Whose blood is better at killing cancer cells? People who eat a standard diet and exercise strenuously or those who eat a plant-based diet and just exercise moderately?
This dramatic strengthening of cancer defenses was after 14 days of a plant-based diet and exercise, they were out walking 30 to 60 minutes a day. Although Pritikin started out reversing chronic disease through diet alone, later—to his credit—he added an exercise component as well. That’s great for the patients, but scientifically it makes it hard to tease out which is doing what. Maybe the only reason their blood started becoming so effective at suppressing cancer growth was because of the exercise—maybe the diet component had nothing to do with it. So they put it do the test.
They set up an experiment with three groups. The first group did nothing—the control group, the second did the diet and exercise, and the third group was just exercise. The diet and exercise group had been on a plant-based diet for 14 years along with moderate exercise—like just walking every day. The second group was just exercise, but they were hardcore. Not just exercise, but 14 years of daily strenuous hour-long exercise, like calisthenics. But, they ate the standard American diet. In fact they were actually overweight. They had been killing themselves in the gym every day for 14 years and still their BMI averaged 26.5, whereas of course the guys on plant-strong diet were ideal body weight. But let’s see who’s better fighting cancer.
They took petri dishes brimming full of human prostate cancer cells and dripped blood from each of the three groups on different dishes to see whose blood kicked more cancer butt. What do you think they found?
Whose blood was better at killing cancer cells? This is a graph measuring cancer cell apoptosis, or programmed cell death. Cancer cells programmed to commit suicide. It’s one way the body gets of rid of cancer cells. Basically our immune system taps them on the shoulder, and says look, you know there’s only way this is going to end, don't you? Why don’t you take the honorable way out. It will be quicker, easier. If they start with the chemo and everything—it’s going to get messy. Take the easy way out, and just, kill yourself, which our immune system is sometimes capable of convincing cancer cells to do.
Here’s the blood of the control group. Not very persuasive. Cancer’s like take your programmed cell death and shove it.
And as we saw before, here’s the effect of the blood of those in the Pritikin group. After 14 years on a plant-based diet you can bet their bloodstream was clearing cancer cells left and right.
What about the hardcore exercise group here in the middle? Did they clear cancer just as good as the Pritkin group? If that's the case then it wasn't the diet at all—the exercise was the critical component. Were they somewhere in the middle, showing that exercise helped, but not as good as the plant-based diet group? Or were they down here with the control group. Maybe exercise helps with other things, but just not killing cancer?
And what they found was this. Exercise worked! But diet and exercise worked better. Here’s an actual photomicrograph of the cells in the control petri dish stained so that they’d release light when they died. As you can see in the control group, there were a few cancer cells dying. Even if you are a couch potato eating fried potatoes, your body’s not totally defenseless. But here’s the hard-core strenuous exercise group. Cancer cells dying left and right. And then here’s what happens when you drip on the blood of someone who just walks a bit every day—but, eats a plant based diet. You get a cancer cell suicide tsunami.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Kerry Skinner.
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This is the third of a 15 video series exploring this phenomenon, which I attempted to summarize in Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death. Make sure to see yesterday's video-of-the-day Developing an Ex Vivo Cancer Proliferation Bioassay, which describes the experimental protocol in more detail. Even though diet appears more powerful than exercise in terms of rallying one's cancer defenses it doesn't mean we can't do both! In fact eating certain plants can improve athletic performance—check out my video series that starts with Doping With Beet Juice and ends with So Should We Drink Beet Juice Or Not?. Exercise itself may be protective against breast cancer, and be instrumental in Reversing Cognitive Decline. If a healthy diet can slow down the abnormal growth of prostate cancer cells, how about the abnormal growth of normal prostate cells? Find out in tomorrow's video-of-the-day Some Prostates Are Larger Than Others.
For some context, please check out my associated blog posts: Top 10 Most Popular Videos of the Year, Cancer-Proofing Your Body, How Do Plant-Based Diets Fight Cancer?, Vegan Men: More Testosterone But Less Cancer, Treadmill Desks: Stand Up For Health, and Flaxseeds for Prostate Cancer
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