The FDA announced a label revision for the 5-alpha reductase inhibitor (ARI) prostate and hair loss drugs, including finasteride (Proscar) and dusteride (Propecia). The revision follows the results of two large studies that looked at using these drugs for preventing prostate cancer. Both studies found that while the ARIs lowered the risk of low grade prostate cancers, they also slightly increased the risk of higher grade, more aggressive prostate cancers. The label revisions warn men of the increased risk of high grade prostate cancer.
Alpha reductase is an enzyme that blocks the conversion of testosterone to the more potent dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which can stimulate prostate growth and is associated with prostate cancer. ARIs can also cause sexual dysfunction, including low libido and impotence.
What does all this have to do with oestrogen levels in men? Testosterone can also be converted to oestrogen, via the aromatase enzyme. Aromatase inhibitors are used to treat breast cancer patients, but have been largely ignored, until recently, for the treatment of prostate disease. In Hormone Balance for Men, Dr. John Lee postulated that in addition to DHT, it was oestrogen dominance that causes prostate enlargement and prostate cancer. He pointed out that men start having prostate problems when their testosterone levels are dropping and oestrogen levels are rising.
A 2010 editorial in The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology commenting on data on oestrogen and prostate disease points out that, “Overall, these data reveal that homeostasis in the normal prostate involves a finely tuned balance between androgens and oestrogens. This has identified oestrogen, in addition to androgens, as integral to maintaining normal prostate health, but also as an important mediator of prostate disease.”
The good news is that men do not need to wait for research on oestrogen and prostate disease to trickle down to the doctor’s office in a decade or two; they can reduce their oestrogen levels starting now:
2) Lose the belly fat. Testosterone specifically converts to oestrogen in belly fat. The fact that man boobs go hand-in-hand with belly fat is not a coincidence.
3) Avoid xenoestrogens, or environmental oestrogens such as pesticides, plastics, fragrances (e.g. found in laundry soap, fabric softeners, shaving cream, cologne, air fresheners etc). Do not microwave food in plastic!
4) Try to eat organic meat. Livestock used for food is treated with oestrogens before slaughter to increase weight, both via fat and water retention.
Avoid drugs that increase estrogen levels or decrease testosterone levels, such as H2 blockers (Tagamet, Zantac), benzodiazepines (Valium, Xanax), some heart medications (Lanoxin, Norvasc), and some antibiotics (ketoconazole, metronidazole).
5) Take a small amount of Natural Progesterone morning and night to prevent oestrogen dominant cancers. This will protect your prostate and help to prevent testicular and breast cancers as well.
Carruba G, “Estrogen and prostate cancer: an eclipsed truth in an androgen-dominated scenario,” J Cell Biochem. 2007 Nov 1;102(4):899-911.
Ellem SJ, Risbridger GP, “Aromatase and regulating the estrogen:androgen ratio in the prostate gland,” J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2010 Feb 28;118(4-5):246-51.
Nakajima Y, Akaogi K, Suzuki T et al, “Oestrogen regulates tumour growth through a nonclassical pathway that includes the transcription factors ERβ and KLF5,” Sci Signal, 12 April 2011 Vol. 4, Issue 168, p. ra2