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September 18, 2012

The effect of diet and exercise on prostate cancer

Two weeks ago, I started discussing the issue of prostate cancer and its causes. I said that there were associated causes, but that the real cause was unknown. I discussed the effects of age and diet and concluded that the older a man gets and the more processed and animal fats he had in his diet, then the greater the risk of prostate cancer. We still have to discuss the effects of race, vitamins, family history, genes and sex on prostate cancer.{{more}}

Diet continued: To prove the effects of diet, we can look at a study done almost 50 years ago on Chinese men (who traditionally had low prostate cancer rates) and who then migrated to the US (where the men had much higher rates of prostate cancer). Within twenty years, the men who had migrated to San Francisco from China developed a prostate cancer risk as high as those white men who had lived all their lives in the US.

After adjusting for all the known factors, the researchers concluded that the only factor that could account for such a dramatic rise in such a short space of time was diet. I am labouring the effects of diet, because too many men ask me “doc, what causes prostate cancer” only to shake their head in agreement when we discuss diet, but if you look at their body size you know they need to be on a diet! They even sometimes agree with you, but promise to start soon or say things like “doc, I eat healthy”. Obesity is bad nutrition, which is too much of the energy foods. Bad nutrition is also called “malnutrition”. So, contrary to the popular Vincentian notion, obesity is not from “good food”, instead it’s from bad food. In other words obese persons are “mal-nutritioned” in the traditional sense of the word.

Exercise: As was discussed two weeks ago, persons who had a sedentary (a nice word for lazy) lifestyle are more at risk for prostate cancer, but they are also more at risks for diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, erection problems and all other types of cancers. These men (and women) are usually the same ones who are also malnutritioned. The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise every day or at least 200 minutes every week. Obviously, some exercise is better than none, so this is just a guideline. Those who do an hour a day are still better off than those who do half an hour. The best exercise is aerobics, or as we call them “cardios”, as they stress the cardiovascular system more and are more likely to lead to weight loss, compared to the other type of exercise, which consists mainly of weightlifting and leads mainly to muscle bulk. These do not cause weight loss and may have the opposite effects. As a guideline, if you looked at the recently concluded Olympics, you want to look more like the slim 800 and 1500 metre runners and not like the bulky and muscular 100 and 200-metre runners. In other words, avoid the body builder look, which so many men think going to the gym is for. It is also easier to maintain the body of a 400 or 800-metre runner than the body of a 100 or 200-metre sprinter.

Vitamins and other dietary supplements: The body has to get rid of harmful substances in the food we eat and drink and the air we breathe. These substances are neutralized and excreted in the urine, feces, sweat and breath. The antitoxins in the body are the body’s own systems in the immune system, aided by substances like vitamins and other micronutrients. The most common anti-toxin vitamins are the D, E and C vitamins. These vitamins “prime” and support the immune system, so it can do its work effectively. They also help the body “mop up” toxins (called free radical or oxides) that damage the body’s cells and can lead to cancer. Most of the body’s antioxidants come from plants and are called flavonoids and phytochemicals. Other, but less important, include substances like coenzyme Q10, selenium, zinc and beta-carotene.

I will need a whole article or two to discuss antioxidants. Suffice it to say they all reduce the effects of toxins that cause all types of cancer and tissue destruction and hence reduce the incidence of prostate cancer and other types of cancer. In other words, a healthy diet should include a good balanced multivitamin and should avoid the “one only” tablet type of antioxidant, unless it is several “one only” types of antioxidants.

For comments or question contact:

Dr Rohan Deshong
Tel: (784) 456-2785
email: deshong@vincysurf.com