The male prostate is just below the urinary bladder, and it produces fluid which improves the survival of sperm. Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) is a non-cancerous swelling of the prostate resulting in difficulty urinating, reduced urine flow, frequent night urination, and difficulty emptying the bladder. The PSA* is usually below 10. BPH can cause difficulty obtaining or maintaining an erection, with onset of symptoms around age 40.
5-alpha reductase inhibitors (5-ARIs) are agents that prevent the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT may be responsible for BPH. There are several pharmaceutical 5-ARIs available, but they can make sexual dysfunction worse.
Testosterone and DHEA (dihydroepiandrosterone) may make BPH symptoms worse. DHEA levels begin to decline in the third decade of life for all people. Males and females benefit from oral DHEA with aging in general, however, testosterone taken orally may increase the rate of prostate cancer for men.
Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) at 320 mg. per day may reduce BPH symptoms. A dose of 640 mg. per day is sometimes necessary. It is a 5-ARI. Saw palmetto may be able to lower PSA levels. Some studies do not confirm the benefits of saw palmetto. Some of these negative studies may not have used sufficient doses.
Pygeum bark (Prunus Africana) is used by people who don’t respond to other herbs. It should be noted that pygeum trees are marginally sustainable and overharvested. Stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) root is used for BPH. It has value as an astringent.
Red maca (Lepidium meyenii) improves prostatic hypertrophy. Maca is useful in men with mild erectile dysfunction. It is a plant from the Andes Mountains of Peru. Ganoderma or Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) is a 5-ARI which reduces BPH. Pollen products for BPH are widely used by men. Tribulus terrestis is an Ayurvedic herb with benefits in treating BPH. It is called puncturevine or Texas burr. It may create an increase sexual activity. Shilajit is another Ayurvedic treatment of mineral origin used for urinary diseases.
Nutrition alters BPH. Diabetes and obesity increase BPH, as do starches and red meat. Moderate alcohol use, healthy fatty acids and vegetable consumption reduce the risk of BPH. Low zinc levels are associated with prostate problems. Pumpkin extract has high concentrations of zinc, as do eggs and seafood. Levels of prostate disease are low in parts of the world where frequent intake of paprika or of curry (made with turmeric) is common.
Summary #921. nutrientmedicine