The P53 Gene
The p53 gene plays a role in regulating what happens to damaged DNA sequences before they lead to problems in cell development. When it is functioning properly, one of two things will happen to disorderly cells (4):
- Either the defective DNA is fixed and the cell returns to its normal growth and division cycle
- The defective DNA cannot be repaired and the p53 gene signals for apoptosis of the disorderly cell, halting the potential for cancerous growth.
In a large proportion of cancers, the p53 gene has been inactivated. We now know that a high sugar diet has the potential to inhibit the p53 gene. Certain nutritional deficiencies may also have the same effect (such as zinc).
Luckily, there are a number of plant based food compounds that have the ability to help restore proper p53 function that are discussed later in this article.
IGF-1 stands for insulin-like growth factor. IGF-1 is growth-stimulating hormone that works to regulate the reproduction and regeneration of cells. Children who are in the rapid development stages of life tend to have high levels of IGF-1. When IGF-1 is elevated in those who are not in a rapid development stage of their life, however, it may serve as a catalyst for cancer growth.
Once again, there are a number of ways to inhibit the production of excessive IGF-1 including protein restriction, fasting, exercise, curcumin, resveratrol, and a number of other plant based food compounds.
AMPk stands for Adenosine Monophosphate-activated protein kinase. When ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) is broken down for energy within cells, phosphate groups are removed to form ADP and AMP (Adenosine Diphosphate and Adenosine Monophosphate, respectively).
When the ratio of AMP to ATP is increased, it is a sign that energy is getting low and AMP-K signals the upregulation of ATP production. In this manner, AMP-K is an energy regulating molecule.
An upregulation in the AMPk pathway can actually help to fight cancer by diverting sugar away from cancer cells and into healthy cells, limiting cancer’s fuel supply (5). As the trend continues, carbohydrate restriction and numerous plant based compounds have been shown to upregulate the AMPk pathway to help the body fight cancer.