Prostate Health

Amanda King, ND
Written by Amanda King, ND

The prostate is a small, walnut sized gland. Part of the male reproductive system it is located below the bladder and the urethra passes through it. Its function is to transport and nourish sperm and produce seminal fluid.

As the prostate is largely unnoticed, a healthy prostate is rarely thought about and largely ignored.

It is only when something goes wrong that we pay attention and start to consider what may have caused the problem and how to fix it.

The main complaints that tends to occur are Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) which is an enlarged prostate, Prostatitis (which is usually an acute infection of the prostate), or Prostate Cancer.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)

BPH is the prostate problem mostly found in men over the age of 50 and over 90% of men over 80 years old have BPH. Men with hypertension, obesity, with erectile dysfunction, sedentary lifestyles, with a family history of BPH and who have Type 2 Diabetes are more at risk of BPH. BPH doesn’t mean that the prostate is cancerous. It refers to the enlarging of the prostate gland which then presses on the urethra and can interrupt urine flow due to the narrowing. With this then the bladder wall can get thicker which over time can lead to men not being able to empty the bladder completely of urine.

Photo by Egor Myznik on Unsplash

It is not properly understood why BPH develops however it has been noted that men who do not make dihydrotestosterone, which is a kind of testosterone involved in the development and growth of the prostate in younger men, do not develop BPH.

Symptoms that occur as a result of this process include:

  • Difficulty urinating despite effort
  • Dribbling at the end of urination
  • Nocturia (waking at night to urinate)
  • Sensation that the bladder isn’t emptied
  • Weak stream of urine or several interruptions in the flow
  • Frequent urination
  • Complications can include urinary incontinence
  • Always seek immediate medical attention if you have haematuria (blood in the urine). This can mean there is BPH but it can also indicate more serious conditions that need urgent attention.


There are a number of different kinds of prostatitis. The term refers to inflammation of the prostate gland. Prostatitis is not a cancerous condition.

Chronic prostatitis can herald symptoms that come on suddenly and without warning. The causes of this are usually unknown and they can disappear just as quickly.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Acute bacterial prostatitis is the least common kind of prostatitis. It is marked by difficulty passing using, severe pain around the genitals, lower back and burning during urination. If this happens then contact a medical professional immediately.

Prostate Cancer

In the US prostate cancer is now the second most common cause of cancer deaths in men. If caught early, prostate cancer has a good prognosis and survival is likely however it is often asymptomatic, slow growing and may go undetected for years.


  • Bone pain in the hips, back or chest
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Blood in the urine (Haematuria)
  • Blood in the semen
  • Erectile Dysfunction
  • Weight loss (without trying)
  • Needing to urinate more frequently
  • Weakness or numbness in the legs
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control (due to compression on the spinal cord – less common)

Most prostate cancers are found as a result of screening for PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) levels. Men without prostate cancer usually have PSA levels of under 5ng/ml in their blood. With a PSA level of between 4-10ng/ml men have around a 1 in 4 chance of having prostate cancer. If the PSA level is over 10ng/ml the chances of having prostate cancer is over 50%.

It is important to remember that men may have prostate cancer and have very low levels of PSA, this is an indicator only and not determining.

Supplements that support a healthy prostate:

Saw Palmetto

Used in over 50% of treatment for BPH in men in Italy and over 90% of treatments in Germany. It is used to treat enlarged prostate, improve male pattern baldness and increase libido. It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects.


A powerful anti-oxidant found in the red and pink pigment of fruits and vegetables like tomatoes. Proven to reduce breast and prostate cancer risk and symptoms of those who already have the cancer. Daily intakes of 9-21g have found to be most beneficial.  Lycopenes also reduce the risk of heart disease and improve cardiovascular health. They have also been shown to reduce the experience of nerve pain/neuropathy.

Photo by Alex Ghizila on Unsplash

Food that contains Lycopenes are: (per 100g)

  • Sun dried tomatoes 45.9mg
  • Tomato Puree 21.8mg
  • Watermelon 4.5mg
  • Fresh Tomatoes 3mg
  • Canned Tomatoes 2.7mg
  • Papaya 1.8mg
  • Pink Grapefruit 1.1mg
  • Cooked Sweet red pepper 0.5mg

Pumpkin Seed Oil

Rich in zinc, which is essential for a health prostate, this oil also contains plant chemicals that stop the action of a hormone called dihydrotestosterone. This hormone is thought to be involved in the action of the growth of the prostate. It is particularly useful for the prostate when used in conjunction with Saw Palmetto.


This compound is found in cruciferous vegetables and has great benefits for sexual health (human sex hormone regulation) it is anti-cancer and anti-viral. It has been shown in trials to have preventative effects on prostate cancer and BPH. It causes cancer cells to die (apoptosis) and stops the blood vessels from being created that feed cancer (angiogenesis). DIM is also anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant.

Photo by Shelley Pauls on Unsplash

Foods which contain DIM:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Mustard
  • Greens Brussels
  • Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Turnips
  • Collard Greens
  • Kohlrabi

Beta Sitosterol

Sometimes used to lower cholesterol, Beta Sitosterol is a plant compound which has been proven to improve heart health. It is used to treat enlarge prostate (BPH) and studies have shown that it reduces typical urinary symptoms associated with BPH, probably by its anti-inflammatory action. The effects on cancer in trials have been promising but to date there are no trials on humans, just in a lab.

The trials showed that this compound was anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory.

Main – Photo by Sahand Babali on Unsplash

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