Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American males typically affecting those over age 50. It occurs when cells in the prostate start to grow out of control. There is growing interest in how nutrition may help inhibit the proliferation of these prostate cancer cells. If you are currently being treated for prostate cancer, talk to your physician before making any changes to your treatment regimen.
Modified Citrus Pectin
Modified citrus pectin (MCP) is a soluble fiber found in the peel and pulp of citrus and is most well known for its ability to help lower cholesterol levels. Several animal studies and some preliminary studies in humans have found that MCP may help slow the spread of prostate, breast, and melanoma cancer cells to other organs. It may work by interfering with the compound galectin-3 which is needed to spread the cancer cells. A study published in 2003 in Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases studied the effect of modified citrus pectin (4.8g powder 3 times/day) in 10 men with prostate cancer after standard treatment failed. 7 of these men increased their PSA doubling time, which means their PSA was rising more slowly. A rising PSA is a sign of prostate cancer so increasing the doubling time suggests a slowing of cancer growth. While more human clinical trials are needed, this supplement derived from citrus certainly appears to be very promising.
Go Red-Meatless and More Plant-Based Foods
Prostate cancer has been linked to a higher consumption of red meat and processed meat and pan frying further increases the risk of developing advanced prostate cancer. Whether or not you choose to go completely meatless or even vegan, there is no doubt that increasing the amount of fruits, vegetables, and plant based foods in your diet will help reduce your overall cancer risk and may help when battling the disease. A study published in Integrative Cancer Therapies in 2006 found that adopting a plant-based diet and using stress reduction techniques by those with recurring prostate cancer helped reduce the rate of rising PSA levels, suggesting a slowing of disease progression. So drop the burgers and reach for the veggies, fruits, beans, and whole grains.
Curcumin is found in turmeric, a common spice used in Indian cuisine. It should not be confused with the spice cumin as there is no curcumin found in cumin. In recent years there has been a growing interest in this spice compound thanks to its potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. One specific area of interest where there has been an increasing amount of research conducted is in the area of prostate cancer.
In addition to being an anti-inflammatory agent and antioxidant, curcumin actually targets multiple cellular receptor sites important in prostate cancer that enhance cancer activity. For example, curcumin inhibits prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and inhibits cellular pathways needed for prostate cancer cells to continue spreading. It inhibits the expression of proteins whose job is to prevent the death of cancer cells. These ornery little proteins are partly responsible when a patient does not respond to treatment and the presence of curcumin helps keep the nasty proteins from doing their job.
A 2012 study published in Cancer Research and conducted by Karen Knudsen, PhD at Thomas Jefferson University found that curcumin helps inhibit the activity of proteins that work against a specific type of cancer treatment therapy. With the help of these proteins, tumor cells can sometimes get around the therapy, but curcumin helps suppress these proteins and may be able to help enhance the cancer treatment therapy.
The role of curcumin in prostate cancer prevention and therapy is still in the early stages of research, but it sure would not hurt to add a little spice to your diet on a regular basis. Instead of plain chicken salad why not enjoy curried chicken salad, or curried sweet potatoes instead of brown sugar? It may do your prostate good!
Pomegranates contains potent antioxidant flavonoids and anti-inflammatory compounds. Catechin, luteolin, ellagic acid, and punicic acid, quercetin, kaempferol, and equol are all found in pomegranates and these compounds have been credited for pomegranates’ anti-cancer activity and protecting heart health. Studies have found pomegranate can help inhibit the spread of prostate cancer, induce cancer cells to die, and slow the growth of cancer that has not spread. It also has been shown to slow the rise of PSA levels.
American Cancer Society
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