As men age, prostate health is a primary concern.
Up to 50% of men aged 51 and older have problems of prostate enlargement, but most if not all men will have enlarged prostate problems at some point between the ages of 60 to 80 years (1).
Disorders of the prostate include inflammatory disease (prostatitis), but the most common prostate health problem is benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) – known more simply as a non-cancerous enlarged prostate (2).
An enlarged prostate can cause frustrating, uncomfortable, and possibly painful, urinary and sexual difficulties.
Managing prostate health
An enlarged prostate occurs when cells in the prostate abnormally divide and multiply, causing the organ to increase in size (3).
There are a variety of treatment options available for prostate problems. Some treatments are more intensive – surgery, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy – requiring the consultation of specialized medical professionals, but there are some simpler options like eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise.
Also, you can add a natural supplement formulated specifically to support men’s prostate health. Natural supplements are normally composed of a blend of herbs, along with vitamins and minerals; and in the case of a prostate supplement, these herbs normally provide ample antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to shrink the prostate.
Natural ingredients that may keep the prostate healthy
As you age, complications with the prostate are inevitable.
If you are having these issues already or are looking to delay them in the future, there are several natural, plant derived supplements out there that may help with that goal.
Quercetin is a plant compound and bioflavonoid, which has been shown to prevent several prostate problems. It is also a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent and reduce inflammation and swelling associated with prostatitis. This also helps lessen pain associated with chronic swelling (4).
Quercetin is also considered more potent when in a supplement. This because it is combined with other natural substances enhance quercetin’s ability to be absorbed by the body.
Beta-sitosterol is also a plant compound and phytochemical similar to cholesterol. Because of its chemical design, it may reduce cholesterol levels in the blood stream (5).
It also assists reduce swelling of the prostate, improving urine flow and reduce the amount of urine left in the bladder after urination (3).
It’s found in several plants commonly found in men’s health supplements, including saw palmetto berry and pygeum bark extract.
- Saw Palmetto Berry
Saw palmetto is a type of palm tree native to the southeastern United States. The berries of the plant are used to improve urinary function.
Its benefits make it a primary ingredient in many male health supplements, including balancing hormone levels and also in prostate health supplements (6).
As one of the most studied herbal supplements used to treat BPH, several clinical trials have shown saw palmetto’s ability to inhibits the production of testosterone (3).
- Pumpkin Seed extract
Pumpkin seed oil is extracted from pepitas (aka: pumpkin seeds) and it provides several benefits to managing prostate health and preventing swelling.
The phytochemicals, like beta-sitosterol, in this oil can block certain types of prostate growth and may help with excess production of dihydrotestosterone (a product of testosterone break-down) in the prostate. It also contains ample amounts of zinc that is important for normal prostate function (7).
Pumpkin seed extract is also commonly used in combination with saw palmetto berry, amplifying its effects.
- Pygeum bark extract
Pygeum bark extract is taken from the African plum or cherry tree and is a sought-after alternative remedy after research declared it effective at managing prostate problems (8).
Pygeum contains a wide range of fatty acids, alcohols, and sterols such as beta-sitosterol that have an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect on the urogenital tract (3).
These can help ease issues such as night urination, frequent urination, and incontinence (8).
- Stinging Nettles extract
Stinging nettle is a plant and an ancient herbal medicine, dating back to the Egyptians and Romans. It contains a wide variety of nutrients – vitamins A, C, K, along with many others – contributing to its variety of medicinal uses as an antioxidant (1).
As yet another anti-inflammatory aid, stinging nettle extract can raise antioxidant levels in the blood. Much like pygeum bark extract and saw palmetto berry.
Stinging nettle another extract used in combination with saw palmetto berry, amplifying its anti-inflammatory effects (3).
Lycopene is a naturally occurring pigment found in many red and dark prink fruits and vegetables. Tomatoes are one of the richest sources of lycopene, but examples include: papaya, grapefruit, watermelon, guava, carrots, red bell peppers, apricots, red cabbage (3).
Lycopene is also an antioxidant. It helps protect your cells against the effects of damaging free radicals, reduce oxidation, and ease stress.
Boron is an aid being increasingly recognized for its ability to maintain prostate health. Specifically via its action on prostate-specific antigen (PSA), which is the most abundant proteins secreted by the prostate. PSA is also a well-established marker for prostate issues (10).
- Antioxidant vitamins and minerals
Antioxidants are involved in boosting the immune system and fending off diseases. Both vitamins and minerals can both be antioxidants and the most effective for prostatic health is vitamin E, zinc, selenium, and copper.
All these substances are anti-inflammatory and play therapeutic role in combating and healing the damage caused by oxidative stress.
Is a natural prostate supplement right for you?
As stated above, complication with prostate health is inevitable as you age.
If you are looking to stave off these symptoms, taking a natural supplement full of plant-based ingredients proven to have a positive effect on prostate health.
As always, seek the advice of a trusted medical professional when considering taking a new supplement for your prostate health to ensure its right for you.
Author: Allison Lansman, RDN, LD