Life Extension Magazine April 2009
Life Extension Responds to Misleading Article Published in Journal of the American Medical Association
Soy, Lignans, and Cruciferous Vegetables
Men who regularly consume certain plant foods have sharply lower rates of prostate cancer. Studies show that cauliflower, broccoli, flax lignans, and soy isoflavones120-129 protect against a host of diseases, including prostate cancer. If the men in the placebo group ate an even slightly healthier diet, then they would be expected to enjoy a lower rate of prostate cancer compared with men who took the alpha tocopherol-selenium supplements but ate fewer cancer-preventing plant foods.
Low Testosterone Increases Prostate Cancer Risk
In a book authored by Harvard University experts titled Testosterone for Life, detailed findings are presented that dispel a misleading notion about testosterone causing prostate cancer.130 These researchers meticulously document their observations that men with low levels of testosterone have higher prostate cancer risks.
This finding provides another confounding factor that skews the results of the alpha tocopherol-selenium study. If men receiving the supplements had lower testosterone levels, they would conceivably have a higher rate of prostate cancer.
Risk of Supplementing With Only Alpha Tocopherol
We now know that when alpha tocopherol is taken by itself, it displaces critically important gamma tocopherol in our cells. An abundance of evidence points to the gamma tocopherol form of vitamin E as the most protective against prostate cancer. By supplementing aging men with only alpha tocopherol, scientists may have unwittingly increased prostate cancer risk in the men participating in the recent JAMA study by depriving prostate cells of critical gamma tocopherol.
Too Many Factors Involved in Prostate Cancer Causation
The alpha tocopherol-selenium study was designed based on prior studies showing sharply lower risks of prostate cancer in men who consumed these nutrients. It was also based on the premise that protecting genes against oxidative stress would reduce prostate cancer incidence in aged men.
We now know of dozens of factors involved in the development of full-blown prostate cancer. One could not expect that taking just two nutrients would result in less prostate cancer developing in these older study subjects. There are too many other causes that have to be factored in and were not known when the study was designed long ago.
It is encouraging that over the past 12 years, a plethora of new research findings have identified definitive ways for aging men to drastically slash their risk of developing prostate cancer.
If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension Health Advisor at 1-800-226-2370.
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