Discover how high-intensity aerobic workouts may lower colorectal cancer risk in Lynch Syndrome patients by boosting the immune system and reducing inflammation.

Here’s a New Spin on Your High-Intensity Aerobic Workouts, They Could Help Prevent Colorectal Cancer!

Imagine yourself in the middle of your favorite spin class, legs burning, heart pounding, and sweat dripping, but this time, you’re not just crushing calories, your workouts are beefing up your immune system’s cancer-fighting abilities. No, I haven’t lost my mind, and this isn’t some sci-fi future. This is exciting new research from none other than The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center with a special focus on Lynch Syndrome (LS) patients.

Workouts are Busting a Gut and Boosting Immunity

In a study published in Clinical Cancer Research, researchers found that regular and intense aerobic exercise helped reduce the risk of colorectal cancer in LS patients. How exactly? By boosting the immune system’s ability to sniff out and dispose of potentially harmful cells. It found that patients who engaged in high-intensity training saw reduced levels of inflammation in the colon and blood, you’d think you’d swapped your ordinary sweatbands for superhero capes. There was also a rise in natural killer cells and CD8+ T cells, signifying a beefed up immune response in the colon.

Breaking a Sweat and Breaking Down Genetics

The catch? These aren’t your ordinary fitness enthusiasts. LS is a genetic condition, affecting over a million Americans with a high risk of colorectal cancer. If you’re a guy with LS, you’ve got a 60%-80% chance of developing colorectal cancer. Ladies, you’ve got a 40%-60% risk, flip those same odds for endometrial cancer. A bit of a bad hand, but here’s where the workout magic comes in.

Going the Distance for a Year of Intense Workouts

The study followed 21 LS patients, split into an exercise group and a usual care group, for a full year. Now, ‘exercise’ wasn’t a casual stroll in the park – we’re talking three 45-minute high-intensity cycling sessions a week. Meanwhile, the ‘usual care’ group was only given a pat on the back and some info on the benefits of working out. The results? The exercise group smashed it out of the park with a median of 164 weekly exercise minutes at an intensified heart rate, compared to the usual care group’s lax 14-minute median.

Workouts Carving a Path Towards Potentially Reduced Cancer Risk

A number of genes showed significant changes between the two groups. The exercise folks saw an activation of genes involved in immune signaling pathways and a suppression of genes linked to muscle contraction and metabolism. Researchers also found an increase in certain immune cells, key players in cancer defense, in the colon along with lower levels of inflammation. Add to that a stimulation of myokines and cytokines (champions for your immune system), and you’ve got yourself an impressive defense play against cancer.

Swapping ‘Pill’ for ‘Pedal’

Sometimes, even the best medications can be a hurdle. Nobody likes popping pills, right? But what if we could swap the pills for the pedals? The hope is to offer LS patients a new way to reduce their cancer risk over time by prescribing a ‘lifestyle’ instead of a ‘pill.’ But, of course, more research is needed to confirm these dazzling effects of aerobic exercise training in LS patients.

Recap of What the Pedal Can Do

  • According to the study from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, regular and high-intensity aerobic workouts may help reduce colorectal cancer risk in LS patients.
  • These workouts can lower inflammation levels and boost the presence of vital immune cells within the colon.
  • The study shows a significant difference in gene activity between an exercise group and a non-exercise group signifying key shifts in immune signaling pathways and muscle contraction metabolism.
  • The goal is to swap out medications for a ‘lifestyle prescription,’ utilizing the benefits of intense aerobic exercise to potentially reduce cancer risk.
  • More research is needed to validate these findings and understand the exact mechanisms that lead to a lower cancer risk in LS patients.

Source Citation: https://bioengineer.org/exercise-boosts-anti-cancer-immunity-and-reduces-inflammation-in-lynch-syndrome-patients/

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