For such a little gland, the prostate seems to cause a lot of concern. Health problems associated with prostate, including especially enlarged prostate, prostate cancer, and prostatitis, are extremely common. Many men from the age of 30 and over can develop prostate problems involving inflammation, urinary problems, erectile dysfunction, and pain. It is therefore very important to support the proper function of this gland with proper diet, healthy lifestyle and nutritional supplements.
COMMON PROSTATE PROBLEMS
PROSTATITIS (INFLAMMATION OF PROSTATE)
Prostatitis is a condition which involves inflammation of the prostate gland. There are two types of this condition: Acute or chronic bacterial and non-bacterial prostatitis (also called asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis). The only symptom of the non-bacterial prostatitis is the presence of white blood cells (leukocytes) in the prostate fluid. It’s estimated that prostatitis may affect 30 to 50 % of men during their lifetime. Unlike an enlarged prostate and prostate cancer, which commonly affect older men, prostatitis affects especially males between the ages of 20 and 40.
Causes: The key causes of prostatitis include weakness of the immune system, deficiency of zinc, vitamin D, magnesium, antioxidants, diet high in refined sugar, dairy, meat products, refined foods, low consumption of raw vegetables, lack of exercise, stress, etc. Studies demonstrated that prostate problems are associated with zinc deficiency. And the key causes of zinc deficiency is refined and deprived of zinc diet and frequent masturbation or other excessive sexual practices that lead to overstimulation of prostate gland and testicles as well as to zinc deficiency. Zinc is an integral part of the male hormonal system and a key ingredient of the semen as it plays a major role in the production of sperm. For this reason also excessive sexual practices lead to a huge zinc deficiency.
BENIGN PROSTATIC HYPERPLASIA (BPH)
Benign enlargement of the prostate gland called also benign prostatic hyperplasia or hypertrophy (BPH), is a very common problem especially among older men. Fortunately, it isn’t caused by cancer and it doesn’t even increase the risk of developing prostate cancer but it needs special attention as it causes many unpleasant symptoms. It is estimated that 50 per cent of men by 50 years of age, 60 per cent by age 60, and 80 per cent by age 70 have clinically significant BPH. Since the prostate gland is located directly beneath the bladder and because at the same time it surrounds urethra its enlargement imposes pressure on both the bladder and the urethra. As a result men who suffer from BPH experience many unpleasant symptoms such as painful and frequent urination (also at night), weak flow of urine, etc.
Causes: Scientists and medical professionals tend to say it’s not known why the prostate gets bigger as we get older. When asked what causes the enlargement they usually answer that it is just a natural process associated with ageing. Fortunately, there are some physicians and scientists who feel obliged to find and reveal the truth about possible causes of the benign enlargement of the prostate gland. One of them is Prof. Parsons who on the basis his own research wrote the following statement: “Although age, genetics, and sex steroid hormones play prominent roles in the cause of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and lower urinary tract symptoms, recent epidemiological studies suggest that modifiable lifestyle factors also contribute substantially to the pathogenesis of these conditions. Lifestyle and metabolic factors include obesity, diabetes, and meat and fat consumption. Factors associated with decreased risks include physical activity and vegetable consumption.”
Also Dr John McDougall, after researching numerous scientific data dealing with possible causes and risk factors associated with BPH expressed his opinion in an article which appeared on his webpage in October 2010: “Decades of overstimulation of the prostate, excess of growth hormones (IGF-1) and male hormones, leads to an overgrowth of cells of the prostate gland. The over-consumption of dietary protein causes IGF-1 levels to rise. Beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish, cheese, and milk increase IGF-1 levels. Also, vegetarians and vegans need to be careful because isolated soy proteins, like those found in fake soy meats and cheeses, have a powerful effect on raising IGF-1 levels. On the other hand, a low-fat, high-fibre plant diet decreases prostate-growth-stimulating male hormones. Furthermore, a healthy low-fat, unrefined plant-based diet and daily aerobic exercise reverses all hormone imbalances and excesses, preventing the development of BPH. A recent study comparing two populations of Chinese men (Han and Mongolian) found BPH to be almost twice as common in the Mongolians, who consumed more meat and dairy, than in the Hans. An article in the April 2002 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a causal association between BPH and the intake of more calories, total protein, animal protein, and vegetable fat. A study from Greece showed that consumption of butter and margarine increases the risk of BPH and that fruit intake reduces this risk.”
Studies also demonstrated that both BPH and prostate cancer are associated with zinc deficiency. And the key causes of zinc deficiency is refined and deprived of zinc diet and excessive sexual practices that lead to overstimulation of prostate gland and testicles. Zinc is an integral part of the male hormonal system and a key ingredient of the semen as it plays a major role in the production of sperm. For this reason, chronic masturbation and other excessive sexual practices lead to a huge zinc deficiency.
In most of the developed countries (except Japan and China), the risk of developing prostate cancer is very high. In the UK, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men. In America, prostate cancer is outnumbered only by carcinoma. According to the American Cancer Society, over 32,000 men in the United States die from prostate cancer each year. The older men get the higher their chances of developing prostate cancer. For this reason, this condition mainly affects men over 60, although men over 50 are also at risk. The risk is also significantly higher among black men of Afro-Caribbean origin.
Symptoms: The symptoms of prostate cancer are very similar to those of the benign prostate hypertrophy (prostate enlargement). The common symptoms usually include especially different problems with urination such as frequent urination (also at night) with weak flow and feeling that the bladder isn’t fully empty. Because of its small size (of a walnut) it is easy to disregard the prostate gland. In the male body, it is located just below the bladder and against the rectum. Because of the very fact, it can be easily checked by nothing more sophisticated than the examining finger of a doctor. The prostate gland surrounds urethra through which the urine flows from the bladder to the penis and outside of the body. Swelling is the most common manifestation of a malfunctioning prostate. And since prostate gland surrounds the urethra and because it is found below bladder its enlargement (caused by hyperplasia, cancer, or inflammation) imposes pressure on the bladder and urethra causing urination problems and discomfort in the rectum.
Causes: Vitamin D deficiency > According to the Journal of Clinical Cancer Research prostate tumours, in particular, can become highly aggressive as a result of low levels of vitamin D which is extremely important for a healthy immune system. The research also indicates that the lower the vitamin D level, the more aggressive the prostate cancer can be. >
There is also enough evidence that a pro-inflammatory diet (high in refined oils, margarines, sugar, meat and other animal foods and low in fresh vegetables or Omega-3 fatty acids) leads to the inflammation of the prostate which may be another factor contributing to prostate cancer as inflammation may cause DNA damage in prostate cells.
Animal foods increase the blood levels of the insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) associated with increased risk of prostate cancer. Researchers have discovered that men with high levels of IGF-1, are more prone to develop prostate cancer. Although IGF-1 is similar to insulin, it doesn’t deal with sugar metabolism but stimulates cell growth and division thus contributing to cancer.
A very interesting title of an article published in the Canadian Press in November 14, 2011, suggests that estradiol – powerful female synthetic sex hormone present in tap water may greatly increase the risk of the prostate cancer in men: “Estrogen In Drinking Water & Prostate Cancer Deaths Linked In New Study.” The article states that, “According to a study by Dr. David Margel and his team from Researchers at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, estrogen in birth-control pills is excreted in the urine and gets into water, and scientific evidence suggests that low levels may cause cancer, including prostate cancer.” Also, Dr John Lee seems to agree with the role of estrogen in increasing the risk of prostate cancer. In his book Hormone Balance for Men, he stated that apart from dihydrotestosterone (DHT), it is estrogen dominance that leads to both prostate enlargement and prostate cancer. He disagrees with the common idea according to which testosterone contributes to prostate cancer. He explains that men tend to develop prostate problems when estrogen levels are rising and testosterone levels are dropping. Testosterone is a male sex hormone produced by testicles and the prostate gland needs testosterone to function properly. It was very common to believe that higher blood testosterone levels increase the risk of prostate cancer. But, in 2008 a group of researchers carefully analysed 18 separate studies and found no link between prostate cancer risk and higher levels of testosterone. After careful analysis of hundreds of studies, Dr Morgentaler was surprised when he discovered that there was no convincing evidence that high testosterone levels increased the risk of prostate cancer. As a matter of fact, the very opposite was true. He found out that the more severely testosterone deficient men were the greater was the risk of developing prostate cancer! The androgen hypothesis was commonly accepted before the role of PSA (prostate-specific antigen) was understood. The PSA is a protein biomarker detected in the blood and tissue biopsies which indicates an increased probability that cancer is present in the prostate. Besides, if high testosterone does contribute to prostate cancer growth, it should be more common among younger men whose testosterone levels are much higher. But the cancer is prevalent among older men with low testosterone. On the other hand, some suggest that even if Dr Morgentaler’s conclusion is right it is not a good idea to boost testosterone levels in men who are already diagnosed as prostate cancer cells have a much higher number of receptors than healthy cells and they use testosterone to increase the growth rate.
On the third of March 2016, Daily Mail published a very interesting and based on scientific research article by Dr Michael Greger in which he clearly exposes three key causes of prostate cancer: 1. POULTRY (especially with skin); 2. EGGS; and 3. MILK & DAIRY! In the article, Dr Greger states that “A report in 2010 out of Harvard University, the Cancer of the Prostate Strategic Urologic Research Endeavor, showed men with prostate cancer who consumed a large amount of chicken quadrupled the chance of their disease progressing! The scientists thought it might be the high levels of heterocyclic amines, carcinogens that build up when meat is cooked at a high temperature, which are present more in poultry than in other meats. Another explanation could come from the fact the researchers noticed cancer developed far more quickly in those men who ate chicken with skin on as opposed to those who ate their chicken without skin.”
Dr Greger also reveals the truth about the link between eggs and prostate cancer: “The same Harvard study observed that men with prostate cancer who averaged just under an egg per day had a two-fold increased risk of prostate cancer progression compared to men who didn’t eat eggs. What’s more, these findings were supported by a follow-up study in 2011, which determined that even healthy men may be at an increased risk of developing a lethal form of prostate cancer by eating over 2.5 eggs per week compared with men who don’t eat eggs! Some researchers and doctors think it may be the high levels of choline present in eggs. A study in 2012, also out of Harvard University, determined that among a group of 47,896 men, those with the highest levels of choline intake had a 70% increased risk for getting lethal prostate cancer. But choline is good for you, right? Absolutely, and we do need to include choline as part of our diets. But what these researchers found is that it’s not the choline intake necessarily, but the trimethylamine oxide (TMAO) that choline is converted to (first to trymethylamine by gut bacteria and then to TMAO in our liver) that could increase inflammation and promote cancer progression along with cardiovascular risk. Gut bacteria also produce this same toxic chemical when they metabolize L-carnitine in red meat as discovered in a landmark study from the Cleveland Clinic published this past May. What’s most interesting about their findings is they discovered that in contrast to the omnivorous human subjects studied, those consuming a plant-based diet produced a negligible amount of TMAO even when consuming L-carnitine. So what does this mean and what are the possible implications with regards to choline intake? Since the intestinal microbiota of those consuming a predominantly plant-based diet are different from omnivores, and since plant-based eaters don’t convert L-carnitine into TMAO as much as omnivores, could the same thing be true for choline? It’s possible. It’s worth noting that there are plenty of excellent plant-based sources of choline, including broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, and other cruciferous vegetables. Studies have associated choline consumption not just with getting cancer and spreading cancer, but also with significantly increased risk of dying from it. Those who ate the most had a 70% increased risk of lethal prostate cancer. Another recent study found that men who consumed two and a half or more eggs per week — that’s just like one egg every three days — had an 81 per cent increased risk of lethal prostate cancer. In the New England Journal of Medicine, the same Cleveland Clinic research team that did the famous study on carnitine repeated the study, but instead of feeding people a steak, they fed people some hard-boiled eggs. Just as they suspected, a similar spike in that toxic TMAO. So it’s not just red meat. And the link between TMAO levels in the blood and strokes, heart attacks, and death was seen even in low-risk groups like those with low-risk cholesterol levels. Thus, because of the choline, eating eggs may increase our risk regardless of what our cholesterol is. It’s ironic that the choline content of eggs is something the egg industry actually boasts about. And the industry is aware of the cancer data.”
The third key factor which may greatly increase the risk of prostate cancer, according to Dr Greger, is milk and dairy products: “Milk contains growth hormones designed to put a few hundred pounds on a baby calf within a few months. Leading Harvard University nutrition experts have warned that the hormones in dairy products could stimulate the growth of hormone-sensitive tumours — such as prostate cancer (or breast cancer). Not only that, but experimental evidence suggests that dairy may also promote the conversion of pre-cancerous lesions or mutated cells into invasive cancers. To date, there have been 14 studies in which organic cow’s milk was dripped onto human prostate cancer cells in a laboratory petri dish. In each experiment, the milk stimulated the growth of human prostate cancer cells, producing an average increase in cancer growth rate of more than 30 per cent. In contrast, almond milk suppressed the growth of the cancer cells by more than 30 per cent!”
KEY VITAMINS & MINERALS SUPPORTING PROSTATE HEALTH
Listed below vitamins, minerals, microelements, antioxidants, and herbal extracts support male health, including especially prostate function, but also normal urinary flow, reproductive and sexual function, immunity, and general well-being.
– Zinc contributes to normal fertility and reproduction, testosterone levels in the blood, strong immunity and brain function. The prostate cannot function properly without zinc as it contains more zinc than any other organ in the body. Many men suffering from different prostate problems reported improvement and even reduction of the size of enlarged prostate after taking zinc supplements. Take 15 – 30 mg of zinc after meal. Just as the thyroid requires iodine and the bones must be provided with organic calcium, the prostate cannot function properly without zinc. Make sure you include the zinc-rich foods in your diet: pumpkin seeds, nuts, sunflower seeds, brewer’s yeast, garlic, onions, or pulses.
– Vitamin D3: Increasing intake of vitamin D from diet and supplements has shown a correlation with decreased BPH prevalence. Vitamin D analogues of up to 6000 IU/day have shown to decrease the prostate volume in BPH patients (Espinosa et al, 2013). According to the Journal of Clinical Cancer Research prostate tumours, in particular, can become highly aggressive as a result of low levels of vitamin D. The research also indicates that the lower the vitamin D level, the more aggressive the prostate cancer can be. > Take about 5,000 IU of Vitamin D3 every day for after breakfast. Almost all people in the UK are deficient in Vitamin D due to insufficient sunlight exposures. While using vitamin D3 supplements always remember to take also well-absorbed magnesium (such as citrate) as vitamin D requires magnesium for its conversion to its active form in kidneys and gradually leads to magnesium deficiency. Another requirement for proper absorption of vitamin D is 100-200 mcg of Vitamin K2 MK-7 (Derived from Natural Natto) a day. If possible try also obtaining vitamin D through sun exposures during summertime between 10 am and 2 pm (whenever possible). Since vitamin D supplements lead to magnesium deficiency, and because according to recent studies almost every in the UK person is now deficient not only in vitamin D but also magnesium, you must take about 300-400mg of good quality magnesium every day.
– Magnesium citrate or another well absorbed magnesium: 2 times a day 200 mg in the morning and evening. Also, the more vitamin D3 is used the more magnesium must be taken as D3 leads to magnesium deficiency (it uses magnesium for its final conversion in kidneys). Magnesium not only promotes normal sleep and healthy nervous system and brain function but is also used to relax muscles including bladder and prostate. Therefore, magnesium deficiency, which is very common today, leads to excessive contractions or spasms of the bladder making it overactive and often imitating symptoms of an enlarged prostate. Dr Joseph Favier discovered that by giving magnesium to patients with BPH he was significantly reducing their nocturnal urinations and urine retention. In one study researchers also noted that in patients who managed to increase magnesium levels PSA levels dropped significantly. Magnesium is also absolutely crucial for the activation of Vitamin D in the body.
– Selenium contributes to normal spermatogenesis and immune system function. Its deficiency has been associated with a higher risk of prostate cancer.
– Vitamins C and E are powerful antioxidants that reduce the oxidative damage caused by free radicals. They also promote strong immune system.
– Vitamin B6 makes urination easier and helps prevent swelling. Studies from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggest that prostate cancer patients who take Vitamin B6 supplements have higher survival rates. In a study of the dietary habits of 525 men with prostate cancer, taken over the course of 20 years, the men with the highest intake of about 3 mg/day of Vitamin B6 – had the best survival results.
– Chromium by helping maintain normal blood sugar levels is also important for prostate health as research suggests a higher risk of prostate disorders associated with high blood sugar levels.
PLANT EXTRACTS & HERBS
- Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) is a type of berry-rich in plant sterols, essential fatty acids, and flavonoids. Research suggests that these active ingredients may help to shrink the inner lining of the prostate by reducing the activity of the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, which effect may, in turn, lower the pressure on tubes that carry urine.
- Pygeum Africanum bark has been used by people since ancient times to treat bladder problems. Modern research has repeatedly demonstrated protective action of this herb against proliferation of abnormal prostate cells. It has been also known to be beneficial for men with an enlarged prostate and urinary problems.
- Stinging Nettle extract soothes the urinary tract and helps reduce obstruction of urinary flow. It has also been shown in European studies to support prostate function. In a 2005 six-month trial including over 600 patients, 80% of those on stinging nettle reported improved lower urinary tract symptoms.
- Lycopene is the most important protective carotenoid and antioxidant naturally found in red tomatoes. Research has shown that it helps protect the prostate from damaging free radicals and promotes healthy prostate function.
- Pumpkin seed oil has been long used in a folk medicine for prostate health. Research shows it may help reduce the size of an enlarged prostate, relax the bladder and improve urinary flow.
- Amino acids L-Alanine and L-Glutamic Acid are needed for maintaining normal prostate function. One study found that supplementation with L-Alanine, L-Glutamic Acid and L-Glycine, reduced symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia, including reduced urgency and night-time urination.
MAINTAINING HEALTHY OESTROGEN LEVELS
Men need small amounts of the female sex hormone – oestrogen but excessive levels of this hormone contribute to hormonal imbalance in men and to prostate problems. For this reason, try to reduce the estrogen levels by implementing the following recommendations:
- Avoid bisphenols present in canned foods and water stored in plastic bottles.
- Avoid environmental sources of oestrogens (xenoestrogens) found pesticides, shaving creams, fabric softeners, tap water (drink distilled water), air fresheners, laundry soaps, etc.
- Avoid tap water (contaminated with estradiol, chlorine, fluoride, heavy metals, etc.) and drink well-filtered or distilled water.
- Avoid or significantly reduce consumption of animal foods (dairy, eggs and meat products) as animals are often treated with oestrogens to increase weight.
- Build muscle tissue (without steroids) as increasing muscle tissue and exercise boost testosterone which opposes the effects of estrogen.
- Avoid antibiotics (metronidazole ketoconazole) and drugs such as Valium, Xanax, Tagamet, Zantac, Lanoxin, Norvasc, or any drugs that increase levels of estrogen or decrease levels of testosterone.
- Burn belly fat. It is important because testosterone is converted to estrogen in belly fat. This is the reason why men develop boobs along with increasing belly fat.
- Significantly reduce consumption of all animal-based foods (to no more than 5-15% of your diet) or go on a completely plant-based unrefined 50% raw diet. At the same time increase consumption of raw vegetable juices, vegetable smoothies and salads, fresh fruits, pulses, and soaked overnight in distilled water pumpkin seeds and other soaked seeds and nuts. You will have better results by going on a totally plant-based unrefined diet than only reducing the intake of animal foods.
- Consume cold-pressed raw vegetable juices (beets, carrot, broccoli, tomatoes, kale, etc.): 1-2 glasses twice a day.
- Avoid sugar or products that include sugar, glucose, fructose, or artificial sweeteners. Instead, you can interchangeably use the following: raw organic honey, fresh sweet fruits, dried fruits, xylitol, erythritol, stevia, coconut sugar and other good sweeteners.
- Avoid stimulants (chocolate, cocoa powder, coffee, tea, cola, alcohol, smoking, etc.).
- Try to drink clean (filtered) soft water or distilled water and vegetable juices by 6 pm to reduce the frequency of urination at night. Avoid hard water (high in inorganic calcium) and calcium carbonate.
- To relax prostate gland and dilate the urethra, sit in hot water for about 15 – 30 minutes before going to bed. Make a very cold compress on the forehead and neck during the bath and if you sweat drink water to avoid dehydration. End up the treatment with a cold shower. This treatment should help you to reduce the need to visit the toilet at night. Read about water treatments to avoid mistakes >
- A simple massage of the prostate in the morning and evening may be also very helpful in relieving symptoms and delaying or preventing surgery.
- Eat one tablespoon of ground gold flaxseed three times a day with meals.
Written by Slawomir Gromadzki, MPH
REFERENCES & SOURCES
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