HOLISTIC HEALTH NOTEBOOK: Discussing men’s health
Articles on male health usually focus either on the heart or the prostate
gland. It makes me wonder if they have any other organs. I guess the male
species is not interested in their brains, stomachs, or lungs. That’s
probably not true but just to stay in step with everyone else, here is my
pitch on maintaining a healthy prostate gland.
Several years ago, I did a seminar on prostate health to a group of prostate
cancer survivors. We talked about diet (yawn), lifestyle, (yawn), and then I
hit a nerve: beer is really bad for the prostate. They started jeering and
booing! I was afraid for my safety! I could have asked them to sleep on a
bed of nails and get less emotion! So don’t worry: I am not bringing up the
beer topic again.
But we know that lifestyle alters the gene expression in prostate cancer
patients. Researchers tracked 30 men with low-risk prostate cancer. For
three months, they made major lifestyle changes, including lots of fruits,
vegetables, whole grains, legumes and soy products. They also engaged in
moderate amounts of exercise such as walking for 30 minutes a day, and a
daily hour of stress management.
According to a synopsis of the study, "As expected, they lost weight,
lowered their blood pressure and saw other health improvements. But the
researchers found more profound changes when they compared prostate biopsies
taken before and after the lifestyle changes."
After the three months, the men had changes in activity in about 500 genes –
including 48 that were turned on and 453 genes that were turned off." These
simple changes provided profound benefits to the prostate.
Resveratrol, a substance found in grape skins and juice, mulberries, and
peanuts, is a bioflavonoid and plant-based estrogen that mimics the action
of estrogen by binding to estrogen receptors. Resveratrol is helpful in
preventing breast, prostate, and endometrial cancer. Studies on resveratrol
are preliminary; more studies need to be done. But resveratrol may be one
reason why the French and Italians, both heavy consumers of red wine, have a
low incidence of these forms of cancer and heart disease.
Some nutrients needed by the prostate include zinc and the metabolized form
of vitamin B6. Remember a few weeks ago that I did a column on pyruluria, a
genetic condition that results in low levels of zinc and vitamin B6 (and any
nutrient down-stream from B6). If you have that condition, you will
certainly need higher levels of these two nutrients so it may help to get
tested. (A written test to see if you may need to get formally tested can be
found on websites for pyroluria.)
And eat lots of pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds are fairly high in zinc but
have lots of other benefits. Include saw palmetto, pygeum, and other herbs
in your program.
See. I provided good information on improving the health of the prostate and
not once mentioned beer.
Carol is a certified lifestyle educator. She owns the Island Nutrition
Center on Sanibe. She can be reached at 472-4499 or online at