Black Raspberries, Exercise, the Microbiome: Research Conference Highlights

Last month the AICR held their 25thResearch Conference, an exciting meeting that brings hundreds of experts together from around the world. Here, they shared the latest on how diet, activity and weight management play a role in cancer prevention and survivorship.

Much of the research presented is still emerging, with topics spanning from bacteria in our gut to exercise during treatment. Straight from our conference, below are five of the findings presented.

1. Black Raspberries Curb Oral Cancer Development in Animal Study

Black raspberries are packed with fiber, vitamins and phytochemicals (plant-based compounds). Emerging evidence in humans suggests black raspberries may prevent or slow the development of oral cancers.

Now a study presented at the conference found that black raspberries inhibit oral cancers in animals and identified key cancer-related genes that may explain its actions. The study is not yet published and has not yet gone through the peer-review process.

The researchers found that among rats that ate a diet containing black raspberries, there were signs of improved cancer cell death and reduced inflammation compared to the animals on a standard diet. Tumors in the animals that ate the black raspberries diet were also reduced. The findings are promising but more research is needed.

2. Anti-inflammatory diet may lower risk of mortality from heart disease among breast cancer survivors

There’s been a lot of research on anti-inflammatory diets over the years, much of it related to cancer and other chronic diseases. That because chronic inflammation is strongly associated with the development of many cancers, such as colorectal.

This latest study suggests that postmenopausal breast cancer survivors who eat an anti-inflammatory diet after diagnosis – one filled with whole grains, spices, healthy fats and vegetables – appear to have lower risk of cardiovascular disease mortality when compared to those survivors eating a Western-style pro-inflammatory diet.

The study, partially funded by AICR, is not yet published and has not gone through the peer-review process. It’s important because breast cancer survivors face heightened risk for heart disease.

3. Exercise is Safe, Helpful for Breast, Prostate Cancer Patients

Back in 2010, the American College of Sports Medicine put out guidelines for cancer survivors when it comes to being active: avoid inactivity and aim for the government guidelines of 150 minutes a week.

Now new studies presented at the conference provide evidence that exercise is safe and likely offers powerful benefits for breast and prostate cancer patients, both during and after treatment.

The studies offer insights into how aerobic and resistance exercise during treatment may prevent or delay many of the physical and mental effects that survivors experience. For example, women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer may face significant decline in aerobic capacity, placing these survivors at heightened risk of cardiovascular disease.

4. Tomatoes, Other Foods Containing Lycopene May Protect Against Prostate Cancer

Eating tomatoes, watermelon and other foods containing lycopene – a naturally occurring phytochemical that gives red or pink fruits and vegetables their characteristic color – may protect against prostate cancer, suggests research presented at the conference. The study is not yet published and has not gone through the peer-review process.
tomatoes with white background
Previous studies have shown inconsistent results on the link between eating tomatoes and tomato-based foods, including tomato sauce, tomato juice and pizza, and a lower risk of developing prostate cancer. This may be due to differences in study quality, as well as differences in the population groups studied.

This study found that men who consumed higher amounts of lycopene had an 11 percent reduced risk of prostate cancer compared to those who consumed the least. There was a 1 percent decrease in prostate cancer risk for each additional 1 milligram of lycopene consumed per day. An average tomato has about 3 milligrams of lycopene.

When focusing on tomatoes alone, men who ate the highest amounts had a 10 percent lower risk of developing prostate cancer than those who consumed the least.

 

5. High-fat Diet Disrupts Gut Microbe’s Circadian Clock in Mice, May Impact Obesity Risk

Our gut is teeming with bacteria and other microbes, which we humans depend upon for good health. Prior research shows that gut microbes also may play a role in obesity.

New laboratory research presented at our conference found that the trillions of bacteria in our gut exhibit their own circadian behavior, the day versus night variation that manages everything from our own appetite to metabolism.

A high-fat, low-fiber diet disrupts those circadian cycles in both the mice and the bacteria, leading to changes in the daily rhythms that may impact metabolism and obesity risk.

 

Post by Barb Flynn

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