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NMU – 189 Mediterranean Diet Shown to Help Contain Low-Grade Localized Prostate Cancer

Nutrition/Natural Medicine Update No 189 (January 28, 2021)

with Dr. James Meschino


Topic: Mediterranean Diet Shown to Help Contain Low-Grade Localized Prostate Cancer

Source: Journal “Cancer” (2021)


A January 2021 study in the journal “Cancer” has shown that in men, who have low-grade, localized prostate cancer, men who more closely adhered to a Mediterranean-type diet were at much lower risk for disease progression and need for prostate removal surgery or radiation treatment. The study followed 410 men diagnosed with low-grade localized prostate cancer (Gleason score 1 and 2), who were undergoing watchful waiting by their specialist to see how slowly or quickly their disease might progress.  All participants had their PSA and testosterone levels tested every six months. The trial participants were 82.9% Caucasian, 8.1% Black, and 9% other or unknown. The median age was 64, 15% of the men were diabetic and 44% used statin drugs for high cholesterol. The participants had their usual diets assessed and were given a Mediterranean diet score based on their usual daily and weekly dietary patterns. The results showed that the men who most closely followed a Mediterranean diet had a much lower risk of prostate cancer progression. For every one-point increase in the Mediterranean diet score, researchers observed a greater than 10% lower risk of disease progression during the three-year study period.

More specifically, men who followed a diet that contained more fruits, vegetables, legumes, cereals, and fish had a reduced risk of their prostate cancer growing or advancing to a point where invasive treatment would be recommended, like prostate removal surgery (radical prostatectomy) or radiation treatment. Both of which have significant quality of life-altering side effects. Even diabetic patients on metformin and high cholesterol patients on statin drugs realized risk reduction of prostate cancer progression if they were following these dietary principles. The researchers conclude,” A Mediterranean diet is non-invasive, good for overall health and, as shown by this study, has the potential to affect the progression of their cancer.”

This should not come as a surprise, as Dr. Dean Ornish MD, had previously shown that his heart disease-fighting vegan diet also improved outcomes for patients with low- to-moderate grade localized prostate cancer. His patients also took vitamin E, vitamin C, and selenium supplements. The point here is that there are various nutrients in fruits, vegetables, and legumes, which have been shown to inhibit the development and/or progression of prostate cancer.  In fact, some studies showed that supplementation with natural agents from these foods, such as soy isoflavones, lycopene, ground flaxseed, as well as green tea catechins, and vitamin D, have all helped to contain prostate cancer in human clinical trials when used during the watchful waiting stage, or as an adjunct to medical management. The Adventist Health Study-2 showed that vegan men had a 33% decreased risk of developing prostate cancer in the first place. Studies published in the International Journal of Cancer have shown that up to 75% of prostate cancer may be avoidable by following more prudent dietary practices. Certainly, a more plant-based diet that contains various phytonutrients shown to inhibit prostate cancer should be a strong consideration for all men, as prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in this part of the world.  The evidence suggests that many of these cases could be prevented through more prudent dietary and lifestyle practices.

I have included the references for this information in the text below.


January 2021 Study:

1. Justin R. Gregg et al. Adherence to the Mediterranean diet and grade group progression in localized prostate cancer: An active surveillance cohort. Cancer, January 2021


2. Supplements Used in Complementary Management of Prostate Cancer Studies:

National Cancer Institute: Prostate Cancer, Nutrition, and Dietary Supplements (PDQ) – Patient Version

Dr. Dean Ornish MD Study of Localized Prostate Cancer with Low-to-Moderate Gleason Score:


3. Adventist Health Study-2 (Vegans and Prostate Cancer):


4. Prevention of Prostate Cancer by 75%:

Willett W. Diet, nutrition, and avoidable cancer. Environmental Health Perspectives. 1995,103(Suppl 8):165-170


Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

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