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Diet & Supplements

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Some foods and supplements have the reputation of being substantially the cause of prostate disease, whilst others may assist prostate health. Studies have been done of many foods and supplements, but very few show conclusive proof of benefit or otherwise. However, there is a general consensus amongst health professionals, nutritionists, naturopaths and support groups that many foods, supplements, vitamins and minerals are good in the fight against prostate disease, whilst others should be avoided. Many health  professionals will advise: eat a healthy and well balanced diet, inclusive of a variety of vegetables, fruits, low fat meats, fish, legumes and grains and avoid the supplements, vitamins etc. This is good advice, but you might not be consuming a sufficient quantity of prostate disease (cancer and BPH) fighting nutrients, plant chemicals (phytochemicals), anti-oxidants etc.

It has been said that diet may be the cause for up to eighty percent of prostate cancers, with genetics (family history) responsible for ten percent. Personally, I wonder if a large quantity of x-rays, which I had to my pelvic/bladder region about 20 years prior to being diagnosed with prostate cancer, was a trigger event? A study conducted in Western Australia by The Western Australian Institute for Medical Research team, revealed that 82% of the men who ate a high content Western diet were likely to get prostate cancer.

Some men, like myself, will import FDA approved prescription drugs, which are not available or too expensive in Australia, but I always get approval from a doctor.

Important: Don't smoke! Exercise daily - about 45 minutes and strenuous enough to raise your heart rate appreciably. Before commencing an exercise regimen, discuss with your doctor. Keep your daily calorie intake on the low side and try to keep your body weight within the recommended body mass index (BMI) range

Avoid: Fatty red meats, bacon, sausages, chips,  polyunsaturated fats and oils, corn, canola, soy bean and flax seed oils, trans fatty acids are high in margarines, baked and fried foods.

Limit: Lean red meats, fats in general, dairy products (particularly low fat and skim milk products), sugars, (including foods and drinks with a high sugar content) calcium supplements, full-strength beer.

Eat: A low fat variety of foods, include several servings of vegetables daily, particularly cruciferous vegies such as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli, which are reputed to have anti-cancer properties - see cruciferous in the list below. Tomatoes, onions, garlic, spinach, beetroot and avocado are all listed as perhaps beneficial in the fight against prostate cancer, but results of studies to date appear to be inconclusive. Soy foods, because they contain phytoestrogens, may be anti-prostate cancer.

Below are listed many foods, supplements, vitamins and minerals, and the effect that they might or might not have on prostate cancer.

Remember, discuss your diet with your health professionals and look for their approval before taking supplements, vitamins, minerals, over-the-counter medicines etc.

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Foods & Supplements

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Apple
A study conducted by the Mayo Clinic indicates that the flavonoid quercetin, plentiful in apples, helps prevent the growth of prostate cancer cells.
 
Aspirin
Not a food or supplement, but I have nonetheless included it in this list. Several studies have indicated that one aspirin per day may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. However, aspirin is a blood thinner, so should be discussed with a doctor.
 
Avocado
Contains tocopherols (Vitamin E) and carotenoids - shown in vitro to slow the growth of prostate cancer.
 
Beetroot
May help prevent prostate cancer because of bioflavenoid (anti-oxidant) content. Also a study has shown 500ml juice daily does reduce blood pressure.
 
Berries
To help repair and protect DNA eat berries. Cherries, cranberries, blueberries, grapes, raspberries, contain high levels of DNA supportive anthocyanins.
 
Beta Sitosterol
Several studies suggest that beta-sitosterol is a good treatment for BPH.
 
Beta-Carotene
Controversial. Dr Charles (Snuffy) Myers, a leading US specialist in prostate cancer warns that there is a growing evidence that Beta-Carotene supplement may be contra-indicated for prostate cancer patients.
 
Bok Choy
Cruciferous, contains anti-cancer sulforaphane which might be cumulative with lycopene.
 
Broccoli
An excellent cruciferous vegetable with anti-cancer properties. A must have in your diet.
 
Brussel Sprouts
Cruciferous, contains anti-cancer sulforaphane which might be cumulative with lycopene.
 
Cabbage Cruciferous, contains anti-cancer sulforaphane which might be cumulative with lycopene.
Carrot
An excellent vegetable to include in your daily diet, but there is inconclusive evidence that it has anti- prostate cancer properties. There is some evidence that the beta-carotene in carrots might help prevent PCa but Dr Charles (Snuffy) Myers advises caution re beta-carotene supplement. See Beta-Carotene.
 
Cauliflower
Cruciferous, contains anti-cancer sulforaphane which might be cumulative with lycopene.
 
Cruciferous Vegies
Contains anti-cancer sulforaphane which might be cumulative with lycopene. Eat daily, particularly broccoli and cauliflower.
 
Curcumin
A leading study has shown curcumin to have anti prostate cancer properties and induces apoptosis (cell death). It may also have anti-gynecomastia (breast enlargement) properties for men having anti-androgen therapy for prostate cancer. Curcumin is a phytochemical compound in Turmeric.
 
Curry
See Curcumin. Curry contains Turmeric and therefore Curcumin - anti-inflammatory - anti-oxidant
 
Fish
Eat several times per week - preferably oily fish such as salmon, trout, sardines, pilchards, mullet, blue-eye cod, silver bream and others. The omega_3 fatty acids in some fish and in fish oils have been shown to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer. Avoid large fish such as tuna and shark because of possible high mercury content.
 
Flaxseed Controversial. Contains omega-3 (good) and omega-6 fatty acids, also lignans. Fish oil may be preferable. Dr S Strum, a leading medical oncologist, specialising in prostate cancer, prefers ground flaxseed to the oil. The result of a study at Duke University showed reduction (30 to 40 percent) in prostate cancer growth rate for men consuming 30 grams of flaxseed daily.
Garlic
Excellent. Garlic, spring onions (scallions) leeks and chives contain flavonols known to have anti-cancer effects. Garlic and spring onions are best
.
Ginger
Ginger has been identified by the National Cancer Institute (USA) as having a high level of anti-cancer activity.
 
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Ginseng
A trial at the Mayo Clinic showed that twenty seven percent of cancer patients taking a 2000mg dose felt less fatigued and 25 percent taking 1000mg said likewise. The patients had differing cancers.
 
Grains
Good & healthy. Grains and whole grain foods should be included in your daily diet. Zinc is in grains but is poorly absorbed.
 
Grapefruit, Pink
Lycopene - acts as a powerful anti-oxidant. Cooked tomatoes are superior.
 
Guava
Lycopene - acts as a powerful anti-oxidant. Cooked tomatoes are superior. See lycopene.
 
Kale
Cruciferous, contains anti-cancer sulforaphane which might be cumulative with lycopene.
 
Lycopene
A powerful anti-oxidant, found in tomato, watermelon, pink grapefruit, pink guavas, apricot. Cooked red tomatoes are an excellent source. Lycopene may offer some protection against, and slow down prostate cancer. However, it is suggested to eat the whole food rather than take the supplement.
 
Milk Thistle
Flavonolignans, extracts from milk thistle such as silymarin, silbinin are claimed to have ani-prostate cancer properties. In particular, the phytochemical isosilybin B, hinders the growth of prostate cancer. Milk Thistle is also used in the treatment of liver diseases.
 
Miso
See Soy.
 
Modified Citrus Pectin
Good. Several studies have shown that MCP slows PSA doubling time in men with prostate cancer. However, take only Modified Citrus Pectin not ordinary citrus pectin.
 
Mushrooms
Good. A study by Dr. S Chen has found white button mushrooms contain plant chemicals that reduce the amount of testosterone converted to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is considered to be the main cause of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) resulting in an enlarged prostate.
 
Nettle root Nettle root has a place in the treatment of prostate enlargement and is claimed to reduce inflammation. Plant chemicals (phytochemicals) in nettle root seem to affect the prostate and might help fight prostate cancer.
Nuts, Brazil
Good source of selenium
 
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Olive leaf extract
In a laboratory study at the Southern Cross University, it was proven that olive leaf extract killed prostate cancer cells. Also claimed to have antiviral properties. Highly anti-oxidant.
 
Olive oil
Rich in vitamin E and antioxidants
 
Onions
See Garlic
 
Papaya
Lycopene - acts as a powerful anti-oxidant. Cooked tomatoes are superior.
 
Pomegranate Juice
Scientists in the USA have found that drinking an 8oz glass of pomegranate per day has had a dramatic effect in decreasing the PSA velocity of men with prostate cancer. This is a very significant finding and could mean that some older men (age 65 to 70 years who have had treatment for prostate cancer) drinking pomegranate juice will outlive their risk of dying from their cancer.
 
Pumpkin
A good healthy vegetable to include regularly in your diet along with sweet potatoes, red and yellow peppers, carrots and squash. All are excellent sources of the anti-oxidant beta-carotene. Dr Charles (Snuffy) Myers has issued a warning about taking beta-carotene supplements re prostate cancer. Suggestion - eat the vegetable rather than take supplementary beta-carotene.
 
Resveratrol
From red wine, pinot noir. Available as a powder or capsules.
 
Rice, brown
Contains selenium, manganese and magnesium. Magnesium and selenium might assist prostate health.
 
Saw Palmetto
Saw palmetto is recommended to treat the symptoms of benign prostate hyperplasia, not prostate cancer.
 
Selenium A very powerful antioxidant. Several studies support 200 micrograms per day. Brazil nuts, brown rice, fresh fish, mushrooms and grains are good sources, particularly Brazil nuts.
Shark Cartilage
Chondroitin Sulphate - contra-indicated for prostate cancer victims. Glucosamine alone is better for those with prostate cancer and arthritis. Ref: Charles (Snuffy) Myers M.D.
 
Silymarin
A milk thistle component with strong anti-oxidant properties. There are a number of laboratory experiments supporting silymarin as a growth inhibitor of prostate cancer cells.
 
Soy
From soy beans. Soy beans contain several anticarcinogens. There is growing evidence that phytoestrogens as in Soy products may have desirable action against prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease. However a large study of Japanese men showed that an intake of isoflavone chemicals chiefly from soy foods, decreased the risk of localized prostate cancer but increased the risk of advanced prostate cancer.
 
Spinach
Contains flavonoids, which have anti-cancer properties. Also contains the carotenoid neoxanthin, which is claimed to induce apoptosis (cell death) in prostate cancer cells.
 
Tea, green
Polyphenols - inhibits cancer growth and promotes cell death. Drink 6 or more cups daily.
 
Tofu See Soy.
Tomato
Excellent - eat plenty, preferably cooked to release the lycopene. Lycopene is thought by many to combat prostate cancer, but there has been a recent study that indicates the benefit of lycopene is not as great as previously thought.
 
Turmeric
See Curcumin. Turmeric contains Curcumin - anti-inflammatory - anti-oxidant - anti-cancer.
 
Vitamin D3
In 2004, Woo and others from the University of Toronto showed that 2000 units daily of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) either prevented or reduced increases in PSA in a majority of men with advanced prostate cancer. Many recent studies then have shown that Vitamin D3 has strong anti-cancer properties. WARNING: Anyone with kidney problems should consult their doctor before taking supplementary vitamin D.
 
Vitamin E
A recent trial, (Dr Bardia & others) showed a 13 per cent reduction in prostate cancer incidence with vitamin E supplementation. A study published in the National Cancer Institute Journal shows the protective associations for high levels of selenium and vitamin E.  A suggested dose of natural vitamin E as d-alpha tocopherol succinate would be 400 i.u. (equivalent to 270 mg) combined with 210 mg of d-gamma tocopherol in conjunction with selenium at a dose of 200 mcg per day. Note: the 400iu is the vitamin E succinate such as Blackmores (Australia) Natural E Chewable.
 
Watermelon
Lycopene - acts as a powerful anti-oxidant. Cooked tomatoes are superior. See lycopene.
 
Wine, red
Polyphenols - inhibits cancer growth and promotes cell death.
 
Zinc
Taking supplementary zinc for the prostate is controversial. Studies have shown that prostate cancer cell growth is inhibited by high cellular levels of zinc. However, other studies have shown prostate cancer increased risk for men taking high doses of zinc, particularly very high doses such as over 100mg/day or long term (longer than 10 years).
 
Zyflamend
Olive oil and herb supplement - very promising.
 
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