The prostate is an organ that is unique to men. Over time, annoying and even debilitating prostate issues can arise in men. Here is a look at why prostate health matters, and some supplements which can support the health of the prostate.
Why Prostate Health Matters
The prostate is a small gland (an organ that secretes chemical substances) which is part of the male reproductive system. It is about the size of a walnut and sits below the bladder. The primary purpose of the prostate is to produce some of the fluid contained in semen.
In men, prostate issues can affect urination and sexual function. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH, or “enlarged prostate”) is the most common prostate issue, occurring in most men over 50. BPH is so common that it’s considered a normal part of aging. However, roughly 50 percent of men who experience it will notice symptoms. BPH can cause the prostate to pinch the urethra, causing problems with urination and forcing the bladder to work extra hard. Obesity, sedentary lifestyle, high blood pressure, diabetes, and prostatitis can precipitate BPH.
Prostatitis refers to inflammation of the prostate. Acute prostatitis is usually caused by a bacterial infection, and can impair urination and cause fever and chills. Chronic prostatitis, however, often results from underlying infection, sometimes without a known cause. It can cause persistent pelvic discomfort, painful and difficult urination, and other symptoms.
Healthy lifestyle considerations can reduce the chances of developing prostate issues. These include regular exercise, maintaining healthy body weight, and following a Mediterranean diet.
Supplements for Prostate Health
Certain nutrients can have a bearing on the health of the prostate. In addition to a healthy lifestyle, men should consider the following supplements for their potential to sustain a healthy prostate, mitigate prostate issues, or both.
Beta-sitosterol is an herbal medication made up of various natural plant-based fats called sitosterols and phytosterols. Studies have shown that these substances, when taken together, can help relieve the urinary symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate. This means improved urine flow and other improvements as well. A beta-sitosterol supplement containing a variety of these substances can be very helpful for BPH.
Saw palmetto is a very valuable herb which, when taken as an oral supplement, can support prostate health in multiple ways. Recent research shows that saw palmetto can reduce prostate inflammation. It can also help prevent BPH and associated symptoms.
Pygeum is a natural substance extracted from the Prunum africanum and made into an oral supplement. Supplementing with pygeum has been shown to help relieve BPH symptoms. These include an improved ability for the bladder to comfortably store urine and an enhanced ability to pass urine without pain and difficulty.
Stinging nettle extract is derived from the roots and other parts of the European stinging nettle plant. It is recommended to help improve BPH symptoms. Stinging nettle can help decrease the severity of frequent need to urinate, and the need to urinate at night. Stinging nettle is more effective when combined with other herbal substances such as pygeum.
Zinc deficiency is linked to the development of enlarged prostate as well as worse prostate issues. Conversely, supplementing with zinc decreases the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone which causes the prostate to grow and expand.
If you are a man over the age of 40, then it is worth it to consciously consider your long-term prostate health. In addition to a healthy lifestyle, taking one or more of the above supplements could prevent enlarged prostate and associated issues, as well as prostate inflammation. Talk to your healthcare provider before taking any of these supplements for the first time.