Linus Van Pelt made his debut in the “Peanuts” comic strip in the fall of 1952—when I did—just in time for the Halloween sighting of the Great Pumpkin.
The Great Pumpkin, of course, bestows gifts to all who believe in it. But if Linus had aged like the rest of us, the pumpkin might bring him a different type of gift today—a healthy prostate.
Men’s prostate glands may swell as we get older. This condition, known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), isn’t as serious as prostate cancer. But the swelling can obstruct urine flow, causing bladder, urinary tract, or kidney problems.
Urologists treat BPH by removing the prostate or prescribing drugs that reduce the swelling. But as you might guess, I’m not a fan of either “solution.”
Especially when you consider there are so many natural ways to support prostate health…including with pumpkin seeds. I’ll tell you more about the health benefits of “The Great Pumpkin” in a moment. But first, let’s take a look at another new study that makes me even more skeptical of prostate drugs.
Because as it turns out, some commonly prescribed prostate medications can actually increase your risk of Type II diabetes…
Another reason to avoid steroid drugs
The study involved nearly 55,000 men in the U.K. and in the Republic of China (Taiwan) over the age of 40 who had been diagnosed with BPH.1 The goal was to determine whether a common drug treatment for BPH—steroid 5-alpha reductase inhibitors (finasteride, dutasteride, and tamsulosin)—is linked to higher risk of Type II diabetes.
Of course, all steroid drugs cause problems. They interfere with the immune system and disrupt normal metabolism. And since balancing blood sugar is a fundamental ongoing metabolic process in the body, it’s no surprise that previous studies found a connection between steroid drugs and Type II diabetes.
But the results were mixed on whether finasteride, dutasteride, and tamsulosin specifically increased risk. So British researchers designed a large, long-term study to find out.
The study was divided into two parts. The British portion of the study ran from 2003 to 2014, and the Chinese arm lasted from 2002 to 2014. As a whole, researchers evaluated just over 8,000 men taking dutasteride, more than 16,000 on tamsulosin, and nearly 31,000 on finasteride.
During an average follow-up period of 5.2 years, almost 2,100 new cases of Type II diabetes were diagnosed in the study participants. In fact, for every 10,000 men, there were 60 new cases per year in those taking tamsulosin, 76 for dutasteride, and 77 with finasteride.
That translates into a 26 percent increased risk of diabetes in the British finasteride group and a 32 percent higher risk in the dutasteride group. In the Republic of China, the diabetes risk was 34 percent for dutasteride and 49 percent for finasteride.
Compounding the risk
Researchers tried to claim that these increased risks were small. But increasing your chances of getting diabetes by almost 50 percent hardly sounds “small” to me.
Of course, nobody looked at the “small” risks that accumulate with taking these prostate drugs…and a questionable blood pressure drug (see page 1)…and a useless statin drug.
Because each of these drugs have also been linked to increased risks of developing Type II diabetes—creating a triple threat for the millions of older men who are routinely prescribed this toxic drug cocktail.
But you don’t have to be a statistic here. As I discuss in my new online learning tool, Insider’s Ultimate Guide to Perfect Prostate Health, there are many natural approaches to preventing and reversing prostate diseases that don’t require taking steroid drugs—or ANY drugs that increase your risk of other deadly diseases. (For more information, or to enroll today, click here or call 1-866-747-9421 and ask for order code EOV3VA01.)
Which leads me back to the new pumpkin study…
Carving out pumpkin’s impressive prostate benefits
Austrian researchers gave 60 men with moderate or severe symptoms of BPH 500 mg of pumpkin seed extract every night before bedtime.2
After four weeks, 36 percent of the men showed improvement in frequency of urination during the night and retention of urine in the bladder—with symptoms going from “moderate” or “severe” to “mild.”
These findings aren’t surprising, considering pumpkin’s long history of use in traditional medicine. Along with prostate conditions, practitioners use pumpkin to treat rheumatism, swelling, urinary conditions, and intestinal parasites. And modern research shows pumpkin and pumpkin seed extracts and oils have anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties.
Pumpkin seeds are also low in fat and high in protein, linoleic acid (an essential fatty acid), and minerals. Plus, the flesh of the pumpkin contains a lot of natural beta-carotene, an antioxidant and metabolic precursor of vitamin A, as well as other vitamins and minerals.
So after you carve your Halloween jack-o’-lanterns this month, scoop out the pumpkin flesh and cook it in soups, cornbread, or whole-grain risotto. And don’t forget to roast the seeds for a prostate-healthy snack.
If you’ve never roasted your own pumpkin seeds before, it’s very easy to do. After cleaning off the pulp, dry the seeds out on a paper towel, toss with olive oil and salt, then roast in the oven at 325°F for 10 minutes. Crack the dried, roasted seeds, extract the inner soft seed, and enjoy!
Many people prefer to eat pumpkin seeds whole, along with the shell. And when you roast your pumpkin seeds to perfection, the outer shells don’t really need to be removed in order to eat the seed inside. So it’s really up to you, as either option makes for a healthy—and delicious—snack!
1“Incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus in men receiving steroid 5α-reductase inhibitors: population based cohort study.” BMJ 2019;365:l1204.
2“Effects of an Oil-Free Hydroethanolic Pumpkin Seed Extract on Symptom Frequency and Severity in Men with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia: A Pilot Study in Humans.” J Med Food. 2019 Jun;22(6):551-559.