"We found that consuming more plant-based food was associated with significantly better scores for the urinary domains of the quality of life questionnaire," says Stacy Loeb, MD, MSc.
In this video, Stacy Loeb, MD, MSc, highlights the background and findings of her study, “Association of plant-based diet index with quality of life in patients with prostate cancer,” which was presented at the 2023 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois. Loeb is a professor of urology and population health at New York University Grossman School of Medicine in New York, New York.
Could you describe the background of this study?
Plant-based diets have become really popular. We've published some studies on plant-based diets for other, related issues. For example, last year, we reported that people who consumed more plant-based food had a lower risk of fatal prostate cancer. And then separately, we did a study in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study showing that men aged 60 to 70 who consume more plant-based had a lower risk of erectile dysfunction. Then we put these together. We thought, "okay, well, if it's good for prostate cancer and it's good for erectile dysfunction, what about men with prostate cancer who are experiencing erectile dysfunction, and many other potential [adverse] effects from treatment? Could eating more plant-based [foods] help in these patients?
What were some of the notable findings?
We found statistically significant associations for overall plant-based food and healthy plant-based food with erectile dysfunction. It was consistent with the results that we had found previously in men without prostate cancer. And that makes sense, right? Because erectile dysfunction is really tightly linked with cardiovascular disease, and plant-based diets have level 1 evidence for improving cardiovascular disease risk. So if we're helping blood flow in the heart and the rest of the body, it's also helping for the penis.
In addition, we found that consuming more plant-based food was associated with significantly better scores for the urinary domains of the quality of life questionnaire. Eating more healthy plant-based food was also associated with improved scores for hormonal or vitality, as well as bowel function. So really, good news all around. They were very small changes, but they were statistically significant. Since dietary change is something that's really easy, that everyone can do, it's not like taking some kind of risky drug or something like that, there's really nothing to lose and everything to gain, essentially.
This transcription has been edited for clarity.