Mark Moyad, MD, professor of preventive and alternative medicine at the University of Michigan, is renowned for his extensive knowledge on how nutrition, supplements and exercise protect against prostate cancer. He recently published a detailed report, “Preventing Aggressive Prostate Cancer with Proven Cardiovascular Disease Preventive Methods.”[i] He lists risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) that also correlate with prostate cancer (PCa), especially aggressive PCa: obesity, high LDL (the “bad” cholesterol), diabetes, unhealthy nutrition habits, lack of physical activity, metabolic syndrome, smoking and inflammation—for starters. He states that any lifestyle which reduces the risk of CVD likewise lowers the chances of aggressive prostate cancer.
By way of driving home his message, he writes that obesity is “associated with a higher risk of aggressive and fatal prostate cancer.” We all know that sustained aerobic exercise at least three times per week strengthens the heart muscle, burns calories and improves overall metabolic efficiency. According to Moyad, it improves PCa survival: “Regular vigorous exercise (approximately 3 h or more per week) is a profound potential strategy to reduce significantly prostate cancer death after diagnosis, and simultaneously reduce all-cause mortality to a similar degree (50%-60%) in these same patients compared to men that perform only 1 h or less exercise per week.” It sounds like a great “twofer”!
Moyad points to particular vitamins and supplements that were once thought to have a protective effect against PCa, but which were ultimately connected with increased PCa risk if taken in large doses. During the large-scale SELECT trial and some years of follow-up after it was discontinued, both vitamin E and selenium appeared connected with eventual PCa onset even after use was stopped.
Returning to CVD prevention, Moyad briefly discusses three relatively inexpensive and readily available agents that contribute to heart health by keeping cholesterol levels low, reducing inflammation, and controlling diabetes:
- Statins lower high cholesterol levels, which are associated with more aggressive prostate cancer
- Aspirin appears to act as an anti-cancer agent in addition to helping prevent CVD and strokes
- Metformin may help prevent the CVD and cancer complications connected with diabetes.
Moyad proposes that primary care physicians discuss the appropriate use of such medications with patients, especially those with known risk factors for PCa as well as CVD/diabetes preconditions.
It’s reassuring to know that when we invest ourselves in our cardiovascular wellness, we are protecting ourselves against prostate cancer at the same time. The body loves this kind of efficiency! The efforts we make to eat less red meat, consume more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, schedule in three exercise periods per week, get adequate sleep and manage stress will be rewarded with a long, healthy and energized life.
[i] Moyad MA. Preventing aggressive prostate cancer with proven cardiovascular disease preventive methods. Asian J Androl. 2015 Jun 26. doi: 10.4103/1008-682X.156854. [Epub ahead of print] Full article available at http://www.ajandrology.com/preprintarticle.asp?id=156854