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Are Supplements for the Prostate Efficient?


Are supplements for the prostate efficient? It depends on which ones and how you take them, among other things. Some supplements marketed for the prostate had been researched in studies and found to be beneficial for various conditions affecting the prostate.

Saw palmetto

Saw palmetto is a supplement made from the fruit of the Serenoa repens tree. The first evidence of saw palmetto use in men comes from Egypt in the 15th century BC. Native Americans also used saw palmetto for various ailments, including prostate inflammation and erectile dysfunction. Currently, saw palmetto is the most popular supplement for prostate health and is widely available in health foods stores and online.

The benefits of saw palmetto for prostate health have been researched in many scientific studies. An extensive review based on 27 research studies, including 15 randomized controlled trials found that saw palmetto helps reduce urination at night and improves urinary flow, being more effective when compared with dummy pills (placebo).

Furthermore, saw palmetto was found to have similar efficacy when taken with prescription drugs tamsulosin and 5α-reductase inhibitors to relieve urinary tract symptoms associated with enlarged prostate. Saw palmetto is also well tolerated, and can be used over the long-term.

It is worth mentioning that these studies evaluated a specific brand based on saw palmetto called Permixon manufactured by the French company Pierre Fabre Médicament, with a daily dose of 320 mg, as a single therapy. It is possible that the effects of saw palmetto may vary from one brand to another.

Saw palmetto works through a few different mechanisms of actions in a similar way with prescription drugs 5α-reductase inhibitors, helps relax the smooth muscles of the urinary tract, decrease inflammation and has anti-estrogen and anti-androgen effects.

Pumpkin seed oil

Pumpkin seed oil is another popular supplement, available alone or in combination with saw palmetto.

Pumpkin seed oil is being used in many countries around the world, especially in North America, Mexico, India, and China. According to research studies, pumpkin seed oil may help manage enlarged prostate, being more effective than a placebo to improve symptoms associated with enlarged prostate.

The typical dose used in research studies was 320 mg daily of pumpkin seed oil and the results were assessed at 12 months. Research also suggests pumpkin seed oil may help manage diabetes, anxiety, male pattern baldness, and possess some anti-cancer qualities.

Pumpkin seed oil has multiple active ingredients including proteins, essential fatty acids, vitamins, zinc, selenium, and various plant compounds.

Best foods (also available in supplement form) for prostate health

Adding certain foods to the diet may help support prostate health, and some of them are available in concentrated forms in supplements, such as:

Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant found in abundance in tomatoes, which supports prostate health. According to researchers, those who consume a diet high in lycopene may have reduced risk of prostate cancer. Lycopene is better absorbed when consuming cooked tomatoes (i.e. sun dried tomatoes or tomato sauce) rather than raw tomatoes. For prostate health, consider including two to four servings of tomato sauce per week. Another option would be to use lycopene supplements derived from natural tomato extract. The typical daily dose is 20 mg of lycopene, 1-2 times daily.

Green tea. Green tea contains plenty of active compounds. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), epicatechin, and xanthine derivatives appear to be particularly beneficial for prostate health. Drinking green tea has been linked with decreased risk of prostate cancer in multiple studies. However, researchers suggest that high amounts of green tea (i.e. 7 cups daily) may be needed to achieve these health benefits. Another option would be to consume green tea extract supplements. The typical dose per capsule is between 400 mg and 725 mg green tea extract (standardized to minimum 40% catechins or 45% EGCG) per capsule. Three cups of green tea would be the equivalent of three cups of green tea extract. Some supplements have removed some or all of the caffeine content of the green tea extracts.

Fatty fish (omega-3 supplements). Several studies suggest that higher consumption of omega-3 rich foods is associated with lower risk of developing prostate cancer and lower risk of death from prostate cancer. Although more research is needed to confirm these findings, consuming 2 servings of fatty fish per week supports heart and brain function, and overall health. Fatty fish like salmon, herring, mackerel and sardines are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Alternatively, you can buy omega 3-supplements. The typical dose is 1-2 grams of omega-3 daily. The maximum daily amount considered safe is 3 grams daily of the omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) combined.

Considerations

There is the research world, and then, there is real life. There are a few things to consider to better answer the question: Are supplements for the prostate efficient?

  1. Not all supplements are created equally, and the quality varies from one brand to another. For example, the brand called Permixon based on saw palmetto is recommended in Europe for prostate enlargement. This particular brand was tested in multiple studies. Other brands may or may not be as effective to improve symptoms. For optimal benefits, look for a high quality, reputable brand, which offers standardized extracts, and shows the supplements are produced in a GMP facility. Ideally, a third-party company not affiliated with the manufacturer should also certify the supplement company.
  2. The daily dosage of a specific supplement also matters. Taking a lower dosage may not offer the same benefits. Check the dose per capsule and compare with the dose that had been used in research studies. Even better, consult a healthcare professional to learn more about the best supplements for prostate health and the best dosage.
  3. Supplements work best along with a healthy lifestyle, including diet, fitness and stress management. Those weekly servings of cooked tomatoes and fatty fish should be part of a healthy, balanced diet, like the Mediterranean diet. Reduce or eliminate processed foods. Staying active is also important. According to Harvard researchers, regular exercise is associated with decreased risk of enlarged prostate or inflammation of the prostate.

Resources

Vela-Navarett, R., Alcaraz, A., et. al. (2018). Efficacy and safety of a hexanic extract of Serenoa repens (Permixon) for the treatment of lower urinary tract symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (LUTS/BPH): systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials and observational studies. BJU Int.

Saper, R. Clinical use of saw palmetto. Uptodate.com.

Shaban, A. and Sahu, R.P. (2017). Pumpkin Seed Oil: An Alternative Medicine. Int. J. Pharmacogon Phytochem Res.

Chen, P., Zhang, W., Wang, X., et. al. (2015). Lycopene and Risk of Prostate Cancer. Medicine (Baltimore).

Giovannucci, E. (2002). A review of epidemiologic studies of tomatoes, lycopene, and prostate cancer. Exp. Biol. Med. (Maywood).

Aucoin, M., Cooley, K., Knee, C., et. al. (2017). Fish-Derived Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Prostate Cancer: A Systematic Review. Integr. Cancer Ther.

Moussa, H., Nguile-Makao, M., Robitaille, K., et. al. (2019). Omega-3 Fatty Acids Survey in Men under Active Surveillance for Prostate Cancer: from Intake to Prostate Tissue Level. Nutrients.

Harvard Health Publishing. 10 Diet and Health Tips for Prostate Health.

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