Prostate Protection: Good diet, exercise can kill cancer cells

UCLA scientists report that 11 days of daily exercise and a low-fat, high-fibre diet cause prostate cancer cells to die. The research is the first to show that diet and exercise can kill prostate cancer cells.

“You can make changes in a short period of time that have a dramatic impact on your health – in this case, on the growth and death of prostate tumour cells,” said R. James Barnard, professor of physiological science at UCLA.

Barnand colleagues studied two groups of men: 14 obese men, ages 42 to 73, without prostate cancer, who participated in an 11-day diet and exercise program; and 8 men, ages 38 to 74, who have exercised regularly and followed a low- fat, high-fibre diet for more than 14 years. Researchers collected blood samples from the 14 men before they began the 11-day program and mixed these samples in dishes with prostate cancer cells. At the end of the program, researchers collected a second set of blood samples from the same men, and again mixed them in laboratory dishes with prostate cancer cells.

The researchers found that in the samples taken before the 11-day diet and exercise program, only 3% of the prostate cancer cells showed cell death, or “apoptosis.” However, in the samples taken after the program, more than 40% of the cells were on their way to death. What’s more, in the group of men who’d been exercising and eating well for more than 14 years, more than 50% of these cells were on their way to apoptosis, or death.

“I’ve been telling people for years if they want to avoid most of the health problems we have in this country, they should go on a low-fat, high-fibre diet and do about an hour of aerobic exercise every day,” Barnard said. “You make up your mind: Do you want to be healthy? It’s not a tough choice.”

UCLA, Jan 14, 2003