Objectives: To evaluate the nutritional etiology of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) by conducting a case-control study in Athens, Greece. Despite the high morbidity and substantial human suffering produced by BPH, little research has been undertaken concerning the nutritional etiology of this disease.
Methods: The study sample consisted of 184 patients with histologically confirmed BPH and 246 control patients without clinical evidence of prostate disease. All patients and controls were permanent residents of the greater Athens area. The data were modeled through unconditional logistic regression.
Results: Among the food groups, fruits were inversely related to BPH risk, with a logistic regression-derived odds ratio of 0.79 per quintile increase and 95% confidence interval 0.67 to 0.93. Increased consumption of both butter and margarine was positively associated with BPH risk, and a marginally significant positive association was also evident for seed oils. No overall association was found with respect to consumption of olive oil. In analyses evaluating the role of nutrients rather than foods, zinc, an element selectively concentrated in the prostate gland, was significantly positively associated with BPH risk.
Conclusions: Our study provides evidence that, among added lipids, butter and margarine may increase the risk of BPH, and fruit intake may reduce this risk. Dietary zinc may play an important role in the etiology of BPH.