Prostate Cancer, Saunas and Sunlight

Natural Prostate Health

As a male over 50 I need to be concerned, or at least aware, of my prostate function.  When you consider the facts, it really is a no-brainer.  According to the Cancer Council “it is estimated that 18,110 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in Australia in 2021. One in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer by the age of 85.”  Let’s look at some novel research and some common sense applications of this knowledge that might help reduce the chances of us developing prostate cancer.

In a 2019 study titled Sun Exposure: Beyond The Risks they state “in the last few years, several connections between solar exposure and prevention and/or treatment of several diseases have been discussed, with studies suggesting that regular solar exposure may be beneficial for conditions such as …… prostate.”

Sunlight Therapy

Initially the benefits were thought to come from the UV light and its corresponding increase in Vitamin D.  This might not be the entire picture.

In a 2016 article titled Regular Sun Exposure Benefits Health they found when looking at diseases like prostate cancer that “it became evident that immunomodulation, the formation of nitric oxide, melatonin, serotonin, and the effect of (sun)light on circadian clocks, are involved as well.  So it’s not all about Vitamin D.

What you might not know is that the regular use of saunas provides you with most of these very processes.

Now let’s look at infrared saunas and it’s influence on these processes. In particular we’ll look at near infrared full spectrum saunas.

using a near infrared sauna

Nitric Oxide

Infrared saunas and regular Finnish saunas are well established to increase circulation of nitric oxide (NO).  In this article, PDE5 inhibitors in the treatment of LUTS(lower urinary tract symptoms),  they state that NO “affect LUTS by decreasing smooth muscle cell proliferation in the prostate, and relaxing smooth muscles in the prostate and in the bladder neck.  It is very likely that NO is playing a large role with our prostate health.  The heat of the sauna may be a very convenient and productive way to ensure this pathway is optimised.

Incomplete Emptying

An interesting finding in  “sauna bathing and lower urinary tract symptoms – the heat is on?” was that the ‘feeling of incomplete emptying’, was less common in frequent sauna bathers. This particular symptom is well known to men with prostate issues.  This is an observation though, and the study goes on to say that sauna bathing does not affect LUTS development.  There are weaknesses in the design of the study though and more studies should be done to look a bit deeper.

Inflammation

All types of sauna will have a significant affect on inflammation in the body.  If you decrease inflammation systemically good things happen. Laukkanen found in 2018 that saunas had a substantial affect by decreasing inflammation when saunas are used regularly.

Let’s shift now to near infrared saunas, and the unique EXTRA sauna benefits they bring to help with prostate health.

Near Infrared Sauna

These will provide all the benefits mentioned so far from far infrared saunas and traditional saunas.  They have the added benefit of a healthy dose of red and near infrared light.  This is called photobiomodulation.  If you don’t know what this is google it along with a health condition you are interested in such as Alzheimer’s, and be prepared to be amazed.

portable near infrared sauna

The impact of the photobiomodulation will help with your prostate health in several ways.

Increased Energy

Photobiomodulation works by increasing adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in your cells.  This is energy your body uses to do things. When you have more energy available to you more healing, repair and other good things can occur in your prostate cells.

NO

It also has a significant impact in raising nitric oxide and the benefits of that have already been explained when it comes to prostate health.  Regular saunas will boost your NO but near infrared saunas will boost it even more.

Melatonin

The use of this red light therapy and near infrared light has been shown to boost melatonin independently of the pineal gland.  Above we established that melatonin was playing a factor in prostate health and here we have a good way to ensure high levels of this important hormone. As an added bonus your sleep will improve.

Here’s an added bonus.  Did you know that melatonin is the precursor to serotonin?  It is, and serotonin was one of the other factors that has been shown to be involved with prostate health.  More things are linked in the human body than we tend to believe and most things don’t exist in isolation.

Circadian Clock

Finally, when you use your near infrared sauna you are getting the red light therapy and near infrared light that you are designed to get from natural sunrise and sunsets.  Our eyes need this light to help set our circadian clocks, and our circadian clocks have been shown to be involved in prostate health as well.  A sauna in the evening or morning can have many far reaching benefits.

Summary

We know that prostate health is complicated and that there is no single therapy for the prevention of prostate cancer or other problems.

However, we do know that regular solar exposure appears to be beneficial for conditions such as prostate health. We also know when looking at prostate cancer that the formation of nitric oxide, melatonin, serotonin, and the effect of sunlight on circadian clocks, are involved as well.  All of these things are provided by sunlight in one form or the other. And by near infrared saunas.

We also aren’t saying if you use  your near infrared sauna regularly that you won’t develop prostate cancer.

You’ll want to address toxins, diet and ensure you do have optimal Vitamin D levels from sunlight or a high quality Vitamin D supplement.  And it goes without saying you will need to seek and listen to medical advice.

What we are saying is that the use of a near infrared sauna has huge potential benefits for our prostate health.  I prefer to look at it from the perspective that I will do my regular saunas because of the overall sauna benefits. Health, relaxation and stress management benefits to mention a few, and then IF it helps my prostate great!

If you have any questions on near infrared saunas feel free to reach out to us

Yours in Health,

Dr Todd Lizon (Chiropractor)
B.P.H.E., D.C.

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