Maybe not everyone is talking about Insulin-like Growth factor (IGF), but the hormone is increasingly being cited as a contributor to many types of cancer, especially colorectal cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer. With more people becoming actively involved in lowering their cancer risks, IGF is something that most people have read about or heard about.
The knowledge that IGF can affect cancer risks is not a new one, with studies in the 1990s demonstrating the link between the presence of the hormone and risks of developing cancer, as well as the chances of cancer spreading and growing. But increasing accuracy in identifying these risks and eliminating them has brought the hormone back into the spotlight. So, what is IGF? And how does it contribute to the development of cancer?
What is IGF?
IGF is a growth hormone that is essential to normal growth in childhood but which, in adults, can promote abnormal cell growth and the metastasis and growth of cancer. When we eat, the pancreas secretes insulin and the wall of the small intestine secretes IGF. This is part of a process which allows children to grow; their bodies take on sugar and protein that are essential for nourishment and allow tissues to grow properly through, amongst other things, the production of IGF.
IGF promotes the growth of rapidly dividing cells, which is great for kids. It allows them to grow healthy and strong at a normal rate. However, it’s not such good news for adults. Although some athletes have been known to use IGF to build muscle, the main fast-dividing cells in adults are bone marrow cells, fat cells and cancer cells. An adult that has a mutated IGF gene, causing higher than normal levels of IGF, is likely to gain weight more easily and is at a greater risk of developing cancer.
How Does Diet Affect IGF Levels?
Spiking levels of insulin and IGF can stimulate cancer cells to grow as well as making them more able to invade adjoining tissues, whilst lower IGF levels are linked to cancer suppression. This research resulted in a new type of chemotherapy that is designed to lower IGF levels within the blood.
Your eating habits directly affect your levels of insulin and IGF. If you are diabetic, you will be aware of the direct relationship between normal insulin levels and the food that you eat. White carbohydrates and sugary food cause a rapid increase in insulin and IGF levels, as they offer the body a quick and easily digestible hit of sugar. More complex food takes longer for your body to break down so doesn’t cause spikes in insulin levels.
The following dietary habits can cause a rise in IGF and insulin:
- Refined foods are a quick and easy source of energy which quickly load the body with sugar and carbohydrates; go for whole foods, such as fruit and whole grain products.
- Dairy. Milk is packed with IGF as it is designed to feed calves and help them grow quickly. In addition, non-organic milk will contain bovine growth hormone. Cheese contains higher levels of concentration of IGF. Cut back on dairy when you can and try to only consume organic dairy products where possible.
- Large portions. We are all tempted to overeat, or go back for more. But large portions mean more carbohydrate and sugar to break down, causing raised levels of insulin and IGF. Try to keep portions small; 3 smaller meals a day with a health snack in between is much better than 3 big meals.
- Food Combinations. When you eat carbohydrates you can help to limit the rise in insulin by matching it with protein and fat; adding avocado to your sandwich can help to limit the insulin and IGF spike that comes with the bread (and, of course, if the bread is wholemeal, even better!).
Alternative Cancer Treatment
At Alternative Cancer Treatment Mexico we employ a unique 5 step program that is designed to remove the causes of cancer and to promote optimal cellular health. After helping the body to regain its balance through diet and detoxification, we are boost your immune system and help you to fight cancer, naturally.
For more information about the range of cancer that we treat, contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.