Settling down with a glass of pinot noir may be a relaxing way to end the evening, but some research also suggests it may reduce a man's risk for prostate cancer.
According to the Harvard Men's Health Watch, men between the ages of 40 and 64 who sipped red wine regularly significantly reduced their risk for developing cancerous cells in the prostate gland. Better yet, each additional glass reduced their risk by an additional 6%.
But why does red wine prevent prostate cancer? Some researchers believe it's caused by resveratrol, a powerful polyphenol you'll only find in grapes and red wine.
Red Wine and Prostate Cancer: The Resveratrol Effect
Call it what you want, but resveratrol may be the key to prostate cancer prevention.
Called a polyphenol, a type of super-antioxidant, resveratrol is well documented as a cure-all for many cardiovascular problems. Resveratrol use is correlated with a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, and may even reduce the risk for atherosclerosis, an inflammatory disease that narrows blood flow in the arteries.
"It [Resveratrol] has been shown to inhibit growth of many types of cancer cells in culture," the National Cancer Institute also explained. "Resveratrol has been shown to reduce tumor incidence in animals by affecting one or more stages of cancer development."
In other words, they believe resveratrol prevents cancer cells from growing and multiplying, preventing the spread of cancer.
Harvard Men's Health Watch's report on prostate cancer also has more promising news for wine aficionados. According to their study, resveratrol contained antioxidant properties that counteracted the effects of androgen, a type of male hormone responsible for stimulating the prostate gland.
Although they aren't specifically recommending consuming resveratrol to prevent prostate cancer, they do admit there's potential here for preventing prostate cancer.
Get Your Fill of Resveratrol Now, Prevent Prostate Cancer
Although many health organizations are reluctant to recommend drinking resveratrol-rich red wine, one person is—Dr. David Sinclair Ph.D., a genetic scientist from Harvard Medical School. This usually reserved scientist is credited with the discovery of resveratrol as an anti-aging gene, and he isn't shy to talk about it.
As explained by Sinclair, resveratrol intake turns on the body's survival gene, allowing people to live for up to 50 years longer. People may be able to live up to 125 just by utilizing resveratrol, though some scientists debate this possibility.
He also says it may be a potential cure for heart disease, age-related brain problems and even cancer, such as prostate cancer.
But he doesn't recommend buying a cheap resveratrol supplement off the Internet. As explained to LewRockwell.com, Sinclair claims resveratrol reduces its ability to prevent prostate cancer when it is drawn out as a powdered extract, which causes oxidation. Drinking grape juice won't help either, since it is heavily processed, causing grapes to lose its resveratrol content.
Instead, he recommends pouring a glass of red wine to prevent prostate cancer. But don't go overboard—sipping too much red wine may actually cause health problems, such as high blood pressure.
To play it safe, stick with one or two cups of red wine per day. Sinclair also recommends drinking pinot noir, which contains the highest amount of resveratrol.
"Pinot noir grapes contain more of a newly found longevity factor than other types of grapes," says writer Bill Sardi, who interviewed Sinclair. "Pinot Noir red wines from northern climates, such as this wine from New York, yield greater amounts of resveratrol."
According to a new study published in the July issue of Advances in Therapy, saw palmetto extract may be as effective as finasteride when it comes to blocking the enzyme that causes benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), better known as an enlarged prostate.
The enzyme, 5alpha-reductase isoenzyme type II, was effectively inhibited by SPET-085, a new form of saw palmetto.
"The results of this study verify the high activity of our novel saw palmetto extract, SPET-085, to help maintain healthy prostate function," said Joe Veillux, the General Manager of Euromed USA. "Euromed is committed to ongoing clinical research to provide scientific evidence which will differentiate SPET-085 from other saw palmetto extracts."
Researchers believe SPET-085, a newer, more concentrated form of saw palmetto, has bioactivity similar to the prescription drug finasteride, which inhibits the BPH-causing enzyme and stops many of its symptoms. Finasteride is currently the most common treatment for BPH in the United States.
This discovery presents a new treatment for consumers who want to avoid the possible side effects of taking finasteride. Finasteride has been shown to cause impotence, decreased libido, reduced ejaculate volume and breast enlargement. Few side effects have been observed in saw palmetto.
For consumers who desire a more natural approach to prostate care, this is exciting news. Saw palmetto is currently the only natural treatment shown to effectively treat BPH and its underlying symptoms, including weak stream, urinary bladder pain, incontinence and nocturia.
This form of saw palmetto is currently not available for consumer use, but it is expected to be marketed as soon as it gains approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Experts also recommend using higher doses of saw palmetto to create the same effects found in SPET-085.
Although the FDA--and numerous other health organizations--recommend using hormone therapy to treat prostate cancer, a new study claims this can raise your risk for blood clots.
According to a Swedish study published in The Lancet Oncology, prostate cancer patients who received hormone therapy suffered from deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) 250 percent more times than men who did not use hormone therapy.
Other conventional prostate cancer treatments didn't fare as well either. According to the study, men who received conventional treatments also had a 50 percent increase in pulmonary embolism, with a slightly lower DVT risk--or about 173 percent.
According to The Sunday Times, having any type of cancer can increase your risk for blood clots. Researchers aren't sure why blood clots and cancer are connected, but they hypothesize it may have to do with the specific treatments. They believe this is also the case for men for prostate cancer.
So what can you do to reduce your risk for blood clots? According to experts, not much. They recommend keeping a close eye on any sudden symptoms, such as swelling, warmness or pain in the leg muscle, and reporting it to a doctor if it becomes a significant issue. If caught early, blood clots are treatable. There isn't much patients can do to minimize this risk, however.
The Cancer Prevention Research Conference recently noted they have been studying alternative treatments for prostate cancer, including the effects of coffee and hops on cancerous prostate cells. Preliminary studies presented at this conference seem promising, although health practitioners are hesitant to say if it's a possible cure for prostate cancer. If further studies show they are effective for the inhibition of prostate cancer development, this may in fact be prescribed in place of conventional treatments.
In the meanwhile, experts recommend sticking with conventional treatments while consuming plenty of tomatoes, walnuts and other antioxidant-rich food to reduce free radical formation, which can damage healthy prostate cells.
Want to lower your risk for prostate cancer? A new study recommends you lower your dairy intake. According to the Physicians' Health Study, headed by Harvard University, people who consumed two or more glasses of milk per day were 1.6 times more likely to develop advanced prostate cancer, which carries a higher mortality rate. Men who did not consume milk on a regular basis had a significantly lower risk.The men in the highest risk group consumed skim or low-fat milk, dispelling the myth that high-fat dairy products can promote prostate problems. Specifically, experts believe calcium has an effect on prostate cells, and should be avoided if possible.
"Dairy products may influence the incidence or progression of prostate cancer by several possible mechanisms," says Neal D. Barnard, M.D., who originally reported the findings on CancerProject.org. "In several prospective studies, calcium intake has emerged as an independent predictor of prostate cancer risk."
As for why this occurs, researchers hypothesize it may have to do with calcium's effect on vitamin D, a vitamin that can regulate the health of the prostate. Numerous studies show calcium reduces the production--and regulation--of vitamin D, which can increase the prostate cells' risk for malformation.
Calcium may also increase serum concentrations found in the insulin growth factor (IGF-1), which adversely affects prostate cells. Numerous studies have shown a connection between an increase in IGF-1 and prostate cancer risk. But experts warn consumers not to completely cut out dairy. Low calcium intake can cause osteoporosis, a bone disease that can make bones brittle. Calcium is also needed to maintain the health of the bones and teeth, which weaken as people age. Instead, they recommend switching to non-animal sources of dairy, which are lower in fat and may decrease your prostate cancer risk.
Although efforts in Singapore are rising to spread awareness of prostate enlargement, many Asian men still do not seek help. According to a recent survey by the Singapore Urological Association (SUA), one-third of men suffering from an enlarged prostate do not seek help, despite it being a highly treatable condition.
The reason why men don't seek help? According to the survey, 50 percent of the respondents cited they believed it was part of "getting old", whereas 12 percent claimed they were fearful of being diagnosed positive for prostate enlargement. Dr. Colin Teo, the chairman for SUA, believes misinformation is the biggest reason why Asian men do not get treated for this condition.
"Only 15 to 20 per cent of sufferers need surgery," says Teo to TodayOnline.com. "Others can manage their condition through lifestyle changes or medication."
Prostate enlargement, better known as benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), is a condition where the prostate enlarges and puts pressure on the urethra, making it difficult to pass urine. Although the condition isn't fatal, it can make urination painful or unpredictable, putting a clamp on a man's day-to-day and sex life. Many men believe BPH is just the cause of old age and cannot be treated, when in fact it is not clear what causes BPH.
"The cause of BPH is not well understood," reports The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). "Some researchers suggest that BPH may develop as a result of “instructions” given to cells early in life."
Fortunately for men, there are several treatment options available for mild to moderate BPH. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends finasteride, a drug that has been shown to reduce urinary symptoms caused by BPH. Other health practitioners recommend using saw palmetto and quercitin, natural herbs that have been shown to work almost as effectively as finasteride in the reduction of BPH symptoms.
Men who eat a diet rich in vegetables are less likely to develop BPH, says Australian researchers.
The study, which tracked the dietary intake of 868 Australian men between the ages of 40 to 75, revealed men who did not develop BPH ate a diet rich in beta-carotene, fiber, folate and vitamin C--all nutrients found in vegetables.
Conversely, the highest rates of BPH were associated with men who ate a diet rich in protein, saturated fat and zinc.
Gina Ambrosini, the lead researcher for the study, says men who ate a vegetable-based diet were at a 32 percent lower risk for developing severe BPH, or BPH requiring surgery to cure.
“In addition, the investigators looked at individual food groups and found a significant inverse relationship between risk of surgically treated BPH and consumption of total vegetables, dark yellow vegetables, tofu, and red meat,” says Jody Charnow, who originally reported the study to Renal and Urology News. “Increasing intake of high-fat dairy foods was associated with a higher risk of surgically treated BPH, the study found.”
These findings are one of the first to suggest a man's dietary habits may play a key role in BPH. Previously, researchers blamed an increase in testosterone levels, which have been clinically show to enlarge the prostate. It now appears that eating a high-fat, high-protein diet may also aggravate this condition.
Although scientists are reluctant to say if it can reduce pre-existing symptoms of BPH, they do recommend men switch to a lower-fat diet, if possible. Other health practitioners recommend incorporating more fruits and vegetables to lower the risk for BPH. Researchers have not recommended adding natural herbs or supplements to combat this issue, however, which natural health practitioners have recommended in the past.