A major scientific review of laboratory and clinic data has been published this month in the British Journal of Sports Medicine by Prof RobThomas (Exercise scientist and oncologist) and Stacey Kenfield from Southern California. It describes and explains the important biochemical changes which occur after exercise and how these help fight cancer.
Direct anti cancer effects of exercise?
Exercise produces numerous transitory and longer term biochemical changes which can protect the body from carcinogens which cause genetic mutations, help repair damage to cells preventing cancer cell formation and help prevent the growth and spread of caner cells once they have formed. In summary, the follow changes can occur:
- Reduces chronic inflammation
- Improves pathways of DNA repair
- Reduces serum oestrogen and testosterone – in the long term
- Reduces insulin like growth factor levels
- Reduces insulin resistance
- Encourages cancer cells to kill themselves (apoptosis)
- Increases Irisin and reduces VIP levels
- Reduces Oxidative stress and enhances antioxidant pathways
Indirect anti cancer effects of exercise?
Exercise can fight cancer via by helping to improve the health of other bodily systems which indirectly influence biochemical pathways:
- Helps reduce weight
- Increases vitamin D levels – if exercising outdoors
- Improves psychology health and mood