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Cancer Prevention: the Power of Synergy

Updated: Apr 10

I’d like share the results of this interesting study from 2022, which is a good example of how nutritional and lifestyle interventions can produce even greater results when combined together.


In a nutshell: a  randomised clinical study in healthy people age 70 and older (n=2157) from different European countries found a 61% reduction in the risk of invasive cancer among those who completed a programme that included these three daily interventions:


  1. Simple at-home strength exercises

  2. Vitamin D3 supplements

  3. Omega-3 fatty acids (marine) supplements


Cancer prevention: the power of synergy

The study (called DO-HEALTH) was a 3-year, double-blind, randomised controlled trial designed to evaluate the individual and combined benefits of the three interventions on the risk of any invasive cancer in the elderly population.


Interestingly, the researchers found no statistically significant benefits when the three interventions were taken separately or in combination of two (with the exception of the combination of exercises plus omega-3, which showed significant difference compared with the control group). However the greatest benefits were seen when all three treatments were combined, relative to the control group (P=0.017).


It is hard to miss the fact that one factor all three interventions have in common is that they can help reduce inflammation in the body and strengthen the function of the immune system, the very essential surveillance system against cancer. 


What to make of these results?


Although this study has a number of limitations (e.g. small group size, restricted age group and geographical area of provenance, limited duration), its results are significant and contribute to the growing evidence of the impact that lifestyle changes can have in reducing cancer risk. 


In this case, the changes that were put to the test would not be not too difficult to implement, so let’s take a look:


Lifestyle Medicine: the power of synergy for cancer prevention

These are just a few examples of relatively simple dietary and lifestyle interventions that can, if anything, support overall health. There are many others that could be discussed and investigated in research, but one thing is for sure: a health-promoting lifestyle involves not only removing ‘unhealthy’ elements (e.g. toxins, ultraprocessed foods, etc.), but ensuring we support the body with the necessary nourishment, in this case essential nutrients and body movement, but I would also add - to name a few - fresh air, clean water, meaningful connection with ourselves and others, a sense of purpose, and a good daily dose of gratitude towards the myriad of incredible functions our body performs for us.


** IMPORTANT NOTES:


  • It is highly recommended to test blood levels of vitamin D before starting supplementing at any dose, for example this Vitamin D Blood Test, which can easily be taken at home.


  • It is important to consult a nutrition professional if you intend to start taking supplements, especially if using medications.


 

References:





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