Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men. According to the latest statistics, about 181,000 men get diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in the U.S.
However, while common, it has a survival rate of about 86 percent. Of those diagnosed, about 26,000 die from the disease each year.
Unfortunately, conventional diagnostics and treatment options for prostate cancer leave much to be desired. Conventional diagnosis includes PSA testing and biopsy, which are prone to false positives and carry risks of side effects.
Treatment typically involves drugs, surgery and/or radiation, all of which are risky. There ARE safer, less invasive ways to diagnose and treat prostate cancer, however, so men would be wise to investigate their options.
Last year, I interviewed award-winning filmmaker and prostate cancer survivor Peter Starr on this topic, which is also covered in his latest documentary, “Surviving Prostate Cancer Without Surgery, Drugs or Radiation.”
A number of safe and all-natural strategies have been shown effective against prostate cancer, including nutritional ketosis, exercise and supplements. Most recently, researchers discovered a bioactive compound in the neem plant (Azadirachta indica) appears to have potent ability to quell prostate cancer.
Neem Has a Long History of Medicinal Use
Neem has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years, and the ancient Vedas refer to neem as a tree “capable of curing every illness.” It has well-established benefits for your skin, and is commonly used in personal care products.
It also is used to ease gastrointestinal problems and strengthen immune function, and as both a spermicide and an insect repellent. As noted in the Biojournal of Science and Technology (BJST):
“[Neem's] leaves, barks, fruits, seeds and roots contain compounds with proven anti-inflammatory, anti-pyretic, anti-histamine, anti-fungal, antibacterial, anti-ulcer, analgesic, anti-arrhythmic, anti-tubercular, anti-malarial, diuretic, spermicide, anti-arthritic, anti-protozoal, insect repellant, anti-feedant, anti-hormonal properties and anti-cancerous uses. …
From various research articles it can be presumed that [neem] has chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic potential against cancer models … [including] acting against the breast cancer cells, against gastrointestinal tract and associated cancers … [and] ovary cancer cells.”
Neem May Be a Potent Ally Against Prostate Cancer
Now, animal research suggests nimbolide — a bioactive terpenoid compound found in neem — may shrink prostate tumors by as much as 70 percent, and suppress metastasis by about 50 percent when taken orally for three months. No noticeable side effects were observed.
According to lead researcher Gautam Sethi, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmacology at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore:
“Although the diverse anti-cancer effects of nimbolide have been reported in different cancer types, its potential effects on prostate cancer initiation and progression have not been demonstrated in scientific studies.
In this research, we have demonstrated that nimbolide can inhibit tumor cell viability — a cellular process that directly affects the ability of a cell to proliferate, grow, divide or repair damaged cell components — and induce programmed cell death in prostate cancer cells …
[A] direct target of nimbolide in prostate cancer is glutathione reductase, an enzyme which is responsible for maintaining the antioxidant system that regulates the STAT3 gene in the body.
The activation of the STAT3 gene has been reported to contribute to prostate tumor growth and metastasis. We have found that nimbolide can substantially inhibit STAT3 activation and thereby abrogating the growth and metastasis of prostate tumor.”
Other Research Supporting Neem as an Anti-Cancer Aid
While exceptionally promising in rodents, nimbolide has not yet been tested in humans, so further research will be required. The team intends to continue investigating the compound to evaluate its efficacy in combination with commonly used prostate cancer drugs as well.
That said, consuming neem either in supplement or tea form will automatically provide nimbolide.
Even though the whole herb will provide only a small amount of nimbolide (compared to the straight compound given to the animals in this study), previous research has indeed found neem extract to be useful against prostate cancer. In 2006, researchers reported that:
“[A]n ethanolic extract of neem has been shown to cause cell death of prostate cancer cells … by inducing apoptosis as evidenced by a dose-dependent increase in DNA fragmentation and a decrease in cell viability … So the neem extract could be potentially effective against prostate cancer … “