Life Extension Magazine®

In The News May 1999

Drink your veggies, WebWatch, and more...

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, in January 2021. Written by: Life Extension Editorial Staff.

Drink Your Veggies The health benefits of following a vegetable-rich diet have long been recognized in alternative and conventional medicine circles alike. Now, a study points to a much more specific benefit: vegetable consumption may reduce genetic damage in humans.

A human intervention study (Carcinogenesis 1997 Sep;18(9):1847-50) aimed to assess whether carotenoid-rich vegetables could protect against DNA and oxidative DNA damage. After a two-week depletion period, the subjects received-at varying intervals from weeks three to eight-tomato juice with lycopene, carrot juice with beta-carotene and alpha-carotene, and dried spinach powder with lutein dissolved in milk or water. The study concluded that a diet supplemented with tomato, carrot or spinach products significantly decreased endogenous levels of strand breaks in lymphocyte DNA. The findings suggest that carotenoid-rich plant foods provide cancer-protective effects by decreasing oxidative and other DNA damage in humans.

Prostate cancer update

Prostate cancer is the most hormone sensitive cancer in males. While androgenic hormones (testosterone) secreted by the testes and adrenal glands are the most potent factor in promoting the vast majority of prostate cancer cell lines, the hormone prolactin is another hormone that may contribute to the proliferation of prostate cancer cells. A rising serum level of prolactin indicates progression in patients with advanced prostate cancer. Studies have shown that prolactin may be involved in prostate growth. The presence of prolactin receptors in prostate cancer cell lines may facilitate the entry of testosterone into prostate cells. Since combination testosterone blocking therapy does not completely eliminate testosterone from the blood, it is conceivable that prolactin could carry a small amount of residual testosterone into the prostate cells and cause cancer growth. Suppressing prolactin secretion with relatively safe prescription drugs thus appears to be another adjunct method of slowing the progression of prostate cancer. In a study published in the European Journal of Cancer (Vol 31A, No. 6, 1995), the use of a prolactin-suppressing drug (bromocriptine) with flutamide and orchiectomy resulted in a 61% suppression of primary prostate growth compared to a 48% reduction with orchiectomy and flutamide only. After 36 months, only 40% of the group receiving the combination of bromocriptine and orchiectomy/flutamide had disease progression compared to 60% in the orchiectomy/flutamide only group. Most prostate cancer patients prefer the drug lupron in lieu of orchiectomy (surgical removal of the testes) and lupron may be more effective than orchiectomy.

Prostate cancer patients should thus have their prolactin levels checked via a blood test, and if prolactin levels are elevated, consider one of the following prescription drug regimens:

- Bromocriptine ( 5 mg one to two times a day)
- Pergolide ( .25 mg to .50 mg twice a day)
- Dostinex (.5 mg twice a week)*

Prostate cancer patients should check prolactin levels again in 30 days to make sure the chosen drug is suppressing prolactin release from the pituitary gland into the blood.

*Dostinex is the newest and cleanest drug to use. Dostinex has fewer side effects than the older drugs, is more effective in suppressing prolactin than the older drugs, and requires only twice a week dosing.

Inducing prostate cancer cell death

Apoptosis can be defined simply as programmed cancer cell death. Cancer researchers are focusing on agents that induce apoptosis as the next generation of cancer drugs. Many of the nutrients in the cancer treatment protocol such as selenium, vitamin A, green tea and vitamin D3 induce apoptosis. Other products available for the Prostate treatement are Natural Prostate Formula.

The most effective nutrient available to induce apoptosis may be curcumin, an antioxidant extract from the spice turmeric that produces a wide range of health benefits. Cancer patients should consider taking 2000 mg to 4000 mg a day of curcumin extract with a heavy meal. In a wide range of cancer cells, curcumin has been shown to induce cell shrinkage, chromatin condensation, DNA fragmentation and block cellular signal transduction, all of which are characteristics of apoptosis according to an article published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer USA (26/1 1996)

Caution: Curcumin lowers cholesterol by stimulating biliary secretion of cholesterol and bile acids from the liver into the intestine. Do not use curcumin if you suffer from a biliary tract obstruction.