Discover Nutrients that Preserve Your Prostate
If you’re a man over 40 and have noticed more urinary urgency, difficulty urinating, or a sense that your bladder isn’t emptied, you are not alone. It’s estimated that about 60 percent of men over 60 and 80 percent of men over 80 have a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, an enlarged prostate condition more commonly called “BPH.”
The causes behind BPH appear to center around hormonal changes in men, including increased levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a metabolite of testosterone that can trigger prostate enlargement.
As the prostate enlarges, it presses against the urethra, which carries urine from the bladder, making it difficult to urinate and potentially affecting sexual performance as well.
Not all cases of BPH progress with the same intensity, and fortunately, there are nutrients that can help balance androgen and testosterone levels, reduce prostate growth, and protect the prostate from DNA damage that could lead to worsening BPH symptoms, or even cancer.
Saw Palmetto: Reduces BPH Symptoms, Slows Prostate Growth
Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) has a long track record of reducing BPH symptoms.
One of the reasons that saw palmetto is so well-regarded for prostate health is because it acts on the changing hormone levels of men as they age, including levels of a testosterone derivative called DHT.
Saw palmetto inhibits the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, which, in turn, prevents the creation of DHT. It also stops DHT from binding to androgenic receptors, which can cause prostate enlargement. Plus, saw palmetto is anti-inflammatory, so it reduces prostate swelling and cellular damage that could lead to tumor formation.
In conventional treatment, it’s not unusual for men to be prescribed 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors like finasteride, or alpha blockers like tamsulosin, which relax the smooth muscles in the bladder and prostate. Unfortunately, both can cause sexual side effects. Plus, tamsulosin is only intended for short-term use, so it’s not really an option for ongoing symptom control.
What makes saw palmetto so attractive is that it reduces BPH symptoms with none of the side effects of these drugs.
One clinical study compared saw palmetto extract to an alpha blocker for a year. Both reduced symptoms, but only the saw palmetto group experienced decreased prostate size–without the sexual side effects noted in the alpha-blocker group.
Likewise, saw palmetto has been shown to be as effective as 5-alpha reductase inhibitors for improving urinary tract symptoms and quality of life.
Beta-Sitosterol: Better Flow, Improved Testosterone
Beta-sitosterol is a healthy fat from plants, and one that you’re most likely to consume in peanut butter, pistachios, and legumes.
Once absorbed in the digestive tract, beta-sitosterol is metabolized in the liver and travels to other tissues in the body, including the prostate. However, if you have experienced urological problems and suspect it is BPH, you’re not going to get enough of this valuable plant sterol through your diet alone.
Beta-sitosterol is also a natural component of saw palmetto, but natural variations in the plants mean that the levels of the compound are not always consistent. That’s why I prefer to pair saw palmetto with additional beta-sitosterol.
Clinical studies have found that beta-sitosterol improves urinary symptoms and flow for men with BPH, much like saw palmetto. And, when beta-sitosterol is combined with saw palmetto, the outcome is excellent.
One clinical study found that in just 12 weeks, men aged 40 to 65 with BPH symptoms taking a combination of saw palmetto enhanced with beta-sitosterol had improved International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS) numbers, reduced residual urine in the bladder after using the bathroom, better urine flow rate, reduced prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and 5-alpha-reductase levels, and better free testosterone levels.
Boron: Protects DNA, Balances Hormones
In addition to saw palmetto and beta-sitosterol, boron and zinc are also key to keeping the prostate working properly and in reducing the growth of the prostate or prostate symptoms.
Boron preserves prostate DNA and stops excessive cell growth that could lead to an enlarged prostate or even prostate cancer. In fact, a national health and nutrition survey (NHANES III), found that the higher the boron intake (often from leafy greens, nuts, legumes, and fruits), the lower the likelihood of developing cancer, so it’s an important mineral to have on board.
Boron also affects the balance of free testosterone and estrogen, and proper levels of this mineral are a must for steroid hormone metabolism. Fortunately, boron supplementation can boost levels of testosterone in older men, which could have significant benefits for the prostate, sexual function, and good health overall.
Zinc: A Must for a Healthy Prostate
Of all the organs in the body, zinc is concentrated most in the prostate. It helps the prostate develop and function properly, protects it from oxidative damage, and is an important component of prostatic fluid, along with the protein PSA. If your zinc levels are low, it can indicate serious prostate issues. In clinical research, the prostate tissue levels of zinc were 83 percent lower in prostate cancer patients, and 61 percent lower in patients with BPH.
Zinc is also critical for proper cell division and differentiation, DNA and RNA repair, and the strength and stability of your cells.
Because zinc is not easily stored in the body for reserve use, it gets depleted quickly due to stress, infections, injuries, and a host of other challenges. To keep your levels at their best for a healthy prostate, you need to supplement with a consistent, absorbable source.
These Nutrients Can Stop BPH
Dealing with BPH or other serious prostate health concerns can be incredibly difficult. If you have a family history of prostate issues, are experiencing symptoms of BPH, or simply want to stay in front of any problems, I believe that the nutrients I’ve outlined here can make a critical difference.