September is the Prostate Cancer Foundation’s annual awareness month so, in an effort to help us all be more aware of men’s prostate health, we’re sharing some info on this very important topic: What to look for in a healthy prostate, and how to support optimal prostate health.
What is the prostate?
The prostate is a walnut-sized, donut-shaped gland that sits around the urethra - the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the penis. The purpose of this gland is to create the liquid that carries sperm through the penis and also to act as a sort of filter to protect the sperm from bacteria and viruses.
What is cancer?
When it comes down to it, cancer is a cell dysfunction that is usually caused by one or more of these three things; infection, inflammation, and hypertrophy (an increase in volume of tissue or organ due to cell enlargement).
5 Common Prostate Concerns
The following are common signs of prostate enlargement - both benign and malignant. If you experience any of these, a quick trip to the doctor will help to put your mind at ease.
- Frequent urination (usually at night)
- Your urination stream is weak and not much urine is passed
- The feeling of urinary urgency
- Leaking or dribbling - mild incontinence or lack of urine flow control
- The inability to pass urine (urinary retention) - you feel the need to urinate and yet no urine flows when you try.
If you’re worried about any of these signs, visit your doctor and most likely, they will order a blood test called a PSA test. This measures how many immune molecules your body is making for the prostate which gives you a measure of inflammation in the prostate.
How can we avoid or alleviate these signs?
After speaking to your doctor, these are some things you can do at home, in addition to any advice you’ve received medically, that can support the health of our prostates.
Given that prostate issues begin with inflammation, finding ways to reduce inflammation via diet is something all of us can do to support our prostate health. We can do this by:
- Eating a whole food, anti-inflammatory diet (minimising sugar and flour containing gluten). Focusing on consuming oily fish (sardine, salmon) or taking a high quality, high DHA/EPA fish oil (like BePure Three).
- If you have any gut concerns (reflux, loose stool, hard stools, bloating excessive gas) then taking a digestive aid and probiotic (a lot of our body’s inflammation starts in the gut)
- Take a high quality multivitamin like BePure One to make sure you are getting enough key nutrients. Deficiency in vitamin D and selenium have been associated with prostate health risks.
After looking at reducing and preventing inflammation, we can focus on the following lifestyle changes to support prostate health:
Reducing microbial infections: Any bacterial or fungal infection is going to increase our immune response which increases our inflammation levels. We may not think that athletes' feet, gingivitis, or loose stools are affecting you much but these are examples of conditions that are all contributing to low-grade systemic inflammation. To deal with these add to our inflammatory load so we want to reduce even the smallest of infections.
Reduce environmental toxins in your body from food and the likes of household cleaners and skincare. These handy 10 tips to low tox your life are a great place to start! It includes things like reducing toxic ins in the body by buying organic when possible (or growing your own fruits and vegetables!) to reduce herbicide and pesticide intake. Our prostate acts as a filter (which, in turn, protects our sperm) so minimising toxic load can be helpful.
There are many health benefits found from managing our stress, including supporting a healthy prostate. When we overload our bodies and mind with stress it can tend towards becoming chronic and wreak havoc on a lot of our bodily systems related to our prostate health. Including our hormone balance, gut health and immunity.
What nutrients support prostate health?
- Vitamin D: Ideally we want levels between 120nmol and 150 nmol for optimal health. A quick blood test can help you find your levels! Vitamin D is a really important nutrient for cellular differentiation and is a modulator of the immune system. Meaning if we haven’t got enough there’s potential for more ‘rogue’ cells to be created and it increases the chances of both an underactive and overactive immune response.
- Selenium: 200mcg a day for selenium protein manufacture. Selenium is required to make glutathione one of our body’s most important antioxidants. One research study over 10 years showed marked prostate health improvements for the participants taking selenium. The maximum dose of BePure One will achieve your daily selenium needs.
Omega 3 fish oil, rich in EPA/DHA fish oil, like BePure Three, supports reducing inflammation
Turmeric: An age-old anti-inflammatory food. It helps prevent cells from multiplying and induces the ‘death’ of cancer cells.
Clear excess xenoestrogens and oestrogen from the body: EstroClear has the key ingredient DIM as a supplement which helps the liver to help detoxify environmental oestrogens
Beneficial bacteria: Our immune systems are fully integrated with our beneficial bacteria. We should be getting 10-15 servings of probiotics a day to maintain optimal levels of beneficial bacteria. These can come from raw dairy products, fermented vegetables and probiotics like BePure Two.
- Green tea: Studies have shown the introduction of green tea daily had a statistically significant reduction in prostate cancer.
- Want to know more about men’s hormone health in general? This article gives a great overview on the importance their role has in our overall wellness.
- The Everyday Wellness Pack contains a multivitamin, probiotic, omega 3, and, when you subscribe, a free Vit D restore!
There's a lot to know about prostate health, and while this only scratches the surface, knowing what to look for means we can take care of our prostate health, every day.
For more information, if you have any questions on the above or about any other health concerns, give our nutritionists a call at 0800 52 54 52.