Estrogen and Cancers in Men
Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in older men in more developed countries but still relatively rare in China. Like female reproductive organs, the balance between three steroid hormones, testosterone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and a third, 17 beta-estradiol, determine the cancer risk. Testicle tissue makes E2 to a small extent, but more is produced adipose (fat depot) tissue.
In men, the dangerous estrogen is 17 beta-estradiol which increases the effects of DHT in older men. Also, more E2 will be formed in overweight men. This increase in 17 beta-estradiol is damaging because it increases the effects of DHT, the hormone that causes hair loss and many other physical effects of aging in men.
But again, as described for women, plant substances such as I-3-C act to lower the damaging 17 beta estradiol in men. The removal of 17 beta estradiol was nearly doubled in males who took 500 mg per day of I-3-C for 7 days (Michnovicz and Bradlow 1990). As with women, ascorbigen also increased MFO activity.
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Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT)
Testosterone is the male sexual hormone, and is made mainly in the testicles. Testosterone is administered with a gel or patch is used on the surface of the skin.
This hormone helps prevent skin damage and maintain the pattern of beard and body hair, as well as maintaining male sexuality, muscle and bone strength, and preventing osteoporosis and heart disease.
Testosterone may influence the brain's learning skills, and visual and perceptual abilities. If a blood test indicates that levels are low, some longevity doctors will use the supplementation for men over 40.
In men, testosterone is not secreted steadily but varies with the peaks release early in the morning, then falling to the lowest ebb in late evening, before rising through the night.
With testosterone, there is a heavy influence from the brain that controls testosterone production. Life enhancing experiences such as success in daily work or in the romantic realm will raise testosterone levels. On the other hand, setbacks in these same areas lower testosterone production further complicating these difficulties.
Low testosterone, called hypogonadism, is a common condition. Levels peak at about age 18, then slowly decline. After age 40, men's testosterone levels are reduced at a rate of about 1% a year. Men who have low testosterone may show more irritability, tiredness, loss of motivation, depressed moods, erectile dysfunction, decreased sex drive, and loss of muscle mass and strength.
The usual treatment for testosterone deficiency is administration of testosterone through injections, pills or skin patches. Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) will increase the body's testosterone to desired levels. Testosterone patches provide testosterone absorbed through the skin. One popular patch, Androderm, can be worn on the abdomen, back, upper arm, or thigh.
Testoderm, introduced in 1994, is applied to the scrotum. Testosterone injections are given every two to four weeks. Injections are less expensive than the dermal patches.
While oral tablets are easy to use, they may cause dramatic rises in the testosterone level, followed by sharp drops. Oral testosterone is absorbed and sent directly to the liver where most of the oral testosterone is deactivated the the liver.
A newer form of oral testosterone involves taking slowly absorbed testosterone pellets. This may replace the injections and patches in the future.
Some researchers have recommended that men on testosterone replacement should take 160 mg of Saw Palmetto with Pygeum twice daily to block the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which affects hair loss and prostate hypertrophy.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) and the Skin
Two types of dietary essential fatty acids (EFA), omega-3 and omega-6, are crucial for radiant skin and your overall health. However, the typical American devours far too many omega-6 fats while consuming low levels of omega-3. The ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats is between 1:1 and 4:1. This balance shaped the diets of our ancestors over millions of years. In today’s fast food era, our ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 averages from 11:1 to 30:1. This imbalance fuels many maladies including hormonal disorders, heart disease, cancer, dementia and depression. Too much omega-6 also causes inflammation, which can age and infect the skin.
Not all omega-6 fatty acids act the same. Linoleic acid, in cooking oils and processed foods, and arachidonic acid (AA) in meat promote inflammation. In contrast, GLA, found in borage oil and primrose oil, is the only omega-6 fat that may actually reduce inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids in the form of as EPA (eicosapentanoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), also ease inflammation and diminish disease. Thus by substituting unhealthy omega-6 acids with GLA, you can nurture the health of your skin and body. However, don’t over do it. Consume an equal amount of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish such as wild salmon and sardines and take purified omega-3 supplements. If you are a vegetarian, you can also obtain omega-3 fats, ALA, from plant foods such as flaxseeds, flaxseed oil and walnuts. ALA (alpha linolenic acid) is an omega-3 fat from plants that can be converted in the body into EPA and DHA. However, omega-3 fats are more readily absorbed from fish than plants.
So the message here is: Consume omega-3 fats from fish and omega-6 fats from GLA in a 1:1 ratio to maximize health benefits and beautify your complexion.
How Omega-3 Fats Fuel Your Health
Fatty fish such as wild salmon, sardines, mackerel, and herring are brimming over with omega-3 fatty acids. Their active derivatives, EPA and DHA, are critical disease fighters that fuel our health. Lean fish such as cod, flounder and sole contain far less omega-3 acids. Plants contain the omega-3 fatty acid, ALA, which is high in flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, walnuts and Brazil nuts. Olive Oil, rich in monosaturates, contains minimal omega-3 fatty acids but it does contain flavenoids, which exert some of the same effects and may indirectly increases the omega-3 fat content in cells. The majority of Omega-3 scientific studies have used fish oil supplements, not whole fish and most proved that health benefits can be achieved by taking supplements. However, nutritionists generally recommend that you also eat seafood. There is always the possibility that fish contains unknown health factors unavailable in supplements, somewhat like the multiple forms of vitamin E and the closely related tocotrienols.
A small daily dose of fish oil sharply reduces cardiac deaths. A double-blind controlled study of fish oil (1.08 grams per day of EPA), mustard oil, and a placebo in 122 heart attack patients found that both fish oil and mustard oil (high in omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid) caused a significant reduction in non-fatal heart attacks, cardiac arrthymias, left ventricular enlargement, and angina pectoris in comparison to the placebo oil. The fish oil group, but not the mustard oil group, had half the rate of cardiac deaths as the placebo group (Cardiovascular Drugs Ther 1997; 11:485-91). Researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle found that individuals eating as few as four 3-ounce servings of salmon per month were 50 percent less likely to suffer primary cardiac arrest. Another study of 20,551 male physicians, aged 40 to 84 years, found that eating fish once a week resulted in a 52% lower risk of sudden death compared to persons who ate fish less than once a month (JAMA 1998;279:23-8) Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in treating cancer. Animal studies show that omega-3 fatty acids delay tumor appearance and decrease rate of growth, size and the number of tumors.
Omega-3 fatty acids also prolong the survival of cancer patients. Sixty patients with untreatable cancer received either fish oil (18 grams daily) or a placebo until death. The fish oil normalized the immune systems of the cancer patients and significantly increased their lifespan (Cancer 1998;82:395-402). In another study, patients with esophageal cancer were given traditional diets or a diet enriched with omega-3 fatty acids. Those on the omega-3 enriched diet had better immune function following surgery, chemotherapy and radiation (Nutrition 1998; 14:551-3). Flax seed and fish oils may reduce production of toxic estrogens and block some of their tumor-initiating effects.
Seafood also protects against colorectal cancer. An analysis of diet and colorectal cancer in 14,727 American women found no link between cancer risk and the total amount of fat, calories, fiber or carbohydrates. However, women who ate the most fish and shellfish (high in omega-3 fats) had significantly less colerectal cancer (Nutrition and Cancer 28: 276-81; 1997.). Diets high in omega-3 fats and low in omega-6 fats are linked with lower risks of breast cancer. Researchers compared the tissue fatty acid profile of postmenopausal women with and without cancer. In Spain, women the highest in omega-3 and lowest omega-6 fatty acids had 68% less breast cancer (Am J Epidemiol 1998; 147:342-52.).
Fish oil not only protects against heart disease and cancer, it also treats depression and dementia! Studies reveal that low DHA blood levels are associated with depression. Supplementation with fish oil often relieves depression (Biol Psychiatry 1998; 43:315-9). Eating fish also reduces the risk of dementia. Scientists at the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism have presented evidence that the increasing rates of depression observed in North America over the last 100 years are due to a significant shift in the omega-6/omega-3 ratio of the diet. The omega-3 fatty acid DHA is the main component of the synaptic membranes. Adequate omega-3 fats may decrease aggression.
anish researchers compared the diets of 5,386 healthy older individuals with their risk of dementia. They found that that the more fish in one's diet, the lower the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease (Ann Neurol 1997;42:776-82). Researchers at Purdue University found that children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) had lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood than normal children.
Your daily diet should supply at least 1 gram of EPA plus DHA per day, either from food sources or supplements. If you are vegetarian, you can take a tablespoon of flaxseed oil daily which contains alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). As discussed in the prior section, ALA can be converted into the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. However, you must take approximately 10 times as much ALA for your body to create an equivalent amount of EPA and DHA.
In summary, light up the grill and enjoy an omega rich fish fillet – knowing that you’re feeding more than your taste buds – you’re also nourishing your mind, health and spirit.
Cost of Dietary Supplements and Foods
While, in a perfect world, it might be possible to eat a diet to obtain all the necessary anti-cancer and anti-oxidants from plants, it is very difficult in a practical sense. The option is to supplement the diet with the concentrated substances and to also use a supplement to bind as much of the fat as possible (such as the drug Colestid or non-drug products made of processed chitin) so that it will not be absorbed.
But supplements can get expensive. There is no easy answer. The question is really “What is it worth to greatly reduce your risk of getting cancers and other degenerative diseases?” But, in general, the costs of supplements can be somewhat offset by eating a more healthy, but less costly diet with more fruits and vegetables.
Swedish researchers (Gerhardssen and Donahue, 1988) estimate that the number of cancer cases in males could be reduced by at least 30-40% and in females more than 60% by changes in the food that gets absorbed into our bodies via the gastrointestinal tract. Other estimates increase this percentage up to as high as 70% (Doll and Peto, 1981).
The breast cancer rate in the more affluent countries is about 10 and 15 times the rate in poor countries such as Thailand or El Salvador. Why? In the poorer countries, people eat large quantities of fruits and vegetables (Cohen, 1987).
Harvard Medical School researchers have found that low fat diets are effective
in reducing colon cancer (Willett et al, 1992). A review of 88 studies
of 10 different types of cancer, concluded that a diet high in fruits and
vegetables dramatically reduces all the cancers (Steinmetz and Potter,
1991). For example, the risk of uterine cancer is lowered by approximately