For the study, researchers from Rutgers Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy in New Jersey exposed 160 mice to UV light, which is known to cause skin cancer, and then gave one group of mice coffee, another group an exercise wheel, a third group coffee plus an exercise wheel, and a control group plain water, for 14 weeks.
The results showed that mice that were given a dose of caffeine and exercised on the wheel had 62 percent fewer skin tumors than mice that didn’t exercise or consume coffee. The tumors’ size also decreased by 85 percent.
“We found the combination of coffee and exercise can reduce sunlight-caused skin cancer formation in mice,” said Dr Yao Ping Lu, associate research professor of chemical biology and director of skin cancer prevention at the Rutgers Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, as reported in Dailymail.
Both caffeine and exercise alone also had cancer-preventing benefits, but the benefit was not as great as when the two were combined. The coffee-only mice had 27 percent fewer skin tumors and a 61 percent decrease in tumor size, compared with control mice. While in the exercise-only mice, the researchers found a 35 percent decrease in tumor development and a 70 percent reduction in size.
Coffee plus exercise also led to reduced inflammation in mice by 92%. Dr Lu believes the common link is inflammation, which associated with an increased risk of skin cancer.
“I believe we may extrapolate these findings to humans and anticipate that we would benefit from these combination treatments as well,” Lu added.