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Alternative Treatments for Prostate Cancer

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What about lycopene for prostate cancer?

Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant. It's found in abundance in some fruits and vegetables, particularly cooked tomatoes. Some studies show that people who eat diets high in tomatoes and other fruits high in lycopene have lower cancer rates, and some researchers even believe lycopene may retard the growth of prostate tumors. However, results of several studies have not been consistent.

Lycopene is found in large quantities in foods normally consumed. No side effects have been noted or precautions suggested when this "super nutrient" is eaten as part of a balanced diet.

Is pomegranate juice chemopreventive?

In rodent studies, scientists have demonstrated a positive effect of pomegranate in reducing cancer cell growth in mice. Studies on human cells show similar promise. This has led some researchers to recommend further exploration of pomegranate extract for human therapeutic use.

As with lycopene, drinking pomegranate juice and eating the whole fruit can easily be incorporated in a balanced, healthy diet. And doing so is not harmful when the juice or fruit is consumed in moderate amounts.

What do we know about saw palmetto berry for prostate problems?

Several antioxidants and other nutrients have been identified as potentially helpful supplements for conditions of the prostate. Those conditions include benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), or enlarged prostate. Clinical trials are being conducted to find out more about the benefits of these "super nutrients."

In the United States, men have relied more on the herb saw palmetto than on other natural therapies for relief from enlarged prostate. Men participating in several studies had better results when taking saw palmetto as compared to taking placebo. Saw palmetto hasn't been shown to prevent or treat prostate cancer.

The most common side effect of saw palmetto is mild digestive distress. Saw palmetto also seems to have some health benefits when used with African plum tree bark extract. But researchers caution that not all extracts are the same. Some preparations of these herbs can have different properties. Because herbs and dietary supplements are not regulated by the FDA, there are no guarantees about the quality of natural products.

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