I try to write articles that are applicable to everyone, but, in the past some have been for the gals, so since I’ve had quite a few men in lately, I’d talk about prostate health.
The prostate is the gland that supplies fluid to the semen and can become swollen as men age. This is due to an increased concentration of dihydroxytestosterone because of reduced breakdown and increased prolactin levels.
This can over-produce prostate cells and ultimately cause swelling.
This can obstruct the neck of the bladder and decrease urination.
The typical symptoms that indicate the bladder is being affected are: hard starting or stopping urination, increased frequency of urination, decreased flow of urination, dribbling after urination and pressure in the bladder area.
If you experience any of these symptoms, the prostate may be swollen and you should be getting a prostate exam and possibly have a PSA done.
Two factors that lead to this imbalance is beer and stress due to their influence on hormonal balance.
Therefore, it is important to keep beer consumption minimal (and possibly drink wine instead) and work on ways to handle stressors more effectively.
Indications that stressors are affecting you may include mood swings, hard falling or staying asleep, irritability and anger, anxiousness/nervousness, decreased energy, lack of motivation/drive and overall decreased sense of well-being/happiness.
Nutrients that help keep the prostate and male hormones in balance are:
• Zinc: This has been shown to reduce the size of the prostate, since it is paramount in many parts of hormone breakdown and metabolism. The highest levels of zinc are in raw seeds – sunflower/sesame/pumpkin/flax and hemp seeds. If you supplement with zinc, it should be combined with copper, since they keep each other in balance.
• Vitamin B6: This has also extremely important for hormone metabolism and liver detoxification. B6 is found in whole grains/eggs/fish/poultry/dried beans and liver.
If buying a supplement, it is essential to use a B6 complex that has all the rest of the B vitamins, since B6 needs the others to absorb well. Remember, always buy capsules or powder. Tablets only absorb about 10 per cent.
• Essential fatty acids: have been shown to significantly improve symptoms, probably due to an underlying deficiency.
EFAs are found in fish/raw seeds as well as flax, hemp, evening primrose and soy oils. I often have men take about 1 tablespoon of flax or hemp oil or make a salad dressing with it.
• Amino acids – glycine/alanine and glutamic acid: These have been shown to relieve symptoms. They are found in whole grains, avocado, poultry, fish, beans, legumes, lamb and buffalo and other red meats.
Keeping equivalent protein intake to carbohydrates (being mostly veggies and fruit) usually keeps these levels stable, however you can buy amino acid powders.
Dr. Brenda Gill is a naturopath in Rossland