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Natural solutions to managing prostate health

Wednesday December 1, 2021

As men age, their prostate grows.  Depending on the size, continued growth can make men more susceptible to prostate enlargement also known as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) with 1 in 2 men over the age of 50 being affected. 


Prostate enlargement is caused by a proliferation of cells in the prostate gland and linked to hormonal changes. Prostate growth can affect urination and sexual function, and cause serious complications, causing discomfort and impact on the quality of life.


Symptoms of BPH can include increased frequency and potential urgency of urination and result in nocturia or urinary tract infections.


Therefore, it’s recommended to seek a diagnosis from a GP or a health practitioner to positively manage the symptoms associated with BPH.


Medications are available to treat BPH, however they can come with known side effects, and this has created increasing interest in natural alternatives. In comparative studies, the use of special herbs has shown effectiveness in reducing the symptoms of an enlarged prostate with fewer side effects recorded.


Here are five emerging herbs in the treatment for prostate enlargement:


Pygeum africanum


 

Pygeum africanum (African Cherry)

 

 

Pygeum africanum bark extract has shown benefits for limiting prostate growth and alleviating urinary flow issues.

 


Pygeum africanum is a bark extract derived from the African plum tree, native to Sub-Saharan Africa and the island of Madagascar. Traditionally consumed as a tea in its native land, it is more widely used as an extract throughout Europe to treat urinary flow issues caused by BPH. Research has shown that 100mg of Pygeum africanum exerts beneficial effects through anti-inflammatory action and inhibits the enzyme 5a-reductase, limiting the growth of the prostate and alleviating urinary flow issues. In a study, 263 men across eight centres throughout Europe received the dose for 60 days and saw a 66% improvement in comparison to 31% in the placebo group.   


Rye grass pollen


 

Rye Grass  - source of Rye Pollen

 

 

Rye grass pollen may affect the male hormone testosterone and improve urinary flow symptoms for those with BPH.

 


Rye grass pollen is taken from rye grass and is used in the treatment for BPH because of its ability to regulate testosterone level as well as relax the muscles of the urethra. Much of the health benefits seen by rye pollen extract is its major bioactive, ß–sitosterol. ß–sitosterol is one of several phytosterols found in almost all plants and is a similar structure to that of cholesterol meaning it may also help by reducing the risk of cardiovascular disorders. For the treatment of BPH, a Cochrane review concluded that ß–sitosterol may improve urinary symptoms and flow measures in those with BPH. 


Nettle


 

Nettle Leaf

 

 

Studies have shown nettle leaf may reduce symptoms related to BPH and lower urinary tract.

 


Like that of the other ingredients, nettle has shown that it can aid in reducing the levels sex hormone-binding globulin and allow the circulating androgens and estrogen to land on their receptors. The research on BPH has shown that supplementation with 300mg nettle for six months is an effective solution to reducing the symptoms of BPH and significantly reduces lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) and international prostate symptom score (IPSS) in 558 males with BPH symptoms. 


Pumpkin seed


 

Pumpkin Seeds

 

 

Pumpkin seed can be used to treat symptoms associated with urinary flow for men with BPH.

 


Pumpkin seed provides an array of nutrients and eating just a small amount can provide a large quantity of fats, magnesium, and zinc. For men with BPH symptoms, pumpkin seed can be used to treat the symptoms associated with urinary flow. A study looked at 1,400 men with lower urinary tract symptoms associated with BPH who received 500mg of pumpkin seed extract. Results showed the quality of life scores were significantly improved due to the reduction in overall symptoms and issues associated with urinary flow disruption.  


Saw palmetto


 

Saw Palmetto berries

 

 

Saw palmetto berry has traditionally been used to treat conditions related to enlarged prostate.

 


Saw palmetto is an herb synonymous with prostate health. Native to South-Eastern Central America, saw palmetto berry has been used for centuries as a therapy to treat conditions related to the enlargement of prostate cells and reduce the complications associated with the condition. In a study using 320mg of saw palmetto extract on patients with BPH versus placebo, the authors found prostate tissue saw a statistically significant reduction in inflammation and aggressiveness rating compared to placebo suggesting a potential anti-inflammatory and 5a-reductase inhibitory action. 


Diet and lifestyle modifications

As well as supplementation, it’s also important to reduce risk factors that influence the prostate, for instance, being overweight, having cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes. Following a Mediterranean style diet, limiting alcohol alongside a healthy exercise routine can also be beneficial to support good prostate health.


Conclusion:

Overall, studies have shown herbal supplements may positively help manage prostate health, alongside diet and lifestyle modifications. This holistic approach can be beneficial to men’s long-term health. For optimum care, choose nutritionist formulated supplements that contain 100% active ingredients with no artificial additives, binders or fillers.


Author: Phil Beard, MSc, BSc (Hons), is a Technical Educator at Viridian Nutrition. He holds a MSc in Nutritional Science and Health and BSc in Sports Science and Conditioning.



References:

  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (2014). Prostate Enlargement. Available: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/prostate-problems/prostate-enlargement-benign-prostatic-hyperplasia.
  • Chougule, K. et al. (2017). Indian Herbs That Act As 5-Alpha Reductase Inhibitors. International Journal of Pharmaceutical, Chemical and Biological Sciences. 7 (3), p265-273.
  • De Nunzio, C., Salonia, A., Gacci, M. et al. Inflammation is a target of medical treatment for lower urinary tract symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia. World J Urol 38, 2771–2779 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00345-020-03106-1.
  • Barlet A, Albrecht J, Aubert A, Fischer M, Grof F, Grothuesmann HG, Masson JC, Mazeman E, Mermon R, Reichelt H, et al. Efficacy of Pygeum africanum extract in the medical therapy of urination disorders due to benign prostatic hyperplasia: evaluation of objective and subjective parameters. A placebo-controlled double-blind multicenter study. Wien Klin Wochenschr. 1990 Nov 23;102(22):667-73. German. PMID: 1702916.
  • Inarejos García, A. (2017). PLASYS300 ®, The New Complex for Prostate Health. R&D Department of Pharmactive Biotech Products SL. 1 (1), p1-2.
  • Wilt TJ, Ishani A, MacDonald R, Stark G, Mulrow CD, Lau J. Beta-sitosterols for benign prostatic hyperplasia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 1999, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD001043. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001043. Accessed 28 May 2021.
  • Safarinejad MR. Urtica dioica for treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia: a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. J Herb Pharmacother. 2005;5(4):1-11. PMID: 16635963.
  • Vahlensieck W, Theurer C, Pfitzer E, Patz B, Banik N, Engelmann U. Effects of pumpkin seed in men with lower urinary tract symptoms due to benign prostatic hyperplasia in the one-year, randomized, placebo- controlled GRANU study. Urol Int. 2015;94(3):286-95.



The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a health practitioner. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you have a pre-existing health condition or are currently taking medication. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.

 

TAGS: Men's HealthMale Health

 

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