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The Prostate Protocol

Updated: Jan 23

How I lowered my PSA with ketosis & ice baths

Thomas P Seager, PhD lies supine up to his neck in an ice bath
When the dopamine & norepinephrine reach my brain, I can't help but smile in the ice bath.

Not that kind of Doctor

An email from a Morozko power user asked me about the protocol I used to bring my Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) down from 7.0 to 1.8 ng/mL.

I purchased a Morozko about a year ago and couldn’t love it more than I do. Thank you. Question for you... if you’re open to sharing specifics, I’m interested in learning more about the ice/keto protocol you were doing to drop your PSA. I’m 42, have just gone though a period of heavy stress (starting the divorce process now), and have had my PSA double to 3.4 in the past year. This number is still technically “in range”, but not really in my case as both my father and grandfather died young from prostate cancer… big jumps like this are big red flags. Will take as much information and advice as able to give. - Morozko customer

The problem with this kind of request is that my doctorate is in Civil Engineering, not medicine. I can't tell this reader, or anyone else, anything about their medical condition, and no one reading this article should think of anything I write here as medical advice.


The only thing I can do is tell you my story about what worked for me. And because I think more men should be talking about their prostate and their reproductive health, I'm going to share with you my experience and what I've read in the scientific literature that might explain it.


I'm 56 years old.


That puts me at an age where most doctors recommend I get my prostate checked annually. If you're a man my age, you probably know the routine and you're probably not looking forward to it.

Nevertheless, the caution is warranted. According to the CDC, 13% of American men will eventually suffer prostate cancer. Typical treatments include surgery (prostatectomy), radiation, and chemotherapy. There's even a cryotherapy treatment in which a doctor guides tubes through the skin between the scrotum and the anus and injects very cold gas to freeze the prostate to death.

That's not what I did.

Could metabolism manage elevated PSA?

When I talked with other men about the allopathic options for prostate treatment, the stories they told me about biopsies, surgery, chemotherapy, and their recovery scared the crap out of me.


None of the men I talked to received any advice from their doctors about metabolic management of cancer risks, but I resolved to try metabolic alternatives before I went the more traditional, allopathic route.


This was before I wrote Ice Bath Cryotherapy for Cancer. So at the time, I couldn't be sure that scientific studies supported metabolic management of cancer risks, but since then we've learned more. There are at least two mechanisms:

  1. Cold exposure starves tumor cells of the glucose they need to grow, and

  2. An ice bath stimulates endogenous production of ketones, which further inhibits tumor growth.

I cant be sure that these are the mechanisms that worked in my case. Nonetheless, since my elevated PSA scare back in 2017, I've been monitoring my PSA and the results have been alright.

PSA over time showing ice baths may help reduce prostate cancer risks.
A time series of my PSA blood test results show better management since I adopted a practice of ice baths.

The Prostate Protocol

The most sensational finding in my blood tests results was not so much the improvement in my PSA, but the elevation of my testosterone to levels that are nearly unheard of for an overweight 56 year old man. I wrote about it in detail in What Happened to my Testosterone After Using Ice Baths to Treat my Prostate. I've since updated that article to include more of the science behind how it works and describe what I did that worked for me.


However, it's possible that not every man is seeking to boost his testosterone. For example, my girlfriend, who generally seems pleased with the results of my T-levels, has already mentioned that she'd rather I didn't do anything to push them higher. But more importantly, some men have expressed concern that their doctors suggested higher testosterone levels may lead to increased prostate cancer risk.


Recent research reveals that view to be outdated. Even doubling testosterone levels failed to produce increased risk of cancer in either men or women (Ørsted et al 2014).


Contrary to traditional teaching, high endogenous serum testosterone does not increase the risk of developing prostate cancer, and low serum testosterone does not protect against prostate cancer. - Khera et al (2014)


The Prostate Protocol

Given the evidence supporting the idea that metabolic management might help lower PSA, and increased testosterone will not increase cancer risks, I can share with you the practices that helped me:

  1. Keeping my ice bath at 34F and plunging up to my neck for 2-4 minutes, an average of 6 days a week. That gets me almost 20 minutes of extreme cold exposure every week, which is enough to activate my brown fat and maintain high glucose sensitivity. Generally, I don't have access to my Morozko when I travel, so I'll use cold showers in my hotel, whenever I can. I hate them.

  2. Fasting for 24hrs, about once a week. Monday's are often my favorite day of the week to fast. To get to the 24hrs, all I have to do is avoid eating after an early dinner Sunday evening, until regular dinner time Monday night. That means Monday afternoon is difficult, so I'll use extra coffee to curb my appetite. Also, I schedule myself to be in my campus office on fasting days, because when I don't have food available to snack on in my office. That makes it easier to resist tempation.

  3. Cycling in and out of keto. In addition to intermittent fasting, I'll go low-carb for several days a week, so that I can be sure I reach ketosis. However, I don't stay in keto for more than a few days. When I'm ready to come out, I'll indulge on fresh bread, or a croissant, or a favorite dessert, or fruit in season. According to Dr. Paul Saladino (@CarnivoreMD) fruit, maple syrup, and raw honey can be healthy carbohydrate sources for an animal-based diet. I never eat white bread, bagels, drink high fructose corn syrup, or eat store-bought candy. That stuff is poison, and I dn't crave it.


I enjoy a good red wine or a dark beer. There was a time back in 2015-2016 when I abstained from alcohol, and maybe that helped my maintain a lower weight, but I went back to drinking about five years ago. I know Andrew Huberman, PhD says that at most we should only be having 1-2 drinks a week, but I'm way over that. So far it hasn't hurt my PSA, my sleep, nor my testosterone.


I'm not recommending alcohol. I'm just saying that what I've been doing so far has worked for me despite drinking it.


Disclaimer

I don't know if the Ice Bath Prostate Protocol will work for you. Maybe you'll adopt every practice that worked for me, only to discover that it does not work for you.


Every body is different.


Nevertheless, if you decide to try it, will you share your results?

 

About the Author

Thomas P Seager, PhD is an Associate Professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering at Arizona State University. Seager co-founded the Morozko Forge ice bath company and is an expert in the use of ice baths for building metabolic and psychological resilience.




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