June 22, 2012

Why men should eat
plenty of cranberries

We’ve known for decades that cranberries are great for the health of your urinary tract. But we’re now learning that they’re good for your prostate as well.

In a recent study, researchers followed 42 men with lower urinary tract disease. This disease puts men at risk for prostate disease. The men also had an elevated PSA and confirmed non-bacterial prostatitis. The researchers assigned the men to take either a supplement with 1,500 mg per day of dried powdered cranberries or a placebo.

The researchers followed the men for six months and then evaluated them with the International Prostate Symptom Score. This test evaluates quality of life, urination parameters, average flow, total volume, and post-void residual volume. And wouldn’t you know it, they had significant improvement. There was no improvement in the control group.

I think berries are one of the best foods you can eat. I’ve repeatedly written about all of them. Here we see that cranberries, well known for their benefit in urinary tract infections, might also help your prostate. If cranberries help wipe out urinary tract infections, it’s reasonable that they’ll help your prostate as well, as it’s directly plumbed to your urinary tract.

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What’s more, the men in this study saw that their PSA fell. To me that’s huge. You may know that I don’t care for the PSA as a test for cancer. By the time you have cancer, it’s too late for conventional intervention. But the PSA can be a useful test as a marker for inflammation. Inflammation can degenerate to cancer. So if cranberries are able to help lower your PSA, I think it’s a huge finding.

You’ll have to take a stand-alone cranberry supplement to reach the 1,500 mg/day of dried powder used in this study. You can find cranberry products in this dosage readily available online.

Ref: “The effectiveness of dried cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) in men with lower urinary tract symptoms,” Vidlar A, Simanek V, et al, Br J Nutr, 2010; 104(8): 1181-9.

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