Curcumin, isoflavone and androgen mix protects prostate
Boost your androgen level and protect your prostate at the same time? It sounds like a contradiction – in the medical literature 'androgens' and 'likelihood of prostate cancer' are almost synonymous – but according to urologists at Teikyo University in Japan it is possible. They did a test-tube study in which human prostate cancer cells were protected from prostate cancer by a mix of curcumin [structural formula shown below], soya isoflavones and androgens.
Phenols versus prostate cancer
There are indications that naturally occurring phenols can protect men against prostate cancer. Extremely high doses of a single polyphenol have little or no effect, but a diet or supplementation with more or less normal amounts of different polyphenols probably is effective.
The researchers let the prostate cancer cells float around in fluids with increasing concentrations of curcumin, together with a compound that turns purple as cells' vitality increases. The higher the concentrations, the less vitality the cells showed [squares]. The process was reduced somewhat when the dose was 10 micromoles [triangles] or 20 micromoles [diamonds] of isoflavones.
Prostate cells in the human body are also exposed to androgens like testosterone and – in particular – the androgenic testosterone metabolite DHT. So the researchers were curious to know what their polyphenol mix would do when combined with androgens. To find out they exposed their prostate cells to the extremely powerful methyl trenbolone [R1881] for two days.
The researchers then measured the synthesis of enzymes and other proteins that play a role in the occurrence or prevention of prostate cancer. They help to repair damaged DNA. The thicker the stripe in the figure above, the higher the concentration of that protein. The concentration of protective proteins such as p-Chk2 [p stands for phosphorylated], p53 and gamma-H2AX rose, and that of PSA dropped. PSA is a prostate cancer protein. The more PSA there is a man's bloodstream the worse off his prostate is. As you can see, the combination of an androgen, curcumin and isoflavones reduces the concentration of PSA.
PARP stands for poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase. PARP makes cells commit suicide if they can no longer be repaired. This way the protein prevents cells from transforming into cancer cells, and kills cells that have already become cancer cells. The figure below shows how the androgenic DHT and the isoflavone and curcumin mix together activate the suicide protein.
"A combined treatment of soy isoflavones and curcumin additively induced a DNA damage response in cultured prostate cancer cells", the Japanese conclude. "In addition, testosterone enhanced signals of DNA damage response markers induced by curcumin treatment. Our findings suggest a potential protective effect of curcumin treatment against prostate carcinogenesis."
Cancer Sci. 2011 Feb;102(2):468-71.
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