sneakers-old and new

Prostate Cancer and Telomeres – new study

Take Home Message:

  • Lifestyle interventions increase telomere length after 5 years in men diagnosed with prostate cancer on active surveillance compared to men just on active surveillance with no lifestyle intervention.
  • Active surveillance is a viable option for men with low risk prostate cancer ( the kind that lease likely to kill )
  • Telomere shortening increases the likelihood of many disease’s, cancer and premature death
  • Lifestyle intervention included  the following four components: diet high in whole foods, plant-based protein, fruits, vegetables, unrefined grains, and legumes. Low fat  and refined carbohydrates (take-home meals were provided to patients for the first 3 months of the intervention); moderate aerobic exercise (walking 30 min per day on 6 days per week); stress management (gentle yoga-based stretching, breathing, meditation, imagery, and progressive relaxation for 60 min daily); and increased social support (60 min support-group sessions once per week). – Ornish et al. 2013

My Take on this

The evidence on lifestyle practices benefits against prostate cancer continues to mount. To me it’s becoming a little of a no-brainer.  Dr. Ornish continues conducting excellent research in the field of lifestyle medicine against cancer.

Telomeres are thought to be analogous to the ends of shoe laces – the plastic part. With time, the ends tend to erode and lose their form. If the shoes laces are taken care of , they often  last longer.

Short telomeres = disease and cancer.

Long telomeres = longevity and health.

Lifestyle approaches have continuously shown to keep telomeres  long.

How about protein’s from animal sources? Do they contribute to prostate cancer? This is a question I answer daily in my practice. Although meats were not consumed in this study, they do not seem  to  contribute in the progression of prostate cancer, particularly when one observe better designed studies. Processed meats and over cooked meats, however,  are a problem and seem to make prostate cancer worse. (Aexander et al. 2010) Refined sugars and carbohydrates, that is: breads, pasta, baking goods and starches combined with a sedentary lifestyle are by far most problematic in shortening telomeres and contributing to most disease’s and cancer’s.



Ornish D, Lin J, Chan JM, Epel E, Kemp C, Weidner G, Marlin R, Frenda SJ, Magbanua MJ, Daubenmier J, Estay I, Hills NK, Chainani-Wu N, Carroll PR, Blackburn EH. Effect of comprehensive lifestyle changes on telomerase activity and telomere length in men with biopsy-proven low-risk prostate cancer: 5-year follow-up of a descriptive pilot study. Lancet Oncol. 2013 Oct;14(11):1112-1120.

Alexander DD, Mink PJ, Cushing CA, Sceurman B. A review and meta-analysis of prospective studies of red and processed meat intake and prostate cancer. Nutr J. 2010 Nov 2;9:50.

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