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NMU 314 – More Plant-based Diet Helps Improves Sexual Function and Quality of Life in Men Previously Treated for Localized Prostate Cancer

Nutrition/Natural Medicine Update No 314 (March 20, 2024)

with Dr. James Meschino

Topic: More Plant-based Diet Helps Improves Sexual Function and Quality of Life in Men Previously Treated for Localized Prostate Cancer

Source: Journal Cancer (January 2024)


On a number of occasions in the past I have cited research showing that a more plant-based diet is strongly associated with a reduction in risk of developing prostate cancer. Evidence also shows that men who have localized prostate cancer, who are under medical surveillance, show much slower tumour progression if they follow a more plant-based diet. But in January 2024, researchers examining evidence from the large Health Professionals Follow-up Study have gone on to show that for men who previously were treated for localized prostate cancer (mainly with surgery – radical prostatectomy or radiation), the men who followed a more plant-based diet after their surgery had much better sexual function (meaning less erectile dysfunction) than men who continued to eat a diet containing more high fat meat and dairy products. As well, the men following the more plant-based diet also had less urinary incontinence, better bowel function, lower incidence of depression, fewer hot flashes, better hormonal balance, and higher quality of life scores. The study involved over 3,000 men who previously were treated for localized prostate cancer and were followed for the ensuing 7 plus years.

As Dr. Justin Gregg MD (urology researcher at University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston Texas) pointed out in the Medscape interview about this study (March 20, 2024), research has found the Mediterranean diet (fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, a little meat, and dairy products) can slow tumour progression among men with localized prostate cancer on active surveillance. He went on to add that the results are not entirely surprising, as prior studies have shown an association between a more plant-based diet and improved sexual function even in men who do not have prostate cancer. And Dr. Kenneth Jacobson MD (professor of urology and director of lifestyle medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin) said the new findings help establish “the positive role of diet quality and plant-based diets, specifically on quality of life after prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment for men with non-metastatic prostate cancer.” The authors of the study also point out that not only is a more plant-based diet helpful for prostate health in general and quality of life scores (including improved sexual function in men), but it’s also protective against cardiovascular disease, as many men who survive prostate cancer often die from heart attack and stroke because they are also in the high-risk age-bracket for cardiovascular disease.

Regarding diet and prostate cancer, it is well established that many nutrients and phytonutrients found in plant food are shown to block steps in involved in the development of many cancers, including prostate cancer, whereas the fats and high levels of animal protein found in meat and high fat dairy products have the opposite effect (cancer-promotion). I think that it’s important to note that in this study, none of the men became strict vegetarians or vegans, they simply consumed less meat and dairy products and focused more on plant-based foods (including soy products by the way). I would also add that after age 40, due to age-related changes in the prostate gland, that men should also consider taking a supplement each day containing natural agents shown to block the build up the dangerous type of testosterone (DHT), which is strongly associated with increased risk of prostate cancer and its progression.

I personally take a supplement containing:

Saw Palmetto

Pygeum Africanum

Soy Isoflavones


Stinging Nettle

Pumpkin Seed Extract


I have included the references for this study and the related Medscape Article in the text below.


References :

Loeb S. et al. Plant-based diet associated with better quality of life in prostate cancer survivors. Cancer. 2024-1-11.

Medscape Article:  Plant-based diet a boon for Men with Prostate Cancer. Howard Wolinsky (published March 20, 2024).


Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,
Dr. Meschino

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