Integrative Medicine at it's finest: a new research study shows that onset and growth of prostate cancer is delayed with diet and targeted supplementation.
The Movember Campaign to raise awareness for men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health, has been running at full gear this month. We've all seen those beards and mustache's growing wild for this great cause.
At some point in their lives, most men will be affected by prostate health concerns. Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths among men. The risk of developing prostate cancer increases significantly after the age of 65. It is a slow progressing cancer, where cancer cells arise from normal cells that have been altered through dietary, lifestyle, genetic and environmental influences. Since cancer cells are continually adapting to changes in their environment, it is possible to slow down or even reverse these cancer cells by altering risk factors.
While you can’t control certain risk factors such as age, ethnicity, family history and genetics, healthy lifestyle and dietary choices, along with select vitamins, herbs and nutrients, can slow down or prevent the progression of prostate cancer.
A recent study by the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism followed 235 patients with low risk and low-intermediate risk prostate cancer over a 12-year period and demonstrated that active holistic surveillance (AHS), a program that actively monitors disease progression, and uses a regimen of targeted diet and supplementation, allowed patients to prolong prostate cancer treatment for many years.
Patients were given dietary recommendations such as eliminating red meats, dairy products, fried foods, refined carbohydrates, while emphasizing the consumption of fish, poultry, green tea, soy milk, red wine and flaxseed. Patients were also told to add more fresh vegetables into their diet.
This study proved that it is possible to prolong the onset and growth of prostate cancer using nutritional and herbal interventions.
According to the study, 95% of prostate cancer patients receive conventional treatment, even though the majority of patients have low grade prostate cancer (no study participants were receiving conventional treatment). Conventional treatment causes several side effects including incontinence, erectile dysfunction and bowel complications. A large number of these early-detected cancers are indolent as opposed to life threatening, and clinicians are now finding it necessary to implement a strategy for low risk patients to prolong, and possibly avoid conventional treatment. This strategy is known as Active Holistic Surveillance, and involves closely monitoring low risk prostate cancer patients for signs of disease progression with serial PSA tests, biopsies, and/or MRI’s while incorporating supplements, dietary and lifestyle changes.
Epidemiological research has shown that nutrition and lifestyle play a vital role in the initiation and progression of prostate cancer while herbs and supplements can help to reduce or halt the growth of the disease.
Dietary factors that this study, and others, show play a positive or negative role in Prostate Cancer Progression:
MEATS: research has found a positive correlation between the consumption of fats from meats and dairy and prostate cancer. The exact reason is unknown although studies suggest that grilling and barbecuing meats at high temperature cause the formation of hydrocarbon compounds that have carcinogenic effects.
DAIRY: a diet high in saturated and trans fats found in dairy products is positively correlated with incidence of and mortality from prostate cancer. A study showed the relationship of milk and prostate cancer, and found that in high doses, the calcium found in milk inhibits the active form of vitamin D, which helps to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells.
SOY: the use of soy as a chemo protective agent is influenced by the significantly low incidence of prostate cancer in Asian countries. Soy contains phytoestrogens such as genistein, and in animals, it has been proven to inhibit the growth and metastasis of prostatic cancer.
VEGETABLES: vegetables are rich in antioxidants, which help to neutralize the effect of carcinogenic compounds. Cruciferous vegetables, which include broccoli, spinach, kale and cauliflower, contain glucosinates and when digested they help to induce the cell death of prostate cancer, stop cancer cell growth, and protect our DNA from external damage.
GREEN TEA: green Tea contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which has been extensively studied for its anticancer and antioxidant properties. Green tea also exhibits anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce the development, progression and metastasis of prostate cancer.
The study intervention protocol included the following five targeted supplements:
BROCCOPROTECT: sulphoraphane is a powerful metabolite of broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables. Sulphoraphane supports the body's ability to repair DNA from carcinogenic damage and has been shown to lower the risk of cancer.
OMEGA3: omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory, helping to reduce inflammation in the body. Studies show that omega-3's inhibit the proliferation of prostate cancer cells.
ZYFLAMEND: is a blend of Chinese herbs that are anti-inflammatory, reduce the growth of prostate cancer cells and induce their cell death.
GCP: genikinoko is rich in genistein, an antioxidant found in soy, that has been shown to arrest cancer cell growth and reduce serum PSA levels.
AHCC: active hexose correlated compounds are extracted from mushrooms and are known for their immune stimulating properties. AHCC helps protect the body from oxidative stress and reduces serum PSA levels.
LYOCELL: is a lycopene complex that is packed with antioxidants that help to protect against carcinogenic damage, reduce oxidative stress on the body and induces prostate cancer cell cycle arrest.
The findings of this study are a massive win for integrative medicine advocates, and the patients that they care for. Much more research of this kind is coming down the pipeline, as more supporting data is informing us of how strong the link is between lifestyle interventions and reduced cancer incidence.
Berg, Courtney J. et al. “Active Holistic Surveillance: The Nutritional Aspect of Delayed Intervention in Prostate Cancer.” Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism2016 (2016): 2917065. PMC. Web. 24 Nov. 2016.