Archive for the ‘vitamin’ Category

ED (Erectile Dysfunction) May Be Prevented With Vitamin D

January 28, 2015

Erectile dysfunction affects millions of American men and also has an impact on the man’s partner. Often times non-medical treatments are available. One consideration is the use of vitamin D.

A new research out of Italy is suggesting that low levels of vitamin D may increase a man’s risk of erectile dysfunction. Called the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is the only vitamin that is formed in the body by the rays of the sun.

It has long been touted that an adequate supply of vitamin D is necessary for optimum health and to ward off diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. But now researchers are showing its importance in helping men to maintain their erection.
According to the study, the researchers tested 143 men with varying degrees of erectile dysfunction, and they found that nearly half of them were deficient in vitamin D, and only one in five had optimal levels of the nutrient.

Additionally, men with severe cases of erectile dysfunction had vitamin D levels that were about 24 per cent lower than those with mild forms of the condition.

Insufficient levels of vitamin D may encourage the production of free radicals called superoxide ions. These free radicals deplete a person’s nitric oxide, a molecule that helps blood vessels function properly. As a result, it makes it difficult for a man to get a firm erection.

Nitric oxide causes the blood vessels to relax, which increases blood flow and causes an erection under normal circumstances.
Without the necessary amounts of nitric acid, your blood vessels may not relax enough to allow for an erection.

How can men increase their vitamin D intake? There are two recommendations.

1) Get sun exposure at least 30 minutes per day. The best source of vitamin D is optimal sun exposure. You don’t have to be completely nude, but expose as much skin as possible for better absorption. Exposing the skin to sunlight’s UV-B for vitamin D3 production is best obtained between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

2) Men can also take vitamin D supplements. For those with low levels of vitamin D, the study recommends taking supplements to get back to the optimal level of 30 ng/mL or above.

As for men with normal erectile function, research is currently studying whether vitamin D supplementation may act as a preventive measure to delay erectile dysfunction.

Bottom Line: I always suggest that men lead a healthy life style including good nutrition, exercise, get adequate sleep and now I’d like to add get plenty of vitamin D.

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Nutrition for Your Prostate Gland

January 9, 2012

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men causing nearly 250,000 new cases each year. It is the second most common cause of death in American men, killing nearly 40,000 men annually. However, with regular examination consisting of a digital rectal exam and a PSA blood test, prostate cancer can be detected early and treated. There are other healthy life-style changes that can be easily done that may even help prevent prostate cancer.
1. Start taking vitamin D, E and selenium supplements. Although further research is needed to confirm their effectiveness, studies have demonstrated that all three, vitamin D, E and selenium, show promise with regard to prostate cancer prevention when taken regularly.
2. Eat more soybeans (or soybean products) and other legumes. Elevated levels of testosterone may increase your risk for developing prostate cancer. The phytoestrogens-nonsteroidal plant compounds that act like estrogen in the body and thus can help to regulate imbalanced hormone levels-contained in these foods may help to prevent prostate cancer; genistein, an isoflavone also found in soy foods, helps to normalize hormone levels and thus may reduce prostate cancer.
3. Drink green tea. Antioxidant compounds in green tea may help prevent prostate cancer; some have even been found to kill prostate cancer cells in test tubes, while others have blocked enzymes that promote prostate cancer.
4. Get plenty of fiber. Fiber can eliminate excess testosterone in the body; thus, a high-fiber diet can aid in the regulation of your body’s hormone levels and may help reduce the risk for prostate cancer.
5. Reduce your intake of meat and saturated fats. Follow a low-fat diet: diets high in saturated fat ¬animal fat in particular-and red met have been found to increase the risk for prostate cancer. Eating a low-tat diet also helps to prevent obesity, a condition that may also increase prostate cancer risk.
6. Eat more broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts and greens. A recent study found that men who ate cruciferous vegetables more than once a week were 40% less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than men who rarely ate them.
7. Eat cooked tomatoes. Lycopene, the carotenoid pigment that makes tomatoes bright red, possesses powerful antioxidant properties and has been linked in some studies to a decreased risk for prostate cancer.
8. Limit your dairy consumption. Diets high in dairy products and calcium may be associated with small increases in prostate cancer risk. Moderate your dairy consumption, and don’t overdo calcium¬ supplements or foods fortified with extra calcium.
9. Get regular aerobic exercise. Regular aerobic exercise has been associated with reduced risk levels for prostate cancer: exercise also helps prevent obesity and other health-related complications that obesity causes.
10. See your physician for prostate cancer screenings regularly. While regular screenings can’t reduce your risk for prostate cancer, changes in diet and exercise can. They help ensure early diagnosis so that prostate cancer can be treated as effectively as possible. My best advice is to get screened annually if you are over the age of 50, if you have a family member who has prostate cancer, or if you are an African-American man.

Bottom Line: Prostate cancer may have a relationship with diet. I cannot tell you for certain if you follow these instructions you will not develop prostate cancer. But as my wonderful Jewish mother would say, “It may not help, but it voidn’t hoit!”

Vitamins May Not Be All That Helpful

December 28, 2011

It is not unusual to view an advertisement for a vitamin that suggests it helps people with cardiovascular problems, cancer, diabetes, or other chronic diseases. Judging the validity of these advertisements is often difficult due to what often appears to be conflicting data, and the use of personal anecdotes.
What is the evidence? A study was conducted by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and published in 2006. (The complete report, Multivitamin/Mineral Supplements and Prevention of Chronic Disease can be viewed here)
The study examined the use of vitamins for the prevention of the following:
• breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, gastric cancer, or any other malignancy (including colorectal polyps)
• myocardial infarction, stroke
• type 2 diabetes mellitus
• Parkinson’s disease, cognitive decline, memory loss, dementia
• cataracts, macular degeneration, hearing loss
• osteoporosis, osteopenia, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis
• hepatitis, non-alcoholic fatty-liver disease
• chronic renal insufficiency, chronic nephrolithiasis
• HIV infection, hepatitis C, tuberculosis
• chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

The results of the study
The authors concluded there is limited evidence to date suggesting potential benefits of multivitamin/mineral supplements in the primary prevention of cancer in individuals with poor nutritional status or suboptimal antioxidant intake.
The evidence also indicates that multivitamin/mineral supplement use does not have significant effects in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease and cataracts.
Regular supplementation of a single nutrient or a mixture of nutrients for years has no significant benefits in the primary prevention of cancer, cardiovascular disease, cataract, age-related macular degeneration or cognitive decline.
A few exceptions, that were reported in a single reviewed study included a decreased incidence of prostate cancer with use of synthetic α-tocopherol (50 mg per day) in smokers, a decreased progression of age-related macular degeneration with high doses of zinc alone or zinc in combination with antioxidants in persons at high risk for developing advanced stages of the disease, and a decreased incidence of cancer with use of selenium (200 mcg per day).
Supplementation with calcium has short-term (particularly within one year) benefit on retaining bone mineral density in postmenopausal women, and a possible effect in preventing vertebral fractures. Combined vitamin D3 (700–800 IU/day) and calcium (1000 mg/day) may reduce the risk of hip and other non-vertebral fractures in individuals with low levels of intake. Supplementation with β-carotene increased lung cancer risk in persons with asbestos exposure or cigarette smoking.
Users of Vitamins Beware
The overall quality and quantity of the literature on the safety of multivitamin/mineral supplements is limited. Among the adverse effects reported were vitamin A supplementation may moderately increase serum triglyceride levels. Calcium supplementation may increase the risk of kidney stones. Vitamin E supplementation was associated with an increased incidence of nosebleeds but was not associated with an increased risk of more serious bleeding events.

Bottom Line: Vitamins may be helpful for a few conditions. Nothing beats a good diet with fresh fruits and vegetables, plenty of exercise, and adequate sleep. Vitamins and supplements are not the cure all for many diseases or the major source of disease prevention.

Alternative Treatments of the Enlarged Prostate Gland

November 13, 2011

Most men will have symptoms of prostate gland enlargement after age 50 Those symptoms include frequency of urination, getting up at night to urinate, urgency of urination, and dribbling after urination. There are numerous medications that are effective in reducing the symptoms of the enlarged prostate gland. There are large numbers of men who find that their symptoms are not of significance that require treatment or they are using so many medications that the men don’t want to add any additional medications to their already lengthy list of drugs. There are supplements and vitamins that can be used that may have a role for men who do not want to take additional medications.

Beta-sitosterol

Beta-sitosterol is the main active ingredient in the herbs saw palmetto and pygeum. Both of these herbs do not have enough beta-sitosterol to be of real value in giving you prostate health. Now, beta-sitosterol, which can be obtained from sugar cane pulp, can be purchased in capsule doses of 300 – 600 mg, which gives you an effective dose to eliminate your enlarged prostate. Pygeum can only provide around 30 mg and you need upwards of 600 mg daily.

Flax Seed or Fish Oil

The nutrient to use for the best prostate health diet is flaxseed oil.
Flax seed oil contains more omega-3 than omega-6 and so it makes it a good source of omega-3. The more omega-6 use, from olive oil and other vegetables oils, the more prone you will be to prostate cancer. This is not the case with omega-3 oil and this has been verified through clinical studies.

Omega-3 protects the prostates cells and has anti-inflammatory properties. Using fish oil can also be a better choice than flax seed oil since your body digests it better.

Use 1 – 2 grams of flax seed or fish oil per day.

Soy Isoflavones

Soy Isoflavones have been shown in clinical studies to have good effects on your prostate and should be added to your prostate health diet. These isoflavones are flavones and contain no photoestrogen so the have no estrogen effects in the body.

The active ingredients in the isoflavones are genestein and daidzein.Buy a brand that has up to 40 mg of isoflavones Use this quantity daily.

Ionic Minerals

The prostate needs minerals. Adding these to your prostate health diet is critical. You cannot have good prostate health without plenty of minerals and your regular diet cannot supply what you need.

In addition to these ionic minerals, you need to make sure you get plenty of zinc and selenium. The prostate has more zinc than any other part of the body. So take 15 – 20 mg per day and not to exceed 40 mg.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is another critical vitamin that you want to make sure you get plenty of. If you are out in the sun a lot, then you will not need to supplement with this vitamin. Otherwise, use up to 800 IU of this vitamin.

Vitamin E

This is the next most important vitamin you should supplement with. Use up to 400 mg per day of the natural mixed tocopherols. Clinical studies have shown that vitamin E can reduce and suppress prostate cancer cells.

Bottom Line: Use, beta sitosterol, isoflavones, minerals, vitamin D, and vitamin E in your prostate health diet and see improvements in your prostate symptoms and health.

Vitamins and Supplements May Not Be The Panacea To Good Health For Women

October 23, 2011

50% of Americans take vitamins and supplements. In 2003, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that roughly half of Americans reported taking at least one dietary supplement, creating nearly $20 billion in annual industry profits. And dietary supplement use becomes more common as people get older. The numbers of women who reported taking supplements increased over time — from 63 percent in 1986, to 75 percent in 1997 and 85 percent in 2004.
A recent study shows that for some women, especially older women, were at a slightly increased risk of death and increased risk of developing cancer. For the nutrient conscious, a daily capsule of vitamins and minerals might seem like a sure way to get all the necessary nutrients you could miss in your diet. But a new study from the Annals of Internal Medicine reports that those supplements may not be helpful, and in some cases, could even be harmful for older women.
The study looked at more than 38,000 women age 55 and older who participated in the study since the mid-1980s. The researchers found that when it came to reducing the risk of death, most supplements had no effect on women’s health.
In fact, women who took certain kinds of dietary supplements — vitamin B6, folic acid, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron and multivitamins — faced a slightly higher risk of death than women who did not. Only women who took supplemental calcium showed any reduction in their risk of death.
The findings add to a growing collection of research showing that people who take dietary supplements are getting few health benefits in return. I would conclude that supplements are not protective against chronic diseases.
Experts noted that supplements are beneficial for people who have some kind of nutritional deficiency, like anemia or osteoporosis. But many people who take dietary supplements are healthy and just want to be healthier.
Bottom Line: Based on this new study, people should be even a little more cautious now about taking these supplements. Before starting on a course of vitamins and supplements, speak to your doctor. The best way to ensure that you’re getting all the nutrients you need is still to eat a well-balanced diet.

Vitamin E May Not Be All That It is Cracked Up To Be

October 11, 2011

For years we have told our patients that large daily doses of vitamin E, long touted as a virtual wonder drug containing cancer-fighting anti-oxidants could protect against cancer, heart disease, dementia and other ailments, increase the risk for prostate cancer among middle-aged men.
In 2001 he National Institutes of Health launched a $119 million project to study prostate cancer after laboratory studies and some clinical data indicated that the anti-oxidant vitamin E and selenium might protect against prostate cancer, the second most common cancer and cancer killer in men.
The study followed more than 35,533 men age 50 or older at 427 sites in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. The men were divided into four groups who took daily doses of 400 international units of vitamin E and 200 micrograms of selenium; vitamin E and a placebo that looked like selenium; selenium and a placebo that looked like vitamin E; or two placebos.
An independent panel monitoring the experiment halted the study in 2008 when it became clear there was no benefit and indications emerged the supplements might be increasing the risk for prostate cancer and diabetes.

The analysis of data from more than 35,000 healthy men concluded that those who took vitamin E every day at the relatively large dose levels were 17 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer.
The study concluded that vitamin E is unlikely to help prevent prostate cancer but it apparently could harm the very men who were taking the vitamin for its beneficial effect.

The findings were recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and are the latest in a series of carefully designed experiments that have found that vitamins and other dietary supplements are useless or possibly dangerous.
Bottom Line: If you are taking vitamin E, I suggest you discuss this with your physician and be certain that the beneficial effects are worth the increased risk of taking vitamin E.
Neil Baum is a urologist and a clinical faculty member at Tulane and LSU medical schools in New Orleans. He blogs at Blog: Dr. Neil Baum’s Urology Blog