Home > PROSTATE HEALTH
by Dave Foreman
It amazes me how many of the men I meet don't know much about their prostate. It seems that the only men who do are those who have a problem with it. I would also guess that the majority of people don't know how to spell it either (most spell it "prostrate," which is a position to be in, not the gland found in men. Then, let's say that you are good at spelling and know what it does - many still don't know where it is located. Don't be upset or embarrassed if you fall into any of these groups - you are in the minority if you know the info above.
The prostate gland is a small walnut-shaped organ that lies just below a man's bladder. It surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body through the penis. The prostate gland produces most of the fluid in semen. There are three basic conditions that can occur with regards to prostate health: BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia), Prostatitis and Prostate Cancer. Let's take a quick look at each condition. BPH is also known as an enlarged prostate. This enlargement can trigger symptoms such as: frequent urination, difficulty getting a urine stream started, feeling of incomplete urination.If the prostate gland grows too much, it can block or compress the urethra and make it difficult to urinate. As we age, the incidence of BPH increases: Ages 31-40: 1 in 12; Ages 51-60: 1 in 2; Age 80 and older: over 80%.
Currently, there is no known link between having BPH and developing Prostate Cancer.
Prostatitis is defined as an inflammation of the prostate. This inflammation is often caused by bacteria and is hardly ever considered a serious infection. Many men confuse this condition with BPH due to some overlap in the symptoms. Other symptoms of prostatitis are: fever, pelvic pain, cloudy urine and pain while urinating or ejaculating. This condition usually occurs in young to middle-aged men and only about 10% of men will experience this in their lifetime.
Prostate Cancer is the most common form of cancer in men. Currently it is estimated that 1 out of 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. Just like BPH, the chance of developing prostate cancer increases with age. A family history of prostate cancer, and race (African-Americans are more likely to develop prostate cancer than Caucasians), play a role in your risk for developing prostate cancer. Prostate cancer frequently goes unnoticed because it often has no symptoms.
HOW DO I ADDRESS MY PROSTATE HEALTH?
This is a great question. Whether you have a problem or are trying to avoid ever getting one, I believe the approach should be the same: address the root cause(s) and the body will fix itself. The three main causes of prostate health problems are:
- Hormone imbalances
- Free radical damage
WHERE TO BEGIN?
Dietary changes can have a huge impact on your overall prostate health. Not just for Prostate Cancer, but all three of these health challenges. I recommend the following:
- Decrease the consumption of red meat
- Increase the amount of fish you eat
- Eat less animal fat (buy leaner cuts if you decide to eat meat).
- Increase consumption of cruciferous veggies: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts.
- Eat more tomatoes
- Eat more fermented soy (not soy milk)
Probably the most popular supplement for prostate health is Saw Palmetto. This amazing herb has a ton of research proving its effectiveness at helping reduce the symptoms of BPH. One of the main benefits of Saw Palmetto is caused by inhibiting the formation of DHT, a powerful hormone linked to stimulating the growth of prostate cells. Saw Palmetto also blocks DHT from binding to prostate cells and relaxes the muscles of the prostate and bladder. This relaxation effect helps improve urine flow. Research shows that men should use 320 mg of Saw Palmetto extract daily to achieve the desired results. Combining this fantastic herb with other synergistic supplements like Pumpkin Seed Oil and Stinging Nettle Root will give your Saw Palmetto more bang for your buck.
Beta-sitosterol is another outstanding supplement with regard to prostate health. It has been shown to improve urinary flow and symptoms associated with BPH. Doses between 60-130mg per day will often do the trick in 3 to 6 months for most men. Rye Pollen Extract is an additional supplement often overlooked. It not only has properties that help with BPH, but can also be helpful for those with Prostatitis or Cancer concerns. Don't confuse this ingredient with Bee Pollen. This pollen is harvested from the plant itself and then washed thoroughly to remove the hard exterior of the pollen molecule. This then releases the inner nutrients to be utilized by the body. You will usually find Rye Pollen used in combination with other ingredients and not by itself on the shelf. Believe it or not, there are a ton of nutritional supplements available to support your prostate needs.
Free radical damage is linked to most of the major health challenges we face. Free radicals come from the environment we live in (air, water, foods), and are manufactured by the body as a part of normal metabolism. Unless we neutralize free radicals, we are increasing our chances of developing a number of diseases like heart disease, cancer, and prostate health issues. Here is a list of the more popular antioxidant supplements that support prostate health:
- Green Tea
Even if you don't suffer from prostate health issues, if you are a male over the age of 40, you should seek an antioxidant that contains at least a few of these key nutrients. I use Antioxidant Cocktail II (Vitamin Shoppe Brand) and just recently realized that I had myself covered (I am 44).
If inflammation is your issue - it occurs in all three major prostate conditions - then it is a good idea to look for a supplement that fights inflammation. Some of the nutrients already mentioned may help with this situation either directly or indirectly (antioxidants and hormonal). If you feel like you need to go a step further, and then look at supplements that contain any one or a combination of these nutrients: Ginger, Turmeric, Bromelain, Flower Pollen Extract, Green Tea,Boswellia, Nettle, Willow, EPA.
My favorite combination formula for fighting inflammation in the body is Zyflamend. This supplement is not only packed with herbs to fight inflammation, but also provides added antioxidant power that isn't found in most supplements that fight inflammation.
Lastly, if you are on a limited budget or would just like to simplify things, do what I recently started doing and use Prostate 5LX. In my humble opinion, this is the closest you can come to a "catch all" supplement for prostate health concerns. It takes a multifaceted approach to prostate health by hitting all three areas of concern - hormonal, antioxidant and inflammation. If you have problems finding this supplement, here are a few others that would work great too: Life Extension Ultra Natural Prostate Formula, Enzymatic Therapy Prostate Advantage and Irwin Naturals Prosta-Strong.
For those who have added concerns or a few extra dollars to spend, my expanded approach would be to use these three supplements: Prostate 5LX, Zyflamend and Antioxidant Cocktail II. I believe that these three supplements would give you a 1-2-3 punch toward a happy and healthy prostate.