Many men suffer from chronic inflammation of their prostate gland, yet multiple studies have failed to find an infectious organism as the cause.
Over time, this inflammation can lead to chronic, debilitating pelvic pain that seems to defy every attempt at treatment.
Now, there is growing evidence that the problem is not infection, but rather an autoimmune reaction to one’s own prostate gland.
Recent studies have shown that prostate cells, especially those in men with chronic prostate swelling (also called benign prostate hyperplasia, or BHP), can produce a number of inflammatory cytokines — cell-signaling molecules secreted by the body’s immune system. These include IL-6 and IL-8, as well as INF-gamma.
We know that men with prostate cancer also have high levels of inflammatory cytokines and that the prognosis is closely linked to IL-6 levels. This is because these cytokines also promote cell growth and proliferation — that is, they are like a fertilizer for cancer.
Yet even short of developing actual cancer, some men are suffering from debilitating pelvic pains and a swollen prostate that is caused by the same inflammatory mediators. Animal studies and biopsies have shown that this is linked to immune overactivation.
How can this be treated? Vitamin D3 is an immune modulator, meaning that if the immune system is overreacting, it will tone down the immune reaction. This treatment is supported by research showing that drugs that stimulate vitamin D3 receptors can prevent the prostate from swelling in men with BPH and can stop autoimmune prostatitis in experimental animals.
Interestingly, a number of natural plant extracts also modulate immune reactions and reduce inflammatory cytokines. These include curcumin, epigallocatechin gallate, magnesium, and hawthorn extract.
When combined with higher doses of vitamin D3 in the range of 5,000 to 10,000 IU a day, these supplements should significantly improve symptoms and bring relief.
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