Prostate and pomegranates

There’s new hope for men with prostate cancer when their disease doesn’t respond adequately to standard medical care. According to the results of a six year study just published in the Journal of Urology, pomegranate juice can lower PSA levels and slow down the progress of prostate cancer.

This was a two-stage clinical trial where each research subject had a rising prostate specific antigen (PSA) level after surgery or radiation therapy greater than 0.2 ng/ml and less than 5 ng/ml. The study participants were given eight ounces of pomegranate juice to drink daily for several years. Then patients who remained in the study and drinking pomegranate juice were compared to those no longer participating in the juice regimen.

Though both these groups of men with prostate cancer had demonstrated similar mean PSA doubling times at baseline when the study began, there was a clear and important difference in the groups after 56 months. The researchers are cautious about suggesting pomegranate juice could prevent prostate cancer, but anyone receiving treatment could add it to their diet and be getting a range of other health benefits.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK and over the last 30 years rates in Great Britain have almost tripled, although much of the increase is due to increased detection through widespread use of the PSA test. Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in UK men, after lung cancer, though happily the survival rate has more than doubled. Around 7 in 10 newly diagnosed prostate cancer patients now survive beyond five years whereas in the 1970s it was only 3 in 10.

Pomegranate juice benefits for everyone As it has very good antioxidant properties, it has been evaluated for its usefulness in fighting certain forms of cancer and been tentatively shown to reduce incidence of breast and skin cancer. It has many health benefits particularly for heart disease, heart attacks and stroke.

These include:

  • it works well as a blood thinner
  • is an agent for promoting blood flow to the heart
  • reduces plaque in the arteries
  • raises “good” levels of cholesterol
  • helps lower “bad” cholesterol