If you have prostate cancer, one way to help fight the disease may be to eat more fiber. A new study suggests that a high-fiber diet could help men manage progression of prostate cancer if they are in the early stages of the disease.
An association between fiber and prostate cancer risk has been explored in a number of studies. In fact, evidence that eating more fiber can help in the prevention of prostate cancer has been a challenge to find. However, a late 2012 study of nearly 2,000 men reported that compared with men who consumed the least amount of fiber, those who ate a moderate or high amount had a 30 percent and 39 percent, respectively, lower chance of developing aggressive prostate cancer.
Now the news about fiber and prostate cancer is even better. The investigators set out to determine why prostate cancer tends not to progress in men in Asian societies while it does in Western society.
The study, which was conducted at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, reported that mice with prostate cancer who were given a high-fiber diet experienced a significant decline in tumor volume when compared with the control mice.
The reason is that a major ingredient in the high-fiber diet, inositol hexaphosphate (IP6), helped prevent the prostate tumors from producing new blood vessels, which are necessary to nourish the cancer and allow it to grow and spread. The high-fiber diet also seems to reduce the rate at which prostate tumors use sugar (glucose).
This is an important finding concerning prostate cancer and fiber, because it helps scientists understand why Asian men have a lower rate of prostate cancer progression than do other men. This study suggests the reason is not genetics but fiber intake, which is good news, since men can’t change their genes but they can modify their diet.
An excellent diet to follow to help prevent and manage prostate cancer is The Prostate Health Diet, which emphasizes natural choices and plant-based foods that are good sources of fiber. Men should strive to eat 25 to 30 grams of fiber daily for prostate health and overall health as well.
Some of the benefits of fiber are that it binds to cancer-causing agents and helps eliminate them from the body, and it also attaches to testosterone, which makes the hormone less likely to prompt growth of prostate tumors. In addition, some previous research has shown that IP-6 can protect prostate tissue and assist in preventing prostate tumors from developing.
According to Komal Raina, PhD, one of the new study’s co-authors and a research instructor at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, the difference in progression of prostate cancer between Asian and Western men appears to be related to diet and not genetics, as Asian men eat more IP6. Therefore the bottom line is that eating more fiber may help manage the progression of prostate cancer.
Read more in our Prostate Cancer Health Center.
Raina K et al. Inositol hexaphosphate inhibits tumor growth, vascularity, and metabolism in TRAMP mice: a multiparametric magnetic resonance study. Cancer Prevention Research 2013 Jan; 6(1)
Singh RP et al. In vivo suppression of hormone-refractory prostate cancer growth by inositol hexaphosphate: induction of insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3 and inhibition of vascular endothelial growth factor. Clinical Cancer Research 2004 Jan 1; 10(1 Pt 1): 244-50