The protective effect of whole grains on many chronic diseases is well established. This is the opposite from refined carbs, which have shown an increase in pretty much every chronic disease we can experience. But how do whole grains protect against prostate cancer?
From most patient’s standpoint, it does not really matter “why” whole grains protect against prostate cancer, only that it does. However, for those of us with more inquisitive minds, this research study provides some neat insights. By having a greater understanding of the mechanism by which whole grains protect against prostate cancer, we can begin to understand why some patients may derive greater protection than others. This same understanding can help explain why Asian women consuming soy have a much lower risk of breast cancer than American women consuming soy. Actually, one of the underlying reasons is the same between whole grains and prostate cancer in men and soy and breast cancer in women.
This study followed the metabolic fate of whole grain (rye) vs a refined carbohydrate product. The whole grain product showed an increase in 5 compounds: 3-hydroxybutyric acid, acetone, betaine, N,N-dimethylglycine, and dimethyl sulfone (MSM). These are all beneficial compounds on overall health, and, as the authors suggest, this indicates a favorable shift in the metabolism of cells that may be one of the reasons these compounds can be so protective of many types of cancer.