Manna Blog

How Can Diet Affect a Person’s Risk of Developing Bowel Cancer?

Molecular Mechanisms of Bowel Cancer

Ever heard the statement that, “the food that we eat, has a big impact on our health and wellbeing”? Well certainly, this statement is no longer news to our ears as it has been shared in more than one platform. Just in case you had not come across it, then let me take this time to inform you that, the foods that we consume have a big impact on our body systems, and thus affect our overall health.

I was doing some research for one of my university assignments when I came across credible information which I am about to share with you. Notably, if you know me, you will be very aware that I love eating meat and I feel that eating meat helps me to have more energy for my gym regime. However, my research on the impact of eating meat has raised serious concerns. To that end, I am hoping to share some of my findings with the intention of encouraging you all to make informed decisions about what you put in your bodies and the impact thereof. By way of reference, I took the scientific approach to obtain concrete results and up-to-date resources for my research: so grab your cup of tea and let us get started with some health chemistry and mechanisms!

Meat consumed in excessive amounts gives excessive amounts of heme iron. Nitrate and nitrite are food preservatives present in processed red meat. These compounds are broken down to nitrogen oxides in the gastrointestinal tract (an organ system responsible for transporting and digesting foodstuffs, absorbing nutrients, and expelling waste). Nitrogen oxide reacts with either secondary amines or amides to form N-nitroso compounds (NOC). An increase in red meat consumption significantly increases the production and thus high levels of NOC in the colon. A group of NOCs called N-nitrosamines, which are activated by cytochrome P450 isoenzymes go through metabolic activation before reacting with DNA, causing mutation - this causes DNA damage, triggering tumor development and progression in the bowel.

Additionally, another group of NOC known as N-methyl-N-nitroso compounds form toxic adducts called O-methylguanine (O MeG). O-methylguanine is a mutagen – it is metabolized to intermediates which are highly reactive agents that react with DNA bases, often causing G: C – A: T mutation to DNA base pairs. This mutagenic characteristic of O MeG often leads to the initiation of a colorectal tumour development.

Furthermore, heme iron, present in meat has been implicated in meat - promoted colon carcinogenesis. Red and processed meat consumption of over 80g per day is considered to be excessive meat intake and thus, increases bowel cancer risk. Dietary heme is metabolised by heme oxygenase, producing ferrous iron in the process. This gives rise to the production of hydrogen peroxide, a Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) 15. In turn, hydrogen peroxide induces genetic mutations which stimulates an inflammatory response and increased cytotoxicity in the bowel. As a result of the mutation, oncogenes could be turned on or tumor suppressor genes could be turned off, initiating colorectal cancer development.


Coupled with the above findings, please allow me to cast your minds on one of my favourite books, ‘Counsels on Health- chapter 52,pg 132.2 - 134.2’ ‘We do not mark out any precise line to be followed in diet; but we do say that in countries where there are fruits, grains, and nuts in abundance, flesh food is not the right food for God's people. I have been instructed that flesh food has a tendency to animalize the nature, to rob men and women of that love and sympathy which they should feel for everyone, and to give the lower passions control over the higher powers of the being. If meat eating was ever healthful, it is not safe now.

Cancers, tumors, and pulmonary diseases are largely caused by meat eating. We are not to make the use of flesh food a test of fellowship, but we should consider the influence that professed believers who use flesh foods have over others. As God's messengers, shall we not say to the people: "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God"? 1 Corinthians 10:31. Shall we not bear a decided testimony against the indulgence of perverted appetite? Will any who are ministers of the gospel, proclaiming the most solemn truth ever given to mortals, set an example in returning to the fleshpots of Egypt? Will those who are supported by the tithe from God's storehouse permit themselves by self-indulgence to poison the life-giving current flowing through their veins? Will they disregard the light and warnings that God has given them?

The health of the body is to be regarded as essential for growth in grace and the acquirement of an even temper. If the stomach is not properly cared for, the formation of an upright, moral character will be hindered. The brain and nerves are in sympathy with the stomach. Erroneous eating and drinking result in erroneous thinking and acting. All are now being tested and proved. We have been baptized into Christ, and if we will act our part by separating from everything that would drag us down and make us what we ought not to be, there will be given us strength to grow up into Christ, who is our living head, and we shall see the salvation of God. Only when we are intelligent in regard to the principles of healthful living can we be fully aroused to see the evils resulting from improper diet. Those who, after seeing their mistakes, have courage to change their habits, will find that the reformatory process requires a struggle and much perseverance; but when correct tastes are once formed, they will realize that the use of the food which they formerly regarded as harmless was slowly but surely laying the foundation for dyspepsia and other diseases’


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