We think about the health of the heart, the brain, the skin and the lungs, but often that of the pancreas is completely ignored. Yet the pancreas is an essential gland for carrying out digestive processes and for controlling blood sugar. A very recent scientific research, which appeared in the prestigious journal Nature Communication thanks to the work of a team of American scientists from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center, brings attention to the health of the pancreas and how it is possible prevent tumors of this gland by monitoring the diet and supplements, which we sometimes take to lose weight or improve sports performance (Liu et al, Nature Communications, May 2022).
The essential role of the pancreas
The pancreas, as mentioned in the introduction, is a gland responsible for the synthesis of hormones and enzymes. In particular, the hormones released by the pancreas include insulin, which regulates the level of blood sugar. Instead, the enzymes are transported from the pancreatic ducts to the intestine where they participate in the digestion and absorption of nutrients. Unfortunately, the cellular degenerations of the pancreas that then evolve into tumors are constantly growing. Most pancreatic cancers arise from pre-cancerous lesions. It is estimated that, in the adult population over 40, between 60 and 80% present these pre-cancerous lesions. Fortunately, most of these lesions will never progress to cancer. However, since the cases of this tumor, which is also very difficult to treat, are increasing, it becomes essential to understand how the tumor evolves starting from pre-cancerous lesions and how this can be prevented.
What can cause pancreatic cancer, the study
Previous studies have shown that precancerous lesions of the pancreas contain high levels of a receptor, called PPARδ. Well, PPARδ performs several functions, including regulating lipid metabolism but also participating in tumor formation. It has been observed that activating this receptor leads to a dramatic acceleration of the progression of pre-cancerous lesions in actual tumors. But how is this receptor activated? This is where the research we are talking about today comes into play. The researchers were able to observe that the receptor is activated by two types of substances, natural and synthetic. The first is represented by fats, especially saturated fats of animal origin, contained in a high-fat diet. The second is given by synthetic substances used in some supplements designed for athletes with the aim of improving performance and burning fat, such as Cardarine. Several companies have stopped the production of supplements containing these substances, but, unfortunately, on the internet it is very easy to find supplements of this type on uncontrolled sites.
Today's article emphasizes the importance of following a healthy and varied diet, without exceeding in fats, especially of animal origin, such as lard, butter, meat, especially when the fat is visible, processed meat, full fat milk and cheeses. Not only that, you also need to pay close attention to supplements that promise improved performance, fatigue reduction and weight loss with just one pill. The fight against obesity is done with diet and with an active lifestyle, but always without exaggerating. You do not need to go beyond your limits, which is not even good for the body. In fact, excessive physical activity increases the production of free radicals. Moderate physical activity, performed consistently, is the best ally for health, not supplements of dubious origin. With these precautions the whole body gains health, even the pancreas, which can thus continue to carry out its vital functions undisturbed.