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Too much protein could increase your risk of prostate cancer

Jul 20, 2012, 8:44 a.m.

Experts in the medical community are currently running studies to determine if there's a link between protein and prostate cancer. More to the point, they're trying to figure out if high or excessive levels of protein in the diet could increase the likelihood of prostate cancer in men -- and even more exciting, they believe it may be possible that lowering protein intake could have a beneficial impact in preventing prostate cancer.

If the studies show that high protein and prostate cancer are related, it could serve to set the medical community on its ear. For the longest time, the presumed link between cancer and diet has always focused on caloric intake and excessive levels of saturated fat. But if it's proven that the development of prostate cancer could be linked to too much protein, it could be a major game changer in the suggested dietary intakes by health professionals the world over.

Here's the way researchers believe it may work: high levels of protein in the diet produce excess IGF-1, which is a hormone that's thought to "feed" certain types of cancers. If this is proven, it may nullify the previously held belief that animal fat is the cancer-inducing culprit and shift blame over to high levels of protein that typically accompany a diet high in animal fat. What's even more intriguing about this study is that its findings may not be limited to prostate cancer, but could include learning new things about fighting colon and breast cancer, as well.

In the meantime, does this mean you should eliminate your intake of protein if you're concerned about a link between protein and prostate cancer? Not necessarily. As always, the best known weapon against prostate cancer is a healthy diet balanced out by yearly prostate exams. Are you overdue for your exam? If so, pick up the phone and make an appointment with your doctor today.

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