, 2020 - 5:23 am

Hi Heidi! Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I did use a stick blender but perhaps not the right size bowl? In any case, I’ve incorporated 1-2 tbs flaxseed oil a day into my diet thanks to Budwig and, based on my incredibly low C-reactive protein markers, believe it’s being absorbed. I’m also now cancer free as of my one-year post-diagnosis scans.

Your testimony here is so important and will help many others!

Douglas j Gray December 16, 2020 - 2:02 am

My experience with the mixture is that paradoxically, it is easier to digest than either item separately. I have tried making the mixture with 2/3 cup Nancy’s Organic Cottage Cheese and 1/3 cup of oil, using the stick blend, and I was astonished at how easy it felt to digest it. I tend to gag when I try to take flax oil alone, for some reason I just find it unpalatable, but in the mix it is fine.

Maggie Jones December 16, 2020 - 2:22 am

That’s such a great point! I had as much flax oil as I could muster during my healing and it can be a challenge =D My favorite was to use it in salad dressing but I could also mash it with avocado. I’m with you that it is not tasty on its own

Kellie December 9, 2021 - 4:56 pm

If you add a banana to the cottage cheese and flax oil it tastes like banana pudding!!! I then put blueberries on top and it’s so yummy! The banana may be too much sugar for treatment but I do it for prevention and this is my daily breakfast.

Maggie Jones December 12, 2021 - 10:09 pm

Oh Kellie! I love this idea! Not just the tasty additions but the idea of using Budwig for prevention. Thank you!!

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