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A Prostate Cancer Cure?

Something that gets me really excited is when I see a nutraceutical approach that rivals or even beats traditional pharmaceutical approaches.  It turns out that one of top three financial bloggers, Mike "Mish" Shedlock, likely stumbled across just such an approach.  Mr. Shedlock was gracious to even grant me a short interview and discussion of what he did and why and I'll discuss some of the highlights below.

NOTE: Mike has one great financial article after another and I highly encourage you to give his site a visit: Global Economic Analysis. Kudos to him also for doing some incredible fund raising for various medical conditions such as ALS and autism.

First, let's discuss what happened to him and it all started with a high PSA reading of 6.65 in August of 2012.  He then had a biopsy which - and I'll quote from his very detailed and informative article called How I Beat Prostate Cancer - that "of the 12 samples, only one had cancer and one was questionable. The cancerous sample was 10% cancerous." His PSA climbed further to a peak of 17.65 on November 15th, which is a very high reading. 

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So he definitely had a cancerous sample, albeit 10%, and another sample that might be termed "precancerous" as well.  Coupled with the high PSA numbers, this paints a very serious picture.  Mr. Shedlock did not panic and then created a "Prostate Cancer Cocktail" of 10 different supplements in order to try to control or reverse his cancer and bring down his PSA.  His oncologist told him it would not help but would not hurt either and, of course, his urologist was generally opposed.

The results that he achieved from his strategy seemed to be nothing short of spectacular.  His PSA dropped like a rock from the 17.65 value to 2.99 on 12/13/2013.  All of his reads since then have trended downward and the last one listed was actually below 2.0! 

In my discussion with him, he mentioned that he really thought that it was the first four supplements that really produced the lion's share of the results.  I would agree with him but think that it may be very important to include the fifth for reasons that I discuss below.  Here is the list along with his dosages:

  • Resveratrol: 250 mg twice daily
  • Indole-3-Carbinol: 200mg twice daily
  • Bromelain: 500mg twice daily
  • Quercetin: 300mg twice daily
  • Turmeric Extract: 300 mg twice daily
  • CAUTION: Always work with your urologist if you have a high PSA or prostate cancer. Mr. Shedlock very wisely showed his supplement regimen to both a urologist and oncologist ahead of time.  Prostate cancer is usually slow moving, but it can metatastize and spread to other organs, so get the experts involved.

    What I find really fascinating is that Mr. Shedlock put together a formula that addresses almost every major aspect of a rising PSA:

  • Cancer
  • Inflammation
  • Chronic Prostatitis
  • These three, along with an enlarged prostate, are the conditions that can really elevate PSA according to what I have read.  Some men have high PSA's and appear to have no prostate cancer.  Inflammation and abacterial prostatis are likely to blame.  This is one of the reasons that PSA as a prostate cancer test has really been under fire lately:  it does not always indicate prostate cancer but rather prostate problems, because some non-cancer issues can cause a rising PSA.  Does this mean you should ignore a rising PSA?  Well, I sure don't think so and I think Mr. Shedlock did the right thing by getting a biopsy done and working with his docs.

    NOTE:  There has actually been an abundance of research showing natural methods to lower PSA and prevent and treat prostate cancer.  I had just completed a page that summarizes a lot of this research and, interestingly enough, none of it overlaps with Mr. Shedlock's formula.  This just goes to show how many techniques and strategies one can have in his arsenal and you can read about these in my link on How to Lower Your PSA. Of course, the real tragedy is that the great majority of urologists seem completely unaware of all this new research on prostate health that has been pouring out of the labs.  I think it is prudent for any man, even with normal PSA levels, to begin to shift to a more prostate-protective lifestyle, because asymptomatic prostate cancer is VERY common in men (~15% per one study). [1] In other words, it is very common for men to have underlying prostate cancer and not even realize it.

    Also, it is possible that this small amount of cancer did not cause his rise in PSA.  Mr. Shedlock did not have the symptoms of chronic prostatits, but it is possible that inflammation of some sort caused his rise in PSA.  Perhaps he had more than one issue going on at a time - it is impossible to know for sure.  But this is the beauty of his formulation:  it addresses all the major players in one shot.  Let me explain in more detail:

    1. Resveratrol.  Resveratrol has many studies behind it showing that it attacks prostate cancer.  In vitro studies have been excellent and one researcher summarized by saying:

    "Resveratrol affects all three discrete stages of carcinogenesis (initiation, promotion, and progression) by modulating signal transduction pathways that control cell division and growth, apoptosis, inflammation, angiogenesis, and metastasis." [2]

    However, recent followup work indicates that resveratrol may at times inhibit prostate cancer growth and at still other times promote it.  For example, a 2013 study on mice with transplanted prostate cancer cells found: [4]

    "Resveratrol was associated with significantly worse survival with LAPC-4 tumors, but unchanged survival with LNCaP. Based on these preliminary data that resveratrol may be harmful, caution should be advised in using resveratrol for patients until further studies can be conducted."

    Now I asked Mr. Shedlock about this and he said that he was unfamiliar with the study.  However, he stated that his philosophy was to not take too much of any one supplement.  This is why he took a cocktail of ingredients so that one got synergies from all the ingredients.  He said that he considered his resveratrol protocol relatively low dose.  And keep in mind that he had a post-cocktail biopsy and no cancer was detected.  So not only did he have a monstrous drop in PSA to youthful levels but he also had a cancer-free biopsy. 

    The bottom line, as always, is that you'll have to do your own research, talk to your doctors and make some kind of decision about resveratrol for yourself. 

    2. Quercetin and Bromelain.  One very common male plumbing problem is prostatitis and, interestingly enough, the most common form of prostatitis is actually very poorly understood by modern science.  Although prostatitis is often caused by bacteria, more often than not it is caused by runaway inflammation and other poorly understood factors.  This type is called non-bacterial or chronic prostatitis and is sometimes accompanied by a rather painful condition called Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome.

    Doctors do not currently have a reliable treatment for this condition and certainly have not been able to find a reliable pharmaceutical solution to the problem as far as I know.  This is where nutraceuticals have offered some hope according to several studies and bromelain and quercetin are leading the way.  One study found a nice reduction in symptoms from the combination of these two. [5]

    3. Turmeric (Curcumin).  If there is one thing that you want to combat when it comes to the prostate, it is inflammation, a root cause of both prostate cancer and chronic prostatitis.  It can inflate PSA levels as well.  Of course, turmeric is famed for its anti-inflammatory powers and is one of the most widely used supplements in this area.  It is used, for example, to fight arthritis (when coupled with quercetin in one study). [6] Like resveratrol, it has done very well in in vitro and mice studies.

    Excited by the successes, researchers then decided to combine it with another proven prostate cancer fighter, soy, and found that it produced stellar results.  Dosages were relatively small - soy isoflavones (40mg) and curcumin (100mg) - and yet they found that PSA levels were significantly reduced by this combination.  The study examined men with existing cancerous or pre-cancerous cells but with elevated PSA.  In the group with PSA's > 10 - these were all seniors - the average PSA went down from 18.8 to 10.2!  Needless to say, these are very impressive results by simply combining an Asian food with an Asian spice.

    CONCLUSION:  The evidence points to Mr. Shedlock not only dropping his PSA to a fraction of it's peak levels but also to remission of his prostate cancer.  None of this can be proven, however, as biopsies are notorious for missing underlying cancer.  But keep in mind that the studies use the exact same techniques - biopsies and PSA - to evaluate the effectiveness of a prostate cancer treatment and so Mr. Shedlock is in good company if you ask me.

    The only way to really be absolutely 100% that you eliminated all the prostatic cancer would be a prostatectomy.  Unfortunately, this procedure has not been perfected yet and, more often than not, the patient experiences short and sometimes long term incontinence and erectile dysfunction.  Thus, his decision to attack a non-aggressive form of prostate cancer with nutraceutical firepower will seem to many like a very reasonable approach until we come out with more reliable and less invasive prostate cancer-fighting techniques.

    Hats off to Mike Shedlock for his bravery. It reminds of the story of Nathan Pritikin who was told that he would probably die if he ate a Low Fat Diet. He was very nervous to undertake such a program but found instead that he felt great and was vindicated when the coroner examined his arteries decades later and found that they were perfectly clean, like those of a teenager. [8] Again, diet, spices, juices and a few natural supplements can have powerful clinical effects that often exceed what can be achieved by standard medical practice.

     

    REFERENCES::

    1) http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2008/dec2008_destroying-the-myth-about-testosterone-replacement-prostate-cancer_01.htm, "Destroying the Myth About Testosterone Replacement and Prostate Cancer", By Dr. Abraham Morgentaler

    2) Cancer Prev Res, May 2009, 2:409, "Cancer Prevention and Treatment with Resveratrol: From Rodent Studies to Clinical Trials"

    3) http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Research/Researchers-Resveratrol-a-double-edged-sword-for-prostate-cancer

    4) Prostate, 2013 May, 73(7):754-62, "Resveratrol worsens survival in SCID mice with prostate cancer xenografts in a cell-line specific manner, through paradoxical effects on oncogenic pathways"

    5) Urology, Dec 1999, 54(6):960–963, "Quercetin in men with category III chronic prostatitis: a preliminary prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial"

    6) Inflammation Research, Apr 2006, 55(4):168-175, "The antioxidants curcumin and quercetin inhibit inflammatory processes associated with arthritis"

    7) The Prostate, 2010, 70:1127-1133, Combined Inhibitory Effects of Soy Isoflavones and Curcumin on the Production of Prostate-Specific Antigen"

    8) N Engl J Med, 1985, 313(1):52, "Nathan Pritikin's heart."

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