Life Extension Magazine December 2013
New Study Reveals Four Nutrients that Lower PSA and Slow Cancer Progression
By Ramon Gonzales
Pomegranate compounds suppress enzymes in the intestine and liver that convert certain molecules (procarcinogens) into cancer-causing agents.6,7 As it relates to those with prostate cancer, the active constituents in pomegranate have proven to be potent inducers of malignant cell death through apoptosis.8-16
During the development of androgen independence, prostate cancer cells are known to increase testosterone synthesis inside their own cells, which maintains cancer cell growth in the absence of significant amounts of circulating testosterone. Overexpression of the androgen receptor occurs in androgen-independent prostate cancer and has been proposed as another mechanism promoting the development of androgen independence. Pomegranate has been shown to inhibit expression of the androgen receptor and androgen synthesizing genes in prostate cells, which helps block an important survival mechanism utilized by prostate cancer cells to escape eradication.17
Multiple basic laboratory and human studies have demonstrated that pomegranate treatment, specifically various active compounds, slows PSA doubling time and reduces production of PSA in malignant prostate cells.12,14,18,19
In one recent study, pomegranate juice treatment in men with rising PSA after surgery or radiotherapy resulted in a significant delay in PSA doubling time (the time it takes PSA levels to rise) from a mean of 15 months before treatment to 54 months following supplementation.14 Another study found more modest, but still significant delay in doubling time, from 11.9 months to 18.8 months.18
Animal studies demonstrate additional anti-cancer activity in pomegranates. In a specialized mouse model of prostate cancer, 100% of untreated mice developed palpable tumors within 20 weeks, compared to as low as 20% in the group treated with pomegranate extract; the treated animals lived for up to a median of 92 weeks, more than twice as long as the 43 weeks survived by untreated mice.20
These remarkable results are observed in part because naturally occurring pomegranate polyphenols are concentrated in prostate tissue, facilitating their protective effects.19 Once in the prostate, these polyphenols selectively inhibit cancer cell proliferation, leaving healthy prostate tissue relatively unaffected.9,17 This is a potential “epigenetic” effect: pomegranate polyphenols decrease the expression of proteins that cancer cells use to support their rapid rate of replication.11,15,16, 21
Added prostate cancer-fighting benefits of pomegranate include reduction of the inflammation that drives cancer progression, suppression of new blood vessel growth within a forming prostate tumor, and increased expression of genes that keep cells clumped together normally, thereby inhibiting the invasive potential of prostate cancer.13,22-24
Green tea makes a unique contribution to the prostate-cancer-fighting pill as a result of a special combination of naturally occurring polyphenols called catechins.25-28
Studies show that one of green tea’s catechins, EGCG, accumulates specifically in prostate tissue, where it selectively kills cancer cells (leaving healthy cells unaffected) and reduces serum PSA levels.29-34
In a further demonstration of the cancer-suppressing role of green tea, when researchers studied men with a pre-cancerous condition called prostate intraepithelial neoplasia, they found only one tumor after one year in the 30 men given green tea polyphenols, while the 30 placebo recipients developed nine cancers.30 The treatment was safe, and as an extra bonus was found to reduce other lower urinary tract symptoms as well.
Green tea is already acknowledged as a cancer preventive in Japan because of epidemiological studies documenting prostate cancer risk reduction of up to 86% in men who drink the most green tea.31,35-37
Laboratory studies point to still other anti-cancer effects from green tea. Its components reduce genetic expression and activity of androgen receptors that most prostate cancers need to survive.34,38-40 Green tea also induces human cancer cell death by apoptosis through a variety of epigenetic mechanisms.24,41,42 And recent studies reveal polyphenols in brewed green tea shut off new blood vessel growth, important in slowing cancer development.26
Turmeric’s unique contribution to the prostate-cancer-fighting pill is its extraordinary anti-inflammatory properties, provided chiefly by its natural primary component, curcumin.43,44 Reducing inflammation with curcumin reduces the metastases that ultimately kill prostate cancer patients.45-48 Curcumin also down-regulates genes involved in adhesion, motility, and invasiveness that prostate cancer cells need to invade and spread.49
Curcumin specifically inhibits prostate cancer cell production of PSA by blocking its genetic expression.50,51 At the same time, it also reduces activation of the androgen receptors on cancer cells that trigger increased production of PSA.52,53
But the whole turmeric root also contains important oils and other substances that enhance curcumin’s absorption and have health benefits of their own, including anti-cancer actions.54
Turmeric’s components also inhibit cancer cell proliferation, restore cancer cells’ ability to die normally by apoptosis, and decrease the density of blood vessels needed for tumor expansion.43 By modulating cell signaling mechanisms, curcumin arrests the out-of-control cell replication cycle typical in cancer.55,56
Curcumin also sensitizes cancer cells to chemo- and radiation therapy, as well as to the intrinsic “death factor” called TRAIL (TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand), one of the body’s natural cancer-suppressing mechanisms.57-59 Remarkably, these sensitizing effects are not found on normal, healthy cells, so they remain protected during treatment.59
The compound has also been found to block growth factors and androgen receptors used by cancer cells to support themselves.60-62
Broccoli’s unique contribution to the prostate-cancer-fighting pill is its ability to up-regulate phase II detoxifying enzymes in gut and liver tissue, enabling the body to render harmless thousands of potentially carcinogenic molecules in our diet.63-66 In addition, the naturally occurring sulfur-rich broccoli constituents sulforaphane, indole-3-carbinol (I3C), and others have now been identified as potent epigenetic regulators.63,67-69
These broccoli compounds control enzymes called histone deacetylases (HDAC) that regulate the genes encoded in DNA—including those responsible for promoting or suppressing cancer formation.63,67-69 Known collectively as histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors, such molecules are prime objectives of Big Pharma.70,71
Men with high consumption of broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables have a 40% lower risk of invasive prostate cancer.72 And in animal studies, broccoli feeding reduced prostate tumor weight by 42% in prostate cancer-prone mice and suppressed growth of implanted human prostate cancer cells by 40%.68,73
Broccoli compounds reduce PSA production as a result of slowing prostate cancer cell replication in laboratory cell culture models.74-76 They appear to inhibit expression of the androgen receptors that prostate cancer needs to survive.75
Broccoli’s other prostate cancer-fighting properties include inhibition of growth and transcription factors that are activated in malignancies, restoration of normal tumor suppressor genes, and increased production of apoptosis-inducing proteins.77-82
Prostate cancer is a paradox: Its typically slow growth rate makes it possible to treat if discovered early, but once it has metastasized, it is often lethal.
The combination of four widely-recognized cancer-fighting foods, pomegranate, green tea, turmeric, and broccoli, in a single twice-daily pill has now been shown to significantly reduce the rate of rise of PSA, the tumor marker that indicates progression and invasion of prostate cancer.5
This new pill appears to work by providing cancer-suppressing actions at a wide variety of targets. All of this pill’s components have the capacity to cause favorable epigenetic changes, reversing the gene damage that leads to cancer development and restoring normal cancer suppression mechanisms.11,15,16,25,41,42,49,63,67-69
In a tightly controlled clinical trial, putting them together in a single pill was shown to be effective at slowing the growth of existing prostate cancers and preventing surgical and other side effect-prone procedures.
If you or someone you know suffers from prostate cancer, or is interested in preventing it, this new functional food pill, or its individual constituents, should be part of their daily program.
If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Health Advisor at 1-866-864-3027.