Last month, I wrote briefly on the marketing history and impact of one food item: dairy and estrogen-sensitive cancers. This week, I want you to understand that at the intersection of nutrition and cancer, other dietary factors must be considered.
- Blood sugar: Both elevated glucose and insulin levels (remember, insulin is given to “correct” high blood sugar in diabetics) set the stage for the unchecked growth of cancer cells (Amadou 2013). Our bodies were never designed to consume the amount of sugar we do on a daily basis. More on this here.
- Excess weight: Central obesity (“tummy fat”) increases the risk of dying from breast cancer by 34%, and is a source of excess estrogen that fuels many cancers (Amadou, 2013). Excessive body fat, weight gain and/or obesity is responsible for one of every five diagnoses of cancer in the U.S. (Bähr, 2017). Losing weight by correcting your diet improves natural killer cells, critical components of a robust immune system (Bähr, 2017). The ideal cancer host is an obese (i.e. inflamed) individual, living on packaged foods, and using popular skin care products that contain estrogen-like chemicals. Returning to a healthy weight helps reduce risk of cancer.
- Alcohol: Although many people have heard that small amounts of wine may be cardioprotective, it’s a mistake to assume the health benefits of alcoholic beverages can be extended to non-cardiac diseases. The more a person drinks alcohol, the higher the risk for breast, gastric, and pancreatic cancers (Brennan 2010; Ma 2017), likely due to the fact that alcohol blocks liver function—including removal of excess estrogen, which we know promotes cancer growth (Hankinson et al., 1994).
- Move: Regular physical activity reduces the risk of dying from all cancer types. Risk of breast cancer decreases by 3% for each 4-hour-per-week spent walking at 2 miles per hour or 1-hour-per-week spent jogging at 10-minute miles. Risk of breast cancer decreases 5% for more vigorous exercise (Wu 2013). Low intensity, longer duration and high intensity, shorter duration physical activity can increase the quality and length of one’s lifespan by protecting against all causes of illness and death (Kopperstad 2017). In other words, it doesn’t matter what you do, it matters that you do. If swimming isn’t your thing, that’s okay. Moving in a way that you love is an excellent way to stress less. There’s no wrong option when you’re moving.
- Don’t fear the sun: Vitamin D is an excellent cellular communicator and deserves a book on it own. Not only does it have the ability to poke holes in certain viruses, but it also regulates the cell’s ability to break down and recycle dysfunctional or unused parts in a process called autophagy (Tavera-Mendoza, 2017). This is critical when cells become sick. Doctors worldwide measure vitamin D status by assessing 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D), a prohormone that is produced in the liver (via hydroxylation of vitamin D₃ by the enzyme cholecalciferol 25-hydroxylase).
- Sleep: Too little sleep (under 7 hours per night) or too much sleep (more than 10 hours per night) is associated with a higher risk of death from all causes (Collins 2017). Individuals who habitually sleep less than 6 hours nightly had a 62% greater risk of dying from cancer than those who snooze at least 7 hours each night.
- Restore the thyroid: Repairing years of damage to one of the most sensitive organs, the thyroid, and balancing thyroid hormone levels can be done with diligent work and effort. It’s better to do this naturally rather than take thyroid hormone medications. While hypothyroid individuals have greater risk of cancer, it’s worth considering the possibility that thyroid hormone treatment may increase pancreatic cancer cell division, migration, and invasion, and reduce the chances of beating cancer (Sarosiek 2016). This cannot justifiably be generalized to people without cancer, but research efforts should focus here in the future, as with estrogen hormone levels and breast cancer.
If you or a loved one is facing the diagnosis of cancer, please CONTACT US as soon as you can. Advanced Health is here to help confront the root causes of your illness. Let’s work together to get you on the path to lifelong wellness.
Amadou, A., Hainaut, P., & Romieu, I. (2013). Role of Obesity in the Risk of Breast Cancer: Lessons from Anthropometry. Journal of Oncology, 2013, 906495.
Bähr, I., Goritz, V., Doberstein, H., Hiller, G. G. R., Rosenstock, P., Jahn, J., … Kielstein, H. (2017). Diet-Induced Obesity Is Associated with an Impaired NK Cell Function and an Increased Colon Cancer Incidence. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, 2017, 4297025.
Brennan, S. F., Cantwell, M. M., Cardwell, C. R., Velentzis, L. S., & Woodside, J. V. (2010) Dietary patterns and breast cancer risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 91(5), 1294-1302
Collins K.P., Geller D.A., Antoni M., Donnell D.M., Tsung A., Marsh J.W., … Steele, J.L. (2017) Sleep duration is associated with survival in advanced cancer patients. Sleep Medicine. 32, 208-212. Epub 2017 Jan 20.
Gaksch, M., Jorde, R., Grimnes, G., Joakimsen, R., Schirmer, H., Wilsgaard, T., … Pilz, S. (2017). Vitamin D and mortality: Individual participant data meta-analysis of standardized 25-hydroxyvitamin D in 26916 individuals from a European consortium. PLoS ONE, 12(2), e0170791.
Hankinson, S. E., Manson, J. E., London, S. J., Willett, W. C., & Speizer, F. E. (1994). Laboratory reproducibility of endogenous hormone levels in postmenopausal women. Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Biomarkers, 3(1), 51-56.
Kopperstad Ø, Skogen JC, Sivertsen B, Tell GS, Sæther SMM (2017) Physical activity is independently associated with reduced mortality: 15-years follow-up of the Hordaland Health Study (HUSK). PLoS ONE, 12(3): e0172932.
Ma, K., Baloch, Z., He, T.-T., & Xia, X. (2017). Alcohol Consumption and Gastric Cancer Risk: A Meta-Analysis. Medical Science Monitor: International Medical Journal of Experimental and Clinical Research, 23, 238–246.
Porubsky, P. R., Meneely, K. M., & Scott, E. E. (2008). Structures of human cytochrome P-450 2E1 insights into the binding of inhibitors and both small molecular weight and fatty acid substrates. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 283(48), 33698-33707.
Sarosiek, K., Gandhi, A. V., Saxena, S., Kang, C. Y., Chipitsyna, G. I., Yeo, C. J., & Arafat, H. A. (2016). Hypothyroidism in Pancreatic Cancer: Role of Exogenous Thyroid Hormone in Tumor Invasion—Preliminary Observations. Journal of Thyroid Research, 2016, 2454989.
Tavera-Mendoza, L. E., Westerling, T., Libby, E., Marusyk, A., Cato, L., Cassani, R., … Brown, M. (2017). Vitamin D receptor regulates autophagy in the normal mammary gland and in luminal breast cancer cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 114(11), E2186–E2194.
Wu, Y., Zhang, D. & Kang, S. (2013) Physical activity and risk of breast cancer: a meta-analysis of prospective studies. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 137(3), 869–882.