This blog post focuses primarily on two very important parts of the human body: bones and prostate.
In a study published in the current edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine, European investigators studied effects of high levels of the amino acid, homocysteine, in the blood in relation to bone density1. The study, out of Norway, involved over 5,000 men and women, ages 47 to 75, between 1997 to 2000. It was found that total homocysteine levels were inversely related to hip bone mineral density (BMD) among middle aged and elderly women, but not men.
Women with highest homocysteine levels were nearly two times more likely to have low BMD levels compared to women with low homocysteine levels. As you’re probably aware, a low bone mineral density is found in patients with osteoporosis and puts the individual at increased risk of fractures. Dr. Gjesdal, lead investigator, indicated that these findings suggest that total homocysteine may be a potential modifiable risk factor for osteoporosis in women. He concluded that randomized trials are needed to investigate whether B vitamin supplementation affects BMD and fracture risk.
As you may recall, I cited a previous study in a blog post last year regarding a randomized double-blinded trial of over 600 consecutive patients over age 65 who had suffered strokes. Patients in that study were assigned to receive oral daily supplementation of 5 mg of folic acid and 1500 micrograms of B12 versus placebo. At the end of the two-year study, plasma homocysteine level had decreased 38 percent in the supplement group, while the placebo group increased by 31 percent. More importantly, those in the supplement group suffered only ten hip fractures, compared to 43 in the placebo group, a result that was highly statistically significant to 0.001.
The conclusion was that combined supplementation with folic acid and B12 was safe and effective at reducing risk of hip fracture in elderly patients following stroke. I strongly believe that if people supplement with optimal amounts of B vitamins, their cardiovascular and bone health will improve. It’s important to keep in mind the typical multi-vitamin fails miserably in this regard and only has a tiny fraction of the B vitamins utilized in the study just mentioned. In fact, the study utilized over 12X the folic acid and 250X the B12 when compared to Centrum Advanced Formula and many other popular so-called “complete” multivitamins!
Moving on to the prostate, three interesting studies were just published. In the January edition of Cancer Research, investigators out of Rutgers State University studied effects of a chemical called phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) along with curcumin2.
Researchers injected mice with either curcumin or PEITC alone, or in combination, just prior to the introduction of prostate cancer cells. It was found that these injections significantly inhibited the growth of the tumor cells. When both nutrients were used together, their effects were even more significant. PEITC is a naturally-occurring substance, particularly abundant in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, etc.
In another study published in the journal Prostate in January, researchers from University of Massachusetts studied effects of dietary antioxidants in mice3. Researchers developed a particular mice model known as TRAMP (transgenic adeno carcinoma of the mice prostate). It was found that various dietary supplements, including spinach extract, green tea extract (ECGC) or N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), appeared to inhibit effects of oxidative changes and cellular protein in pre-malignant lesions in these mice. Researchers concluded that the data indicated that, in TRAMP mice, oxidative injuries that likely involved an early prostatic cancer growth could be modulated by various antioxidants. I have written in many past blogs about the incredible benefits of green tea and NAC.
As it turns out, there was a human trial published last month in the journal of European Urology4. Forty nine men with a history of prostate cancer and rising PSA (prostatic specific antigen) after radical prostatectomy, or radiotherapy, participated in a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, cross-over study of dietary supplement. The supplement consisted of soy, isoflavones, lycopene, silymarin and other antioxidants. It was found that after ten weeks of supplementation, men given the antioxidant showed a significant decrease in the slope of PSA. It was concluded that the soy-based dietary supplement used in the study was shown to delay PSA progression after potentially curative treatment in a significant fashion.
When doctors tell you that data on vitamins and supplemental phytonutrients is not there, they’re basically not looking, but instead burying their heads in the sand of drugs and surgery. For example, by taking adequate doses of B12 and folic acid, considerably much more than is found in your typical mass-market vitamin, you could potentially reduce your risk of hip fracture.
Again, I’d strongly recommend looking at a good multivitamin. Look for something quality that includes everything. Many of inferior supplements leave out important nutrients like standardized green tea, NAC, CoQ10, lycopene, silymarin and many others.
For those of you who have concerns about healthy prostate function, standardized lycopene in the form of Lyc-O-Mato at 30 mg per day is highly recommended. Also a broccoli extract withindole-3-carbinol which is the active ingredient of cruciferous vegetables, as well as a potent standardized soy isoflavone supplementation is recommended.
As always, it is a pleasure to keep you abreast of the latest developments in health and nutrition.
- Clara Gram Gjesdal; Stein Emil Vollset; Per Magne Ueland; Helga Refsum; Christian A. Drevon; Håkon K. Gjessing; Grethe S. Tell. Plasma Total Homocysteine Level and Bone Mineral Density: The Hordaland Homocysteine Study. Arch Intern Med. ;166:88-94.
- Michael T. McCabe, Jonathan A. Low, Stephanie Daignault, Michael J. Imperiale, Kirk J. Wojno, and Mark L. Day. Inhibition of DNA Methyltransferase Activity Prevents Tumorigenesis in a Mouse Model of Prostate Cancer. Cancer Res 66: 385-392.
- Neville N.C. Tam, Abraham Nyska, Robert R. Maronpot, Grace Kissling, Liat Lomnitski, Andrew Suttie, Shlomo Bakshi, Margalit Bergman, Shlomo Grossman, Shuk-Mei Ho. Differential attenuation of oxidative/nitrosative injuries in early prostatic neoplastic lesions in TRAMP mice by dietary antioxidants.The Prostate. Jan : Vol. 66, Issue 1, 1-114.
- Fritz H. Schröder, Monique J. Roobol, Egbert R. Boevé, Reneé de Mutsert, Sonja D. Zuijdgeest-van Leeuwen, I. Kersten, Mark F. Wildhagen and Ardy van Helvoort. Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Crossover Study in Men with Prostate Cancer and Rising PSA: Effectiveness of a Dietary Supplement. European Urology.Dec. 2005: Vol. 48, Issue 6, 881-1086.