BPH is the most common prostate medical condition in middle-aged and older men. BPH affects about 70% of men in their 60s and over 80% of men above the age of 70. BPH involves uncontrolled growth of prostate tissue and smooth muscle. This increases prostate volume, which restricts urinary flow.
More than 90% of free testosterone in the prostate converts to the more potent form of testosterone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) by the enzyme 5 alpha-reductase II (5AR2).
The role of DHT in developing BPH has been demonstrated through castration. This leads to a decrease in prostate size and urinary symptoms. However, there are serious side effects of castration, so it is rarely used as a treatment for BPH. Chronic inflammation also contributes to developing BPH.
Medical drugs and surgical procedures for BPH can cause several side effects, making these drugs undesirable for many men. Dietary supplements offer potential alternatives to these medical treatments.
The Issue With Supplements
Dietary supplements go through less regulatory hurdles than drugs. Drugs must undergo clinical trials to demonstrate to the FDA that they are safe and effective.
The FDA can then approve the new drug, so it can be marketed and sold in the US. However, safety issues are detected with a third of drugs aftermarket approval.
Dietary supplements are considered safe until proven otherwise. Manufacturers are not obligated to conduct clinical trials to prove the efficacy and safety before entering the market.
Brands are free to make a number of health claims related to addressing nutrient deficiencies, supporting general health or supporting a particular body function (e.g. immunity or heart health).
The manufacturers just need to follow the claim with the following message: “This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”
The FDA has provided good manufacturing practices (GMPs) for dietary supplements. This helps ensure dietary supplements contain the labeled ingredients with purity, accurate composition, and the stated strength.
Numerous companies also offer third-party testing and provide a seal of approvals for products that pass their test. This offers assurance that the product contains the ingredients listed on the label, and does not contain harmful levels of contaminants.
Some herbal supplements are contaminated with pesticides or toxic heavy metals. Some manufacturers adulterate supplements with prescription drugs that are undeclared on their labels.
For example, some supplements marketed for sexual function contain Viagra or Cialis. While some prostate supplements contain alpha blockers like Terazosin.
Ingesting excessive amounts of some herbal extracts can result in acute liver injury or even failure.
Herbal and dietary supplements account for 10% of drug-induced liver injury cases in the USA (Crescioli, 2018). Green tea and Garcinia cambogia, in particular, have been linked with liver side effects (Sarma, 2008; Cresciol, 2018i; Navarro, 2013).
The FDA requires manufacturers of dietary supplements to detail the amount of each ingredient in their products on the “Supplement Facts” label. However, there is a regulatory loophole that allows manufacturers to cluster ingredients together with a “proprietary blend.”
The manufacturer only has to label the total amount of the blend rather than the quantities of each ingredient. Supplement companies use this loophole to cut costs, rather than providing you with the optimal dosages of each ingredient.
Many brands label each individual ingredient quantity. But this does not guarantee clinically relevant doses. For example, some saw palmetto supplements offer less than 320 mg per day and contain as low as 40% fatty acids so they will be ineffective (Habib, 2004). Saw palmetto extracts should be standardized to at least 85% fatty acids and 0.2% sterols.
Ben’ Natural Health supplements are based on the most current, published, peer-reviewed scientific research. We do the research work for you, so you don’t have to.
What are the Top Prostate Vitamins?
Vitamin D deficiency in middle-aged men has been associated with moderate to severe urinary symptoms. Cell culture studies demonstrate that vitamin D reduces inflammation when it binds to the Vitamin D Receptor in the prostate (Penna 2009, Comeglio, 2010). Thus vitamin D may play a role in preventing BPH.
Randomized control trials have not been conducted to see the effects of vitamin D supplementation on BPH and urinary symptoms in men. However, a randomized control trial in females with overactive bladder reported positive effects of vitamin D supplementation (Oberg, 2017).
Selenium is an essential trace mineral that plays important roles in reproduction, thyroid hormone metabolism, DNA synthesis, and protection from oxidative damage and infection.
Foods sources include Brazil nuts, organ meats, and seafood. Selenium quantity in plant foods depends on selenium levels in the soil.
An observational study in Europe found that men with high selenium levels in their nails were less likely to develop prostate cancer. Men with high selenium levels with prostate cancer were less likely to have an aggressive form (Allen, 2016).
A human clinical trial provided 30 middle-aged men with 200 micrograms of selenium supplementation for 6 weeks. There was an increase in the antioxidant glutathione peroxidase and a reduction in PSA (Zhang, 2011).
Another human clinical trial studied the effects of 240 micrograms selenium with 570 milligrams milk thistle in men with BPH. After 6 months, urine flow rate and IPSS ratings improved and reduced PSA (Vostalova, 2013).
What are the Best Herbs for the Prostate?
Saw palmetto is the most commonly used herbal supplement for treating lower urinary tract symptoms.
Saw palmetto works by inhibiting 5 alpha-reductase enzyme activity. This enzyme converts free testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the prostate. DHT causes prostate growth and leads to urinary dysfunction.
The clinical research on saw palmetto has displayed mixed results. Some studies show saw palmetto improves urinary function (Vela-Navarette, 2018), while some research reports saw palmetto is ineffective (MacDonald, 2012).
The reason for this discrepancy is likely due to differing product quality. Brands containing more than 80% of fatty acids show improved urinary function.
Saw palmetto extracts with more than 80% fatty acids inhibits 5AR enzymes more effectively than extracts with less than 80% (Scaglione , 2008).
A study found that pygeum africanum extracts inhibited the growth of human prostate cancer cells in a test tube study. Also, mice were fed either Pygeum africanum or casein for a period of 5 months.
Pygeum africanum significantly reduced the incidence of prostate cancer. 35% of the mice that were fed Pygeum africanum developed prostate cancer and 62.5% of the casein-fed mice developed prostate cancer (Shenouda et al., 2007).
A review of 17 double-blinded studies examined the effects of pygeum africancum for treating BPH (Ishani, 2000). The study found that patients were 35% more likely to show symptom improvement. There was also a reduction in urinary retention, improved urine flow and a reduction in night time incontinence.
Pumpkin seed contains fatty acids, phytosterols, tocopherols and micronutrients. These ingredients have anti-inflammatory effects and reduce prostate volume in preclinical research.
Animal research shows pumpkin seed extract prevented the development of BPH and increased the testosterone:estrogen ratio (Ejike, 2011).
A one-year randomized controlled trial compared the effects of pumpkin seed to placebo in men with BPH (Vahlensieck, 2015). By the end of study the men receiving pumpkin seed reported greater improvement in subjective reporting of symptoms and reduced nocturia.
Both groups improved flow rate, with no difference between the two (Vahlensieck, 2015).
What are the Most Effective Supplements?
Beta-sitosterol exists in rice bran, wheat germ, peanuts, corn oils, and soybeans. Herbal extracts like saw palmetto, rye grass pollen, pygeum africanum, and stinging nettles contain beta-sitosterol.
These extracts are used for treating BPH and beta-sitosterol may be the key ingredient.
Clinical trials show beta-sitosterol increases maximum urinary flow rate by about 45% and men report improved urinary symptoms (Wilt, 1993). Beta-sitosterol works by inhibiting 5-alpha-reductase and reducing inflammation by inhibiting prostaglandin production (Lowe, 1996).
Rye grass pollen
Honeybees make a lump of pollen that they have collected from flowers. Bees use the pollen to feed their larvae and as material for producing royal jelly. Pollen is a natural source of antioxidants, amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals (Rzepecka-Stojko, 2015).
Pollen extract may improve urinary function by relaxing smooth muscle tone and increasing bladder muscle contraction (Kimura, 1986) and/or relaxing sphincter muscles (Nakase, 1988).
Pollen extract may improve nocturia (waking up regularly at night to urinate) (MacDonald, 2000). Pollen extract also increases the maximum flow rate and decreases residual urine volume (Murakami, 2008). Men require at least 120 mg of pollen extract per day.
Stinging nettle contains compounds like beta-sitosterol, lignins, and polysaccharides.
Preclinical studies show stinging nettle causes anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that may relieve the symptoms of BPH (Chrubasik et al., 2007).
Some studies show that 360-600 mg of stinging nettle per day improves peak urinary flow rate and reduces prostate volume when compared to placebo. However, stinging nettle has no effect on PSA levels (Men, 2016). The higher end of the dose range may be required to reduce prostate volume.
Zinc is an essential mineral found in a number of foods. Oysters contain more zinc per serving than any other food, but red meat and poultry provide the majority of zinc in the American diet.
Other good food sources include beans, nuts, certain types of seafood (like crab and lobster), and whole grains.
The prostate gland contains a high level of zinc, which is reduced when prostate cancer manifests (Györkey; Costello). A study in mice showed that zinc suppressed human prostate tumor growth by preventing the expression of the androgen receptor (To 2018).
Other Natural Supplements With Potential for Prostate Health
Lycopene is an antioxidant that gives tomatoes its red colour. A randomised control trial examined the effects of lycopene extract in men with BPH (Moazzami, 2011). Men were given 15 mg of lycopene per day or a placebo for 6 months.
PSA was significantly reduced in the lycopene group and prostate volume was unchanged after 6 months. Prostate volume increased by 24% in the placebo group (Landberg, 2010). However, some studies have reported no effect of lycopene supplementation (Schwarz, 2008).
Tomato intake providing about 30 mg of lycopene reduces PSA in men with prostate cancer (Chen, 2001; Paur, 2017).
These benefits were exerted from lycopene from whole foods rather than as an extract. It is likely that lycopene from whole foods exerts health benefits than may not occur with an extract.
Prostate cancer mortality is lowest in Asia, where they also drink 20% of the world’s green tea (Klotz, 2005).
When Asians move to the west Green tea intake reduces and prostate cancer mortality increases (Ito, 2014). Preclinical studies show compounds in green tea called catechins can protect against cancerous tumour growth (Klotz, 2005).
Human clinical studies have had mixed results. For example, men with prostate cancer were given either green tea or placebo for 12 months (Micali, 2017). By the end of the study there were no differences in prostate cancer rates between the groups.
Quality of life and urinary symptoms also did not improve (Micali, 2017). Although one study found green tea improved subjective urinary symptoms in men with BPH (Bettuzzi, 2006).
Boron is a trace element in the human diet. Rich food sources of boron include fruits, nuts, legumes, vegetables, and wine.
An epidemiological study found that people with a greater dietary boron intake were at a lower risk of developing prostate cancer (Cui, 2004). Test tube studies have shown boric acid can inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells (Gallardo-Williams 2004; Pizzorno, 2015).
Quercetin is a flavonoid found in high concentrations in capers, and red onion (Paulis, 2018).
Preclinical research demonstrates that quercetin can protect against chronic prostatitis by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress (Cai, 2009).
A human clinical trial showed that 1 gram of quercetin daily for 4 weeks significantly improved the symptoms of chronic non-bacterial prostatitis (Meng, 2018).
Another human clinical study showed that taking quercetin alongside curcumin, saw palmetto and antibiotics was more effective at treating chronic bacterial prostatitis than taking antibiotics alone (Shoskes, 1999).
90% of the men that took the supplement with antibiotics did not experience an infection recurrence, while only 27% of men than took antibiotic did not have an infection recurrence (Shoskes, 1999).
For quercetin to be effective quercetin you would require either a high dose (1 gram per day) or a lower dose when combined with other ingredients like curcumin and saw palmetto.
Curcumin is the bioactive ingredient in the Indian spice turmeric. Curcumin is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and may protect against prostate diseases (Guo, 2013).
Inflammation molecules promote the growth of prostatic epithelial cells and contribute to the development of BPH (Taoka, 2017). Higher levels of inflammation are associated with more severe LUTS (Mickel, 2016).
Curcumin supplementation reduces prostate volume in an animal model (Kim, 2015) and is associated with improved urinary symptoms in men with BPH after 2 to 6 months (Cosentino, 2016, Ledda, 2012).
Another study provided men with a high PSA with 1 gram of curcumin and 300 mg of beta-sitosterol for 30 days. PSA dropped from 6.48 to 4.65 and many of the men avoided unnecessary biopsies (Fabiani, 2018). However, studies have yet to compare curcumin with a placebo.
What is the Best Natural Prostate Supplement?
Total Health for the Prostate contains 23 all-natural ingredients, including beta-sitosterol, curcumin, quercetin, boron, and zinc. It is the only supplement that contains clinically significant doses of all the active nutrients your prostate needs.
The individual ingredients were also chosen based on studies which show their synergistic properties. Meaning that taking the individual ingredients together is more effective than taking them individually.
For more information on Total Health for the Prostate and how it can improve your urinary symptoms and overall prostate health, visit https://www.bensnaturalhealth.com/health-products/total-health-vegicaps.html.