(Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia)
The prostate is a male reproductive gland that sits at the outlet of the urinary bladder and surrounds the urethra (the channel that carries urine away from the bladder). Normally, the prostate is about the size of a walnut. In many men, however, especially those who are middle-aged or older, the gland becomes inflamed or enlarged. When this happens, the prostate compresses the urethra, obstructing the flow of urine and causing other problems (i.e., infection, bladder stones, etc.).
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is the medical term, but the disorder is more commonly known as enlarged prostate. When a man reaches middle age, the prostate often starts growing. There can be several reasons why this growth occurs, but it appears to be mainly caused by hormonal changes associated with aging.
Almost half of all men over forty-five suffer from at least some degree of prostate enlargement. At first, an enlarged prostate produces no symptoms, but as it grows and puts increased pressure on the urethra, urinary problems develop. It may be difficult to start urinating, and once the flow has begun, it may be hard to stop. There may be dribbling in-between urination, along with a sense that the bladder isn't completely empty. Many men find that they awaken several times a night to urinate. Although the symptoms are uncomfortable and disruptive, benign enlargement is usually not a sign of a more serious disease. In some cases, however, the prostate can become so enlarged that the bladder can rarely empty itself completely. This urine retention can lead to an infection of the bladder or the kidneys; in severe cases, a constantly full bladder can place a dangerous level of pressure on the kidneys and even cause them to fail. A poor diet, especially one that's low in fiber and high in saturated fat, likely contributes to prostate enlargement as well.
As men age, their hormone balance changes. Testosterone levels decline, while the estrogen class of hormones increases. One prevailing theory as to why the prostate enlarges centers around the increased conversion of testosterone to one of its metabolites, known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The enzyme responsible for this conversion of testosterone to DHT is 5-alpha reductase. It is believed that the activity of this enzyme increases as men age, so that DHT levels increase. DHT is implicated in prostate growth. Recent studies show that there is more to the story than just DHT. In recent years, there has been growing evidence that estrogen plays a role in prostate enlargement. A man's body contains the hormone estrogen, albeit in lesser amounts than in women. Some research shows that the balance between estrogen, testosterone, and DHT is the main issue with prostate cell growth. It is interesting to note that the enzyme aromatase converts testosterone to a potent form of estrogen known as estradiol. Estradiol causes prostate cells to grow and multiply. Keep in mind that pesticides, herbicides, and other environmental pollutants mimic estrogen in the body. It is also postulated that a rise in the estrogen-to-testosterone ratio amplifies the effects of DHT on the cell receptors of the prostate, which leads to cell growth. This relative increase in estrogen also reduces the ability of the prostate cells to clear out DHT. It makes some sense that DHT may not be the major villain in prostate enlargement. Rather, it is the balance between estrogen, testosterone, and DHT and, likely, even progesterone-that really matters. The point is that proper hormone balance through diet, exercise, nutritional supplements, and detoxification is the key to helping this condition.
Prostatic enlargement responds well to natural treatment. Dietary and herbal therapies are especially effective at reducing the swelling and balancing the hormones. It's wise, however, to have any urinary or prostate problems checked out by a doctor, preferably a urologist, just to rule out any underlying cause. And if you experience weight loss, bone pain, or bloody urine, call your doctor right away.
** All of these prescriptions below have been proven effective; level of effectiveness depends on the individual. Please consult your doctor when taking any and all supplements.
The top 7 vitamins and supplements shown to
help Prostate Enlargement:
The Prescription for Natural
Cures by James F. Balch, M.D. and Mark Stengler, N.M.D.
Prescription #1 ProstaPlex - LifeSource Product - Take the ProstaPlex
as directed, which works up to 10 times better than Saw Palmetto by itself,
or take 320 mg daily of a product standardized to 80 to 95 percent fatty
acids. Saw palmetto has been shown in numerous studies to improve the
symptoms of this condition. It appears to reduce hormone stimulation of the
Prescription # 2 Pygeum - LifeSource Product - Take 160 to 200 mg
daily of a product standardized to 13 percent total sterols. Pygeum is an
extract from the bark of an African tree that has a long history of use, as
well as scientific validation, for reducing prostate enlargement.
Prescription #3 Saw Palmetto - LifeSource Product - Take as directed on the container. Several studies have shown that this
extract lessens the symptoms of BPH.
Prescription #4 Nettle (Urtica diocia) root - Take 120 mg twice
daily. Nettles are commonly used in prostate formulas, along with other
nutrients. Studies have shown that they lessen BPH symptoms.
Prescription #5 Beta Sitosterol – Plant Sterols - LifeSource Product - Take 60 to 130 mg
daily. Studies show that this phytonutrient improves the symptoms of benign
Prescription #6 Zinc Picolinate - LifeSource
Product - Take 100 mg daily
for two months and then 50 mg as a maintenance dosage, and take 3 mg of
copper, along with the zinc.
Prescription #7 Omega 3, 6 & 9 - LifeSource Products - See All of our Omega 3 – Fish Oil Products.
Take 3 caps of our
Super Omega 3, 6, & 9 daily. Essential fatty acids reduce inflammation.
- Frequent urination
- Urination that is hard to start or stop
- The sensation of an incompletely emptied bladder
- Increased nightmare urination
- Burning pain with urination
- Reoccurring bladder infections
A diet of basic, whole foods will provide plenty of fiber and will regulate hormone levels. Eat lots of whole grains and fresh vegetables, and get your protein from beans, fish, and soy products. To keep chemicals and pesticides out of your system, buy organic whenever possible.
Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene, a phyto-chemical that has an important protective effect on the prostate. This book usually recommends fresh food, but when it comes to lycopene, there's an important exception: cooked tomato products are actually a more potent source of this phyto-chemical than fresh ones are. Incorporate both into your meals daily.
Pumpkin seeds are a traditional remedy for prostate problems, and for good reason. They're full of zinc, a nutrient that's necessary for good prostate health. You can snack on raw pumpkin seeds throughout the day, but resist the urge to toast and salt them. You'll just add unwanted fat and sodium.
To reduce swelling, eat cold-water fish, flaxseeds (1 to 2 tablespoons daily, along with 10 ounces of water), and flaxseed oil. These foods are high in essential fatty acids, which are known for their anti-inflammatory properties.
Drink green tea (decaffeinated) instead of coffee, as it promotes healthy detoxification.
Take the aforementioned flaxseeds daily, along with 10 ounces of water. Flaxseeds contain a phytonutrient known as lignans, which balance estrogen levels.
Drink a glass of clean water every two waking hours to keep fluid moving through the urinary tract.
Foods to Avoid
Eliminate all fats that are saturated, hydrogenated, or partially hydrogenated. These fats lead to inflammation and have been closely linked with several prostate disorders.
Sugar wreaks havoc on hormone levels and worsens inflammation. Radically restrict your consumption of refined sugar, or, better yet, banish it from your diet altogether.
Processed food is full of chemicals that may cause or contribute to prostate problems. Stay away from it.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine. They are irritants to the prostate gland.
The prostate gland is highly sensitive to environmental and dietary toxins. To flush waste out of the prostate, do a one- to three-day juice fast. Focus on vegetable juices and broths-too much fruit juice will throw your hormone levels out of balance.
- Amino acids relieve urinary symptoms of BPH. Take glycine, alanine, and glutamic acid, as this was the combination used in one successful study. Take 750 mg three times daily for two weeks and then 375 mg three times daily as a maintenance dose.
- Pumpkin seed oil is often used in combination with saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) for the relief of BPH symptoms. Take 160 mg three times daily with meals.
- A high-potency multivitamin provides a base of nutrients for prostate health. Take as directed on the container.
- D-glucarate is a phytonutrient that assists the liver in metabolizing estrogen. Take 500 mg twice daily.
- Indole-3 carbinole assists the liver in metabolizing estrogen. Take 300 mg daily.
- Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) improves liver detoxification and, indirectly, hormone balance. Take 250 mg of an 80 to 85 percent silymarin extract three times daily.
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*Disclaimer: None of the above statements have been evaluated
by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent
any disease. As always, consult your physician before taking any and all
supplements. LifeSource Vitamins. Individual results may vary.
Disclaimer: All the information contained throughout
this website is based upon the opinion of the founder of LifeSource Vitamins,
Bruce Brightman, and the entire team at LifeSource Vitamins whose relentless
research and studies have been ongoing on since 1992. Other articles and
information are based on the opinions of the authors, who retains the copyright
as marked on the article. The information on this site is not intended to
replace your health care professional, but to enhance your relationship with
them. Doing your own studying and research and taking your health care into
your own hands is always best, especially in partnership with your health care
professional. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medications, or have
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