LIFESTYLE NEWS - According to research published in the SA Journal of Surgery in 2015, prostate cancer is the most prevalent cancer in men of all population groups. A later study, in 2018, conducted by the University of Pretoria’s School of Health Systems and Public Health (SHSPH), revealed that black men in South Africa displayed a higher risk of prostate cancer than their white counterparts mostly because of elevated levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in their blood.
As with most cancers, the importance of early detection cannot be overemphasised as it could greatly improve the success of treatment.
Guidelines include annual screening from the age of 50 years. However, if there is family history of prostate cancer, annual screening is advisable from the age of 45 years. Men who need to find a way to keep their PSA levels down or, more to the point, help prevent cancer’s recurrence, need to take a serious look at what benefits white button mushrooms have in store for them.
Researchers treated 36 prostate cancer patients with white button-mushroom powder, assessing their PSA levels' responsiveness to different doses of the powder and whether the men experienced any ill effects. After three months of daily use of the powder, 36% of patients experienced some reduction in PSA, with two patients experiencing a remarkable complete response, meaning their PSA levels dropped to undetectable levels.
The results suggest that chemicals in the mushrooms positively affect the body's immune system, said study author Shiuan Chen, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Cancer Biology at the Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope. In this 2015 study, published 18 May in Cancer, the researchers concluded that therapy using white button mushrooms in this manner appears to both impact PSA levels and modulate the biology of biochemically recurrent prostate cancer by decreasing immunosuppressive factors.
“In other words,” says Ross Richardson, the chairperson of the SA Mushroom Farmers’ Association (Samfa), “white button mushrooms are not mild-mannered at all but rather a superfood. And, although it is unlikely that any one nutrient or compound in food provides all the protection against cancer, it is far more likely that the synergy of the many compounds in mushrooms, and food in general combine effectively to offer protection to the body. That is why Samfa advocates a healthy diet that includes mushrooms, which are a very useful source of B vitamins, minerals and antioxidant compounds."
Mushrooms contain a number of important chemicals and compounds that are key in mushrooms' ability to fight cancer. Silenium is one of these minerals, and it works as an antioxidant to protect body cells from damage, and has also been proven to be important for the immune system and fertility in men. Another key component are beta-glucans which, according to some studies, can provide protection against some types of cancer.
Furthermore, in the case of prostate cancer, it may be the presence of mushrooms conjugated linoleic acid, a fatty acid, that is especially important. Finally, the antioxidants that mushrooms contain are just as vital, with l-ergotheioneine being one of them.
'We bring you the latest Garden Route, Hessequa, Karoo news'