The prostate is a walnut sized gland that sits just below the mans bladder. As men get older, it’s common for the prostate to gradually enlarge up to 2-4 times it’s original size, which is often associated to hormonal changes due to ageing.
After the age of 50, a mans testosterone - which is commonly known to men as being responsible for big muscles and libido - naturally starts to decrease, whilst the level of other hormones such as oestrogen increase. Although testosterone levels decrease, some of the testosterone is converted into the far more potent dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and the normal process by which is it broken down, is often inhibited by excess oestrogen. The potent DHT then collects in the prostate which may cause overproduction of prostate cells resulting in an enlarged prostate. Other common factors to affect the prostate are heavy metals such as mercury and aluminium, and xenoestrogens found in plastic containers, petrochemicals and pesticides.
Excessive urination seems to be a common annoyance for many men, with potentially 3-4 awakenings a night to urinate. The potential reason behind the excessive urination is that the tube which takes the urine from the bladder to the outside (the urethra) passes through the prostate, and if the prostate is enlarged this will place pressure on the urethra impeding the flow of urine and triggering the need to urinate more often. The night time urination can also have an affect on our melatonin production (sleep hormone), which is also thought to be protective of the prostate.
Other symptoms of an enlarged prostate is difficulty urinating, poor stream, dribbling and sometimes pain. An enlarged prostate can also trigger urinary infection, bladder stones and kidney damage.
Organic produce: It’s really important to reduce exposure to pesticides and herbicides when focusing on balancing hormones, which is key in prostate support. Therefore organic produce is hugely important, and if possible seasonal produce that hasn’t been flown half way around the world to get here!
Fat: A key factor in prostate health is reducing saturated fat, especially the fat found in red meat, dairy, margarine and all other processed food. On the other hand, increasing healthy fat such as oily fish (salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herring) and extra virgin olive oil is thought to be protective of the prostate in managing inflammation.
Seeds: Seeds such as linseeds which are super supportive of balancing hormones, and pumpkin seeds which are thought to reduce the conversion of testosterone to DHT, are rich in healthy fats and essential prostate friendly nutrients such as zinc and magnesium. A good tip for seeds is to blend 2tbsp pumpkin seeds, 1 tbsp sunflower seeds and 2tbsp linseeds in a blender to form a gritty powder and add 1tbsp a day to smoothies, oats or salads. store this in an airtight container (preferably glass) in the fridge where it will last for a week.
Vegetables: Increasing overall vegetable intake is always important. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussel sprouts contain sulforaphane which is supportive in detoxification of excess hormones, whilst tomatoes, guava, pink grapefruit and watermelon are rich in the carotene lycopene which is the most abundant nutrient stored in the prostate. Vegetables are also rich in fibre which is essential for the digestive system and gut health.
Zinc: The mineral zinc is more abundant in the prostate than any other organ in the body. Zinc inhibits the conversion of testosterone to DHT and a deficiency isn’t uncommon in those with prostate dysfunction.
Saw palmetto: Similar to zinc, saw palmetto supports the reduction of testosterone to DHT. Studies have found saw palmetto alongside nettle has an even greater effect.
Selenium & vitamin C: Both potent antioxidants which have shown to be beneficial in reducing enlarged prostate whilst protecting the prostate against oxidative stress.
Please note that the information contained within this website does not and should not replace medical advice, and is not intended to treat or diagnose. We always recommend you consult with your doctor. Our Nutritional Therapy team is highly trained and we offer one to one Nutritional Therapy Consultations, which are designed to be complementary to any medical treatment from a functional medicine approach, as well as offering a preventative & optimal health focus.