Quickest & Easiest Way To Decrease Depression Symptoms For Breast Cancer Patients

exercise-for-depression-cancer-treatment-protocolWe’ve known for decades that even a single bout of exercise can elevate our mood, but could it be enough to be used as a treatment for major depression?

We’ve known that physical activity has been associated with decreased symptoms of depression. For example, if you look at a cross-section of 8,000 people across the country, those that exercised regularly were less likely to have a major depression diagnosis. That’s just a snapshot in time, though. In that study, the researcher openly acknowledges this may be a case of reverse causation. Maybe exercise didn’t cut down on depression, maybe depression cut down on exercise. The reason depression may be associated with low physical activity is that people may feel too lousy to get out of bed. What we’ve needed was an interventional study where you take people who are already depressed and randomize them into an exercise intervention.

That is what researchers from Duke University Medical Center did. They randomized men and women over age 50 with major depression to two groups: one who did an aerobic exercise program for four months and another that took an antidepressant drug called Zoloft. In my video Exercise vs. Drugs for Depression you can see a graph of their changes. Before exercise, their Hamilton Depression scores were up around 18 (anything over seven is considered depressed). Within four months, the drug group came down to normal, which are exactly what the drugs are supposed to do. What about the exercise-only group, though? Exercise had the same powerful effect.

The researchers concluded that an exercise training program may be considered an alternative to antidepressants for treatment of depression in older persons, given that they’ve shown that a group program of aerobic exercise is a feasible and effective treatment for depression, at least for older people.

Not so fast, though.

A “group program?” They had the exercise group folks come in three times a week for a group class. Maybe the only reason the exercise group got better is because they were forced to get out of bed and interact with people—maybe it was the social stimulation and had nothing to do with the actual exercise? Before you could definitively say that exercise can work as well as drugs, what we would need to see is the same study, but with an additional group who exercised alone with no extra social interaction. And those same Duke researchers did just that,

They created the largest exercise trial of patients with major depression conducted to date, and not just including older folks, but other adults as well with three different treatment groups this time: a home exercise group in addition to the supervised group exercise and the drug group as before.

And they all worked about just as well in terms of forcing the depression into remission. So we can say with confidence that exercise is comparable to antidepressant medication in the treatment of patients with major depressive disorder.

Putting all the best studies together, researchers indicate that exercise at least has a moderate antidepressant effect, and at best, exercise has a large effect on reductions in depression symptoms and could be categorized as a very useful and powerful intervention. Unfortunately, while studies support the use of exercise as a treatment for depression, exercise is rarely prescribed as a treatment for this common and debilitating problem.

Exercise may compare favorably to antidepressant medications as a first-line treatment for mild to moderate depression, but how much is that really saying? How effective are antidepressant drugs in the first place? Check out my video Do Antidepressant Drugs Really Work?

For dietary interventions that may improve mood, see:

Exercise can also help with ADHD (Treating ADHD Without Stimulants) and improve immunity (Preserving Immune Function in Athletes With Nutritional Yeast), not to mention extend our lives (Longer Life Within Walking Distance). But what we eat matters: Paleo Diets May Negate Benefits of Exercise.

In health,

Michael Greger, M.D.

Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous “meat defamation” trial. Currently Dr. Greger proudly serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United

Sports & Exercise as it Relates to Breast Cancer Survivors

Sports & Exercise as it Relates to Breast Cancer SurvivorsCancer patients often wonder whether or not they should be exercising after being treated for cancer. Some people believe that exercise helps cancer patients, while others believe they should be more restful.

One research study (1) looked into the effect of exercise and sports in patients suffering from breast cancer. They combined the results of 51 other studies that evaluated the physiological and psychological effects that exercise had on these breast cancer survivors. They found that sports and exercise were safe to undergo in breast cancer survivals and that they uniformly did better about their physical and mental health.

With this data, they concluded that breast cancer patients should be encouraged to exercise after their treatment for cancer.

Source: 1. Battaglini, CL, et al. Twenty-five years of research on the effects of exercise training in breast cancer survivors: A systematic review of the literature. World J Clin Oncol. 2014 May 10; 5(2): 177–190.

Dr. Adem Gunes Dr. Adem Gunes has built the world’s largest database of scientifically tested natural substances with proven effects in cancer treatments. In 2009, he was appointed as the Chief Physician of ProLife Clinic in Innsbruck, Austria, and played a key role in the establishment of the research laboratory. He is also the co-founder of the first Austrian hyperthermia center. Now, Dr. Adem works closely with cancer patients from around the world (including Germany, Thailand, Dubai) to recommend them a complementary cancer clinic or to create a personalized care plan for patients to follow at home.

Been Diagnosed With Cancer – When Do You Start To Exercise?

So you’ve been diagnosed with cancer and you want me to exercise?!So you’ve been diagnosed with cancer and you want me to exercise?! I heard this frequently when I approached ovarian cancer patients in chemotherapy clinics to participate in my research. I would sometimes sit for hours in the waiting rooms just to wait for a two minute conversation with a patient, in the hope to assist them to become more active.

I have no doubt that being diagnosed with cancer and having treatment is one of the most challenging things a person can ever go through, and without having cancer myself, i cannot act like I know what they are going through. However, what I do know – an emerging field of exercise oncology – the majority of patients, families and a lot of doctors do not know about. More and more support has been given by oncologists to tell their patients to be active and get moving, when in the past they were wrapped in cotton wool and told to rest. In fact, this has been shown in prospective studies for patients when asked how much they exercised, the ones who engaged in more, lived for longer.

Now going back to the original theme of when do you start to exercise? before or after surgery? during chemo? after chemo?

The answer is now.

Think of it this way – the healthier your body is from being active, the better you will recover from surgery, the stronger you will be during chemo and the more likely you will be back and feeling normal after treatment.

I’ve spoken with oncologists from around Australia and the world and I have told them exactly that. There have been studies for patients before surgery, during chemo and radiotherapy and after treatment, all showing benefits from increased aerobic activity (walking, cycling, aqua aerobics etc) and resistance training (weights).

The time to be active is now.

  1. A 5 minute walk around the block a day to start your regime.
  2. Next week aim at 10 minutes a day.
  3. The week after aim at 15 minutes.
  4. Before you know it, you have a larger endurance capacity, more energy and vitality again.
  5. Believe you can do it, because you can.

Please feel free to pass this blog onto any cancer survivor.

David Mizrahi About David Mizrahi: David currently works as a Clinical Research Associate at The Sydney Children’s Hospital. David is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist and received a Master of Science from the University of New South Wales.

Advice For Contacting David: Interested in consulting with oncology patients, as well as setting up exercise-based programs in hospitals and oncology clinics. Contact me for more information – E: d.mizrahi@unsw.edu.au or M: 0404177629.

Breast Cancer Chemotherapy Exercises, Diet and Supplements

Breast Cancer Chemotherapy ExercisesContributed by Jenni Hewster for Breast Cancer Authority Blog.

Breast Cancer Chemotherapy Exercises, Diet and Supplements for Maintaining Bone Health
Women who undergo certain types of chemotherapy have an increased risk of losing significant amounts of bone mass, for several reasons. One is that some chemotherapy drugs directly decrease the body’s calcium levels. In other cases, steroid treatments interfere with bone formation processes in the bone marrow. Another factor is that many women experience early menopause as a long-term consequence of chemotherapy; therefore osteoporosis may develop in some women at a relatively young age, because the likelihood of developing osteoporosis increases after menopause.

Exercising for Bone Health
Weight-bearing exercises like walking, running, and dancing are generally considered to be the best exercises for maintaining bone density, but exercises like yoga can provide a significant benefit too. Even though yoga isn’t considered a weight-bearing exercise, it improves muscle strength and flexibility, as well as balance and posture, and all of these things help support and stabilize the body, and make falls less likely. As well as this, improved general health and body strength makes weight-bearing exercise easier and more effective. Therefore, even if weight-bearing exercise isn’t always possible, gentler forms of movement like yoga still provide important benefits that help maintain bone health and density.

Diet and Supplements for Maintaining Bone Health
Conventional wisdom states that dairy products are the best way to get essential minerals like calcium, which is essential for bone health and maintaining bone density in the long term. This, of course, isn’t an option for vegans, and in fact there are many excellent vegan sources of all the nutrients that bones need to stay healthy, including magnesium, potassium, and vitamin K, in addition to calcium.

All three minerals—calcium, potassium, and magnesium—can be obtained from many plant sources. Green leafy vegetables are high in potassium and calcium, as are many varieties of beans, legumes, and nuts. Bananas are an excellent source of potassium, and brown rice, nuts (almonds in particular), oats, and beans all contain magnesium. Aim for 1000-1300 mg of calcium, 400 mg of magnesium, and 4,700 mg of potassium daily. Vitamin K is an easy nutrient for vegans, as it’s present in virtually all plants, but vitamin D is more difficult, as almost all dietary sources of this vitamin are animal-based. Mushrooms contain small amounts of vitamin D; apart from this, sun exposure and supplements are the best sources.

There are plenty of vegan supplements available, in the event that you decide you need some extra help in getting all the vitamins and minerals you need. When choosing supplements, it’s important to make sure you’re getting them in the right combination. In the case of calcium supplements, for example, one that also includes vitamin D is typically more effective, because the body needs it to absorb and use the calcium. However, many sources of vitamin D are not vegan so it’s typically better to choose separate supplements, and take them at the same time to get the same effect.

Andrew Weil. “Supplements for Bone and Joints.” Accessed May 3, 2014. Dietary supplements.
Kwikmed. “Complete Video Guide to Osteoporosis and Bone Health.” Accessed May 6, 2014. Science and research.
NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center. “What Breast Cancer Survivors Need to Know about Osteoporosis.” Accessed May 6, 2014. Osteoporosis after breast cancer.
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. “Possible Side Effects of Cancer Treatment.” Accessed May 6, 2014. How chemotherapy affects bones.
The Surgeon General. “Bone Health and Osteoporosis.” Accessed May 6, 2014. Bone density testing.
The Synergy Company. “Bone Renewal.” Accessed May 3, 2014. Dietary supplements for bones.

%d bloggers like this: