Fight Prostate Cancer With High Fiber Vegan Diet

A diet of fruit, vegetables and whole grains can help slow or even stop prostate cancer for men in early stages of the disease, according to a new report by famed heart researcher Dr. Dean Ornish.

Ornish is a professor of medicine at the University of California in San Francisco, known for successfully demonstrating how lifestyle changes (diet, physical activity, relaxation techniques, support groups) can prevent and reverse heart disease.

And now he has turned his attention to prostate cancer. His study looked at 84 men who were in the beginning stages of prostate cancer. None had opted for surgery or radiation treatment before joining the study.
The study required half of the men to submit to an extremely low-fat, vegan diet, with just 10 per cent of their intake coming from fat. Normally, people take 30 percent or more of their nutritional intake from fat. The diet consists of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and soy products instead of dairy.

The men were also required to give up alcohol, exercise three hours a week, relax and meditate for an hour a day, and attend a weekly support group.

Ornish's team checked the men for their levels of a blood marker for the disease known as “PSA” — prostate specific antigens. High levels in the bloodstream indicate prostate disorders.

After three months, the group that opted for the low-fat diet saw their PSAs drop 6.5 per cent on average. Those in the group who stuck closest to the diet and exercise regime saw a nine per cent drop.

After three months, the group that did not make the diet and lifestyle changes had higher levels of the blood marker, suggesting that the disease progressed.

Many oncologists say that a decrease in PSAs of anything less than 50 percent is insignificant. But Ornish maintains it is statistically significant, adding that patients don't need the PSA to go down, but do need it to stop from going up.
Test subjects will continue to be monitored for the next four years. But Ornish is optimistic, saying that the implication of his study is that lifestyle changes may help prevent prostate cancer. The findings may have implications for the treatment of breast cancer, too, he says.

Future studies will look at how the program works in preventing recurrence in those who have been treated, and whether it works in preventing primary prostate cancer, in addition to reducing high PSAs.
Ornish says he doesn't encourage patients to use his regimen unless they've discussed it with their doctors. He adds his diet program may also be used as a complementary remedy to other treatments.
Prostate cancer is characterized by frequent, difficult, or painful urination; blood or pus in the urine; pain the in the lower back, pelvic area or upper thighs; and painful ejaculation.

In April, Dr. Dean Ornish presented data from his prostate research at the International Scientific Conference on Complementary, Alternative and Integrative Medicine Research at Harvard University. The findings show a potential new, non-invasive option for men who are worried about prostate health.

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