Colon Cancer, Obesity, and Inflammation
Several new studies into colon cancer have identified early changes that turn on wrong gene switches that in turn cause colon cancer. One study links obesity to colon cancer, the other study links digestive inflammation to colon cancer. The good news is that by taking proactive steps these adverse changes can be easily stopped.
For the first time a clear gene-related link explains how obesity causes colon cancer. Adiponectin, like leptin, is a hormone signal that comes from fat cells. It maintains normal levels when leptin is working properly. When leptin levels elevate during obesity (leptin resistance) then adiponectin levels improperly drop. This leads directly to insulin resistance and Type II diabetes. Some individuals have a gene alteration that enables higher than normal production of adiponectin, which also confers significant protection against colon cancer. The research, published in JAMA, showed that low adiponectin significantly elevated colon cancer risk. Earlier research has also pointed to low adiponectin as a factor in various cancers, especially breast cancer.
Other research shows that during digestive inflammation a gene called P-Cadherin malfunctions, leading to the spreading of inflamed digestive tissue and setting the stage for colon cancer. The malfunctioning gene was suffering from hypomythelation, meaning it lacked methyl donors. Key methyl donors are folic acid and B12. Low folic acid is clearly linked to colon cancer, and this new data explains how a lack of folate results in the spreading of unhealthy inflamed tissue in the digestive tract, increasing the risk for colon cancer. Probiotics, which help lower digestive inflammation, have also been shown to be protective. It should also be pointed out that the methyl donor properties of B vitamins are vital for weight loss and healthy metabolism.
We also know that a lack of calcium or vitamin D handicaps gene signals that would cause colon cancer cells to die. And, interestingly, adequate calcium and vitamin D also support healthy metabolism of calories.
Collectively, these studies mean that a person with a history of digestive problems who is also overweight has multiple factors of colon cancer risk. Since cancer would take 10-15 years to form as a result of these stressors. That gives many people ample warning and time to take action. Colon cancer is the second deadliest form of cancer (behind lung cancer) and only ½ the people treated survive. Many natural strategies help both digestion and weight issues at the same time.