Search Term: " BPH "
What Herbs Support A Healthy Prostate
Prostate health is vital for any male's well-being. Keeping your prostrate free from complications is a result of good hygiene, proper diet and most importantly, living a healthy lifestyle. The bad news is that some of the prostate complications such as prostate cancer can cause death. The good news is that there are better remedies to prevent that from happening, reduce the effects of these complications and lastly, do away with them completely.
From pharmaceutical pills to natural supplements, there are more than enough remedies for prostate complications in the market. However, if you are looking for something safe to use, then it is always advisable to choose natural supplements, herbs or anything that is safe from toxic chemicals. In our case, we will be dealing with herbs that support prostate health.
What Herbs Support A Healthy Prostate?
In summary, keeping your prostate healthy means improved urination flow and more. It also means, creating a barrier between your prostrate and several diseases such as prostate cancer. The herbs mentioned above are among the best and the safest ones to use.
October 04, 2010 03:30 PM
Saw Palmetto Health benefitsSaw Palmetto has been used traditionally to treat a number of ailments, particularly in the medicine of Native Americans and Central Americans. It is specifically the fruit or berries of the plant that is used and its historical uses have included treating female infertility, menstrual pains and lactation problems. In men it has been used to reduce enlarged prostate glands and it is also used in the treatment of whooping cough, laryngitis and as an expectorant.
Present-day saw palmetto benefits are generally focused on the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), commonly known as an 'enlarged prostate, characterized by the development of large nodules in the area of the prostate around the urethra. This causes the urethra to be compressed, and the flow of urine to be partially blocked - in fact sometimes complete blockage occurs.
Saw palmetto benefits in this respect are believed to lie in relaxation of the smooth muscle tissue and enable improvement in the passing of urination. Native American medicine men used to carry a medicine bag of saw palmetto with them to treat these and related conditions.
Have you had your Saw Palmetto Berry Extract Today?
September 11, 2009 09:19 AM
The pygeum plant is a tall evergreen tree that is part of the family Rosaceae. It is found in central and southern Africa. The bark has been medicinally used for thousands of years. Traditional African healers have used the bark of this plant to treat bladder and urination disorders. Particularly, it has been used for symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which is an enlarged prostate. The bark has been historically powdered and used to make a tea. This was taken by mouth for BPH. The pygeum tree is endangered due to the demand for its bark to create pygeum extract. In the majority of trials that have been conducted since the 1970s, findings reported improvements in BPH symptoms. These symptoms included the frequency of nighttime urination, urine flow rate, and left over urine volume. This research has led to some credibility to the common use of this herb for BPH. The herb is less commonly used in the United States, as prescription drugs and the saw palmetto herb are more commonly used.
Pygeum is an herbal remedy. It contains extracts from the bark of Prunus Africana. The herb is used to alleviate some of the discomfort that is caused by inflammation in those patients who are suffering from benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Small, short, randomized studies taking place in the United Kingdom have concluded that this herb provided moderate relief of some of the symptoms of BPH. Commonly, pygeum is partnered with saw palmetto. It is often found in herbal combinations that are intended to be used for the prostate gland. Pygeum was used by natives of tropical South Africa in order to treat uterine disorders and prostate problem in combination with milk or palm oil. This herb comes from the bark of an African evergreen tree.
Pygeum contains compounds that are specifically known for their ability to reduce inflammation of the prostate due to their lipophilic effects. A lot of European physicians prescribe pygeum for BPH. This can cause urination problems. Not only is used to treat existing prostate problems, but it is also a preventative measure for promoting prostate health.
Also, there is evidence that pygeum can help counteract problems of male infertility and impotence. Pygeum promotes health in the underlying condition of the prostate. Because of this, pygeum can promote sexual health and function as a by-product. It is also boosts energy and fights fatigue. Also, pygeum is known to improve the composition of semen. It should be noted that this herb has the potential to cause stomach irritation.
The bark of the pygeum plant is used to provide anti-inflammatory, diuretic, and hormonal properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are fatty acids. Primarily, pygeum is extremely beneficial in treating prostatitis, prostate enlargement, prostate problems, and urination problems. Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with poor circulation, lack of energy, fatigue, and impotence. In order to obtain the best results when supplementing with this, or any herb, it is important to consult your health care provider before beginning any regimen.
For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by pygeum, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
Is Saw Palmetto's Safe?
July 15, 2008 06:58 PM
Saw palmetto, a small palm tree which is found in Florida and South Carolina, produces berries which contain many beneficial compounds. Florida is the biggest producer of saw palmetto. Small patches of this herb can be found from the southeast coastline of South Carolina and southeastern Georgia to southern Mississippi. But it does not grow naturally in Texas, Mexico, or the Caribbean. It grows in every Florida County, but much of its production is found in South Florida.
Supplements that contain saw palmetto are extremely effective in treatment of Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH), one of the most common health conditions in older men, with half of all men aged 40-60 and more than 90 percent of men over 80 having BPH. BPH is caused by the conversion of estrogen to a very potent form of testosterone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Saw palmetto berry extract has been found to relive the symptoms of BPH by furthering the production of DHT. With the use of saw palmetto extract, it has been found that most men achieve some relief of symptoms within the first 30 days.
Additionally, saw palmetto is an herb that is commonly used to treat benign prostate enlargement, is rich in phytosterols, especially beta-sitosterol. Also, saw palmetto is very effective for excess testosterone, as it promotes testosterone excretion. Native Americans use the fruit for food, but it is also used in the treatment of a variety of urinary and reproductive system problems. Similarly, the Mayans drank it as a tonic, while the Seminoles used the berries both as an expectorant and as an antiseptic.
Recent concerns over the safety of saw palmetto supplements for prostate health have emerged and may be unfounded. A new study reported that there were no adverse effects from the supplementation of saw palmetto. The randomized clinical trial, Saw palmetto for Treatment of Enlarged Prostates (STEP) study, recruited two hundred and twenty-five men, all of which had moderate-to-severe symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Each of these men was assigned to receive either 320 milligrams per day of a saw palmetto supplement or a placebo.
This study lasted one year. After the study, researchers concluded that there were no significant differences between the groups when it came to suffering from at least one serious adverse event. 5.4 percent of men in the saw palmetto group had one serious adverse event as compared to 9.7 percent in the placebo group. There were also no significant differences that were observed when it came to non-serious symptomatic adverse events, as 34.8 percent of men in the saw palmetto group experienced such an event, compared to 30.1 percent in the placebo group.
The study was welcomed by Daniel Fabricant, PhD., vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs for the industry association of the Natural Products Association. Dr. Fabricant said that he agreed with the authors of the study and that the results are reassuring, saying that he believe the study supports the viewpoint that those people with experience in botanicals have held for an extended amount of time in that when they are used responsibly and the amounts and concentrations are supported by clinical literature, botanicals are extremely safe and effective.
Butcher's Broom Extract
May 02, 2008 11:04 AM
Butcher’s broom (Ruscus aculeatus) is a member of the lily family, and looks a bit like a holly bush with barbed evergreen leaves and bright red berries in the fall. At one time they were collected, tied together and sold to butchers as brooms to sweep out their shops.
The stiff leaves were particularly suitable for cleaning out offal and other waste products from butchered animals and also for scrubbing butcher’s blocks. It was also used as a deterrent to rodents with their eyes on the meat! Alternative names are sweet broom, kneeholy and Jew’s myrtle, so named because it was used during the Feast of the Tabernacles as one of the ‘four species’ used in the lulav.
The herb was commonly used in Ancient Greece and Rome, the Greeks using it to reduce swellings of various kinds and the Romans using it to treat varicose veins. It has the same uses today, only the mechanisms are understood better. It has been used for centuries in the Mediterranean area for the treatment of inflammations and problems with the circulation, and the Romans used to mash up the leaves and berries to add to wine, and they also used the roots and rhizome as a medicine by soaking them in wine. Today, it is illegal to use holly as a decoration in Italy, so butcher’s broom is used instead.
All parts of the plant are used, including the rhizome, and although it is used as a diuretic, and to control a loss of blood pressure experience by some people on standing up, it is its effect on blood vessels where its main medical benefits lie. Butcher’s Broom can strengthen certain portions of blood vessels, and change the flexibility properties of the cell walls.
The result of this is that the vessels are tightened up, which helps to maintain the flow of blood throughout the body, but also renders the cell walls less likely to leak or crack under stress. The result is a reduction in blood leakage from stretched and weakened blood vessels such as those that result in hemorrhoids, and also of conditions caused by weakened valves in the veins such as varicose veins and spider veins.
The blood pressure in the veins is very weak since they are so far away from the heart, the blood having passed through the arteries, through the capillaries and into the veins on its way back to the heart before being pumped to the lungs. When the valves become weakened, particularly in the large veins in the leg, there is little to prevent the blood from coming under the influence of gravity and pooling back down the vein, causing distention and occasional ruptures.
A ruptured varicose vein can be very serious and cause significant blood loss. Weakened valves can also lead to the formation of blood clots, which is itself a very serious condition that eventually blocks the heart or causes a stroke. Not only can butcher’s broom strengthen the vein walls and prevent leakage, and also enable them to more easily resist the pressure that can cause them to rupture, but it can also be used to break down blood clots. In fact the herb is used in many European hospitals to prevent the formation of blood clots after surgery.
The active ingredients in the rhizome are saponins that contain the aglycones ruscogenin and neuroscogenin and the associated spirostanol and furostanol glycosides. The receptors that cause vasocontraction are known as adrenoreceptors, these receptors can be selectively stimulated by butcher’s broom extract to tighten the veins and improve the return of blood. When introduced intravenously, butcher’s broom was noted to constrict venules (small veins that feed the main veins but not arterioles (the small arteries than feed the capillaries). Hence blood vessels can be selectively treated, and the effect on isolated blood vessels was enhanced by heating. Many supplements include calcium that helps to strengthen the blood vessel walls.
It is possible, therefore, to target the blood vessels that require constrictive treatment in order that they are strong enough to return blood to the heart rather than leak or distend. However, that is not the only health benefit that butcher’s broom provides. It can also be used as a diuretic. It is not a strong diuretic, but is used to relief the swelling of bruises and PMS, the reason given being that since leakage from the blood vessels is lessened, then more fluid is available to pass through the kidneys. There might be other reasons.
It is also use for the treatment of ortho static hypotension, the reduction in blood pressure that some people experience. It is believed that butcher’s broom can control this condition without increasing blood pressure, as most other remedies do, and which is almost as undesirable as the condition they are treating.
There are few problems associated with the herb, although few studies have been carried out its use by pregnant women. Although the one test that was carried indicated no effect, it would be wise for pregnant or nursing women not to use it until further studies have been carried out. Due to its effect in tightening blood vessels, its use is not recommended by anybody suffering from high blood pressure (hypertension). Many hypertension treatments are designed to render the blood vessels more elastic rather than constrict them.
In one very small study of pregnant women who used a topical cream containing butcher's broom, no side effects were seen for either the mother or the baby. However, very little information is available on how oral butcher's broom might affect a developing fetus, an infant, or a small child. Therefore, its use is not recommended during pregnancy, while breast-feeding, or during early childhood.
Because it tightens blood vessels, butcher's broom may worsen high blood pressure or benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). Individuals with either of these conditions should not use any form of butcher's broom without first consulting a doctor. The known side effects have already been stated, and they are fairly mild, but few studies have been made on the herb other than in Europe, and the side effects have not been fully explored. It is unlikely; however, that there are any as yet unknown serious side effects since butcher’s broom has been used now for a long time, particularly in Europe.
The term ‘ruscogenin’ is used for the collective mixture of active saponins in butcher’s broom, and many of the supplements are formulated to include from 5 to 15 mg of these. However, check the label, since standardization is not yet required in the USA, and in theory a preparation can include much more or much less ruscogenin. It is frequently supplied with other active ingredients, such as vitamin C or calcium, and perhaps even horse chestnut that affect blood vessels in a similar way. Always follow the instructions on the package, since these are designed for the specific strength of supplement you are using.
The Prevention and Treatment or Prostate Cancer
April 10, 2008 01:36 PM
Last week I shared with you the controversy surrounding the use of PSA screening to determine the status of the prostate. There are many doctors who do not believe that using PSA is accurate enough to rely on for determining whether or not a high PSA indicates prostate cancer. Many men, who have a high PSA, after more detailed examination, did not have cancer and men with a low PSA did have cancer. Some physicians do not believe that the current methods of diagnosing prostate disorders are saving lives. Also, there is a group of physicians nationwide that strongly believe the best treatment is no treatment but rather a “watch and wait” approach. Prostate cancer usually is slow growing and more than 70% of men who develop it are over 65.
The older a man is, the more likely he is to die of some other condition before his prostate cancer becomes a real threat. To reiterate, the American Cancer Society states, “at this time watchful waiting is a reasonable option for some men with slow growing cancers because it is not known whether active treatment such as surgery, radiation therapy or hormone therapy prolongs survival”. So what action can be taken? While prostate enlargement (BPH) is not related to prostate cancer, it can elevate PSA scores and can cause symptoms in 50% of men by age 80 and nearly all will show signs of BPH by age 85.
If you have early symptoms of BPH such as frequency of urination, a burning feeling after urination and the caliber of stream that isn’t what it used to be, getting up several times through the night and low back pain, taking a good prostate support formula will be your best treatment and prevention. Most men will notice a remarkable improvement within a few weeks. A good prostate support formula will provide relief for 80-90% of all men from these annoying symptoms.
But what about prostate cancer?
The best cure for prostate cancer is prevention. I’ll give you a complete supplement program for prevention but first what about PSA testing? “I don’t believe in screening for something when it’s too late. By the time cancer develops a positive mammography or a true high PSA are likely too late, or if fortunate, that particular cancer will not be a problem. It makes far more sense to prevent the problem in the first place. And there is clear data, prevention is possible”. Dr. Robert J. Rowen, MD, Second Opinion, Soundview Communications. My recommendation, based on research of several scientific studies, includes various nutritional supplements and herbal extracts.
Following are several very important studies that all men should be aware of. In 1966 Dr. Larry Clark of the University of Arizona published startling data suggesting that prostate cancer could be reduced by as much as an amazing 60% by supplemental yeast derived selenium, 200 mcg per day. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant and participates in key and crucial detoxification and free radical scavenging enzymes (80-90% of all disease is caused by free radical damage and inflammation).
Selenium is one of a number of antioxidants to prevent this free radical damage; In 1999 a New Zealand study published in the British Journal of Cancer documented a 40% lower incident of prostate cancer in men with the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA in their blood. These findings have been confirmed in other omega-3 fatty acid studies. Conversely, another published report documents a high level of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in invasive prostate tissue samples. Taken together with recent reports on high levels of omega-6 fatty acids (soy, sunflower, safflower, peanut, corn and most vegetable oils) linked to breast cancer, a common thread emerges. The American diet is overwhelmed with omega-6 oils.
Excessive use of omega-6 fatty acids are cancer causing and also cause inflammation. Trans fatty acids from hydrogenated oils seriously add to the problem. There are other nutrients that have shown to reduce prostate-cancer risk. Vitamin E and lycopene have also shown to prevent prostate cancer. Lycopene is commonly found in tomatoes, especially cooked tomatoes. If you like spaghetti sauce or salsa, this is a great way to fight prostate cancer. While vitamin E, selenium, lycopene and omega-3 fatty acids are all great prostate supporting nutrients, through research I found a much more powerful combination of food grade molecules that can prevent and treat cancer.
Extensive research in the last few years has revealed that regular consumption of certain fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Fruits and vegetables having the highest degree of prostate cancer protection are the following: grapes (resveratrol), garlic, tomatoes, hot peppers, turmeric (curcumin), ginger, berries, milk thistle, cloves and fennel. These foods are protective because they are extremely active and excellent antioxidants. My favorite is turmeric (curcumin) because not only is it an antioxidant, it is also an anti-inflammatory agent. When it has this dual effect it is many times more potent than other types of food. In the United States there is 30 times more prostate cancers diagnosed than there are in India where turmeric is consumed liberally in most of the Indian dishes. Cancer does not begin shortly before it’s diagnosed.
The origin of cancer may be years or decades in the process before it is even diagnosed as such. It is a multi-step process that goes through various phases such as cellular damage and transformation and culminates in the acquisition of invasive potential angiogenic properties and establishment of metastatic lesions. This process, and probably rightly so for all cancers, can be activated by any one of the various environmental carcinogens (cancer causing); all forms of tobacco products, industrial emissions, gasoline vapors, inflammatory agents, food coloring and preservatives, excessive UV rays, alcohol, hair dyes, cleaning products and drugs.
The multi-step process of these cancer causing compounds progress in three stages; tumor initiation, promotion and progression phases. A powerful antioxidant/anti-inflammatory can prevent most if not all of the damaging effects when taken on a daily basis. Several population based studies indicate that people in Southeast Asian countries have a much lower risk of acquiring colon, gastrointestinal, prostate, breast and other cancers when compared to their western counterparts. It is very likely that constituents of their diet such as garlic, ginger, turmeric, onion, tomatoes, cruciferous vegetables, chili’s and green tea play an important role in their ability to avoid these cancers.
These foods, or key active extracts from these foods, are known to block the NF-kB activation process. Also, several phytochemicals such as curcumin, resveratrol and green tea catechins have been shown to suppress AP-1. Several chemopreventative phytochemicals including curcumin, resveratrol and green tea have been recently shown to be powerful inhibitors of several growth factor receptors including EGFR. Curcumin also possesses the capacity to inhibit the activation of the EGF-Receptor indicating that it has the potential to break the autocrine loops that are established in several advanced cancers.
Studies also suggest that curcumin, resveratrol and green tea can actually be used as safe, non-toxic treatments in drug resistant cancers. These natural phytochemicals (food grade) can help fight certain cancers thereby requiring a smaller dose of drug chemotherapy. They also can protect the body from the damages of drug chemotherapy and radiation. “This mini review presents evidence that chemopreventative agents, curcumin, green tea and resveratrol, can be used not just to prevent cancer but also to treat cancer. Because of their pharmacological safety, most chemopreventative agents can be used in combination with drug chemotherapeutic agents to enhance the affect at lower doses and thus minimize chemotherapy- induced toxicity. Because cancer is primarily a disease of old age, less toxic therapy is a major priority. This review reveals that molecular targets of chemopreventative agents are similar to those currently being used for the treatment of cancer. Tumor cells use multiple cell survival pathways to prevail and thus agents that can suppress multiple pathways have great potential for the treatment of cancer”1,2. Curcumin, resveratrol and green tea were as effective in preventing and treating certain cancers based on lab and animal studies. There have been approximately 20 human positive studies but much more needs to be done.
From the research that I have done, I am convinced sufficiently enough to take many of these compounds as a preventative of cancer. These compounds are completely safe and non-toxic even in high doses. What does one have to lose? Why not take the positive preventative measure? –Compliments of Terry Naturally
Ref: 1. Role of chemopreventaive agents in cancer therapy. Comprehensive Cancer Center Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center, New York Medical College, Bronx New York
2. Cytokine Research Section, Department of Bioimmuno Therapy, University of Texas, M.D Anderson Cancer Center, Houston Texas
An Ancient Herb And Its Application In Prostate Health
December 02, 2007 05:55 PM
According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer as well as the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among American men. A prostate specific antigen (PSA) test has been shown to detect prostate cancer in its earliest stages. Even though cancer screenings are very important they are just one health concern when it comes to the prostate. As men get older, the prostate may become a source for many other problems that can, but not necessarily always, include cancer. Since the symptoms of some prostate conditions often mimic cancer, many men who learn they have a problem often immediately assume the worst. Therefore, it is important to understand the prostate and how potential changes might affect your health. Additionally, it is good to know what natural supplements you can take to ensure your prostate ages healthfully.
The prostate is a walnut-shaped gland found only in men just below the bladder and around the urethra, which functions as part of the male reproductive system. Throughout life the prostate continues to grow larger, but only after it becomes too large do problems begin to occur. The most common problem for men under fifty is prostatitis (inflamed prostate). This can cause a burning feeling during urination as well as frequent urination. It may be a sign that your body is fighting an infection, which can usually be treated with the use of an antibiotic. Nonbacterial prostatitis, on the other hand, does not respond to antibiotics and requires other forms of treatment. Men over fifty suffer most frequently from prostate enlargement or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Although older men are more at risk for prostate cancer, BPH is much more common. This issue occurs when the prostate becomes so enlarged that it squeezes the urethra, causing problems in urination, urinary tract infections, and in worse case scenarios kidney damage. However, prostate cancer will affect one out of ever six men over the course of their lifetimes, making it the most serious prostate problem, causing 27,00 deaths this year alone.
Prostate problems such as BPH are usually treated with prescription drugs, which often lead to unpleasant side effects such as mild dizziness, sleep problems, decreased sex drive, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, and fainting. For those people who don’t want to experience these side effects, there is a natural safe alternative available: saw palmetto. Saw palmetto is the best known of prostate-supportive herbs coming from palm tree berries. However, it does not work for all men or those with extreme cases of BPH. The prostate gland also needs zinc, which is hard to find in a typical diet. By adding zinc supplements to your daily regimen, you can easily stabilize hormones and possibly prevent prostate problems.
A great natural solution that comes risk-free and can help with a large range of prostate health issues is epilobium, which contains properties that have supported prostate health for centuries. Epilobium is a small willow herb used in traditional medicine for the treatment of prostate disorders and valued for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Because traditional use and modern research have proven that epilobium may help with BPH and prostatitis and has shown promising results for inhibiting cancer cell growth, it’s a great choice for prostate health.
Growing Older, Feeling Better
March 28, 2007 02:15 PM
Growing Older, Feeling Better
Not long ago, when a man turned sixty-five, he became officially old – the best years of his life far behind him. The milestone meant his working days were done and if he was lucky, he might get four or five years to spend as he wished before illness and infirmity set in. It was simply expected and accepted that the older a man got, the sicker he got.
Well, not anymore. Today, a man age 65 is just as likely to be found hiking in the hills, running in a marathon, or even dancing in the streets than rocking in that proverbial front porch rocker. Because it’s becoming more and more evident that the older a man gets, the healthier that man has been.
Eating healthy, exercising, and kicking harmful habits (like smoking) can add years to a man’s life. Aging research is proving over and over again, that we can prevent and delay heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease – the major causes of disability and death in men over 50.
Now, it’s very true that good clean living from early on is preferable to sixty five years of bad habits and five years of good. But it’s also true that it’s never too late for men to make changes and vow to take better care of themselves. And one of the easiest and most effective ways men can improve their health is the addition of high quality nutritional supplements.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we’ll talk about specific dietary supplements that have been scientifically shown to improve the health of men over fifty, prevent the diseases that often strike at this crucial time in men’s lives, and actually slow the aging process.
Q. I just turned 50 and I’d like to begin taking nutritional supplements, but they seem so confusing. Where should I begin?
A. Many men feel the same way. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of nutritional supplements on health food store shelves. Figuring out which supplements provide the best health benefits for a 50+ man can be overwhelming.
The best foundation supplement is a high quality multivitamin. Research is repeatedly finding that even very healthy men who take daily multivitamins can significantly improve their health. In fact, an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) recommends that all adult Americans take a vitamin supplement. Look for solid doses of vitamin supplement. Look for sol doses of vitamins and especially minerals. Multivitamins designed to be taken once a day are often woefully deficient in calcium, magnesium, and potassium. The only mineral a man should avoid is supplemental iron. Iron should only be in formulas for women prior to menopause. Men over 50 get all the iron they need from food and too much iron can cause health problems.
Look for men’s multivitamins that contain lycopene in the formula. Lycopene is the pigment that makes tomatoes red. The redder the tomato, the more lycopene is present. Numerous studies have shown that when men have high lycopene levels in their blood, they have a much lower risk of heart disease, age-related macular degeneration (a leading cause of vision loss) and prostate cancer.
Other important considerations are antioxidant blends, especially fruit- and tea-derived extracts; ginseng for energy and stamina; and digestive enzymes to aid in absorption and compensate for age-related decreased enzyme levels.
In fact, years of research has shown the foods a man chooses to eat (or not to eat) can have a profound impact on the health of his prostate gland. Because of this close nutritional link, prostate cancer may be the most preventable type of non-smoking related cancers.
Q. Aside from taking a quality multivitamin for general health, what nutritional supplements prevent and treat prostate cancer?
A. Six vital and all-natural nutrients can prevent prostate cancer from developing and even help fight the disease.
When men are exposed to excess levels of hormones, their risk of prostate cancer increases. A natural substance found in fruits and vegetables called calcium D-glucarate (or CDG), helps men’s built-in detoxification systems get rid of these harmful excess hormones.
This antioxidant has powerful effects on the prostate gland. In a recent study, researchers recruited 974 men to take part in a large clinical trial to determine if selenium could prevent cancer. The researchers found that selenium cut the rate of prostate cancer by 63%!
Green tea is the most widely consumed liquid in the world, after water. Men in
For many years, maitake mushrooms, or dancing mushrooms, have been linked to good health in those who eat them. That’s because maitakes contain an important compound called D-fraction. A recent study showed that maitake D-fraction destroyed 95% of human prostate cancer cells in lab experiments.
Promising preliminary reports demonstrate that lycopene can actually kill prostate cancer cells, so there has been an explosion of lycopene and prostate cancer research.
Q. What exactly happens to men’s hormones as they get older?
A. Just as women experience significant hormonal changes as they age, so do men. In fact, the term andropause has been used to describe men’s mid-life changes. Similar to menopause in women (where the decline of estrogen causes a myriad of symptoms), andropause in men signals the slow decline of testosterone, the chief sex hormone in men. While estrogen levels decline faster and more abruptly in women than testosterone levels do in men, testosterone decline can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms. These include abdominal weight gain, hair loss, reduced energy and sex drive, heart disease, and prostate enlargement. Whether a man labels these age-related changes as andropause or just the consequences of aging, most men will unfortunately experience some or all of them as their birthdays mount.
Q. So, is there a supplement that can give me the hormone level of a 20 year old?
A. Sadly, no, at least not yet! But there is a nutrient that can help the testosterone in a man over fifty “behave” more like a younger man’s testosterone.
A study that took place at the
The secret of DIM’s prostate cancer prevention is its ability to metabolize estrogen. While estrogen is generally thought of as a “female” hormone, a precise ratio of testosterone-to-estrogen is needed to maintain a man’s healthy sexual response, effective sexual function (erection of the penis and intercourse), strong bones and muscles, viable sperm, and a well-functioning prostate gland. As men enter their fifties, this ratio begins to change.
When men take DIM, however, their estrogen metabolism improves, testosterone metabolism accelerates, and the unwanted conversion of testosterone into estrogen is eliminated. This results in higher testosterone levels, similar to those seen in young men. As a result, DIM may speed weight loss, reduce prostate gland enlargement (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH), and help men over 50 feel stronger and leaner.
Some supplements on the market today contain indole-3-carbinol (I3C), a precursor to DIM. However, I3C is unstable and requires activation in the stomach to be converted into DIM. This means I3C must be taken at a much higher amount and can undergo unpredictable and undesirable chemical reactions in your stomach and colon. DIM is by far the preferred supplement.
Q. What is saw palmetto? Does it reduce symptoms of Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH)?
A. Yes it does and very effectively too. Saw palmetto is a small palm tree native to
The prostate gland is about the size of a walnut and is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It wraps around the upper part of the urethra and its primary job is the production and storage of semen, the milky fluid that nourishes sperm. BPH is one of the most common health conditions in older men. Half of all men aged 40-60 and more than 90 percent in men over 80 have BPH. BPH causes the prostate gland to enlarge, putting pressure on the urethra.
Men have trouble starting or maintaining a stream of urine, find they can’t completely empty their bladders, and have to urinate frequently, even during the night. They may also have episodes of uncontrollable dribbling or complete loss of urine. BPH is caused by the conversion of estrogen to a very potent form of testosterone called, dihydrotestosterone (or DHT). When prostate cells are exposed to DHT, they multiply in number and get much larger.
BPH rarely improves. It most often remains the same for years or gets gradually worse. The need to continually urinate, interrupted sleep, dribbling, and loss of urine can significantly interfere with a man’s quality of life. Prescription medications that have been developed to treat BPH are only partially effective. And surgical removal of the prostate gland may result in even more persistent urinary incontinence and the inability to achieve an erection (ED).
However, saw palmetto berry extract relieves the symptoms of BPH by inhibiting the production of DHT. And, in study after study after study, saw palmetto caused none of the side effects that happen with prostate surgery or medications.
Q. There seem to be plenty of ads for supplements that claim they make men into Sexual Superheroes. Is there an “honest” nutritional supplement to help me sexually?
A. That’s a very good observation. And yes, there are honest nutritional supplements for men’s sexual health.
Sexual intimacy is an important, complex, and lifelong need. It makes us feel better physically and mentally and adds to our sense of security, belonging, and self-esteem. But just like other changes that happen to men as they get older, men’s sexual response most often changes, too. Declining testosterone levels, changes in blood flow to the penis, certain medications that older men are prescribed, and the presence of diabetes or heart disease can all affect men’s ability to engage in sexual activity.
When men have a chronic inability in obtaining and/or maintaining an erection, it’s called erectile dysfunction (ED). While ED is not an inevitable part of getting older, it does occur more frequently as men age. About 5% of 40-year-old men have ED, but more than 23% of 65-year-old men have difficulty maintaining erections.
The development of prescription medication Viagra (sildenafil citrate) has revolutionized ED treatment. When a man is sexually stimulated, Viagra helps the penis fill with enough blood to cause an erection.
Like all medicines, Viagra can cause some side effects, including headache, flushing of the face, and upset stomach. But because Viagra is a prescription medication, it requires a visit to a licensed healthcare practitioner. For many men, telling anyone (even a professional) that they are having trouble getting or keeping an erection is simply too embarrassing. Viagra is also fairly expensive and many older men do not have prescription drug health insurance.
These reasons may explain that while an estimated 30 million men in the United States – 10% of the male population – experience chronic ED, as few as 5% of men with chronic ED seek treatment.
Not every man can take Viagra, either. Men who use nitrate drugs, often used to control chest pain (also known as angina), must not take Viagra. This combination can cause their blood pressure to drop to an unsafe or life-threatening level. Men with serious liver and kidney problems who take Viagra must be monitored closely for possible serious side effects.
The good news is there is a nutritional supplement that’s formulated with vitamins, herbs, and glandular products that targets male sexual organs. The formula contains vitamin E, liver fractions, wheat germ, beta-sitosterol, and herbal extracts of muira puama, Mexican damiana, saw palmetto, cola nut, ginseng, and ginkgo biloba.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and men’s testicles, adrenal glands, and pituitary glands need high levels of this fat-soluble vitamin for proper functioning. Extracts of Muira puama, Mexican damiana, and cola nut have been studied for their beneficial effects on male hormones.
Study of ginkgo in sexual response came about when a patient in a nursing home who was taking the herb for memory enhancement noted that his erections were improved. Since then, study of ginkgo has shown it helps blood flow to the penis. Sexual response research in one ginkgo study showed that 76% of men taking ginkgo experienced improved sexual desire, erections, and orgasms.
While other nutritional supplements sold to improve sexual stamina often make outrageous claims, reputable manufacturers rely on science and results to sell their products.
An important note
Most often sexual problems are simply part of the aging process. They can also be signs of serious health problems. If the use of nutritional supplements for two months does not improve your erections, you do need to see your healthcare practitioner. Almost all practitioners understand how difficult this problem is for men to discuss and are experienced in getting the information as quickly and as painlessly as possible.
No man has the power to stop the passage of time. But every man has the power to make aging more healthy and less harmful. Research conducted on men who live to be 100 and beyond, has determined that those who reach extreme old age do so by avoiding ill health, rather than by enduring it. As I like to remind my patients, “Age is not determined by years, but by function.” And it’s never too late for men to detour around the major illnesses of getting older. With good nutrition, healthy habits, and high quality nutritional supplements, the best years of a man’s life can absolutely and positively be those he spends in his 70s, 80s and even his 90s.
A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test can help detect prostate cancer, as well ...
July 27, 2005 02:13 PM
1. A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test can help detect prostate cancer, as well as other prostate conditions.
A routine blood test, the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test measures the level of a protein produced by the cells of the prostate gland. When the prostate gland enlarges, PSA levels can rise due to cancer or other medical conditions. However, a high PSA reading is not a cancer diagnosis. An elevated PSA level can point to common benign conditions such as prostatitis, inflammation of the prostate, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), enlargement of the prostate.
While the PSA blood test is currently the best tool for monitoring the status of prostate cancer, the test alone does not determine if a cancer is present. Many men with high PSA levels do not have cancer, while nearly 25% of men with a low PSA do have the disease. Studies indicate that it is even possible for patients with healthy PSA levels to have cancer that has spread to the bones. An abnormal PSA level should always be verified by repeating the test, and every PSA test should be accompanied by a digital rectal exam. If a nodule or abnormality is detected on the prostate, a biopsy can determine if cancer is present.
Nutritional Support for Prostate Health
May 11, 2005 10:19 AM
Nutritional Support for Prostate HealthBy Steve Lankford
Prostate problems are perhaps the most common problem that men will experience. As men age their hormonal production and metabolism changes and these changes can contribute to the prostate difficulties that men experience. The two major prostate problems are enlargement of the prostate gland known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer. These two problems are unrelated except that they both affect the prostate gland and the scope of this article will focus on BPH.
The prostate gland is a small gland located under the bladder. It is shaped like a donut and surrounds the neck of the bladder and a small portion of the urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries the urine out of the body. When the prostate gland enlarges it can constrict the urethra and the flow of urine. This contributes to the variety of symptoms of BPH. BPH affects over half of all men aged 50 and older.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
BPH is related to the hormonal changes that men undergo as they age. Around age 40 men begin to produce more of the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase. 5-alpha-reductase converts the hormone testosterone into the less desirable hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is an important hormone and is not a problem until the levels begins to increase around mid-life. The increase in DHT results in BPH.
The symptoms of BPH include hypersensitivity of the bladder to even small amount of urine. This results in an increase of both urgency and frequency. Men will often experience frequent nighttime urination. The urine stream may become weaker and include dribbling when men are unable to completely void the bladder. Serious BPH can cause a complete blockage of urine flow.
Three stages of support
There are three stages at which you may want or need to deal with BPH. The first stage is preventive. At this stage there are no symptoms and one may do something at this stage when trying to provide benefit and support to avoid or minimize future involvement. The ideal time to begin preventive support is between the ages of 40 and 50.
The second stage is when there are emerging symptoms. This is when men first begin to experience the symptoms of BPH. The symptoms are mild and no too difficult to tolerate. This is also the best time to reverse the trend and provide effective nutritional therapy.
The third stage is when the symptoms have progressed to the difficult and serious level. It often progresses to this point when men ignore the symptoms and treatments. Often men have tried traditional medical approaches with little satisfaction or results. Even at this stage of BPH, nutritional support is usually very effective.
The challenge of creating an effective prostate support program begins with an assessment of your current status and then making an informed choice of support options.
The most successful natural approach to prostate health should involve a multiple approach that addresses the various systems in the body related to prostate health. The various nutrients that may be use can be taken separately or in combination. This approach can be beneficial both as a preventative approach as well therapeutic. You will generally have better results when you use a comprehensive approach.
The Comprehensive Approach to BPH
Prostate Support – Studies have show that dietary factors influence the overall health of the prostate. There are some nutrients that are found in higher amounts in the prostate. Nutrients such as zinc, lycopene and vitamin E provide prostate support.
Hormonal Regulation – Hormones have a direct role in prostate function. Plant extracts inhibit testosterone uptake by the prostate as well as limiting its conversion into DHT and subsequent binding to receptor sites within the prostate. Herbs such as saw palmetto, pygeum, nettle, red clover and soy provide this benefit.
Cellular Regeneration – Certain nutrients such as Swedish Flower Pollen, Quercetin and lycopene have demonstrated significant effects in maintaining proper prostate cell regeneration.
Bladder and Urinary Tract Health – The integrity and health of the bladder and urinary tract supports the normal flow of urine and prostate function. Three amino acids alanine, glutamic acid, and glycine as well as the herbs goldenseal, marshmallow root, uva ursi and pumpkin seed are all beneficial to the health of the urinary tract.
Soothing mechanisms – Certain plant compounds such as sterols and Swedish flower pollen as well as saw palmetto and pygeum and the bioflavonoid quercetin inhibit the metabolism of arachidonic acid. This influences prostaglandin synthesis, which is associated with prostate comfort.
Antioxidant Defense - The final area that we look at is how to reduce oxidative stress (free radical damage) that can trigger a host of destructive processes. Antioxidants play an important role in prostate function including protection of cell membranes.
Natural Is Better
How good are natural alternatives for prostate health? There have been many studies on natural alternatives showing that the proper herbs in the proper form are at least as effective as prescription drugs with fewer side effects. The most common drug for BPH is Proscar (finasteride). Some of the adverse side effects associated with finasteride are decreased libido and erectile dysfunction. Natural saw palmetto extract is free of these unwanted effects and is equally effective.
Choosing an Effective Product
The effectiveness of a nutritional product has to do with several factors. The bottom line is that the most effective product is the one that works best for you. Be prepared to try several products to find the best potency and combination.
There are many nutrients that provide prostate support. Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs, Amino Acids and Nutraceuticals are all helpful and the most comprehensive products will provide supports in multiple ways.
Vitamins – Vitamin D, Vitamin E
Minerals – Zinc, Selenium, Copper
Herbs – Saw Palmetto, Nettle Root, Marshmallow Root, Pygeum Bark, Pumpkin Seed Oil, Red Clover, Goldenseal Root, Gravel Root, Green Tea
Amino Acids – Alanine, Glutamic Acid, Glycine
Nutraceuticals – Soy Isoflavones, Quercetin, Swedish Flower Pollen, Phytosterols, Lycopene
The first nutrient and herb to consider is saw palmetto extract. It is the phytosterols in saw palmetto (and other herbs) that are responsible for the beneficial results. It is important to make sure that the product that you use has the therapeutically effective dose. If you don’t know the proper dosage and how to calculate the proper concentration it is very easy to purchase a low potency formula that is less likely to be effective.
In the clinical studies with saw palmetto extract, potencies of 320 mg. per day were used. However this only tell part of the story. The saw palmetto extract was composed of 85-95% sterols resulting in approximately 288 mg. (320 mg. times 90% equals 288 mg.) of sterols daily. Make sure your saw palmetto contains the correct amount of sterols.
This process of analyzing herbal extracts will apply to any standardized herbal product. You want to know whether the product you are purchasing has the right amount of the right compounds.
Search for the best products by trying different formulas. The proper nutrients taken consistently over time will provide long-lasting benefits. Stick with good companies with a history of providing quality nutritional products.
The information provided is nutritional only and is intended to help you develop a nutritional program that can support the functions of the body. The information provided is not intended as medical advice. For medical advice always consult your physician.