Natural Compounds in Ordinary Foods Beat Prostate Cancer
Adding common foods to your diet can help you beat — or even avoid developing — prostate cancer, hints a study conducted at The University of Texas at Austin. Researchers discovered that several natural compounds found in foods starve cancerous tumors of the nutrition they need to thrive and spread.
For instance, a main dish of curry, which contains the spice turmeric, topped off with baked apples, whose skins contain ursolic acid, provides essential nutrients effective in fighting cancer.
Researchers used a unique method to analyze plant-based chemicals and discover specific combinations that shrink prostate tumors.
They first tested 142 natural compounds on mouse and human cell lines to see which inhibited prostate cancer cell growth when administered alone or in combination with another nutrient. The most promising active ingredients were then tested on model animals: ursolic acid, a waxy natural chemical found in apple peels and rosemary; curcumin, the bright yellow plant compound in turmeric; and resveratrol, found in red grapes and berries.
The found that when combined with either curcumin or resveratrol, ursolic acid prevented the uptake of glutamine, a nutrient necessary for cancer growth.
“These nutrients have potential anti-cancer properties and are readily available,” says Stafano Tiziani. Combinations of the nutrients, he says, “have a better effect on prostate cancer than existing drugs.
“The beauty of this study is that we were able to inhibit tumor growth in mice without toxicity,” Tiziani said.
The study was published in Precision Oncology.
Other studies have also found potential cancer therapies in foods, including turmeric, apple peels, and green tea.
Italian researchers at the University of Parma studied men with a pre-malignant form of prostate cancer called prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN), and found that those who took three 200 milligram capsules of green tea extract daily slashed their risk of developing prostate cancer by 90 percent when compared to men taking a placebo.
Previous studies have found that lycopene, the pigment that gives tomatoes and watermelons their bright red color, can decrease the risk of prostate cancer by up to 35 percent. One study found that men with precancerous changes in their prostates who took 4 milligrams of lycopene twice daily lowered the risk of their condition progressing to cancer.
A study at Britain’s University of Portsmouth found that lycopene in tomatoes becomes even more biologically active when cooked with a small amount of oil.
A study from the University of Missouri found that resveratrol can make chemotherapy and radiation more effective in men who have aggressive prostate cancer.
Researcher Michael Nicholl found that the combination of resveratrol and radiation treatment killed 97 percent of tumor cells. “It’s important to note that this killed all types of prostate tumor cells, including aggressive tumor cells,” he said.
An Italian study found that men who drank three cups of Italian-style coffee every day reduced their risk of prostate cancer by 53 percent. “Italian Style” coffee is prepared using high pressure, very high water temperature, and no filters. The benefit is probably due to the caffeine, but scientists say that the method of preparation could lead to a higher concentration of the helpful bioactive substances.
A high-fiber diet may be able to inhibit early-stage prostate cancer by stopping tumors from growing, said a study published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research. Scientists fed one group of mice inositol hexaphosphate (IP6), a natural type of carbohydrate that’s found in large amounts in high-fiber diets. A second group of mice didn’t get the supplement. MRIs were used to monitor the progression of prostate cancer.
“The study’s results were really rather profound,” said researcher Komal Raina. “We saw dramatically reduced tumor volumes.” IP6 kept prostate tumors from making new blood vessels needed to make the cancer grow and metastasize.
Health and Wellness Associates
Sylvia Booth Hubbard
Dr P Carrothers