prostate is a male gland that is situated below the bladder and
surrounds the urethra like a doughnut. It secretes a milky fluid
that lubricates the urethra to prevent infections, and increases
sperm motility during ejaculation for better fertilization.
Inflammation of the prostate gland is known as prostatitis, and can
occur at any age. This inflammation can be caused by bacteria
from other parts of the body invading the prostate. This is a
different condition than an enlarged prostate. Enlargement of
the prostate is an extremely common condition in men, and is known as
benign (nonmalignant) prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Enlargement
of the prostate can pinch off the flow of urine causing increased
urinary frequency, frequent nighttime urination, and reduced flow of
urination. Suffering from BPH does not mean that you have
prostate cancer, although the symptoms of prostate cancer can be the
same as with BPH. A test for a specific protein level, called a
PSA test (prostate-specific antigen), should be performed to rule out
men experience BPH to some degree as they age, because it is caused by
the hormonal changes associated with aging. As men age,
testosterone levels decrease and estrogen levels increase. There
is also an increase in activity of the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, which
converts testosterone to the more potent dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
These elevated estrogen levels may inhibit the elimination of excess
DHT from the prostate gland. DHT can cause an overproduction of
prostate cells resulting in enlargement of the prostate. In
addition to the natural processes of aging, certain lifestyle factors
also come into play with BPH. Alcohol (especially beer), stress,
and toxic contaminants can increase the production of DHT.
Avoidance of these precipitating factors may help to reduce the onset
and symptoms of BPH.
are nutritional components to BPH. Zinc, for example, may
inhibit the activity of 5-alpha-reductase, the enzyme that converts
testosterone to DHT. The herbs saw palmetto and nettle also
inhibit 5-alpha-reductase. Another important herb is pygeum with
its diuretic and anti-inflammatory activities that may help to reduce
nighttime urinary frequency. It is also good to limit caffeine
intake because it increases the frequency and urgency to urinate.
These nutritional and herbal supplements as part of a healthy
lifestyle make for good prostate health.
Plan for Prostate
Pharmacist’s Supplement Recommendations:
Herbs and Phytonutrients
saw palmetto, nettle root, pumpkin seed, pygeum, grass pollen, beta-sitosterol (hypoxis), lycopene
l-alanine, l-glutamic acid, glycine
Vitamins and Minerals
all are important, but especially zinc
grape seed extract, lipoic acid, n-acetyl cysteine, l-glutathione, vitamins C & E
Essential Fatty Acids
omega-3 & omega-6
Here for Pharmacist's Recommendations
Centers Related to Prostate Health
Information on Prostate Health
Enlargement: Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia- article by the
National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse
Problems- publication by the National
Institute on Aging
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Last Updated: November 04, 2004