It begins with properly diagnosing a prostate problem and identifying the root cause of dysfunction

Whether we’re looking at prostate health, or anything else we’re helping patients with, we always look at labs through the lens of a functional medicine approach – which means we are looking at how body systems are working together, where the dysfunction is (i.e. what’s the root cause), and assessing functional lab ranges that are true for ideal human physiology.

An important biomarker for us to look at for prostate health and prostate problems is a patient’s total PSA level.


People worldwide were diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2020. It is the 2nd most common cancer among men in the US.

What does PSA mean?

PSA stands for prostate-specific antigen. We use a PSA Total test from Quest Diagnostics. This is a single-marker test measuring prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. It can be used as a tumor marker for the early detection of prostate cancer and in other areas of prostate disease management.

A functional range for PSA Total is <4. Anything above that is considered a high PSA. See the sidebar/orange call-out to learn about functional reference ranges.

A conventional range for PSA Total is also <4. More often than not, our functional medicine ranges are different from conventional medicine. But not here.

The difference with our functional medicine approach is what we then do when we see a high PSA level.

How we identify the root cause of high PSA, and then follow through with our personalized treatment protocol recommendations are both vastly different from conventional mainstream medicine care.

When looking at the health of a male, and more specifically the health of their prostate, we can utilize many different points of data, along with PSA, to get a more comprehensive and complete picture of what is going on in the body, and what may be contributing to an enlarged prostate or prostate cancer.

In addition to PSA, we are often pulling lab panels which look at:

  • Blood sugars (glucose levels)
  • A full male hormone panel
  • Comprehensive thyroid panel
  • Nutrient markers
  • How a man is metabolizing his hormones
  • Overall toxic load in the body
  • Circulating tumor cells (CTCs), if there is a suspicion or previous diagnosis of cancer

In contrast, conventional medicine, and even other alternative medicine practices are typically only looking at CBC with differential, PSA Free and Total. That’s it!

What are functional reference ranges?

When working with your typical physician (i.e. not us), the range of what is considered “normal” is quite wide. This is because they base their analysis on lab reference ranges which typically vary from lab to lab, region to region, and is based on the averages and standard deviations of many of the labs drawn in that company and region. Therefore, it isn’t necessarily factoring in what is ideal human physiology and ranges for the optimal person, which leads to a lot of health conditions being incorrectly considered normal.

Functional medicine has a much more narrow window (reference range) of lab levels called “functional reference ranges” based on optimal physiology, which are standardized among functional medicine practitioners through scientific data, medical research, and extensive knowledge of biochemistry.

Symptoms of prostate problems

Beyond an elevated PSA level, symptoms to pay attention to are:

  • Painful and frequent urination
  • Inability to urinate
  • Blood or cloudy urine
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Painful ejaculations
  • Groin pain
  • Pain in the lower back

Screening for prostate cancer/problems with an annual RGCC CTC test

Early detection of a prostate problem is very important and regular screenings (i.e. Annual RGCC CTC testing, instead of just a Total PSA test, which normally only what other medicine practices recommend) should be regularly scheduled for men. Whether one is experiencing Prostatitis, Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) or Prostate Cancer, these disorders share the same root causes.

Functional medicine approach to prostate cancer treatment

We’ve often had patients who have been told by leading cancer institutes that their prostate cancer is staying localized in the tumor in the prostate. But when we run the RGCC CTC test to look for circling tumor cells (CTCs) we discover this is not the case, what they’re being told isn’t true, and that there are in fact cancer cells in the body.

Cancer institutes’ treatment for many types of identified cancers includes a typical pharmaceutical stacked cocktail. This is true for prostate cancer. Sometimes the cocktail is right, but often it is not. We discover through our testing the chemotherapy/pharmaceutical agents being used are not accurate for the cancer the patient is struggling with. Meaning we find many times the cancer mutates rapidly to the chemo agent(s) and therefore their treatment therapy is not effective.

When we discover this with a patient, not only are we able to identify which pharmaceutical agents are going to work, and get them started on those, but we can also identify the cancer’s:

  • Ability to detox
  • Repair itself
  • Protein coat, it puts around itself to block immune and pharmaceutical agents from even getting to it
  • Mutagenic ability
  • Sensitivity to heat (radiation)
  • Metastatic ability
  • Angiogenic ability
  • And more

Then the really cool part – we also look to see what natural agents have a kill on contact effect, as well as inhibiting replicative ability. With this information we are then able to develop a very unique and sophisticated protocol specific for the patient and the cancer cells they are battling.

These are all things most practices, and that sadly includes leading cancer institutes, aren’t looking at.

This is why their monitoring approach and treatment protocols often aren’t working. Their thought process is – more men die with prostate cancer, than from it, so why treat it?

Some things men can do on their own to prevent prostate problems

  • Maintain a healthy weight – look at exercise and food below.
  • Exercise, move around, and be active. Sedentary behavior has been associated with increased PSA levels.
  • Follow a paleo/ketogenic style of eating – this includes grass-fed red meat, pasture raised chickens & eggs and small size wild-caught fish (in moderation) such as cod, sardines, anchovies, salmon, rainbow trout, and mackerel, along with fresh organic and in season fruits and vegetables, nuts, and healthy fats. The main point here is reducing toxin exposure and inflammation by eating cleaner and unprocessed foods.
  • It’s also important to cook with the right things to reduce toxin intake. Don’t use non-stick pots/pans, which contain PFAS (forever chemicals). Healthy cooking oils/fats include olive, flaxseed, avocado, and coconut oils, plus animal fats such as beef tallow, ghee, grass fed butter, and duck fat.
  • Reduce/ avoid toxin exposure. Environmental chemicals, molds, herbicides, pesticides, PFAS, can lead damaged cell membranes and/or mitochondria and lead to chronic inflammation and oxidative stress, cell death and wreak havoc on the body and its functions.
  • Take an Omega-3 supplement. We carry a potent Omega-3 that claims to have a 5x higher absorption rate. Research has shown ⅔ of US adults do not consume enough omega-3s in their daily diet.
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol. Alcohol is inflammatory and hard on the liver, and excess alcohol consumption increases prostate inflammation, which is often noticed then with increased urination while/after drinking.
  • Manage your stress. There are many approaches to this; figure out what works best for you. One therapy at our practice is FLOWpresso. Stress increases cortisol, which suppresses testosterone. As that drops, estrogen increases, which results in an enlarged prostate.
  • Get proper sleep. This ties into many aspects of your health and wellness, with one being its positive effect on cortisol levels.

What personalized, integrative recommendations may look like for treatment of a prostate problem

For prostate problems that haven’t progressed to prostate cancer (where we’re doing more than what’s mentioned below), our integrative approach goes beyond just decreasing discomfort and instead focuses on eradicating the prostate problem entirely by addressing any other body system dysfunction, giving the body the support it needs to function properly as a whole, in addition to the prostate. A patient’s personalized treatment protocol includes:

  • Personalized supplement strategy, which usually begins with a more aggressive approach to treat specific important level 1 body systems and in addition to prostate specifics
  • Regular comprehensive lab testings and screenings (often including many of the abovementioned lab panels)
  • Follow-up functional medicine and holistic primary care consultations
  • Integrative therapies available at our practice (like Ozone/UBI IVs – low-dose, high-dose, and/or EBOO depending on patient, plus cold laser, FLOWpresso – to help with lymph flow, and iTera with TeraHertz technology)
Eli Trave, Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner

About the author

Eli Priest is a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (FNTP), a Master Restorative Wellness Practitioner (MRWP), and one of Kansas City’s most passionate minds when it comes to the subject of how nutrition plays into an individual’s health and wellness.

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