Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men, other than skin cancer.
Since treatments can cause erectile dysfunction and incontinence, many men desire to find a way to prevent the disease from occurring in the first place.
Many natural compounds may have a positive effect on the prostate.
Does pomegranate qualify as one of the herbs for prostate, or is it just another internet myth that keeps being bantered about?
We will discuss the effects of pomegranate juice on prostate cancer prevention.
What Is A Pomegranate?
A pomegranate (punica granatum) is about the size of an orange with a tough outer reddish-colored skin. It has a soft, palatable, gelatinous fruit that contains many seeds.
The pomegranate is native from Iran to the Himalayas in Northern India but has since been cultivated in many countries around the world.
Pomegranates are a rich nutritional source of vitamins and minerals and are high in ellagic acid. Research suggests that ellagic acid may impede the growth of tumor cells, and render cancer molecules inactive.
Research involving mice and rats has explored its potential in resisting cancer. While studies on pomegranate juice and human cells show promise, conclusive evidence is still lacking.
Pomegranate juice has been shown to exhibit beneficial effects against prostate cancer cells in culture and animal studies. In one study, it was reported that ellagic acid, caffeic acid, luteolin, and punicic acid, found in pomegranate fruit, reduced the invasive potential of PC-3 cells.
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How Nutritious are Pomegranates?
Pomegranates are incredibly nutritious when eaten fresh (raw). The values below are per 100g (3.5oz)3 of fruit:
- Dietary Fiber: 4 grams
- Protein: 1.7 grams
- Vitamin C: 17% of the RDA
- Vitamin K: 21% of the RDA
- Folate: 10% of the RDA
- Potassium: 7% of the RDA
They are also a great source of antioxidants.
What Is The Pomegranate’s Effect on the Prostate and Prostate Cancer?
In a recent UCLA study, Dr. Allan Pantuck and team discovered that daily consumption of 8 oz of pomegranate juice lowered PSA levels in 16 out of 46 participating men. There are several challenges with this;
1) The owners of POM Wonderful Co-funded the study
They are the makers of POM pomegranate juice; they also supplied the pomegranate juice used in the study.
The problem with this is that, when people who have an interest in the study’s outcome are the ones who fund it, we should look at it with a higher level of scrutiny. That’s the stance that should be taken with all studies funded by those with a stake in them.
2) PSA test does not indicate much at all other than the general state of health in the prostate
As we spoke about in previous articles, the PSA test provides limited information, mainly about the general health state of the prostate. The effectiveness of PSA testing for prostate cancer screening as initially challenged in a 2004 Stanford University News report, stating that the test is virtually worthless for predicting the risk of contracting the disease.
“The most commonly used screening tool for detecting prostate cancer – the PSA test – is virtually worthless for predicting men’s risk of contracting the disease, medical school researchers have determined. Stanford scientists studied prostate tissues collected in the 20 years since a high PSA test result became the standard for prostate removal. They concluded that as a screen, the test indicates nothing more than the size of the prostate gland2.”
Nevertheless, there is disagreement among most urologists. An enlarged prostate is, by definition, an unhealthy one. Enlargement results from continuous irritation of the prostate gland over the decades.
The only important issue is that there is a correlation between an enlarged prostate and prostate disease, including prostate cancer.
That is not to say, however, that an enlarged prostate makes prostate cancer inevitable. However, irritation often leads to inflammation, increasing the likelihood of cancer. This doesn’t imply that an enlarged prostate guarantees prostate cancer. Yet, in the presence of irritation, inflammation elevates the risk of cancer
While it certainly was wrong to base a diagnosis of prostate cancer or even to surmise it based on PSA levels in men. Most urologists will say if a man has a PSA level over 10, he almost certainly has prostate cancer. But it is also possible for someone with a PSA level of only 2 to have prostate cancer.
In other words, the PSA level by itself is not a sufficiently accurate predictive tool for prostate cancer. But PSA is a simple, non-invasive and inexpensive test that can provide early warning of prostate disease.
3) Sugar content of pomegranate juice
It contains quite a bit of sugar, and if, as most versions of pomegranate juice available in the West, it has been made from concentrate, the heating process will have eliminated most of the nutritional value and just left the sugar.
Freshly squeezed pomegranate, on the other hand, is highly beneficial and contributes to prostate health. The problem is to find that outside of countries such as Iran. Regular consumption of processed pomegranate juice may potentially result in challenges related to blood sugar control, weight gain, and more.
The pomegranate is an extremely healthy and nutritious fruit that can be eaten as a regular part of a healthy diet. Just as I would not recommend orange juice over eating the whole orange, especially if the juice is from concentrate.
Consuming fresh pomegranate juice or supplements containing ellagic acid would be an effective way of obtaining the benefits of this natural anti prostate cancer agent. Clinical tests show that ellagic acid prevents the destruction of the p53 gene by cancer cells.
Ben’s Total Health contains 200mg of ellagic acid for this very reason. With a complete formulation of 21 minerals, vitamins, and nutrients designed specifically for prostate health, and formulated in clinically significant dosages, Total Health works to combat the root causes of prostate disease and inflammation.