A low-fat diet and exercise slow prostate cancer

September 18, 2001 in Cancer Prevention, Healthy Eating, Men's Health

A low-fat diet and exercise slow prostate cancer

A low-fat, high-fiber diet combined with regular exercise may slow the growth of prostate cancer cells in men by up to 30%, say researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles. A low-fat, high-fiber diet with exercise can favourably affect hormones and serum growth factors that influence prostate cancer growth.

Researchers collected blood samples from two groups of healthy men. One group included 13 overweight men ages 42 to 73 who had not been eating a healthy diet or exercising regularly. These men went on a strict 11-day diet and exercise regimen. A second group included eight men ages 38 to 74 who had eaten a healthy diet and exercised regularly for more than 14 years.

Meals in the 11-day diet regimen contained less than 10% of calories from fat and lots of vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Alcohol, tobacco and caffeinated beverages were not permitted. The exercise component involved walking at a quick pace for 30 to 60 minutes 4 to 5 days a week, and once or twice a week at a slower pace for 40 to 60 minutes.

At the end of the 11-day regimen, prostate cancer cells immersed in serum from the men in this group showed a 30% slower growth rate than cells immersed in serum samples taken prior to the regimen.

UCLA is launching another study to examine the impact of diet and exercise on cancer cell growth in prostate cancer patients. Results from that study should be available in about a year.

One theory that has been supported in autopsies of men who have died of causes other than cancer is that all men have prostate cancer cells that are clinically inactive. Men who have sedentary lifestyles and bad diets may stimulate these cells to become active.

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