Type 2 Diabetes is a known precursor for many different cancers.
Type 2 Diabetes also appears to confer a significantly greater risk in women than men for cancers of the mouth, stomach, kidney and for leukaemia.
With the knowledge that chronic inflammation fuels complications of Type 2 Diabetes, including cardiovascular and kidney issues, determining the underlying causes of inflammation in Type 2 Diabetes is very important for the development of treatments. The prevailing assumption has held glucose to be the main determinant.
However, new research from scientists at the University of Kentucky has shown that changes to mitochondria drive chronic inflammation from cells exposed to certain types of fats. This new finding does not disprove glucose as a mechanism for inflammation but it does shed light on the puzzling situation of people with tight glucose control still seeing disease progression.
What Are Mitochondria?
Mitochondria are organelles found in every human cell except for red blood cells. The more energy a cell needs the more mitochondria it will have. Mitochondria take in nutrients, break them down and create energy for a vast number of cellular functions.
Improving Mitochondrial Health
With the results of this study in mind, improving the health mitochondria is a logical piece of the puzzle for cancer prevention.
Let’s look at some ways to do this.
Mitochondria are essential providers of energy for cellular survival. They are also key to the function of apoptosis, or programmed cellular death. Exercise is key to increasing mitochondrial health and biogenesis.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to remove damaged mitochondria from the body through a process known as mitophagy. It also improves mitochondria homeostasis leading to more optimal functioning.
As well, by avoiding over consumption you reduce the amount of fuel that your mitochondria is required to burn. This serves to limit free radicals, a by-product of mitochondrial function.
The deleterious effects of environmental toxins on mitochondrial function has been studied extensively in humans. Doing your best to avoid environmental toxins, improving the environmental health of your home and workplace and supporting your natural detoxification pathways to aid your system in the elimination of acquired toxins are vital for supporting your mitochondrial health.
Poor diet can lead to excessive free radicals and inflammation. Your mitochondria also produce free radicals. Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables provides needed antioxidants to counteract harmful effects of these free radicals.