Diet, Lifestyle & Angiogenesis


Exercise builds muscle, and to do this, it stimulates growth factors to increase in the bloodstream, and these growth factors not only provides an expanded blood supply to support enlargement of the muscle itself, but the factors also attract angiogenic stem cells that normally reside in the bone marrow to enter the circulation and home in on growing muscle. These stem cells build both muscle and the blood vessels required to supply it. Exercise also increases angiogenesis in the lung and brain. Regular exercise is important for health.


Bonsignore MR, Morici G, Riccioni R, et. al. Hemopoietic and angiogenetic progenitors in healthy athletes: different responses to endurance and maximal exercise. J Appl Physiol. 2010 Jul;109(1):60-7.

Möbius-Winkler S, Hilberg T, Menzel K, et. al. Time-dependent mobilization of circulating progenitor cells during strenuous exercise in healthy individuals. Appl Physiol. 2009 Dec;107(6):1943-50.

Tang K, Xia FC, Wagner PD, Breen EC. Exercise-induced VEGF transcriptional activation in brain, lung and skeletal muscle. Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2010 Jan 31;170(1):16-22.


We all know eating well is important for health. Now we know that how we eat can impact on angiogenesis. Many foods contain naturally occurring inhibitors of angiogenesis. When these foods are consumed and absorbed into the bloodstream, the inhibitors act to boost the body’s existing system that suppresses undesirable angiogenesis that can promote or accompany disease. To find out about anti-angiogenic foods and how you can eat to beat cancer, click here.


Stress activates the ‘fight or flight’ response in the body. Many stress hormones are released, among them are catecholamines and neuropeptides. Both of these molecules influence cancer cell growth and tumor angiogenesis. Norepinephrine and epinephrine are potent stimulators of tumor vascularization, acting directly on the endothelial cells comprising blood vessels. They also cause cancer cells to release angiogenic factors that grow blood vessels to feed tumors. Relaxation decreases catecholamines and neuropeptides in the bloodstream. Decrease your stress levels. Get enough sleep.


Park SY, Kang JH, Jeong KJ, Lee J, Han JW, Choi WS, Kim YK, Kang JK, Park CG, Lee HY. Norepinephrine induces VEGF expression and angiogenesis by a hypoxia-inducible factor-1alpha protein-dependent mechanism. Int J Cancer. 2010 Aug 16.

Tilan J, Kitlinska J. Sympathetic Neurotransmitters and Tumor Angiogenesis-Link between Stress and Cancer Progression.. J Oncol. 2010;2010:539706.

Doctor William Li speaks about anti-angiogenesis at TED 2010.


Cigarette smoking causes cancer and serious lung damage. The many carcinogens found in cigarette smoke stimulate angiogenesis and increase the growth rate of lung cancers. Smoking increases the production by lung cancer cells and inflammatory cells of the angiogenic protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Studies by veterinarians have also shown that secondary smoke found on the fur of cats, increases the risk of oral cancers when cats lick their fur. Don’t smoke. If you do, quit to improve your health. Avoid secondary smoke.


Egleton RD, Brown KC, Dasgupta P. Angiogenic activity of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors: implications in tobacco-related vascular diseases. Pharmacol Ther. 2009 Feb;121(2):205-23.

Cooke JP, Bitterman H. Nicotine and angiogenesis: a new paradigm for tobacco-related diseases. Ann Med. 2004;36(1):33-40.


Obesity is a disease now linked to angiogenesis. Adipose tissue is highly vascularized, and angiogenesis promotes fat expansion by supplying fat cells with oxygen and nutrients. Fat tissue itself contains many promoters of angiogenesis, including angiogenic stem cells. Laboratory studies have shown that inhibiting angiogenesis in obese mice decreases their weight to normal levels. Obesity increases the risk of various cancers. Obese individuals have increased levels of proangiogenic factors that may contribute to tumor growth.


Trayhurn P, Wang B, Wood IS. Hypoxia in adipose tissue: a basis for the dysregulation of tissue function in obesity? Br J Nutr. 2008 Aug;100(2):227-35.

Brandon EL, Gu JW, Cantwell L, et. al. Obesity promotes melanoma tumor growth: role of leptin. Cancer Biol Ther. 2009 Oct;8(19):1871-9.

Rupnick MA, Panigrahy D, Zhang CY, et. al. Adipose tissue mass can be regulated through the vasculature. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Aug 6;99(16):10730-5.