Prostate Cancer: Reduce Risk and Support Treatment

December 4, 2017 | Linda J. Dobberstein, Chiropractor, Board Certified in Clinical Nutrition

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Prostate Cancer: Reduce Risk and Support Treatment
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men today. The American Cancer Society estimates that 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime with the average age of diagnosis of 66 years. Prostate cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed new cancer after breast cancer. Although the National Institutes of Health shows a decline in the last five years of cancer rates, prostate cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in America. Many factors, especially diet and nutrients, affect the risk and outcome of prostate cancer – factors that you can modify at any age to help protect the prostate.

[Jump to: Nutritional Options]

Prostate Cancer Signs

Signs of prostate cancer include weak or interrupted flow of urine, sudden urge to urinate, frequent urination especially at night, trouble starting or fully emptying bladder, pain or burning with urination, blood in urine or semen, pain in back, pelvis, or hips that doesn’t go away, and anemia. Some of these symptoms also occur with benign prostate hypertrophy (BPH) so it important to figure out the cause of the enlarged prostate.

Prostate Cancer Treatment

Medical treatment for prostate cancer varies considerably. Some practitioners advise to watch and wait. Others recommend repeat biopsies to measure the size of the prostate over the course of months and years. Radiation and surgery may be recommended depending on various factors. A recent publication from the New England Journal of Medicine puts prostate cancer treatment success or failures into perspective. After nearly 20 years of follow-up in men with prostate cancer, surgery was associated with more adverse effects than if the treatment was observation. Adverse effects included higher rates of urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction than with observation. Surgery did not reduce the rate of prostate cancer mortality or disease progression.

Androgen Deprivation Therapy

A more recent treatment trend for prostate cancer uses androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) with radiation therapy for prostate cancer. Androgen deprivation therapy comes with a lot of side effects like fatigue, weight gain, muscle loss, hot flashes, erectile dysfunction, loss of libido, loss of strength, muscle mass, and bone density. There may be cognitive changes, depression, anemia, and increased risk of osteoporosis, diabetes, metastatic cancer, and cardiovascular problems. ADT is meant for long-term use and is essentially chemical castration. Further information may be found in the article ADT Prostate Cancer Therapy Does More Harm Than Good

Endocrine Disrupting Compounds Increase Cancer Risk

In industrialized countries, there has been a significant increase in hormone-dependent cancers like prostate, testicular, and breast cancer. Ongoing research and analysis over several decades strongly suggests that endocrine disrupting compounds like bisphenols, DDT, and distilbene (a synthetic, nonsteroidal estrogen) are strong causes of prostate cancer. Due to this relationship, it has been recommended to avoid bisphenol A and replace it with other bisphenol plastics, like bisphenol F, bisphenol S in recent years. This is still not a good alternative. These variations of bisphenol still provoke the same or even greater endocrine disruption as BPA. The most recent recommendations is simply to avoid all bisphenols as much as possible.

The November 2017 journal Carcinogenesis evaluated the effect of shift work on prostate cancer risk. Rotating shift work, more so than other shift work, was found to significantly increase the risk of prostate cancer.

High Arachidonic Acid Levels Promote Cancer

Prostate cancer and several other types of cancer have been linked with high levels of arachidonic acid (AA) which is a pathway involved with inflammation management. Arachidonic acid is a metabolite of omega-6 oils found in vegetable oils like soybean oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, and canola oil. Omega-6 oils in excess amounts provoke inflammation.

Studies prove that the AA pathway plays a major role in the development and progression of prostate cancer and other cancers. This is a vital clue to the effects of AA as the Standard American Diet provides high amounts of processed omega-6 oils and pushes arachidonic acid levels high. Foods that promote AA include grain-fed fatty red meat, white meat from poultry, dairy, eggs, hard cheeses, pastas, grains, and some fish like tilapia, catfish, and yellowtail.
Switch to free-range, grass-fed, organic meats which have less arachidonic acid. Also, increase your intake of omega-3 oils to counter-balance the omega-6. DHA supplements are a good way to increase your omega-3 oil intake daily.

Several other nutrients help reduce the strain of elevated arachidonic acid on the body. These include curcumin, resveratrol, guggulsterone, lycopene, anthocyanidins/OPCs, fisetin, and ginger. Click here for more on arachidonic acid and inflammation.

A September 2017 study showed that higher consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and fish protected against the risk of aggressive prostate cancer. These foods contain lower amounts of arachidonic acid and higher amounts of omega-3 oils and antioxidants necessary for prostate health.

Natural Support to Help Keep the Prostate Healthy

Nearly 80 percent of all drugs approved by the FDA for cancer therapy are trying to mimic natural ingredients or involve natural products in various forms. National Cancer Institute shows several nutrients helpful for prostate cancer risk reduction and support. The most promising include omega-3 oils, green teas, tomatoes and tomato extracts like lycopene and a blend of herbs like turmeric/curcumin, ginger, holy basil, oregano oil and green tea extract. Low carbohydrate consumption was also helpful.

Several other nutrients have been studied for prostate cancer treatment and prevention. These include silymarintocotrienols, resveratrol, and cruciferous vegetables with the active compounds DIM and I3C. The flavonoids fisetin and quercetin have several studies that demonstrate them as anti-prostate cancer agents. Fisetin and quercetin have been shown to augment cancer therapy and provide preventative support. Cellular studies show that fisetin and quercetin provide natural anti-androgenic effects in both castrate-resistant and castrate-sensitive prostate cancer testing.

Zinc has been studied for decades on its effect with prostate health. Despite extensive research, many in the scientific community have a bias against zinc and prostate cancer. However, a well thought argument for the use of zinc with prostate cancer was recently published in the January 2017 journal Expert Opinions on Therapeutic Targets. Their findings show that over 17 different reports demonstrate that zinc levels are markedly decreased in prostate cancer tissues versus normal tissues. Low zinc status has been identified in premalignant prostate lesions and early and progressing malignancy. These findings and many others in this review led to the statement “decreased zinc is a ‘hallmark’ condition that characterized all or most prostate cancer cases.”

Managing Prostate Cancer Fatigue

Fatigue is a common complaint with prostate cancer whether due to the cancer or the androgen deprivation therapy. Many things may be used to counteract this including HIIT or high intensity interval training and moderate vigorous aerobic exercise. A systemic review article published September 2017 found that moderate-hard resistance training with or without moderate aerobic exercise improved prostate cancer related fatigue and overall quality of life.

No matter what path you are on with prevention, ADT treatment, or other prostate cancer therapy, diet and nutritional choices can make a difference with prostate health. Green tea extract, omega-3 oils (EPA/DHA), lycopene, zinc, quercetin and fisetin, DIM and I3C and others show efficacy in either risk reduction or help to augment cancer treatment. Removal of endocrine disrupting compounds with plastics that contain BPA and avoiding rotating shift work if possible help with prevention. High intensity interval training or exercise can combat the fatigue related to the ADT therapy. In addition, dietary choices with reduction in processed foods, foods high in arachidonic acid and carbohydrates make major impact against prostate cancer. Prostate cancer doesn’t happen overnight. Don’t let it sneak up on you. Be proactive today!

Nutritional Options

Zinc – This mineral is essential for prostate gland health and is often lacking in the diet. Zinc is involved hundreds of enzymatic functions in the body and plays an enormous role with detoxification and immune system function. White spots on the fingernails, stinky feet, body odor, and frequent infections are common signs of inadequate zinc. It can take 12-24 months to restore zinc levels if deficient.

Green Tea Extract – Green tea has been extensively studied with numerous solid benefits identified for many disorders like prostate cancer. Green tea extract also supports healthy blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, fatty liver congestion, obesity, skin and even our body clocks. We offer a highly purified, standardized extract rich in polyphenols and catechins/EGCG, free of solvents, pesticides and heavy metals.

Fisetin – This flavonoid is often used for brain support as it provides exceptionally antioxidant protection. It’s benefits extend beyond the nervous system and also helps support other tissues in the body like the prostate gland. Fisetin and another flavonoid – quercetin provide anti-androgenic effects without the same adverse stress responses as anti-androgenic medications.

I3C/DIM – These compounds are the active nutrients found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower. They supply profound detoxification support of endocrine disrupting compounds that affect the prostate and other glands in the body.

Lycopene –
Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant derived from tomato and other red-orange vegetables. It provides vital support to the prostate and helps reduce cancer risk. It also supports healthy immune system function and eye health.

Curcumin – This natural compound derived from the spice, turmeric is well-known for its support in quenching inflammation and free radicals. Extensive research shows its amazing properties against cancer and tissue damage. Curcumin should be part of any nutritional arsenal in today’s challenging world.

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