Prostate cancer and Trinovin
Will the dietary supplement Trinovin help to prevent prostate cancer? There is information on this page about
Trinovin comes from the red clover plant. This is a legume and belongs to the same family of plants as lentils, chick peas, soy and other beans. Trinovin is a diet supplement that has been promoted as a way of preventing prostate cancer but not as a treatment for men who already have prostate cancer. It is made up of a combination of four isoflavones and can be bought from some chemists and companies promoting it on the internet. Isoflavones are chemicals that can mimic the hormone oestrogen and it is believed that they may help to delay the growth of prostate cancer. They are also called phyto oestrogens, meaning they are plant chemicals similar to the human sex hormone oestrogen. This plant oestrogen is weaker than the oestrogen produced by our bodies.
The protective effect that isoflavones may have against cancer has been researched a great deal. Some of the studies have looked particularly at the use of soybean in diet. Some Asian countries have a high intake of soy in their diet compared to western countries where soy intake is fairly low. Countries with a higher soy intake tend to have much lower rates of prostate cancer and other types of cancer.
We know of some studies with Trinovin. One Australian study looked at 38 men with prostate cancer. 20 of these men took a daily supplement of Trinovin 160mg (very similar to the isoflavone content in the Asian diet) for up to 8 weeks before surgery to remove the prostate (prostatectomy). The results were compared with the remaining 18 men who had prostatectomy but did not take any Trinovin. Before and after treatment, investigators measured a number of things. These included
- The prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels
- The grade of the cancer (Gleason score)
- Levels of the hormone testosterone in the blood
- Examining the prostate glands that had been removed to see how many cancer cells had died (apoptosis)
- Isoflavone levels in the body's waste products
There was no major difference in the PSA, Gleason score or testosterone levels of men in the two groups. But for men who took Trinovin there was a significantly higher rate of prostate cell death compared to men who did not. This was more noticeable in men who had low grade cancers. The researchers said that the study showed that isoflavones taken as diet supplements may have some effect on the growth of prostate cancer. Use this link to see the Australian Trinovin study article.
Another study published by New Zealand researchers involved 6 men taking daily tablets of Trinovin. Blood tests were taken from these men measuring various hormones and steroid levels. Researchers wanted to try to find out if the daily Trinovin tablets they were taking helped to protect against prostate disease. The conclusion was that the supplement had no effect.
These are both very small studies and we need much larger trials in this area before we will know how important Trinovin or any other isoflavones are in preventing prostate and other cancers.
One laboratory study in 2010 looked at whether supplements like Trinovin can make prostate cells more sensitive to radiotherapy. The study found that some supplements did make the cells more sensitive to radiation. The authors recommend that men having radiotherapy for prostate cancer don't take any of these supplements during their treatment. The authors caution that the Trinovin could increase radiotherapy damage to healthy prostate cells.
If you are interested in taking this product, talk to your cancer specialist about it. Doctors are often very happy for their patients to take diet supplements if they have details of the ingredients. They can then make sure that the supplement is not harmful and will not interfere with any other tablets or treatments you are taking.
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