Prostate Health: A Natural Approach
The prostate is a gland found at the base of the male urethra. It secretes nutrients and buffers in an alkaline fluid and is a major constituent of the seminal fluid released from the male urethra during ejaculation. Prostate cancer is a malignant growth that slowly develops within the prostate.
- Every year, nearly 32,000 cases of prostate cancer cases are diagnosed in the UK.
- Prostate cancer causes more than 10,000 deaths in the UK each year.
- Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in UK men - accounting for 1 in 5 male cancers.
- Prostate cancer accounts for around 14% of male deaths from cancer in the UK and is the second most common cause of cancer death in men.
- Survival rates for prostate cancer have been improving for more than 20 years.
AgeThere are no major, known significant risk factors at this time, which makes it almost impossible for practitioner to develop a strategy for prevention. Currently, the strongest known risk factor is age. Men under 50 years of age are at very low risk. The risk factor increases thereafter, peaking between ages 70-80 years.
GeneticsMen with a brother or father with a history of prostate cancer have a two to three times increased risk of developing the disease. The risk appears to be higher if the relative is a brother rather than a father, suggesting that the disease is recessive or linked to the X chromosome. Men whose families have an increased risk of breast cancer are also at higher risk of prostate cancer.
DietThe high rates of prostate cancer found in developed countries have been associated with the Western diet, particularly its high animal fat content.
SymptomsThere are often no specific signs of prostate cancer. However, the following symptoms may be caused by prostate cancer:
- weak or interrupted flow of urine
- frequent urination (especially at night)
- difficulty holding back urine
- inability to urinate
- pain or burning when urinating
- blood in the urine or semen
- nagging pain in the back, hips, or pelvis
Natural Prostate Health
LycopeneLycopene is a natural antioxidant found in tomatoes. Studies have shown that men who ate more than 10 servings of tomato-based foods daily (like cooked tomatoes and tomato sauce), had a 35 percent lower risk of developing prostate cancer, than those who ate the least amount of these foods. Further research showed that men taking 50mg of lycopene daily had significantly higher level of lycopene. In this study, researchers found that high level of lycopene in the blood was associated with low prostate specific antigen, (PSA), levels. High PSA levels in blood are often a sign of prostate cancer.
SeleniumThis is a trace nutrient that is essential for prostate health, and is often deficient in men diagnosed with prostate cancer. Increasing selenium intake, whether through supplements or selenium-rich foods, (e.g., Brazil nuts, mushrooms, tuna, salmon, shrimp), has been shown to reduce prostate-cancer risk.
Other nutritional factors that may inhibit prostate cancer include garlic, soy foods, green tea, vitamin D and vitamin E.