Estrogen and the Prostate
Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy, or BPH is a condition where the enlargement of the prostate can cause uncomfortable urinary symptoms. It has been found that by the age of 70, approximately 80% of men will be affected by this condition.
The most common explanation for this condition is the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone or DHT by the enzyme 5 alpha reductase. As men age, the testosterone levels decline but DHT levels increase which causes the growth of prostate cells.
Recent research however has shown that estrogen may play a huge role in BPH. Aromatization is the process where testosterone in men is converted to estrogen, and this process naturally increases with age. Abdominal fat in men causes an increase in aromatization which in turn lays down more belly fat, causing more aromatization and so on. Studies are now showing that this increased estrogen level in the prostate is related to BPH. (Ho et al, 2008)
Conventional drug therapies for BPH are now aimed at reducing both of these enzymes. Since Naturopathic Medicine is all about looking at root causes, if we reduce estrogen load and belly fat we reduce aromatization and therefore help to control BPH.
5 Ways to Reduce Estrogen and Improve BPH
- Eat Cruciferous veggies – these vegetables are high in DIM which helps your body to eliminate toxic estrogens. Eat 2cups per day of broccoli, kale, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and cabbage
- Eat foods rich in Zinc. Zinc helps to inhibit both the aromatase enzyme as well as 5 alpha reductase, which will result in a decrease in BPH symptoms. Oysters, pumpkin seeds, spinach are amoung some of the highest foods in zinc. Adding ¼ cup of pumpkin seeds as a daily snack can optimize the zinc levels
- Consume Alcohol in Moderation. Binge Drinking can reduce testosterone levels and increase estrogen levels. Alcohol drives the aromatase enzyme! For men aim for no more than 7-10 drinks per week and spaced out through the week.
- Reduce your exposure to plastics
- Eat organic foods
To learn more about how to reduce the impact of estrogen on your health…join this year’s FREE Vibrant Estrogen Cleanse.
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Ho CK, Nanda J, Chapman KE, Habib FK. Oestrogen and benign prostatic hyperplasia: effects on stromal cell proliferation and local formation from androgen. The Journal of endocrinology. Jun 2008;197(3):483-491.