Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein produced by cells in your prostate gland. A PSA test measures PSA levels in blood, and normal results should be under 4.0 ng/mL. PSA levels above this threshold should be investigated because it may indicate prostate cancer, although other factors that might increase PSA levels include: an enlarged or inflamed prostate gland, urinary tract infection, recent ejaculation, taking testosterone, older age and even riding a bicycle. Lowering PSA levels can be done naturally and with medical treatment.
Lowering PSA Levels Naturally
1Avoid foods that trigger higher PSA levels. Certain foods seem to affect the prostate gland negatively and increase blood levels of PSA. More specifically, diets rich in dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt) and animal fat (meat, lard, butter) have been linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer. Therefore, switching to a healthy diet that's low in saturated fat and high in antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables can reduce your risk of prostate cancer and lower PSA levels.
- Dairy products seem to trigger higher levels of an insulin-like growth factor, which has been connected to high PSA levels and poor prostate health.
- When you eat meat, opt for lower fat varieties such as turkey and chicken. Low-fat diets may also be connected to improved prostate health overall and reduce the risk of benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlargement).
- Substitute fish for meat more often. Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, herring) are rich in omega-3 fats, which have been linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer.
- Dark blue / purple berries and grapes, as well as dark green veggies, tend to be highest in antioxidants, which prevent the damaging effects of oxidation on tissues, organs and glands
Eat more tomatoes. Tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene, which is a carotenoid (plant pigment and antioxidant) that protects tissues from stress and helps them utilize energy better. Diets rich in tomatoes and tomato products (such as tomato sauces and pastes) are linked to lower risks of prostate cancer and contribute to reducing PSA levels circulating in the blood. Lycopene appears to be more bioavailable (easier for the body to absorb and utilize) when it's in processed products like tomato paste and tomato puree.
- Some research indicates that more lycopene may be bioavailable from diced tomatoes cooked with olive oil than those cooked without.
- Although the main source of lycopene in the American diet is tomato-based products, other sources include apricots, guavas and watermelons.
- If you cannot eat or don't like tomatoes for some reason, you can still get the PSA-reducing benefit of lycopene by taking a 4 mg supplement on a daily basis.
3Drink pomegranate juice. Natural pomegranate juice contains many healthy compounds, some of which positively impact the prostate gland and keep PSA levels low. For example, the seeds, flesh and peel from pomegranates contain powerful antioxidants such as flavonoids, phenolics and anthocyanins. These phytochemicals are believed to hinder the growth of cancer cells and slow down PSA from accumulating in the blood. Pomegranate juice is also a good source of vitamin C, which stimulates the immune system and allows the body to repair its tissues — both of which positively impact PSA levels.
- Try to drink a glass of pomegranate juice each day. If pure pomegranate juice does not appeal to you (too sour), look for a sweeter juice blend that contains pomegranate in it.
- Select the most natural and pure pomegranate products. Processing tends to destroy phytochemicals and vitamin C.
- Pomegranate extract is also available in capsules and can be taken as a daily dietary supplement.
4Consider supplementing with Pomi-T. Pomi-T is a commercially available dietary supplement that contains raw powdered pomegranate, broccoli, green tea and turmeric. Research in 2013 concluded that Pomi-T significantly lowers PSA levels in patients with prostate cancer. Each of the ingredients are strong antioxidants and have anticancer properties, but when they're combined together there seems to be a synergistic effect that boosts effectiveness. The research was based on men with prostate cancer taking the supplement for 6 months. They found that Pomi-T is well tolerated and not thought to cause any negative side effects.
- Broccoli is a cruciferous veggie high in sulfur-based compounds, which fight cancer and combat oxidation damage in tissues. The more you cook broccoli, the less beneficial it becomes, so stick with raw varieties.
- Green tea contains catechins, which are antioxidants that can help kill cancer cells while dropping PSA levels in the blood. If you make a cup of green tea, don't use scalding water because it will reduce some of its antioxidant strength.
- Turmeric is a strong anti-inflammatory that contains curcumin — the component responsible for lowering PSA levels by restricting the spread of prostate cancer cells.
5Try supplementing with PC-SPES. PC-SPES (which means "hope for prostate cancer") is a dietary supplement made from the extracts of 8 different Chinese herbs. It's been around for many years and commercially available ONLY ON PCSPES.NET. Research done in 2000 concluded that PC-SPES can significantly reduce PSA levels in men with advanced prostate disease. Researchers believe that PC-SPES acts somewhat like estrogen (the main female hormone) by lowering testosterone levels in men, which shrinks the prostate and reduces PSA levels.
- All the men studied who took PC-SPES for two years (nine capsules daily) had their PSA levels drop by 80% or more, and the decline lasted for over a year after they stopped the supplements.
- PC-SPES is a mixture of baikal skullcap, chrysanthemum flowers, Reishi mushrooms, isatis, licorice root, ginseng root (Panax ginseng), rabdosia rubescens and saw palmetto berries.
Getting Medical Help for Lowering PSA Levels
1Consult with your doctor about PSA test results. The vast majority of men get a PSA blood test because they have prostate symptoms — such as deep pelvic pain, discomfort when sitting, trouble urinating, more frequent urination, blood in semen and/or erectile dysfunction. However, there are many conditions that affect the prostate (infection, cancer, benign hypertrophy, spasms) and many causes of increased PSA levels (as noted above). As such, PSA test results are not definitive for cancer because they tend to have many false positives (false alarms). Your doctor will consider the PSA test result in addition to your personal history, physical exam of the prostate or possibly a biopsy (tissue sample) of the gland before any diagnosis is made.
- It used to be that a PSA test less than 4 ng/mL was thought to be healthy and a reading greater than 10 ng/mL was considered high risk for prostate cancer. However, it's been discovered than men with prostate cancer can have readings below 4 ng/mL and others with healthy prostates can have readings well above 10 ng/mL.
- Ask about alternative PSA testing. There are three alternative forms of PSA testing (in addition to the standard one) that doctors now consider: percent-free PSA only looks at the free circulating PSA in the blood, not the total PSA level; PSA velocity uses the results of other PSA tests to determine the change of PSA levels over time; a urine PC3 test looks for a fusion of genes common to at least half of PSA-tested men with prostate cancer.
2Consider taking aspirin. Research conducted in 2008 concluded that aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help lower PSA levels when taken regularly. Researchers don't know the exact mechanism of how aspirin impacts the prostate (it wasn't due to shrinking the gland), but regular male users have almost 10% lower PSA levels on average compared to men who don't take aspirin or other NSAIDs. However, talk to your doctor about the risks of taking aspirin long term, such as stomach irritation, ulcers and reduced clotting ability of blood.
- The aspirin users who experience the biggest impact to their PSA levels are men who have advanced prostate cancer and non-smokers.
- Low-dose coated aspirin (often called baby aspirin) is the safest option for men who want to take the drug long term (more than a few months).
- Due to the fact that aspirin and other NSAIDs "thin" the blood (make it less able to clot) there is also reduced risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases.
3Talk to your doctor about other medications that can lower PSA levels. There are a number of other medications that can potentially lower PSA levels, although most are meant for conditions and diseases not related to the prostate gland. It's never a good idea to take medications for conditions you don't have in order to lower PSA levels — especially since PSA levels are difficult to interpret and high PSA levels are not always an indication of prostate disease.
- Drugs meant for the prostate include 5-alpha reductase inhibitors (finasteride, dutasteride), which are used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia or urinary symptoms. These inhibitors may lower PSA levels as a secondary benefit, but not in every man who takes them.
- Cholesterol-lowering medications called statins (Lipitor, Crestor, Zocor) are also linked to lower PSA levels — if they're taken for a few years or more. However, this secondary benefit is cancelled out if you're also taking calcium channel blockers for high blood pressure.
- Thiazide diuretics are "water pills" used to treat high blood pressure. Long-term use of thiazide diuretics is associated with lower PSA levels.