Psst, men–and all of you who care about men, growing boys or your own hormonal balance. How’s your DHT? That’s the powerful male hormone driving adolescent acne, then early hair loss, then later in life, prostate cancer, worldwide the second most common cancer in men. It may also promote polycystic ovary syndrome and some ovarian and breast cancers.
Short of ejaculating more often (if you believe this research, at least 21 times monthly– and not a sure fire solution), how can you tame that naughty testosterone?
Tip #1: Actually, it’s a Rule. Get off COW’S MILK.
Milk is a mammal’s way of passing on its code for growth—postnatal doping, says German dermatologist Dr. Bodo Melnik, who’s been investigating milk’s mechanisms for years. Most mammals wean their young, but not us humans.
Milk’s problems are three-fold, says Melnik:
- its hardware– amino acids, or proteins that send messages to cells, telling them to grow (Recall this discussion?)
- its own natural hormones, including the two classes of sex steroid hormones that we all make, no matter our gender: androgens (classic male ones such as testosterone) and estrogens, and
- his most recent discovery, milk’s software– molecules (of microRNA) that regulate, and dysregulate, whole groups of genes.
All three combine to enhance the activity of your sex steroid hormones, including your DHT.
DHT stimulates your oil-producing glands and suppresses the growth of hair on the front and top of your scalp. It activates many genes involved in the cancer process and concentrates in your prostate. There it encourages cells to grow, leading first to an enlarged gland, then perhaps to full scale cancer.
The mTOR connection: sustained proliferation
Working together, milk’s hardware, software and natural hormones dysregulate important genes that protect against cancer and activate the faulty cell signaling process that spurs progression of the disease. They flip open a molecular switch, called mTOR, allowing cells to continually send messages to grow, grow, grow—and never die, like every good cell should.
Remember the positive feedback loop, or Dance of Anger, we talked about exactly two years ago today–the pattern that derails systems? I hit you, you hit me back, etc., etc, and before you know it, our noses look like they’re dripping with anthocyanins, those red-blue-purple-black pigments produced by plants. Overactive mTOR signaling may then drive production of even more testosterone, says Melnik, which in turn helps keep the switch open.
“Sustained proliferation is the most critical hallmark of cancer,” he says. “That is what milk is doing, a program of mammalian evolution intended to be operative only in the postnatal nursing period and not for life-long abuse!”
And especially not for drinking during puberty, he says, a period when genes are particularly sensitive and hormones and cell growth are already in overdrive. In this study, daily milk consumption during adolescence more than tripled the risk of aggressive prostate cancer later in life. That’s “of critical concern ,” he says.
Don’t take my word for it. Check out
- Melnik’s recent work here and interview here (and other work here)
- Canada/Dartmouth’s late Dr. William Danby, who began investigating the milk-acne connection back in the 1970s and decades later called milk ” ‘nature’s perfect food’ for the creation of acne.”
- Harvard’s Dr. Walter Willet, whose research has shown that milk doesn’t protect against broken bones and may even promote fractures and who once told a McGill University symposium on milk: “(T)he evidence that milk consumption is related to prostate cancer risk is actually very strong, specifically for aggressive and fatal prostate cancers.” (Since I published that quote in 2014, McGill has removed the information about the conference from its website. I know association doesn’t prove a causal connection, but if you’re reading this, McGill, mind telling us why? )
Tip # 2: Drink GREEN TEA instead. Use high quality leaves and/or matcha, green tea powder. For acne, applying tea topically may also help.
Green tea is one of several plant foods that help flip back the open mTOR switch and thus put the brakes on incessant cell growth. It also seems to inhibit the enzymes that produce DHT. In this recent review of many randomized clinical trials, green tea’s phytonutrients were found to “significantly inhibit prostate cancer” in patients with precancerous prostate growth–even better than lycopene, which we’ll get to soon.
Tip #3: Snack on PUMPKIN SEEDS.
Oils in pumpkin seeds also seem to block those enzymes.
Toast a handful very, very lightly (on low heat, without oil) to bring out their flavor. Add some rosemary--which may also block DHT. You can also buy them already sprouted, which makes their zinc more bioavailable and their taste, pop.
TIP #4: Indulge in foods rich in POH (perillyl alcohol), a phytonutrient, or its precursor, D-limonene– such as CITRUS ZEST and many HERBS and SPICES.
In studies of human prostate cancer cells, POH helps control androgens; both forms “have been shown to be chemopreventive against various types of human cancers. “
Top sources include:
- Fruits: cherries, citrus peel, cranberries
- Mints: lemon balm, peppermint, spearmint
- Italian herbs: rosemary, sage, thyme
- Chai spices: cinnamon, coriander, ginger, nutmeg
- black pepper, caraway and celery seeds
TIP #5: Worried about your post-natal milk doping habits? It’s never too late. Adopt a whole foods plant-based diet to get your cell signaling pathways–and DHT– under control.
Plants are filled with phytonutrients that help flip back the mTOR switch and halt unwanted cell growth, including
- lycopene (in processed tomato products)
- isoflavones and spermidine (in beans, including soybeans)
- sulfur compounds and selenium (in alliums and crucifers)
- quercetin (in capers, dill, the outer layers of onions)
- ellagic acid (in walnuts, pomegranate seeds, seedy berries)
- curcumin (in turmeric)
- piperine (in black pepper)
- anthocyanins and resveratrol (in many blood-colored fruits),
to name a few.
Overactive mTOR signaling “drives all diseases of civilization,” Melnik says, including “obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases.”
Hey, Johnny (my husband, pictured above–mild acne scars, some balding, brain function still intact), you listening yet?
My reply is a question: Does, what you say so convincingly about milk apply to the fermented milk peoducts yogurt, kefir, cheese? I do not drink milk but consume a fair but of (homemade) kefir.
Pushing 86, I am on no mainstream meds and still have a complaints-free prostate. For prostate health I place my bets, apart from a wholesome lifestyle, on a diet largely of raw food, on pumpkin seed and on “das kleine Weidenroeslein,” — small-flour willow herb.
Ambros Prechtl, ND PhD
Thank you, Ambros, for your very important question–and kudos to you on your good health, long life! Melnik says that milk products fermented with probiotic bacteria (kefir, yoghurt) have a lower risk profile because fermentation, boiling and ultraheat treatments destroy milk’s software system–the molecules of microRNA. (In contrast, a substantial amount of software survives pasteurization and homogenization.) See this article https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5556685/
Mind telling us about your willow herb?