Keeping the prostate healthy

In men with prostate cancer, vitamins E and B6 extended life, green tea lowered signs of prostate cancer activity, and exercise cut chances and severity of the disease, four new studies reveal.

Doctors wanted to know if vitamin E could extend life in those with prostate cancer. Researchers analyzed an earlier cancer prevention study of 29,000 male smokers who had taken 50 mg (75 IU) of vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) per day with or without 20 mg (33,000 IU) of beta-carotene or a placebo for six years. Twelve years after the study ended, about 1,900 of the men had prostate cancer. Compared to those with the lowest vitamin E blood levels at the start of the study, men with the highest vitamin E blood levels who also took vitamin E in the study were about half as likely to have died from the disease nine years after the study ended and were 74 percent less likely to have passed away 12 years after.

In a nutrition study, researchers measured the diets of 525 men with prostate cancer and found that—among men whose cancer was confined to the prostate—those who consumed the most vitamin B6 were 29 percent less likely to die from the disease during 20 years of follow-up compared to men who consumed the least vitamin B6.

In a green tea study, 26 men scheduled for surgery to remove a cancerous prostate took 1,300 mg of green tea polyphenols, including 800 mg of epigallocatechin 3-gallate (EGCG), per day for 35 days before the operation. Signs of cancer activity in the blood were significantly lower after taking the green tea supplement.

In an exercise study, doctors found that men who exercised moderately—walking, for example—for nine hours per week were much less likely to have prostate cancer or had less severe cancer than men who exercised less, and that as exercise increased, cancer chances decreased.

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