Hypothyroidism: How To Feel Happy, Healthy, and Energetic

Hypothyroidism

The thyroid gland controls metabolic rate and is the energy powerhouse of every cell in your body.  Proper thyroid function influences digestion, circulation, brain chemistry, skin quality, energy, and much more.  Think of thyroid hormone essentially being the gas pedal that drives metabolism.  If that gas pedal eases off, it slows down the function of your whole body.

Approximately 30 million women and 15 million men in this country have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone.  Common symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, weight gain, poor memory, difficulty concentrating, constipation, low libido, intolerance to cold, dry skin, hair loss, depression, gynecologic issues, cardiovascular conditions, skin problems, and lots more.

There are several theories as to why hypothyroidism is so prevalent.  Potential contributing factors include environmental toxins like Bisphenol A (BPA) from plastics, heavy metals like mercury and lead, living in our fast-paced high stress society, and pesticides and fungicides in our food supply.

Subclinical Hypothyroidism

Currently, the most accurate way to diagnose hypothyroidism is to measure the amount of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) in the blood.  For overt cases of hypothyroidism the TSH is a reliable test.  The problem with this test however is that it does not identify people in the grey area with less pronounced disease.  Hypothyroidism is not a condition of you either have it or you don’t.  Many people have an under-functioning thyroid gland with many symptoms of hypothyroidism but their lab tests come back normal.  We classify these people as having “subclinical hypothyroidism.”  In my experience, people experiencing hypothyroid symptoms with a TSH between 3.0 and 5.0 (within the normal range) often profoundly benefit from thyroid treatment.

Hashimoto’s

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is the most common cause of overt hypothyroidism.  It is an autoimmune condition where the body’s own immune system is attacking the thyroid gland and through this destruction, causes a decrease in thyroid hormone production.

Anyone newly diagnosed with hypothyroidism should be screened for Hashimoto’s with a simple blood test looking for thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPO) and thyroglobulin antibodies.  If you have Hashimoto’s make sure your physician is working with you to not only replace your thyroid hormone, but also to decrease your thyroid antibodies.

Treatment Options

To understand your treatment options for hypothyroidism you must first understand how thyroid hormone works in the body.  T4 is the less active thyroid hormone and constitutes the majority of thyroid gland secretion.  As T4 circulates throughout the body it is converted to T3, the more active form of thyroid hormone which drives metabolism.  Along with T4, the thyroid gland also secretes some T3 as well as the less recognized hormones T1 and T2.

The most widely used treatment for hypothyroidism is replacement with synthetic T4 hormone.  Some people do fine on this replacement and never need another option.  Others will see their labs normalize, but they do not feel significant improvement in their symptoms.  I have found the majority of these people will feel much better with desiccated thyroid hormone that contains 80% T4 and 20% T3 as well as trace amounts of T1 and T2.

Conclusions

If you are experiencing fatigue, brain fog, difficulty losing weight, or other symptoms of hypothyroidism and your thyroid labs have always been within the normal range, you may have “subclinical hypothyroidism.”

If you are taking synthetic thyroid replacement but still do not feel well, you may benefit from a trial of dessicated (natural) thyroid hormone which contains all four thyroid hormones instead of just T4.

Hashimoto’s is a very common cause of hypothyroidism and can sometimes be overlooked in the initial work-up of hypothyroidism.  If you are hypothyroid make sure your physician has tested for thyroid antibodies.  If you have Hashimoto’s make sure your physician is working with you to decrease your autoimmune response as well as treat your low thyroid function.

In Health,

Dr. Ryan Sweeney

Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Root Natural Health, Flagstaff, Arizona

Advertisements

Preventing Heart Disease- Beyond Cholesterol

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States.  There is a growing body of research demonstrating that cholesterol levels are no longer the best indicator of a person’s risk for a heart attack or stroke.  In fact, half of the people who suffer a heart attack have completely normal cholesterol levels.  Recent studies have shown that lowering cholesterol alone had no benefit on preventing a person’s first heart attack or stroke.  Medical research is showing that far better indicators for risk of heart attack or stroke are oxidative stress, size of lipid particles, and inflammation status.

Cholesterol

Cholesterol plays several important roles in the body.  It is the backbone of all steroid hormones including testosterone, estrogen, cortisol, and vitamin D which are responsible for blood sugar regulation, mineral balance, blood pressure regulation, libido, and much more.  Cholesterol is a component of bile salts which help us to properly digest fats and it’s role in the brain makes it vital for learning and memory.  Cholesterol is the major component of the cell wall and is responsible for maintaining the integrity of every cell in the body.  It is so vital for health that every cell in the body has the ability to produce cholesterol and we could not survive without it.

Eighty percent of the cholesterol in your blood was actually produced by your own body,  the other twenty percent comes from the diet.  As more cholesterol is consumed in the diet, the body makes less.  Studies have actually shown very little correlation between the amount of cholesterol consumed in the diet and blood cholesterol levels because of this regulatory system.

That is not to say that eating an unhealthy diet full of greasy burgers and french fries will not lead to heart disease, quite the contrary.  But the cause is not about the amount of cholesterol so much as how these foods effect blood sugar regulation, fat deposition, inflammation, lipid particle size, and oxidization of fats.

Oxidative Stress

When oxygen is processed by the body, reactive oxygen species (free radicals) are formed.  Under healthy conditions, the body neutralizes the majority of these metabolites with circulating antioxidants.  When there is not a sufficient quantity of antioxidants available to limit oxidative damage, reactive oxygen species can cause damage to local tissues.  In the cardiovascular system this is especially important because when vessels are damaged plaques can form leading to atherosclerosis and heart disease.

Methods of reducing oxidative stress include eating a colorful whole foods diet, reducing inflammatory substances like trans-fats, cigarettes, alcohol and sugar and, when necessary, taking antioxidant supplements.

Size of Lipid Particles

Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL) are often referred to as the “bad cholesterol.” Under oxidative or inflammatory conditions, LDL particles can embed into vessel walls and form plaques that lead to heart disease.  Gathering evidence is demonstrating that assessing the size of LDL particles is a far better predictor for heart disease than the shear amount of LDL in the blood.  Smaller denser LDL particles have been strongly correlated with heart disease risk where larger “fluffier” LDL particles are not.  Two people with the same LDL levels can have much different risks of developing atherosclerosis depending if their LDL particles are small and dense or large and fluffy.

Inflammation

Inflammation is the body’s attempt to repair.  Think about what the healing process looks like when you cut yourself.  The skin gets red around the cut and slowly over time lays down new tissue until eventually the wound is closed and healed.  The same process happens when internal organs experience injury from extraneous sources.  A poor diet, chronic stress, smoking, inactivity, and poorly controlled blood sugar are just a few sources of chronic inflammation and repair deficit which greatly increase the chance of developing atherosclerosis and heart disease.

Summary

Anyone still taking a cholesterol lowering drug should discuss with their doctor whether it is still appropriate given the lack of evidence to support the efficacy of these drugs in preventing first time cardiovascular events.

The following tests can help determine individual risk of heart attack or stroke with better predictive value than cholesterol alone:  CRP-hs (inflammation), Homocysteine (detoxification and methylation), Oxidized HDL and LDL, and LDL Subfractions (lipid particle size).

References

1. Austin MA, Breslow JL, Hennekens CH, Buring JE, Willet WC, Krauss RM. Low-density lipoprotein sublass patterns and risk of myocardial infarction. JAMA 1988;260(13):1917-21.

2. Ridker PM et al. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:1557-1565.

3. Libby P. Inflammation and cardiovascular disease mechanisms. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006;83(suppl):456S-60S.

4. J Korean Med Sci 2009; 24 (Suppl 1): S115-S120

5. G Ital Cardiol (Rome). 2007 Jun;8(6):327-34. [High sensitivity of C-reactive protein in primary prevention]. Dipartimento di Medicina Interna, Malattie Cardiovascolari e Nefrourologiche, U.O.C. di Cardiologia, Cattedra di Malattie Cardiovascolari, A.O.U.P. Paolo Giaccone, Palermo.

6. Fernandez ML. Dietary cholesterol provided by eggs and plasma lipoproteins in healthy populations. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2006; 9(1): 8-12.

7. New York Times, “Drug Has No Benefit in Trial, Makers Say,” January 14, 2008

8. New York Times, “Cardiologists Question Delay of Data on 2 Drugs,” November 21, 2007

9. BusinessWeek.com, “Do Cholesterol Drugs Do Any Good?” January 17, 2008

Acid Reflux – Why Acid Blocking Medications Are Not the Solution

Acid reflux also known as GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) or heartburn affects millions of people on a daily basis.  As a result, acid blocking medications like Pepsid, Prilosec, and Nexium are some of the worlds best selling drugs with annual sales in the billions.  These powerful pharmaceutical drugs were originally developed and marketed as a short-term solution for severe cases of peptic ulcers with a suggested use of no longer than six weeks.  Despite this fact, the majority of patients I see who have reported reflux symptoms to their doctor have been placed on one of these medications as a long term solution and have been taking it for years.  Prilosec is even available over the counter now without a prescription.

The danger of taking these drugs in this fashion is that you need stomach acid to digest food and absorb nutrients properly.  Long term use of acid blocking medication has been shown to lead to a myriad of vitamin and mineral deficiencies like magnesium, calcium, and B12 and increased risk of osteoporosis, insomnia, depression, anemia, fatigue, nerve damage, and dementia.  Long term use of acid blockers can also lead to overgrowth of bacteria in the stomach and small intestine leading to peptic ulcer disease and irritable bowel syndrome.

The Underlying Cause

Believe it or not, acid reflux is not typically caused by too much stomach acid but by too little.  Confused?  Well here is a little anatomy and physiology lesson.

Your esophagus is separated from your stomach by a ring of muscles called the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES).  This sphincter is responsible for keeping the contents of the stomach including food and stomach acid from entering back up into the esophagus.    The single most important determinant of the LES staying closed and preventing acid reflux into the esophagus is adequate levels of stomach acid.  When there is sufficient acid production in the stomach there is direct feedback to the LES which causes  increased tone and prevents the stomach contents from rising back into the esophagus.  If stomach acid is low when food enters the stomach, the tone of the LES is compromised and is not able to keep the stomach contents, including acid, in the stomach thereby leading to acid reflux.

So what causes low stomach acid production?  On-the-go, high stress lifestyles fool our body into responding as if we are being chased by a tiger instead of peacefully eating dinner.  This stressed state leads to a decreased ability to properly digest our food.   Your nervous system has two main states you are constantly oscillating between.  A sympathetic nervous state is when you are being chased by the tiger and need to move quickly and make fast decisions, a.k.a. “fight-or-flight.”  A parasympathetic nervous state is the “rest-and-digest” state.  One of the main underlying causes for acid reflux is people are eating when they are in a sympathetic dominant state.  This causes insufficient stomach acid production leading to laxity in the LES and regurgitation of the stomach contents into the esophagus.  Bingo.

So why are acid blocking medications dispensed like candy for acid reflux?  The answer is in order to experience relief it is much simpler and quicker to just eliminate the acid altogether than to try and change someone’s lifestyle and dietary habits.  When you take an acid blocker the tone of the LES plummets, but there is no acid left to rise up into the esophagus.  Once again, suppressing the symptom but not treating the cause.

The Real Solution

The following are some simple steps you can take to address the underlying cause of acid reflux and get off your acid blocker for good.

  • Practice good food hygiene.  Take a few deep breaths before meals to relax, smell your food, chew your food thoroughly.  These simple steps will signal to your stomach and pancreas that food is coming and dramatically reduce incidence of acid reflux and increase absorption of vital nutrients.
  • Eat smaller meals slowly and more frequently.  Overeating causes distention of the stomach and decreases LES tone.
  • Get analyzed for a condition called hiatal hernia syndrome (not to be confused with an actual hiatal hernia).
  • Avoid foods and substances which tend to decrease tone of the LES.  Citrus fruits, tomatoes, chocolate, mint, spicy foods, alcohol, caffeine, oral progesterone, refined carbohydrates and cigarettes have all been correlated with decreased LES tone.
  • Find a doctor who will work with you to improve acid production in your stomach.  For more severe cases it is sometimes necessary to use a tapered dose of hydrochloric acid with digestive enzymes until the stomach can produce enough acid independently again.

Conclusions

Acid blocking drugs are effective at temporarily relieving heartburn but when taken long term can lead to serious health consequences.  The real underlying issue with acid reflux is insufficient tone in the lower esophageal sphincter which is caused by stress, improper mealtime habits, and a poor diet leading to decreased stomach acid levels. Addressing the underlying cause of this issue is very important for long term health and wellness.

 

Ryan Sweeney, NMD

Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Root Natural Health, Flagstaff AZ

Organic Shopping Guide: When is Buying Organic Important?

It is well-known that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables has wonderful health benefits, but what about the pesticide exposure from some produce.  It is important to consume fresh fruits and vegetables but how do you shop for the healthiest options while being mindful of your pocketbook.  The Environmental Workers Group (EWG) recently released the 2011 Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists to help consumers decide which types of produce are the most important to buy organic and which are less likely to have pesticide residues when conventional produce is purchased.  Below is the link for the shopping guide to help  guide consumers to purchasing the safest and healthiest produce.

EWG’s 2011 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce  

Make sure to eat your fruits and vegetables!

In health,

Drs. Carrie Norris and Ryan Sweeney

Naturopathic Physicians at Root Natural Health

Flagstaff, Arizona

Gluten: Why All the Hype?

Most Americans realize by now that a steady diet of cheeseburgers and soda will lead to heart disease and diabetes.  What they don’t know is there is another offender in the typical American diet that most people would never suspect to be causing them a problem.  That silent villain is gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, kamut, spelt, and oats.  Gluten is a major component of most breads, pastas, flour tortillas, and the majority of processed foods like crackers and cookies.  Gluten is the part of these foods that makes the dough light and fluffy yet still stick together.

For years it was thought that only people with Celiac disease had difficulty digesting gluten.  There is recent evidence however that there is a spectrum of gluten intolerance throughout our population that ranges from the mildly gluten sensitive to completely allergic (Celiac disease).  Current estimates are that six out of ten people are now gluten sensitive and would benefit from cutting gluten out of their diet.

Why is gluten such a problem?

The most likely reason is that the human digestive tract has not evolved to digest grasses yet, especially the new “super-gluten” molecule that has now taken over the majority of American wheat.  The term “super-gluten” applies to American wheat strains which have a much higher gluten content than their European counterparts.  It is how we are able to produce such giant bagels, fluffy biscuits, and pliable pastas.  In fact, many people who suffer from Celiac disease here in the States are able to eat bread products over in Europe without the health consequences.

Perhaps the most dangerous aspect to gluten is that the majority of people who are gluten sensitive do not even suspect it to be a problem.  For those who are sensitive, gluten can be the hidden culprit in a multitude of problems.  Inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, depression, muscle and joint pain, neuropathy, osteoporosis, canker sores, migraines, autism, auto-immune disease, chronic fatigue, and rheumatoid arthritis are just a few of the health problems with evidence to show gluten sensitivity is a common cause.

For pretty much anyone suffering from a chronic condition it is worth investigating whether or not gluten sensitivity is a contributing factor.  If gluten is the underlying problem the good news is it is 100% curable!   Just cut gluten containing products out of your diet.  If that seems like too daunting of a task there are a few other options.

Testing

There are many diagnostic tests available to help you determine whether or not you may be sensitive to gluten.  Some of the most common blood tests are:  IgA or IgG anti-gliadin antibodies, IgA anti-endomysial antibodies, Tissue Transglutaminase antibody, Total Secretory IgA, and HLA DQ2 and DQ8 genotyping for celiac disease.  There are also stool and salivary testing options which tend to have similar sensitivity and specificity percentages to the above blood tests.  Intestinal biopsy is the conventional standard for diagnosing celiac disease but there has to be significant damage to the intestinal wall for this to come back positive.  In truth, none of these test are 100% accurate.  They can provide an initial screening to help people decide if they should do a gluten-free trial but the gold standard for determining if you have a gluten sensitivity is to completely cut gluten out of your diet for six weeks and see how you feel.  Then slowly add gluten back into your diet and see if your symptoms return.  Not only is this method the most accurate in determining gluten sensitivity but it is also the cheapest.

Conclusion

Gluten sensitivity is an under diagnosed cause of many chronic medical conditions.  For anyone who is suffering from fatigue, chronic muscle or joint pain, digestive problems, skin issues, any of the other conditions mentioned earlier in this article, or anyone who is simply interested in improving their health and wellness it is highly worth doing a six-week trial period of cutting gluten out of your diet to see how you feel.  It is important to remember that going gluten-free does not mean turning to the multitude of processed and packaged gluten-free foods available.  We recommend a strong focus on a whole foods diet including plenty of whole grains, healthy proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables.  Remember a short term elimination of gluten may have a profound effect on your health and you can always go back to eating that fluffy delicious slice of good ole American bread product.

In health,

Dr. Ryan Sweeney

Naturopathic Physician at Root Natural Health, Flagstaff, Arizona

Migraine Headaches: The True Cause

A migraine is a one-sided headache that is often associated with severe throbbing pain, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light or an aura. At least 10% of Americans suffer from these debilitating headaches. Not only are they a huge burden for the individual, but the cost to employers is high. In the United States, it is estimated that migraines cost employers $24 billion each year.

The problem that we see as doctors in the treatment of migraines is often the same in what we see globally in medicine, treatments are focused on the symptoms and not the cause. The term migraine is simply a name that we give to a collection of symptoms, but the important take home message is that there may be more than 20 different causes for migraines. Our job as clinicians, along with our patients, is to find the root cause of disease and address each patient individually.

Clinically, there is much we can do for migraine suffers without the use of prophylactic or acute migraine medications that often come with substantial risks and side effects. Through experience, we have found that at least two-thirds of patients who address the cause of their migraines through appropriate dietary and lifestyle recommendations and nutritional supplementation experience significant reduction or cessation of migraine attacks.

The following are common causes, testing and potential treatments for migraines that we use clinically to help migraine suffers. For safety, whenever starting a new medication or over-the-counter supplement, it is important to do so under the supervision of a qualified physician.

Food Sensitivities: This is one of the most common causes of migraines and is often correlated with a collection of vague symptoms, including joint pain, headaches, poor digestion, fatigue, and muscle pain. Blood testing for IgG food antibodies, stool testing or an elimination diet can help migraine to identify potential food sensitivities.

Hormonal Issues: Imbalances in thyroid, adrenal or male/female sex hormones are common migraine triggers. Testing through saliva or blood offer the most accurate evaluation depending on the hormone in question. Other symptoms of hormonal imbalances can include fatigue, decreased libido, irritability, cravings, fluid retention, menstrual irregularity and cramps. Goals of treatment are to balance and promote healthy hormone production with botanicals, lifestyle modifications, whole-foods diet high in phytonutrients, exercise, stress reduction and sometimes with bio-identical hormones.

Mitochondrial Dysfunction: Along with migraine headaches, this can often associated with fatigue, muscle aches and brain fog and can be tested through urinary organic acids. Treatment can include 400mg riboflavin (B2) twice daily and 100-400mg CoQ10 daily.

Blood Sugar Issues: Abnormal blood sugar regulation is a common cause of migraines due to high or low blood glucose levels. Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), fasting glucose and insulin, and HgA1c all help to fully evaluate blood sugar regulation. Dietary habits, lifestyle, supplements and/or prescription medications are vital to assist in proper blood sugar regulation.

Magnesium Deficiency: This can be tested through RBC magnesium levels, though often it is necessary to supplement even when levels are normal. Symptoms of low magnesium include anxiety, insomnia, muscle cramps or twitches, irritability, sensitivity to loud noises, food cravings, and palpitations. Consider supplementing with a highly absorbable form of magnesium such as citrate, glycerinate or aspartate in doses that relieve symptoms or before you experience loose stools. Those patients with kidney disease need to do this under the supervision of a physician.

Chemical Triggers: Dietary intake of highly process foods can contribute to migraines, even hours after consuming, due to chemical triggers. It is important to avoid triggering foods which include aspartame, MSG, nitrates, sulfites, high sodium foods and
tyramine-containing foods such as chocolate and cheese. The goal is to eat a whole foods diet and reduce consumption of processed foods.

Though these are leading causes of migraines, it is sometimes necessary to combine multiple therapies for lasting relief. In certain cases we find that herbal medications, acupuncture, homeopathy, and structural treatments including chiropractic care and massage to be useful.
The impact of migraines is considerable with least 1 in 10 Americans suffering unnecessarily and a price tag of roughly $24 billion annually. Migraines are almost completely preventable when the source is identified and removed, allowing individuals to live healthy and migraine-free.

In health,

Drs. Ryan Sweeney and Carrie Norris

Naturopathic Physicians at Root Natural Health, Flagstaff Arizona

Screening Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Causes More Risk than Benefit

Prostate specific antigen (PSA) is a protein measured in the blood that is produced by the prostate gland. It is used as a marker for the early detection of prostate cancer.  Currently the American Cancer Society recommends all men to begin screening their PSA at age 50 with annual tests thereafter.  Since the implementation of this screening protocol, the number of men who unnecessarily undergo invasive diagnostic and treatment procedures, including radical prostatectomy (complete removal of the prostate), has increased dramatically.

To understand why this test causes more harm than good, when used alone as a general screening guideline, we must first establish that there are aggressive and non-aggressive forms of prostate cancer.  Aggressive prostate cancer was responsible for approximately 32,000 deaths in the U.S. in 2010, making it the second most common cause of cancer related deaths in U.S. men second only to lung cancer.  Localized prostate cancer (also known as benign or slow growing cancer) is far more common.  Research has shown localized prostate cancer is present in approximately 8% of men in their twenties and 83% of men in their seventies.1

The PSA test does not differentiate between these two types of cancer.  Neither does it differentiate from other very common prostate conditions like Prostatitis or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) which is found in 50% of men over age fifty and 80% of men over age eighty.2 It is very common for a man with normal enlargement of his prostate to have an elevated PSA that warrants further investigation like an invasive biopsy.

One study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2010 demonstrated that for every one case of diagnosed aggressive prostate cancer 1,410 men will undergo prostatic biopsy and 48 will have additional invasive treatments (radiation, chemotherapy, or prostatectomy).3 Common side effects associated with these invasive procedures that up to 50% of patients will experience include urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction, and bowel problems.4 Clearly this is a case where the risks far exceed the benefits.

A series of large clinical trials in 2003 came to the conclusion that “serum PSA between 2.5 and 10 ng/ml is unrelated to prostate cancer and is most surely caused by benign prostatic hyperplasia.”5 Despite these conclusions, the current screening guidelines and many urologists will still recommend prostate biopsy with a PSA > 4 ng/ml.

There is no single alternative for the screening PSA test.  Each man must work with his physician to decide what is appropriate given his risk factors.  As a minimum, I recommend that my patients have annual digital rectal exams (DRE) starting at age 50, preferably following up with same doctor every year thereafter so that doctor can recognize changes.  If they have a family history of aggressive prostate cancer, I would start screening at age 45.

A transrectal ultrasound can reliably determine the volume of the prostate and help the clinician make a more informed decision about whether a biopsy is necessary.  A larger prostate as demonstrated by ultrasound could be expected to correlate with a higher PSA whereas a smaller prostate should expect to have a lower PSA.  A smaller prostate correlating with a higher PSA value is a good candidate for biopsy whereas a larger prostate with the same PSA value may not be.

Other analytical tools that have shown some promising initial results are a free to total PSA ratio, PSA velocity, and a urine PCA-3 test.  The urinary PCA-3 test has a much higher specificity for prostate cancer than do the related PSA tests.  It is not affected by BPH or prostatitis, so a higher result can help the patient determine their need for biopsy much more confidently than with PSA alone.

For my patients with prostate issues, I will generally recommend dietary modifications along with a healthy exercise regimen and stress reduction.  I also utilize a variety of herbs and nutritional supplements aimed at supporting the immune system to target potential cancer cells and decrease the growth rate of the prostate.

While PSA may be prostate specific, it is not disease specific.  Most elevated PSA does not result in aggressive prostate cancer.  As with all important medical decisions, a clinician should take into account the individual patient’s history, risk factors, and their overall health status.  No single lab value should determine the course of care recommended by the physician.  This ideal is especially true when considering a screening PSA.

In Health,

Dr. Ryan Sweeney, Naturopathic Physician at Root Natural Health, Flagstaff Arizona

  1. Stamey TA (2003) “Editorial: More information on prostate specific antigen and prostate cancer” J Urol 170, 457Ð458, August 2003
  2. Data from Berry, SJ, Coffey, DS, Walsh, PC, et al. The development of human benign prostatic hyperplasia with age. J Urol 1984;132:474.
  3. Schröder FH, Hugosson J, Roobol MJ, et al. Screening and prostate-cancer mortality in a randomized European study. N Engl J Med 2009;360:1320-8.
  4. Stanford JL, Ziding F, Hamilton AS, et al. Urinary and sexual function after radical prostatectomy for clinically localized prostate cancer. JAMA 2000;283:354-360
  5. Stamey TA (2002) “Limitations of serum PSA below 10 to 12 ng./ml” AUA News 7:31.