How Big Is The Problem?
The last statistics that I read stated that 75% of men over the age of 45 experienced symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). I’d certainly call those epidemic proportions. However, as mainline medicine has little in its medicinal armamentarium to relieve this disorder without incurring serious long-term side effects, I felt it an appropriate subject for the newsletter. Of course, once you start taking the medicine for BPH, it’s a “for the rest of your life” commitment, as the condition is considered one of ageing. Keeping BPH under control is a laudable goal, as eventually, the possibilities for the occurrence of prostate cancer loom large.
What Are The Symptoms Of BPH?
The most common symptom of BPH is gradual loss of force behind the urinary stream. This often results in dripping and staining of the underwear. BPH also often results in an inability to delay urination and occasionally interferes with sexual performance. Perhaps the most recognized symptom is an increase in nocturnal urination, anything more than once a night being an important early warning sign. A medical exam and a prostate specific antigen test (PSA) is in order if you are over forty and exhibiting any of these symptoms.
What Causes BPH?
Presently there is no known cause that has gotten medicine’s attention, but pharmaceutically driven medicine isn’t that interested in finding causes anyway. There’s more money in treating symptoms. Interestingly enough, two strong contributing causes immediately come to my mind, probably because of my experience assisting in the treatment of prostate cancers during those years when cancer care was a major part of my practice.
First, The Ingestion Of Female Sex Hormones
The knowledge that estrogens, or phytoestrogens (estrogen mimics) play a considerable role in BPH has been recognized for some time in the alternative/complimentary medical community, and is well documented in the literature.
Research on soy products, a common source of phytoestrogens, demonstrated extremely early sexual development in children as well as estrogen receptor site problems in adults. Breast, ovary, uterus, and prostate tissues have an abundance of estrogen receptor sites and are therefore the most susceptible to the related problems. Some plastic degradation byproducts are also phytoestrogens that most of our population ingests daily from plastic water bottles and the plastic wrap around our foods. Many people still microwave their food in plastic containers, and that’s a huge mistake.
Another huge source of problems is the animal protein we consume. Most beef, pork, fowl, and fish that we get from huge agribusiness sources are fed antibiotics to keep them from infections while on un-natural diets that include immune system weakening steroids to stimulate rapid growth. Estrogens and phytoestrogens are steroids. Interestingly, the advent of epidemic BPH occurred concurrently with the rise of American agribusiness.
- Second, The Inactivation Of Iodine/Iodide
Iodine/iodide is one of the primary preventive minerals in the prevention of breast, ovary, uterine, and prostate cancers as well as BPH. Adequate iodine/iodide in the diet, or by supplementation, will occupy the estrogen receptor sites on these estrogen sensitive tissues and not only reduce risk, but often completely reverse the inflammation resulting in the swelling and tenderness so often referred to as fibrocystic disease. Not only is our Standard American Diet (SAD, an appropriate acronym) deficient in iodine/iodide, chlorination and fluoridation of the drinking water further guarantees a population with an iodine/iodide deficiency. I have covered the simple high school chemistry explanation behind this phenomena in other newsletters.
Obviously, your first step is to eliminate, as much as possible, dietary sources of phytoestrogens and steroid hormone residues.
Changing the dietary intake to farm raised chickens (free range), grass fed and grass finished beef, and fresh caught fish from clean water sources (I’m not a big fan of “the other white meat”) usually shows an almost immediate improvement in the symptoms of BPH. Often, this change alone reduces nocturnal urination from four to six times a night to only once or twice.
An iodine/iodide patch test, entitled Iodine and Fibrocystic Disease, will teach you how to do an inexpensive home test for this critical nutrient. Then, if deficient, adequate supplementation will solve the iodine/iodide part of the problem.
Zinc is the second most important mineral for prostate health right behind iodine/iodide. A good test for the need for supplemental zinc is the presence of white spots on the fingernails. Forty to sixty mg of zinc a day is recommended for the elimination of the white spots. When the spots are gone the zinc supplement can be eliminated.
As inflammation plays a role in BPH, the anti-inflammatory Omega 3 unsaturated fatty acids are an important piece of the treatment puzzle. Your indicator of need for additional Omega 3 intake is dry skin between your ankles and your knees (shins). I have my patients take two Omega 3 supplements a day for two or three weeks, and if the shin skin is still very dry increase the dose by two. If in two or three week the shin skin is still dry, increase the dosage by two again. Some patients require ten or more Omega 3 supplements a day to experience healthy well lubricated skin, and a reduced inflammatory response.
Glandular or protomorphogen prostate is another supplemental approach. The prostate tissue comes from healthy Argentinean calf prostate. These animals are bred for their organs and tissues under careful environmentally controlled circumstances on the clean Argentinean pampas. The concept of “like treats like” goes back to ancient Greece and Hippocrates, the father of medicine. Some rather remarkable results have been experienced on this product at four to twelve tablets a day.
Saw Palmetto (Saw Grass) is an old American Indian remedy that is among the most effective. It has been compared to the most modern drugs in comparative studies, and seems to work as well without the side effects. The proper way to use Saw Palmetto is to start with a sufficient dose to quickly alter the symptom pattern. I suggest starting with eight a day in divided dosage, and as soon as the nocturnal urination is reduced sufficiently, or to one time a night, begin cutting the dosage until the minimum dose is found that maintains that level. I have had a few patients that have required an initial dose of twelve tablets a day before symptom reduction began. Once symptom improvement starts, dosage reduction is usually not far behind.