Weight and Cancer

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A general overview of weight gain and cancer

An increased level of fat deposition in the body leads to weight gain which affects the physical and mental health of an individual that gradually reduces life expectancy.

Severe weight gain causes obesity.

Obesity is one of the considerable factors for DALYs (Disability-adjusted life years), which means it increases premature death.

A research study reported that approximately 2.3% of global DALYs are caused due to obesity, resulting in the death of 2.8 million people each year.

Cancer has a major impact on society all over the world.

According to the American Cancer Society, 5, 00,000 Americans in the United States die due to cancer.

Abnormal and uncontrollable cell growth is the root cause of cancer or malignancy.

Classification of cancer depends upon the type of cells that are initially affected.

Almost 100 or more varieties of cancerous growth are identified by medical science; most common are blood cancer, lymph cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, liver cancer, skin cancer, stomach cancer, pancreas cancer, colon cancer, and so on.

Cancer can develop in any part of the body when tumor growth is spread to associated parts.

Cell proliferation or limited apoptosis, abnormal base pairing in DNA or increased oxidative stress due to excessive production of free radicals are different pathophysiologies of cancer.

The signs and symptoms depend upon the organ that is primarily affected.

The correlation between obesity and cancer

There is a correlation between obesity and cancer incidence.

Although obesity also increases the risk of other multiple diseases including cardiovascular diseases, stroke, diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders (especially osteoarthritis – a highly disabling degenerative disease of the joints), gallstones, and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, pulmonary hypertension, sleep apnea, etc.

The mechanism behind this can be illustrated in the following way:

Obesity increases the risk of insulin resistance and the combination of these physiological changes often elevates the production of leptin hormone.

Higher leptin level has a direct impact on increasing

hyperinsulinemia, promoting inflammation and inducing aromatase enzymes that raise estrogen production in postmenopausal women.

Research evidence demonstrates the positive association of higher leptin with cancer cell growth.

Another mechanism also supports the association of CVD with diabetes and cancer.

The adipose tissue releases cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin-6 (IL-6).

These combined factors are responsible for promoting inflammation, insulin resistance, and endothelial dysfunction which is linked with type-2 diabetes and coronary artery disease (CAD), as well as supporting cancer progression by boosting cell proliferation and reducing apoptosis.


Currently, two types of anti-obesity drugs are available:

One of these is orlistat, which reduces intestinal fat absorption through inhibition of pancreatic lipase.

The other is sibutramine, which is an anorectic, or appetite suppressant.

Both these categories of drugs are having a range of side effects, including hypertension, headache, insomnia, dry mouth, and constipation.

On the other hand, we are aware of several conventional anticancer therapies like chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery, which have various side effects.

Therefore, medical scientists are keen to discover potential anti-obese, as well as anticancer natural products which can increase patients’ compliance, and save them from high-cost medications and potentially hazardous side effects associated with them.

Nigella sativa as an Adjuvant therapy

Researchers found Nigella sativa or black cumin, a unique natural product that is tiny black triangular-shaped seeds and possesses the immense potential to combat both obesity and cancer.

Nigella sativa as an  anti-obesity agent
Hypercholesterolemia is frequently found in patients with obesity.

BMI gets increased more in the hypercholesterolemic individual and is associated with increased relative weight.

The increased relative weight is also associated with a deleterious effect on blood lipids.

Sativa can able to perform the choleretic function.

This can be achieved either by reducing the synthesis of cholesterol by hepatocytes or by inhibiting its fractional reabsorption from the gut.

The active constituents present in NSativava are linoleic acid, oleic acid, eicosadienoic acid, and dihomo linolenic acid, which are all unsaturated fattacidsid anthers phytosterols components, which have a hypocholesterolemic effect and decrease cholesterol level.

The anti-oxidant property of black seed also provides preventive action against obesity and its related complication.

As per the expert’s recommendation, aerobic exercise with NSativava supplementation helps to control cholesterol levels and obesity.

In addition, food craving is also reduced by the mild anorexic effect of the N. sativa, which further reduces belly fat.

Nigella sativaan  as an anticancer agent
N. Sativa is one of the primary sources of thymoquinone, which has a potent antioxidant, cytotoxic, anti-carcinogenic, anti-proliferative, pro-apoptotic, anti-mutagenic, and anti-metastatic effect.

[9] N. Sativa significantly decreases cell proliferation and alters morphological changes induced by carcinogenic progression.

Tumor initiation and progression are inhibited by N. sativa due to its anti-inflammatory effect, and immunity-boosting properties.

The anticancer effect ofSativativa is achieved by cell shrinkage and membrane damage, in association with DNA damage and cell death.

The anti-tumorigenesis and anticancer activity of N. sativa are also attributed to enhancing the natural killer (NK) cytotoxic activity against cancer cells and regulating iNOS, p53, and caspases signaling pathways.

The anticancer activity of N. sativa is tested through several animal research and laboratory investigations, and the evidence showed positive results against multiple cancerous growths including blood cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer, renal cancer, prostate cancer, cervical cancer, etc.




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