Natural Ways to Maintain a Healthy Prostate

The prostate gland belongs to the male reproductive system and garners most attention towards the later years of life. The gland is small, about the size of a walnut, and is located just below the bladder and also wraps the upper part of the urinary tube that carries the urine. The proximity of the gland to the urinary pathway means prostate problems can affect urination and sexual function. 

Problems of the prostate

Most men do not pay attention to their prostate health until they start experiencing age-related prostate issues. Prostate glands are susceptible to inflammation (prostatitis), prostate enlargement (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia or BPH), and cancer of the prostate.

Among the three, BPH is the most common age-related prostate issue. BPH is a common disease observed in 90 percent of men over 60 . Studies show, 50 percent of men between the ages of 51 to 60 and 90 percent of men over 80 have been histologically diagnosed with BPH. Men with BPH often complain about frequent urination and issues with bladder control . Benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) is the fancy scientific name for prostate enlargement. It is a condition that leads to enlargement of prostate glands in men but is not cancerous.

Symptoms of Benign Prostate Hyperplasia

  • Incontinence
  • weak urine stream or dribble at the end of urination
  • Inability to completely empty the bladder
  • interrupted urination
  • frequent urination at night
  • pain after ejaculation
  • painful urination
  • urinary retention or inability to urinate
  • Increased urinary frequency and urgency
  • difficulty starting urination

Most men 50 and older are affected by prostate issues that progress with aging. As aging progresses, enlargement of prostate glands is almost inevitable. While it may appear like you have no control, the good news is what you eat and your lifestyle habits can make a significant impact on your prostate health.

Although there are no “magic pill or elixir” to prevent prostate issues, there are some proactive steps you can take towards better prostate health! These recommendations are backed by research and suggested as pathways to manage prostate health better.

What can you do to maintain your prostate health?

Follow a prostate-healthy diet: A prostate-healthy diet typically consists of bright-colored fruits and vegetables. These are high in fiber, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, along with plenty of vitamins and minerals. These beneficial compounds help reduce inflammation by controlling the levels of the prostate specific antigens (PSA). One study found that lycopene, a type of antioxidant helps reduce inflammation associated with BPH in the elderly.

Avoid red meat and excessive dairy intake: Research suggests that a diet that is high in meat  and dairy  can increase the risk of prostate enlargement and related health issues. Avoid red meat such as pork and processed meat such as hot dogs and instead, go for lean protein like fish and salmon. Cutting back on red meat is found to significantly reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Choose healthy fats: Choose healthful fat sources like olive oil, avocado, walnuts, almonds, and pecans which protect your prostate as well the health of your heart and brain. Avoid hydrogenated and saturated fats which increase prostate problems, including the risk of prostate cancer.

Reduce sodium and alcohol intake: Reducing salt and alcohol intake helps reduce symptoms associated with BPH. Alcohol stimulates urine production, while high salt intake may increase the urinary tract symptoms linked to BPH.

Exercise regularly: Following a regular exercise regime helps reduce the risk of prostate related health issues as well as keeps the rest of your vital organs like brain and heart to function well. Research shows that regular physical activity may be beneficial in preventing prostate enlargement for several reasons. The three possible mechanisms include reduce body weight, lowered systemic inflammation, and decreased activity of the sympathetic nervous system (responsible for fight or flight response). The overactive sympathetic nervous system increases prostatic symptoms, hence reducing the activity may help with BPH.

Take advantage of traditional remedies: Reducing stress and taking herbs that reduce inflammation are some traditional ways to reduce symptoms associated with the prostate. Anti-inflammatory compounds present in natural foods like turmeric, ginger, and herbs like saw palmetto, nettle root, etc. are traditionally used to treat enlarged prostate conditions.

Consider saw palmetto: Herbs like saw palmetto are known for their ability to lower inflammation and maintain the activity of specific enzymes that regulate prostate health. Saw palmetto’s mechanism of action is via inhibition of 5-alpha reductase, the enzyme that converts testosterone into the more potent androgen dihydrotestoterone (DHT). As DHT accumulates in the prostate, it can cause the prostate to grow. Since saw palmetto blocks the enzyme activity responsible for DHT production, it is often used as an alternative to pharmaceutical treatment.

Consider Nettle root: Nettle root is a commonly used herbal remedy in BPH. It causes anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, antiviral effects, and relieves the symptoms of BPH because it contains compounds such as phytosterols, lignans, and polysaccharides . Nettle root contains polyphenols like kaempferol, quercetin, coumarins and other flavonoids that have potent antioxidant effects. Nettle root also contains pigments like betacarotene, luteozanthin, and other carotenoids which exhibit antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Increasing antioxidant levels promote better prostate protection. Studies show that nettle root extract significantly increase antioxidant levels in the body.

In one clinical trial, 287 BPH patients treated with nettle root showed a significant reduction in prostate size . This study was a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study.

Last but not least, get your regular prostate health check-ups. If you are looking for natural plant-based supplements for prostate health, here are some recommendations of well-researched, high-quality and best saw palmetto supplements.

Saw Palmetto 320 by Pure Encapsulations: Pure Encapsulations’ formulation offers 320 mg of saw palmetto (Sernoa repens) fruit extract in one vegetarian capsule. The standardized 320 mg of saw palmetto contains 85% total fatty acids and 0.15% phytosterols which offers healthy prostate support. Saw palmetto helps maintain healthy testosterone levels by primarily maintaining healthy 5-alpha-reductase enzyme activity and receptor binding. The recommended dosage is to consume one capsule, one to two times daily between meals. The formulation is available as 120 and 240 vegetarian capsules. Pure Encapsulations Saw Palmetto 320 checks off the needs of gluten-free, non-GMO, and hypoallergenic consumers.

Saw Palmetto Pygeum Nettle Root by Vital Nutrients: If you are looking for a supplement that offers saw palmetto in combination with other herbs, Vital Nutrients’ dietary supplement is a good choice. This supplement offers three herbs saw palmetto, pygeum, and nettle root which support prostate health and promote normal urinary health. The fatty acids in saw palmetto help promote healthy urinary flow by acting as a urinary tonic. Nettle root promotes healthy hormone metabolism and aids in maintaining healthy urinary volume. The natural ingredients in Pygeum help lower inflammation and may help reduce the risk of prostatitis. Overall, the combination of all three support the health of prostate glands. Three vegetarian capsules provide 909 mg of saw palmetto, 375 mg of pygeum bark and 300 mg of nettle root extract.

Saw palmetto is present as saw palmetto fruit CO2 extract 40 – 45% (equal to 320 mg of 75-85% fatty acids extract). The recommended dosage is to take 2 capsules 1-2 times daily with food, or as directed by your healthcare provider.

Saw Palmetto Max – V by Douglas Laboratories: Douglas Laboratories Saw Palmetto Max-V offers 160 mg of standardized saw palmetto in one vegetarian capsule and 100 mg of non-standardized saw palmetto. The standardized 160 mg of saw palmetto provides 48 mg of fatty acids. The recommended dosage is to take one capsule twice daily or as recommended by the physician. Douglas Laboratories chooses premium raw material like Saw Palmetto and manufactures them in GMP-compliant, state-of-the-art facilities. The facility’s in-house labs are ISO accredited with their own bottling and packaging capabilities. The product is GMO-free and comes from a manufacturer that has earned the trust of healthcare professionals and consumers for 65 years. 

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