What is BPH?
Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH for short, occurs when the prostate gland gets bigger. The common condition (at least half of all men will be affected by it at some point during their lifetimes), typically causes considerable discomfort. Typical symptoms include feeling the need to use the bathroom very frequently, waking up at night often to urinate, and/or a reduction in the speed or force of urine flow.
I have BPH. What can I do?
Once men have been officially diagnosed with BPH, physicians will often recommend either medications or even surgery. However, many doctors now recognize that BPH can often be successfully treated with natural supplements. When taken on a regular basis, four natural remedies in particular stand out as being especially effective at helping alleviate BPH. They are:
- Saw Palmetto—This herbal extract has been clinically tested in many studies for its ability to reduce the symptoms of BPH. Specifically, saw palmetto prevents an enzyme known as 5-alpha-reductase (5-AR) from doing its job of taking testosterone and changing it to dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. Since DHT has been shown to cause the prostate to swell, discouraging its formation is a very good thing for prostate health. Clinical studies overwhelmingly support saw palmetto’s role in prostate health. In one landmark study, 305 men were given 160 mg of saw palmetto extract twice a day. After about a month and a half, the researching physicians determined that the saw palmetto was effective at improving BPH in just over 80 percent of the cases. The subjects showed improvements in all areas, including urine flow and the size of the prostate.
- Flaxseed oil—Essential fatty acids have been shown to be very helpful for men suffering from BPH. Since flaxseed oil is naturally rich in omega-3 and omega-6 EFAs, it is a perfect choice for helping with an enlarged prostate. In one study, all 19 subjects had a lessening of residual urine after taking EFA supplements.
- Pumpkin seed—Did you know that pumpkin seeds are a rich source of zinc? Did you also know that studies conducted as far back as the 1970s linked the mineral with a reduction of prostate size and symptoms of BPH? It’s true! Like saw palmetto, zinc also seems to work by inhibiting 5-AR. It may also prevent the pituitary gland from secreting a hormone called prolactin, which leads to an increase in DHT.
- Juniper berries—These have been shown to act as a natural diuretic.
BPH is an uncomfortable condition, but it does not have to be forever. It also does not have to mean taking prescription medications and enduring all of their side effects. By combining the natural powers of these four powerful supplements, you should be able to say goodbye to constant bathroom visits and hello to a good night’s sleep.
Fillon, Mike, Natural Prostate Healers, 1999, pages 12, 175
Murray, Michael, and Pizzorno, Joseph, Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, 1998, pages 753-759