Study: Vegan Diets Reduce Prostate Cancer Risk

According to a new JAMA Network Open study, individuals with the highest intake of plant-based diets had a 47% reduced chance of the disease advancing or reoccurring than those with diets mostly consisting of meat and dairy products. The study included 2062 men who were diagnosed with prostate cancer.

“Plant foods are also a source of dietary fiber, which may promote satiety and regulate blood glucose levels.” Additionally, fruits and vegetables contain a variety of phytochemicals, including antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, that have been shown to protect against prostate cancer,” the authors noted.

The authors noted that “Animal-based foods (including meat and dairy) have been associated with increased exposure to potentially harmful substances, such as hormones and heterocyclic amines,” “High intake of red, processed meats, and dairy has been associated with increased insulin resistance and insulin-like growth factor-1, which have been linked to increased prostate cancer risk and potentially, mortality. Whole milk, in particular, has been associated with increased risk of prostate cancer recurrence.”

Lead author Vivian N. Liu of the University of California, San Francisco, along with others examined information from the Cancer of the Prostate Strategic Urologic Research Endeavor (CaPSURE), a database including information on over 15,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer. In order to better understand how plant-based diets could assist patients with prostate cancer, they gathered dietary data from 2062 research participants, of whom they selected for analysis.

Prostate cancer is the second most prevalent type of cancer diagnosed in men in the United States. While physicians typically advise cancer patients to stick to plant-based diets rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, Liu and colleagues investigated whether a vegan diet, in particular, improves treatment outcomes for men with prostate cancer.

13 individuals passed away after receiving a prostate cancer diagnosis, and 170 of the 2062 participants had a recurrence of the disease. Seven of the patients also had bone metastases.

Individuals with high intakes of plant-based diets walked faster, had lower body mass indices (BMIs), and were less likely to smoke than research participants who reported the lowest intakes. Additionally, their calorie intake was lower than that of individuals with low intakes of plant-based diets.

“Participants in the highest vs lowest quintile, consumed a mean of approximately 1.9 additional servings of vegetables, 1.6 additional servings of fruit, 0.9 more servings of whole grains, 1.0 less serving of dairy, 0.4 fewer servings of animal fat, slightly less egg, and marginally less meat,” the researchers stated.

They stated, “Our findings align with previous reports that plant-based diets may improve prostate cancer outcomes,” In 2022, for example, a study evaluating the relationship between plant-based diets and the risk of incident prostate cancer among 47,243 men found a 19% decreased risk of prostate cancer that resulted in death. The scientists stressed that eating more fruits, vegetables, and healthy grains could help men with prostate cancer.

They went on to say, “Even slightly reducing intake of animal products and placing more emphasis on more nutrient-dense plant-based foods may be advantageous,”

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