New Natural Solutions for Prostate Enlargement Part 1

Men, do you have the common problem of prostate enlargement? As a result, you have to urinate frequently during the day or night and may feel like your bladder never empties.
This condition is all too common for men over the age of 45. Medically the conditions is referred to as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH).  It affects approximately 50 percent of men between the ages of 51 and 60, and 90 percent of men at age 85. In other words, most men have to deal with BPH. Fortunately, though there are great natural approaches to reducing your likelihood of having BPH symptoms as well as to reduce symptoms for those already experiencing it.
Be Wary of Drugs and Surgery
Most conventional doctors wait until a man has moderate to severe symptoms before addressing BPH. There are several different medications and surgeries available. Of course they all come with the risk of several potential adverse effects. I recommend my patients follow the natural protocols I developed and avoid drugs and surgeries except for more extreme cases.
Root Causes of BPH
There are a number of reasons why men develop BPH.  Genetics can be a factor but most men do not have BPH due to inherited reasons. Instead, diet, weight, and hormone balance are the key factors that need to be addressed.
The two main hormones implicated in BPH are dihydrotestosterone and estrogen. Prostate gland tissue contains the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, which converts testosterone into DHT. The hormone DHT binds to androgen receptors in the prostate and stimulates growth. Men with BPH have much higher levels of plasma DHT concentration compared to healthy men their age. Furthermore, higher levels of DHT increases the enzymatic activity of 5-alpha-reductase, which may be related to BPH.
Estrogen is another hormone that influences prostate growth. This hormone is a normal part of the male hormonal system, and most of it is produced in fat, brain, bone, and other tissues. The production of estrogen is primarily controlled by the enzyme known as aromatase, which converts the hormone androstenedione (synthesized by the testicles and adrenal glands) into the estrogen known as estradiol.  Aromatase also converts testosterone from fat and muscle cells into estradiol. Increased activity of aromatase seems to be a causative factor in BPH. Men tend to accumulate fat as they age, which leads to increased aromatase activity as well as decreased testosterone and elevated estrogen levels. The relative excess of estrogen in aging men compared to their testosterone (estrogen/androgen ratio) influences the later phases of BPH and prostate cancer.
Eat Prostate Friendly Foods
An increasing number of studies demonstrate a link between diet and BPH. The following are associated with lower risk or improved symptoms of BPH:
  • omega-3 fatty acids (found in foods such as cold-water fish, vegetables, ground flaxseed, and flaxseed oil), which reduce inflammatory compounds that create inflammation related to BPH
  • lignans (found in whole flaxseeds), which promote estrogen removal and may protect against BPH
  • garlic extracts, regular consumption of which has led to improvements in disease parameters in BPH patients
  • phenols (found in cranberry and other dark-colored grapes and berries), which may help with LUTS
Do note that studies are mixed on the effect of alcohol on BPH.
Studies have shown that the risk of BPH is higher from a diet that has:
  • high protein intake from animal sources (but not vegetable sources)
  • high intake of unsaturated fatty acids, which contribute to damaged cell membranes and increased 5-alpha-reductase activity (the conversion of testosterone to DHT, which may fuel prostate growth)
  • high intake of foods rich in saturated fat and high in cholesterol, which can promote inflammation
  • high caloric intake, which can increase abdominal obesity and sympathetic nervous system activity
  • intake of high-glycemic foods such as bread, pasta, and rice that are associated with increased serum insulin and insulin-like growth factor, which may stimulate BPH (no association was found with the intake of high-glycemic fruit)
  • high coffee intake, which stimulates the adrenergic nervous system and smooth muscles of the prostate, which can worsen BPH symptoms
Exercise Helps BPH
There are several studies suggesting that exercise may protect against BPH and urinary symptoms by reducing body size, decreasing sympathetic nervous system activity, and reducing levels of inflammation. In one review of studies, physical activity was strongly associated with reduced nocturia (nighttime urination). Men who are active for one hour or more per week are 34 percent less likely to report severe nocturia compared to men who reported no physical activity. I recommend a minimum of 30 minutes (preferably 60 minutes) moderate daily exercise.
More To Come
I will soon make Part 2 of this article available. It will include the most well studied nutritional supplements and their precise dosing for the treatment of BPH and associated symptoms.
For more information on the diagnosis and holistic treatment of BPH see my new book Healing The Prostate (Hay House). CLICK HERE