Not eating a few hours before sleeping inhibits cancer cells
A lifestyle that involves eating and snacking at all times of the day is not healthy. It boosts the synthesis of inflammatory factors which do 1001 things in your body that you don't want to happen. Like stimulating cancer cells, according to an epidemiological study that researchers at San Diego Moores Cancer Center published in JAMA Oncology.
The researchers used data on 2,413 women aged 27-70 gathered between 1995 and 2007 for the Women's Healthy Eating and Living study. The women had been treated for breast cancer and the researchers looked at whether the disease had returned - and if it had, whether the women had died from the cancer.
The researchers looked at the number of hours before and during sleep that the women did not eat - the length of their nightly fast. If the nightly fast lasted 13 hours or longer the likelihood of the breast cancer returning was 26 percent less than if the nightly fast was shorter than 13 hours. That relationship was statistically significant.
There was also a tendency for women with a longer nightly fast to die less as a result of their illness.
The researchers discovered that a longer nightly fast reduced the concentration of haemoglobin A1c, an indication of a better insulin balance. The researchers suspect that a healthy insulin balance can inhibit the growth of cancer cells, which tend to like to use glucose as fuel for their growth. [Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2015 May;24(5):783-9.]
In 2015 the same researchers published in PLoS One the results of a study in which they showed that a longer nightly fast reduced the concentration of the inflammatory factor CRP in the blood of breast cancer survivors. [PLoS One. 2015 Aug 25;10(8):e0136240.]
Breast cancer patients with relatively high levels of CRP in their blood often have more aggressive tumours, and are more likely to experience cardiovascular side effects from their chemotherapy. [Int J Breast Cancer. 2015;2015:145647.] A high CRP level is associated with insulin resistance.
"Prolonging the length of the nightly fasting interval may be a simple, nonpharmacologic strategy for reducing the risk of breast cancer recurrence," the researchers concluded. "Improvements in glucoregulation and sleep may be mechanisms linking nightly fasting with breast cancer prognosis."
JAMA Oncol. 2016 Aug 1;2(8):1049-55.
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