Prostate Health

Maintaining a healthy prostate is important, especially later in life. Learn about natural prostate health options for problems such as frequent urination on the NorthStar blog on prostate health and support.

  1. The Ultimate Prostate Cancer Diet: Can You Prevent Prostate Cancer With Food?

    Diet prostate cancerThe topics are all over your television, news stream, and radio: how can you prevent prostate cancer?

    Is there a prostate cancer diet? What are your risks for prostate cancer?

    If you’re a man – or a woman who loves a man – you’ve probably realized prostate health should be a major focus of overall health.

    There’s a good reason for that.

    Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men, coming in behind skin cancer.

    And it’s the second deadliest cancer in men, as well.

    In fact, 1 in every 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point. Sadly, 1 in every 38 of those men will die from it.

    However, that doesn’t mean that prostate cancer is inherently a death sentence. More than 2.9 million men diagnosed with prostate cancer are still around, living life to its fullest.

    And perhaps the easiest way to prevent prostate cancer, and increase your odds of beating it, is through diet. Simple, healthy, and delicious changes to your diet can help you help your prostate!

    General Prostate Cancer Diet Guidelines

    While there is no official diet for prostate cancer, enough is known about foods that help keep your prostate healthy that there’s no excuse not to follow these basic guidelines.

    And the truth is that a diet for prostate cancer looks and tastes a lot like a heart-healthy diet. So if you’re already working on heart health, you’re already working on a prostate diet, too!

    In general, following these four guidelines will go a long way toward turning your ordinary diet into a prostate cancer diet:

    1. Limit your fat intake. Some studies indicated that men who ate more fat had higher incidences of prostate cancer. While it’s unclear if the two are directly related, it’s a good idea to keep your fat intake moderate, just in case and for overall good health.

    2. When you do eat fats, get more of them from plant sources than from animal sources. In other words, swap out high fat meat and dairy for more nuts, avocado, and olives. Use olive oil instead of butter in cooking. And instead of buttery croutons, add seeds and nuts to your salad for that nice crunch.

    3. Get plenty of fish. The omega-3s found in fatty fish – salmon, herring, and tuna, especially – have been linked to lower rates of prostate cancer. Make them a regular part of your diet and boost prostate health!

    4. Load up on vegetables and fruit. First, the antioxidants in fresh fruits and veggies will help protect against prostate cancer. But also, when you fill up on vegetables, you simply don’t have room for other, less healthy foods.

    Time to Get Specific

    As good as general guidelines can be, sometimes you want specifics, and putting together a diet is definitely one of those times.

    After all, if there are certain foods you should be eating for prostate health, you want to know that. It’s the whole point, right?

    So, let’s cut to the chase. When creating a diet for prostate cancer, be sure to get plenty of these:

    Broccoli. No one is 100% sure yet why cruciferous vegetables protect against prostate cancer, but researchers are sure they do. One theory is that they contain phytochemicals that attack cancer cells but leave the healthy prostate cells alone. Whatever the reason, broccoli and other cruciferous veggies need to play an important role in your cancer diet.

    Coffee. In at least one study, men who drank at least six cups of coffee a day were 60% less likely to develop prostate cancer. So brew a pot and protect your prostate. The best news? Decaf seems to have the same effect, so you don’t even have to worry about getting the jitters.

    Fish. We mentioned fish before, thanks to its high levels of omega-3s. Not a fan of salmon, though? Don’t worry. Other healthy options include mackerel, sardines, and trout.

    Green tea. In between cups of coffee, try to get at least five cups of green tea per day. Research shows green tea is excellent for protecting against many kinds of cancer, including prostate cancer.

    Leafy greens. There’s a reason leafy greens are on every healthy diet list – from the MIND diet for your brain to a prostate cancer diet, leafy greens are some of the healthiest foods you can eat. All vegetables are good, but the power of leafy greens is truly impressive.

    Legumes. Ah, the humble bean. This common food is packed with protein and fiber, making it an excellent substitute for red meat. But even more importantly, beans, peanuts, and lentils are believed to contain certain compounds that may prevent and reduce tumor growth in prostate cancer patients.

    Pomegranate juice. You’ve probably heard that pomegranate is a superfood, and that’s doubly true when it comes to prostate health. First, it helps prevent cancer, thanks to its powerful antioxidants. Then, it also targets prostate cancer cells that have already formed, while leaving the healthy prostate cells alone.

    Soy. Although soy is another substitute for meat, it also belongs in this cancer diet in its own right. There are indications that soy may lower one of the primary markers for prostate cancer! Plus, it works even better when used in conjunction with other prostate cancer fighting foods.

    Tomatoes. If this list wasn’t in alphabetical order, tomatoes would be number one. Because tomatoes and tomato products are one of the most important prostate cancer fighting foods you can eat. The lycopene in tomatoes has been shown in study after study to be a key weapon in the battle against prostate cancer. Not only does lycopene reduce the size of cancer cells, it reduces your chance of ever developing prostate cancer in the first place.

    It’s Not Just About What You SHOULD Eat

    Now you’ve got some general guidelines, as well as very specific suggestions. But a well-rounded diet for prostate cancer needs to avoid some foods as well.

    To optimize your prostate health, it’s time to avoid these foods:

    High calcium diets. While getting enough calcium in your diet is important, be careful not to get too much. Diets high in calcium have been linked to prostate cancer.

    Preserved, pickled, or processed foods. Work fish into your diet, yes – just avoid the pickled herring. Any highly salted, highly processed foods are bad for you on just about every level. So limit them or eliminate them for prostate health and overall health.

    Simple carbohydrates. This can mean sugary foods, but it also means foods that your body treats like sugary foods, such as white bread or pasta. Swap out for whole wheat options and use fresh fruit to tame your sweet tooth. Why? Because men who ate more simple carbohydrates in their diet were 64% more likely to develop prostate cancer than men who didn’t.

    Corn Oil. The omega-6 fatty acids in corn oil can trigger an inflammatory response that leads to the growth of prostate cancer cells. Swap out corn oil for olive oil.

    You can reduce your risk of prostate cancer with diet – and hardly taste the difference. Healthy food doesn’t have to mean bland or tasteless.

    Not when you can use these foods to create your own, personalized and delicious prostate cancer diet.

  2. What’s the best food for prostate health? You’d be surprised…

    Tomatoes are tops for prostates

    Men, I've been telling you for years to eat your tomatoes (especially the cooked variety) to support prostate health and ward off prostate cancer.

    Now a new British study has confirmed what I've been saying all along.

    According to researchers, it appears if you eat over 10 portions of tomatoes a week your prostate cancer risk plummets by an impressive 18 percent.

    The research also confirmed that getting in your recommended five fruits and veggies a day can reduce your risk as well.

    The study, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention looked at the diets and lifestyles of 1,806 men between the ages of 50 and 69 with prostate cancer and compared them to 12,005 cancer-free guys.

    Tomatoes are rich in the cancer-fighting antioxidant lycopene, which is likely why they have such a big impact on prostate-cancer risk. You can easily add more tomatoes into your diet by eating fresh tomatoes, tomato juices and tomatoes sauces.

  3. Prostate health: Don’t become the next victim

    You know what the definition of insanity is, right? It’s doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. And by that definition, all too often the mainstream approach to medicine strays across the line into insanity. There’s no better example of this than its treatment of prostate health and prostate cancer. Let’s face it, no matter how much of a stoic you are, when you hear the word cancer come out of your doctor’s mouth, it’s like someone dropped a bomb on you. Your head starts spinning and alarm bells begin blaring at full blast. Trust me, I get it. But, the problem is, when it comes to prostate cancer, mainstream medicine has hijacked this natural fear response and turned it into a multi-billion-dollar industry. And countless men are paying a price that goes far beyond dollars and cents (hmm, or maybe that ought to be “dollars and sense”?).

    Impotent and in diapers

    As I’ve explained before, you’re far more likely to die WITH prostate cancer than FROM it. Most prostate cancers are incredibly slow growing, and aren’t a threat to your life. Well, that is until you become the next victim of unnecessarily aggressive mainstream therapies. And becoming a victim is far too easy because, let’s face it, once you hear those terrible words “You’ve got cancer,” one of your first coherent thoughts is likely to be, “What can I do to get rid of it?!?” That’s why I’ve never been a fan of yearly PSA testing. Too many hasty and poor decisions follow in its wake. The twin epidemics of over-screening and over-diagnosis have ruined far too many lives. I shudder to think how many men have been left impotent or in diapers because of a slow-growing tumor that they may never have even known existed for the rest of their long and fulfilling lives. Statistically speaking, by the time we hit fifty, half of us will be experiencing some type of prostate health problems. If you’re finding it hard to sleep through the night without a potty run… or if you’ve taken to mapping out all the rest spots before a road trip these days… you might already be in that group. If you’re lucky enough to reach eighty… and as a Guide to Good Health reader I’m sure you will… then it’s practically a done deal that you’ll be sharing your life with an enlarged prostate.

    Support your prostate health with supplements

    But I’ve got great news! You DON’T have to just grimace and bear it while you make yet another mad dash to the can. There IS another way, and it doesn’t involve risky surgeries or sickening rounds of radiation. If you’re not already experiencing prostate health problems, you may be able to head them off at the pass. And if your prostate has begun to make its presence known, you can tackle those annoying symptoms with some super support brought to you courtesy of nature. A mix of just the right herbs and supplements may even assure you of never again missing the ending of a movie, or having to deal with your buddies ribbing when you have to holdup the poker game for yet another bathroom break. Ready to learn the “secret formula” for a healthy and happy prostate? My team at NorthStar Nutritionals helped me create a killer infographic detailing the 10 Best Supplements for Prostate Health that you NEED to know. Click here to find out what they are. (I bet you’ll be surprised by a couple of them.)
  4. What are the 10 best prostate health supplements for 2014? Infographic

    This infographic shows the 10 best prostate health supplements for 2014. Are you getting enough of these prostate supporters in your diet? prostate health supplements infographic
  5. Compound found in grape seed extract kills cancer cells

    One of my favorite fruits is making health headlines again. Or at least its seeds are. A study on grape seed extract for cancer published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer found that an active component in grape seed extract can kill cancer cells on contact. If you’re a long time NorthStar blog or Guide to Guide Health reader you may recall that way back in 2009 I told you about grape seed extract’s ability to clobber cancer cells. That exciting research was done by University of Kansas researchers, and this new study comes to us from the University of Colorado. By far, the most active component in grape seeds is the compound called B2G2. So, not surprisingly, it’s B2G2 that the scientists focused on. They found that the compound blew away prostate cancer cells by causing them to essentially commit suicide. And, unlike sickening mainstream meds, the B2G2 left the healthy cells alone! The researchers say a human clinical trial is in the future.  Unfortunately, they will be using a synthesized version of the compound for that trial. But you can take the natural whole-food approach yourself, starting today, simply by adding more grapes to your diet. Just be sure you are choosing a seeded variety. Or you can try a real grape-seed extract, which can be found both as a stand-alone supplement and as part of a number of comprehensive anti-aging or multivitamin formulas.
  6. How prostate cancer PSA screenings can harm more than help

    Newsflash… hysterically attacking a man’s prostate with a scalpel or damaging radiation is a bad idea. Not only could it leave him impotent, incontinent or both – in many cases it could have zero benefits to boot. A new study, published in the journal Cancer Research, recently confirmed what some of us on this side of the fence have been saying for years. After PSA screening and a prostate cancer diagnosis, watchful waiting… or what I like to call active surveillance… is usually the best choice. And hey, although it may have taken years for them to get the message, it’s such an important one that you’re not going to hear me complain... much. More on that new study in a moment, but first let’s take a look at where the problem really begins… with prostate cancer and PSA screening. In 1994 the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test was approved by the FDA as a screening tool for prostate cancer and it quickly went into widespread use. Eventually, all men over 40 were being encouraged to get a yearly test. And if you were over 50 and not submitting to one every year you were practically labeled irresponsible. “Early detection and early treatment!” became the battle cry, and the PSA was heralded as a lifesaver as we saw a surge in the detection of tumors. But buried underneath all that enthusiasm lurked some troublesome findings that were being overlooked and even ignored.

    Why you may want to pass on the PSA screening

    The PSA test delivers false positives… lots of them. In fact, by some estimates there’s an astounding 80 percent chance that a positive PSA will turn out to be false! That means that every year thousands of men, and their families, are forced to live through the nightmare of believing they have cancer when they don’t. Thousands of men will also be subjected to painful invasive biopsies as a result. And if a guy happens to have a particularly enthusiastic doctor, he could even suffer through a harsh cancer treatment unnecessarily. You see, lots of things can cause a PSA level to fluctuate, like a urinary tract infection for example. Certain drugs can monkey with your numbers too. And you can even have a high PSA and not have cancer or a low PSA and still have the disease. But wait, you haven’t even heard the worst of it yet. Remember earlier when I said more tumors being detected? Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, appearances can be deceiving. Sure lots of tumors are being found, but many of them are the slow-growing harmless kind that when left alone will never cause a lick of trouble. And if it weren’t for the PSA test a lot of guys with these so called “deadly” prostate tumors would live out their whole lives never even knowing they had one.

    Impotent and in diapers

    The truth is that many prostate cancers grow so slowly that many men shouldn’t be treated at all. And the insistence on regular PSA screening  has backfired on us, leading to over diagnosis and, tragically, overtreatment. When most men hear the word cancer—easily the most frightening word in the English language—they readily submit to the harsh treatments. And really, is it any wonder? After all, they’re scared and they just want the cancer out NOW. And if the procedures were harmless that might be fine. But they’re not. They leave approximately 20 to 30 percent of the guys that get them unable to perform in the bedroom and wearing a diaper. Even the mainstream US Preventive Services Taskforce took a stand against PSA tests last year when their own research found that for every 1,000 guys, only zero to one deaths (yes, ZERO) would be prevented by regular screenings over a 10 year period. But in that same decade 100 to 120 of the men would have a false positive test result, and about 50 would suffer serious treatment complications like impotence. This brings us to that new study that I mentioned earlier. Researchers analyzed the data on over 1,200 men diagnosed with prostate cancer and treated with surgery between 1982 and 2004. They found that PSA screening jumped from 42 percent in 1994 to 81 percent in 2000. (Part of that PSA popularity surge I told you about earlier.) But the really telling finding is that the number of late-stage cancers dropped from 19.9 percent in the 1982 to 1993 group, to just 3 percent in the 2000 to 2004 group. That’s an 85 percent drop in stage at diagnosis. But at the same time there was only a moderate decrease in aggressive cancers. And with a little further digging the researchers figured out that the lower percentage of aggressive cancers was deceiving. Screening hadn’t prevented cancers from progressing, but rather the percentage drop was because of an INCREASE in the diagnosis of the low-grade, often harmless tumors that enthusiastic PSA screening programs were turning up. You see, the experts are starting to suspect that a prostate tumor’s aggressiveness is pretty much locked in when it first hits the scene. In other words, low-grade prostate cancers don’t appear to progress to higher grade ones over time, and we’re hysterically hacking away at prostates for no good reason. If you’re diagnosed with prostate cancer, first take a deep breath, remind yourself that most of these tumors never cause trouble, and then work with a doctor skilled in natural medicine to come up with plan for monitoring, and if necessary, treating your tumor.
  7. Poor sleep and prostate cancer risk factors

    Sleep problems may double prostate cancer risk

    There's an old proverb that says a good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book. I couldn't agree more, especially when it comes to sleep and prostate cancer. While everyone is on board with laughter being the best medicine, way too many of us choose to ignore the second half of that wise prescription. And if you're guilty of burning the candle at both ends, you should know it can have devastating consequences for your health, as indicated by the study below on sleep and prostate cancer. As I've explained before, a quality night's sleep is critical for staying healthy. In fact, if you continue dodging the Sandman, lack of sleep could be the first domino in a disastrous fall towards disease, such as an increased risk for prostate cancer. Eventually, sleep problems can even lead to early death. And I wish I could say that I'm being dramatic here, but I'm not.

    Poor sleep means poor health

    Not getting enough shuteye could cause your weight to balloon and send your cholesterol numbers skyrocketing. According to one Uppsala University study last year, a lack of sleep stimulates appetite areas in your brain literally leading to a hungry brain. And let's get real, who amongst us has ever made a good midnight snack decision? Another study, published in The American Journal of Human Biology, concluded that getting less than six hours of sleep a night is linked with a higher body-mass index (BMI), or obesity. But wait, it gets even worse. Poor sleep is also linked to blood-sugar problems and diabetes. A study conducted at the University of Illinois at Chicago uncovered a critical link between how well you sleep and how well you metabolize sugar. Volunteers were twice as likely to have type-2 diabetes if they also had sleep problems. And a study published last year confirmed that not getting to bed on time wreaks havoc with your fat cells. Without enough quality sleep the ability of your fat cells to respond to insulin can drop by as much as 30 percent. Sleep deprivation has even been linked with low sperm counts and shrunken testicles. And now researchers from the University of Iceland in Reykjavik are saying that sleep problems could double a man's risk of prostate cancer, making poor sleep and prostate cancer a dangerous combination.

    Protect your prostate with sleep

    According to the study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, researchers followed 2,102 men ranging in age from 67 to 96, testing the connection between sleep and prostate cancer. Participants were questioned about their sleep habits, including if they took drugs to sleep, had trouble falling asleep, had trouble with waking up in the night, or had trouble getting back to sleep when they woke up prematurely. In the end a full 8.7 percent of the group had severe sleep problems, and another 5.7 were even worse off, reporting very severe sleep troubles. None of the volunteers had prostate cancer when the study began, but five years later 6.4 percent of the group was diagnosed with the disease. After doing some number crunching—and adjusting for age—the researchers found that the guys who had trouble falling sleeping were roughly 60 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer. And those who reported having trouble staying asleep had double the risk of being diagnosed with the cancer. The researchers even adjusted for symptoms of nocturia—the midnight march to the bathroom that often accompanies prostate problems—to be sure that undiagnosed prostate issues weren't responsible for any of the recorded sleep problems, and the results remained the same. One thing's for sure: if you're not already taking your sleep time seriously it's time to change that. If you keep skipping out on quality shuteye, one day you could wake up fat, diabetic, and dealing with a cancer diagnosis. But don't fall for quick-fix sleep drugs. They can come with their own set of problems (sedative drugs could cause your risk of dying to skyrocket by a staggering 450 percent ... click here to get the whole story), and seldom give you the restful quality sleep your body needs anyway. Instead, start by easing up on stimulants like coffee, tea, and soda. If you're particularly sensitive, some supplements like ginseng and B12 can be stimulating. If anxiety is at the center of your sleep problems, I've found 500 mg of magnesium before bedtime sometimes does the trick. And if you're under 40 years old l-tryptophan may help. But if you're over 40, melatonin may be a better option. Work with a doctor skilled in natural medicine to figure out the best choices for you, and before you know it you could be saying hello to the Sandman and goodbye to a skyrocketing prostate-cancer risk.
  8. CoQ10 and omega 3s could lower PSA levels

    It's good to know...

    If you're a guy and you haven't already experienced some prostate problems or worried about having lower PSA levels, you will one day. No, I don't have a crystal ball, but that doesn't prevent me from predicting the future from time to time. Besides, in this case it's an easy prediction since the majority of men have some sort of prostate complaints during their lifetime. But if elevated PSA levels are the issue you're facing, a new study on ways to lower PSA levels published in the British Journal of Nutrition, might help make that a problem in your past. According to the research, the nutrients omega-3...like those found in fish oils...and coenzyme Q10 may both be able to significantly reduce PSA levels. In a randomized, double-blind trial omega-3 users had 30 percent lower PSA levels, and CoQ10 users saw a 33 percent drop in their PSA levels.
  9. Can vitamin E really cause prostate cancer?

    A few weeks ago, you probably came across a news report that warned "vitamin E increases prostate cancer risk." And hopefully, you ignored it. This vitamin E and prostate cancer study is pure nonsense. Published in the October issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, the study was designed to fail. And maybe that's what the researchers wanted all along. Here's what the researchers did to get their lousy results... They recruited 35,000 healthy men. Then, they divided the men into four groups. One group received 400 IU of vitamin E for four years. A second group received 200 mcg of selenium. The third group took both vitamin E and selenium. And the fourth group took a placebo. The researchers stopped the study early, in 2008, because they discovered a slight increase (13 percent) in prostate cancer cases among men taking vitamin E. The team thought this increase might have been due to chance with the men taking vitamin E and prostate cancer developing. So, they continued to follow all the men through July of this year. After some statistical voodoo, the researchers found that men who took vitamin E alone developed 17 percent more cases of prostate cancer. Hmmm...17 percent increased risk. Sounds serious, right? Well, hold on a second. Unless you have a mathematics degree, you might not realize the study reported a "relative risk" of 17 percent. This is far different from an "absolute risk" and far less reliable. So why even use relative risk? Well, I have a hunch. According to the website stats.org (managed by the mathematicians at George Mason University), relative risk "tells you nothing about the actual risk." It's a different kind of ratio altogether. For instance, if the rate of cancer started out as 1 in 100. And then it went up to 2 in 100...that is an increase of 100 percent in "relative" risk. That sounds enormous, doesn't it? To non-statisticians especially, it can make things sound much scarier than they really are. Even the Mayo Clinic says, "Risk seems greater when put in terms of relative risk." (And again, maybe that's what the study's authors intended.) But if you only got your health news from USA TODAY or MSNBC, that's all you would know about the study. "Vitamin E pills raise prostate cancer risk by 17 percent!" the headlines screamed. You wouldn't know that it's a "relative" risk. And that's not all... Here's what else is missing from the mainstream reporting...

    The real facts you need to know about vitamin E

    Over the past five years, I've written about vitamin E 48 times. A few of those times, I even covered studies about vitamin E and prostate cancer. (Remember, the major study from earlier this year that followed 20,000 men with prostate cancer? The researchers found that men with low vitamin E levels in their blood got prostate cancer much more frequently.) Well, in every one of those 48 articles, do you remember what I told you to remember when you take vitamin E? That's right. It's got to be all-natural vitamin E with mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols. This ensures you get the complete spectrum of E vitamins in their natural form. Synthetic vitamin E just doesn't cut it. First of all, it's half as effective. Second of all, I don't trust how it's made. They chemically fuse trimethylhydroquinone (TMHQ) with isophytol to make synthetic E. I wouldn't give it to my dog, much less a patient concerned about prostate cancer prevention. Of course, in the new JAMA study, they gave synthetic vitamin E to the men. (As I said earlier, it's as if they designed the study to fail.) But not one article I read in the mainstream press mentioned this critical fact. You have to look up the actual study to get this information! And even then, most folks wouldn't understand it. On the JAMA website, it says the researchers gave the men 400 IU per day of all rac-a-tocopheryl acetate. This stands for "racemic modification." But only a nutritionist (or a biochemist!) would know that's the synthetic form of the vitamin. So, let's recap...

    Why did it make headlines in the first place?

    In this study, we've got men taking a poorly-absorbed synthetic vitamin to prevent prostate cancer. (Nutritionists don't ever [and I mean EVER] recommend you take this vitamin in its synthetic form. But let's not get picky, I guess.) We've also got a 17 percent increase in RELATIVE risk for prostate cancer. (The study's authors admit the initial modest increase could even have been due to chance. But again, I guess I'm being too picky to expect the mainstream press to mention this or that the ABSOLUTE risk for men taking vitamin E is teeny tiny.) Plus, two other major studies -- cited within the JAMA report -- show no increase in prostate cancer risk for men taking vitamin E. So why was such a big deal made about this study? Why did it even make headlines? Call me jaded, but there's one reason why this study made it into the spotlight...and one reason alone. Fear sells. Plus, each time a bogus study like this makes headlines and strikes fear in the minds of readers, we inch dangerously closer to increased regulation. The average reader doesn't know the difference between absolute and relative risk. They have no idea the study used a synthetic vitamin. So they think, "gee, maybe we should let the government take more control of natural supplements." If this trend continues, I fear one day you'll need a doctor's prescription to pick up a bottle of vitamin C. Won't that make Big Pharma happy!? Stock up now.
  10. New preventative link revealed between vitamin E and prostate cancer

    Researchers have discovered an exciting link between blood levels of vitamin E and prostate cancer. You see, vitamin E helps to reduce oxidative stress and it may even protect against harmful gene mutations that allow prostate cancer cells to grow. In the new study published in the Journal of Nutrition, U.S. researchers measured vitamin E levels in nearly 20,000 men. They found that men with plenty of vitamin E in their blood tended to get prostate cancer less often. On the other hand... Men with the lowest amounts of vitamin E got prostate cancer more frequently. And that's not all... Researchers know that certain genes make men more vulnerable to aggressive types of prostate cancer. In fact, this alone increases a man's risk by two-fold. But in this study, the researchers found that when it comes to vitamin E and prostate cancer – this specific vitamin virtually wiped out this risk!. Men who carried this genotype but had high blood levels of vitamin E were NOT more likely to develop prostate cancer. They were less likely to develop it! So even if you're genetically predisposed to develop prostate cancer, this link between vitamin E and prostate cancer is very promising! There are eight forms of vitamin E: four tocopherols (alpha, beta, gamma, and delta) and four tocotrienols (alpha, beta, gamma, and delta). Strive to find a supplement that contains all eight forms of vitamin E.
  11. Androgen deprivation therapy may increase the risk of colon cancer

    A new study conducted by Swiss researchers found that men treated for prostate cancer might increase their risk of developing colon cancer. Fortunately, that's only a factor if you choose androgen deprivation therapy as treatment, something I've warned you against before.

    Watchful waiting vs. hormone therapy

    When a man is first diagnosed with prostate cancer, many times the oncologist will suggest watchful waiting. And this is a good decision. In most cases, prostate cancer grows slowly. And you're far more likely to die with prostate cancer than from it. That is, unless you follow an aggressive course of treatment called androgen deprivation therapy or ADT. It sounds technical. But it's not.

    Androgens are male hormones. And testosterone is the main male androgen. Men need it for many reasons and sexual function is just one small part. In fact, testosterone is critical in regulating a man's:

    • Weight
    • Blood pressure
    • Blood sugar
    • Heart health
    • Mood
    • Mental sharpness
    • Muscle and bone mass
    • Brain function
    But androgen deprivation therapy aims to reduce androgens in the male body. That's because cutting off a man's testosterone shrinks the prostate and blocks the growth of prostate cancer. There are two basic ways doctors accomplish this feat. (If your doctor suggests either one, run for the hills. I'll explain more about that in a moment.) Your first option is to have your testicles removed. This is called an orchiectomy. Clearly, this is not something that I favor in any way. And thankfully, it's not something most men choose. Your second option is to take a drug called a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonist. This may sound less painful, but the result is just as bad. In fact.... The new Swiss study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, showed that both forms of androgen deprivation therapy may raise your colorectal cancer risk.

    Nothing good comes from two bad choices...

    For the study, Swiss scientists analyzed data on 108,000 men with prostate cancer. All of the men were older than 67 and had been diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1993 and 2002. In addition, all of the men had taken a GnRH antagonist or received an orchiectomy.

    After analyzing the data, researchers found a 30 to 40 percent increase in colorectal cancer risk in these men. So by following androgen deprivation therapy, these men may have traded prostate cancer -- not likely to have killed them -- for a far more deadly form of cancer.

    Now, it's true that orchiectomy is rarely used. Most men just won't go for it...and with good reason. But GnRH antagonists are often prescribed to men who don't want to go under the knife. It's important to remember, though, that these drugs don't cure prostate cancer; they just shrink the tumors.

    Eligard is one kind of GnRH antagonist. And one of the worst, if you ask me. According to the drug company's own clinical trials, men who used Eligard for just two to four weeks saw testosterone levels drop to below the "castrate threshold."

    This means that Eligard--in just two to four weeks--can push your testosterone so low, it's as if you've been castrated! (And, oh yes, it shrinks your prostate gland as well...because you've got no testosterone left in your body.)

    Therefore, the new FDA warning should come as no surprise. Taking a GnRH antagonist may raise your risk of diabetes, heart attack, and stroke. Plus, according to the National Cancer Institute study, we can now add colon cancer to that list of possible outcomes of choosing androgen deprivation therapy.

    Safer options for prostate cancer

    As I said earlier, watchful waiting (or as I like to call it, "active surveillance") is often your best option. According to a 2009 study of nearly 15,000 men with prostate cancer, this tactic clearly had its benefits. In fact, in that study, 94 percent of the men who adopted active surveillance had at least a 10-year-survival rate.

    According to Timothy J. Wilt, MD, this study "reinforces accumulating evidence that the vast majority of men with prostate cancer detected by PSA testing have a very good prognosis and are unlikely to die of their cancer or suffer serious medical consequences from disease spread at 10 or more years, even if not treated with surgery, radiation, or hormone therapy."

    He went on to say, "This study also supports the view that many men are detected and treated who are unlikely to benefit, and thus may undergo harms that exceed benefits."

    In addition, there are plenty steps you can and should take to prevent prostate cancer. First off, take a look back at previous issues of my Guide to Good Health by visiting the blog here. Then just type "prostate" into the search box.

    You'll find plenty of recent articles on the topic of preventing prostate cancer. One of my favorites showed that eating nuts everyday reduced prostate tumor growth by 30 to 40 percent.

    P.S. There's an excellent FREE report called 5 All-Natural Solutions for Banishing Prostate Problems for Good that I recommend every man read. Just click on the link to get your free report and learn how to create a healthy prostate without drugs or surgery.

  12. Vitamin D and cancer: What you need to know

    Over the years, I've talked a lot about vitamin D and cancer. In fact, recent estimates suggest that vitamin D protects against 22 different types of malignancies including breast, colon and prostate cancer. Well, it may be time to add another type of cancer to the list. Two months ago, researchers found that vitamin D also protects you against bladder cancer. For the vitamin D and cancer study, published in the journal Cancer Research, scientists recruited 500 men to take part in the study. Each of them were cancer-free at the beginning of the study. Researchers took blood samples of the men between 1985 and 1988 to check for levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D. This is what vitamin D converts into in the body. Then, they compared men diagnosed with bladder cancer against men who did not have the disease. They found that men with less than 25 nanomoles per liter of 25-hydroxyvitamin D were 73 percent more likely to develop bladder cancer compared to men with at least 50 nanomoles per liter. And though the study was conducted with male smokers, I'm certain they will get the same results with nonsmokers and women. You see, scientists believe vitamin D helps to flush toxins out of your bladder. It also promotes the healthy turnover of cells in the bladder. So even if you're a woman or a nonsmoker, continue taking your vitamin D every day. Go for up to 5,000 IU per day, especially if you live in the northern part of the country.
  13. Study finds link between vitamin E and prostate cancer

    Scientists from Australia found that vitamin E might play a major role hampering the development and re-growth of prostate cancer tumors. For the study, Dr. Patrick Ling and a team of researchers injected mice with prostate cancer cells. Then, they divided the mice into two groups. They fed one group of mice water fortified with a form of vitamin E called gamma-tocotrienol or y-T3. The other group of mice drank regular water. Researchers found that 70 percent of the vitamin E mice never went on to develop prostate cancer tumors, despite being injected with malignant cells. And, yes, the remaining 30 percent did develop prostate cancer. But following surgery, their tumors were far less likely to re-grow or metastasize. On the other hand, tumors formed in 100 percent of the control group of mice not given vitamin E. Those incredible results, though tested on mice, show just how powerful vitamin E really is. According to Dr. Ling, "Currently there is no effective treatment for metastatic prostate cancer, because it grows back after conventional therapies in more than 70 percent of cases. But with [vitamin E3] researchers have found a better way to treat prostate cancer, which has the potential to inhibit recurrence of the disease." Dr. Ling went on to say that chemo, radiation, and hormone therapy fail to cure prostate cancer because they don‘t kill the cancer stem cell responsible for the re-growth of tumors. He also believes that y-T3 will also prove effective in suppressing other types of cancer, including breast, colon, liver and stomach. Dr. Ling and his team do have a clinical trial with men in the works. I‘ll pass on the results as soon as they‘re available. In the meantime, keep up the daily regimen of 400 IU of vitamin E. Choose only 100 percent natural vitamin E that contains mixed tocopherols. This will provide provide balanced antioxidant protection. At the very least, the bottle should say it contains d-alpha or D-alpha. Skip any bottle that says it contains Dl-alpha (note the different "Dl" prefix). This means it‘s a synthetic, cheap imitation of vitamin E. Plus, it probably won‘t contain y-T3.
  14. Benefits of cranberries for men may include better prostate function

    Cranberry juice isn‘t just for women anymore. A new study finds that cranberries also help men improve their prostate and urinary function. For the study, Czech researchers recruited 42 men with lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS). LUTS is a common problem that affects about 40 percent of older men. Symptoms include slow flow, dribbling, hesitancy, and incomplete voiding. The men in the study also had benign prostatic hyperplasia (or BPH), elevated PSA levels, and non-bacterial prostatitis. The researchers wanted to see if taking a cranberry extract would improve urinary function in men with these pre-existing conditions. So they gave half of the men 1,500 mg per day of dried cranberry extract for six months. The other men received a placebo during the same timeframe. According to published research, the men taking the cranberry supplement showed significant improvements in six different areas:
    • Healthier scores on the International Prostate Symptom test
    • Increased urinary flow
    • Decrease in the amount of urine left in bladder after voiding
    • Increase in total volume of urine
    • Reduced PSA levels
    • Overall improvement in quality of life
    In addition, the men taking the cranberry extract reported zero side effects. (That‘s an important factor, when you consider the serious side effects associated with most prescription drugs used to treat BPH.) On the other hand, the men taking the placebo experienced no improvements in urinary or prostate function.

    Seven steps to a healthier prostate

    Last May, I talked about six steps to follow for a healthier prostate. And based on the results of the Czech research, you may want to consider adding a seventh step and take some cranberry extract every day...especially if you‘re over 50 and suffer from BPH or urinary problems. Dried cranberry extract is pretty easy to find. It comes in capsule form. Just make sure to give it some time before you expect to see any results. It may even take six months of steady supplementation before you experience any improvements in urinary flow.
  15. Just say NO to PSA screening

    Lots of men out there think they're taking care of themselves by getting an annual PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test and DRE (digital rectal exam) to screen for prostate cancer. But over the last 10 years, lots of MDs have raised questions about the effectiveness of these tests. Do they really work? Do they save lives or subject men to needless biopsies that can cause sexual impairment and incontinence? You see, lots of men get prostate cancer but don't have a high PSA number. And lots of men who experience spikes in their PSA numbers, don't really have cancer. The DRE is just as unreliable. Well -- a few months back scientists from the Washington University School of Medicine confirmed just as much. Their results -- published in the New England Journal of Medicine -- were so striking, I'm hoping all the urologists out there will finally get their heads out of the sand and throw out their PSA/DRE testing once and for all. WU scientists followed 76,000 men who received annual PSA and DRE testing between 1993 and 2001. (Data came from the US Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial.) The scientists followed up with the men seven years later. And what did they discover? They found that regular screening did turn up more cases of prostate cancer, but it did very little to reduce deaths from prostate cancer. In fact, according to senior study author Christine Berg, M.D., "There are men today who were diagnosed with prostate cancer, who now suffer from the side effects of treatment, and who would never have suffered from ill health or may have never died of the disease in the first place." Wow -- if that's not an unequivocal bashing of regular screening for prostate cancer, I don't know what is! Well -- fellas -- since regular screening isn't very useful, what's my suggestion? Keep up your overall health. Maintain a healthy weight. Go for a clean diet filled with fruits and vegetables. Take your daily multivitamins. And, of course, make sure to get plenty of natural (not synthetic) vitamin A!

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