Mice On Calorie Restriction Cancer Fighting Diet

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH


Calorie restriction cancer dietCould a calorie restriction cancer diet be what you need?Our diet is a key factor in keeping gut and colon cancer at bay, and preliminary studies in mice have suggested that the best diet to counter cancer is to eat in healthier and smaller food portions. Could calorie restriction cancer prevention and treatment be the key to longevity and optimum health?

A Look at Calorie Restriction Cancer Fighting Diets and Lab Mice

So, what does a calorie restriction cancer diet look like?  Investigators at the US National Cancer Institute, in Bethesda, Maryland found that cancer-prone mice which were fed either a restricted-calorie diet or a diet rich in olive oil, fruits and vegetables were up to 60% less likely to develop pre-cancerous colon polyps compared with mice fed regular diets. As such, the lead researcher Dr. Volker Mai has advised individuals who want to prevent intestinal and colon cancers to “avoid overeating and consume a healthier diet rich in beneficial fatty acids (and) high in fruits and vegetables”.

Dr. Mai’s study placed mice on 5 different variables. These mice were specially bred with a gene that left them highly susceptible to intestinal cancers. The mice were then put on one of five diets – a regular diet, a regular diet plus moderate exercise, a high-fat diet, a calorie-restricted (40% less) diet, or a diet high in olive oil, fruits and vegetables.

Each mouse’s gut was then examined for the number of polyps — small pre-cancerous growths — at the end of the study. The results demonstrated how significantly the diet affects the rate of cancer growth. The mice on the olive oil, fruit and vegetable regimen displayed 40% fewer polyps within the intestines and colon, and there was a full 60% less polyp development among the mice on the calorie-restricted diet. The mice who had exercised had a slight reduction in polyp development, whereas the most cancer-prone mice were those on the high-fat regimens.

Diet, Cancer and the NEM Stress Response

Diet also plays a large role in the body’s NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress ResponseSM. The NEM’s six circuits – the hormonal, metabolic, neuro-affective, cardionomic, inflammatory and detoxification – are the body’s overall response to stress. Unhealthy diets, imbalances in nutrition and eating allergenic foods can all trigger an imbalance in these NEM circuits.

These inputs are further processed through the individual’s genetic dispositions and lifestyle.

For example, let’s say that you have a food sensitivity or intolerance that you were not aware of yet. You would eat that food, and then, sometimes immediately, begin to feel those familiar signs such as bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation, skin rashes, fatigue, brain fog, joint pain, or headaches.

So what actually happens that triggers these reactions?

With many food sensitivities, and allergic reactions in general, what has entered the body triggers an immune response. The substances are perceived as stressors, or threats, to health and the immune system’s antibodies attack them. This causes inflammation in the body.

In a healthy individual, inflammation is actually a good thing. It helps rid the body of the threat and then naturally subsides. The adrenals are responsible for producing cortisol to neutralize the inflammation and suppress the immune system once the job is done.

But with sensitivities or allergies, you are caught in a repetitive inflammatory response: you eat, your immune system is quickly triggered, your body undergoes inflammation, and your NEM stress response now has to deal with this chronic inflammation.

Your adrenal glands have to constantly produce cortisol to suppress the immune system and neutralize inflammation, and eventually they are compromised by the heavy and unrelenting workload.

On the flip side, dysregulation of NEM stress response from chronic stress can actually induce food sensitivities and weight gain. In fact, central obesity is often a sign of the metabolic response’s derangement. And, sadly, as obesity and food sensitivity are rarely looked at holistically or through a functional medicine approach, their root causes are not addressed and get worse over time.

So how does this relate to colon cancer?

Calorie restriction cancer of the colonIt goes back to diet and inflammation. Inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, are colon cancer risk factors. The standard American diet, high in fat and low in fiber, is also implicated in such GI tract disorders as well as a higher occurrence of colon cancer.

Obesity, which is alarmingly high among those whose diet is mostly high fat/low fiber, is another a risk factor for colon cancer, as well as other illnesses.

Many studies have concluded that simply by reducing daily calorie intake is helpful in keeping cancer away, and it is almost universally accepted that diets heavy in fruits, vegetables and healthy oils work to fight a host of illnesses.

Calorie Restriction and Colon Cancer Notes

While we cannot say with certainty that the same results apply to men as they do in mice, strong similarities do exist between us. Although the mechanisms by which various foods affect health remain unclear, it is likely low-calorie, plant-based diets may alter levels of hormones in the body that influence cancer development.


Calorie restriction cancer




2 Comments