The prostate gland, a small walnut-sized part of the male reproductive system, is prone to the development of inflammation among older men.
As men age, their risk of developing cancer in the prostate gland also becomes higher.
This brings up several concerns, as inflammation can lead to unpleasant urinary symptoms, while cancer can become a fatal disease.
The good news is, several studies have shown that there are different ways for men to improve the overall well-being of their prostate gland.
Scientific studies are especially starting to focus on natural ways that men can keep the prostate gland healthy, reducing the need to worry about the harmful effects of pharmaceutical drugs.
Flavonoids are one of the latest trends that seems to hold positive effects in terms of promoting prostate health.
These compounds might also be useful for men who are at risk of prostate cancer.
This post takes a closer look at what flavonoids are and how they may be beneficial for the male prostate gland.
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What are Flavonoids?
Flavonoids are natural chemicals that are present in some plants. These chemicals are classified as phytonutrients and form part of what is known as polyphenols.
Polyphenols have been used since ancient times in Ayurvedic medicine. Several Chinese medicines take advantage of the medicinal properties contained in polyphenols.
There are over 6,000 different types of flavonoids that have been identified to date. These natural plant chemicals are particularly known for being powerful antioxidants.
Flavonoids are usually divided into multiple groups. Each group of flavonoids provides specific benefits and actions in the human body. They can be found in a selected number of foods, including most fruits and vegetables.
Some flavonoids are more commonly known than others, with one of the most popular ones being quercetin.
What are some examples of Flavonoids?
Many different plant chemicals are classified as flavonoids. Along with carotenoids, flavonoids contribute to the vivid colors that many plants, fruits, and vegetables possess.
Scientists have discovered that not all flavonoids are the same, however. Thus, it is essential to consider the source of the flavonoids and, in particular, the specific type of flavonoid chemical compounds that are being consumed. This would provide more details on the health benefits that it could produce.
Some examples of flavonoids that are found in foods include:
- Flavonols- Flavonols are divided into three categories. These include polymers, dimers, and monomers.
Where can Flavonoids be found?
There are quite a significant number of food products that contain flavonoids.
While most often associated with a range of vitamin-rich vegetables and fruits, flavonoids are also found in many other products – including some beverages, such as red wine.
More flavonoids can be included in a person’s diet by adding the following food sources to their daily meal plan:
- Red wine
- Green tea
- Fava beans
- Black tea
- White tea
- Hot peppers
Many spices contain high doses of flavonoids. The most important spices to include in food to boost flavonoid content include:
- Tasmanian pepper
How can Flavonoids benefit health?
Flavonoid benefits both physical and mental health. Many studies have shown that increased consumption of flavonoids can yield several benefits.
Some of the essential benefits that have been associated with flavonoids include:
- Improved cardiovascular health and a reduction in the risk of heart disease.
- Flavonoids may play a role in weight management. They do so by improving the regulation of leptin, a hormone that suppresses appetite.
- The vascular function could be improved in patients with existing diabetes.
- These plant-based chemicals may help reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Several studies have found a possible reduction in the risk of certain cancers associated with a higher intake of flavonoids.
Flavonoids and Prostate Cancer Risk
In the male population, prostate cancer ranks second as one of the most common types of this disease.
It is estimated that more than 170,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the United States per year. The majority of these cases do occur in older men, with 60% of prostate cancer cases recorded in men who are older than 65 years. A PSA test is often one of the first diagnostic tools used to determine if a patient is affected.
Multiple studies have shown that there may be a positive link between the intake of flavonoids and the risk of developing certain cancers. One of the cancer types studied includes prostate cancer.
In a study by the University Hospitals of Cleveland, researchers caused chemical prostate carcinogenesis among a group of laboratory mice. Green tea polyphenol extracts, of which flavonoids were an important part, were provided to some of the study subjects. It was found that these flavonoids and additional polyphenols seem to inhibit prostate carcinogenesis effectively.
A study in the Journal of Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases, analyzed the impact of flavonoids on prostate cancer cell lines. Human study subjects were used to provide improved results compared to the current studies on animals that are available.
It was found that a cell cycle arrest occurs in prostate cancer cell lines with the introduction of flavonoids to the study subject.
This provided further evidence that flavonoids might play a role in reducing the risk of prostate cancer in men.
When should you consider Flavonoids to reduce your prostate cancer risk?
Men might want to know when they should start taking flavonoids in order to help prevent prostate cancer.
The simple answer behind this question would be as soon as they can. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables has been shown to yield several health benefits so this should really be part of the man’s diet regardless.
It should be noted that current evidence suggests that there may be a reduction in the risk of this cancer when increased flavonoids, such as isoflavones, are introduced to the body.
There is still insufficient evidence to suggest that these compounds may be helpful in men with existing prostate cancer. Thus it is better to start making dietary changes, including foods rich in flavonoids early on.
While some studies show flavonoids might be useful in providing a reduced risk of prostate cancer, the evidence is currently not only mixed, but also limited.
There is much more evidence available suggesting the antioxidant activity of flavonoids can be useful in preventing other diseases.
The reduction in cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure is an excellent example.
Some studies have shown that flavonoids could inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells. Others, however, have not yielded such evidence.
Flavonoids and prostate inflammation
Flavonoids like quercetin have been linked to a possible reduction in inflammatory responses in the human body. Thus, men who are affected by prostate inflammation could find that flavonoids to relieve symptoms.
To determine the efficacy of reducing the inflammation in the prostate through flavonoids, it is important to consider the cause behind the inflammatory response. Different conditions can cause the prostate gland to become swollen or even enlarged.
When prostatitis is the factor contributing to the inflammation, the cause should be recognized.
Flavonoids could potentially be effective at reducing inflammation associated with chronic nonbacterial prostatitis. However, in the case of bacterial infection causes the disease, the use of antibiotics might be needed.
One study, published in the Journal of the National Medical Association, provided evidence that a higher intake of fruits and vegetables, as well as other foods that are rich in flavonoids, might be useful for men with chronic prostatitis.
How effective are Flavonoids at reducing prostate inflammation?
The efficacy of flavonoids for prostate inflammation depends on several factors. The main factor to be taken into consideration is the reason why the prostate is affected by inflammation.
The previously mentioned study found that there may be a beneficial effect on prostatitis.
At the same time, the flavonoids alone may not yield significant results in cases where bacteria or other pathogens are involved. In such a case, flavonoids could reduce inflammation when combined with antibiotic therapy.
How long should you take Flavonoids for prostate inflammation?
To get the maximum effects of flavonoids for prostate inflammation, it is important to include whole foods that contain these natural chemicals in their diet.
With this in mind, there shouldn’t be a short duration during which these foods are included in the man’s diet.
The majority of foods that are known to be high in flavonoids also contain additional nutrients that are useful to the well-being of the body.
There are no side-effects associated with adopting a healthy diet. Therefore, the use of flavonoids in food can be considered a long-term lifestyle change.
In some cases, however, a man may choose to use a supplement that contains flavonoids. In such a case, the use of the supplement may also be used over an extended period of time. Studies have shown that there is not a significant health-related risk associated with a higher intake of flavonoids.
An extensive range of different flavonoids can be found in natural foods, as well as in the form of supplements.
Men who are looking to improve the health of their prostate should make sure they do some research on the types of flavonoids. It is important to identify the ones that are most beneficial for the prostate gland.
What are the best Flavonoids for prostate cancer health?
When it comes to including more flavonoids green tea is probably one of the most important options to consider.
Green tea is high in catechins, which are flavonoids that possess antioxidant benefits. The antioxidants found in catechins can help to effectively fight against free radicals in the body. Free radicals cause oxidative stress, which can contribute to the formation of cancer.
Quercetin, a flavonoid found in many foods, including several fruits and vegetables, is another useful plant-based chemical that may help to reduce the risk of prostate cancer and inflammation.
Men may also consider using dietary supplements that contain flavonoids. There are some of these products that are explicitly developed to promote prostate health.
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Various resources are available to help men learn more about how flavonoids could potentially improve prostate health.
The best way to get a view on the latest evidence provided by researchers and scientific studies is to take a closer look at journal entries. Several websites can offer patient access to recent journal entries on this particular topic.
This would also allow the patient to determine what the best dosage is to provide improved benefits for their prostate, as well as discover new sources of flavonoids that could be more beneficial.