AN enlarged prostate is a serious problem that affects every aspect of a man’s life. The problem many men experience can make it difficult to visit friends, even dine out or see a movie.
The prostate produces some of the fluid for semen, which helps to lubricate the urethra to increase sperm motility. It is located just below the bladder, and wraps around the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.
For some men, prostate size does not change. Unfortunately, about 75% of men over 50 years of age have measurable enlargement of the prostate. This condition is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). The enlarged prostate squeezes the urethra, making it difficult to urinate.
How do you find out if you have an enlarged prostate?
If your answer is “yes” to two or more of the following questions, there is a high probability that you have a prostate problem. If so, you should take appropriate steps to reduce the problem and restore normal function.
- Do you get up at night to urinate?
- Do you stop and start several times while urinating?
- Do you sometimes find it difficult to postpone urination?
- Do you have to strain to begin urinating?
- Do you have a weak urine stream?
- Do you have to urinate again in less than two hours?
- Do you experience some degree of impotency during sex?
- Do you find your orgasms becoming less intense?
HERBAL SUPPLEMENTS THAT ARE HELPFUL
Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens)
The fat-soluble (liposterolic) extract of the saw palmetto berry has become the leading natural treatment for BPH. This extract, when used regularly, has been shown to help keep the symptoms at bay.
Saw palmetto appears to inhibit 5-alpha-reductase, the enzyme that converts testosterone to its more active form, dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
Saw palmetto also blocks DHT from binding to the prostate. Studies have used 320mg per day of Saw Palmetto Extract that is standardised to contain approximately 80 to 95% fatty acids.
Saw palmetto is the best researched herbal remedy for treatment of BPH. There are many clinical trials which show that supplemental saw palmetto decreases urinary urgency, decreases night-time ( nocturnal) urinary urgency, increases urinary flow rate, reduces urinary retention and improves quality of life.
Most recent studies have shown that to achieve the optimal benefits with saw palmetto, it is essential that fat-soluble Saw Palmetto Extracts are standardised to contain 85%-95% fatty acids.
(Note: Most of the older preparations in the market are using the crude extract of the saw palmetto berries. The problem with the crude extract of saw palmetto is that the quality of the powder may not be consistent. The potency may not be consistent.)
Pygeum (Pygeum africanum)
Pygeum is the second most popular herb for correcting enlarged prostate. Pygeum has been approved in Germany, France, and Italy as a remedy for BPH. The beneficial effects of pygeum are found to be similar to saw palmetto.
Tomato (Lycoparsion esculentum)
Lycopene contains phytosterols (plant chemical) and have potent antioxidant properties.
Antioxidants can neutralise harmful substances in the body called “free radicals” that can contribute to cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
Research studies show that high levels of lycopene consumption have been associated with long-term protection of prostate health.
Stinging nettle (Urtica dioca)
The popular use of stinging nettle extract in Germany has prompted numerous clinical trials.
Collectively these trials demonstrated the benefits of using the extract for the treatment of BPH.
This extract may increase urinary volume and the maximum flow rate of urine in men with early-stage BPH3. It has been successfully combined with both saw palmetto and pygeum to treat BPH in double-blind trials.
The beneficial effects of stinging nettle root extract include reducing residual urine, decreasing night-time (nocturnal) urinary frequency and increasing urinary flow rate.
Pumpkin seed (Curcubita pepo)
Pumpkin seed extract contains phytosterols, curcubitin and selenium. Clinical studies have shown that a remarkable reduction in urinary frequency during the day and night-time can be achieved. Urinary flow rate is also increased and residual urine is reduced.
Generally, when shopping for herbal product(s), one should preferably choose products that contain standardised extract(s) of herbs as they can guarantee the consistency of the product.
This is to ensure that each herb contains the same amount of biologically active compounds. In the case of crude powder/extract (non-standardised), the levels of the plants’ active compounds fluctuate widely depending on many factors such as weather, soil quality, age of the plant and time of the year it’s harvested.