Getting serious about diet is a crucial step in managing cancer at any stage of the disease. What we put in our bodies can dictate our chances of survival, but dietary guidelines aren’t always concise. One food that is often touted as being nutrient-dense could increase the risk of lethal prostate cancer by up to 70 percent.
Many researchers are unconvinced by research backing the importance of dietary choline in preventing cancer.
In fact, some have warned that certain diets that emphasise the intake of eggs could hike the risk of “aggressive” prostate cancer.
Inadequate fat choline intake, a key component of eggs, has previously been associated with higher risk of lethal disease.
One study of 47,896 men found high choline intake had “a 70 percent increased risk of lethal prostate cancer, compared with men who had the lowest intake.”
High intake was defined as anything of 500 mg per day, which is the daily recommended intake for men. Women on the other hand are recommended 424 mg of choline per day.
Other dietary sources of choline include meat, milk, and poultry.
Researchers in the study explained: “Choline is highly concentrated in prostate cancer cells, and blood concentrations of choline have been asserted with an increased risk of prostate cancer.”
Despite the alarming findings, choline is deemed “an essential nutrient”, and is therefore recommended for optimal health.
Some studies have argued the nutrient is crucial for cognitive development, with the biggest concern connected to fatal brains.
Low intake of the nutrient has previously been linked to the development of fatty liver and liver damage.
Emma Derbyshire, recently argued in the journal BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health, that a lack of choline might be an emerging public health crisis.
But foods rich in choline aren’t the only ones linked to a greater risk of aggressive prostate cancer.
Studies have also shown an association between high saturated fat intake and an increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer.
These findings have informed suggestions that eating a plant-based diet could be the most protective against the lethal disease.
Doctor Bradley McGregor, an oncologist with Harvard-affiliated Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, says growing evidence points to a plant-based diet as the most protective.
He said: “There is no miracle prostate cancer diet.
“But as we learn more about the role diet plays in disease prevention, there is growing evidence that plant-based diets may lower the risk of prostate cancer and even help slow its spread.
Research suggests a plant-based diet could be the most protective because it comprises fewer foods high in cholesterol and saturated fat.
“It’s not clear if certain foods or combinations, specific amounts and other factors like regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight are the real reasons,” explains doctor McGregor.
Dietary saturated fat, which is linked to higher amounts of cholesterol in the blood, can also be found in eggs.
In one study, researchers noted: “High total fat-adjusted saturated fat intake was associated with increased PC aggressiveness, with a suggestion of a strong effect in men not using statins.
“The association between total fat-adjusted cholesterol intake and PC aggressiveness was most pronounced.”
High-fat diets change the micro-biome, which in turn can lead to the activation of pro-inflammatory pathways.
Prostate cancer is second only to skin cancer as the most common cancer among men.
The malignancy is characterised by abnormal cells that grow uncontrollably and form tumours that can spread to other parts of the body.