PROGESTERONE HELP THE MEN?
& Your Hormones
According to noted physician and author, Dr. John Lee, we
probably all know a lot of men over 50 who have prostate problems and may
not even be aware of them. They may not be sleeping well and need to visit
the bathroom a number of times each night.
"Itís estimated that benign prostate disease affects over 40 percent of
American men by age 50 and over 70 percent by age 60. The most common
symptom is trouble with urination. Such men may have urinary frequency
(hence getting up at night), their urine flow may be decreased in force or
rate, they may have urinary urgency, and they may feel that they haven't
emptied the bladder (a sign of urinary retention), especially after drinking
coffee. Urinary retention also makes them more susceptible to urinary tract
infections," Dr. Lee states.
Consultation with his doctor about the problem will usually
lead to an examination of the prostate through the rectum. Diagnosis of
benign prostate hypertrophy (called BPH) is enlarged cells in the prostate
gland or hyperplasia, enlarged by greater numbers of cells in the prostate.
Traditional Medicines Prescribed for the Prostate
Typically, doctors may prescribe the drug terazosin (Hytrin)
to relax urinary sphincter muscles, or the drug finasteride (Proscar) which
inhibits the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, which converts testosterone into
dihydrotestosterone (DHT, a compound believed to stimulate prostate cell
growth, or hyperplasia). Or, transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP),
the surgical coring-out of the urine passageway through the prostate, is
suggested. Unfortunately, this surgical procedure often results in dribbling
problems. The success rate of the drugs used in traditional treatment is not
found to be consistent. A 1996 study in the New England Journal of Medicine
found that finasteride (the hyperplasia inhibitor) had some benefit for men
with considerable prostate gland enlargement, but not those with more
normal-sized prostate glands.
Natural alternatives such as saw palmetto berry and nettle
root similarly inhibit 5-alpha reductase, and are just as effective as
finasteride. Even though they offered benefits when dealing with BPH,
neither saw palmetto berry nor finasteride prevent prostate cancer.
Sex Hormones Play A Vital Part in Prostate Disease and
According to Dr. John Lee, a manís body fat will convert
male hormones into estrogen, as many women experience as they get older.
"Some physicians advocate using aromatase-inhibiting drugs (such as Arimidex)
that inhibit the conversion of adrenal-generated androstenedione (a male
hormone) into estrone (an estrogen) in body fat. Estrone is then available
to be converted to estradiol. The rationale for this treatment is the
understanding that estrogen is a growth-stimulating hormone in prostate
This leads us to the hypothesis that the balance of
estradiol to progesterone and/or to testosterone is an important factor in
prostate disease," said Dr. Lee. Prostate levels of estradiol begin to rise
as men get older - at the same time, levels of progesterone and testosterone
decline. The decline in testosterone and progesterone levels is greater than
the rise of estradiol. Men over 60 have a far lower ratio of testosterone to
estradiol (T/E2) than those at 40.
Studies in the U.S., Germany and Japan have determined that
not only is the T/E2 ratio lower in men after age 40, those men with the
lowest T/E2 ratio are the ones most likely to develop BPH.
The Progesterone Protector
Progesterone is very important in the protection against
prostate disease. Progesterone, like finasteride and saw palmetto berry,
inhibits 5-alpha reductase, and in turn, inhibits the conversion of
testosterone to DHT. Progesterone helps raise testosterone levels, and helps
lower the level of the more growth-stimulating DHT. Progesterone, like
testosterone, helps burn fat for energy and as a result, can help keep men
from becoming obese. Men who have less body fat, produce less estrone. Since
progesterone and testosterone stimulate the gene, p53, protection is created
from the oncogene (cancer-causing) Bcl-2, and healthy apoptosis (normal cell
death) is stimulated.
On the other side of the coin, Estradiol stimulates Bcl-2
production, which increases the risk of cancer. It is a viable conclusion
that men have good reason to restore the same progesterone and testosterone
levels that they had as younger men.
You Can Restore Your Hormone Balance
Hormone balance is not difficult to accomplish. A
test is a good place to start so that you have clinical evidence that
you do indeed have hormonal imbalance.
Dr. Lee recommends just 6 to 8 mg per day of progesterone in
a cream or gel to raise low saliva progesterone levels to normal healthy
Defense Against Prostate Cancer- Some Non-Drug Treatments
Many products for the prostate contain various combinations
of these ingredients:
Saw Palmetto berry extract, according to Jonathan Wright, M.D.,
not only inhibits 5-alpha-reductase but also blocks DHT binding to
prostatic androgen receptors, reduces prostatic edema (swelling), inhibits
estradiol and antagonizes alpha-adrenergic receptors.
Nettle root (may inhibit aromatase, reducing conversion of
androgens to estrogen).
Antioxidants, such as vitamin E, lycopene (found in cooked
tomatoes), and vitamin C.
Polyphenols (e.g., catechins, found in green tea.)
Ellagic acid (found in nuts and raspberries) may trigger
Zinc (low zinc levels correlate with increased prostate
disease). Be sure to get extra copper if you're taking zinc for longer
than a few weeks.