The Prostate is a walnut shaped and size organ located under the bladder and above the rectum. It’s primary purpose is to facilitate nutrition to the sperm once it has been ejaculated. As we age it tends to become larger resulting in a decrease in urinary stream and necessitating going to the bathroom multiple times throughout the night.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is a non cancerous enlargement of the prostate and present in nearly 1 out of 2 men over the age of 50 but is virtually nonexistent in men less than 30. By age 90 , 90% of all men exhibit signs of enlargement.
There are two main reasons for BPH:
- Growth of the prostate itself with subsequent urethral narrowing
- Over-stimulation of the alpha adrenergic receptors within the smooth muscle of the prostate making the person feel like he has to urinate frequently.
- The alpha agonists ( alfuzosin=Alfuzosin and Terazosin)
- 5- alpha reductase inhibitors (Dutasteride=Avodart and Finasteride=Propecia and Proscar).
The below list of natural products have all been shown have a benefit with BPH without the unpleasant side effects.
Saw-Palmetto (SP) is an indigenous palm to the South Eastern U.S. It grows wild and the supply is virtually unlimited. There are numerous studies with variable results. Some studies showed no results and some showed it was equal to the 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. In Feb 1999 the Journal Prostate found SP to inhibit agonist binding to alpha1 adrenoceptors and prevent (3H)inositol i.o.w. it acted life an alpha agonist drug which would shrink the prostate. In another study reported in the Journal of Urology 2000 SP was found to shrink the gland itself acting like a 5-alpha reductase. Other studies show it has powerful anti inflammatory action by blocking cyclooxgenase and lipoxygenase,two oxidants in the prostate.The European literature which has done most of the studies on SP shows that it reduces the symptoms of BPH, increases urinary flow and decreases the lower urinary tract symptoms(LUTS).
Beta-Sitosterol (BS) has been studied exhaustedly for the treatment of BPH . The Br.J. of Urology 1997 studied 177 men for six months with advanced prostatic symptoms. Urinary flow rates improved from 9.9 ml/sec to 15.2 ml/sec (a 66% increase) and residual urinary volume decreased by one third. Their conclusion “ Beta-sitosterol is an effective option in the treatment of BPH”. Lancet 1995 published a double blind,randomized placebo controlled multi center trial for 6 months on 200 men. Their conclusion: “Significant improvement in symptoms and urinary flow parameters show the effectiveness of beta-sitosterol in the treatment of BPH”
Pygeum is derived from the African Plum tree. Chemically it is composed of triterpines the most important of which is ferulic acid. It reduces LH, testosterone and prolactin levels in the prostate.
Magnesium has been used for centuries to treat asthma. It acts by relaxing the smooth muscles around the bronchi thereby making breathing easier. It acts in a similar way in the prostate and bladder. It relaxes the smooth muscles of both bladder and prostate thereby allowing the stream of urine to have more force. Recent studies in South America have shown that injecting Botox directly into the prostate relieved 100% of all the men’s symptoms 100% of the time. This turns throws of our current theories out of the window. Since Botox only works on the muscles and has no effect on the hormones it appears that relaxing the prostate muscles is the Holy Grail of BPH. Magnesium helps but is obviously not as strong as Botox.