What would be some herbs for prostate cancer prevention and possibly treatment?
Q. Dear Terry, “My dad and uncle both have prostate cancer. It’s not severe or life-threatening, but it’s creating some uncomfortable symptoms. I have been getting frequent screening and fortunately, everything is normal. What would be some herbs for prostate cancer prevention and possibly treatment?” — Derrick P., Gulfport, MS
A. Dear Derrick, When it comes to prostate issues, there are many natural medicines that can help prevent or delay the onset of chronic conditions like prostate cancer. These ingredients can also help decrease the severity of prostate cancer by decreasing inflammation, angiogenesis (creation of new blood vessels), and metastasis.
One ingredient that comes first to mind is curcumin. What I find most fascinating about curcumin is that it can stop the multitude of conditions that lead to prostate diseases: inflammation, oxidation, DNA damage, and the cell-signaling that promotes tumor formation and metastasis. Of course, not all curcumin is created equal, and the type of curcumin you use makes a difference. I recommend a clinically studied curcumin that is blended with turmeric essential oil for better absorption, plus enhanced benefits from the turmerones in the extract.
Another powerful ingredient to consider is pomegranate. Scientific studies have shown that pomegranate juice can significantly decrease PSA levels (often used as a marker of prostate cancer). Many pomegranate extracts lack one of the most beneficial compounds, omega-5 fatty acid, also called punicic acid, which is found in the seed oil. Current research finds that omega-5 from pomegranate inhibits PSA and stops the growth of blood vessels that feed tumors. I would look for a pomegranate extract that contains both seed and pulp oil for more enhanced benefits.
Scientific studies on grape seed extract show that it can also be very useful for prostate disease prevention by stopping the inflammatory pathways that set them up to become cancerous. Like any nutrient, the key compounds need to be absorbed before you will see any difference. I recommend a French grape seed extract that is tannin-free and provides only low-molecular weight oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs). They absorb best so you actually get the prostate protection you need.
Many people are familiar with milk thistle for liver health; one of the key compounds – silybin – also has amazing abilities as a powerful medicine for the prostate.
Lastly, vitamin D3 is crucial for optimal health, especially for the prostate. In a Harvard Medical School clinical study, 14 percent of the participants (all of European descent) had genes associated with less efficient use of vitamin D, and as a result were more susceptible to prostate cancer. In fact, the combination of low vitamin D levels and a slight genetic difference associated with poorer use of vitamin D meant they were more than twice as likely (2.5 times) to develop aggressive prostate cancer.
I would take all of these ingredients once or twice per day.
Terry . . . Naturally