20 supplements that men with prostate cancer need to know about (part one)

| By Dr. Ronald Hoffman

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I recently had the pleasure of delivering the keynote address at Winthrop University Hospital’s Men’s Health Seminar, under the directorship of my good colleague, integrative urologist Dr. Aaron Katz.

ts_prostate_sm2The main theme of my lecture was that, while we’ve long known about the preventive effects of diet and lifestyle on cancer, it’s only recently that we’ve learned that there are things that men who are already diagnosed with prostate cancer can do to prevent a recurrence and reduce their risk of dying. 

Therefore, prostate cancer has become Ground Zero for an effort to integrate the best of high-tech therapies with the most scientifically-vetted natural approaches. No longer can we dismiss diet, exercise, stress reduction, and targeted supplementation as merely weak alternatives to definitive medical or surgical treatment; they need to be emphasized as vital tools to enhance survival for men with prostate cancer. 

I say to my patients with prostate cancer: “Let’s pickle you with so many healthy nutrients that no self-respecting cancer cell would dare to hang around in your body!” 

The following is a list of plausible supplements that, in addition to diet and lifestyle measures (which I’ll cover in a subsequent newsletter article), might help halt or slow the progression of prostate cancer: 

1) EGCG: Epigallocatechin gallate, a catechin found in green tea, has been shown to offer protection against many cancers. Japanese men who drank more than five cups of green tea per day were found to have significantly reduced risk of prostate cancer. A recent study called for investigation of whether green tea polyphenols might be used for chemo-prevention of prostate cancer. A single 500 mg 70% EGCG capsule provides approximately the equivalent of the EGCG found in 5-7 cups of green tea. 

2) Modified Citrus Pectin (Pectasol): Modified citrus pectin may reduce the metastasis of certain types of cancers, including lung, prostate, and breast. Although its precise mode of action is unknown, its polysaccharides are thought to block galectin-3 mediated adhesion of errant cancer cells to new sites within the body.

3) Curcumin: Via its documented anti-inflammatory effects, this potent extract of the spice turmeric tamps down the chronic inflammation that may give rise to prostate cancer. In addition to its preventive benefits, curcumin has been shown to stop the formation of metastases in prostate cancer patients. 

4) Resveratrol: Population studies show that users of resveratrol-rich red wine have a lower incidence of prostate cancer. Resveratrol works through more than a dozen different anticancer mechanisms and selectively targets cancer cells. 

5) Flax Seed Lignins (Brevail): The enterolactones that are metabolic byproducts of dietary lignins protect against hormonally-mediated cancers. A recent study showed that men who had the highest serum enterolactone concentrations were 82 percent less likely to have prostate cancer compared with men who had the lowest concentration. 

6) Melatonin: Long associated with its sleep-inducing properties, melatonin fights breast and prostate cancer. A dose higher than is customarily used for sleep or jet lag—20 mg—appears to confer survival benefits, and may counteract harmful effects of radiation and chemotherapy without diminishing their efficacy. 

7) Vitamin E and 8) selenium: After several studies showed that vitamin E and selenium might protect against prostate cancer, a large trial called SELECT was recently undertaken. The results were disappointing, and researchers concluded that E and selenium were worthless for prostate cancer prevention. But they may have used the wrong forms of these nutrients—d-alpha tocopherol vitamin E and selenomethionine. When gamma tocopherol E was tested, men were found to have a 32% lower risk of prostate cancer. Methylselenocysteine was found to inhibit prostate cancer cell growth, and was synergistic with potent chemotherapy drugs. 

9) Quercetin: A potent bioflavonoid found in onions, apples, black tea, and buckwheat, a number of recent studies have demonstrated that quercetin inhibits the growth of prostate cancer. 

10) Vitamin D: Proceeding from the observation that prostate cancer is more prevalent and more aggressive in African American men (darker skin pigment blocks the UV rays that promote skin synthesis of vitamin D), researchers have explored the role of vitamin D as a preventive. In a recent small trial, men about to undergo prostate surgery were given 4000 IU of vitamin D3 daily for just 60 days. Compared to men taking a placebo, their tumors were found to be smaller and less aggressive

Next week, I’ll be covering ten more supplements that men with prostate cancer need to know about. In the meantime, I encourage you to forward this email to any of your friends or family who may benefit from the information. I also want to wish all of my American readers a Happy Independence Day! I hope you all get a chance to relax and celebrate this weekend.


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