Men's Health: Nutrition & Lifestyle Approaches to Prostate Health

Kara Bauer Health Guide
  • Prostate health is a very important topic for men and one that can get overlooked amongst the many women-related health topics. The American Cancer Society estimates that 1 in 6 will get prostate cancer in his lifetime. Even though only a small percentage of these cases end in death, the diagnosis and prescribed treatment methods can cause a lot of emotional distress for men. Unfortunately, in many cases doctors are quick to recommend radiation therapy or the surgical removal of the prostate, both of which may be unnecessary to preserving the man’s life and consequently decrease his quality of life substantially.

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    Although each person should evaluate his specific case individually, there are some important nutrition and lifestyle choices that can be extremely effective in prevention, slowing the progression of the disease and even in some cases, its reversal.

    Vitamin D
    As Dr. Joseph Mercola writes, a recent study reported in the British Journal of Cancer 2009 indicated that “men with higher levels of vitamin D in their bloodstream were seven times less likely to die from prostate cancer than those with lower amounts.” Dr. Mercola goes on to discuss other studies showing that Vitamin D can increase the self-destruction of mutated cells, reduce the spread and reproduction of cancer cells, cause cells to become differentiated, and reduce the growth of new blood vessels from preexisting ones.

    Additional research shows that outdoor exposure and skin type are associated with an increased synthesis of calcitriol in the prostate, thus reducing the risk of prostate cancer. Vitamin D clearly plays an important role in prostate health and potentially the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer.

    Vitamin D3, which we naturally produce on our own from exposure to UVB sunlight, has virtually been eliminated from our bodies due to our movement (in the last 30 years) towards avoiding the sun completely or lathering up with sunscreens that block UVB rays from entering our bodies. This potent repair and maintenance steroid hormone is responsible for the regulation of over 2,000 genes and can be absorbed through supplementation or daily sun exposure, the latter being the most natural and effective way to ensure you get the right amount.

    Vitamin K
    A recent German study reported in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention showed that Vitamin K may lower the chance of developing prostate cancer.  Additionally the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) found that Vitamin K2 could reduce the risks of prostate cancer by 35%. Vitamin K1, which is found in leafy greens such as kale, collard greens and spinach, in addition to K2 found in fermented foods such as natto (fermented soybeans) are both great sources of this key vitamin.

    Good nutrition is an important part of preventing and overcoming any type of chronic disease. A diet that is rich in plant foods and low in sugar, high-glycemic carbohydrates and processed foods is an ideal place from which to start. Also of interest, “The China Study”, conducted by Dr. T. Colin Campbell further details the connection between nutrition and cancer. One of his key findings, related to protein consumption, indicated that “people who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease while those who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease.” Possibly related to the fact that Japan and China have the least meat consumption, these two countries also have the lowest rates of prostate cancer. Other statistics show that those who consume a meat-based diet are 3.6 times more likely to develop prostate cancer.

  • Exercise

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    Lastly, those concerned with prostate health might want to consider including exercise in their daily routine. Although the biological reasons are still unclear, findings presented at a conference held by the American Association for Cancer Research last December indicated that just 15 minutes a day could reduce the chances of death related to prostate cancer and the more vigorous exercise, the better the results. From a psychological perspective, exercise also greatly reduces anxiety and depression, which many men with prostate cancer may experience.


Published On: June 10, 2010