What successfully protects you from colon cancer

If people are on the move a lot, this reduces their risk of developing colon cancer

Colon cancer is common around the world. Unfortunately, Germany is no exception in this case. Early diagnosis is important for the successful treatment of colon cancer, but unfortunately the disease is usually only recognized very late. Prevention of colorectal cancer is extremely important. Researchers have now found that there is a relatively simple way to protect yourself from the risk of developing colon cancer. A lot of exercise leads to a reduced risk of colon cancer.

In their investigation, the scientists from the German Institute for Nutritional Research (DifE) found that a lot of exercise can protect people from colorectal cancer. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "International Journal of Epidemiology".

What factors does the movement affect in particular?

If people exercise a lot, this leads to a reduced risk of developing colon cancer. This finding could be related to the positive effect of physical activity on the waist circumference, the experts speculate. The effects of exercise on metabolic health and vitamin D status also appear to be associated with a reduced likelihood of colon cancer.

Scientists analyze the data from around 520,000 subjects

An international team of scientists has now evaluated a large long-term observational study. When analyzing the data from around 520,000 women and men, the experts led by Krasimira Aleksandrova and Heiner Boeing from the German Institute for Nutritional Research realized that exercise can protect against the development of cancer.

The experts evaluate data from the EPIC study

There are several different studies that indicate that exercise can reduce the risk of colon cancer. So far, however, it was not really known which mechanisms underlie this observation. As part of the study, called European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), medical professionals were now looking for various biological markers that influence the observed risk relationship.

Exercise can reduce the risk of colon cancer by about 25 percent

The scientists compared the medical data of a total of 713 participants who contracted colon cancer for the first time in their lives with the data of 713 healthy women and men from the control group. At the time of the first data collection, the participants in the study were between 25 and 70 years old. The data were collected between 1992 and 2003. After analyzing the data, the results showed that physically active people are better protected against colon cancer. Physically active people who consume more than 90 metabolic equivalents a week have a 25 percent reduced risk of colon cancer compared to less active people.

Three biological markers have a significant impact on the risk of colon cancer

In addition, the results of the study show that three biological markers can significantly influence the risk of colon cancer. These include vitamin D levels, blood levels of the soluble leptin receptor and waist size. These three markers affect the risk relationship between physical activity and colon cancer by 45 percent.

Reducing belly fat can protect against colon cancer

But why do these three markers have such a big impact on the risk of colon cancer? The waist circumference is, for example, an important indicator of the so-called body fat distribution. A large waistline indicates a large amount of belly fat. The positive effect of physical activity can probably be explained by the fact that it leads to a reduction in abdominal fat, the scientists speculate. This reduction is probably due to an improved body metabolism. This is also supported by the influence of the soluble leptin receptor on the risk relationship observed during the study, because this is considered an indicator of the metabolic status.

Outdoor exercise seems to be particularly effective

Apparently, the influence of vitamin D levels leads to outdoor exercise contributing to a reduced risk of colon cancer. A sufficient supply of vitamin D indicates that at least the face, arms and hands are regularly exposed to sunlight, because the body then produces the vitamin through the skin with the help of sunlight. Of course, nutrition also has an impact on our vitamin D value.

Physical activity keeps the metabolism healthy and protects against diseases

"Our study shows once again how important it is to be physically active in order to maintain a healthy metabolism and thus prevent diseases such as colon cancer," said the author Aleksandrova in a press release from the German Institute for Nutritional Research. "The implementation of this knowledge in socially actively supported prevention strategies could make a significant contribution to avoiding the early and frequent occurrence of this type of cancer and thus to prevent a lot of personal suffering," added Heiner Boeing, director of the Potsdam EPIC study and epidemiology department at DifE. (as)

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