According to The World Health Organisation, 80% of men will, at some point in their lives, need treatment for problems relating to their prostate gland.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is the most common prostate disorder seen in men over the age of 50. In BPH, the gland slowly enlarges, resulting in symptoms such as difficulty in starting to urinate, frequent urination during the night and difficulty in emptying the bladder completely.
Fortunately there are many natural nutrients and herbs that have traditionally been used to support the health of the prostate and manage symptoms of BPH.
Saw palmetto is the most widely used herbal supplement for the support of the prostate gland. The berries of this plant have been used for hundreds of years as a general tonic for the male reproductive system and it is used in modern medicine today.
One study found that daily supplements of 320 mg saw palmetto extract reduced BPH symptoms by over 50% after 8 weeks of treatment.(1) Another study found a combination of saw palmetto and nettle root extract was as effective as the drug finasteride for managing symptoms of BPH.(2)
Pink grapefruit, watermelon and tomatoes (especially cooked) are rich sources of lycopene. This carotenoid is found in large concentrations in the tissues of the prostate, where it regulates the growth of cells. In one study of men with BPH, taking 15mg of lycopene daily for six months resulted in a cessation in the growth of the prostate gland.(3)
Zinc has been identified as one of the most important nutrients for the protection of the prostate. High concentrations of zinc can be found in prostate tissue and it is known to play a role in normal hormone metabolism. Zinc has also been shown to inhibit the activity of the enzyme 5-alpha reductase that is responsible for the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a powerful androgen thought to be responsible for the development of BPH.
If you have symptoms of BPH you should consult your doctor.
- Suter A, Saller R, Riedi E, Heinrich M. Improving BPH symptoms and sexual dysfunctions with a saw palmetto preparation? Results from a pilot trial. Phytotherapy research : PTR. 2013;27(2):218-26.
- Sokeland J. Combined sabal and urtica extract compared with finasteride in men with benign prostatic hyperplasia: analysis of prostate volume and therapeutic outcome. BJU international. 2000;86(4):439-42.
- Schwarz S, Obermuller-Jevic UC, Hellmis E, Koch W, Jacobi G, Biesalski HK. Lycopene inhibits disease progression in patients with benign prostate hyperplasia. The Journal of nutrition. 2008;138(1):49-53.