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August 1, 2007

Caffeine And Exercise Markedly Decreases Risk Of Skin Cancer

Topics: Exercise and Cancer

The results of a study by scientists at Rutgers University in New Jersey doesn't mean that you can ditch your sun screen, but it does suggest that you might want to include caffeine and exercise in your sun protection regimen.

According to the researchers, exercise and moderate caffeine consumption somehow made hairless mice better able to destroy precancerous cells whose DNA had been damaged by ultraviolet-B radiation, enabling the mice to ward off sun-induced skin cancer:

The researchers studied groups of hairless mice that were exposed to lamps generating ultraviolet-B radiation that damaged DNA in their skin cells.

One group drank water containing the human equivalent of one or two cups of coffee a day. A second group exercised on a running wheel. A third group exercised and drank the caffeine. A fourth group neither exercised nor drank caffeine.

Both caffeine and exercise alone increased by roughly 100 percent the mice's ability to kill off precancerous cells that could lead to skin cancer compared to the mice that did neither. But the mice that did both showed a nearly 400 percent increase in this ability, the researchers found.

The researchers are eager to discover if the findings would apply to humans, but in the meantime warned people not to give up the sunscreen.

In an earlier study published by researchers at Rutgers back in 2006, scientists reported that oral administration of green tea or caffeine to SKH-1 mice inhibited ultraviolet B light (UVB)-induced skin carcinogenesis, and decreased dermal fat thickness while increasing locomotor activity. Histopathology studies revealed that running wheel exercise decreased the number of non-malignant tumors (primarily keratoacanthomas) by 34% and total tumors per mouse by 32% in both models, and running wheel exercise decreased the formation of squamous cell carcinomas in the UVB-induced complete carcinogenesis model by 27%. In addition, the size of keratoacanthomas and squamous cell carcinomas were decreased substantially in both models. The effects described in their report indicated that voluntary running wheel exercise inhibits UVB-induced skin tumorigenesis and may also inhibit tumor growth.

The current study reported on here has expanded on the earlier study by including the effects of both exercise and caffeine, and the results suggest, but do not confirm in humans, that exercise and moderate caffeine consumption together could help ward off sun-induced skin cancer.

Cross posted from Hyscience

Posted by Richard at August 1, 2007 10:21 AM

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