Michael T. Murray, ND
Have you noticed the big advertising and media push for Viagra these days? And how about the ads for all of the other drugs in magazines and on television?
Have you noticed the big advertising and media push for Viagra these days? And how about the ads for all of the other drugs in magazines and on television? It seems that the drug companies aren’t going to quit until every man with a "problem" tries their product.
It’s a shame that men are spending billions of dollars each year on these drugs but are not taking some supplements that, at pennies a day, might actually save their lives.
A great deal of scientific research shows that diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes are almost entirely preventable through diet, lifestyle and proper nutritional supplementation. In particular, there has been a great deal of focus on prostate cancer prevention and nutritional supplements.
One of the most important anticancer nutrients for men is lycopene, a carotene that provides the red colour to tomato products. Recently researchers at Harvard University discovered that of all of the different types of carotenes, only lycopene was clearly linked to protection against prostate cancer. The men who consumed the highest levels of lycopene had an 86 per cent decreased risk of prostate cancer. In a study of patients with existing prostate cancer, lycopene supplementation (30 milligrams per day) was also shown to slow tumour growth, shrink the tumour and lower the level of prostate-specific antigen.
While lycopene has clear benefit, it was found in a test-tube study that lycopene alone was not very effective at stopping prostate cancer tumours from growing. However, adding natural vitamin E resulted in a 90 per cent decrease in cell proliferation. This result implies that lycopene works best (and perhaps only) if vitamin E levels are sufficient. Several studies have shown that vitamin E supplementation prevents prostate cancer.
Supplementation with selenium, which works closely with lycopene and vitamin E, is also critically important in reducing prostate cancer risk. In a double-blind study of 974 men, selenium supplementation alone produced a significant (63 percent) reduction in the development of prostate cancer. Another showed a greater than 50 percent reduction in prostate cancer mortality.
Considerable evidence also indicates that the risk of prostate cancer is reduced with higher intakes of the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA) derived from fish oils. To effectively raise the levels of these oils in the body, I recommend taking three 1,000 mg capsules daily of a high quality wild salmon oil product.
Taking saw palmetto extract may also have some protective effect against prostate cancer, but the real reason for men to take this herbal product is to improve the signs and symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Roughly 90 per cent of men with mild to moderate BPH experience some improvement in symptoms during the first four to six weeks of therapy. All major symptoms of BPH are improved, especially increased nighttime urination (nocturia). The mechanism of action is related to improving the hormonal metabolism within the prostate gland.
Indole-3-carbinol is a compound from broccoli, an antioxidant and a potent stimulator of natural detoxifying enzymes in the body. Studies have shown that increasing the intake of cabbage family vegetables or taking I3C as a dietary supplement significantly increases the conversion of hormones from cancer-producing forms to non-toxic breakdown products. Thus I3C is thought to be especially protective against hormonal cancers such as prostate, breast and cervical cancer. The recommended dosage for I3C is 200 to 400 mg daily.
One of the key ways in which the body gets rid of toxic chemicals as well as hormones such as estrogen is via attaching glucuronic acid to them in the liver and then excreting this complex in the bile. Beta-glucuronidase is a bacterial enzyme that uncouples (breaks) the bond between the excreted compound and glucuronic acid. When beta-glucoronidase breaks the bond, the freed hormone is available to be reabsorbed back into the body instead of being excreted. An elevated beta-glucuronidase activity is associated with an increased risk for various cancers, particularly hormone-dependent cancers such as breast and prostate cancer as well as in colon cancer.
By taking calcium D-glucarate, beta-glucoronidase is inhibited. The body is then better able to get rid of various toxic chemicals and excess hormones that stimulate tumour formation and as a result tumours tend to shrink. The recommended dosage is 450 to 900 mg daily.
Finally, ground flax seed appears to also be quite helpful in not only preventing but treating prostate cancer. In a study conducted at the Duke University Medical Center and Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center involving men with prostate cancer, a low-fat diet (in which fat represented no more than 20 per cent of total calories) supplemented with 30 grams of ground flax seed (roughly two tablespoons) reduced serum testosterone by 15 percent, slowed the growth rate of cancer cells and increased the death rate of cancer cells after only 34 days.