Results from the first long-term cohort study of more than 36,000 Japanese men over decades suggest an association between eating mushrooms and a lower risk of prostate cancer. The findings were published in the International Journal of Cancer.

For this study, the researchers monitored two cohorts consisting of a total of 36,499 men aged 40–79 in Miyagi and Ohsaki, Japan, from 1990 and 1994, respectively. The follow-up duration for the Miyagi cohort extended from June 1, 1990 to Dec. 31, 2014 (24.5 years), while the follow-up duration for the Ohsaki cohort extended from Jan. 1, 1995 to March 31, 2008 (13.25 years). The men were asked to complete a questionnaire related to their lifestyle choices, such as mushroom and other food consumption, physical activity, smoking and drinking habits, as well as provide information on their education, and family and medical history.

Long-term follow-up of the participants indicated that consuming mushrooms on a regular basis reduces the risk of prostate cancer in men and was especially significant in men aged 50 and older and in men whose diet consisted largely of meat and dairy products, with limited consumption of fruit and vegetables.

Statistical analysis of the data indicated that regular mushroom consumption was related to a lower risk of prostate cancer regardless of how much fruit and vegetables, or meat and dairy products were consumed. Of the participants, 3.3% developed prostate cancer during the follow-up period. Participants who consumed mushrooms once or twice a week had an 8% lower risk of developing prostate cancer, compared to those who ate mushrooms less than once per week, while those who consumed mushrooms three or more times per week had a 17% lower risk than those who ate mushrooms less than once a week.

“The results of our study suggest mushrooms may have a positive health effect on humans. Based on these findings, further studies that provide more information on dietary intake of mushrooms in other populations and settings are required to confirm this relationship,” said lead author Shu Zhang, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Tohoku University School of Public Health, Graduate School of Medicine. “Considering the average American consumes less than 5 g of mushrooms per day, which is lower than that consumed by the participants in this study (7.6 g/day) one would expect that even a small increase in mushroom consumption to offer potential health benefits.”


In This Article

  1. Diet and Health

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