Prolonging Duration Of Nightly Fast May Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

Catherine Marinac Doctoral Candidate UC San Diego/San Diego State University Joint-Doctoral Program in Public Health La Jolla, CA 92093MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Catherine Marinac

Doctoral Candidate
UC San Diego/San Diego State University
Joint-Doctoral Program in Public Health
La Jolla, CA 92093

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The dietary advice for cancer prevention usually focuses on limiting consumption of red meat, alcohol, and refined grains, and increasing consumption of plant foods. However, new evidence suggests that other fundamental aspects of diet, such when and how often people eat, can also play a role in cancer risk. For example, research in mice suggests that decreasing the number of hours we eat during the day, and increasing the length of time we fast overnight can improve metabolic parameters and reduce risk of developing a number of chronic diseases including cancer.

Similar to the data from animal models, we found that women who fasted for longer periods of time overnight had significantly better control over blood glucose concentrations – and these effects were independent of how much women ate. This finding is relevant to cancer research because people who have poor glucose control are significantly more likely to develop certain types of cancer. It is hypothesized that high concentrations of circulating glucose may fuel cancer growth and progression.

MedicalResearch: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: If these findings are reproduced, it would mean that increasing the duration of overnight fasting could be a novel strategy to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. This is a simple dietary change that we believe most women can understand and adopt, and it may have a big impact on public health. In addition, this dietary recommendation wouldn’t require complicated counting of calories or nutrients.

MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Our group is hoping to gain funding for a large-scale trial to confirm these findings. Specifically, we propose to conduct a randomized controlled trial testing the effects of a habitual prolonged nightly fast on metabolic health. We hypothesize that this simple and feasible intervention targets fasting-responsive pathways related to the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and many cancers.

Citation:

Prolonged Nightly Fasting and Breast Cancer Risk: Findings from NHANES (2009–2010)

Catherine R. Marinac, Loki Natarajan, Dorothy D. Sears, Linda C. Gallo, Sheri J. Hartman, Elva Arredondo, and Ruth E. Patterson

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev Published OnlineFirst April 20, 2015; doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-14-1292

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MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Catherine Marinac (2015). Prolonging Duration Of Nightly Fast May Reduce Breast Cancer Risk