Blood PSA levels correlate with the risk of developing prostate conditions. Studies have demonstrated a link between PSA levels and cholesterol levels.
Thus, lowering cholesterol levels is not just useful for reducing an individual’s risk of cardiovascular conditions; it may also lower elevated PSA levels. Strategies to lower cholesterol help improve overall health, including prostate health.
What is PSA?
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein made only by cells within the prostate gland. It is released by the prostate into the semen to help liquefy it and promote sperm cells’ movement. Generally, PSA leaves the body in semen, but small amounts can leak into the bloodstream.
A range of factors can influence the blood level of PSA. For instance, age, size of the prostate, and tissue integrity of the prostate influence the amount of PSA leaking into the bloodstream.
Healthy men have low amounts of PSA in their blood compared to those with prostate conditions. Disruption of prostate tissue due to inflammation, infection, enlargement, or cancer increases the amount of PSA leaking into the circulation.
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What is the significance of high PSA levels?
The level of PSA in the blood is a useful marker for prostate health. PSA level can increase through several genitourinary states, including disease and normal function. High levels may indicate prostatitis (prostate inflammation), benign prostate hyperplasia (prostate enlargement), urinary infection, prostate cancer, or recent ejaculation.
Besides prostate conditions, PSA levels usually increase with age, confounding the significance of high PSA levels in disease detection.
For prostate cancer, high PSA levels may also indicate cancer progression and can be used to guide treatment decisions. Since cancer and several non-cancerous conditions increase blood PSA, its use in monitoring prostate health is controversial.
A man can have one or more of these conditions and develop prostate cancer. Independently, PSA levels are not a good measure of prostate diseases. Your medical team will need to assess other risk factors and tests to make an accurate diagnosis and treatment decisions.
Cholesterol and PSA Levels
Cholesterol, a steroidal lipid, is an essential precursor in androgen synthesis (Freeman and Solomon, 2004). Androgens (testosterone) are made from DHEA, which is produced from cholesterol through a four-step process.
One mechanism for PSA production regulation involves the conversion of free testosterone to the potent Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and DHT binding to the androgen receptor to mediate the production of PSA (Murtha et al., 1993).
Consistently, androgen deprivation therapy and statin treatment both decrease PSA levels. After beginning statin treatment to lower LDL cholesterol levels, men experience an up to 40% reduction in PSA level (Sidaway, 2015). Some studies suggest that for every 10% decrease in cholesterol due to statin, PSA levels reduce by 1.6 ng/ml. These observations support the role of cholesterol in PSA production.
However, the relationship between cholesterol and PSA levels seems to occur in white but not black men (Sidaway, 2015). In white men, high serum PSA correlates with total cholesterol levels and LDL cholesterol levels.
However, studies have not established an association between cholesterol levels and LDL cholesterol levels in black men. It is noteworthy that the majority of the studies investigating the association between cholesterol and PSA used statin treatment to lower LDL cholesterol.
Thus, it may be that statins directly reduce PSA rather than through the reduction of cholesterol. Indeed, statins exhibit other functions, including reducing inflammation. We need further studies to show that elevated cholesterol causes an increase in PSA levels conclusively.
Can Lowering Your Cholesterol Levels Lower Your PSA Levels?
Recent research studies suggest that lowering cholesterol, especially LDL cholesterol, may help reduce PSA levels. This relationship depends on individual characteristics, such as ethnicity (Sidaway, 2015).
It is not definitively known that cholesterol levels correlate with PSA across all ethnicity (Sidaway, 2015). Men with high PSA levels have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer or an enlarged prostate. Thus, lowering PSA levels is useful for improving prostate health.
However, it is not clear what type of effect lowering PSA through cholesterol reduction treatment would have on the risk of these prostate diseases.
How to lower cholesterol
High cholesterol negatively impacts health, including increased risk of cardiovascular complications, risk of metabolic syndrome, and promotes cancer development.
Several lifestyle changes and medications lower cholesterol levels. These strategies are also useful in preventing the development of prostate conditions.
Regular physical activity, healthy diet, and statins are some of the ways that reduce cholesterol to healthy levels.
Regular physical activity can improve cholesterol. Physical activity can reduce LDL cholesterol while helping raise HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). Extra weight contributes to high cholesterol, and regular exercise is the best way to consistently lose those extra pounds.
Concerning prostate health, there is evidence that losing weight reduce PSA levels and modify the risk of developing prostate conditions (Prezioso et al., 2007).
In addition to physical activity, lower daily calorie intake and a balanced diet can reduce cholesterol levels. A low-fat diet rich in fruit and vegetables improves prostate health. Finally, quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption can improve HDL cholesterol. The benefits of both lifestyle changes seem to occur quickly.
Doctors recommend cholesterol-lowering medications if your cholesterol level has not gone down after dietary and lifestyle changes. It is also a preferred option for patients with an increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
Your doctor will recommend the most appropriate medicine, depending on your clinical characteristics. Statins are the most common treatment for lowering cholesterol levels. They work by reducing the production of cholesterol in the body. Other medicines for high cholesterol include fibrates, resins, and alirocumab. Your doctor will usually consider these alternatives if statins failed to work.
It may be difficult to lower cholesterol through lifestyle changes discussed above. In addition to physical activity and dietary changes, natural supplements may help improve your cholesterol profile. Some of the well-researched natural supplements and studies are listed below.
An elevated PSA is not the cause of prostate disease, and instead, it is an indicator of prostate state and health. High cholesterol links with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Studies suggest that high cholesterol levels increase blood PSA levels. This observation indicates that cholesterol, especially LDL cholesterol, have a negative influence on prostate health.
Lowering cholesterol levels is desirable and you can achieve this through methods that promote prostate health. Lifestyle changes, including regular physical activity and a healthy diet, are the most effective way to maintain a healthy weight and prostate health.
Sometimes you may require medications and supplements to effectively reduce cholesterol levels and improve the balance between HDL and LDL cholesterol.