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Saw palmetto, vitamin K and vitamin D protect the prostate

Nutrients cut prostate cancer symptoms and lowered risk, in findings from three new studies.

In a saw palmetto study, 92 men aged 49 to 75 who had lower urinary tract symptoms from an enlarged prostate gland (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH) took saw palmetto or a placebo. After 12 weeks, compared to placebo, those who took saw palmetto had significantly higher urinary flow rates and significantly lower urinary resistance. Overall symptoms and quality of life improved in 39 percent of those who took saw palmetto compared to 1 percent for placebo.

In a vitamin K study, doctors examined the diets of 11,319 men and followed up for about 9 years. Overall, men who consumed the most vitamin K2 were 35 percent less likely to have any prostate cancer compared to men who consumed the least, a result researchers said was not statistically significant. In measuring risk for advanced prostate cancer, men who had consumed the most vitamin K2 were 63 percent less likely to have advanced prostate cancer compared to men who consumed the least, which was a statistically significant result, doctors said. In previous lab studies, vitamin K cut cancer in prostate cancer cells, but this is the first vitamin K/prostate cancer study in humans.

In a lab study, researchers exposed healthy and cancerous prostate cells to hydrogen peroxide, intentionally damaging cell DNA. Investigators then exposed the damaged cells to vitamin D which increased antioxidants in the healthy cells, but not in the cancerous cells. Doctors concluded that “We have demonstrated that [vitamin D] can protect nonmalignant human prostate cells…suggesting a possible role of [vitamin D] in prostate cancer prevention.” 

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