Just for Men

Learn about the lat­est break­throughs in prostate health from a holis­tic doc­tor who spe­cial­izes in it

Better Nutrition - - CONTENTS - /// by Isaac Eliaz, MD

Cut­ting- edge tests and time­honored nat­u­ral reme­dies make a po­tent one- t wo punch when it comes to prostate health.

P ros­tate is­sues are some of the big­gest health con­cerns for men to­day. In 2017, it is es­ti­mated that more than 162,000 men will be di­ag­nosed with prostate can­cer, and 26,000 will die. Other prostate prob­lems can’t be ig­nored: Be­nign prostate hy­per­pla­sia ( BPH) and pro­stati­tis ( prostate infl am­ma­tion) re­sult in pain, dis­com­fort, and in­con­ve­nience, im­pact­ing qual­ity of life. But there is good news. A num­ber of in­te­gra­tive so­lu­tions can sup­port prostate health, iden­tify and re­duce prostate can­cer risks, and even fi ght ag­gres­sive can­cer. More im­por­tantly, life­style fac­tors, in­clud­ing diet, ex­er­cise, and stress re­lief, can re­duce risks of prostate can­cer and sup­port prostate and over­all health.

It’s not just can­cer that aff ects the prostate. BPH, pro­stati­tis, and other prostate is­sues are in­creas­ingly com­mon. Symp­toms, such as pain in the groin area

and diffi cult or fre­quent uri­na­tion, of­ten over­lap— so get­ting the right di­ag­no­sis is crit­i­cal. Some of the tests out­lined be­low can help clar­ify th­ese is­sues. Pro­stati­tis doesn't nec­es­sar­ily in­di­cate can­cer, but it can in­crease the risks by pro­mot­ing infl am­ma­tion, ab­nor­mal cel­lu­lar growth, and other fac­tors.

Clear De­tec­tion

For years, men over age 40 were en­cour­aged to get reg­u­lar prostate specifi c anti­gen ( PSA) tests to screen for prostate can­cer. High PSA lev­els were once thought to in­di­cate prostate can­cer. But large- scale stud­ies now sug­gest that the PSA test isn’t the gold- stan­dard de­tec­tion method we once thought it was. For ex­am­ple, it doesn’t diff er­en­ti­ate be­tween ag­gres­sive and nonag­gres­sive tu­mors. This is an im­por­tant dis­tinc­tion, be­cause many slow- grow­ing prostate can­cers might give a high PSA read­ing, even though they aren’t high- risk tu­mors.

But based on an el­e­vated PSA re­sult, pa­tients of­ten un­dergo in­va­sive pro­ce­dures ( such as biopsy) that dis­turb the sur­round­ing tis­sue. A rare com­pli­ca­tion of prostate biopsy is the “seed­ing” of the biopsy nee­dle path with cells from the biop­sied tu­mor. Fur­ther­more, the PSA test of­ten doesn’t de­tect ag­gres­sive tu­mors early enough.

This doesn’t mean that PSA is use­less. It sim­ply means we need to look at el­e­vated PSA lev­els to­gether with additional in­for­ma­tion to de­ter­mine the best ap­proach for each per­son. Other tests can help.

Galectin-3 : A New Test

Galectin- 3 is a pro­tein pro­duced in the body and is known as an im­por­tant biomarker and driver of many chronic dis­eases. When present at nor­mal lev­els, galectin- 3 reg­u­lates cel­lu­lar growth and cell- to- cell com­mu­ni­ca­tion. How­ever, el­e­vated galectin- 3 lev­els fuel infl am­ma­tion, fi bro­sis, and tu­mor de­vel­op­ment, pro­lif­er­a­tion, and metas­ta­sis, and also sup­press im­mu­nity. And be­cause galectin- 3 ag­gres­sively fu­els chronic infl am­ma­tion, it can serve as an ac­tive marker for pro­stati­tis and BPH.

A study pub­lished in 2009 in The Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Pathol­ogy showed that re­duc­ing lev­els of galectin- 3 in­hib­ited prostate can­cer metas­ta­sis. And a 2013 study in On­co­tar­get re­ported galectin- 3 to be a use­ful test for mea­sur­ing prostate can­cer risk and pro­gres­sion, along­side the PSA test. The re­searchers re­ported that prostate can­cer pa­tients had el­e­vated lev­els of galectin- 3 in the cir­cu­la­tion.

What can you do to pro­mote healthy galectin- 3 ex­pres­sion in the body?

Mod­i­fied Citrus Pectin

Mod­ifi ed citrus pectin ( MCP) is cur­rently gain­ing in­creased recog­ni­tion in the sci­en­tifi c lit­er­a­ture be­cause it is the mostre­searched galectin- 3 blocker, now shown in numer­ous peer- re­viewed stud­ies to bind and block ex­cess galectin- 3. Be­cause of this unique abil­ity, MCP can halt and even re­verse the dev­as­tat­ing dam­age caused by galectin- 3. Im­por­tantly, MCP has also been shown in clin­i­cal stud­ies to benefi t prostate can­cer pa­tients and re­duce PSA. For more in­for­ma­tion about MCP, read New Twist on Health: Mod­ifi ed Citrus Pectin for Can­cer, Heart Dis­ease and More, by health writer and can­cer sur­vivor Karolyn Gazella.

A Proac­tive Ap­proach to Care

A key prin­ci­ple in in­te­gra­tive ap­proaches to prostate health is “max­i­mum di­ag­no­sis, min­i­mum in­ter­ven­tion.” That means we gather as much in­for­ma­tion as pos­si­ble to as­sess a pa­tient’s prostate health, and from there, we start with the least- in­va­sive ap­proaches. From an in­te­gra­tive stand­point, this means adopt­ing habits that re­duce prostate risks. While there is no such thing as 100 per­cent preven­tion, cer­tain foods, sup­ple­ments, and life­style fac­tors can strengthen de­fenses against prostate prob­lems, in­clud­ing can­cer. This proac­tive ap­proach diff ers than the pas­sive, “watch and wait” pro­to­col, be­cause it em­pow­ers pa­tients to take con­trol of their prostate is­sues with so­lu­tions that also sup­port over­all health.

Why Diet Is So Im­por­tant

The fi rst step to­ward pre­vent­ing and treat­ing prostate can­cer is to con­trol diet. Avoid the “Western diet,” high in un­healthy fats, sug­ars, and pro­cessed in­gre­di­ents that pro­mote infl am­ma­tion, dam­age DNA, and fuel numer­ous dis­eases. In­stead, em­pha­size lean and plant- based pro­teins, whole grains, and or­ganic fruits and veg­eta­bles.

Sev­eral stud­ies have linked high- fat di­ets to can­cer pro­gres­sion. A study pub­lished in In­te­gra­tive Can­cer Ther­a­pies showed that men with re­cur­rent prostate can­cer could lower ( or slow down) their PSA lev­els by switch­ing to a plant- based diet.

Fol­low a low- glycemic ( low- su­gar) diet of nutri­ent dense, anti- infl am­ma­tory foods that don’t spike blood su­gar, such as low- starch veg­eta­bles, plant pro­tein, and lots of fi ber. Em­pha­size cruciferous veg­eta­bles, such as broc­coli, kale, caulifl ower, and cab­bage, which have high lev­els of the phy­tonu­tri­ents associated with

prostate can­cer preven­tion. Cruciferous veg­eta­bles also detox­ify can­cer- caus­ing com­pounds from the body and help me­tab­o­lize hor­mones.

Stress Plays a Role in Can­cer

The re­la­tion­ship be­tween stress and can­cer growth is well sup­ported by re­search. For ex­am­ple, a re­cent study in the Jour­nal of Clin­i­cal In­ves­ti­ga­tion found a di­rect link be­tween chronic stress and prostate can­cer pro­gres­sion.

There are a va­ri­ety of non­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal ways to al­le­vi­ate stress, such as yoga, Tai Chi, and med­i­ta­tion. Th­ese mind- body prac­tices have the added ad­van­tage of im­prov­ing im­mu­nity, re­duc­ing infl am­ma­tion, and in­creas­ing over­all health. One re­cent study showed that yoga prac­tice im­proves im­mune cell func­tion at the ge­netic level. Med­i­ta­tion is also shown to im­prove qual­ity of life in pa­tients with prostate and other can­cers.

Ex­er­cise is es­sen­tial in re­duc­ing risks of prostate can­cer. Numer­ous stud­ies have com­pared ac­tiv­ity lev­els with prostate can­cer risk and found a di­rect link. In ad­di­tion to re­duc­ing stress, reg­u­lar ex­er­cise helps bal­ance hor­mones, en­hances im­mu­nity, and boosts vi­tal en­ergy— all crit­i­cal for sup­port­ing prostate health and fi ght­ing prostate can­cer.

Prostate Health Sup­ple­ments

A sup­ple­ment pro­gram for prostate can­cer or other prostate is­sues should em­pha­size in­gre­di­ents that pro­mote prostate health, re­duce infl am­ma­tion, detox­ify the body, bal­ance hor­mones, and pro­vide an­tiox­i­dant sup­port. Such a pro­gram can ad­dress prostate is­sues from mul­ti­ple an­gles while sup­port­ing the over­all health of the pa­tient— a key strat­egy in in­te­gra­tive medicine.

Some of my top rec­om­men­da­tions for prostate health are medic­i­nal mush­rooms, which off er re­mark­able benefi ts on mul­ti­ple lev­els. Medic­i­nal mush­rooms op­ti­mize im­mune func­tion, con­trol infl am­ma­tion, and pro­vide an­tiox­i­dant sup­port. They also detox­ify the body. But most im­por­tantly, mush­rooms have been specifi cally shown to fi ght can­cer, in­clud­ing prostate can­cer. Top va­ri­eties in­clude maitake, mes­ima, reishi, and turkey tail.

Quercetin is another key sup­ple­ment for prostate health. Part of the fl avonoid fam­ily, quercetin is a pow­er­ful an­tiox­i­dant found in fruits, veg­eta­bles, tea, and even red wine. Ap­ples are an ex­cel­lent food source. A num­ber of stud­ies have shown that quercetin in­hibits can­cer cell growth in diff er­ent types of can­cer, in­clud­ing prostate can­cer. There is also re­search show­ing that quercetin can help with pro­stati­tis, per­haps due to its im­mune­sup­port­ing, anti- infl am­ma­tory benefi ts.

A clin­i­cal study pre­sented at the 2013 Amer­i­can So­ci­ety of Clin­i­cal On­col­ogy an­nual meet­ing showed that a com­bi­na­tion of pome­gran­ate, green tea, broc­coli, and turmeric ( in sup­ple­ment form) slowed the rise of PSA in men with prostate can­cer.

The data is im­pres­sive: Numer­ous sup­ple­ments are shown to sup­port prostate health. In my prac­tice, I rec­om­mend a botan­i­cal blend that in­cludes in­gre­di­ents men­tioned above, along with other im­por­tant herbs and nu­tri­ents such as saw pal­metto and sting­ing net­tle.

It's also im­por­tant to take a mul­ti­vi­ta­min daily. Min­er­als such as zinc and mag­ne­sium play a role in main­tain­ing prostate and im­mune health. Look for mul­tis that con­tain a full- spec­trum of min­er­als.

Prostate health is not some­thing to seek out only when symp­toms arise. It should be a way of life. Smart choices such as pack­ing a nu­tri­tious lunch, fol­low­ing a tar­geted sup­ple­ment plan, tak­ing a long walk, or en­joy­ing more time with friends and fam­ily don’t just sup­port prostate health. Th­ese small de­ci­sions have a cu­mu­la­tive im­pact on over­all well- be­ing.

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