Protect Your Prostate

The first signs that all is not well with the prostate are usually so slight they can easily be overlooked. No real discomfort, just a little extra pressure needed to get the flow of urine started and a little more time to empty the bladder.

As the ailment progresses, however, the patient finds it more and more difficult to start and control the flow. He may experience pain in the prostate region just before and during urination. There may be a sensation of fullness in the prostate area, mimicking the need to both urinate and to defecate and prompting frequent but futile trips to the bathroom.

All this is the result of an enlarged prostate exerting pressure on the urethra. The enlargement represents the attempt of the body to compensate for diminishing productivity by growing more prostate tissue.

If the conditions worsens it becomes more and more difficult to empty the bladder completely. Some urine tends to remain in the part of the urethra between the base of the bladder and the prostate. That part can actually enlarge into a sort of pouch. Urine trapped there decomposes and can cause infections affecting the whole area, the prostate included.

During a bout of acute infection, urination and ejaculation tend to be painful and blood may appear both in the urine and in the seminal fluid. The enlarged prostate may constrict the urethra so severely that the bladder empties with the great difficulty, and incompletely or not at all. Urine starts to back up towards the kidneys and the risk of uremic poisoning of the whole system arises.

What is the Cause?

It is highly probable that prostate trouble is a degenerative disease. Though all but taken for granted in aging men today, it is really a relatively recent problem. As little as 100 years ago prostate problems were rarely mentioned in medical literature. That would suggest that, like a number of other common degenerative diseases, prostate troubles are due to changes in lifestyle that have occurred in the past 100 years.

The most significant of these changes has been the shift away from fresh and natural food to highly refined and processed food and the consequent loss of important nutrients, especially those important for a health prostate. These include the B vitamins, vitamin E and zinc (lost in the milling of our grains); vitamin F or essential fatty acids (destroyed in the processing of our vegetable oils); and magnesium.

What is the Cure?

Orthodox medicine is more concerned with treating symptoms of illness than finding and eliminating the cause. It relies largely on three therapeutic procedures in the treatment of prostatitis: massage, drugs and surgery.

The unorthodox approach relies on improved nutrition.

The prostate patient should adopt a balanced diet of whole, natural food that has not been denatured by refining or excessive processing. The importance of whole food cannot be overemphasized. The body obtains the nutrients (known and unknown) from food to both maintain itself and, when something goes wrong, to repair itself. Food is still our best medicine for what ails us.

There are a few natural foods that deserve to be especially recommended for prostate health. One of them is pumpkin seeds. I pointed out that the root of the prostate problem is an enlargement of the gland. The most probable single reason for that enlargement is that, as the aging gland's hormone production declines, the body tries to compensate for it by growing additional gland tissue. Pumpkin seeds have been shown to contain traces of the hormones normally produced by the prostate. If consumed regularly they help compensate for the deficiency and in doing so reduce the need for additional growth of glandular tissue. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of two other nutrients vital to prostate health: zinc - a trace mineral - and vitamin F.

A second food of special interest to the prostate patient is flower pollen. Like pumpkin seeds, pollen has been shown to contain traces of hormones produced by, and vital to, a healthy prostate. But pollen is also rich in essential fatty acids and in certain minerals, two of which are the prostate nutrients: zinc and magnesium. Pollen has shown to be effective in both reducing benign prostate enlargement and in the treatment of acute prostatitis.

Good vegetable oil is another food the prostate patient should be sure to incorporate into his diet. That is cold -pressed oil that has not been refined or hydrogenated. The essential fatty acids (EFAs) are intact in oil that has not been tampered with. Pumpkin seeds and pollen are both good sources of EFA, but are not likely to be eaten in sufficient quantities. A wholesome diet should supply one to three tablespoons of fresh, unrefined flax oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, sesame seed oil, soybean oil, peanut oil and pumpkin seed oil. I make my own blend of several of them on the assumption that a low supply of essential fatty acids in one oil will be compensated for by a higher supply in another. These oils can be used in salads or stirred into hot breakfast cereal or other food after cooking.

Zinc is found in all body tissue, particularly hair, skin, fingernails, bones, the nervous system and the prostate. It is higher in the prostate than anywhere else. A good many studies have indicated that adequate supplies of zinc are vital for prostate health. The following foods are good sources of zinc: brewer's yeast, liver, leafy greens, oysters, nuts and other seeds such as lentils, peas and beans - and, of course, pumpkin seeds.

However, since it may be difficult to get sufficient nutrient from food, I recommended the following daily regime of supplementation: vitamin A (25,000 IU); vitamin E (200 to 400 IU); magnesium (400 to 600 IU); zinc gluconate (20 to 50 mg); and a generous supply of vitamin C (several thousand milligrams).

In addition to the above strategies I recommend an occasional fast of 24 to 48 hours. A fast yields general health benefits in that it enables the body to do some extra physiological house-cleaning and to catch up on overdue repair and maintenance work. It leaves the body better able to fight infection, including infection of the prostate area.

Exercise is Important

There has been another lifestyle change of comparable impact to our modern eating habits: the shift away from physical activity. Machines have taken over. Exercise is perhaps as important for good health as good nutrition.

One cannot get full benefit from good food unless there is a fit cardiovascular system to deliver the nutrients efficiently to, and remove waste from, all the cells of the body. Only regular aerobic exercise, like jogging, swimming, walking, bicycling or cross-country skiing guarantees such a cardiovascular system.

Brisk walking is perhaps the one best suited for the prostate patient. Dr Paavo Airola recommended one to two hours of walking per day. Dr Luce Guilmain, a naturopath practising in Montreal, feels the prostate patient should refrain from jogging. My own view is that moderate jogging is allright except during bouts of acute prostatitis.

In addition to aerobic exercise, many experts recommend the inverted position for prostate health, such as lying on a slant board, head down. The important thing is that the prostate, normally lower than the heart, is positioned higher than the heart for up to 15 minutes several times a day. The result is better drainage of the congested area.

Dr Airola suggested lying flat on your back with knees pulled up as far as possible. Press the soles of your feet together and lower the legs as far as you can with a forceful movement. Repeat as many times as possible. In acute prostatitis, hot sitz baths with camomile tea added to the water can be counted on to bring relief. By correcting errors in your lifestyle you give yourself a good chance to grow old without losing your prostate or contracting cancer. I believe that cancer is the wages of faulty living.

Recommended reading:

Prostate Problems by S. Kirban (sc) $6.95

Are You Confused? by Paavo Airola, PhD (sc) $10.50

How to Get Well by Paavo Airola, PhD (hc) 393 pp $18.95

Airola Diet and Cookbook by Paavo Airola, PhD (hc) 288 pp $18.95

McDougall Plan by John McDougall (sc) 339pp $17.95

Available from your local health food store or from alive Books PO Box 80055 Burnaby BC V5H 3X1. Please include $2.00 p&h and 7% GST when ordering from alive Books.


By Ambros Prechtl

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