This is the second article in a two part series about the prostate gland. In Part 1, we learned what the prostate is, what it does, and the three common disorders that men experience. Now, we’ll take a look at what steps we can take to reduce our likelihood of prostate problems.
The key points from Part 1 were: 1) as men age they are increasingly likely to experience one of three prostate ailments – prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or prostate cancer; 2) the medical community is not sure what causes any of these ailments; and 3) once we have one of these conditions there are a variety of unpleasant symptoms.
However, perhaps there is a cause. Perhaps it is our modern lifestyle; let me explain five factors that play a role. First, many of us are sedentary with limited exercise which increases as we age. This leads to a lack of blood flow and circulation throughout the body, allowing toxins to accumulate, and providing less nourishment through the body. Second, many of our diets do not include all the nutrients required to nourish our body. Nutrient deficiencies, particularly in the prostate gland create favorable conditions for bacteria to grow and infections to develop. Third, the emphasis on constant sexual performance depletes nutrients from our bodies through excessive ejaculation. Each ejaculation requires the production of more sperm, which depletes nutrients that could be utilized elsewhere in the body. Increased sexual activity depletes the prostate gland of enzymes and zinc that sterilize the urethra and protect the gland from bacteria and infection. Fourth, emotional factors such as stress, anxiety, and worry add toxins to the blood. And fifth, prescription drugs also add toxins to the blood. As we age the likelihood of being on more prescription drugs increases. So, what is the impact of all these toxins in the blood? Remember, one of the main functions of the prostate gland is to filter the toxins and metabolic wastes. However, it does not only filter, it also stores.
From my research, I believe it is the toxins and the wastes (from the filtering) that have accumulated over time and why it becomes more prevalent as men age. And, remember the “non-bacterial” prostatitis that has no medical remedy? Well, my research shows that it is bacteria, and these bacteria are trapped inside the small sacs (called acini) that make up the interior of the prostate gland. When the fluid inside these sacs is stagnant or unhealthy, bacteria will grow. The sacs become inflamed and swell and then seal off. As they do this the prostate swells. These bacteria do not get outside of the sacs, so it can not be identified in the urine or semen.
Prostate problems likely come from four factors – genetic, hormonal, dietary, and lifestyle. The good news – we have some influence over three of the four. We can do something. We can change our diet, there are nutritional supplements that can support the prostate, we can increase our exercise, we can reduce our stress, and we can regulate our sexual frequency.
A diet primarily of bad fats, refined and processed foods, minimal fruits and vegetables will lead to nutrient deficiencies. The key nutrients for the prostate are Vitamin B6 (and all the B vitamins) which plays an important role in hormonal metabolism. It reduces the conversion of testosterone into DHT (DHT makes the prostate grow). We get B vitamins from whole grains and healthy animal products. Vitamins C, E, and the mineral selenium are antioxidants which neutralize the excess free radicals that are creating havoc throughout the body. Antioxidants come from fruits and vegetables. The essential fatty acids (Omega 3’s – EPA and DHA) are anti-inflammatory and help to build and maintain healthy cells. Omega 3’s come mainly from cold water fish. Zinc is a trace mineral that is involved in male hormone production, seminal fluid production, and sperm production. It also prevents the formation of DHT. A normal prostate gland contains more zinc that any other organ in the body. Our ability to absorb zinc declines with age. Zinc deficiency is very common today. The best sources of zinc include eggs, meat, organ meats, seafood (especially oysters), and seeds (particularly pumpkin).
The nutritional supplements that have been found to support the prostate gland include saw palmetto and pygeum. Saw palmetto blocks the formation of DHT. Pygeum is an anti-inflammatory.
Exercise is beneficial because it increases blood flow and nerve energy to the surrounding tissues and to the prostate itself. Other helpful ideas for enlarged prostates include Sitz baths (for 30 minutes minimum), and massage. Massage will help with blood flow. There are some specific massage techniques that can help to clean the prostate and reduce swelling. For more information on these techniques you would want to talk to a qualified professional.
Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. He is an expert in the field of Nutrition and Erectile Dysfunction. His office is in Thiensville, WI. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, call (262) 389-9907 or go to www.brwellness.com.