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Can Coffee Lower the Risk from this Deadly Cancer?

June 02, 2011 | 46,653 views
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Benefits of CoffeeWhile many scientists have wondered about a possible link between coffee and a lower the risk of prostate cancer, most studies to date have been relatively small and shown mixed results. But a new study followed almost 50,000 male health professionals for more than two decades.

According to the research, for the men who drank the most coffee, the risk of getting the most deadly form of prostate cancer was about 60 percent lower.

NPR reports:

“The new study shows that getting a 60 percent reduction in risk of aggressive prostate cancer requires a lot of coffee -- at least six cups a day. However, men who drank three cups a day had a 30 percent lower chance of getting a lethal prostate cancer, and that's not bad.”

 

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

I am not a coffee drinker, as personally I never acquired a taste for it. However, there appear to be instances where coffee may be of therapeutic benefit, and warding off cancer may be one of them. This is not too much of a leap once you realize that coffee in its natural state is a natural herb.

In this large study of nearly 50,000 men, researchers found men who drank six cups of coffee a day had a 60 percent lower risk of lethal prostate cancer, while those who drank three cups a day had a 30 percent lower risk. The benefits were thought to come from the non-caffeine components of coffee, which include multiple nutrients and flavonoid antioxidants.

Other studies, too, have shown a lower cancer risk among coffee drinkers. For instance, a Japanese study found that those who drank coffee daily, or close to it, had about half the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a type of liver cancer, than people who never drank coffee. Other research has also linked coffee with lower rates of:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Dementia
  • Heart rhythm problems
  • Stroke

Is Coffee Good for You?

I have previously said that coffee is better off avoided, but some new revelations have changed my stance on this somewhat.

In an interview I recently conducted with Ori Hofmekler, author of The Warrior Diet, The Anti-Estrogenic Diet, Maximum Muscle Minimum Fat -- and a self-proclaimed coffee enthusiast who has researched coffee extensively -- you can hear the details of why coffee may be of therapeutic benefit.

Please realize that the warnings against the use of caffeine are well-warranted, because in and of itself it can be quite toxic. However, like so many other natural substances, when it comes to the whole food, in this case the coffee bean as opposed to the isolated caffeine, the converse is oftentimes true.

For instance, recent research, which Ori has written about in his upcoming book, Unlocking the Muscle Gene, has shown that coffee, which can trigger glutamate reuptake inhibition, ALSO triggers a mechanism in your brain that releases a growth factor called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF).

BDNF activates brain stem cells to convert into new neurons, and also expresses itself in your muscles. It does this by supporting the neuromotor, which is the most critical element in your muscle. Without the neuromotor, your muscle is like an engine without ignition…  Neuro-motor degradation is part of the process that explains age-related muscle atrophy.

So in this respect caffeine from natural, whole coffee may help keep your brain and muscle tissue young.

There is also reason to believe that coffee could help curb your sugar cravings. One of the reasons why you get addicted to a food is because your brain has opioid receptors. They're part of a primordial reward system that helps you detect, select and enjoy eating fresh foods over rancid ones.

Today, however, we live in a world of plenty, surrounded by processed foods that are typically loaded with sugar, which has led our addictive opioid receptors to become addicted to the wrong foods.

There are a few compounds called opioid receptor antagonists. That means once they occupy the receptors, they prohibit you from being addicted to something else. Coffee is an opioid receptor antagonist, meaning caffeine can bind to your opioid receptors and may attenuate the addictive impact of another substance. So, all in all, it appears coffee may have some valuable redeeming benefits, but there are some important caveats.

Be Careful and ONLY Consume Coffee this Way to Maximize Health Benefits

Most coffee produced today is heavily contaminated with pesticides. It's actually one of the most heavily sprayed crops grown. So, any coffee you consume should be organic, pesticide-free coffee. You also want only high-quality coffee beans that have been properly dried and roasted, and you'll want to grind them yourself to prevent rancidity.

Ori explains:

"Basically, if you have a quality coffee bean, even the roasted one, you get multiple nutrients and flavonoid antioxidants. You can detect the quality of the coffee by taste and smell ... rancidity can be detected immediately. A coffee that doesn't have a good aroma or taste is most likely stale and useless."

Another important caveat is to drink your coffee black, without sugar or cream. Add sugar and you'll certainly ruin any of the benefits discussed above by spiking your insulin and causing insulin resistance.

Finally, only drink coffee prior to exercise, not after.

When used before exercise, coffee will give you a good boost. However, it affects your muscles similarly to exercise itself. It increases the energy expenditure by your muscle while inhibiting the mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) -- the mechanism that increases protein synthesis in your muscle.

What that means is that coffee, similar to exercise, actually inhibits the inherent mechanism that builds your muscle, which is why you should avoid it after a workout. (You do not build muscle while exercising. Muscle building occurs afterward.)

More Tips for Warding Off Prostate Cancer

Coffee, when high-quality, organic and consumed black, may have some useful health effects. However, it is far from the only tool you can use to help lower your risk of prostate cancer.

Three others you should be aware of include:

1. Avoid Fructose

Fructose, the number one source of calories in the United States found in the majority of processed foods and soft drinks should be kept to a bare minimum in your diet.

Research in the journal Cancer Research shows that the way different sugars are metabolized (using different metabolic pathways) is of MAJOR consequence when it comes to feeding cancer and making it proliferate.

According to the authors:

" Importantly, fructose and glucose metabolism are quite different... These findings show that cancer cells can readily metabolize fructose to increase proliferation."

In this case, the cancer cells used were pancreatic cancer, which is typically regarded as the most deadly and universally rapid-killing form of cancer.

The study confirms the old adage that sugar feeds cancer because they found that tumor cells do thrive on sugar (glucose). However, the cells used fructose for cell division, speeding up the growth and spread of the cancer.

2. Vitamin D

One specific treatment for prostate cancer that has been brought to the research forefront is vitamin D from sunshine exposure.

According to a study published in 2009, men with higher levels of vitamin D in their blood were seven times LESS likely to die from prostate cancer than those with lower amounts.

Vitamin D's impact on your cancer risk is becoming increasingly well-documented, and there are now well over 800 scientific studies confirming the link between vitamin D deficiency and multiple types of cancers, including prostate cancer.

Personally, I believe one of the most powerful ways you can improve your health status is by optimizing your vitamin D levels. For more information on how to do this, please review this previous article. Overall, getting a safe amount of sun exposure on a regular basis, or taking an oral vitamin D3 supplement could reduce your risk of ALL cancers by at least 50 percent!

3. Vitamin K2

Vitamin K2 has also been found to offer significant protection against prostate cancer. One 2008 study by the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) found that increased intake of vitamin K2 may reduce your risk of prostate cancer by 35 percent.

Interestingly, the potential benefits of vitamin K2 were most pronounced for advanced prostate cancer.

Vitamin K has also been found beneficial in the fight against other kinds of cancer, including liver, colon, stomach, nasopharynx, and oral cancer, and some studies have even suggested vitamin K may be used therapeutically in the treatment of patients with lung cancer, liver cancer, and leukemia.

Although I don't typically recommend adding extra supplements to your diet, vitamin K is one of the few supplements you should seriously consider because many people don't get nearly enough of it on a daily basis through the foods they eat.

Although the exact dosing is yet to be determined, one vitamin K expert, Dr. Cees Vermeer, recommends between 45 mcg and 185 mcg daily for adults. You must use caution on the higher doses if you take anticoagulants, but if you are generally healthy and not on these types of medications, I suggest 150 mcg daily.

Please note that if you've experienced stroke, cardiac arrest, or are prone to blood clotting, do not take vitamin K without consulting your physician first.

You can also get vitamin K2 in your diet by eating raw cheese, cheese curd or a type of fermented soy called natto. Another important note is that vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means that dietary fat is necessary for its absorption.

One easy way to do this is to mix liquid vitamin K drops with a high quality, animal-based omega-3 source like krill oil. A few eggs will also work to help your body maximally absorb this fat-soluble vitamin. This will ensure that the vitamin K is well-absorbed by your body. Alternatively, you could add it to any other food that contains healthy fat.

Also keep in mind that your diet can either help or hinder cancer development or progression. Eating higher amounts of vegetables may be helpful for preventing prostate cancer, and in treating patients already diagnosed with it.

One 2009 study identified the following foods as being particularly beneficial against prostate cancer:

Tomatoes Cauliflower
Broccoli Green tea
Vitamin E Alkalinize your system with loads of raw foods

Consumption of highly processed or charcoaled meats is associated with an increased risk for prostate cancer and should therefore be avoided.


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