Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising frequently can lower blood protein associated with promoting cancer development. There was a study published in the journal Cancer Research that found a reduction in the levels of a blood protein involved in angiogenesis when overweight and obese women experienced weight loss through their diet and exercise.
The process by which damaged blood vessels are repaired and new blood vessels formed is angiogenesis. Both the healthy cells and cancer cells cannot survive without oxygen and nutrients. Signals are sent out called angiogenic factors, and these encourage new blood vessels to grow and cancer cell to grow into a tumor. Without a blood supply, tumors are unable to grow beyond a few millimeters in size, but once cancer cells stimulate growth of a blood vessel, they can develop quickly.
Principal staff scientist in the Public Health Sciences Division at the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA, Catherine Duggan, Ph.D., explained that researchers have suggested that preventing angiogenesis can prevent tumor cell growth. She also concluded that although this angioprevention may work as a strategy to prevent cancer in healthy individuals, the drugs involved in blocking this process have potential adverse effects that restrict their use in preventing cancer.
They took blood samples from 439 postmenopausal, overweight and obese women who were considered healthy and sedentary and aged 50-75. These are the four groups they were split into:
✓ Calorie restriction diet group with intake of no more than 2,000 kcal per day that included less than 30% of fat calories.
✓ Aerobic exercise group performing 45 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise 5 days a week.
✓ Combined diet and exercise group.
✓ The control group with no intervention.
The results were that after 12 months of intervention, the women in the diet, exercise, and combined diet and exercise groups, lost an average of 8.5, 2.4 and 10.8% of body weight, respectively. This weight loss was higher than the average of 0.8% in the control group.
After 12 months the participants in the diet and combined diet and exercise groups had significantly lower levels of the angiogenesis-related proteins than the control group. In the aerobic exercise group, these lower levels were not observed.
The ending results of the study show that weight loss is a safe and effective method of improving the angiogenic profile in healthy individuals. A trend was seen in the reduction in angiogenesis-related proteins that showed the higher the amount of weight loss the women experienced, the greater the reduction in protein levels.
Although exercise is important to prevent weight gain and maintain weight loss, exercise alone does not have a significant effect on the amount of weight lost by an individual. Making lifestyle changes to reduce weight can lower the risk factors for cancer.
–Dr Fredda Branyon