Anti-Cancer Combo: Caffeine + Exercise

Skin cancer risks may be reduced with caffeine and exercise

April 3, 2012 / Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

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(dailyRx News) Is coffee good for you or bad for you? More precisely, is caffeine helpful or hurtful to your health? It's been a steaming hot debate for years. A new study suggests that sipping away could nip away at your cancer risks.

Caffeine and exercise appear to have a delicious impact on decreasing risks for skin cancer. And the combo may also play a role in preventing inflammation that goes hand-in-hand with obesity-related cancers.

"Consider drinking coffee and moving every day to keep skin cancer at bay."

These findings are the results of studies conducted and led by Yao-Ping Lu, Ph.D., associate research professor of chemical biology and director of skin cancer prevention at the Rutgers Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy.

“We found that this combination treatment can decrease sunlight-caused skin cancer formation in a mouse model,” said  Lu, who presented his findings at the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2012, held March 31-April 4.

He thinks that these results will apply to humans, who will - like mice - benefit from the combination.

For this study, investigators looked at the impact caffeine and exercise had on mice with high risks for developing skin cancer.

The animals that consumed caffeine and then ran on a running wheel had 62 percent fewer tumors, and the volume of tumors was reduced by 85 percent compared with non-caffeinated mice that didn't work out.

Both caffeine or exercise alone had benefits, but not as much as the combination. 

In addition to the cancer benefits, the researchers found that the exercise/caffeine duo helped to reduce inflammation and weight.

Mice fed a high-fat diet had less parametrial fat pad -  the largest fat pad on mice - after two weeks. Those that drank and moved saw a 63 percent reduction; caffeine drinkers lost 30 percent; and exercisers had a 56 percent fat pad decrease.

What's the key? Lu believes these activities calmed inflammation which in turn led to the protective effects seen. He noted that inflammation dropped by as much as 92 percent in the guys and gals that imbibed in caffeine and ran the wheel.

Study results are considered preliminary before they're published in a peer-reviewed journal.

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Review Date: 
April 2, 2012
Last Updated:
April 3, 2012