Test for PSA to Prevent Prostate Cancer (The Most Common Cancer in Men)

Understanding your PSA levels through routine screening is important for prostate health and detecting prostate cancer early. Screen your PSA levels today for optimal health.

As a man invested in optimizing your health and longevity, monitoring your prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels should be a top priority.

PSA is a protein produced by cells in the prostate gland, and high levels may indicate health issues like inflammation, infection, or even cancer.

By understanding PSA, the importance of routine screening, and making key lifestyle changes, you can take control of your prostate health and overall wellbeing.

TLDR: PSA levels indicate prostate health issues like infections, enlargement and cancer

  • Routine PSA screening and monitoring is important for men as they age to catch high-risk conditions early
  • Making lifestyle changes such as reducing alcohol, eating a balanced diet, and exercising can help keep PSA levels healthy

What Is Prostate Specific Antigen?

The prostate is a small, walnut-shaped gland that is part of the male reproductive system. It is located just below the bladder and surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body.

Prostate specific antigen (PSA) is a protein produced by cells of the prostate gland. Normal PSA levels tend to increase slowly as men age. However, a significant rise in PSA levels can signal inflammation, enlargement, or the presence of prostate cancer cells.

The Link Between PSA and Your Health

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)

BPH involves noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland, which surrounds the urethra. As the prostate enlarges, it can squeeze the urethra and interfere with urine flow. This can cause several complications:

  • Urinary problems: BPH can cause frequent urination, difficulty initiating urine flow, weak urine stream, urgency to urinate, and urinary retention. These issues can be disruptive to sleep and daily activities.
  • Infections: When urine flow is obstructed, bacteria can more easily infect the bladder and kidneys, causing conditions like cystitis and pyelonephritis. Left untreated, these infections can become serious.
  • Kidney damage: In severe cases where urine flow is highly restricted, the kidneys can be damaged from buildup of waste and toxins that cannot be flushed out. This may lead to permanent kidney damage or failure.
  • Bladder damage: The bladder wall can thicken and lose elasticity from long-term obstruction, making it harder for the bladder to empty fully and increasing the risk of urinary tract infections.

Prostatitis

Acute bacterial prostatitis typically causes a rapid and significant rise in PSA, while chronic prostatitis from ongoing inflammation can slowly increase PSA over time. Non-bacterial prostatitis from conditions like autoimmune disorders may also elevate PSA levels.

Prostate Cancer

The second leading cause of death from cancer in men is prostate cancer.

An enlarged prostate, especially one that is hard or asymmetrical, can be a sign of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer begins when cells in the prostate gland grow abnormally and form tumors. Prostate cancer tends to grow slowly and initially remains confined to the prostate gland. However, it can eventually spread to other parts of the body if left untreated.

Early stage prostate cancer has a very good prognosis with a 5-year survival rate of nearly 100%. However, survival rates decline as the cancer progresses to more advanced stages.

Risk Factors for Elevated PSA and Prostatic Cancer

Elevated PSA levels and prostate cancer risk go hand in hand. Several factors can contribute to higher PSA levels and increase the odds of developing prostate cancer.

Age

As men age, prostate gland cells multiply and PSA levels rise. After age 50, PSA levels double roughly every 4 years. Age is the strongest predictor of high PSA and prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is most common in men over 65.

Genetics

If a close family member like a father or brother has had prostate cancer, your risk is higher. Certain inherited gene mutations, like BRCA1 and BRCA2, also increase risk. Genetic testing can determine if you carry these mutated genes.

Diet and Lifestyle

A diet high in red meat and saturated fat may promote prostate inflammation and higher PSA. Being overweight or obese also increases cancer risk. Smoking and excessive alcohol use negatively impact prostate health.

Chronic Inflammation

Chronic prostatitis, or prostate inflammation, can raise PSA and may lead to cancer over time. Sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia or gonorrhea that go untreated can cause chronic prostatitis. Other sources include exposure to industrial chemicals, and urinary tract infections or stones. Reducing inflammation may help lower PSA.

Understanding PSA Levels: What Do the Numbers Mean?

To understand what your PSA level means, it’s important to know the normal range and how levels change with age. PSA levels below 4 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) are typically considered normal for most men. However, some factors like age, ethnicity, and family history can affect PSA levels and what is normal for you.

Age-Adjusted PSA Levels

As men age, PSA levels naturally rise even without prostate cancer or other prostate issues. The following age-adjusted PSA levels can be used as a general guide:

  • Ages 40-49: PSA <2.5 ng/mL
  • Ages 50-59: PSA <3.5 ng/mL
  • Ages 60-69: PSA <4.5 ng/mL
  • Ages 70 and older: PSA <6.5 ng/mL

These levels may be adjusted based on your personal risk factors. Your doctor will determine what PSA range is normal and appropriate for your age and situation.

When to Get Tested: PSA Screening Recommendations

When to Start

For most men, prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels should be measured beginning at age 50, as recommended by the American Cancer Society.

Some physicians suggest that high-risk men, especially those with a family history of prostate cancer, begin screening at age 40 or 45.

The frequency of PSA testing depends on your initial PSA level and other risk factors.

When to Get Re-Tested

If your initial PSA is under 2.5 ng/mL, most physicians recommend retesting every 2-4 years.

For PSA levels between 2.5-4.0 ng/mL, annual testing is prudent to monitor for potential increases.

For higher PSAs, especially over 10 ng/mL, your physician may order a prostate biopsy to determine if cancer cells are present. They may also recommend more frequent PSA monitoring, such as every 6-12 months.

Mito Health's flagship package, priced at $499, offers testing for PSA as well as 66 other carefully curated biomarkers that provide insight into various aspects of your health - this comprehensive suite of tests allows for early detection of cancer, heart disease, neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes and more. 

In addition to testing, you will receive a personalized health optimization plan from our doctors incorporating supplements, nutrition, exercise and sleep strategies, discounted pricing for specialized additional tests, and access to exclusive health and longevity events.

Lifestyle Changes to Optimize Your PSA

To optimize your prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels, several lifestyle changes can help. Making long-term adjustments to your daily habits and environment may positively impact your PSA scores over time.

Exercise Regularly

Engaging in frequent cardiovascular exercise and weight training can benefit prostate health.

Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week.  Walking, jogging, biking, and swimming are excellent options.

Strength or resistance training 2-3 times a week builds muscle and increases metabolism.

Exercise reduces inflammation, promotes circulation, and helps achieve a healthy weight, all of which may positively impact your PSA.

Reduce Stress

Chronic stress can negatively impact health measures like PSA.

Try relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, journaling or yoga. Spending time with loved ones, engaging in hobbies, limiting screen time and getting enough sleep will also help decrease your stress levels.

When your body is in a prolonged state of stress, inflammation increases which can elevate PSA scores.

Limit Environmental Toxins

Exposure to chemicals like bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates may increase prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. Choose BPA-free products. Select natural cleaning and personal care items that avoid fragrances. Do not smoke or use e-cigarettes. Limit consumption of heavily charred meats.

Making your environment as toxin-free as possible will support optimal prostate health and normal PSA ranges.

Diet and Supplements for a Healthy Prostate

To optimize your prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels, diet and supplements play an important role. Making healthy changes to your diet and taking certain supplements may help lower high PSA levels and support prostate health.

Reduce inflammation

Chronic inflammation is linked to higher PSA levels and prostate cancer risk.

An anti-inflammatory diet rich in fruits and vegetables, fatty fish, olive oil, and green tea can help lower inflammation.

Limit red meat, refined carbs, and sugary foods which promote inflammation. Turmeric or curcumin supplements also have anti-inflammatory effects.

Increase lycopene

Lycopene is an antioxidant found in tomatoes, watermelon, guava, and pink grapefruit that may help lower PSA levels.

Cooked or processed tomato products like tomato sauce, paste, and ketchup contain the highest amounts of lycopene.

Aim for 1-2 servings per day. Lycopene supplements can also be taken in capsule or liquid form following dosage instructions.

Reduce dairy and calcium

High calcium intake, especially from dairy, is associated with increased PSA levels.

Limit dairy to 1-2 servings per day and choose plant-based sources of calcium like leafy greens, broccoli, almonds, and beans. Calcium supplements should also only be taken occasionally or at a low dosage.

Increase selenium

Selenium is a mineral with antioxidant properties that may help support prostate health and normal PSA levels.

Good dietary sources include Brazil nuts, tuna, sardines, eggs, and brown rice.

Aim for 55 mcg per day. Selenium supplements may also be taken to help ensure adequate intake, following dosage guidelines.

Saw Palmetto

Saw palmetto is an herb used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). While research is mixed, some studies show saw palmetto may help lower PSA levels and improve urinary symptoms in men with BPH.

The typical dosage is 160 mg twice per day. As with any supplement, consult your doctor first, especially if you are on any medications.

Making targeted changes to your diet and supplement regimen may help support a healthy prostate and optimize your PSA levels.  

Conclusion

In summary, as you age, monitoring and optimizing your prostate specific antigen levels is critical for maintaining good health and longevity as a man. By understanding the role PSA plays, screening regularly based on your risk factors, and making appropriate lifestyle changes and medical interventions as needed, you can work to keep this important biomarker in a healthy range.

At Mito Health, we specialize in advanced health diagnostics to test your PSA levels (along with 66 other biomarkers) - to form a science-based, personalized health plan to help you optimize your health. Sign up for our flagship package today to take control of your health and your future. 

Written By
J. Hsu
January 1, 2024
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The information provided by Mito Health is for improving health and wellness only, and not to be taken as medical advice or medical recommendations.

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