` Mediterranean Diet Decreases DNA Damage in Men with Prostate Cancer - Olive Oil Times

Mediterranean Diet Decreases DNA Damage in Men with Prostate Cancer

Jul. 16, 2015
Sukhsatej Batra

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Prostate can­cer is the sec­ond most com­mon can­cer in men world­wide, accord­ing to the World Cancer Research Fund International. 

In the United States alone, one in seven men will be diag­nosed with prostate can­cer in their life­time. The American Cancer Society esti­mates a stag­ger­ing 220,800 new cases and 27,540 deaths from prostate can­cer in 2015.

While fam­ily his­tory and age are two fac­tors that increase the risk of prostate can­cer, there is an unde­ni­able link with diet. 

Dietary fat intake, in par­tic­u­lar, plays a crit­i­cal role in pro­mot­ing oxida­tive stress and in the devel­op­ment of prostate can­cer, accord­ing to a research arti­cle pub­lished in the jour­nal Nutrients.

Normal cells may become can­cer­ous when oxida­tive stress, brought on by an imbal­ance of antiox­i­dants and reac­tive oxy­gen species, leads to DNA dam­age. Some muta­tions caused by DNA dam­age may lead to the devel­op­ment of tumors. 

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Animal fats, trans fats and sat­u­rated fats such as those present in the Western diet have been pos­i­tively asso­ci­ated with prostate spe­cific anti­gen lev­els (PSA), increased risk of prostate can­cer risk and death due to prostate can­cer. On the other hand, monoun­sat­u­rated fatty acids, polyun­sat­u­rated fatty acids and veg­etable fats such as those present in the Mediterranean diet are asso­ci­ated with decreased risk of devel­op­ing prostate can­cer or death from prostate cancer. 

To deter­mine if chang­ing the Western dietary pat­tern of prostate can­cer patients would influ­ence DNA dam­age and mark­ers of inflam­ma­tion, researchers at the University of Auckland, New Zealand asked 20 men with prostate can­cer to adapt a mod­i­fied Mediterranean style dietary inter­ven­tion for three months. At the end of the study, they assessed DNA dam­age using alka­line comet assay, which is an ideal bio­marker for the assess­ment of the influ­ence of food on cancer. 

The men were asked to fol­low a mod­i­fied Mediterranean diet that included an intake of 30 – 50 grams of mixed unsalted seeds, 15 mL of extra vir­gin olive oil and oily fish once a week. The diet reduced dairy intake to one por­tion daily, sub­sti­tuted but­ter with olive oil-based spread and decreased red meat intake to less than 400 grams. Additionally, the men were to avoid processed meats, meats cooked at high tem­per­a­ture, and to sub­sti­tute red meat with oily fish or white meat. To facil­i­tate adher­ence to the diet, researchers pro­vided the sub­jects salmon and extra vir­gin olive oil.

The results of the study were encour­ag­ing. The researchers found that DNA dam­age decreased as adher­ence to the mod­i­fied Mediterranean diet increased and there was an inverse asso­ci­a­tion between olive oil intake and DNA dam­age. On the other hand, DNA dam­age was reported to increase with increased con­sump­tion of dairy prod­ucts and red meat. 

The authors also found that higher lev­els of whole blood monoun­sat­u­rated fatty acids and oleic acid were asso­ci­ated with decreased DNA dam­age, while high lev­els of omega‑6 polyun­sat­u­rated fatty acids were asso­ci­ated with increased DNA damage.

The ben­e­fits of the mod­i­fied Mediterranean diet extended to include weight loss and a feel­ing of gen­eral well-being at the end of the three-month period by some subjects. 

Overall results indi­cate that chang­ing the Western dietary pat­tern to a mod­i­fied Mediterranean dietary pat­tern that includes fish and olive oil can be ben­e­fi­cial in decreas­ing DNA dam­age in men with prostate cancer.



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