According to a study by Tel Aviv University, people who run regularly or do other aerobic exercises reduce their risk of developing certain cancers by 72%.
Aerobic exercise makes certain organs so efficient at capturing sugar from the body that tumors are starved of glucose and often unable to grow and spread. peer-reviewed study published last week suggested.
He focused on metastatic cancer, which is cancer that has spread from its original location in the body. The researchers believe there are great benefits to preventing primary tumors as well, but are focusing on metastatic cancer because it is the leading cause of death in Israel.
“Physical activity creates a hostile environment for tumors by creating an environment where it has difficulty obtaining glucose,” said lead author Professor Carmit Levy, from the Department of Human Genetics and Biochemistry at the Institute. Tel Aviv University, to The Times of Israel.
“We showed in this study that running and other aerobic activities protect the body from metastatic activity, and discovered what mechanism makes this possible.”
The study had two parts. The first was to analyze existing data that provides a wide range of health data from 3,000 people over a 20-year period, to analyze exercise patterns and cancer incidence. This indicated that there was 72% less metastatic cancer in participants who reported regular high-intensity aerobic activity, compared to those who did not exercise.
The second part of the study involved monitoring the mice while they exercised, then analyzing their internal organs before and after exercise, and after cancer injection. Researchers found that mice that performed aerobic activity had significantly fewer metastatic tumors in the lymph nodes, lungs, and liver.
Levy and his colleague, Dr. Yftach Gepner, discovered that during exercise, these organs take up much of the available glucose in the body. She said the activity “turned the organs into efficient energy-consuming machines, just like the muscles.” The change was not temporary, but rather, after regular exercise, “the tissues of internal organs change and become similar to muscle tissue.”
This creates an environment where tumors, which need glucose, find it difficult to grow and survive, Levy hypothesized. She suggested that this explains her discovery regarding metastatic cancer and could explain the apparent benefits of exercise in preventing other cancers.
“We all know that sports and physical exercise are good for our health,” Levy said. “Our study, looking at internal organs, found that exercise changes the whole body, so cancer can’t spread.”