All things Prostate Health: The Facts & A Natural Approach

The Facts:

As of 2017, in Canada, prostate cancer was, and still, is the most common male cancer and will affect one in seven men throughout their lifetime[1]. An estimated 21,300 Canadian men were diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2017[2].


The Prostate

The prostate is a gland that is part of the male reproductive system and provides nutrients and fluid to sperm. Prostate cell growth, both healthy and cancerous, are stimulated by testosterone production, which is produced almost entirely in the testicles.


Prostate conditions:

There are three conditions that affect the prostate; prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia, and prostate cancer. Prostatitis is also known as inflammation of the prostate gland. This can occur from contracting a bacterial infection, such as E.Coli, Gonorrhea or Chlamydia, or other bacteria. Symptoms can consist of fever, chills, pain on urination, frequency and urgency of urination, low back pain and/or pain on ejaculation. Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, or BPH, occurs when the prostate is enlarged. This can put pressure on the urethra resulting in urinary symptoms similar to those listed above.


Risk Factors:

Risk factors for developing prostate cancer include[3]:

– Age (individuals over the age of 50 are at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer)

– Family history (genetics plays a large role in the occurrence of prostate cancer)

– Weight (obesity can increase the risk of a prostate cancer diagnosis)


Signs and Symptoms of prostate conditions:

  • Difficulty urinating
  • Urgent need to urinate
  • Frequent urination
  • Urination at night
  • Pain or burning on urination
  • Difficulty starting and stopping urine flow
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Blood in urine or semen



Prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, is a protein produced by the prostate gland that measures the production of normal and/or malignant cells. This particular test was approved by the FDA as one of the diagnostic tests to measure disease progression of prostate cancer[4]. A Digital Rectal exam, or DRE, is another diagnostic test for prostate cancer, as well as a number of other prostate conditions.


A Natural Approach:

Studies show that diet and lifestyle changes along with supplement prescription can help to improve overall prostate health. A study was conducted in 2018 investigating an integrative approach to prostate health[5]. Results showed an improvement in symptoms and prostate health with those eating a plant-based antioxidant-rich diet, with high amounts of cruciferous vegetables, tomatoes, marine sources of omega-3 fatty acids, avoidance of saturated fats and dairy, as well as supplementing with Vitamin D3 and omega-3’s. The study also showed that those participating in exercise helped to enhance overall wellbeing, as well as improve bone strength. Traditional Chinese medicine also helped to decrease side effects in patients suffering from prostate cancer. Overall, the study displayed positive results with prostate cancer patients and integrative care. Other studies show that a diet high in fiber, consuming foods with a low glycemic index as well as the Mediterranean diet has shown to decrease prostate cancer diagnosis[6].


For patients suffering from Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, studies show that Serenoa Repens, or Saw Palmetto, can decrease urinary symptoms and improve the overall quality of life[7]. A study conducted in 2013 demonstrated that elderly men treated with 320 mg of Serenoa Repens (Saw Palmetto) extract each day for eight weeks resulted in a 52% improvement in their International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS), the standard used to measure the severity of BPH symptoms, and displayed a 40% improvement in sexual dysfunction scores[8]. Serenoa Repens is a plant that contains two key phytochemicals; phytosterols and fatty acids[9]. These properties have shown to inhibit the enzyme 5alpha-reductase, which converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. Inhibiting this enzymatic process can help to alleviate BPH symptoms. Other herbs by the name of Urtica Dioca, or Stinging Nettle and Pygeum africanum, have also resulted in a decrease in urinary symptoms due to BPH[10].


As prostate cancer and various prostate conditions are on the rise in Canada, it is very important to visit your family doctor if you are experiencing any of the above signs or symptoms, or if you display any of the risk factors listed above. Family history is a very important risk factor. If you have an immediate relative who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, it would be a good idea to get a screening test, even if you are not experiencing signs or symptoms.


As a Naturopathic Doctor, I encourage all individuals to get annual health checkups, in order to take a proactive approach to health. There are also supplements and dietary changes that can be made in order to relieve current symptoms, as well as optimize prostate health in order to prevent the disease from occurring. If you want to learn more about prostate health, or would like to optimize your general health, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Danielle to make an appointment today!



Instagram: @dcommissohealth


*The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only. It is meant to educate and in no way replaces consultation with a licensed health care provider. Consultation with a Naturopathic Doctor or other primary care provider is recommended for anyone suffering from a health problem.

[1] “Statistics.” Prostate Cancer Canada. 20, May, 2019,

[2] “Statistics.” Prostate Cancer Canada. 20, May, 2019,

[3] “Am I at risk of Prostate Cancer?” Prostate Cancer Canada. 20, May, 2019,

[4] “Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test.” National Cancer Institute, 20, May, 2019,

[5] Abrahms, Dil. “An Integrative Approach to Prostate Cancer.” J Altern Complement Med., Vol.24, No.9-10, 2018, pp.872-880.

[6] “Dietary Approaches for the Prevention and Treatment of Prostate Cancer” Life Extension Magazine, 21 May, 2019,

[7] Ye Z et al. “Efficacy and Safety of Serenoa repens Extract Among Patients with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia in China: A Multicenter, Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Trial.” Urology., Vol. 4295, No. 19, 2019, pp. 30236-5.

[8] Suter A, Saller R, Riedi E, et al. “Improving BPH symptoms and sexual dysfunctions with a saw palmetto preparation? Results from a pilot trial.” Phytother Res. Vol. 27, No. 2, 2013, pp. 218-26.

[9] Maya-Luevano, Ruben & Pontes Ferreira, Maria. “North American Natural Health Products and Sexual Function in Aging Adults.” Nutrition and Functional Foods for Healthy Aging, 2017, Accessed May 20, 2019.

[10] Maya-Luevano, Ruben & Pontes Ferreira, Maria. “North American Natural Health Products and Sexual Function in Aging Adults.” Nutrition and Functional Foods for Healthy Aging, 2017, Accessed May 20, 2019.