It’s a proven fact that certain diets — such as a meat heavy diet — increase the risks of cancer in humans. But a recent study has also shown that decreasing protein intake in the diet would actually reduce cancerous tumors. Tests conducted on mice are promising.
What if the effectiveness of the immune system against cancer cells could be enhanced by a diet precisely limited in protein? This is the question that Inserm researchers from the University of Côte d’Azur in France asked themselves before studying the effects of restrictive diets on the growth of cancerous tumors in mice.
They observed that a diet less rich in proteins could limit the development of tumors by increasing the immune response.
For this study, the researchers compared the effect of several diets on tumor growth in mice, more or less depleted of carbohydrates or proteins, but of the same caloric intake. The results showed that a diet depleted in protein but not in carbohydrates had a positive impact on the limitation of tumor growth and longer life span of the mice. “It has been found that the limitation of tumor growth is not due to an inhibition of the proliferation of cancer cells as one might think, but to an increase in the effectiveness of the immune response, also called immunosurveillance,” explain the researchers .
Clinical trials must define the protein restriction necessary for the diet to be effective in humans, whose immunosurveillance and metabolism have significant differences with those of the mouse.