The PSA test is an invasive blood test that measures the level of prostate-specific antigen in your blood. A high PSA level may indicate cancer, but it could also signal BPH or other conditions that are not harmful.
Men with low PSA levels, a biopsy Gleason score of 2 or lower and few cancer cells in their biopsies are considered to be at very low risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer. These men can benefit from supplements that help reduce their PSA.
Lycopene is an antioxidant that is found in tomatoes and other red and pink fruits and vegetables. It is one of the carotenes, a group of fat-soluble plant pigments that also includes beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. The carotenes are a natural defense against free radical damage and help reduce inflammation in the body. Studies have linked lycopene to lower cholesterol, reduced risk of prostate cancer and heart disease and reduced sunburns due to its strong antioxidant properties.
The chemical structure of lycopene makes it water-soluble, so it is easily absorbed into the bloodstream. It is then deposited in the tissues and organs of the body, including the prostate, where it works to prevent the growth of abnormal cells. A number of studies have found that lycopene can significantly lower PSA levels, especially in men with a family history of prostate cancer. Lycopene has also been shown to treat the symptoms of BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia), a common cause of elevated PSA, by slowing or stopping prostate growth.
In a study that used data from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, men who ate the highest amount of lycopene were half as likely to develop lethal prostate cancer than those who ate the least lycopene. This inverse association was independent of baseline height, BMI, smoking status and other important confounders, including diet, exercise, alcohol and coffee intake. In addition, dietary lycopene intake was found to be more strongly associated with the use of healthier cooking methods and less frequent use of pesticides such as dichlorvos and atrazine.
Other studies have shown that lycopene can help with weight loss, protect the liver and reduce the risk of heart disease. It may also improve the quality of life for those with neuropathy, a condition that causes painful nerve damage. Another exciting finding is that lycopene can stop or slow the many processes in the eye that lead to age-related macular degeneration, including cataracts.
2. Green Tea
Green tea contains a chemical called epigallocatechin-3- gallate (EGCG) that inhibits a gene involved in the production of PSA. EGCG may help reduce cancer rates in men with prostate disease. Several studies have reported an association between green tea consumption and decreased prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels. One meta-analysis found that each additional cup of green tea consumed per day was associated with a 4.5% decrease in the risk of prostate cancer. The effect was stronger for those who drank the most green tea, suggesting that dose is important.
A blood test for PSA is the most common way that doctors check for prostate cancer. The level of PSA in the blood can rise if prostate cancer cells are growing or if they’re damaged by chemotherapy or radiation. A rise in PSA levels may also indicate an infection or inflammation of the prostate, such as prostatitis. The most common symptom of this is urinating more often and having difficulty urinating.
PSA blood levels are usually higher as people age, and this increase is normal. But rising PSA levels can also indicate that a person has an enlarged prostate, or BPH, which can cause a urinary tract infection. The PSA blood test can also help doctors decide whether or not to carry out further tests, such as a biopsy.
Researchers in the United Kingdom have discovered that a combination of broccoli, turmeric, and green tea can significantly lower PSA levels. They conducted a six-month human study with 203 men who took either capsules containing the target ingredients or placebos. The scientists found that the men who took the capsules containing pomegranate, broccoli, and green tea had 63% lower PSA levels than those who took the placebos.
3. Pomegranate Juice Extract
Pomegranate juice has been shown to have anti-cancer properties, slowing the growth of cultured breast, prostate and lung cancer cells. A clinical study published in the journal “Clinical Cancer Research” in 2006 showed that men who consumed eight ounces of pomegranate juice daily saw their PSA levels decline more quickly than the control group. The researchers speculate that the pomegranate extract’s natural compounds are responsible for this effect.
In addition to its prostate health benefits, pomegranate is also good for the heart. It contains higher levels of antioxidants than many other fruit juices, which can help lower systolic blood pressure and reduce atherosclerotic plaque. A study published in “Clinical Nutrition” found that pomegranate juice can even lower cholesterol, a factor associated with high risk for cardiovascular disease.
As men age, their PSA levels can naturally rise due to the development of benign prostatic tissue. This is known as BPH, or enlarged prostate, and can lead to difficulty urinating. However, elevated PSA can also indicate that the prostate is growing cancerous. Pomegranate juice has been shown to help prevent the onset of prostate cancer, and the first clinical study to focus on this area was published in 2006. Its participants were given pomegranate juice daily for 33 days and found that PSA doubling times were significantly reduced.
When choosing a pomegranate supplement, look for one that contains only 100% pure whole fruit extract (Punica granatum L.). It should also be solvent-free, which means it was extracted using water rather than harsh chemicals. This will preserve the natural polyphenol profile of the product and result in a more effective, potent supplement. It should also be non-irradiated, GMO-free, and free of added sugars, acids, preservatives and flavors.
4. Vitamin C
PSA levels can rise due to noncancerous conditions, such as an enlarged prostate (also called benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH). They may also rise because of infection or an inflamed or infected urinary tract or recent ejaculation. PSA levels can also be elevated by some medications, including testosterone replacement therapy, such as Jatenzo; and drugs used to treat male pattern baldness or an enlarged prostate (such as finasteride and dutasteride). The test doesn’t always provide an accurate result and isn’t a good tool for predicting whether cancer is present.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which means it helps reduce damage to cells caused by free radicals. In one study, researchers found that people who had higher blood levels of vitamin C were less likely to have a stroke. The study did not prove that vitamin C prevented strokes, but it did show a link between high vitamin C levels and a lower risk for the type of stroke caused by weakened blood vessels (hemorrhagic).
People can get enough vitamin C from their diet. In fact, the Department of Health in the UK recommends that adults take a vitamin C supplement of at least 400 mg per day, especially during winter and autumn when they don’t get enough sun to make vitamin D. But there’s no evidence that this supplements reduces the risk of prostate cancer spreading or slowing the progression of the disease. A few studies suggest that a low vitamin C level may be linked with a more aggressive form of prostate cancer, but other factors are also involved in this association. These include a person’s age, digital rectal exam results, and family history of prostate cancer.
5. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is found naturally in some foods and is also available as a dietary supplement. It is important to obtain sufficient levels of vitamin D in order to maintain healthy blood serum levels, as well as for other vital functions such as regulating calcium absorption. Vitamin D is produced by the skin upon exposure to sunlight, but it is not advisable to spend extended periods of time in the sun without wearing sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Vitamin D can also be obtained through diet, with dairy products (many are fortified) and fish providing significant sources.
A low intake of vitamin D is associated with a higher PSA level. This may be because the production of PSA is influenced by oxidative stress, and a deficiency in vitamin D has been linked to reduced antioxidant defences. Vitamin D is also believed to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer, although this has not been proven in clinical trials to date. One theory is that high levels of 25(OH)D are protective against prostate cancer, as they reduce circulating androgen levels, inhibit PSA secretion, counteract neoangiogenesis, and improve apoptosis.
The proportion of individuals at risk of vitamin D deficiency varies by age, peaking in young adults and decreasing with increasing age. Individuals with medical conditions such as some forms of liver disease, cystic fibrosis, Crohn’s disease and celiac disease are at increased risk of vitamin D deficiency as they may be unable to absorb dietary fat adequately.
Several clinical trials have demonstrated that high vitamin D status is associated with lower rates of CVD, but the effects have not been consistent. In particular, the VITAL trial showed that supplemental vitamin D supplements did not significantly decrease rates of heart attacks, strokes, coronary revascularization or death from cardiovascular causes.