5 ways to naturally treat your prostate

First things first, men want to know the best ways to decrease the risk of developing prostate cancer. The easiest way to do this is through diet and lifestyle modifications – it’s that simple. There is no elaborate algorithm for this, just a few basic, mindful ways of living to help that little walnut shaped gland below your bladder stay healthy and active for many years to come. Outlined below is a brief introduction of some of the treatments you can incorporate into your life! By no means is this an exhaustive list and replace the advice and treatment plan of your naturopathic and medical doctor.

Diet

I know you hear it time and time again about how much wise dietary changes and choices can benefit your health, but this is something that is so easy to change and something you are in control of. One thing is for certain, prostate health is dramatically influenced by the diet you choose. Research has shown a pesco-vegetarian diet to have the most benefit when treating prostate cancer. According to the WHO, the most important dietary changes include cutting out red meat and dairy as well as being mindful of the fats consumed. The most important ones to be avoided are animal and hydrogenated fats.

Here are a few ideas for what healthy eating for your prostate health can look like:

  • At least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables that are bright and rich in color, heck make it more than 5 servings.
  • Choose healthy fats – avocado, olive, and nut oils.
  • Smaller portion sizes, eating more frequently and slower.
  • Avoid processed sugar – this a great rule in general no matter your health goals.

Plant based treatments

Probably one of the most well known herbs when it comes to naturally treating the prostate is Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens). What this will do is inhibit 5-alpha reductase – an enzyme that is responsible for the conversion of testosterone to DHT. So why is this important? DHT has been known to be one of the culprits behind enlargement of the prostate. It does this through cell proliferation – stop this conversion to DHT and you can start to understand how it will play an important part.

Another great herb is Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) and can be used for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Most of the medicinal constituents such as the phytosterols, lignin's, and polysaccharides can be found hidden away in the root. It has a strong diuretic action, helping with reduced urinary flow, incomplete emptying of the bladder, and constant urge to urinate – common symptoms of BPH. Stinging nettle may also slow the grow of some prostate cells and has minimal side effects - making it a safe and effective herb. 

Gogi berries (Lycium barbarum) are a well known superfood that is high in superoxide dismutase (SOD) – a powerful antioxidant with an affinity for the prostate. From a Traditional Chinese medicine stand point, Gogi berries are also helpful in building Yin to help balance the Yin/Yang of our bodies. Side note, men are more Yang, but too much can be a bad thing – it’s all about balance gentlemen.

Supplements

Prostate – pro + libido support from Can Prev. This has a great blend of plant based prostate support with plenty of vitamins and minerals.

Modified citrus pectin (MCP) is found in the peel or pulp of citrus fruit and is then modified. Research is suggesting that it is interfering with tumor cell metastasis and potentially inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death – a natural process in our bodies - for those defective and worn out cells that could cause damage to our systems).

Green tea!! This has great research behind it. All the polyphenols, catechins, and epigallocatchin gallates (EGCG) that your prostate needs to be on top of its game.

Exercise and weight

It’s this simple – even low to moderate intensity of exercise helps reduce the risk of developing BPH, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction. Of course this is all in addition to a healthy diet.

What exercise is best? That’s entirely up to your interests. Keep in mind aerobic activity has been found to help reduce the severity of prostatitis more than non-aerobic activities. To add another layer on your exercise regime try and do all of your activity outdoors where you can breathe in fresh clean air – not to mention getting your daily dose of vitamin D.

Reducing exposure to environmental toxicities

Evidence linking pesticides to prostate cancer is becoming stronger – in particular polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and metal working fluids or minerals are linked to the prostate.

A few specific examples:

  • Cadmium in tobacco – a heavy metal that accumulates in tobacco leaves and has been associated with prostate cancer
  • PCBs in animal fat – these are polychlorinated biphenyls. They were banned over a decade ago due to many associated health risks, but still persist in the environment, being found in animal fat.
  • Bisphenol A (BPA) – has been found to cause DNA damage in prostate cells.

 

These ideas are just scratching the surface! Happy prostate health!

Yours in health, 

- Tanner Alden

 

Disclaimer: Information can be empowering, but we all have unique health profiles and needs. I have no affiliation with any company mentioned in this post. Health-related information contained in this post is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for a visit with a Naturopathic Doctor. The advice is intended to offer only a general basis for individuals to discuss their medical condition with their health care provider. Always consult your licensed Naturopathic Physician, or visit the Boucher Naturopathic Medical Clinic for individual care.

Why should I see a doctor for my prostate - wait what’s a prostate?

First thing you need to know is that the prostate is an integral part of your health! Prostate health is something that every man should be aware of and it’s as easy as talking to your Naturopathic or Medical doctor. A little interesting fact is men aren’t the only ones with a prostate gland – woman have what’s called the Skene’s gland and this is the female analogue of the male prostate, but ours gets a little more attention than a woman’s! The average age for your first prostate exam usually ranges from 40 (those at high risk) to age 50 (those at average risk). So why the importance of prevention? Generally prostate cancer is a slow growing cancer, but it can grow quickly so we want to make sure that we catch it early and treat it as quickly as possible. About 1 in 7 men will get prostate cancer and it is the 2nd leading cause of cancer death in men next to lung cancer.

So you want to know more?

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that sits between the bladder and the penis and is an integral part of the male reproductive system. The urethra runs through the center of the prostate and functions to let urine flow out of the bladder and out of the body through the penis. The prostate is involved in sexual function and will secrete fluid that nourishes and protects the sperm during sexual activity. 

 

Highlight 1: A healthy prostate means a healthy sex life                 

What can happen to my prostate?

Prostate health can be affected by three main pathological states:

  • Prostatitis: Inflammation of the prostate that can be caused by an infection from bacteria or a virus.
  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH): The most common prostate pathology. This is an enlarged prostate gland that affects virtually all men over the age of 50. A little technical info for the curious minds out there. A hormone called DHT or dihydroxytestosterone is converted from testosterone with the help of an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase. DHT has been known to be the cause of prostatic hyperplasia (Remember this because treatment can focus on the activity of this enzyme)
  • Prostate cancer: The 2nd most common cancer affecting men, but only 1 in 35 men with prostate cancer will die from it (Most will die with it not from it). This occurs when the cells in the prostate don’t grow and behave normally. Remember, most are slow growing and preventable.

Highlight 2: Staying on top of your prostate health = early detection of this preventable cancer

Ok, so how do I know when my body is telling me something might be wrong?

There are many signs and symptoms that may be good indications of your prostate health. Now to complicate the matters a little more, in the early stages of prostate cancer there may be no signs or symptoms. The following may occur in later stages of the disease:

  1. Erectile dysfunction
  2. Problems urinating à Slow or weak stream of urine, need to urinate more often, especially at night
  3. Hematuria (Blood in the urine – associated more with BPH)
  4. Neurological signs: Weakness or numbness in the legs or feet
  5. Lower back pain

Highlight 3: If you have any of the above symptoms contact your health care professional

What kind of tests do doctors do for the prostate?

There are a few ways in which your doctor can assess your prostate health and make sure you continue to be the well-tuned healthy man you are meant to be – prevention is key when it comes to the prostate.

  • The digital rectal exam (DRE): Ok gentlemen, I know that this one could make some of you squeamish, but it can be a really reliable quick screening exam when done by a skilled practitioner. In a nutshell, the practitioner will palpate (ie. Locate and press on) your prostate. The prostate is accessed through the anus and is a short distance into the rectum. Using a single digit, the physician is assessing the quality and texture of the gland – notably how hard and large it may be.
  • PSA (Prostate specific antigen): This is a very common term to be familiar with when talking about prostate health and tests involved. It is a protein that can be measured in your blood serum. It is a highly sensitive test, meaning that it can be detected easily, but it is not a specific test - meaning that it is associated with more than prostate cancer. Some PSA numbers that you should be away of - PSA > 5 should be monitored closely and PSA > 10 requires immediate attention and referral to a specialized.

Highlight 4: Ask your doctor about getting your prostate checked – it’s that easy

So if there is something wrong, what do I do?

Treatment for prostate health, most specific to prostate cancer, can range from a variety of conventional treatments to natural remedies and preventative approaches. Treatment will not be discussed in this article but if you would like to learn more about treatments for prostate health I will be posting an article shortly.

With your new found knowledge about the prostate and prostate health you are now more educated on some of the basics. This little, walnut-sized gland can have a huge impact on your health and is a vital part of the male reproductive system and sexual health. Prostate cancer screening is quick and easy, all it takes is a visit with your health care professional and its up to you to start this discussion.

 

Yours in health,
Tanner Alden

What NDs Do - the very basics

One of my major passions lies in educating the public about Naturopathic Medicine!

My name is Tanner Alden, I am a 3rd year student clinician (almost 4th year - 3 more weeks!) at the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine located in New Westminster in Beautiful BC. I wanted to put together a little video series to help you understand what we do as NDs, the training we get as students, and the philosophies we approach patient care from.

I will be publishing my videos over the next few weeks and any new ones that come up in the future will be up for your viewing pleasure - so check back periodically!

 

In Health, 
Tanner Alden