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Statics show that 50% of men over age 40 experience problems with their prostate. By the time they are 70, over 60% of
American men will have an enlarged prostate gland called Benign Prostate Hypertrophy or BPH. At age 80, the number goes up to 85%. Symptoms of BPH include dribbling, frequent or difficult urination, decrease in urine stream and chronic discomfort in the pelvis area. These symptoms can disrupt sleep in many cases. Moreover, the prostate gland is also the most common site for cancer to develop with one in 11 American men over age 50 will develop prostate cancer.
Hormonal imbalances are at the root of the wide spread problems associated with the prostate gland. Other contributing factors are a high fat diet and environmental estrogen from plastics, pesticides, as well as synthetic hormones fed to cattle. Deficiencies in vital nutrients such as zinc can also play a role in the development of prostate disorders.
To explain the hormonal influence on prostate disorders it is important to understand the effect of two hormones on the prostate gland; Dihydrotesteron (DHT) is a hormone synthesized from testosterone and estrogen. Both are thought to contribute to prostate enlargement.
An enzyme called 5-alpha reductase is responsible for converting testosterone to DHT. In normal amounts, DHT has positive effects on male health. However, if excess cells in the prostate proliferate at an abnormal rate and enlargement occures. This being the case, 5-alpha reductase inhibitors reduce the rate of synthesis of DHT from testosterone. Progesterone, the herb Saw Palmetto, and zinc are known 5-alpha reductase inhibitors.
Though testosterone is the primary male hormone men do produce some estrogen. In fact, it is converted from testosterone. Unfortunately, with age testosterone production decreases and estrogen production increases. Once again an enzyme is involved in this hormone imbalance. Aromatase, especially prevalent in fat cells, converts testosterone to estrogen. Since most men lose muscle and gain fat as they age, aromatase activity increases, converting the now lower levels of testosterone to estrogen. Evidence now indicates that prostate hypertrophy (enlargement) and prostate cancer are correlated with the condition of excess estrogen. Not only does the activity of aromatase increase with weight gain, men are exposed to environmental estrogen contributing to the estrogen burden. One of the major roles of progesterone is to oppose or balance the effects of estrogen in the body. Estradiol, an aggressive estrogen promotes the onco (cancer) gene, Bcl-2, while progesterone promotes the protective gene known as p53.
A growing body of scientific research supports the use of progesterone, Saw Palmetto, and zinc for the health of the prostate.
These substances have now been shown to be absorbed well through the skin and in combination could offer a viable solution to prostate problems for men.
*Progesterone is a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor--it helps prevent the conversion of testosterone into DHT which is thought to contribute to prostate enlargement.
*Research now indicates that progesterone inhibits the growth of prostate cancer cells and that estradiol and dihydrotestosteron (DHT) accelerate prostate cancer cell growth. Progesterone opposes estrogen and its metabolites and it stops the conversion of testosterone to DHT by interfering with the enzyme 5- alpha reductase.
*Progesterone may induce mutated prostate cells to enter into the apoptosis (programmed death) cycle, and cell proliferation should be minized. Clinicians have related case histories of men with benign prostate disease and cancer who have found relief with progesterone.
*In 1988 a study conducted at Nanjing Medical College in China found progesterone reduced the prostate weight of test animals.
*Six different studies at the University of Milan in Italy, the University of Turku in Finland, Montreal General Hospital in Quebec, St. George's Hospital in London, the University of Mainz in Germany and the Roswell Park Memorial Institute in New York all independently had results that suggest that progesterone is a powerful 5-alpha reductase inhibitor that stops the conversion of testosterone into DHT in test animals.
*At the University of Maryland in Baltimore and the Institute of Clinical Medicine in Rome, human prostate cells were shown to have progesterone receptor sites.
*The Center for Drug Research in India did four different studies suggesting that progesterone shrank enlarged rat prostates, progesterone antagonized the stimulating effects of estrogen, and that progesterone is supportive of proper prostate function.
*At the University of Laval in Quebec progesterone inhibited estrogen from binding to the prostate and progesterone receptors were clearly demonstrated.
*At the Institute for Biological Medical Experiments in Buenos Aires it was shown progesterone shrank prostate weight in test animals as well as reduced 5-alpha reductase activity.
*At Central Hospital University in Paris progesterone was shown to inhibit the formation of DHT as well as binding it to the prostate. DHT content in the prostate is the single most causative factor in prostate disease.
*At the Biochemical Medical Laboratory in France the doctors demonstrated in human BPH tissue there are more progesterone receptors which show how responsive the prostate is to this hormone.
*At the Institute of Clinical Chemistry in Bochum, Germany progesterone in human BPH tissue reduced the activity of 5-alpha reductase strongly.
*Saw Palmetto has been extensively prublished in studies for its ability to support the treatment of enlarged prostate glands in men.
*Saw Palmetto has shown to effectively block the formation of DHT and is also believed to provent the binding of dihydrotesteron (DHT) to androgen receptors.
*Saw Palmetto inhibits 5-alpha-reductase, the enzyme that converts testosterone to diydrotestosteron and also block DHT from binding in the prostate.
*Studies on Saw Palmetto found no significant side effects.
*Saw Palmetto may also help to reduce the effects of excess estrogen.
*The zinc content of the prostate gland prostatic, secretions and sperm is higher than in any other body tissues. A deficiency of zinc is associated with numerous sexual problems, including sperm abnormalities and prostate disease. Zinc is necessary for the production of testosterone.
*Zinc has anti-aromatase action, aromatase converts testosterone to estradiol.
*Zinc is also a 5-alpha-reductse inhibitor, which blocks the conversion of testosterone to DHT, therefore, zinc may be beneficary to conditions related to excess DHT, according to a recent study conducted at the Center of Reproductive Science and Technology, University of Missouri, Columbia and published in the journal Andrologia.
*All body tissues contain zinc; in skin it is five to six times more concentrated in the epidermis than the dermis. Research conducted at Duke University and published in the International Journal of Dermatology found that topical zinc may provide an important and helpful antioxidant defense for skin.
*Other research published in Geriatric Dermatology demonstrates that topical zinc is well absorbed by the skin in aging men.