Posts Tagged ‘vitamins’

Nutritional supplements and cancer prevention-what’s the hype and what’s the science?

May 29, 2012

Millions of American men and women are taking nutritional supplements with the attention of preventing cancer and other serious health conditions.  Does this work and is it worth the risk?

The US food and drug administration categorized as nutritional supplements under the general a brown of foods rather than drugs.  The supplements had not undergone clinical trials and a rigorous approval process and cannot be removed from the market and less they are proven to be dangerous or have false labile information.  It is of interest that FDA Manufacturing guidelines do not have to prove supplements safe or affective.

The risks

A little is good but a lot can’t be harmful.  Most American study had on and off vitamins in their normal diet.  By taking extra vitamins can cause an overdose.  In 2008 a more than 69,000 cases of toxicity 228 vitamin overdose were reported.

Another risk of using supplements is that some supplements can interact with medications in a way that will harm the patient.  If you are taking prescription medications you should inform your physician about any nutritional supplements you may be using.

Nutrients in foods

It is true: An apple at they may really keep the doctor away.  Fruits and vegetables contain important nutrients and fiber, which helps protect against colon cancer.  By eating fresh fruits and vegetables you can reduce both the risk and recurrence of breast cancer.  The American institute for cancer research estimated that one third of the cancers that occur every year in the United States could be prevented by lifestyle changes, including bleeding or whole foods.

The reason whole foods are more beneficial than and vitamin supplements is probably that whole foods contain any nutrients that worked in combination to protect against cancers.  For example, fresh salmon is superior to salmon oil supplements because although both provide fatty acids, Fresh salmon provides nutrients not found in oil, such as vitamin D and B,amino acids, calcium and selenium.

Foods known to help prevent cancer include: berries, grapes, tomatoes, mushrooms, green tea, salmon, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, linseed, and flaxseed.

Bottom line: For most people a diet that includes healthful foods can eliminate the needs for supplements.

Nutrition for Your Prostate Gland

January 9, 2012

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men causing nearly 250,000 new cases each year. It is the second most common cause of death in American men, killing nearly 40,000 men annually. However, with regular examination consisting of a digital rectal exam and a PSA blood test, prostate cancer can be detected early and treated. There are other healthy life-style changes that can be easily done that may even help prevent prostate cancer.
1. Start taking vitamin D, E and selenium supplements. Although further research is needed to confirm their effectiveness, studies have demonstrated that all three, vitamin D, E and selenium, show promise with regard to prostate cancer prevention when taken regularly.
2. Eat more soybeans (or soybean products) and other legumes. Elevated levels of testosterone may increase your risk for developing prostate cancer. The phytoestrogens-nonsteroidal plant compounds that act like estrogen in the body and thus can help to regulate imbalanced hormone levels-contained in these foods may help to prevent prostate cancer; genistein, an isoflavone also found in soy foods, helps to normalize hormone levels and thus may reduce prostate cancer.
3. Drink green tea. Antioxidant compounds in green tea may help prevent prostate cancer; some have even been found to kill prostate cancer cells in test tubes, while others have blocked enzymes that promote prostate cancer.
4. Get plenty of fiber. Fiber can eliminate excess testosterone in the body; thus, a high-fiber diet can aid in the regulation of your body’s hormone levels and may help reduce the risk for prostate cancer.
5. Reduce your intake of meat and saturated fats. Follow a low-fat diet: diets high in saturated fat ¬animal fat in particular-and red met have been found to increase the risk for prostate cancer. Eating a low-tat diet also helps to prevent obesity, a condition that may also increase prostate cancer risk.
6. Eat more broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts and greens. A recent study found that men who ate cruciferous vegetables more than once a week were 40% less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than men who rarely ate them.
7. Eat cooked tomatoes. Lycopene, the carotenoid pigment that makes tomatoes bright red, possesses powerful antioxidant properties and has been linked in some studies to a decreased risk for prostate cancer.
8. Limit your dairy consumption. Diets high in dairy products and calcium may be associated with small increases in prostate cancer risk. Moderate your dairy consumption, and don’t overdo calcium¬ supplements or foods fortified with extra calcium.
9. Get regular aerobic exercise. Regular aerobic exercise has been associated with reduced risk levels for prostate cancer: exercise also helps prevent obesity and other health-related complications that obesity causes.
10. See your physician for prostate cancer screenings regularly. While regular screenings can’t reduce your risk for prostate cancer, changes in diet and exercise can. They help ensure early diagnosis so that prostate cancer can be treated as effectively as possible. My best advice is to get screened annually if you are over the age of 50, if you have a family member who has prostate cancer, or if you are an African-American man.

Bottom Line: Prostate cancer may have a relationship with diet. I cannot tell you for certain if you follow these instructions you will not develop prostate cancer. But as my wonderful Jewish mother would say, “It may not help, but it voidn’t hoit!”

Vitamins May Not Be All That Helpful

December 28, 2011

It is not unusual to view an advertisement for a vitamin that suggests it helps people with cardiovascular problems, cancer, diabetes, or other chronic diseases. Judging the validity of these advertisements is often difficult due to what often appears to be conflicting data, and the use of personal anecdotes.
What is the evidence? A study was conducted by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and published in 2006. (The complete report, Multivitamin/Mineral Supplements and Prevention of Chronic Disease can be viewed here)
The study examined the use of vitamins for the prevention of the following:
• breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, gastric cancer, or any other malignancy (including colorectal polyps)
• myocardial infarction, stroke
• type 2 diabetes mellitus
• Parkinson’s disease, cognitive decline, memory loss, dementia
• cataracts, macular degeneration, hearing loss
• osteoporosis, osteopenia, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis
• hepatitis, non-alcoholic fatty-liver disease
• chronic renal insufficiency, chronic nephrolithiasis
• HIV infection, hepatitis C, tuberculosis
• chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

The results of the study
The authors concluded there is limited evidence to date suggesting potential benefits of multivitamin/mineral supplements in the primary prevention of cancer in individuals with poor nutritional status or suboptimal antioxidant intake.
The evidence also indicates that multivitamin/mineral supplement use does not have significant effects in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease and cataracts.
Regular supplementation of a single nutrient or a mixture of nutrients for years has no significant benefits in the primary prevention of cancer, cardiovascular disease, cataract, age-related macular degeneration or cognitive decline.
A few exceptions, that were reported in a single reviewed study included a decreased incidence of prostate cancer with use of synthetic α-tocopherol (50 mg per day) in smokers, a decreased progression of age-related macular degeneration with high doses of zinc alone or zinc in combination with antioxidants in persons at high risk for developing advanced stages of the disease, and a decreased incidence of cancer with use of selenium (200 mcg per day).
Supplementation with calcium has short-term (particularly within one year) benefit on retaining bone mineral density in postmenopausal women, and a possible effect in preventing vertebral fractures. Combined vitamin D3 (700–800 IU/day) and calcium (1000 mg/day) may reduce the risk of hip and other non-vertebral fractures in individuals with low levels of intake. Supplementation with β-carotene increased lung cancer risk in persons with asbestos exposure or cigarette smoking.
Users of Vitamins Beware
The overall quality and quantity of the literature on the safety of multivitamin/mineral supplements is limited. Among the adverse effects reported were vitamin A supplementation may moderately increase serum triglyceride levels. Calcium supplementation may increase the risk of kidney stones. Vitamin E supplementation was associated with an increased incidence of nosebleeds but was not associated with an increased risk of more serious bleeding events.

Bottom Line: Vitamins may be helpful for a few conditions. Nothing beats a good diet with fresh fruits and vegetables, plenty of exercise, and adequate sleep. Vitamins and supplements are not the cure all for many diseases or the major source of disease prevention.

Vitamins and Supplements May Not Be The Panacea To Good Health For Women

October 23, 2011

50% of Americans take vitamins and supplements. In 2003, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that roughly half of Americans reported taking at least one dietary supplement, creating nearly $20 billion in annual industry profits. And dietary supplement use becomes more common as people get older. The numbers of women who reported taking supplements increased over time — from 63 percent in 1986, to 75 percent in 1997 and 85 percent in 2004.
A recent study shows that for some women, especially older women, were at a slightly increased risk of death and increased risk of developing cancer. For the nutrient conscious, a daily capsule of vitamins and minerals might seem like a sure way to get all the necessary nutrients you could miss in your diet. But a new study from the Annals of Internal Medicine reports that those supplements may not be helpful, and in some cases, could even be harmful for older women.
The study looked at more than 38,000 women age 55 and older who participated in the study since the mid-1980s. The researchers found that when it came to reducing the risk of death, most supplements had no effect on women’s health.
In fact, women who took certain kinds of dietary supplements — vitamin B6, folic acid, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron and multivitamins — faced a slightly higher risk of death than women who did not. Only women who took supplemental calcium showed any reduction in their risk of death.
The findings add to a growing collection of research showing that people who take dietary supplements are getting few health benefits in return. I would conclude that supplements are not protective against chronic diseases.
Experts noted that supplements are beneficial for people who have some kind of nutritional deficiency, like anemia or osteoporosis. But many people who take dietary supplements are healthy and just want to be healthier.
Bottom Line: Based on this new study, people should be even a little more cautious now about taking these supplements. Before starting on a course of vitamins and supplements, speak to your doctor. The best way to ensure that you’re getting all the nutrients you need is still to eat a well-balanced diet.

Prostate Cancer – A Possible Diet For Prevention and Decreasing Risk of Recurrence

August 15, 2011

Many times I am asked if there is a way to prevent prostate cancer or if there is a diet for prostate cancer patients. Although there is no scientific basis for a cancer prevention diet, there does appear to be a relationship between certain diets and prostate cancer. Years ago it was observed that the Japanese men had less prostate cancer than American men. The Japanese who migrated to Hawaii and started consuming more meat and processed foods had more prostate cancer than their counterparts in Japan and the Japanese who moved to the United States soon developed prostate cancer at the same rate as American men. This suggested a relationship between diet and prostate cancer.

So what should men do who have prostate cancer or are at risk for prostate cancer? First, get involved in a daily exercise program. Even walking for 20-30 minutes a day is helpful. Next, decrease the number of calories you consume. Excess calories, especially an excess of carbohydrates, are bad for cancer growth.

There is a relationship between Vitamin D and prostate cancer. Therefore it is important to get sunshine daily. The sun converts dehydrocholesterol to the active hormone, vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol that is vital for metabolism and for fighting cancer.

It is also noteworthy that a diet that is good for the heart is also good for the prostate gland. Therefore, a diet, which is low in red meat and avoiding foods that are high in cholesterol, will be health for your heart and your prostate gland.

The two diets known to be associated with longevity and reduced risks for prostate cancer are the traditional Japanese diet and a Southern Mediterranean diet. The Japanese diet is high in green tea, soy, vegetables, and fish, as well as low in calories and fat. The Mediterranean diet is high is fresh fruits and vegetables, garlic, tomatoes, red wine, olive oil, and fish. Both are low in red meat.
Reduce animal fat in your diet. Studies show that excess fat, primarily red meat and high-fat dairy, stimulates prostate cancer to grow. Avoid trans fatty acids, which are known to promote cancer growth. These are high in margarines, and fried and baked foods.

Increase your fresh fish intake, which is high in the very beneficial alpha omega-3 fatty acids. Ideally eat cold-water fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, and trout, at least two to three times a week. The fish should be poached, baked, or grilled. It is recommended to avoid the usual food preparation so common in the fare of New Orleans cosine, which is blackened or charred. Avoid fried fish.
It is very important to significantly increase your fresh fruit, herb, and vegetable consumption daily. Powerful anticancer nutrients or anti-oxidants are being discovered regularly in colorful fruits and vegetables, fresh herbs, leafy green vegetables, nuts, berries, and seeds.

In addition to red meat, avoid high-calcium diets, which have been shown to stimulate prostate cancer growth. Avoid high-dose zinc supplements and avoid excess preserved, pickled, or salted foods. Avoid flax seed oil. Flaxseed can stimulate prostate cancer to grow.

It is suggested to take a multivitamin with B complex, 2-5 micorgrams daily, and folic acid, 250-1000 micrograms\day.
Increase your natural vitamin C consumption — this includes citrus, berries, spinach, cantaloupe, sweet peppers, and mango. Drink green tea several times each week. Eat red grapes; drink red grape juice, or red wine regularly. Eat leafy dark-green vegetables frequently. Cruciferous vegetables are cancer protective. These include cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. Tomatoes and especially tomato products are very high in lycopene, a powerful anticancer substance. This includes pizza sauce, tomato paste, and ketchup. For reasons not possibly understood, the lycopenes are highest in cooked tomatoes and not in the raw tomato.
Use olive oil, which is very healthy and rich in vitamin E and antioxidants. Avocado oil is also good. Avoid oils high in polyunsaturated fats such as corn, canola, or soybean. Take vitamin E, 50 to 100 IU of gamma and d-alpha, only with the approval of your doctor. Some recent studies have raised concerns over serious risks with vitamin E intake. Natural sources include nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocado oil, wheat germ, peas, and nonfat milk.

Selenium is a very powerful antioxidant and the backbone molecule of your body’s immune system. Most studies support a daily selenium supplement of 200 micrograms a day. The benefits appear to be only for those who have low selenium levels, which is difficult and expensive to measure. Since it only costs about 7 cents a day and is not toxic at these levels, it is reasonable for all men to take selenium. Natural sources include Brazil nuts, fresh fish, grains, mushrooms, wheat germ, bran, whole-wheat bread, oats, and brown rice.

Bottom Line: Although there is no scientific evidence that diet can protect or prevent prostate cancer, there is a diet with supplements that may be beneficial. As my wonderful Jewish mother would say, “It may not help, but it voidn’t hoit!”

Nutrition for Your Prostate Gland

May 26, 2010

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men causing nearly 250,000 new cases each year. It is the second most common cause of death in American men, killing nearly 40,000 men annually. However, with regular examination consisting of a digital rectal exam and a PSA blood test, prostate cancer can be detected early and treated. There are other healthy life-style changes that can be easily done that may even help prevent prostate cancer.

  1. Start taking vitamin D, E and selenium supplements. Although further research is needed to confirm their effectiveness, studies have demonstrated that all three, vitamin D, E and selenium, show promise with regard to prostate cancer prevention when taken regularly.
  2. Eat more soybeans (or soybean products) and other legumes. Elevated levels of testosterone may increase your risk for developing prostate cancer. The phytoestrogens-nonsteroidal plant compounds that act like estrogen in the body and thus can help to regulate imbalanced hormone levels-contained in these foods may help to prevent prostate cancer; genistein, an isoflavone also found in soy foods, helps to normalize hormone levels and thus may reduce prostate cancer.
  3. Drink green tea. Antioxidant compounds in green tea may help prevent prostate cancer; some have even been found to kill prostate cancer cells in test tubes, while others have blocked enzymes that promote prostate cancer.
  4. Get plenty of fiber. Fiber can eliminate excess testosterone in the body; thus, a high-fiber diet can aid in the regulation of your body’s hormone levels and may help reduce the risk for prostate cancer.
  5. Reduce your intake of meat and saturated fats. Follow a low-fat diet: diets high in saturated fat ­animal fat in particular-and red met have been found to increase the risk for prostate cancer. Eating a low-tat diet also helps to prevent obesity, a condition that may also increase prostate cancer risk.
  6. Eat more broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts and greens. A recent study found that men who ate cruciferous vegetables more than once a week were 40% less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than men who rarely ate them.
  7. Eat cooked tomatoes. Lycopene, the carotenoid pigment that makes tomatoes bright red, possesses powerful antioxidant properties and has been linked in some studies to a decreased risk for prostate cancer.
  8. Limit your dairy consumption. Diets high in dairy products and calcium may be associated with small increases in prostate cancer risk. Moderate your dairy consumption, and don’t overdo calcium­ supplements or foods fortified with extra calcium.
  9. Get regular aerobic exercise. Regular aerobic exercise has been associated with reduced risk levels for prostate cancer: exercise also helps prevent obesity and other health-related complications that obesity causes.
  10. See your physician for prostate cancer screenings regularly. While regular screenings can’t reduce your risk for prostate cancer, changes in diet and exercise can. They help ensure early diagnosis so that prostate cancer can be treated as effectively as possible. My best advice is to get screened annually if you are over the age of 50, if you have a family member who has prostate cancer, or if you are an African-American man.

Bottom Line: Prostate cancer may have a relationship with diet.  I cannot tell you for certain if you follow these instructions you will not develop prostate cancer.  But as my wonderful Jewish mother would say, “It may not help, but it voidn’t hoit!”