How do our cells know when to tip the scale in favor of more dividing with less dying and when to come back into balance? A key signal is IGF-1, a growth hormone called insulin-like growth factor number one. IGF-1 levels go up when you’re a kid so you grow and then come back down when you’re done growing. Should your levels stay a bit too high as an adult, though, there’s a constant message sent to your cells to grow, grow, grow, divide, don’t die, keep going, keep growing. Not surprisingly, the more IGF-1 we have in our bloodstream, the higher our risk for many types of cancer.
When you’re a kid, growth is good, but too much growth when we’re all grown up can mean cancer. In my 90-second video, Cancer-Proofing Mutation, I describe Laron Syndrome, a type of dwarfism caused by congenital IGF-1 deficiency. Those affected don’t have that IGF-1 spurt in childhood so they grow up short-statured, but not having an excess of IGF-1 in their systems as an adult makes them nearly cancer-proof. This raises the question of whether one can achieve the best of both worlds by ensuring adequate IGF-1 levels during childhood and then suppressing excess growth promotion in adulthood. This can be done with a plant-based diet as I described in last week’s Care2 posts Cancer-Proofing Your Body and Treating an Enlarged Prostate With Diet, as well as in today’s video pick above.