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Old 05-02-2008, 04:38 PM   #1
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Prostate and Supplements

I have a number of questions regarding the use of supplements and their genuine effect on the prostate that someone may be able to answer….

1) Do supplements “mask” the PSA when cancer is present?
2) Has anyone noted a reduction of their PSA as a result of using prostate supplements?
3) What supplements are the most popular in ths Forum?

Thanks

 
Old 05-02-2008, 08:46 PM   #2
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Re: Prostate and Supplements

Its doubtful whether supplements are sufficiently potent to drive down PSA enough to mask P.C. However, Finasteride formerly known as Proscar and I believe the generic is now called Avodart can significantly suppress PSA. Its used by some urologists to control the spread of aggressive prostate cancer. If a rise in PSA or PSA doubling time is suspicious enough to suggest the possibility of P.C. then it would seem a biopsy is the logical next step to establish a diagnosis.

 
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Old 05-03-2008, 01:47 PM   #3
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Re: Prostate and Supplements


Hello Helopilot52,

I've interspersed my responses below in green, preceded by JJ. Jim


Quote:
Originally Posted by Helopilot52 View Post
I have a number of questions regarding the use of supplements and their genuine effect on the prostate that someone may be able to answer….

1) Do supplements “mask” the PSA when cancer is present?

JJ - I have never heard that this was a problem in the eight years I have been following nutrition and prostate cancer, though there were questions about saw palmetto at one time. On the contrary, there is a growing body of research that supports the effectiveness of some key supplements. Any of us can research what has been published at the Government website for the National Library of Medicine, [url]www.pubmed.gov;[/url] for example, search for " lycopene AND prostate cancer ". I always remind myself that promising results from many lab and animal research studies do not pan out when the research is taken to trials in humans. Still, sometimes that preliminary research, and research on populations who consume or don't consume as much of an item, are all we have to go on, and we have to place our bets.

As shs50 mentioned, there was a question if the fairly mild drug Proscar masked prostate cancer; actually, Proscar (now available generically as finasteride), decreases PSA by about half or more when acting on a healthy prostate by shrinking the prostate, which needs to be taken into account when evaluating PSA trends (set a new baseline, and take the trend from there). In fact, if the PSA does not decrease by about 50% or more after about six months of finasteride use, some doctors use that as a sign for extra monitoring, considering the weak response a sign of possible prostate cancer. Finasteride's sister drug (another drug in the 5-alpha reductase inhibitor class) is the widely advertised Avodart. Finasteride has been proven to reduce prostate cancer incidence by 25%, and to me the evidence is conclusive that it does it safely, without slightly increasing high grade (meaning higher Gleason) cancer. One analysis indicates that it actually decreases high grade cancer when compared to the placebo group, after taking finasteride's prostate shrinking effect and other impacts into consideration. This is not masking; rather, it is actually a favorable impact on the disease. It is clear that many doctors are not up-to-speed on finasteride and Avodart research and analysis.


2) Has anyone noted a reduction of their PSA as a result of using prostate supplements?

JJ - I can't say for certain for my challenging case over the past eight years. I've done well, much better than my original prognosis of three good years and two declining years. I attribute most of that success to advanced intermittent triple hormonal blockade with maintenance during off therapy periods, but I believe the lifestyle program I follow has been an important part of my success. That program involves supplements, nutrition, diet, exercise and stress reduction. However, unlike some fellow survivors I have talked to who use many of the same supplements, and unlike many of the men in research studies, I have not seen a clear impact on my PSA trend from supplements.

3) What supplements are the most popular in ths Forum?

JJ - Here are the ones I use:
- vitamin D3, from an organization whose manufacturer is Hoffman LaRoche. Quality is a major issue in vitamin D3 supplements, with many brands either lacking in vitamin D3 or providing it in a substance that is not well absorbed. My dose varies from 2,000 to 4,000, and I have periodic 25-hydroxyvitamin D tests to see how to adjust the dosage, shooting personally for a result between 50 and 100. I also get vitamin D from fish oil capsules and from herring at lunch every day. I live in Washington, DC area, and, though I'm nearly 65, I still seem to be able to make my own vitamin D from skin exposure during the months from April through September. I would take D3 even if I were not taking a bisphosphonate drug (now Boniva for me), which requires taking D3 and calcium supplements in order to work.

- calcium, 1,200 units daily. I would not be taking calcium if I were not on a bisphosphonate drug. There appears to be a mild increase in prostate cancer risk associated with calcium, but my impression is that the risk comes from inadequate vitamin D.

- selenium 200 mcg per day. I used to take 400 mcg daily because of my challenging case, but doctors I follow, especially Dr. Charles Myers, have cautioned there is some evidence of a small increased risk of diabetes or insulin resistance associated with selenium. That's based on follow-on analysis of the very trial that highlighted selenium's possible role in helping prevent prostate cancer, the Clark trial.

- vitamin E, including gamma tocopherol, 200 IU. I used to take 400 IU, but research indicated a possible small risk of complications at doses above 200 IU and substantial effectiveness at 200 IU.

- fish oil capsules, 4,000 IU daily, for omega 3 fatty acids in a form men can absorb well (contrast to flaxseed oil).

- soy, 200 mcg average per day. Dr. Maha Hussain's team demonstrated a benefit from soy a couple of years ago in an impressive (though fairly small) randomized trial. However, one recent research indicated there may be an unfavorable tradeoff of benefit when both soy and lycopene are consumed. I've learned that results from single studies are frequently misleading, but that is something I'm keeping an eye on; the study also involved highly respected researcher M. Hussain.
(Nutr Cancer. 2007;59(1):1-7.Lycopene and soy isoflavones in the treatment of prostate cancer.Vaishampayan U, Hussain M, Banerjee M, Seren S, Sarkar FH, Fontana J, Forman JD, Cher ML, Powell I, Pontes JE, Kucuk O.)

- Pomegranate extract capsules, 2 per day. I use a source that manufactures its capsules from pomegranate extract supplied by Pomella, whose extract is based on research performed by the UCLA team that demonstrated effectiveness of pomegranate juice (limited to 8 ounces to avoid too much sugar in the diet) in a trial in greatly extending PSA doubling times for men with recurring prostate cancer.

- glucosamine, 1,500 mg daily. I'm convinced this helps keep my knees and joints in good shape, which helps me exercise. (My knees creak when I don't use it and don't creak when I do.) To me, research is persuasive that exercise does a lot to help our cause in combatting prostate cancer, and it certainly helps in maintaining bone density, a likely issue for those of us on hormonal blockade therapy. Chondroitin is often supplied with glucosamine, but there is evidence that chondroitin increases risk for prostate cancer patients, while glucosamine is safe.

- Co Q10 - 50 mg. I started this within the last year because I'm taking a statin drug, and there is persuasive evidence that those of us on statins should be taking some Co Q10. Dr. Myers recommends it for statin users, but is opposed to it for those prostate cancer patients not on statins. There is controversy here, with other leading doctors favoring Co Q10. However, one of the areas of Dr. Myers's extraordinary expertise is nutrition, diet, and supplements for prostate cancer, so I usually lean toward what he advises when there is controversy.

- green tea - I take a capsule daily, though research in humans hasn't shown much of an impact on prostate cancer, in contrast to an impressive impact in lab and animal research involving prostate cancer. However, it appears safe. This is in addition to the green tea I drink (with lemon drops to preserve potency).

- aspirin, 81 mg, basically for heart health, and also essential temporarily while I'm on thalidomide to help prevent blood clots.

I don't take several supplements often advised for prostate cancer, basically based on Dr. Myers's advice. Chief among them is curcumin, which I used to take. I'm hoping research will clear the story on curcumin, as a lot of lab and animal research suggests that it should be helpful. Saw palmetto has real quality problems in available supplements, and it's effect on prostate cancer looks doubtful to me. There is at least one saw palmetto supplement that delivers the goods, Permixon.

Supplements should not be the whole story for any of us, as we should be getting many key nutrients from our diet. I consume a lot of seafood, cooked broccoli daily, lycopene from V8 and cocktail sauce daily, green tea (4 to 10 bags), lots of fruit and vegetables, virtually no red meat, no high alpha lenolenic acid foods (like flaxseed oil and canola oil), virtually no dairy food, etc.



Thanks
JJ - Hope this helps. Jim

 
Old 05-03-2008, 03:24 PM   #4
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Re: Prostate and Supplements

Jim, fantastic write-up with lots of great ideas. Thanks, Frank.

 
Old 05-03-2008, 06:14 PM   #5
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Re: Prostate and Supplements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Helopilot52 View Post
Jim, fantastic write-up with lots of great ideas. Thanks, Frank.
Frank,

You're welcome. I hope we will see more responses. Jim

 
Old 03-07-2011, 08:51 PM   #6
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Re: Prostate and Supplements

I might have missed it in your message but sugar is cancers best friend -- this is confirmed by numerous articles and oncologists. I have given up my See's candies, Heath bars, and everything else that is loaded with sugar. This has the added benefit of controlling my weight.

 
Old 03-08-2011, 02:26 PM   #7
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Re: Prostate and Supplements

Hi Frank,

There are very few good studies that have so far shown any good effect and several studies that show no effect of many popular prostate supplements.However, taking supplements gives me a feeling of control over a situation that I have little control over, so I'm for it, unless it's potentially harmful (like laetrile) or taken instead of real proven therapy.

With that caveat, the supplements I would suggest depend completely upon your current situation with respect to prostate cancer and what you hope to achieve with the supplement. For example, if you have never been diagnosed with PCa, finasteride may be a good preventative (this is currently being hotly debated). Finasteride is also good for reducing the rise in PSA caused by BPH. It doesn't mask anything and doesn't cure PC, it gets rid of the PSA that is NOT caused by PC. Certain supplements may be helpful along with radiation treatment, others may be helpful if you're having hormone treatment. Of course if you've already had a prostatectomy and are undetectable, supplements are completely superfluous.

Assuming you are not diagnosed with PC, and you're just looking for a preventative, my top three medicines would be statins, ibuprofen and finasteride, and my top five supplements would be broccoli sprout extract (sulforaphane), green tea extract (EGCG), soy isoflavones, quercetin, and pomegranate extract. I'd add curcumin (turmeric extract) to the top of that list if I thought it was absorbed at all. Absorption and getting it to the prostate is a big issue with supplements and the reason why so many of them look good in lab studies but never pan out in human trials.

I'm not at all a fan of vitamin supplements. I believe we ought to get them from our foods along with the myriad co-factors that may be necessary for their proper absorption and utilization by our bodies. It's how we evolved to use them. I also believe that supra-physiological levels are often more harmful than beneficial. Nutrient balance is critical, and more is usually not better.

- Allen

 
Old 03-08-2011, 03:06 PM   #8
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Re: Prostate and Supplements

I had a Radical Prostatectomy about 18 months ago. My PSA after the surgery was up to 25 and is now at 8 and continuing to go down. I take several of the supplements you suggest (Green tea extract, Querceten, curcumin, and pomegranite extract.) You have hit some of the top supplements on my list.
The only supplements that I feel comfortable taking in 'supra' quantities are natural foods like pomegranite extract powder and the broccoli. My list of supplements is fairly long. I agree about avoiding the potentially harmful or those that might interact with each other. So far all of my supplements agree with me and each other. I also avoid the high cost items that are proprietary items (but can't be patented). The only metaphor I can think of is that this is somewhat like a shotgun approach. Maybe 3 or 4 out of the 19 supplements I take will hit the bullseye -- not sure which 3 or 4 so I take them all. I strongly recommend Dr. Blaylock's book "Natural Strategies for Cancer Patients" (he is a well respected neurosurgeon and has does a tremendous job in researching this topic). Discusses the science behind each of the supplements.
Thanks for the discussion -- I hope the next time we talk my PSA will be down to less than 0.1 -- although just slowing the PSA down gives me a warm fuzzy.

 
Old 03-08-2011, 07:31 PM   #9
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Re: Prostate and Supplements

Hey Chris!
So you want supplements to do battle with some nasties hanging around, eh? Well, I'll pull out a few from Deep File.

Most of the following have only shown benefit in lab studies and are waiting in line to be tested:
  • Guggulsterones
  • Berberine
  • Scutellaria barbata (ban zhi lian in a Chinese herb store)
  • Garlic Extract (Diallyl trisulfide)
  • Grape Seed Extract
  • Glycyrrhizin (Licorice Root extract)
  • Magnolol (magnolia bark/root extract)
  • Decursinol (Korean angelica root extract)
  • Potato Extract (it's the anthocyanins, so probably purple spuds)
  • Sesamin (from sesame seeds)
  • Silybinin (from Milk Thistle)
  • Vitamin B-6 -- it's the only vitamin I've found that may have an effect: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19571228

I have references for all of those, if you want to read more about them. Have I added any to your list?

I also have a list of supplements that showed some promise at one time, but our hopes were dashed. Those include selenium, vitamin e, lycopene, saw palmetto... I have a drawer full of them.

- Allen

 
Old 03-08-2011, 08:16 PM   #10
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Re: Prostate and Supplements

Hey Tall,

Wow, I haven't heard of most of those supplements on your list. I'd better not research them -- I can't afford what I'm taking now. :-)

Thanks

 
Old 04-04-2011, 05:46 PM   #11
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Re: Prostate and Supplements

When my PSA level approached 6 the urologist prescribed Proscar. It is effective but for some people, me and about 1 of every 6 who take Proscar, it reduces your libido and energy level. My urologist said it was something else. When I stopped taking it, my libido increased. But I did start taking it again as I wanted to reduce my PSA, as that would indicate the prostate was shrinking. I don't remember the reading of my next PSA testbut it was lower. The Primary purpose of Proscar is not to reduce your PSA but to shrink our prostate. I post this as a warning! For most men, it probably has no side effects. But for some, it is a tradeoff.
Quote:
Originally Posted by shs50 View Post
Its doubtful whether supplements are sufficiently potent to drive down PSA enough to mask P.C. However, Finasteride formerly known as Proscar and I believe the generic is now called Avodart can significantly suppress PSA. Its used by some urologists to control the spread of aggressive prostate cancer. If a rise in PSA or PSA doubling time is suspicious enough to suggest the possibility of P.C. then it would seem a biopsy is the logical next step to establish a diagnosis.

 
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