Mediterranean Diet Linked to Prostate Cancer Prevention - EMJ

Mediterranean Diet Linked to Prostate Cancer Prevention

2 Mins

PROSTATE cancer continues to be one of the most frequent and deadly cancers in males. Risk factors, including ethnicity, family history, and age have previously been associated with prostate cancer, but the nutritional deficiencies linked to it remain to be elucidated.

Scientists from the University of South Australia, Adelaide, claim that a Mediterranean diet, which includes an array of foods rich in certain micronutrients, helps to prevent prostate cancer, as well as to quicken recovery among males who undergo radiation treatment for the disease.

Researchers compared micronutrient plasma concentrations of males diagnosed with late-onset prostate cancer (n=116) with a healthy age-matched control group (n=132). They reported low levels of lutein, lycopene, α-carotene, and selenium, along with high levels of iron, sulphur, and calcium in prostate cancer patients, compared to the control group. They revealed that increased DNA damage after radiation exposure was also associated with low lycopene and selenium in blood plasma.

The study demonstrated that a heightened risk of prostate cancer and an increased sensitivity to the damaging effects of radiation was observed in males with plasma concentrations lower than 0.25 µg per mL for lycopene and/or lower than 120 µg/L for selenium.

Examples of lycopene-rich foods include tomatoes, melons, grapes, peaches, and cranberries, while selenium-rich foods include white meat, fish, shellfish, eggs, and nuts. Permal Deo, study co-author and researcher at the University of South Australia, highlighted the importance of eating foods naturally rich in lycopene and selenium instead of taking supplements, as the current literature suggests the benefits of supplements are limited.

This is the first study to evaluate plasma concentrations of micronutrients and trace elements in the context of prostate cancer within the South Australian population. Deo stated: “Our recommendation is to adopt a Mediterranean diet enlisting the help of a dietician because people absorb nutrients in different ways, depending on the food, the digestive system, the person’s genotype, and possibly their microbiome.” The authors offered that the plasma nutriome may be an effective diagnostic tool of prostate cancer risk.

Join our mailing list

To receive the EMJ updates straight to your inbox free of charge, please click the button below.
Join Now