A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition explored the connections between nutrition and the risk of developing benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in a large group of male health professionals. Benign prostate disease is common among older men and is associated with problems ranging from lower urinary tract symptoms to the need for surgical resection of the prostate.
The researchers, led by Dr Sadao Suzuki, found that men with the highest energy intakes and with high intakes of protein and certain fats were at greater risk for developing BPH.
They investigated 33,344 participants in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, all of whom averaged 53 years old at the inception of the study in 1986. The men completed questionnaires biennially from 1986 and 1993, in which they provided detailed dietary information as well as information on prostate health. A total of 3,523 men were identified in 1993 as having BPH, defined according to whether they had experienced severe urinary tract symptoms, had an enlarged prostate detected by digital-rectal exam, or had had surgery for an enlarged prostate.
Information on their consumption of energy, fat, protein (both animal and vegetable) and carbohydrate was arranged according to quintiles from very low intakes to very high intakes. The risk for developing BPH rose with quintiles of dietary energy consumption, so that men in the highest quintile had nearly one and a half times the risk of men in the lowest quintile.
Additionally, total protein intake, especially animal protein, modestly increased the risk of BPH, and certain polyunsaturated fats from vegetable sources and fish oils also showed a small increase in risk.
The authors suggest several roles for diet in the development of BPH, including enhanced abdominal obesity due to a high calorie diet and increased consumption of polyunsaturated fats. The associations of diet with BPH were modest and warrant further investigation because some dietary elements such as fish oils may be beneficial in preventing heart disease, the study said.