Cycling and its effect on the prostate:
The debate about prostate health and cycling got a renewed vigor recently after the publication of a study of 5,000 cyclists that reported a six-fold increase in prostate cancer among cyclists who trained for eight or more hours per week, compared to men who trained for less than 3.75 hours.
As we know, correlation does not mean causation, as it is known that cycling increases PSA levels after hours of exercise, which affects a false reading in the analysis.
It did not appear in the study that the rate of cancer in males is three times lower than the rate observed in the general population. This is likely due to the over 180 beneficial biochemical changes that occur after exercise that reduce the risk of cancer by protecting our DNA, preventing the growth and spread of cancer. .
However, we must take seriously the suggestion that cycling increases potential risks, but only after seriously scrutinizing the data from the studies.
Cycling and Prostate Health: Risks and Benefits:
How cycling may reduce the risk of prostate cancer:
- Indirect mechanisms: reduced obesity, improved mental health, and vitamin D levels.
- Direct mechanisms: improvement of insulin sensitivity, reduction of growth cytokines such as insulin-like growth factor.
- Increases natural killer cells and lymphocytes, which improves immune recognition of cancer cells, reduces inflammatory markers such as prostaglandin 2.
How does cycling increase the risk of prostate cancer?
- Prostatitis: It has been reported that increased repetitive pressure and trauma to the perineal region leads to recurrent prostatitis. In cyclists, chronic inflammation is known to be a risk factor for malignancy.
- Testosterone: Levels rise immediately after intense exercise, which may encourage early prostate cancer cells to grow. However, this increase only occurs in the first 15-60 minutes and rarely occurs in men over 55. Over time, testosterone levels actually drop below The normal range among trained athletes unless banned steroids are ingested.
- Generation of free radicals: Strenuous exercise, especially in untrained people, leads to the production of oxidants that can damage DNA, which is the first stage in the initiation and development of cancer. Some men may be concerned about the effects of cycling on prostate health, due to research linking Prostate problems and cycling, for example, a 2017 report shared in Cycling Weekly determined that a higher rate of prostate cancer was seen among men who trained at least eight hours per week, compared to those who trained less than 3.75 hours.
Let's explore the precautions and benefits of cycling by putting the research into perspective with some health facts as well. Let's get a clearer picture of this important topic through a number of facts:
- Fact 1: Cycling may reduce your chances of developing advanced prostate cancer:
A study published in 2018 found that men who cycled an average of 25 minutes per day were 30% less likely to develop advanced prostate cancer, and men who rode a bicycle for an average of 25 minutes per day were 25% less likely to develop prostate cancer. It has been found that intense cycling can increase the levels of specific antigens in the blood for 24 hours, which may alter the results of a prostate PSA test.
Warning: Repeated pressure from the bike seat can contribute to inflammation shortly after strenuous exercise, which is a risk factor for cancer, so placing a soft pillow on the seat can help reduce the risk of inflammation, as well as a healthy diet rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. .
- Fact 2: Cycling is good for your health:
Research shows that men who are more physically active are less likely to have an enlarged prostate. The healthier the body, the better it functions. Men who perform three hours of outdoor activity per day are less likely to experience discomfort caused by chronic prostatitis or a swollen prostate gland.
The conclusion from the above: These studies should not prevent men from riding a bicycle and playing sports, however, men should follow some precautions and take the advice of a doctor in the event of any health problem that requires it.