By Dr. Jennifer Marion ND
‘Tis the month of moustaches, beards and everything in between. That’s right, it is already November, aka Movember. Though, the yearly display of facial hair brings discussion of “who wore it best,” the cause behind the stubble is of the greatest importance. It reminds us that it is time to talk about men’s health.
Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men; however, it is often treatable, if caught early enough. Men over the age of 50 with a family history of prostate cancer or African ancestry, must discuss prostate health with their doctor. Prevention and early detection is key.
There are also benign, preventable and treatable prostate conditions that can cause great discomfort to men. The most common prostate problem is benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) or an enlarged prostate. BPH affects approximately 50% of men over the age of 50. It is a benign condition where the prostate becomes enlarged to the point that it obstructs proper urine flow and can lead to uncomfortable and irritating symptoms. Some of the urinary symptoms are:
- Weak stream
- Incomplete voiding
- Night time urination
- Erectile Dysfunction
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to speak to your healthcare practitioner.
Below are some lifestyle suggestions to positively influence prostate health.
- Studies have shown that obesity is a risk factor for both prostate cancer and BPH.
- Weight loss can aid in regulating blood glucose levels. Dysregulation of blood glucose levels is shown to contribute to the enlargement of the prostate.
Reduce alcohol consumption, particularly beer consumption
- The hops found in beer increases prolactin levels which increases the uptake of testosterone by the prostate, which is associated with BPH.
- >740ml per month of alcohol (wine and sake particularly) is associated with an increased incidence of BPH.
Consider a reduced carbohydrate diet & increase healthy proteins
A low protein diet has been shown to stimulate 5-alpha reductase, which is responsible for the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is important in developing males; however, it can be detrimental to the adult prostate as it promotes the pathologic growth of the tissue. Elevated levels of DHT are associated with BPH.
Smoking antagonizes zinc and zinc inhibits 5-alpha reductase (the enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT).
Nutritional and botanical supplements have been shown to be beneficial in preventing and treating prostate disorders.
- A plant compound called a phytosterol that is similar in structure to cholesterol.
- Animal and human studies suggest that beta-sitosterol acts as a 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor, therefore preventing the conversion of testosterone to DHT.
- Beta-sitosterol is also helpful for lowering LDL cholesterol. High cholesterol is a risk factor for prostate disease.
- The bark of this tree contains many medicinal constituents like phytosterols, triterpenes, ferulic acid and tannins
- These constituents help to increase normal prostate secretions, have anti-inflammatory effects and inhibit the conversion of testosterone to DHT.
- Traditionally this botanical has been used for BPH, chronic prostatic inflammation, painful urination, nocturia, and insufficient prostatic secretions causing infertility and impotence.
- One of the best sources of the carotenoid lycopene is tomato paste.
- Shown to decrease PSA (prostate specific antigen). PSA is produced by the prostate gland and excessive PSA production is usually the result of a prostate disorder.
- Decreases oxidative damage to prostate tissue.
- It is suggested that men should consume approximately 50g of tomato paste daily for a therapeutic dose of lycopene.
It is important to be proactive in discussing your or your loved one’s prostate health. Prevention can save lives and help to avoid uncomfortable symptoms. This Movember while you’re admiring your bro’s new “face do”, take some time to reflect on what it is all about. Don’t be shy to talk about what’s happening between the cheeks.
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(2018, Oct 22) Beta-sitosterol. Natural Medicines Database. Retrieved from: http://naturaldatabase.therape...