The prostate story you didn’t hear…

After the omega-3 debacle I told you about last week (Fishy science, 7/29/13), I’m happy to be able to share some exciting news from the prostate cancer community.

This study was presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology–so it’s quite a big deal. Not that we can expect the same fanfare that surrounded the ridiculous reports about fish oil.

Because–oh, that’s right–this is positive news about nutritional supplements.

Once again, this study involved a patented product. So I’m not going to name names here. But suffice it to say that the natural combo in question contained pomegranate, broccoli, green tea, and turmeric.

And according to this double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, at least, it can significantly lower prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in patients with prostate cancer.

Obviously, this is an important finding. PSA levels are still among the main criteria used to determine the course of prostate cancer treatment for men diagnosed with the disease. So let’s take a closer look at some of the details here.

This study featured just over 200 men with prostate cancer, with an average age of 74. All of the subjects had experienced a recent PSA relapse during a “watchful waiting” period following radiotherapy or surgery.

Researchers randomly assigned the men to take either the supplement or a placebo three times daily for six months.

At the end of the study, average PSA increases were almost 64 percent lower among men who had taken the supplement. These men were also significantly more likely to see their PSA levels stabilize–and in some cases, even drop.

So it’s not exactly surprising that men taking the supplement were also far less likely to receive future prostate cancer treatments–such as brachytherapy, radiotherapy, surgery, or androgen-deprivation therapy.

On the contrary, more men in the supplement group were able to continue with watchful waiting alone. In other words, these men were able to choose less toxic treatments to ensure their survival.

Meanwhile, there were no adverse events or any other negative changes in health reported–save a few reports of bloating and diarrhea. (In fact, more often, the men reported positive effects, including improved digestion and urinary symptoms.)

We’ve known for some time that botanicals like pomegranate, broccoli, green tea, and turmeric can combat cancer–chiefly due to their first-rate polyphenol and antioxidant profiles. But I think you’ll agree that seeing the power of these ingredients in action is amazing, nevertheless.

The best part? This combo addresses key aspects of cancer prevention–the speed at which cancer cells reproduce, their ability to grow new blood vessels, the way they avoid the natural death cycle, and their ability to spread to other parts of the body–without sending your hormones into a tailspin.

A double-blind, placebo RCT evaluating the effect of a polyphenol-rich whole food supplement on PSA progression in men with prostate cancer: The U.K. National Cancer Research Network (NCRN) Pomi-T study. J Clin Oncol 31, 2013 (suppl; abstr 5008)