Getting personal about the health of your Prostate Gland.
Ok fellas – nothing scary, no examination, just a talk – so relax!
The Prostate gland in men, is about the size and shape of a walnut, but tends to get bigger as you get older (Remember, we’re still just talking about your Prostate Gland!) and over a third of all men over 50 years of age will have some symptoms of prostate enlargement.
By the way – prostate enlargement isn’t caused by cancer and it doesn’t increase your risk of developing prostate cancer and is medically termed ‘Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia‘ or BPH. Medicine generally states that the cause of this growth is unknown.
However ‘unknown’ the cause may be to medicine – when guys follow the Savvy 1-2-3 Philosophy, they often find a decrease in symptoms of poor prostate health and BPH.
The main problems that affect the Prostate are:
- Prostate enlargement (BPH) – An enlarged prostate can put pressure on the urethra, which can affect how you urinate. Signs of an enlarged prostate can include; difficulty starting or stopping urinating, a weak flow of urine, feeling like you’re not able to fully empty your bladder, prolonged dribbling after you’ve finished peeing, needing to pee more frequently or more suddenly, waking up frequently during the night to pee.
- Prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate) – is where the prostate gland becomes inflamed. It’s sometimes caused by a bacterial infection, although more often no infection can be found and it’s not clear why it happened. Unlike prostate enlargement or prostate cancer which usually affect older men – prostatitis can develop in men of all ages. Symptoms of prostatitis can include: pain when urinating, a frequent need to pee, difficulty urinating such as problems starting to pee and even pain when ejaculating.
- Prostate cancer – prostate cancer is the fifth leading cause of death from cancer in men worldwide, with Australia and New Zealand having one of the highest incidence rates according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The condition mainly affects men over 65, although men over 50 are also at risk. The symptoms of prostate cancer can be difficult to distinguish from those of prostate enlargement (see above).
Flaws in Typical Prostate Health Screening
Unfortunately, investigations over the years have discovered serious flaws with the ‘PSA test’ used to diagnose prostate cancer.
The prostate-specific antigen test (PSA test), analyzes your blood for prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a substance produced by your prostate gland. When higher-than-normal levels of PSA are detected, it is believed that cancer is present.
However, the PSA test has been criticised as useless for a number of years now. For example, back in 2004, Stanford University News reported:
“The most commonly used screening tool for detecting prostate cancer – the PSA test – is virtually worthless for predicting men’s risk of contracting the disease, medical school researchers have determined. Stanford scientists studied prostate tissues collected in the 20 years since a high PSA test result became the standard for prostate removal. They concluded that as a screen, the test indicates nothing more than the size of the prostate gland.”
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is now planning on recommending a “D” rating for PSA testing, meaning that – “there is moderate or high certainty that the service has no net benefit or that the harms outweigh the benefits.” A review of studies has shown that the PSA blood test yields “small or no reduction” in prostate cancer deaths.
“The report adds that PSA testing is ‘associated with harms related to subsequent evaluation and treatments.’ … The problem is that many of the cancers that get detected are so small and slow-growing, they’ll never be harmful, and doctors have a difficult time discerning the quick, harmful cancers from the slow, harmless ones.”
Despite the Evidence, Doctors & Patients Cling to the PSA Test
Shannon Brownlee, the author of ‘Overtreated’, wrote an article for Time Magazine on this topic. It seems that many men are responding with outrage at the news that the PSA test will no longer be recommended. Many prostate cancer survivors credit the PSA test with saving their lives.
“The trouble is most men who get treated didn’t have a cancer that needed treating,” Brownlee writes. “So while a given man may believe fervently that early treatment saved his life, there’s a better than even chance that he would have been fine even if his cancer had been left well enough alone.”
We never hear from the men who died from their prostate cancer treatment or biopsy. The mortality rate during or shortly after prostate surgery is estimated to be 1 in 200, according to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. We also don’t hear much from the men who are suffering from incontinence, impotence, or both, the devastatingly common side effects of treatment.
This is probably to be expected. If it was you, how willing would you be to tell the world that you’re now incontinent and impotent as a result of opting to get tested for prostate cancer? These are personal details that few men are willing to share.
For further details on understanding the statistics and risks – the National Cancer Institute site in the US provides some helpful info. One notable item for you to look at is their page and infographic related to the PSA test – essentially highlighting that more men are ‘harmed’ rather than helped.
3 Tips for Optimal Prostate Health & Function
OK men, we’ve come up with a really easy way for you to remember how to look after the health of your Prostate . . .
“Get It Out ~ Get It Up ~ Get It On”
Before you get too carried away, let’s look at what we are referring to and the difference it can make for you!
1. ‘Get It Out’
If it contains potentially-harmful ingredients – ‘GET IT OUT’ of your immediate environment or home!
The ‘IT’ I’m referring to in this section is the level of chemicals, Xeno-oestrogens, Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and potential feminising agents that you are exposed to in your home!
Bisphenol A (BPA) is just one example of a chemical that you could be exposed to in the home that has been proven to affect the Prostate.
A number of animal studies have shown that even at low exposures, BPA affects rat prostates, causing DNA damage and development of precancerous lesions. One study using human prostate cell lines has also shown DNA damage. The notorious endocrine-disrupting compound has also been shown to interfere with prostate cancer treatment in humans!
Then there’s phthalates, parabens, formaldehyde-releasing compounds and many, many others. In fact in the World Health Organisation’s Report on Endocrine Disputing Chemicals – there are more than 800 Chemicals identified as risky for your hormonal system! Prostate cancer risk is just one of the many issues that the ‘WHO’ has identified as a potential threat from exposure,
Action: Clean Up Your Home of Chemicals
Change to safer personal car and home care items – the Savvy Team can help you in the area.
Use glass kitchenware instead of plastic. Reuse old bottles and glass jars for storing food. If you have to use plastic containers, buy BPA-free and avoid those with recycling code #7, which may contain BPA. Since BPA is also common in the linings of canned food, look for cans that say they are BPA-free or choose fresh food over canned.
Action: Clean Up Your Diet
Check out our free resource – The ‘Eat Savvy Diet’ – for a helpful guideline on eating foods lower in chemicals and/or common allergens as well as being higher in nutrition.
2. ‘Get It Up’
Regarding the level of healthy nutrients in your body – ‘GET IT UP’!
“If any aspect of your nutritional bank account runs out early, you are almost certain to become sickened at that time. If we as doctors had looked at nutrition as an insurance against future illness, then we would have been able to keep people well – even during the times of their crisis. Doing simple low-cost things with supplements ahead of illness, minimises the risk of illness and optimises the outcomes for people who take their health seriously.” ~ Dr Mark Donahoe, Sydney.
In the ‘Wellness – It’s NOT That Hard‘ philosophy we discuss the ‘everyday nutrients’ like trace minerals, vitamins, antioxidants etc that your body needs daily for optimum, vibrant health and the prevention of disease . . . we call this our ’90 Nutrients Program’.
But what specifics that are helpful for the Prostate?
Here are 4 Helpful Nutrients for a Healthy Prostate
There’s a lot of research around zinc being helpful for the prostate and low levels seem to lead to BPH and increased prostate cancer risk. Get your trace mineral levels up with a daily mineral drink and include extra zinc by supplementing with a formula for the prostate, or with zinc in other supplements like chelated minerals and multivitamins. A brazil nut or two daily can also help.
Go easy though, any individual metallic mineral that is taken alone (like in the case of a specific zinc only tablet) can upset your mineral balance. This is why we suggest a plant-derived broad-spectrum trace mineral liquid daily or a blended macro-mineral supplement.
Lycopene is a wonderful extract from tomatoes that has a long history of use for prostate health. Renal and Urology News, a resource for doctors – wrote about it here.
“Based on these results, we hypothesize that the consumption of a diet rich in lycopene-containing foods reduces the aggressive potential of prostate cancer by inhibiting the neoangiogenesis that occurs in tumor development,” Dr. Giovannucci’s team reported online ahead of print in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
The article also put forward other benefits for the prostate, yet sadly their conclusion wasn’t that – “men at risk would be wise to supplement their diet” . . . it was instead “more research is needed”. With a natural antioxidant like lycopene – there’s no reason to wait when the evidence of the upside of taking it abounds.
Get your lycopene as part of a prostate formula or within an antioxidant complex. Raw tomatoes are not concentrated enough as a source, however rich tomato-based sauces with cooked and concentrated tomatoes are higher lycopene levels.
Beta-sitosterol is the active ingredient in a phytosterol complex extracted from conifers and pine trees. (often sold under the brand name ‘Phytopin‘)
Beta-sitosterol is used for heart disease and high cholesterol. It is also used for boosting the immune system and for preventing colon cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, allergies, fibromyalgia, asthma, hair loss, bronchitis, migraine headache and even chronic fatigue syndrome. Marathon runners sometimes use beta-sitosterol to reduce pain and swelling after a run.
Beta-sitosterol is great for enlarged prostate / BPH and it is also used for enhancing sexual activity. Just 100mg a day can offer relief for BPH symptoms!
Nettle is a well-studied herb with documented benefits for BPH and the health of the Prostate.
Many other nutrients can be also helpful for the health of the prostate: vitamins, antioxidants, essential fatty acids DHA and EPA in krill or fish oils . . . and these we recommend as part of a daily wellness regime. This is why many men following our wholistic wellness approach experience relief from prostate problems, even before taking anything specific, such as those four nutrients mentioned.
3. ‘Get It On’
If you felt somewhat ‘tricked’ by our ‘prostate health memory jogger’ – ‘Get It Out ~ Get It Up ~ Get It On!’ . . . you’ll be pleased to know that this tip really means what it actually says!
Yep – ‘Get It On’! Yes, REALLY!
Research suggests that frequent ejaculation (ahem – however this may occur) – may have the effect of helping protect the prostate. However, researchers do say it’s too soon to recommend that men change their sexual habits in an attempt to lower their prostate cancer risk.
The studies do however, raise interesting questions about the role of ejaculation and sexual behavior in the development of prostate cancer.
So Men, you know what to do!
Thoughts & Comments? Share below!
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