Studies show that certain vitamins, minerals and natural products provide protection against cancer. Whether in the form of fruit, tea or food supplements, these nutrients are a major asset to everyone wanting to protection from cancer. Let's take a look at some of the most well known vitamins, whilst introducing perhaps a few lesser-known naturally occurring products. Vitamin E Several studies have shown that vitamin E, particularly in conjunction with Selenium, could have a protective role against prostate cancer. Vitamin E helps combat free radicals that play a role in the appearance of cancer. The results of a cancer prevention study carried out in Finland, published its results in 1998.
The study involved 29,133 men, all smokers, who every day for a period of 6 years took either 50 mg of vitamin E or a placebo. The incidence of prostate cancer in those taking the daily dose of vitamin E showed an overall reduction of 32% over those taking the placebo. Selenium Selenium is a mineral found in the ground and which we ingest through eating fruits and vegetables. Men with low levels of selenium in the blood have a risk of prostate cancer four to five times higher than normal. The amount of Selenium retained in the bloodstream reduces with age, and unfortunately the soil in many western countries (where the risk of prostate cancer is highest) is poor in selenium.
The results of a clinical study carried out by the University of Arizona showed that taking a complement of 200 micrograms of Selenium each day could reduce the incidence of prostate cancer by 63%. Selenium also enters our diet by beng present in cereals, meat, fish, and eggs. Liver and Brazil nuts are also particularly rich sources of selenium. Vitamin D Vitamin D is especially well known, along with calcium, for the important role it plays in the health of your bones. The body synthesizes about two-thirds of its vitamin D requirement thanks to the sun (assuming you spend enough time in the sun). The rest is obtained through food.
Vitamin D is also an important anti-cancer weapon. Several American studies have shown that people who live at more northerly latitudes are significantly more prone to cancer than those who live near to the Equator. Those further north are generally deficient in vitamin D due to the weaker sunlight.
This is certainly true for prostate cancer: for example the results of a study published in the December 1992 issue of the journal "Cancer" demonstrate that the incidence of prostate cancer in the state of Florida is twice that in the northern State of Maine. Quercetin Quercetin is a substance synthesized by plants, and which belongs to the large group known as flavenoids. It is found in substances such as red wine, onions and green tea. Quercetin possesses anti-oxidant properties. In 1999 a food complement formulated using Quercetin, Bromelain and Papain (enzymes extracted from pineapples and papaya fruits) underwent a placebo-controlled test on 30 patients suffering from chronic prostatitis. 20% of patients taking the placebo and 67% taking the food complement showed an improvement.
A further randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, conducted by the Institute for Male Urology in Encino, California, found that 82% of patients who received another proprietary blend of Quercetin, recorded at least a 25% improvement in the National Institutes of Health pain and quality of life symptom score. Importantly, all of these patients had failed to show improvement after taking several courses of antibiotics and other therapies before participating in the study. A Vitamin Cocktail Another American study, the results of which were published in 1999, demonstrated that vitamin and mineral supplements guard against prostate cancer.
Researchers compared the effects of vitamins on 697 men aged between 40 and 64 and suffering from prostate cancer, with the effects on 666 men in good health. The results demonstrated that regular taking of vitamins C and E together with zinc reduces the risk of prostate cancer. As can be seen from the above examples, the taking of certain vitamins and minerals can have demonstrable benefits in the prevention of prostate cancer. All men over the age of 40 should seriously consider taking some of these simple preventative measures as an aid to their well-being.
Indeed there are several proprietary formulations available commercially providing balanced doses of several of these naturally occurring products.
Dr Tavares is a medical consultant with experience in traditional and complementary medicine. Her writing about prostate vitamins can be found at Prostate Cancer Answers.