An Herbal Outlook to Men's Health
Updated: Jun 17, 2021
The prostate is a gland found near the urethra of a male body. The prostate is a part of the male reproductive system and is traditionally the size of a walnut. As a male ages however, the size of the prostate can change. Starting out relatively small it can reach the size of a lemon by the time a man reaches age sixty.
What does this mean? With the close quarters of the prostate around the urinary system, an increase in size can mean frequent or difficulty urinating among other issues. This increase in size is called prostate enlargement or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) and can be found during regular prostate checkups with a physician.
Some individuals who have BPH, especially in the early stages, may find that they would like to utilize supplements to support their prostate health due to side effects, like erectile dysfunction, in some prescription options. Luckily, there are quite a few options available and many of them have been backed by research!
Saw Palmetto & Beta Sitosterol
Saw Palmetto and Beta Sitosterol have been known to be beneficial for prostate health in many ways. One study looked at how these two supplements could work to combat against BPH. They looked at individuals who were given just saw palmetto and individuals who were given a saw palmetto beta sitosterol combo (1). The group that received the combo supplement had a greater reduction in BPH complications (1). This study showcased the potential these two supplements have in being very efficient methods for treatment of BPH.
Green tea is widely known for being a nice energizing beverage that is packed with antioxidants, vitamin C and other health benefits. However, in supplement form it may be able to accomplish much more beyond the beverage scope. Various studies have been done on green tea for prostate health. In one study researchers looked at the connection between green tea and lower urinary tract symptoms in individuals with known or expected cases of BPH. Researchers found that after 12 weeks of supplementation AUAs levels decreased and average urinary flow rate increased (2). There were also improvement in quality of life, sexual function and moderate inflammation.
Green tea has a plentiful bounty of these great things called catechins. There are various types of catechins but the more popular one is called EGCG. Studies have shown EGCG to be very bioactive and may prevent carcinogenesis (or the formation of cancer). In one study, 60 males volunteered to be administered EGCG as well as other catechins without any other therapy administered (3). After a year, out of 30 men who were given catechins, only 1 tumor was diagnosed. Of the other 30 men in the placebo group, 9 tumors were diagnosed (3). These studies are just the tip of the iceberg on the potential benefits of green tea for men’s health and honestly is a supplement any individual could benefit from taking.
Zinc is a mineral that largely impacts the body on a cellular level. All cells need zinc for normal growth, metabolism and function. When your body has enough zinc your cells are in a balanced range called homeostasis. Imbalances in zinc can cause the cells to become dysfunctional. Decreased levels of zinc have been shown to be linked to the appearance of prostate cancer in about 116 studies since the 1950s (4). Zinc has a strong potential to aid against malignant prostate cells when high amounts are given. Since the prostate cells function best with large amounts of zinc it is not surprising that the malignant cells eliminate a lot of those normal cells because they are depleted (4). Many reports have shown that when given appropriate amounts of zinc those normal cells react in a cytotoxic (cell killing) manner towards the malignant cells (4). The reality of this research points to a promising potential to prevent prostate cancer through the maintenance of zinc levels. However, more research is needed to confirm that aspect of zinc.
Uva Ursi & Stinging Nettle
Prostate problems can cause various issues with the urinary tract. This can present itself in the form of urinary flow issues, urinary tract infections and bacterial prostatitis. Uva Ursi and Stinging Nettle are two herbs that are widely known for their ability to have beneficial impacts on the urinary system. Uva Ursi supports urinary health against UTIs due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and antiseptic capabilities. Stinging Nettle supports urinary symptoms by decreasing inflammation and increasing urine output. This can be beneficial for individuals who have the sensation that they are never fully emptying their bladder.
Total prostate health is impacted by various different things. These mentioned supplements and herbal remedies are only a select few of what is available. There are various methods to take them, whether that is individually with high doses or in a formula (Check out one here) that covers various areas in supporting doses. Either way, be sure to consult your physician before starting any new health regimen.
Disclaimers: This article does not constitute professional medical advice, nor can it replace the advice of a licensed professional. These statements are not intended to prescribe a method of treatment.
(1) Sudeep HV, Venkatakrishna K, Amrutharaj B, Anitha, Shyamprasad K. A phytosterol-enriched saw palmetto supercritical CO2 extract ameliorates testosterone-induced benign prostatic hyperplasia by regulating the inflammatory and apoptotic proteins in a rat model. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2019 Oct 17;19(1):270. doi: 10.1186/s12906-019-2697-z. PMID: 31623582; PMCID: PMC6798398.
(2) Katz A, Efros M, Kaminetsky J, Herrlinger K, Chirouzes D, Ceddia M. A green and black tea extract benefits urological health in men with lower urinary tract symptoms. Ther Adv Urol. 2014;6(3):89-96. doi:10.1177/1756287214526924
(3) Miyata Y, Shida Y, Hakariya T, Sakai H. Anti-Cancer Effects of Green Tea Polyphenols Against Prostate Cancer. Molecules. 2019 Jan 7;24(1):193. doi: 10.3390/molecules24010193. PMID: 30621039; PMCID: PMC6337309.
(4) Costello, Leslie C, and Renty B Franklin. “A comprehensive review of the role of zinc in normal prostate function and metabolism; and its implications in prostate cancer.” Archives of biochemistry and biophysics vol. 611 (2016): 100-112. doi:10.1016/j.abb.2016.04.014