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Cancer of the prostate is one of the common cancers among men. If you are an American man not taking proactive action to protect your prostate health, you have a one in eight chance of receiving a diagnosis in your lifetime. And if you are an African American male, your chances of prostate cancer are greater.
I don’t like to use scare tactics to drive my point home, but I do hope I got your attention! “Common” does not mean “normal” for a healthy male body. Cancer of the prostate is not inevitable for a man, no matter what your age or heritage.
And here is another point I hope you hear me on …There are TONS of things you can do right now to prevent and even heal it!
Men Need to Be Educated About Their Hormones
Before I go any further, I want to dispel a couple of myths.
The first big one is that “hormones are a woman’s problem.” First of all, hormones are not a problem for anyone. They are a natural part of the human body, and we all have them regardless of gender.
Thank God we do, since we would not be able to survive without them. Our hormones are responsible for communication between cells and not just in the reproductive system. Did you know that there are dozens of hormones in your body? Many of them you probably have never heard of. For example, angiotensin and renin are two hormones produced in the kidneys, which are responsible for regulating the adrenal glands and controlling blood pressure in both men and women.
In both men and women, the thyroid is the “head honcho” of the endocrine system. Other glands are involved in both genders as well, including the thymus, the adrenals, the hypothalamus, the pineal gland, and the pituitary. In both men and women, dopamine and serotonin contribute to healing and repairing of internal organs, as well as producing “feel good emotions.” And in both genders, when stress levels rise for long periods of time, that extra cortisol will pump into the veins and cause increased inflammation and disease.
The second myth is that “hormonal imbalance” only affects women. Men can have hormonal imbalance too. In fact, more men do than ever these days, in large part because of exposure to certain kinds of toxins.
I get it (and I’ve done it too). We are taught as men to just “put up or shut up” and “tough it out” when it comes to any discomfort. In the end, however, being ignorant about what is going on in your body can only lead to pain and suffering. This is especially true as we age.
What Exactly Is the Prostate and What Does It Do?
The prostate gland is found only in men. Its key role is the production of prostatic fluid. Prostatic fluid is a protein and enzyme-rich liquid used for healthy sperm function. One of the most important substances within prostatic fluid is an enzyme called “prostate-specific antigen,” or PSA. This probably sounds familiar to you since it is what conventional doctors test when detecting the possibility of prostate cancer.
The prostate is also responsible for regulating the opening and closing of the urethra. The urethra is a long, narrow tube connected to the bladder which runs down the middle of the prostate area. It keeps waste separate from semen during ejaculation and urination.
The prostate itself is only the size of a walnut and is actually made up of dozens of sack-like glands. These sacks are located on the pelvic floor between the rectum and the penis, within the groin area. Just above the prostate is a network of nerves and vessels that regulate the erection mechanisms of the penis.
Most men have had the (rather unpleasant) experience of getting their prostate checked for abnormalities. The area that is checked is called the “peripheral zone.” This is also where most cancers, as well as inflammation of the prostate, occur.
The prostate is vital for reproductive health and plays a key role in fertility in men. Infertility, in general, is a risk factor for prostate cancer as well, according to several studies.
The Testosterone Cycle in Men
While women have ovaries, the uterus, and the mammary glands that are involved in their hormonal balance, men have the testis, the scrotum, and the prostate. It is testosterone as well as the testosterone derivative DHT that are responsible for prostate health in many ways. Testosterone is key for the development of the male anatomy during puberty. It also plays a part in sex drive, sperm production, and bone and muscle strength throughout a man’s life.
Do men have hormonal cycles like women do? The short answer to this question is yes, and it has everything to do with testosterone. While a woman’s “cycle” is calibrated monthly, the most significant cycle a man experiences has to do with what happens with testosterone during a 24 hour period. A man’s testosterone level is highest in the morning. This means that for healthy men, in the morning is when they are sharpest mentally and physically. In the afternoon and towards evening, testosterone levels gradually diminish.
Are Testosterone Levels Connected to Prostate Cancer?
If you read conventional literature about testosterone and prostate cancer, you may get the impression that the real “peril” of testosterone is having too much of it. Most of the cancer risk associated with high testosterone comes from research conducted on men who have used synthetic Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT). In that population, there is a laundry list of side effects, including infertility and prostate cancer.
High testosterone is actually not as common amongst western men as is low testosterone. In fact, according to statistics gathered by Boston University, 4 to 5 million men in the United States have severely low testosterone levels, also known as Androgen Deficiency or Hypogonadism. One quarter of men older than 70 also have this condition.
Most natural health practitioners agree that some lowering of testosterone is normal as men age. Severely low testosterone, however, should be a concern for anyone. Hypogonadism is connected to other factors for disease such as smoking cigarettes or marijuana, bad diet, chronic stress, increased alcohol consumption, and a sedentary lifestyle.
Signs of low testosterone include reduced libido, low energy/fatigue, reducing muscle mass, reduced bone density, and erectile dysfunction.
What About Prostate Enlargement?
Enlargement or inflammation of the prostate, also known as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), affects 50 percent of U.S. men between the ages of 51 and 60. About 90% of men older than 80 have BPH, according to 2010 statistics put out by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Conventional medicine states that the prostate stays roughly the same size from puberty until a man reaches his early fifties. After that, it is common for it to slowly begin to enlarge as testosterone levels drop by 1 -2 % each year. But could inflammation also be related to lifestyle and diet? Remember. just because something is “common” does not mean it is “normal!”
There is a connection between inflammation/enlargement of the prostate and the development of prostate cancers. The prostate acts as a filtering system in a man’s reproductive system. It is also responsible for filtering out impurities from the semen before ejaculation. High-quality sperm (i.e., sperm that has little “impurities” in it) is going to ensure that a strong, healthy baby develops as a result. What a miracle the human body is!
Mechanisms within the prostate recognize impurities and do not allow them to pass through. This does not mean, however, that they do not stay inside a man’s body. Signs that a man’s prostate is inflamed can be frequent urination, incontinence (dribbling or total loss of control), inability to empty the bladder completely, or the inability to urinate in any way. As the prostate enlarges, it pushes up against the urethra and cuts off the flow. Men with prostate enlargement may also experience lack of libido, more frequent bladder infections, and more anxiety/depression.
Like hypogonadism, if you are experiencing any of the symptoms of prostate inflammation, it is time to make some changes to your diet and lifestyle and lower your risk of prostate cancer!
Xenoestrogens: Low Testosterone Levels, Prostate Enlargement, and Cancer
Xenoestrogens are chemicals found in dozens of sources that most humans are exposed to every day, including processed foods, sundry products, tap water, plastics, and in the air. Metalloestrogens found in everyday products include mercury, aluminum, and lead. Xenoestrogens and metalloestrogens mimic naturally-occurring estradiol (E2) in the bodies of both men and women. Estradiol is the aggressive form of estrogen. Too much of it, especially in the form of xenoestrogen, is linked to reproductive cancers.
A 2005 investigation conducted at the University of Cincinnati showed that BPA can activate mutant cells, causing them to proliferate and spread rapidly. BPA is used in plastic water bottles but can also be found in commercial foods, electric wiring, epoxy resins, electronics, store receipts, composite woods, and eyeglasses.
Because of its filtering mechanisms, a man’s prostate can be a storehouse for large amounts of xenoestrogens and metalloestrogens. Before cancer ever develops, a man with a large xenoestrogenic load may experience low testosterone levels, since too many of these chemicals in the body can lead to an imbalance in the estrogen-testosterone ratio.
Halide Toxins and Prostate Cancer
You may have heard about hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s as “women’s problems” which don’t affect men. This is not correct.
While it is true that women are about five times more likely to get hypothyroidism, men are equally exposed to the dangerous chemicals that can lead to it. If you are committed to living a healthy, cancer-free life, then thyroid health is something you are going to want to stay on top of throughout your life.
The main halide toxins include fluoride, bromide, chlorine, and perchlorate. Halide toxins are found in tap water, iodized salt, dental products, household cleaners, and swimming pools/jacuzzis, just to name a few.
Perchlorate is a halide toxin that is not as well-known as the others, but pretty much everyone has some of it in their system. It comes from the aerospace and military industry and is a common pollutant connected to airplanes. It can be found in both the water and the air in most major regions.
The main harm that halide toxins do is to your thyroid since halides take up space in iodine cellular receptor sites throughout the body. Iodine is the “food” for the thyroid and also helps to nourish other areas, including the testicles, the prostate, the stomach, the brain, the salivary glands, and the breast area (yes, even in men, iodine is needed here). Iodine also helps the immune system as a powerful antifungal and antioxidant. It strengthens detoxification pathways, assists the brain, regulates mood, and helps keep bones and teeth strong in both women and men.
The National Thyroid Association states that about 12 percent of the U.S. population will experience some kind of thyroid condition in their lifetime. Currently, about 20 million people have hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s, or another thyroid-related condition. Most do not even know that they have these conditions. Some of the symptoms may include:
- fatigue/low energy
- brain fog and mood swings
- hair loss
- dry skin/skin rashes
- cold sensitivity
- low immunity or autoimmune conditions
- unexplained weight swings (either gaining or losing)
- heart palpitations
- gut issues
- thyroid and reproductive system cancers
For men, other symptoms are low sperm count, erectile dysfunction, and loss of muscle mass.
Thyroid imbalance and low iodine levels are connected to a higher risk of prostate cancer, according to a 2007 University of British Columbia study. Low iodine levels, in particular, throw off T3 and T4 thyroid hormone regulation, and this can affect the way a man processes and produces Sex Hormone-Binging Globulin (SHBG). Low SHBG has been linked to testosterone imbalance and prostate cancer.
Okay, I’m Convinced! What Do I Do To Lower My Risk of Prostate Cancer (or Heal It Naturally If I Have It)?
Men, listen up! If you are experiencing any of the signs of low testosterone or prostate enlargement, why not take proactive action NOW to lower your risk of prostate cancer? The following lifestyle and dietary changes can also help you boost your immunity, lower inflammation, and lower your risk of disease in general:
1 | Reduce Toxic Exposure
The two types of chemicals I mentioned above—xenoestrogens and halides—are definitely the ones to watch out for when it comes to prostate health. There are others that can do a lot of damage as well, including pesticides on commercial produce and hormone additives in commercial meat and dairy. Research out of the University of Oxford in England found that eating “large amounts” of meat and dairy raised the levels of Insulin-like Growth Factor -1 (IGF-1) in men. High levels of IG-1 are linked to prostate cancer growth.
The main takeaway when it comes to toxic exposure is to stay away from them! That may sound like a simple task, but it can also be overwhelming. What I suggest is to take it slow. Start with one product in your home and make a commitment to switch to safer options as soon as that product runs out. Remember that choosing safer options for household products, sundry products, and foods is a healthy habit you will keep for a lifetime. You can make good choices at the grocery store by checking out the Environmental Working Group’s Healthy Living App.
Detoxification of these substances is also important. The specifics for each one may be different, but all toxins can be moved along and out of the body by putting into place some simple actions.
First of all, you can help your own detoxification pathways by supporting your liver, staying hydrated, and using natural detoxification modalities like an infrared sauna. Chlorella, bentonite clay, and activated charcoal have all been shown to have a chelating and binding effect for heavy metals in particular. Green, leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and cilantro all help your detox pathways in general and can detoxify heavy metals as well.
Finally, be sure to get key tests done to determine your toxic load. A basic iodine loading test (with an added halide toxicity panel) or a heavy metal test can provide good information. So can getting a simple panel to check your hormone levels, especially your ratio of testosterone to estrogen. Testing for these substances is easy, inexpensive, and can be done at home in many cases.
2 | Eat for Prostate Health
Eating for prostate health means eating an anti-inflammatory diet that is as organic as possible and free from GMO (genetically modified) foods, pesticides, preservatives, additives, and artificial flavorings. It means opting for whole foods instead of take-out and making sure your plate contains the “rainbow” of colorful, organic vegetables.
Eating for prostate health also means keeping carbs and sugar low. After all, sugar is cancer’s #1 favorite food. Cancer cells, on average, have many more times the cellular receptor sites for glucose as healthy cells do.
Finally, eating for prostate health means focusing on ”aromatase inhibiting” foods too. What does this mean? Aromatase is an enzyme that is found in several locations in the body, including the fats cells, the adrenal glands, and several areas within the reproductive systems of both men and women. Aromatase is only found in estrogen-producing cells. Its job is estrogen conversion. When levels of aromatase are high, there will be more conversion of male sex hormones to estrogen.
Some foods can block this conversion. They are called “aromatase inhibitors.” Examples of aromatase-inhibiting foods are olives, grass-fed beef, organic chicken, garlic, onions, most raw nuts and seeds, and avocados. Olive oil and coconut oil are aromatase inhibitors that also provide omega 3 fatty acids, which can cool inflammation and help heal the gut. Olive oil contains Oleocanthal, a phytonutrient that has been shown in many studies to target and destroy cancer cells.
Some vegetables from the cruciferous family are also aromatase inhibitors. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts are also cancer-inhibitors as well since they contain the phytonutrient sulforaphane that has been known to target cancer stem cells.
Eating for prostate health means eating for gut health too. This is because the majority of immune system cells are in the upper GI tract. You can help your digestive system first and foremost by simply eating slowly. Chewing is the first step in digestion.
Finally, timing is also important for healthy eating. Many people focused on health follow a 14-16 hour fasting/ 8-12 hour feasting schedule. This is known as “intermittent fasting(IF).” Several studies have hypothesized that IF can have a profound effect on the detoxification system since it can stimulate autophagy, or “cell self-eating” (also known as cell recycling).
3 | Move Your Body!
A sedentary lifestyle puts a man at higher risk for prostate cancer, according to a 2014 study put together by the NIH and the AARP. The antidote to this risk factor is easy. Move your body!
The best exercise schedule for men combines weight training to keep muscle mass up and intense but short (no more than 30 minutes) periods of aerobic exercise, such as treadmill, jump rope, or fast walking.
At the very least, however, be sure to follow the NIH guidelines of 30 minutes of brisk walking five times a week and take several breaks to stretch and move throughout the day.
According to Dr. James A. Levine, author of the book Get Up: Why Your Chair is Killing You and What You Can Do About It and inventor of the first treadmill desk, “For every hour you sit…, your life expectancy decreases by 22 minutes (quoting David Duncan).”
4 | Reduce Stress and Heal Trauma
Chronic stress can wreak havoc on the immune system, the gut, and the entire body. Chronic stress pumps in excess cortisol, drains the adrenals, creates imbalance in the metabolic system and gut, acidifies, and creates high levels of systemic inflammation. A study by Carnegie Mellon University found that chronic stress is directly linked to irregular inflammatory response mechanisms.
While stress and unresolved trauma can lead to cancer proliferation, taking the time to decompress can wake up the mechanisms for healing. The “relaxation response” is the opposite of the stress response. It is when your parasympathetic nervous system is calmed and cortisol levels go down. Studies have shown that calming stress can boost the immune system, lower inflammation, and even increase the production of Natural Killer cells. NK cells hunt down cancer cells (as well as other pathogens) and destroy them.
There are dozens of modalities out there for lowering stress. Meditation and prayer are definitely two that have solid research behind them. A modality called Emotional Freedom Technique is effective as well. One research team at Akamai University in Hilo, Hawaii, found that EFT can positively affect the body at the genetic level. After just one hour of intense tapping, approximately 72 genes related to inflammatory responses, brain health, and immunity can be positively regulated.
Finally, exercise can also be a great stress reliever, especially for men. Pumping iron, getting on the treadmill, or even taking a simple walk (ideally in a natural environment) can be great activities to calm stress by “letting off some steam.” Lowering stress also has the added advantage for many people of helping a person sleep better as well.
5 | Use Key Substances
Some substances that studies have indicated can strengthen and heal the prostate include:
Extra iodine has been shown to help not only the thyroid but the prostate as well. In a 2007 follow-up to the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, researchers compared Japanese men and American men. They found that increased iodine consumption from seafood and sea kelp in the Japanese men was responsible for lower overall incidence of prostate cancer. Iodine has also been linked to lowering inflammation and the severity of BPH.
The best kind of iodine is going to absorb safely in your body. In my opinion, this is called atomic, or nascent, iodine.
Vitamins D3 and K2.
Almost all reproductive cancers are affected by low vitamin D, including prostate cancer. Vitamin D is actually a steroid hormone and a vital player in dozens of mechanisms, not only for the reproductive system but for the entire body. A 2003 study put forth by Boston University School of Medicine found that D supplementation led to cancer cell apoptosis (cancer cell death) and decreased metastasis.
Adult men should maintain a minimum level of 60 ng/ml and up 100 ng/ml if they have cancer, according to natural health experts. Vitamin D should be in the form of D3 and taken in conjunction with the D3 metabolizing vitamin K2. A 2015 report for the journal Medical Hypothesis called vitamin K “the missing link to prostate health” in part because K2 has the ability to detoxify the prostate directly.
Likewise, zinc is another key substance for prostate health because it is key for the production of testosterone. Zinc is also important for the immune system and helps enzymes function properly. Studies have found that prostate cell multiplication is inhibited with zinc supplementation.
Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP).
High Prostate-Specific Antigen and rapid “doubling time” are often used as markers in prostate cancer diagnosis and determining morbidity. In a small yet impressive 2003 clinical trial in California, men with prostate cancer who took MCP were able to significantly lengthen PSA doubling time and greatly improved cancer tumor markers, even after conventional treatments.
A 2005 report published in the journal Cancer Research is just one of many investigations to discover that the main cancer-fighting phytonutrient in Milk Thistle, silymarin, contains powerful antiproliferative characteristics against prostate cancer.
A 2020 Belgium trial gave 137 men at risk of prostate cancer a fermented soy product. They found that the product had “a significant PSA modulatory effect” after 6 months of use. Studies on breast cancer in women have produced similar results.
Phytoestrogens derived from non-GMO, organically-produced fermented soy as well as other non-GMO whole mildly phytoestrogenic foods (such as flax) can replace aggressive estradiol with milder estrogens. This replacement is cancer-protective.
There are actually many other natural substances that you can consider for your prostate cancer-healing and prevention toolbox as well. Among them are organic beets, frankincense, matcha green tea, cranberry, and the essential mineral magnesium.
6 | Be Aware of Genetic Dispositions and Mutations
Last but not least, it is important for any man who is concerned about prostate cancer to know their genetics. Similar to women and breast cancer risk, men who are the most at risk of prostate cancer will have the BRCA1 and BRCA gene mutations. In addition, some men may have genetically-based issues with a complicated metabolic process called methylation that can raise their prostate cancer risk.
Genetics to not spell destiny! In order for genetic mutations to express themselves and turn into cancer, they must have epigenetic catalysts, or external influences, in order to do so. Epigenetic factors, such as xenoestrogens, halides, a sedentary lifestyle, bad diet, or chronic stress, are the “fuel” added to a genetic mutation for the “fire” of cancer to take hold. This is especially true for methylation issues. Without epigenetic catalysts for disease, the vast majority of genetic mutations never need to see the light of day.
Some Things to Consider About Conventional Tests for Prostate Cancer
I am not here to convince you not to follow conventional guidelines for prostate cancer testing. I would like you to know, however, that there are some risks to these tests.
First of all, you should know that the PSA is not a 100% accurate testing mechanism for prostate cancer by any means. Ultimately, the PSA is testing for inflammation in the prostate area, which can be caused by cancer but also by a variety of other conditions (some of which we have mentioned in this article). PSA testing alone should never be the only determiner for a course of action. Some consumer advocates also recommend getting an annual digital rectal exam as well, or in place of, the PSA test.
Another concern has to do with the biopsy once a man has been “flagged” as possibly having cancer. Any kind of biopsy to check for cancer comes with risks, and prostate cancer is no exception. This is because a biopsy involves poking a needle into the prostate area up to 30 times. If cancer is present, each “aspiration” opens up pathways for cancer to metastasize. It can also introduce pathogenic material into the area that can cause infection.
Some question whether the information gathered by a biopsy would be worth the risks. Risks.
“The invasiveness of the biopsy is amazing. Yet, it doesn’t teach them anything that you can’t get elsewhere [through other means], with the exception of a Gleason score,” states award-winning filmmaker and producer Peter Starr. Starr is a prostate cancer overcomer and the producer of the documentary Surviving Prostate Cancer Without Surgery, Drugs, or Radiation.
As he explains in an interview with Dr. Joseph Mercola in 2015, in Europe no treatment is usually required with a Gleason score of 6 or lower other than “wait and see” and implementing lifestyle changes. This is different in the US. For a score of 7, some doctors may put the pressure on a man to go into surgery within days, according to Starr.
You Are in Control of Your Own Journey
The good news is that the 5-year survival rate for U.S. men who are diagnosed early for prostate cancer is almost 100%, according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation. And if you have not been diagnosed yet, then the really good news is that the tips mentioned above can help you never get it in the first place.
Who is the commander of the ship that is your body? Not your doctor, not your family members (as well-intentioned as they may be), not your boss, thank goodness! Just you and your Creator.
Remember, that your health journey is just that…your journey. You get to choose each step you take along the way, whether you are dealing with a cancer diagnosis or wanting to prevent it. Information is the first step. I hope that this article has given you enough of it for you to chart your own amazing course down the river of your own good health!
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