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Ask Dr. Mike: Top Supplements for Prostate Cancer, Alzheimer's & Migraines

Here you'll find the answers to a wealth of health and wellness questions posed by Healthy Talk fans.

Listen in, because what you know helps ensure healthy choices you can live with. Today on Healthy Talk, you wanted to know:

What are the top supplements for prostate cancer?

This is a question that Dr. Mike gets a lot. The top supplements he recommends are saw palmetto, boron, vitamin D3, and lycopene.

What are the top supplements for migraines?

Magnesium threonate, butterbur, ginger root, ginkgo, and melatonin.

What are the top supplements for Alzheimer's disease?

If you're at risk for Alzheimer's or have early onset Alzheimer's, you should consider taking anti-inflammatory supplements, antioxidants, and immune supplements.

If you have a health question or concern, Dr. Mike encourages you to write him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call in, toll-free, to the LIVE radio show (1.844.305.7800) so he can provide you with support and helpful advice.

RadioMD Presents:Healthy Talk | Original Air Date: May 28, 2015

You're listening to RadioMD. It's time to Ask Dr. Mike on Healthy Talk. Call or email to ask your questions now. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 877-711-5211. The lines are open.

DR. MIKE: So, I get a lot of questions, something like, "What are the best supplements for blank?" "What are the top three supplements for this?" "What are the latest treatment findings on this?" Probably half of the questions that come into the Life Extension Health Advisor – Life Extension is a great company.

We have health advisors that you can call and ask just about anything you want but half of them are those types of questions. "What's the best thing for blood pressure?" Something like that. I went through my emails that came from listeners and also from some of the advisors. They send me some questions over as well. I just went through all of them and found five or six of those types of questions. I thought this would be a great segment to run through some of my top supplement suggestions for a few of these disorders. There were many more in there. These were just the ones I saw first.

Let's start with this one.

"What are the top supplements for prostate cancer?"

I am just paraphrasing the question. This one was actually asked about three times so this is on the top of a few listeners minds.

So, what are the top supplements for prostate cancer? Number one, saw palmetto about 160-200 milligrams a day. Saw palmetto helps to block the conversion of testosterone to estrogen and helps to control how the body metabolizes estrogen. We know that estrogen is linked to prostate issues. Saw palmetto is one of the top choices for men with healthy prostates and diseased prostates. That's number one. Number two would be boron. It is a mineral – about 3 milligrams a day. There is a lot of good research on boron in slowing down what is known as the PSA doubling time.

The PSA is the prostate specific antigen. That is the main blood test that we use. It's not the greatest one out there. There are better ones that are now coming on the market. There is this idea that with prostate cancer the PSA will double very quickly.

It will go from one to two, from two to four, or four to eight, that kind of thing, in a short period of time. The faster the PSA doubles, the worse the disease and the worse the prognosis. Boron decreases the PSA doubling time quite significantly.

Here is even better—when you add boron 3 milligrams a day to 40 milligrams of lycopene. Lycopene is the pigmented antioxidant that gives tomatoes, for instance, that red hue. When you take 3 milligrams of boron and add it to 40 milligrams of lycopene the effect on PSA doubling time is even better. The combination of boron and lycopene has been shown in a couple of well-designed clinical trials to bring down that PSA doubling time and improve prognosis. Lastly – and this is really for any cancer - Vitamin D3 least 5000 units if you are dealing with cancer. Better to know your blood level.

You want to get it up closer to 80 nanograms per deciliter range. If that takes 10,000 units a day, that's fine. You do the amount of vitamin D that is necessary to get you on that higher end of the range – the optimal range -- which is 50-80 nanograms per mil. You want to be on that higher end of that range. Do whatever you have to do to get it up there. That's the first one. Saw palmetto, boron, lycopene, vitamin D3 – my top four suggestions for prostate cancer.

"What are the top supplements for migraines?"

Again, I am paraphrasing the question. "Migraine headaches--what are the top supplements?" Number one, magnesium threonate about 144 milligrams.

Magnesium is critical for lots of biochemical processes, including in the brain. The problem is, we are not able to get magnesium into the brain. If you are deficient in magnesium in your body, you are really deficient in your brain. Magnesium threonate is the form that gets to the brain and, as a matter of fact, we know that magnesium can decrease that initial intense pain of a migraine and make you feel better very quickly.

As a matter of fact, with severe migraines, often the first thing the emergency room doctor does is give you a bolus, an injection, basically, of magnesium. But magnesium threonate will get to the brain better than any other form. Butterbur is an herb – about 150 milligrams. It is 50-50 with butterbur.

I have seen it work wonders with people with migraines and seen it do nothing with people with migraines. Butterbur is about 50-50. Number three is ginger root – 250 milligrams a day. It probably has some anti-inflammatory effects. It's able to decrease inflammation in the vessels that supply the brain so there is less irritability and constriction of those vessels and that might help. Gingko – 120 milligrams a day might be helpful. The last one is interesting. Melatonin for migraines. Melatonin. Yes, it's the sleep hormone. Most people take it for sleep issues but it is not just for sleep.

We are learning that melatonin is quite complex. It has influences on how nerve cells communicate, on neurotransmitter production. You have to do a higher dose of melatonin than you might normally do just for sleep. Most people for sleep use a milligram to maybe 3 milligrams.

But for migraines the starting dose is going to be around 5 milligrams. You want to make sure that if you want to do melatonin for a migraine headache and you are going to do the 5 milligrams that you are not driving, you are not at work, you are at home, that type of thing. But that is just the starting dose for migraines. Most people, to get a nice benefit, less pain, less nausea, from the migraine you are looking at even more – 10 or even 15 milligrams of melatonin. You have to build up to that slowly. That's magnesium threonate, butterbur, ginger root, gingko and melatonin for migraines.

"What are the top supplements for Alzheimer's disease?"

The easiest way for me to do this one is to talk more about the categories than specific supplements. I can name some specific supplements but anybody with Alzheimer's, especially early on, or even if you are at risk for Alzheimer's – maybe it runs in your family and so you're worried about it. Maybe you live in a city environment with a lot of toxins – the first class of supplements need to be the anti-inflammatories – the fish oils, boswellia, black cumin seed oil. The anti-inflammatories are critical. A lot of neurologists will tell you Alzheimer's is simply the brain on fire – inflamed.

The anti-inflammatories are critical. Number two would be the antioxidants. There is a high level of oxidative stress in Alzheimer's patients. There are clear laboratory studies showing that if you take brain cells and put pro-oxidants into the petri dish that cause oxidative stress, they become damaged and the production of the abnormal protein amyloid goes up significantly. That's been clearly shown.

A lot of great studies coming out of China were showing that three of four years ago. Oxidative stress is really high in Alzheimer's patients. You have to do anti-oxidants that are able to get into the brain. Pigmented anti-oxidants like zeaxanthin and lutein and meso-zeaxanthin and astaxanthin. Those are really good for reducing oxidative stress in the central nervous system. Of course, blueberries as well. The third category would be immune. There is this idea that Alzheimer's might have an immune issue going on.

When you develop an abnormal protein like amyloid beta in the brain there are macrophages that can eat that up and clear it up and there is no problem. But in Alzheimer's patients those macrophages aren't working as well. So, we want to boost the macrophages in the brain and it turns out that curcumin from turmeric can do that – about 400 milligrams. Coriolus, the mushrooms can help with that. So, there you go.

There's the anti-inflammatory category with Alzheimer's; the anti-oxidant category with Alzheimer's and the immune category with Alzheimer's. I will tell you, real quickly, too, there's good research showing that there is an infection in the brains and sinuses in Alzheimer's of patients called spirochaete. Maybe antibiotics are appropriate.

Also there is a drug called Enbrel which is for rheumatoid arthritis has been shown to help Alzheimer's patients as well. So, there is prostate cancer, migraine and Alzheimer's--my top supplements.

This is Healthy Talk on RadioMD. I'm Dr. Mike. Stay well.