Guys, This One's for You--Prostate Health

by Brenda Gill, ND
Source: HANS e-News - May 15, 2011

I try to write articles that are applicable to everyone, but, in the past, some have been for the gals, so, I thought, since I've had quite a few men in lately to my clinic, I'd talk about prostate health.

About the prostate
The prostate is the gland that supplies fluid to the semen and can become swollen as men age. This is due to an increased concentration of the hormone dihydroxytestosterone because of reduced breakdown and increased prolactin (protein hormone) levels. This can overproduce prostate cells and cause swelling, which in turn obstructs the neck of the bladder and decreases urination.

The typical symptoms that indicate the bladder is being affected are:

difficulty starting or stopping urination
increased frequency of urination
decreased flow of urination
dribbling after urination and pressure in the bladder area

If you experience any of these symptoms, the prostate may be swollen and you should be getting a prostate exam and possibly have a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test done.

Watch beer intake and stress levels
Two factors that lead to this imbalance are too much beer and stress, which both influence hormonal balance. Therefore, it is important to keep beer consumption minimal (and possibly drink wine instead) and work on ways to handle stressors more effectively.

Indications that stressors are affecting you may include:

mood swings
difficulty falling or staying asleep
decreased energy
lack of motivation/drive
overall decreased sense of well-being/happiness

Nutrients that help keep the prostate and male hormones in balance
Zinc. This has been shown to reduce the size of the prostate, since it is paramount in many parts of hormone breakdown and metabolism. The highest levels of zinc are in raw seeds such as sunflower, sesame, pumpkin, flax and hemp seeds. If you supplement with zinc, it should be combined with copper, since they keep each other in balance.

Vitamin B6. This has also extremely important for hormone metabolism and liver detoxification. B6 is found in whole grains, eggs, fish, poultry, dried beans and liver. If buying a supplement, it is essential to use a B6 complex that has all the rest of the B vitamins, since B6 needs the others to absorb well. Remember, always buy capsules or powder. Tablets only absorb about 10 percent.

Essential fatty acids (EFAs). These have been shown to significantly improve symptoms, probably due to an underlying deficiency. EFAs are found in fish and raw seeds as well as flax, hemp, evening primrose and soy oils. I often have men take about one tablespoon per day of flax or hemp oil, or you can make a salad dressing with them.

Amino acids - glycine/alanine and glutamic acid. These have been shown to relieve symptoms. They are found in whole grains, avocado, poultry, fish, beans, legumes, lamb and buffalo and other red meats. Keeping equivalent protein intake to carbohydrates (being mostly veggies and fruit) usually keeps these levels stable, however you can buy amino acid powders and liquids.

These guidelines should give you a head start on preventing prostate problems, however, if you are experiencing symptoms, you should consider an appointment.

Brenda Gill, ND, is a naturopathic doctor who treats the cause of problems by rebalancing the body using herbs, supplements, homeopathy and exercise.
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