Did you know that by the age of 60, 50% of men will have an enlarged prostate, and by 85 that percentage will sky rocket to 90%?
Prostatitis, a condition in which one struggles with an enlarged prostate gland is a condition in which there is inflammation or an infection within it. It causes difficulty with urination, pain and a sense of heaviness in the lower portion of one's body. Symptoms include pain when urinating, frequent urination (particularly at night), bladder and/or urinary tract infections, as well as pain during intercourse. Most of this discomfort occurs due to the fact that when the prostate grows it can choke off the urethra (which is where urine and semen exit out of). If left untreated it could lead to prostate cancer.
But hold up- what causes the prostate to enlarge in the first place? Well, no one is really sure, but there are theories out there suspecting it's hormone related. That being said, we all know hormones are never the root cause because hormones are simply chemical messengers between cells. If we were to back track and ask ourselves what synthesize hormones, we'd fall back enough to realize that minerals are actually the basis to hormonal dysfunction. Aside from hormonal dysregulation, infections can also cause prostate issues, and so it begs the question if heavy metals could also be the cause of many diagnoses.
This is why today we wanted to present potential mineral imbalances that could be connected to prostate issues as you'll read below.
Low sodium: potassium ratio
Sodium is a reflection of the hormone aldosterone, where as potassium is to cortisol. Aldosterone's main function is to help regulate blood pressure by managing sodium and potassium in the blood and impacting blood volume. This can result in something called metabolic alkalosis which is when electrolytes become imbalanced and the pH can rise. This can disrupt the prostate, as it functions primarily in an acidic environment. Conversely, an inverted ratio of sodium: potassium can also be a sign of adrenal depletion and lack of energy, essentially the body become weak.
Zinc is synonymous to testosterone when looking at it on a hair test but can also support the health of the prostate. In fact, the cells surrounding the prostate are sensitized to accumulate zinc up to 10-15x more than other body tissues. There's also an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase which converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). If the conversion rate is higher (which occurs with aging and with endocrine disruptors present in our world today) it can lead to testosterone levels dropping and having estrogen rise. This can contribute to prostate enlargement. Zinc helps prevent this from happening in the first place.
High copper levels or hidden copper toxicity
Copper, like zinc, is a reflection of another hormone in the body, in this case estrogen. As mentioned above, if estrogen rises in relation to testosterone, it can affect the cells within the prostate and negatively impact it. In addition, estrogen when found in excess, could be a sign of stress on the body and can be connected to the pituitary gland releasing high levels of prolactin. High prolactin in men is connected to impotence, low libido, infertility and, yes, enlarged prostate.
Cadmium is a toxic metal that primarily affects the kidneys and adrenal glands. Ironic isn't it, considering the prostate is highly influenced by the two minerals that support these two organs (sodium and potassium)? Cadmium exposure can come from excessive use of weed, cigarettes, consuming seafood, tap water, coffee and hydrogenated oils.
All in all, prostate enlargement is quite prevalent and we hope today's article we provided enough insight to hopeful help with the act of prevention or awareness around this issue.
If you're looking to test your minerals and see if there are any potential connections with your prostate issues and mineral status, click here.
Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis Practitioner
Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner
Integrative Health Coach