[custom_frame_center shadow=”on”]prostate health[/custom_frame_center] If you are a man over the age of 50 and find urinating difficult or need to urinate too often, you probably have BPH (benign prostatic hypertrophy). That’s a fancy term for a common problem – a prostate gland that is enlarged but not cancerous. Why? Well, it’s all down to design and hormone activity.

While your body is indeed a wondrously designed jigsaw of thousands of components that work in harmony, as you age your hormone activity starts to fade and your organs may become less efficient. In July we highlighted menopausal symptoms in women (Make your menopause a positive experience). Men do not escape the changes brought on by ageing. In their case, the prostate gland is often affected.

What is the prostate gland?

The prostate is a walnut-shaped gland that surrounds the urinary urethra (the tube that carries urine through the penis). As men age, the prostate may become enlarged via hyperplasia – an abnormal increase in cells. In general, the condition is benign and that’s good news. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center,BPH is ‘the most common noncancerous form of cell growth in men’.

[custom_frame_center shadow=”on”]benign prostatic hypertrophy / BPH [/custom_frame_center]
However, as BPH progresses, it can squeeze the urethra, causing a variety of discomforts. Some men experience no physical disruptions at all, but 30 percent of men with BPH have symptoms so severe that they interfere with their lives. Drugs are available to reverse the condition, but according to US chemist and biologist Dr Rudi Moerck, it’s far better to take the natural approach. ‘It’s worthwhile considering this issue far in advance,’ he advises. ‘Although you may be able to reverse the damage, ideally you’ll want to prevent these problems from occurring in the first place. Additionally, you need to be informed of the serious potential side effects of the drugs typically prescribed for an enlarged prostate.’

As testosterone declines with age, it breaks down into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which stimulates the growth of prostate cells. So, should testosterone levels be lifted with drugs? Conventional medicine does not recommend the use of the hormone because regular practitioners believe it can cause cancer. But, according to extensive studies carried out by Harvard-based urologist Dr Abraham Morgentaler, it’s men with low testosterone levels who are at higher risk of developing prostate cancer.

Symptoms of BPH

You’ll know if you have an enlarged prostate if you experience the following symptoms:
Difficulty urinating.
Needing to urinate often.
A hesitation before urine flow starts.
A weak or painful stream.
A feeling that the bladder has not emptied completely.

Increase testosterone naturally

Diet, supplements and lifestyle have a big role to play in keeping testosterone levels stable.

Saw palmetto
Medical literature contains as many as 100 clinical studies on saw palmetto, with evidence suggesting that it hinders the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone. Therefore, men who take saw palmetto such as Flora Force Saw Palmetto will have slightly higher levels of testosterone in their body – and that’s a good thing.

Lycopene
Tests suggest that the caretenoid lycopene hinders prostate growth. Lycopene is also being investigated to prevent prostate cancer. You’ll find it in red fruits such as watermelon, red grapefruit and guavas, and there’s plenty in tomatoes, fresh or processed.

Vitamin K2
Increasing your intake of vitamin K2 may reduce your risk of developing prostate cancer by 35 percent. It’s found in natto (fermented soya beans), hard and soft cheese, egg yolk, butter, chicken meat and livers and beef.

Vitamin D
There’s growing evidence that vitamin D plays a powerful role in lowering the risk of prostate cancer. According to US doctor and natural healthcare practitioner Dr Joseph Mercola, 800-plus scientific studies have confirmed the link between a deficiency of vitamin D and various cancers, including prostate cancer. A simple blood test will reveal your vitamin D levels. To make sure you have enough, expose your skin to natural sunlight on a regular basis or take an oral vitamin D3 supplement (this is best done under the guidance of your healthcare practitioner).

Zinc
Supplementing the diet with zinc for just six weeks raises testosterone levels among men with low readings. Zinc is best taken in foods: meats and shellfish, milk, cheese, beans and yoghurt made from raw milk. Pumpkin seeds are a delicious source of zinc (roast them lightly for a terrific crunchy snack). If you’re a vegetarian, you’ll need to supplement your diet with zinc – stick to a dosage of less than 40 mg a day.

Exercise
Exercise is another important factor for prostate health, especially as you age. Walk briskly for at least 10 to 20 minutes a day. Build strength with several sessions of weights or elastic bands each week. ‘Also, have sex on a regular basis,’ Dr Moerck advises. ‘It involves exercising your prostate.’

Sleep
A lack of sleep affects various hormones and chemicals in your body, and can have a harmful impact on your testosterone. Aim for seven to eight hours a night. If you’re having problems getting good sleep on a regular basis, talk to your doctor.