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Prostate Gland

A compound tubuloalveolar exocrine gland

The prostate is an exocrine* gland and an important part of the male reproductive system. Its function is to produce and store the slightly alkaline and milky-white coloured solution known as pre-cum and to help expel semen during ejaculation. During ejaculation, the muscles in the prostate contract and accelerate the ejaculate out through the penis and the pre-cum or prostatic / seminal fluid helps to neutralize the acidity of the vaginal tract, prolong the lifespan of sperm, increase the intensity of orgasm and increase the chance of impregnation.

The prostate gland surrounds the urethra and is located on the pelvic floor just below the urinary bladder and it can be felt during a rectal exam. Slightly larger than a walnut, the prostate and is sheathed in the muscles of the pelvic floor, which contract during the ejaculatory process.
prostate[1]
The function of the prostate is to store and secrete a slightly alkaline fluid that is milky or white in appearance and usually constitutes 25-30% of the volume of the semen along with spermatozoa and seminal vesicle fluid. The alkalinity of semen helps neutralize the acidity of the vaginal tract, prolonging the lifespan of sperm.

The alkalinization of semen is primarily accomplished through secretion from the seminal vesicles which are just above the prostate. The prostatic fluid is expelled in the first ejaculate fractions together with most of the spermatozoa. In comparison with the few spermatozoa expelled together with mainly seminal vesicular fluid those expelled in prostatic fluid have better motility, longer survival and better protection of the genetic material.

Within the prostate, the urethra coming from the bladder is called the prostatic urethra and merges with the two ejaculatory ducts. (The male urethra has two functions: to carry urine from the bladder during urination and to carry semen during ejaculation.)

Prostate Growth Triggers

The prostate gland grows continuously and in some men, excessive growth makes the prostate large enough to obstruct urine flow and cause other urinary problems.

  1. Decrease in Testosterone and Increase in Estrogen
    As a men age, changes in the normal levels of sex hormones occur and the amount of the male hormone, testosterone decreases relative to the increasing amount of circulating oestrogen.  Oestrogen is the main female reproductive hormone which also circulates in men and the relative increase in circulating oestrogen stimulates the production of the testosterone derivative DHT which promotes cell growth in the prostate gland, but high oestrogen levels have been linked to the development of prostate cancer.
  2. Role of DHT Changes
    Prostate gland development is also caused by the conversion of testosterone into DHT (dihydrotestosterone). As ageing occurs, the amount of DHT in the prostate gland remains high, even through the circulating testosterone level drops. High levels of prostate DHT promotes cell growth and leads to enlargement.

Prostate problems

Like any other body part, sometimes the prostate can become unwell and few men ever suffer any prostate problems until later life. Some men with experience some prostate swelling or enlargement which typically occurs once they are over 50 years of age. While men of knowledge and access to quality traditional medicines could get herbal prostate support products from their doctors, for the majority of Western me, up to the 1970's, this was treated with Prostate massage, however the embarrassment of this simple and effective treatment was off putting for many and left untreated, an enlarged prostate was ripe for cancer to develop. Since the 1970's, new drugs have been developed that can help to reduce prostate enlargement but at a price as most drugs have some unpleasant side effects. Today due to the demand, herbal prostate support products like Ayurstate are more readily available and they work to support overall health as well as that of the prostate.

The other problem that affects as many as one in six men is prostate cancer. No one really knows what causes cancer other than it is a natural process of decay that can be remedied with appropriate lifestyle changes and nutritional support, or; chemotherapy and surgery to remove the prostate.

Nutrition

We are what we eat and food used wisely is medicine providing nutritional support for prostate health. As stated under diet & nutrition, an organic whole foods diet is optimal for our health. Therefore include whole grains and whole grin products that contribute to your overall health and wellbeing.

Allium vegetables including onions, garlic, leeks, chives, shallots and spring onions (scallions) are rich sources of flavonoids and active sulphur compounds. These powerful natural substances delay and restrain the development of the prostate cancer cells. They also reduce the risk of developing additional health complications and infections.

Pumpkin seeds contain the Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) and Zinc as do fish oils which supply omega 3 fatty acids and According to experts at Mayo Clinic, fatty fish should be consumed at least twice a week.

* Exocrine glands are glands that secrete their products (hormones) into ducts (duct glands). They are the counterparts to endocrine glands, which secrete their products (hormones) directly into the bloodstream (ductless glands) or release hormones (paracrines) that affect only target cells nearby the release site.

Further reading
Ayurstate for all prostate difficulties
Prostate massage
Yoga for Prostate health
Prostate cancer

References
Images courtesy of Wikipedia
Books about Prostate
Pub Med - allium vegetables reduce cancer risk
Mayo Clinic

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