Choosing The Best Prostate Supplements
For many people, it can seem like a daunting task to find the right supplement for your health condition. There’s such a large selection to choose from that it can be difficult to know where to begin.
However, a lot of men have gotten relief by taking over-the-counter prostate supplements, and report that they experience significant improvement of their symptoms – and they’re supported by at least some scientific research.
As men age, BPH ( benign prostate hyperplasia) causes the size of the prostate gland to become larger than normal. This increase in size can lead to a weaker urine stream and/or the need to urinate more frequently at all hours of the day or night.
Treatment is typically administered in the form of prescription drugs prescribed by your doctor. However, these drugs are likely to have negative effects that a large number of men would prefer to avoid.
Perhaps you just prefer not having to take pharmaceutical drugs. For men who don’t want to take medication and would prefer a more natural alternative, knowing which are the best prostate supplements is an important first step.
Supplements Vs. Prescription Drugs
BPH is a very common condition as men age. The most common treatments for this condition are prescription medications, such as a1-adrenergic antagonists and 5a-reductase inhibitors.
Unfortunately, the side effect of their use is leading both patients and doctors to look elsewhere for solutions. These side effects can include hypotension (low blood pressure), dizziness, rapid heartbeat, and muscle tremors.
Surgery can also be used in the management of prostate issues. However, surgical treatment is risky, expensive, and invasive, and should not be considered as a form of routine treatment.
Prostate supplements, on the other hand, provide a natural, more holistic approach to treating your prostate issues. Many men report that these supplements provide significant relief from the symptoms of BPH. Additionally, they generally do not cause adverse side effects and are more convenient than obtaining a prescription.
Before you take any supplement, it’s a good idea to consult with your doctor. These supplements may interact with prescribed medicines, treatments, and/or testing that you might require.
The Best Prostate Supplements
These are currently the most well-studied and popularly used supplements to treat BPH and/or prevent prostate cancer:
- Saw palmetto
- Rye pollen
- Pumpkin seed oil
- Stinging nettle
The saw palmetto is a short tree native to North America. Research into the effectiveness of this plant in treating BPH is mixed.
A few small studies have found a benefit. However, larger studies have not shown that saw palmetto can reduce the size of the prostate or relieve urinary symptoms.
One study involving men with BPH showed that saw palmetto supplementation was more effective at lowering prostate-specific antigen levels (PSA). PSA is a protein that can indicate a problem with prostate health.
The same study also showed that it improved urinary symptoms when used with beta-sitosterol(1).
Saw palmetto may be tried by men to alleviate common symptoms of BPH such as:
- Difficulty starting urination
- Frequent urinating
- Weak urine flow
- Urgent need to urinate
It could also help prevent late night visits to the bathroom.
It can take from four to six weeks for men taking saw palmetto to see the results.
Beta-sitosterol is a plant compound that’s classified as a phytosterols. Although phytosterols have been shown to reduce cholesterol, beta-sitosterol has especially been studied due to its possible anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and prostate health benefits(2).
Although it doesn’t alter the prostate’s size, beta-sitosterol has been shown to decrease the urinary problems caused by BPH, including helping to empty your bladder and increase urine flow. It has also been shown to potentially help protect against the growth of cancer cells (1, 2, 3).
This supplement is derived from the bark of the African plum tree. Some men with BPH may find it helps them to wake up less often to go to the bathroom, have stronger urine streams, and more fully drain their bladders.
There is some research that shows it to be effective in treating prostatitis, and protecting against the growth and spread of cancerous cells.(4).
A previous review also showed that it decreased symptoms of BPH (5).
On the other hand, it’s important to note that the included studies were short and did not compare pygeum’s effectiveness with conventional medical treatments.
Rye Pollen Extract
This substance can potentially improve several symptoms associated with BPH, including:
- Frequent, urgent need to urinate
- Dribbling after urinating
- Painful urination
- Weak urine flow
Research has shown that rye pollen extract may shrink your prostate, improve your flow, and help to more fully empty the bladder.
Additionally, a review of 10 different research studies revealed that rye pollen extract significantly improved the symptoms in men with chronic prostatitis, including painful urination and ejaculation, sexual dysfunction, and pelvic pain.(6)
It should be noted that despite the extract being made from pollen, the final product is hypoallergenic. This is because the rye pollen’s outer husk is removed during the manufacturing process.
Pumpkin seed oil
Pumpkin seed oil, which is high in anti-inflammatory compounds, has been investigated for its potential role as a treatment for BPH and chronic prostatitis.(7) It appears to be able to reduce the size of the prostate and relieve symptoms such as BPH.
One study that involved 47 men with BPH found that taking 320mg of pumpkin seed oil, or a combination of pumpkin seed oil and saw palmetto, every day substantially improved BPH symptoms within six months.(8)
This supplement may be beneficial when combined with other supplements like saw palmetto.
Stinging Nettle Root
Commonly used in herbal medicine to relieve inflammation and pain, a few studies have shown that nettle root may help relieve the urinary symptoms that are associated with BPH, including helping with urine flow, as well as waking up at night to urinate.
A study involving 100 men diagnosed with BPH showed that supplementing with 600mg of stinging nettle extract daily for 8 weeks substantially improved their symptoms.(9)
This herb is sometimes combined with other supplements to treat BPH symptoms.
Other Potentially Beneficial Supplements
Supplements are another area where it is too early to determine if they are useful. Although early studies are encouraging, doctors still need more information.
- Garlic extract
- Flaxseed lignan extract
- Milk thistle
- Cranberry powder
- Red clover