Testosterone and Prostate Cancer

16 02 2011

Historically, testosterone was thought to cause prostate cancer. In fact, if your testosterone level is low, your doctor may still believe that giving you bioidentical testosterone will lead to cancer and he or she may caution you against it. It’s very important to understand the current research regarding hormones and prostate cancer. A recent meta-analysis of 18 prospective studies examined the relationship between hormones and prostate cancer risk. Overall, data from nearly 4,000 men with prostate cancer and more than 6,000 control subjects (men without prostate cancer) was pooled. No association was seen between the risk of prostate cancer and levels of testosterone, free testosterone, or dihydrotestestosterone (DHT). In addition, there was no association with other hormones such as androstenedione, estradiol, or free estradiol.
Curiously, some studies have shown an association between low testosterone levels and prostate cancer. , In addition, other studies have reported that low testosterone levels are associated with more aggressive prostate cancers (advanced pathological stage and higher Gleason score). –

A recent pivotal study strongly suggests that testosterone supplementation does not lead to prostate cancer. In this study, 44 men with late-onset hypogonadism (low testosterone) were randomized to receive testosterone or placebo for 6 months. Prostate biopsies were performed prior to the study to rule out prostate cancer and to determine tissue levels of testosterone and DHT (dihydrotestosterone—the potent metabolite of testosterone) within the prostate gland itself. After six months, the 40 men who completed the study underwent repeat biopsies. Although testosterone treatment led to normal serum testosterone levels (median serum testosterone at baseline was 282 ng/dl versus 640 ng/dl after 6 mos), no significant changes were reported regarding levels of testosterone or DHT in the prostate, and no changes associated with prostate cancer were found.

Prostate cancer prevention

As you now know, one man in six will develop prostate cancer in his lifetime, and the risk increases with age. Most men with prostate cancer do not die from the disease. Prostate cancer may be preventable by following these guidelines:

• Eat more than two servings of lycopene rich foods per week (e.g., tomatoes, carrots, watermelon, and papaya).

• Include at least five servings of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, mustard greens, cabbage) in your diet every week.

• Keep meat consumption to a minimum (especially charred, barbequed, or processed meat).

• Avoid excess dairy products and saturated fat.

• If you’re overweight or obese, commit to a weight-loss plan. Men who gain a significant amount of weight after age 21 have a higher risk for prostate cancer.

• Supplement with vitamins E and D, selenium, and fish oil.

In Health

Dr. Kathryn Retzler



>What you should know about Vitamin D

9 06 2010

>You may be surprised to learn that active vitamin D is actually a hormone. Vitamin D receptors have been found in the brain, heart, skin, and white blood cells. The reproductive organs such as the ovaries, breasts, testes, and prostate gland also contain vitamin D receptors.

Vitamin D performs several functions in your body. It has long been known that vitamin D regulates calcium and phosphorous in the bloodstream and promotes bone formation and mineralization. New research is revealing the role vitamin D plays in the immune system. For example, vitamin D enhances phagocytosis, a process by which certain white blood cells engulf bacteria, dead cells, and other debris. Vitamin D also plays a role in preventing autoimmune diseases. Low vitamin D has been associated with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, and fibromyalgia. People who suffer from muscle and chronic pain, psoriasis, heart disease, and breast, prostate, and colon cancers are also more likely to have low vitamin D levels.

Perhaps the most exciting research about vitamin D is its ability to prevent some cancers. Vitamin D appears to play a role in cell proliferation (division) and differentiation (making sure dividing cells don’t become cancerous cells). In addition, vitamin D is involved in proper death of unhealthy or old cells, a process known as “apoptosis,” and in the prevention of blood vessel formation to feed existing cancers, known as “angiogenesis.”

The first randomized, placebo-controlled trial evaluating vitamin D supplementation and the incidence of cancer was published, in 2007—in that study, women using 1100 IU of vitamin D3 daily for 4 years had a 60% lower cancer risk than the placebo group. When patients who were diagnosed with cancer during the first year of the study were excluded (with the assumption that they likely had cancer when they entered the study), the reduction was 77%. This is exciting news since there aren’t many supplements that have been shown to lower cancer risk by such a large margin.

Vitamin D is also an important anti-aging hormone since it actually slows the shortening of your telomeres —the end segments of chromosomes that protect your DNA. Optimal vitamin D levels are thought to slow your speed of aging by at least 5 years.

Your skin makes vitamin D from exposure to the sun. As you age, however, your skin becomes less able to make vitamin D. When taking vitamin D, it’s important to measure and monitor vitamin D levels closely. Too much vitamin D can cause calcification of soft tissues and an increased risk of kidney stones. It’s especially important to monitor your levels if you are supplementing with doses greater than 2,000 IU of D3 per day.

You can find additional information about Vitamin D3, Hormones, and Optimal Aging please visit my website or purchase a copy of my new book by calling our office.

In Health.

Dr. Kathryn Retzler

What to look for when purchasing supplements

1 06 2010

In my practice I’ve seen many patients come in with a shopping bag or tackle box full of pills, proudly showcasing the huge number of supplements they take. Many supplement takers eat an unhealthy diet, skimp on sleep, remain sedentary, and live high stress lives. I’m dismayed that people think taking pills or dietary supplements, natural or pharmaceutical, is a reasonable substitute for a healthy lifestyle and life-affirming diet. Therefore, if you’re hoping to find the magic herbs, supplements or nutrients that will enable you to skip the the first 6 steps to optimal aging and hormone balance as outlined in my new book, you’ll be disappointed to know there aren’t any. If you are already following the first 6 steps as much as possible, there are exceptional quality supplements, often referred to as “nutraceuticals,” that can certainly help in your quest to attain hormone balance and optimal aging.

It’s important to keep in mind that not all supplements are alike, no matter what the manufacturer or label may claim. Make sure the supplements you take are made in facilities that have pharmaceutical certification or are certified for good manufacturing practices (GMP) by the NPA (Natural Products Association), NSF (National Sanitation Foundation International), or TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration of Australia). This certification ensures that the products you use are of exceptional quality.

Besides coming from GMP-certified companies, ideally the supplements you take should be scientifically evaluated to verify the presence and concentration of active constituents. Few supplement manufacturers conduct clinical trials on their formulas to document safety and effectiveness. This is because research is very expensive to perform. However, purchasing supplements that are documented for safety and effectiveness is a reliable investment in your health.

In addition to quality assurance and evaluation via clinical trials, look for bioavailable forms of nutrients and dosages. Consider the supplements you take to be as important as any medications prescribed by your doctor. In fact, you may consider them to be more important than medications since they can help you prevent the “polypharmacy” that is standard of care for aging Americans (remember, 25% of all Medicare patients use six or more drugs every day).

Using one of the most respected pharmaceutical supplement companies in the country, I have created my own unique anti-aging formula (based on what myself and my husband take every day) that contains what I believe to be the essentials for Optimal Aging and Hormone Balance. This unique daily formula was designed to support adrenal gland function and resistance to stress, and to promote optimal brain, bone, cardiovascular, hormone, and immune function.

These twice-a-day packets contain a multivitamin and mineral supplement and a potent antioxidant “green food” that includes the ORAC equivalent of 4-5 servings of organic fruits and vegetables. Extra vitamin D, bioavailable folate, reduced Coenzyme Q10, fish oil, and resveratrol enhance optimal aging and youthful energy levels.

To find out additional information, please visit my clinic website.

In Health.